Lists of keyboard modifiers in the Flash CS4 motion model – lets you do more stuff

That’s right – do you want to do more “stuff” with your tweens? Often you have to know what keyboard modifiers to use, because functionality is not revealed in any other way. These modifiers are all documented, but I thought I would put them down in a handy list you could reference or print out (or whatever you want to do).


  • Add a control point: Ctrl-click (Windows) or Cmd-click (Mac) on the curve or dashed line on the graph.
  • Remove a control point: Ctrl-click (Windows) or Cmd-click (Mac) a control point.
  • Select multiple control points on a graph: Hold Shift and click each control point.
  • Convert a control point between smooth and corner: Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) the control point to extend or pull in the handles of a control point. This works on all control points except on the X, Y, and Z (spatial) properties.
  • Move a curve up and down on a graph without changing the keyframes time values: Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac) the curve between any two control points.
  • Separate handles on a control point: Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac) a handle. This makes the handle move independently. Release the Alt key and drag the opposite handle past 180 degrees to make both move together again.
  • Move a control point to a different frame and retain its value: Make sure the control point is DESELECTED, and then hold Shift and drag it to a new frame. Or select the control point and don’t release the mouse button, then hold Shift and drag it to a new location.
  • Change values by steps of 10: Hold Shift while scrolling the hot text.
  • Change values by steps of 0.1: Hold Ctrl while scrolling the hot text.

(Also note that you can do basic math in the hot text as well – to enter 25, you can enter 20+5.)

TWEEN SPANS (in Timeline)

  • Select a single frame in a tween span: Ctrl-click (Windows) or Cmd-click (Mac) a frame in the tween span.
  • Select multiple frames in a tween span: Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Cmd-drag (Mac) frames in the tween span.
  • Extend the length of a tween span without stretching the animation: Shift-drag the end of the tween span to the right.
  • Make the tween span shorter without stretching the animation: Shift-drag the end of the tween span to the left (removes keyframes you drag over).
  • Duplicate a span: Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac) the span to a new location on a timeline.
  • Duplicate tween frames: Select frame(s) within a span (Ctrl/Cmd-click or drag) and then Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac) the frames to a new location on a timeline.
  • Insert empty frames between two adjacent tween spans: Hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) while dragging the breakline between the spans.

Author Jen deHaan

Jen deHaan is a freelance graphic and web designer, fascinated with great layout and usability. She has been working in the software industry since 2001, and has held positions with Macromedia, Adobe, and Motorola in the Silicon Valley area near San Francisco. Jen has written and contributed to over 20 print publications on web design that have been published by Peachpit, Adobe Press, and Wiley. She now lives on a farm with her family and dogs in central Vancouver Island, Canada.

More posts by Jen deHaan

Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Jen,

    You are the Motion Tween Queen.

    Question: In CS4 is there a way to change the fps and have the tweens automatically adjust to reflect that new fps setting? Do you still need to adjust every tween on the timeline to keep the same timing?


  • Jen deHaan says:

    Hey Todd,

    Yes, for now you need to adjust the tweens like with classic tweening. However, we have heard that request before and I’ll make sure it’s filed so we can consider it for a future version. It is definitely a good idea for a feature addition. Thanks!


  • Jen,

    You’re the bee’s knees.


  • Yes! This is the most useful documentation I’ve come across for Flash CS4 since I got Production Premium upgrade in November! haha. These few shortcuts save a ton of time. Thanks – great blog too!

  • PeterE says:

    I’ve been using Flash for 2 months. Suddenly the timeline is jammed and I cannot get it out of frame one. Any suggestions?

  • Daniel says:

    OK…shift-drag extends a tween to the right. How about to the left? Nothing I do seems to make that work–I often want to extend the beginning of the tween without stretching…any tips on how to do that?


  • Daniel says:

    I, um, take it can’t be done then?

    Pity… another hidden negative…much like their amazingly weak alignment window (that only matches smaller size to larger). Not only are these features just partially implemented, but you have to waste time finding this out on your own since Adobe has a tendency to selectively describe Flash’s features in such a way as to hide the basic functionality they -don’t- have.

  • Jen deHaan says:

    Ugh, sorry – I don’t think I’m getting email for all the comments (hence all that spam above).

    Anyway, yes Shift-drag does work for going left. Make sure that you press Shift *before* dragging the end. You will lose any keyframes that you drag across, but it will shorten the span without “stretching” the animation.

  • sweety says:

    these shortcuts are really awsome photoshop cs9 really help full hats off to Adobe

  • Zevan says:

    Excellent post 🙂 Is there any key command or any way at all to resize multiple tween spans at once? Been wondering about this one for awhile and no one seems to know….

  • carl says:

    ok. great tutoria. now if I add any additional frames at the end of the tween the custom ease extends all the way to the end and is no longer locked between 1 and 24.

  • Jen deHaan says:

    @Zevan: You can select multiple spans and add or remove frames (right click or F5 to insert frames). Select the spans, or Ctrl+drag over multiple spans and then use the command to insert or remove the frames.

    @Carl: The custom ease, and any ease, is applied across the entire span. So if you stretch the span, the custom ease will stretch as well. If you have a complex custom ease going on, you may want to insert a new keyframe on the second-to-last frame at the same value as the last keyframe *before* stretching the span. Then stretch the span, and shift-drag the second-to-last keyframe to the next frame. That will then place the keyframe at the frame where you want it, and hold the value to the end of the span. You may need to right-click the last two keyframes and select “Linear left” and “Linear right” to achieve a straight line graph btween those two keyframes.

    I know that sounds super complex, but it’s pretty simple. Please let me know if it needs any clarification…

  • Nick says:

    Is there any way to add simple ease (-100 to 100) to EACH individual keyframe in the span without having to use custom ease? Because the simple ease is applied to the whole span not just individual keyframes.

    Im very used to just clicking on keyframes setting the ease, clicking on the next and setting its ease in the classic tweens.

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