How to Open a Shockwave File

By Contributing Writer

You've tried it all...opening the file through a media player, letting Internet Explorer choose how to open it, even changing the file type. However, if the file you have is a .swf, or Shockwave file, there's a simple solution. Follow these steps to open that tricky file!

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Shockwave file

How to Open a Shockwave File

Step 1

First, you'll need to identify that the file you're dealing with is a Shockwave file. Look at the file extension, which is the last three letters of a file name and always follow a period. A Shockwave file will end in .swf (for example, music.swf, or presentation.swf).

Step 2

If the file is not already saved to your computer, save it there now. It will make the process easier. To do this, right click on the file, choose "Save As" and save it anywhere on the computer that you choose.

Step 3

Next, download the Shockwave player from Adobe. To do so, go to Make sure to choose the appropriate version for you operating system.

Step 4

Save the file for the player to your computer (this is an option that will pop up during download). While it may be tempting to open it immediately and then get rid of it to save space on your hard drive, you almost certainly will use this player again.

Step 5

Wait for the download to complete.

Step 6

Once complete, open your Internet browser.

Step 7

Pull up the file that you wish to open, but DON'T double click to open it just yet.

Step 8

Drag the file into your Internet browser, where the website address should appear. If you have an updated version of Internet Explorer, you can also do this just by clicking a new tab and dragging the file to the tab.

Step 9

Your file should now play in the browser window.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have trouble opening the file, Adobe ( has a comprehensive FAQ on troubleshooting the problem.