The Flash (SWF) file format is a vector-based graphics file format for scalable, compact graphics for the web. Because the file format is vector-based, the artwork maintains its image quality at any resolution and is ideal for the creation of animation frames. In Illustrator, you can create individual animation frames on layers and then export the image layers into individual frames for use on a website. You can also define symbols in an Illustrator file to reduce the size of an animation. When exported, each symbol is defined only once in the SWF file.
You can save artwork as a SWF file by using the Export command or the Save For Web & Devices command. Benefits of each include:
Export (SWF) command
Provides the most control over animation and bitmap compression.
Save For Web & Devices command
Provides more control over the mix of SWF and bitmap formats in a sliced layout. This command offers fewer Image options than the Export (SWF) command, but uses the Export command’s last-used settings. (See SWF optimization options (Illustrator).)
Keep the following information in mind when preparing artwork to save as SWF: