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Flash printer - print to SWF

Flash printer - print to SWF

Ever wanted to convert a Word-document or something like it to SWF format? Now it's easy. Extremely easy in fact, using the Flash Printer from Blue*Pacific Software. Every now and then there comes a tool that makes you say "Brilliant! Why didn't anyone think about this already?"

Flash Printer is such a tool. It is a small utility program that currently only works with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. You just run the install-program and than you get a new printer set up on your machine, called Flash Printer. When you print something to the Flash Printer, a program will open, showing you the converted file. Here you get the option of adding some cool extra features that makes your SWF as maneuverable as a PDF.

Not quite PDF...
You can flip and navigate pages, print, drag by a hand and zoom the page up and down. You can also turn on and off functions such as preloader, custom cursors, sounds and more. Compared to PDF's, things lacking is selecting text and searching text. I guess adding this would increase the size of the outputted files. This could become a really good alternative to PDFs in the time to come. The SWF also includes a blurred version of the pages that is displayed while you zoom up and down. This increases the redraw speed and makes the whole program look very professional.

The program will also let you save the accompanying HTML for the SWF file. This is done via a menu containing presets for popup pages, fixed sizes and special formats such as PocketPC. You can also preview these formats easily. The popup are complete with 2 pages of HTML and JavaScript. You just cut and paste to use it.

Custom GUI
BluePac has also got a option to let you choose the style of the GUI for your Flash file. The options are Bar Viewer, Slide Show, Window Viewer, Dyna Viewer,Slide Timer and Raw Pages. Most of the interfaces have multiple coloring/style options too. According to BluePac, "the sources are available on the Interface / Source directory, inside the installation directory. New Interfaces can be created, say, for example 3D interfaces where the pages float in the air and aproach the user when selected are perfectly possible."

Here are a sample printout using different interfaces/styles, from the basic and simple to Mac-like and glossy..

Minor bugs
It seems that some things are not fully though through, like the PocketPC version of the HTML. You don't have to read much about PocketPCs and Flash to know that adding a 100% size factor in the HTML code is a bad thing. This will display at 100 x 100 pixels, and so it does using the templates built into Flash Printer. This template also contains redundant Embed-tags. These are not needed, unless Netscape are releasing a PocketPC browser soon. (Ed: this bug was fixed just days after this article was published)

This is no big big issue and is probably fixed by the time you read this article. All in all this is a brilliant piece of software with a wide range of uses. There's a 30 day trail version available from the Blue Pacific website. The program is a bit expensive for being a utility-program ($165 US), but for the right customer, it'll be a brilliant piece of software. Why didn't anyone think of this before?
Visit BluePac to download 30 trial version


About Jens C Brynildsen

Jens has been working with Flash since version 3 came out. Since then, he's been an active member of the Flash community. He's created more than a hundred Flash games (thus the name of his blog) but he also creates web/standalone applications, does workshops and other consulting. He loves playing with new technology and he is convinced that the moment you stop learning you die (creatively speaking). Jens is also the Editor of this website.

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