In Flash Professional, you can work with a variety of file types, each of which has a separate purpose:
About Flash files
FLA files, the primary files you work with in Flash Professional, contain the basic media, timeline, and script information for a Flash Professional document. Media objects are the graphic, text, sound, and video objects that comprise the content of your Flash Professional document. The Timeline is where you tell Flash Professional when specific media objects should appear on the Stage. You can add ActionScript® code to Flash Professional 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 a flash 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, Flash Professional creates a SWF file.
The Flash Professional SWF file format is an open standard that other applications support. For more information about Flash Professional 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 Flash Professional content.
SWC files contain the reusable Flash Professional components. Each SWC file contains a compiled movie clip, ActionScript code, and any other assets that the component requires.
note: (Flash Professional CC only) SWC files cannot be imported in to Flash Pro.
ASC files are files used to store ActionScript that will be executed on a computer running Flash 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 Flash Professional CC.
The following additional videos and tutorials demonstrate working with Flash Professional. Some videos may show Flash Professional CS3 or CS4, but are still applicable to Flash Professional CS5.
Working with other Adobe applications
Flash 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 Flash. You can also create video from Flash and edit it in Adobe® Premiere® Pro or After Effects®, or import video from either of those applications into Flash. When publishing your SWF files, you can use Dreamweaver® to embed the content in your web pages and launch Flash directly from within Dreamweaver to edit the content.
Opening XFL files
Beginning with Flash Professional CS5, XFL is the internal format of the FLA files you create. When you save a file in Flash, 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 Flash.
You can open and work with XFL files in Flash in the same way you would open an FLA file. When you open an XFL file in Flash Professional, 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 Flash via XFL and FLA:
Exporting XFL Format from After Effects to Flash (Tom Green, Layers Magazine)
Working with uncompressed XFL files
Beginning with Flash Professional CS5, you can choose to work with your Flash files in uncompressed XFL format. This format allows you to see each of the separate parts, or subfiles, that make up the Flash file. These parts include:
An XML file that describes the Flash 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 Flash file.
By working with uncompressed XFL format, you can allow each part of the Flash 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.
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 Flash. Your changes to the asset are reflected in Flash when you finish editing the asset in another application.
To edit an asset from an uncompressed XFL document in another application:
Edit a SWF file from Dreamweaver in Flash
If you have both Flash and Dreamweaver installed, you can select a SWF file in a Dreamweaver document and use Flash to edit it. Flash does not edit the SWF file directly; it edits the source document (FLA file) and re‑exports the SWF file.
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 Flash from the context menu.
Dreamweaver switches the focus to Flash, and Flash attempts to locate the Flash authoring file (FLA) for the selected SWF file. If Flash cannot locate the Flash authoring file, you are prompted to locate it.
note: If the FLA file or SWF file is locked, check out the file in Dreamweaver.
Create a new document
You can create a new document or open a previously saved document in Flash Professional, and you can open a new window as you work. You can set properties for new or existing documents.
(CS5.5 only) Choose Height, Width, Frame Rate, and other settings on the right side of the dialog box.
Choose settings for the document. See Set properties for a new or existing document.
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.
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.
- (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.
(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.
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 Flash Professional 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 Flash Professional CC.
Embedding metadata improves the ability of web-based search engines to return meaningful search results for Flash Professional 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:
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.
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.
Displays information about images saved in the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format.
Save Flash documents
You can save a Flash Professional 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.
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/
If an alert message indicates that content will be deleted if you save in Flash CS4 format, click Save As Flash CS4 to continue. This might happen if your document contains features that are available only in Flash CS5. Flash Professional does not preserve these features when you save the document in Flash CS4 format.
Printing Flash documents
To preview and edit your documents, print frames from Adobe Flash Professional documents, or specify frames to be printable from Flash Player by a viewer.
When printing frames from a Flash Professional 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.
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 Flash Professional to control or disable it.
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.
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 Flash Professional 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.
Printing from the context menu does not interact with calls to the PrintJob object.