New file context menu templates

When using Windows XP you can right click inside a folder, expand the New submenu item and then pick a new file template to create. What few people realise is that you can add and edit your own templates. Recently I got a bit fed up of setting up the same Flash document structure over and over again so I decided to alter the default .fla template.

Setting up your own templates is quite simple. First make your template file. For my situation I created a new .fla file inside the Flash IDE. Gave it the default dimensions I work to, stuck my copyright disclaimer in the Document settings window, setup my default publish options and added a certain MovieClip object to the library that I use in 95% of my projects.

Once the file is complete copy or move it to the folder located below, substituting USER NAME for your login username.

C:\Documents and Settings\USER NAME\Templates

Finally open up the registry:

Start->Run->regedit

Now navigate to:

My Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

and then pick the extension you want to modify, so in my case I expanded the “.fla” key. Now right click that and create a new sub-key called ShellNew if it doesn’t exist already. Inside that create a new String called FileName and then for its value enter the path to your file:

C:\Documents and Settings\USER NAME\Templates\custom_flash.fla

Now just close the registry and restart the system. You should now be able to create new instances of your template file via the context menus New option.

You don’t have to place the file in that folder but in my opinion it’s just cleaner to keep them all in one place and that location is already setup by Windows.

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Hope comes from within, not without. There is no light to show the way but that which some of us carry within us. Be a lantern, not a shadow. Those of us that can, must walk the darker path so that others may follow.

— Asurmen, The Darker Road