About Animate files

In Animate, you can work with a variety of file types, each of which has a separate purpose:

  • FLA files, the primary files you work with in Animate, contain the basic media, timeline, and script information for a Animate document. Media objects are the graphic, text, sound, and video objects that comprise the content of your Animate document. The Timeline is where you tell Animate when specific media objects should appear on the Stage. You can add ActionScript® code to Animate documents to more finely control their behavior and to make them respond to user interactions.

  • Uncompressed XFL files are similar to FLA files. An XFL file, and the other associated files inside the same folder, are simply the uncompressed equivalent of a FLA file. This format makes it easier for groups of users to work on different elements of an Animate project at the same time. For more information, see Working with uncompressed XFL files.

  • SWF files, the compiled versions of FLA files, are the files you display in a web page. When you publish your FLA file, Animate creates a SWF file.

    The Animate SWF file format is an open standard that other applications support. For more information about Animate file formats, see www.adobe.com/go/flashplayer.

  • AS files are ActionScript files—you can use these to keep some or all of your ActionScript code outside of your FLA files, which is helpful for code organization and for projects that have multiple people working on different parts of the Animate content.

  • SWC files contain the reusable Animate components. Each SWC file contains a compiled movie clip, ActionScript code, and any other assets that the component requires. Note: SWC files cannot be imported into Animate.
  • ASC files are files used to store ActionScript that will be executed on a computer running Adobe Media Server. These files provide the ability to implement server-side logic that works in conjunction with ActionScript in a SWF file. Note: ASC files are not supported with Animate CC.
  • JSFL files are JavaScript files that you can use to add new functionality to the Animate authoring tool.
  • APR files lets you bundle the canvas publish template along with its publish profile settings. Going forward, any new asset linked to a publish profile is bundled and shared as well. For more information, see Publish settings.



What is Animate CC?

What is Animate CC?

The following additional videos and tutorials demonstrate working with Animate/Flash Pro. Some videos may show Flash CS3 or CS4, but are still applicable to Flash Pro CS5.

Working with other Adobe applications

Animate is designed to work with other Adobe® applications to enable a broad range of creative workflows. You can import Illustrator® and Photoshop® files directly into Animate. You can also create video from Animate and edit it in Adobe® Premiere® Pro or After Effects®, or import video from either of those applications into Animate. When publishing your SWF files, you can use Dreamweaver® to embed the content in your web pages and launch Animate directly from within Dreamweaver to edit the content.

Opening XFL files

Beginning with Animate CC, XFL is the internal format of the FLA files you create. When you save a file in Animate, the default format is FLA, but the internal format of the file is XFL.

Other Adobe® applications such as After Effects® can export files in XFL format. These files have the XFL file extension instead of the FLA extension. InDesign® can export directly in FLA format, which internally is XFL. This allows you to work on a project in After Effects or InDesign first and then continue working with it in Animate.

You can open and work with XFL files in Animate in the same way you would open an FLA file. When you open an XFL file in Animate, you can then save the file as a FLA file, or as an uncompressed XFL file.

The following video tutorials demonstrate exporting from InDesign and AfterEffects to Animate via XFL and FLA:

To open an XFL file in Animate:

  1. In another Adobe® application, such as InDesign or After Effects, export your work as an XFL file.

    The application preserves all of the layers and objects of the original file in the XFL file.

  2. In Animate, choose File > Open and navigate to the XFL file. Click Open.

    The XFL file opens in Animate in the same way as an FLA file. All of the layers of the original file appear in the Timeline and the original objects appear in the Library panel.

    You can now work with the file normally.

  3. To save the file, choose File > Save.

    Animate prompts you to name the new FLA file in the Save As dialog box.

  4. Type a name and save the FLA file.

Working with uncompressed XFL files

Beginning with Animate CC, you can choose to work with your Animate files in uncompressed XFL format. This format allows you to see each of the separate parts, or subfiles, that make up the Animate file. These parts include:

  • An XML file that describes the Animate file as a whole.

  • Separate XML files to describe each Library symbol.

  • Additional XML files containing publish settings, mobile settings, and others.

  • Folders containing external assets, such as bitmap files, used by the Animate file.

By working with uncompressed XFL format, you can allow each part of the Animate file to be worked on separately by different people. You can also use a source control system to manage the changes made to each subfile within your uncompressed XFL file. Together, these capabilities allow for much easier collaboration on larger projects with multiple designers and developers.

Using live update with XFL files

With live update of editable assets for Uncompressed XFL Documents, you can edit any Library asset from an uncompressed XFL document while the document is open in Animate. Your changes to the asset are reflected in Animate when you finish editing the asset in another application.

To edit an asset from an uncompressed XFL document in another application:

  1. Save a Animate document in Uncompressed XFL format.

  2. In an appropriate editor, such as Photoshop, open the asset you want to edit from the LIBRARY folder of the Uncompressed XFL Document.

  3. Edit the asset and save your changes.

  4. Return to Animate.

    The update to the asset is reflected in Animate immediately.

Edit a SWF file from Dreamweaver in Animate 

If you have both Animate and Dreamweaver installed, you can select a SWF file in a Dreamweaver document and use Animate to edit it. Animate does not edit the SWF file directly; it edits the source document (FLA file) and re‑exports the SWF file.

  1. In Dreamweaver, open the Property inspector (Window > Properties).
  2. In the Dreamweaver document, do one of the following:
    • Click the SWF file placeholder to select it; then in the Property inspector click Edit.

    • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) the placeholder for the SWF file, and select Edit With Animate from the context menu.

      Dreamweaver switches the focus to Animate, and Animate attempts to locate the Animate authoring file (FLA) for the selected SWF file. If Animate cannot locate the Animate authoring file, you are prompted to locate it.

      Note: If the FLA file or SWF file is locked, check out the file in Dreamweaver.

  3. In Animate, edit the FLA file. The Animate Document window indicates that you are modifying the file from within Dreamweaver.

  4. When you finish making edits, click Done.

    Animate updates the FLA file, re‑exports it as a SWF file, closes, and then returns the focus to the Dreamweaver document.


    To update the SWF file and keep Animate open, in Animate select File > Update for Dreamweaver.

  5. To view the updated file in the document, click Play in the Dreamweaver Property inspector or press F12 to preview your page in a browser window.
  1. Start Animate.

  2. On the main Animate screen, select Create New > Animate File (Mobile).

  3. In Device Central, select a Player version and ActionScript version.
  4. Select a content type.
  5. In the Available Devices list, select a single target device or multiple devices (or select a set or individual device in the Device Sets list).
  6. Click Create.
  7. Add content to the new Animate document.

  8. To test the document, select Control > Test.

Create a new document

You can create a new document or open a previously saved document in Animate, and you can open a new window as you work. You can set properties for new or existing documents.

Create a new document

  1. Select File > New.
  2. On the General tab, select the type of Animate document you want to create.

  3. Do one of the following:

Create a new document from a template

  1. Select File > New.
  2. Click the Templates tab.
  3. Select a category from the Category list, select a document from the Category Items list, and click OK. You can select standard templates that come with Animate or a template you have already saved.

Open an existing document

  1. Select File > Open.
  2. In the Open dialog box, navigate to the file or enter the path to the file in the Go To box.
  3. Click Open.

View a document when multiple documents are open

When you open multiple documents, tabs at the top of the Document window identify the open documents and let you easily navigate among them. Tabs appear only when documents are maximized in the Document window.

  • Click the tab of the document you want to view.

    By default, tabs appear in the order in which the documents were created. You can drag the document tabs to change their order.

Open a new window for the current document

  • Select Window > Duplicate Window.

Set properties for a new or existing document

  1. With the document open, select Modify > Document.

    The Document Settings dialog box appears.

  2. To set the Dimensions of the Stage do one of the following:
    • To specify the Stage size in pixels, enter values in the Width and Height boxes. The minimum size is 1 x 1 pixels; the maximum is 2880 x 2880 pixels.

    • To match the Stage size to the exact amount of space used by the contents of the Stage, select the Match Contents option.

    • To set the Stage size to the maximum available print area, select Match Printer. This area is determined by the paper size minus the current margin selected in the Margins area of the Page Setup dialog box (Windows) or the Print Margins dialog box (Macintosh).

    • To set the Stage size to the default size, 550 x 400 pixels, select Match Default.

  3. To adjust the position and orientation of 3D objects on the Stage to maintain their appearance relative to the edges of the Stage, select Adjust 3D Perspective Angle to Preserve Current Stage Projection.

    This option is only available if you change the Stage size.

  4. (CS5.5 only) To automatically scale the contents of the stage relative to the change in Stage size, select Scale Content With Stage.

    This option is only available if you change the Stage size. You can choose whether to scale content in locked and hidden layers in the Preferences. For more information, see Set General preferences.

  5. To specify the unit of measure for rulers displayed in the work area, select an option from the Ruler Units menu. (This setting also determines the units used in the Info panel.)
  6. To set the background color of your document, click the Background Color swatch and select a color from the palette.
  7. For Frame Rate, enter the number of animation frames to appear every second.

    For most computer-displayed animations, especially those playing from a website, 8 frames per second (fps) to 15 fps is sufficient. When you change the frame rate, the new frame rate becomes the default for new documents.

  8. (CS5.5 only) To automatically save the document at a specified time interval, select the Auto-Save option and specify a number of minutes between saves.
  9. Do one of the following:
    • To apply the new settings to the current document only, click OK.

    • To make the new settings the default properties for all new documents, click Make Default.

Change document properties using the Property inspector

  1. Click in the work area outside the Stage to deselect all objects on the Stage. The document properties appear in the Property inspector. To open the Property inspector, choose (Window > Properties).
  2. (CS5.5 only) In the Publish section, choose a Flash Player version and an ActionScript version for your document. To access additional Publish settings, click the Publish Settings button. For more information, see Publish settings.

  3. In the Properties section, for FPS (frames per second), enter the number of animation frames to play each second.
  4. To change the Stage size, enter values for the width and height of the Stage.
  5. To select a background color for the Stage , click the color swatch next to the Stage property and select a color from the palette.
  6. To edit additional document properties, click the Edit button next to the Size properties. For more information on all document properties, see Set properties for a new or existing document.

Add XMP metadata to a document

You can include Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) data such as title, author, description, copyright, and more in your FLA files. XMP is a metadata format that certain other Adobe® applications can understand. The metadata is viewable in Animate and in Adobe® Bridge. For more information about XMP metadata, see Metadata and Keywords in Bridge Help.

Note: 32-bit Bridge is not supported with Adobe Animate CC.

Embedding metadata improves the ability of web-based search engines to return meaningful search results for Animate content. The search metadata is based on the XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) specifications and is stored in the FLA file in a W3C-compliant format.

A file’s metadata contains information about the contents, copyright status, origin, and history of the file. In the File Info dialog box, you can view and edit the metadata for the current file.

Depending on the selected file, the following types of metadata may appear:


Contains author, title, copyright, and other information.


Displays editable metadata. You can add captions to your files, as well as copyright information. IPTC Core is a specification that was approved by the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) in October 2004. It differs from the older IPTC (IIM, legacy) in that new properties were added, some property names were changed, and some properties were deleted.

Camera Data (Exif)

Displays information assigned by digital cameras, including the camera settings used when the image was taken.

Video Data

Displays metadata for video files, including pixel aspect ratio, scene, and shot.

Audio Data

Displays metadata for audio files, including artist, album, track number, and genre.

Mobile SWF

Lists information about SWF files, including title, author, description, and copyright.


Keeps a log of changes made to images with Photoshop.

Note: The History Log preference must be turned on in Photoshop for the log to be saved with the file’s metadata.

Version Cue

Lists any Version Cue file-version information.


Displays information about images saved in the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format.

To add metadata:

  1. Choose File > File Info.
  2. In the File Info dialog box that appears, enter the metadata that you want to include. You can add or remove metadata in the FLA file at any time.

Save Animate documents

You can save a Animate FLA document using its current name and location or using a different name or location.

When a document contains unsaved changes, an asterisk (*) appears after the document name in the document title bar, the application title bar, and the document tab. When you save the document, the asterisk is removed.

Save a Animate document in the default FLA format

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To overwrite the current version on the disk, select File > Save.

    • To save the document in a different location and/or with a different name, or to compress the document, select File > Save As.

  2. If you selected Save As, or if the document has never been saved before, enter the filename and location.
  3. Click Save.

Save a document in uncompressed XFL format

  1. Choose File > Save As.
  2. From the Save as Type menu, choose Animate CC Uncompressed Document (*xfl).

  3. Choose a name and location for the file and click Save.

Revert to the last saved version of a document

  • Select File > Revert.

Save a document as a template

  1. Select File > Save As Template.
  2. In the Save As Template dialog box, enter a name for the template in the Name box.
  3. Select a category from the Category pop‑up menu, or enter a name to create a new category.
  4. Enter a description of the template in the Description box (up to 255 characters), and click OK.

    The description appears when the template is selected in the New Document dialog box.

    To delete a saved template, navigate to one of the following folders and delete the template FLA file from the category folder that contains it.

    • Windows XP - C:\Documents and Settings\<userName>\Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe\Flash CS5\en_US\Configuration\Templates\

    • Windows Vista and 7 - C:\Users\<userName>\AppData\Local\Adobe\Flash CS5\<language>\Configuration\Templates\

    • Mac OS - <HardDisk>/Users/<userName>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS5/<language>/Configuration/Templates/

Save a document as a Animate CC document

  1. Select File > Save As.
  2. Enter the filename and location.
  3. Select Animate CC Document from the Format pop‑up menu, and click Save.


    If an alert message indicates that content will be deleted if you save in Animate CC format, click Save As Animate CC to continue. This might happen if your document contains features that are available only in Animate CC. Animate does not preserve these features when you save the document in Animate CC.

Save documents when quitting Animate

  1. Select File > Exit (Windows) or Animate > Quit Animate (Macintosh).

  2. If you have documents open with unsaved changes, Animate prompts you to save or discard the changes for each document.

    • Click Yes to save the changes and close the document.

    • Click No to close the document without saving the changes.

Printing Animate documents (deprecated with Flash Professional CC)

To preview and edit your documents, print frames from Adobe Animate documents, or specify frames to be printable from Flash Player by a viewer.

When printing frames from a Animate document, use the Print dialog box to specify the range of scenes or frames to print and the number of copies. In Windows, the Page Setup dialog box specifies paper size, orientation, and various print options—including margin settings and whether all frames are to be printed for each page. On the Macintosh, these options are divided between the Page Setup and the Print Margins dialog boxes.

The Print and Page Setup dialog boxes are standard in either operating system, and their appearance depends on the selected printer driver.

  1. Select File > Page Setup (Windows) or File > Print Margins (Macintosh).
  2. Set page margins. Select both Center options to print the frame in the center of the page.
  3. In the Frames menu, select whether to print all frames in the document or only the first frame of each scene.
  4. In the Layout menu, select from the following options:

    Actual Size

    Prints the frame at full size. Enter a value for Scale to reduce or enlarge the printed frame.

    Fit On One Page

    Reduces or enlarges each frame so it fills the print area of the page.


    Prints several thumbnails on one page. Select from Boxes, Grid, or Blank. Enter the number of thumbnails per page in the Frames box. Set the space between the thumbnails in the Frame Margin box, and select Label Frames to print the frame label as a thumbnail.

  5. To print frames, select File > Print.

Use frame labels to disable printing

To choose not to print any of the frames in the main Timeline, label a frame as !#p to make the entire SWF file nonprintable. Labeling a frame as !#p dims the Print command in the Flash Player context menu. You can also remove the Flash Player context menu.

If you disable printing from Flash Player, the user can still use the browser Print command to print frames. Because this command is a browser feature, you cannot use Animate to control or disable it.

Disable printing in the Flash Player context menu

  1. Open or make active the Animate document (FLA file) to publish.

  2. Select the first keyframe in the main Timeline.
  3. Select Window > Properties to view the Property inspector.
  4. In the Property inspector, for Frame Label enter !#p to specify the frame as non-printing.

    Specify only one !#p label to dim the Print command in the context menu.


    You can also select a blank frame (rather than a keyframe) and label it #p.

Disable printing by removing the Flash Player context menu

  1. Open or make active the Animate document (FLA file) to publish.

  2. Select File > Publish Settings.
  3. Select the HTML tab and deselect Display Menu and click OK.

Specify a print area when printing frames

  1. Open the Animate document (FLA file) containing the frames you will set to print.

  2. Select a frame that you have not specified to print with a #p frame label that is on the same layer as a frame that is labeled with a #p.

    To organize your work, select the next frame after a frame labeled #p.

  3. Create a shape on the Stage the size of the desired print area. To use a frame’s bounding box, select a frame with any object of the appropriate print area size.
  4. Select the frame in the Timeline that contains the shape to use for the bounding box.
  5. In the Property inspector (Window > Properties), enter #b for Frame Label to specify the selected shape as the bounding box for the print area.

    Only one #b frame label per Timeline is allowed. This option is the same as selecting the Movie bounding box option with the Print action.

Change the printed background color

You can print the background color set in the Document Properties dialog box. Change the background color for only the frames to be printed by placing a colored object on the lowest layer of the Timeline being printed.

  1. Place a filled shape that covers the Stage on the lowest layer of the Timeline that will print.
  2. Select the shape and select Modify > Document. Select a color for the printing background.

    This action changes the entire document’s background color, including that of movie clips and loaded SWF files.

  3. Do one of the following:
    • To print that color as the document’s background, designate to print the frame in which you placed the shape.

    • To maintain a different background color for non-printing frames, repeat steps 2 and 3. Then place the shape on the lowest layer of the Timeline, in all the frames that are not designated to print.

Use the Print command in the Flash Player context menu to print frames from any Animate SWF file.

The context menu’s Print command cannot print transparency or color effects and cannot print frames from other movie clips; for more advanced printing capabilities, use the PrintJob object or the print() function.

  1. Open the document.

    The command prints the frames labeled #p by using the Stage for the print area or the specified bounding box.

    If you haven’t designated specific frames to print, all frames in the document main Timeline print.

  2. Select File > Publish Preview > Default or press F12 to view your Animate content in a browser.

  3. Right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh) in the Animate content in the browser window to display the Flash Player context menu.

  4. Select Print from the Flash Player context menu to display the Print dialog box.
  5. In Windows, select the print range to select which frames to print.
  6. On the Macintosh, in the Print dialog box, select the pages to print.
  7. Select other print options, according to your printer’s properties.
  8. Click OK (Windows) or Print (Macintosh).


Printing from the context menu does not interact with calls to the PrintJob object.

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