This document lists behaviors and known issues that occur when export an InDesign CS5 document to Flash Player (SWF) and Flash Pro (FLA)

Known Behaviors

Document setup issues

How InDesign pages are converted

When you export to SWF or FLA, InDesign spreads become separate clips in a timeline, like slides in a slideshow. Each spread is mapped to a new keyframe. In Flash Player, you advance through the spreads of the exported document by pressing arrow keys or clicking interactive buttons.

Page size

When you create a document, you can choose a specific resolution, such as 800 x 600, from the Page Size menu in the New Document dialog box. During export, you can also adjust the scale or resolution of the exported SWF or FLA file.

Note: When creating a document intended for the web, choose Web from the Intent menu in the New Document dialog box.

Interactivity features

Buttons, page transitions, hyperlinks, animation, and media files can be included in exported SWF and FLA files.


For buttons in an exported SWF or FLA file, the Next Page and Previous Page actions are especially useful controls for playback in Flash Player. However, some actions that work in interactive PDF files have no effect in Flash Player. When you choose an action in the Buttons panel, do not select an option from the PDF Only section.


Create links to websites or to other pages in the document. Hyperlinks are broken in FLA files.

Movies and sound clips

  • Movies and sound clips are included in an exported SWF file if they’re in a supported format, such as SWF, FLV, F4V, and MP4 for movies and MP3 for sound clips.
  • When you export to FLA, only the poster image is included in the FLA file. Supported media files appear in a resources folder saved in the same location as the exported FLA file.

Conversion issues


  • SWF and FLA files use RGB color.
  • When a document is exported to SWF or FLA, InDesign converts all color spaces (such as CMYK and LAB) to sRGB. InDesign converts spot colors to equivalent RGB process colors. 
    • To avoid unwanted color changes in artwork with text with transparency, choose Edit > Transparency Blend Space > Document RGB.
    • To avoid unwanted color changes in images with transparency, avoid using a lossy compression during export.


When exporting to SWF or FLA, you can determine whether text is output as Flash text or converted to outlines or pixels. Text exported as Flash Classic Text remains fully editable when the FLA file is opened in Adobe Flash CS5 Professional and can be searched in web browsers when saved as SWF files.


  • When you export images to SWF or FLA, you can change image compression, JPEG quality, and resolution settings during export.
  • When you export images to FLA, an image placed multiple times in your InDesign document is saved as a single image asset with a shared location.
  • A large number of vector images in the InDesign document may cause performance problems in the exported file.To reduce file size, place repeating images on master pages, and avoid copying and pasting images. If the same image is placed multiple times in the document and not transformed or cropped, only one copy of the file is exported in the FLA file.
  • Images that are copied and pasted are treated as separate objects.
  • By default, a placed Illustrator file is treated as a single image in the FLA file, whereas an Illustrator file that’s copied and pasted generates many individual objects. For best results, place the Illustrator image as a PDF file instead of copying and pasting from Illustrator. Copying and pasting results in multiple editable paths. You can change preference options to make sure that Illustrator objects are pasted as one object instead of a collection of small vectors. In Illustrator File Handling & Clipboard preferences, select PDF and deselect AICB (No Transparency Support). In InDesign Clipboard Handling preferences, select both Prefer PDF When Pasting and Copy PDF To Clipboard.


  • Before exporting to SWF, make sure that transparent objects do not overlap any interactive element, such as a button or hyperlink. If an object with transparency overlaps an interactive element, the interactivity may be lost during export. You may want to flatten transparency before exporting to FLA.
  • In some instances, choosing a lossy compression reduces the quality of images with transparency. When exporting, choose PNG (Lossless) to improve the quality.

3D attributes

3D attributes are not supported in the exported SWF and FLA files.

Known issues

Issue 1: Objects appear to drop out in unflattened FLA when both the contents of a group and the group have the same transparency effects applied. (2537818)


  • Remove the drop shadow on the group or the individual objects.
  • Change the blending space on the group to Normal.
  • Export to SWF
  • Apply a different transparency effect to the group 

Issue 2: Multi State Objects (MSO) continuously cycles through states in exported SWF movie (2496987)

Workaround: Add a stop in Flash Pro.

Note: This is consistent with how InDesign treats the FLA as a whole. InDesign does not include a 'stop' and thus the default behavior is to flip through all the pages.

Issue 3: Some document installed fonts are shifting vertically in Flash text (2497723)

  • Note workaround.
  • InDesign uses CoolType, not platform APIs. 
  • Flash text relies on the platform API to get ascent/descent to adjust the text position. The platfrom dependent API call can only get legitimate values if font is installed on the system foler. If the font is installed in our app folder or the document installed font folder, the return value may not be legitimate. 

Issue 4:  Middel Eastern (Hebrew, Arabic) drop caps are shifting horizontally in SWF files with Flash text (2486484, 2499126)

Workaround: Use the ME version of InDesign 

Issue 5: Animations on the master page will drop in SWF if one spread contains mutliple pages. ( for example 4 page spread) (2475343)

Now workaround. This workflow is not supported in the current architecture. 

Issue 6: Transparency effects applied to the contents of a placed graphic frame do not output to FLA/SWF flattened or native. (2375074)

Workaround: Apply transparency to the frame itself.

Issue 7: Error message occur when exporting bitmap type, Courier (Courier system font in MS Word,) to SWF (2295686)

No workaround: Indesign does not support bitmap font on Windows. Bitmap fonts are filtered in the font menu. 

Japanese specific: 

J: Text shifts up in TLF text (2523394)


  • Set it as lineHeight in Flash Authoring or manually set it as a number that matches or apply underline to the original text in InDesign.
  • This behavior is by design due to the fact that TLF does not have the same first baseline offset supports as InDesign. For J document, InDesign always uses auto for the first baseline even though the setting for InDesign is EmboxHeight. The workaround for user is to  

Additional Information

For Information regards InDesign CS4 and Flash publishing functionality, please refer to Background information on InDesign CS4 Flash publishing functionality(SWF/XFL)



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