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didn't mean to post this twice, don't know how to delete the other one...
This works fine.
Test example was a movieclip with instance name data on frame 1. It contains a checkbox named opt1. The code you posted in the frame.
data.opt1.selected = true;
Perhaps where you have the code the reference is inappropriate. You have the code inside a child or the data clip or a sibling of the data or somewhere other than the timeline to which data is attached.
data mc is on the main timeline, and opt1 checkbox is within the data mc.
thank you for the quick reply, i have found a temporary workaround, but still interested in why my reference to data.opt1.selected will not work in this particular instance. is seems clear from my test and your test that it should work.
Be sure you do not have two objects with same name on the same time line.
Be sure data is instantiated before code uses it. Use trace of data before you use it.
Trace data.opt1 on the root timeline after data is instantiated.