The reason that Flash creates a graphic symbol for a png is because pngs can contain layers, other metadata. So the bitmap would be created as the png and all other layer, movieclip information is stored in the graphic symbol. As far as I know there is no way to avoid it but there are workarounds.
1. Instead of File-> Import to Library you can use File -> Import to Stage (In this case the graphic symbol is not created)
2. Drag and Drop the png into the library
In both the above cases the images are actually stored with JPEG compression. This is because we are asking it to ignore the layering and metadata information. You can change the compression to PNG/GIF by going to the properties of the entry in the library and choosing the compression format.
Hope this helps.
Thanks, you're right - I wasn't thinking about the layers thing. My problem is that I work on a Mac and they don't allow drag and dropping files into the library. I'm not sure if that's Apple's or Adobe's fault. At least if you can, I don't know how...not sure how much simpler drag and drop can be, so I don't think I'm missing anything there. Anyway thanks for your help!
Whenever you import the things to flash it will be automatically added to library. You don't have to drag the stage items to library.
The problem with that is that it puts the image that I'm dragging into to the very top layer even though I originally had a lower layer selected. Wow, just am baffled as to why there's such a difference in how the same software works on a Mac and a PC.
But whatever, you helped to answer my original question - the rest is I guess us being caught up in the Apple/Adobe war that's going on... thanks!