How to Edit SWF Files

By Contributing Writer

Flash animation is the standard for Internet video. Videos on YouTube and other websites use SWF (.swf) files, which are the Web-optimized output of Flash (.fla) files. An SWF file in and of itself cannot be edited. It is akin to a Photoshop (.psd) file that has been flattened to a .jpg, .gif or .pdf file made from an Acrobat file. The only guaranteed way to edit an SWF file is to have access to its original Flash file. Third party decompilers can do some of the conversion, but they do not successfully convert all Flash elements as well as Adobe Flash.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Windows, Mac or Linux-based computer


Step 1

Download Adobe Flash from Adobe will allow you to download a 30-day free trial of Flash. Install this trial program on your computer.

Step 2

Click on "File," then "Open" and browse to the .swf file you wish to convert.

Step 3

Save the file as a new Flash (.fla) file.

Step 4

Open the Flash file again. Scroll through to the .fla file frame-by-frame to find the frame(s), text and/or images that need editing.

Step 5

Edit the frame(s). Then save the file again as a .fla file.

Step 6

Open this file again. Choose "File," then "Export Movie."

Step 7

Name the file "somefilename.swf." Note the location where you are storing the file and click "OK."

Step 8

Open the HTML page where the new .swf file will be inserted. Insert the following code:

Tips & Warnings

  • Note the use of bothandtags. Internet Explorer recognizes thetag. Netscape only recognizes thetag.
  • Flash Decompiler Trillix for Windows allows for editing both dynamic and static texts without Adobe Flash. However, it does not correctly recreate all Flash elements.
  • It is always better to have the original Flash (.fla) version of the compacted .swf file for editing.