As stated in How to import an animated GIF, AVI movie or PICT sequence into Flash (TechNote 12837), Flash can import the SWF file format. However, the SWF is a rendered file, and many types of data inside the SWF cannot be reimported into Flash.
The SWF format is a special compressed format designed for small file size and scalability. In order to maintain this file size a number of items inside your original Flash format are compressed into data that Flash cannot reimport.
If you've selected "Protect from Import" when creating the SWF, Flash will not be able to reimport the file. Attempting to import a protected SWF will cause an error dialog to appear.
We recommend that you save the document in the regular Flash FLA format before exporting the file to the Flash Player SWF format, or any other file format. This will allow you to open and edit your original file at a later time.
Opening an SWF (File > Open) will open the movie in Test Movie mode.
Importing an SWF (File > Import) will have the following results:
- Sounds are not imported.
- Graphic symbols containing animation are imported with each keyframe of the animation in a new keyframe. The contents of each frame in the original animation are converted into a new Graphic symbol, one for each frame in the original symbol.
- All layering is lost. The import will add keyframes to the layer which was active when File> Import was selected, but the original layer structure and layer names are not retained.
- Movie Clip timelines are not imported. Individual elements from the first frame of the Movie Clip's timeline are imported, but are converted to Graphic symbols. All other frames of the Movie Clip are lost.
- Buttons are treated much like Movie Clips. The graphics in the"Up" keyframe are converted to Graphic symbols. Everything else is lost.
- Tweens are not imported.
- Motion Paths are not imported. However, the images from each tweened frame of a motion path are imported as separate images in individual keyframes.
- Imported bitmaps used in the movie are successfully imported, but their original library names are not retained. They will be renamed "Bitmap 1, Bitmap 2" and so forth.
There are third party tools available that allow users to edit a rendered SWF to a certain degree, as well as remove the protection tags if an author has accidentally lost their work and need to reimport the SWF. These tools are not made by Macromedia, and carry no guarantees. In addition, they are only mentioned in the context of helping authors regain their own work; the potential for abuse still remains. For more information on SWF editing tools, seeWeb sites devoted to Flash and Flash developers (TechNote 12046) under the heading "Third-Party Tools".