Controlling text

Flash Player 10 and later, Adobe AIR 1.5 and later

FTE gives you a new set of text formatting controls to handle justification and character spacing (kerning and tracking). There are also properties for controlling that way lines are broken and for setting tab stops within lines.

Justifying text

Justifying text makes all lines in a paragraph the same length by adjusting the spacing between words and sometimes between letters. The effect is to align the text on both sides, while the spacing between words and letters varies. Columns of text in newspapers and magazines are frequently justified.

The lineJustfication property in the SpaceJustifier class allows you to control the justification of lines in a block of text. The LineJustification class defines constants that you can use to specify a justification option: ALL_BUT_LAST justifies all but the last line of text; ALL_INCLUDING_LAST justifies all text, including the last line; UNJUSTIFIED , which is the default, leaves the text unjustified.

To justify text, set the lineJustification property to an instance of the SpaceJustifier class and assign that instance to the textJustifier property of a TextBlock instance. The following example creates a paragraph in which all but the last line of text is justified.

    import flash.text.engine.*; 
    import flash.display.Sprite; 
    public class JustifyExample extends Sprite 
        public function JustifyExample() 
            var str:String = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, " + 
            "sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut " + 
            "enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut " + 
            "aliquip ex ea commodo consequat."; 
            var format:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
            var textElement:TextElement=new TextElement(str,format); 
            var spaceJustifier:SpaceJustifier=new SpaceJustifier("en",LineJustification.ALL_BUT_LAST); 
            var textBlock:TextBlock = new TextBlock(); 
        private function createLines(textBlock:TextBlock):void { 
            var yPos=20; 
            var textLine:TextLine=textBlock.createTextLine(null,150); 
            while (textLine) { 

To vary spacing between letters as well as between words, set the SpaceJustifier.letterspacing property to true . Turning on letterspacing can reduce the occurrences of unsightly gaps between words, which can sometimes occur with simple justification.

Justifying East Asian text

Justifying East Asian text entails additional considerations. It can be written from top to bottom and some characters, known as kinsoku, cannot appear at the beginning or end of a line. The JustificationStyle class defines the following constants, which specify the options for handling these characters. PRIORITIZE_LEAST_ADJUSTMENT bases justification on either expanding or compressing the line, depending on which one produces the most desirable result. PUSH_IN_KINSOKU bases justification on compressing kinsoku at the end of the line, or expanding it if no kinsoku occurs, or if that space is insufficient.

PUSH_OUT_ONLY bases justification on expanding the line. To create a block of vertical Asian text, set the TextBlock.lineRotation property to TextRotation.ROTATE_90 and set the ElementFormat.textRotation property to TextRotation.AUTO , which is the default. Setting the textRotation property to AUTO causes the glyphs in the text to remain vertical instead of turning on their side when the line is rotated. The AUTO setting rotates 90° counter-clockwise for full width and wide glyphs only, as determined by the Unicode properties of the glyph. The following example displays a vertical block of Japanese text and justifies it using the PUSH_IN_KINSOKU option.
    import flash.text.engine.*; 
    import flash.display.Stage; 
    import flash.display.Sprite; 
    import flash.system.Capabilities; 
    public class EastAsianJustifyExample extends Sprite 
        public function EastAsianJustifyExample() 
            var Japanese_txt:String = String.fromCharCode( 
            0x5185, 0x95A3, 0x5E9C, 0x304C, 0x300C, 0x653F, 0x5E9C, 0x30A4, 
            0x30F3, 0x30BF, 0x30FC, 0x30CD, 0x30C3, 0x30C8, 0x30C6, 0x30EC, 
            0x30D3, 0x300D, 0x306E, 0x52D5, 0x753B, 0x914D, 0x4FE1, 0x5411, 
            0x3051, 0x306B, 0x30A2, 0x30C9, 0x30D3, 0x30B7, 0x30B9, 0x30C6, 
            0x30E0, 0x30BA, 0x793E, 0x306E) 
            var textBlock:TextBlock = new TextBlock(); 
            var font:FontDescription = new FontDescription(); 
            var format:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
            format.fontSize = 12; 
            format.color = 0xCC0000; 
            format.textRotation = TextRotation.AUTO; 
            textBlock.baselineZero = TextBaseline.IDEOGRAPHIC_CENTER; 
            var eastAsianJustifier:EastAsianJustifier = new EastAsianJustifier("ja", LineJustification.ALL_BUT_LAST); 
            eastAsianJustifier.justificationStyle = JustificationStyle.PUSH_IN_KINSOKU; 
            textBlock.textJustifier = eastAsianJustifier; 
            textBlock.lineRotation = TextRotation.ROTATE_90; 
            var linePosition:Number = this.stage.stageWidth - 75; 
            if ("Mac OS") > -1) 
                // set fontName: Kozuka Mincho Pro R 
                font.fontName = String.fromCharCode(0x5C0F, 0x585A, 0x660E, 0x671D) + " Pro R";                      
                font.fontName = "Kozuka Mincho Pro R"; 
            textBlock.content = new TextElement(Japanese_txt, format); 
            var previousLine:TextLine = null; 
            while (true) 
                var textLine:TextLine = textBlock.createTextLine(previousLine, 200); 
                if (textLine == null) 
                textLine.y = 20; 
                textLine.x = linePosition; 
                linePosition -= 25; 
                previousLine = textLine; 

Kerning and tracking

Kerning and tracking affect the distance between adjacent pairs of characters in a text block. Kerning controls how character pairs “fit” together, such as the pairs “WA” or “Va”. Kerning is set in the ElementFormat object. It is enabled by default ( Kerning.ON ), and can be set to OFF or AUTO, in which case kerning is only applied between characters if neither is Kanji, Hiragana, or Katakana.

Tracking adds or subtracts a set number of pixels between all characters in a text block, and is also set in the ElementFormat object. It works with both embedded and device fonts. FTE supports two tracking properties, trackingLeft , which adds/subtracts pixels from the left side of a character, and trackingRight , which adds/subtracts from the right side. If kerning is being used, the tracking value is added to or subtracted from kerning values for each character pair.

Kerning and tracking effects

TrackingRight=5, Kerning.OFF

TrackingRight=-5, Kerning.OFF


TrackingRight=-5, Kerning.ON

TrackingRight=-5, Kerning.ON

var ef1:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
ef1.kerning = Kerning.OFF; 
var ef2:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
ef2.kerning = Kerning.ON; 
ef2.trackingLeft = 0.8; 
ef2.trackingRight = 0.8; 
var ef3:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
ef3.trackingRight = -0.2;

Line breaks for wrapped text

The breakOpportunity property of the ElementFormat object determines which characters can be used for breaking when wrapping text is broken into multiple lines. The default, BreakOpportunity.AUTO , uses standard Unicode properties, such as breaking between words and on hyphens. Using BreakOpportunity.ALL allows any character to be treated as a line break opportunity, which is useful for creating effects like text along a path.

var ef:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
ef.breakOpportunity = BreakOpportunity.ALL; 

Tab stops

To set tab stops in a text block, define the tab stops by creating instances of the TabStop class. The parameters to the TabStop() constructor specify how the text aligns with the tab stop. These parameters specify the position of the tab stop, and for decimal alignment, the value on which to align, expressed as a string. Typically, this value is a decimal point but it could also be a comma, a dollar sign, or the symbol for the Yen or the Euro, for example. The following line of code creates a tab stop called tab1.

var tab1:TabStop = new TabStop(TabAlignment.DECIMAL, 50, ".");

Once you've created the tab stops for a text block, assign them to the tabStops property of a TextBlock instance. Because the tabStops property requires a Vector, though, first create a Vector and add the tab stops to it. The Vector allows you to assign a set of tab stops to the text block. The following example creates a Vector<TabStop> instance and adds a set of TabStop objects to it. Then it assigns the tab stops to the tabStops property of a TextBlock instance.

var tabStops:Vector.<TabStop> = new Vector.<TabStop>(); 
tabStops.push(tab1, tab2, tab3, tab4); 
textBlock.tabStops = tabStops

For more information on Vectors, see Working with arrays .

The following example shows the effect of each of the TabStop alignment options.

package { 
    import flash.text.engine.*; 
    import flash.display.Sprite; 
    public class TabStopExample extends Sprite 
        public function TabStopExample() 
            var format:ElementFormat = new ElementFormat(); 
            format.fontDescription = new FontDescription("Arial"); 
            format.fontSize = 16; 
            var tabStops:Vector.<TabStop> = new Vector.<TabStop>();     
                new TabStop(TabAlignment.START, 20), 
                new TabStop(TabAlignment.CENTER, 140), 
                new TabStop(TabAlignment.DECIMAL, 260, "."), 
                new TabStop(TabAlignment.END, 380)); 
            var textBlock:TextBlock = new TextBlock(); 
            textBlock.content = new TextElement( 
                "\tt1\tt2\tt3\tt4\n" +         
                "\tThis line aligns on 1st tab\n" +         
                "\t\t\t\tThis is the end\n" + 
                "\tThe following fragment centers on the 2nd tab:\t\t\n" + 
                "\t\tit's on me\t\t\n" + 
                "\tThe following amounts align on the decimal point:\n" + 
                "\t\t\t45.00\t\n" + 
                "\t\t\t75,320.00\t\n" + 
                "\t\t\t6,950.00\t\n" + 
                "\t\t\t7.01\t\n", format); 
            textBlock.tabStops = tabStops; 
            var yPosition:Number = 60; 
            var previousTextLine:TextLine = null; 
            var textLine:TextLine; 
            var i:int; 
            for (i = 0; i < 10; i++) { 
                textLine = textBlock.createTextLine(previousTextLine, 1000, 0); 
                textLine.x = 20; 
                textLine.y = yPosition; 
                yPosition += 25; 
                previousTextLine = textLine; 

// Ethnio survey code removed