Animate 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 Animate.

SWF format

The SWF format is a special compressed format designed for small file size and scalability. To maintain this file size, a number of items inside your original Animate format are compressed into data that Animate cannot reimport.

If you've selected "Protect from Import" when creating the SWF, Animate will not be able to reimport the file. Attempting to import a protected SWF causes an error dialog to appear.

We recommend that you save the document in the regular Animate FLA format before exporting the file to the Flash Player SWF format, or any other file format. This allows you to open and edit your original file at a later time.

Opening and importing

Opening a SWF (File > Open) opens the movie in Test Movie mode.

Importing a SWF (File > Import) has 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 adds 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 are renamed "Bitmap 1, Bitmap 2" and so forth.

Additional information

Available third-party tools allow users to edit a rendered SWF to a certain degree, as well as remove the protection tags if authors accidentally lose their work and need to reimport the SWF. These tools are not made by Adobe, 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.

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