7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 29, 2010 6:00 AM by UXdexigner

    Find & replace for Symbols?


      Any way to do this... like a global symbol swap?  I'm using FW for wireframing and I'm new at Fireworks.


      The kind of thing I'm trying to do is develop an interaction scenario one time, and then for example, change all instances of Button1 to Button2 for example, rather than hunting down each one and performing a "swap symbol".  It really seems like it should be a Find&Replace option.


      But if there's any "hacky" way to do it I'd be open to it.  Yes I know I could edit the symbol, but if I'm going back and forth between 2 designs that could be tedious.


      Thx, Stefan


        • 1. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
          Jim_Babbage Level 4

          So, you want the same symbol to look different in two different mockups? Or do you want to globally change the symbol in both mockups, so they look the same?

          • 2. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
            UXdexigner Level 1

            It's the same guy, I might have a different screenname now (Adobe kept rejecting my screennames, it was getting frustrating and "dslkfjaoij" just doesn't have a nice ring to it, lol)


            Thanks for replying Jim... Not really, it's more like taking a single mockup and swapping out the symbols to kinda re-skin it.  Like if it looked like a Windows app, and you want to replace each symbol with a Mac counterpart.  Or, you're testing a flat-looking wireframe for usability, and later on want to get into aesthetics and fairly quickly bring all the coloured glossy buttons & such into it.  Even if I had to go in and global-replace each type of symbol, (ex. all the vertical sliders) from one type to another it would still be better than going in and swapping every instance.


            I'm pushing for a way to do this because there could be some back-and-forth with appearances.  For example, say it's already been reskinned for aesthetics, but now there's been a change in the task sequence, so you want to switch back and test just the usability aspect with a flat interface so your feedback isn't contaminated with commentary on aesthetics.  Ideally this would all be done with a single underlying wireframe.


            I'm new at FW, so maybe the solution is under my nose.  It occurred to me, one could maybe store symbols externally.  So maybe there's a set of symbols sitting in a folder somewhere FW is expecting to find them.  Then switch the contents of the folder with different symbols of the same name and trick FW into reskinning your wireframe for you.  I wouldn't mind something along those lines as a solution.  I'll poke away at that, but meanwhile any other solutions you guys may have... it would be awesome to hear them.

            • 3. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
              Jim_Babbage Level 4

              You can save symbols to the Common Library - which is somewhat of an external location. Common

              Library symbols are available to ALL documents, where standard symbols are available just to the current



              As for updating symbols, here are a couple links that may help you:




              http://help.adobe.com/en_US/fireworks/cs/using/WS4c25cfbb1410b0021e63e3d1152b00db4b-7fd2.h tml





              • 4. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
                UXdexigner Level 1

                Gah... Still struggling with it.  My mindset could be all off.  I'm thinking of it in the same way one would think of an InDesign document, where a source image is changed, causing all instances of it to update in the document.  If this kind of thing can be pulled off with symbols in FireWorks, I will literally scream and jump for joy and embarass myself in front of my colleagues!


                Here's what I'm doing:

                I'm dragging a symbol from the common library into the workspace.

                I'm copying files and swapping filenames around in the common library.

                Those changes are reflected in the preview window.

                I try dragging the (same filename but now different actual file) symbol into the workspace.

                I am asked if I want to Replace, (I've said yes, and I've said no, doesn't seem to matter)

                I end up with 2 different symbols of the same name in the document library.  Updating seems to have no effect.


                It's sad because if this can be made to work, it could be a breakthrough in streamlining work down the road when wireframes get big.

                So close, yet so far...

                • 5. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
                  UXdexigner Level 1

                  Well, I've got something of a workaround... I have "flat" and "glossy" versions of some assets.  Rather than convince the library to cooperate, I've built both flat and glossy modes into the symbols themselves, on layers.  So my button symbol has a "flat" layer and a "glossy layer".  My slider symbol, same thing.


                  Directly within the wireframe it seems like one could double click on a symbol to get into it and toggle the layers.  This beats having to perform changes at the instance level, but it will still take a few minutes to surf around the wireframe and flip each different type of symbol around.


                  Still aiming for a more elegant solution, but I'll show the senior staff here this solution and see what they think of it.

                  • 6. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
                    John Dunning

                    It doesn't do exactly what you want, but the Linked Images extension may be part of the solution for you: http://johndunning.com/fireworks/about/LinkedImages


                    You could use this to link the background images for buttons to external files.  When you want to change the buttons to a different style, you could replace the external files with new ones at the same relative path, and run the Refresh All on Page command.  This would replace the existing images with the new ones.  Note that this approach probably won't handle resized elements the way you want, as the external images aren't imported as symbols, so they don't have 9-slice scaling.


                    An alternative would be to insert the external image as a symbol.  When you want to point to a different external file, double-click an instance of a symbol, select the image inside it, run the Refresh command, and then exit the symbol editing.  This is basically the same as your approach of embedding two different images in the symbol and toggling the visibility of one or the other; the only advantage is that the single image in the symbol can be changed by manipulating files outside of Fireworks.

                    • 7. Re: Find & replace for Symbols?
                      UXdexigner Level 1

                      Oooh, the external image approach could be it.  Especially if these external images are inside symbols.


                      I'll try that out for sure!  Thanks!