.SWF File Extension

Shockwave Flash Movie

Developer Adobe Systems
4.2  |  2432 Votes

What is an SWF file?

An SWF file is an animation that may contain text, vector and raster graphics, and interactive content written in ActionScript. It is saved in the Adobe Flash format, which Adobe discontinued on December 31, 2020.

More Information

Screenshot of a .swf file in Ruffle
SWF file open in Ruffle

SWF (pronounced "Swiff") files were commonly used to bring animated graphics, video, and sound to the web in the 2000s and 2010s. They were also a popular means of delivering browser-based games. SWF was originally an acronym for Shockwave Flash, since the SWF format was designed for Shockwave Player. However, as SWF files became a standard means of publishing Flash content on the web, the acronym was modified to instead mean Small Web Format.

Content developers primarily used Adobe Flash (now Animate), Flash Builder, and After Effects to create SWF animations. The files could be played by the free Flash Player or with a web browser that had the Flash plug-in installed.

However, as web technologies improved, Flash became increasingly criticized for its shortcomings, which included performance and security issues. Adobe and many web browser developers officially ended support for Flash on December 31, 2020.

NOTE: FutureWave and Macromedia first developed Flash in the 1990s; Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia in 2005.

How to open an SWF file

You can open SWF files with Adobe Flash Player (multiplatform). However, Adobe no longer develops the software and recommends you uninstall it for security reasons.

Some other options for opening and playing SWF files include Gretech GOM Player (Windows), Media Player Classic (Windows), Eltima Elmedia Player (macOS), and Ruffle (multiplatform).

Because SWF files contain compiled ActionScript and compressed media, they are not meant to be edited. To modify a Flash animation, you should edit the original .FLA file instead.

How to convert an SWF file

You can convert an SWF file back to .FLA format with Eltima Flash Decompiler Trillix (multiplatform). This will allow you to edit the animation the file contains and, if necessary, convert that animation to other video formats using Adobe Animate.

Open over 400 file formats with File Viewer Plus.Free Download

Programs that open SWF files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Shockwave Flash Movie file format and Mac, Windows, and Linux apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

If you would like to suggest any additions or updates to this page, please let us know.