.SWF File Extension

.SWF File Extension

File Type

Shockwave Flash Movie

Developer Adobe Systems
4.2  |  2360 Votes
Category Video Files
Format Binary

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 was discontinued by Adobe on December 31, 2020.

More Information

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 has been modified to mean "Small Web Format," as well.

Content developers primarily used Adobe Flash (now Animate), Flash Builder, and After Effects to create SWF animation. The files could be played by the free Flash Player or with a web browser that had the Flash plugin 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, and then Macromedia was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.

How do I open an SWF file?

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

Some other options for opening and playing SWF files include Eltima SWF & FLV Player (Windows), Gretech GOM Player (Windows), Media Player Classic (Windows), SWF File Player (Windows), Eltima Elmedia Player (macOS), and BIT LABS SWF Player (Android).

Because SWF files contain compiled ActionScript and compressed media, they are not meant to be edited. To modify a Flash animation, it is recommended to edit the original .FLA file instead. You can convert an SWF file back to FLA format with Eltima Flash Decompiler Trillix (multiplatform).

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Programs that open or reference SWF files

Updated January 13, 2021

Verified by FileInfo.com

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

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