Skip to content

How to Open a SWF File Online in Windows and MAC

  • File type: Application file
  • Description: Small Web Format
  • Developer: Macromedia
  • Format: Adobe Flash file


Problems opening .swf files? If you have a file with the .swf extension and you don't know how to open it you are in the right site. Only certain programs can read, view, edit or convert files with .swf extension.

Try the programs we recommend. You have to download the software (viewers, readers) to view it or convert it to another format file extension.

  • What is a .swf file?
  • How can I open a .swf file?
  • What programs (editors, viewers, readers or installers) can edit, view and launch?
  • How to convert .swf files to another format.

open swf file

What is a SWF File extension

The File extension swf stands for Small Web Format. These files contain videos, vector based animations, ActionScripts and sounds to facilitate efficient delivery of these multimedia types over the web.

SWF file is an Adobe Flash file format. The software originated from FutureWave Software and transferred to Macromedia after it later came under the control of Adobe.

Although intitially designed by Macromedia, .swf files now come under the control of Adobe. Therefore you need to have a specific Adobe application installed in your computer in order to open and view the files as described below.

The file can contain applets and animations of different types of functions and interactivity. The file can equally be useful in many other programs, like browser games with the use of ActionScript. SWF file is a vector graphic animation file.

The programmers can generate .swf files using several Adobe applications such as Flash, Flash Builder (an IDE), Adobe Animate), and After Effects, MXMLC. Adobe Ilustrator also can be used to create .swf files using its ‘export’ function but you can’t open or edit the files using it.

MXMLC is a command-line application compiler that forms a part of the Flex SDK, which is freely available.

The SWF file can be generated by programmers from within various Adobe products, like  Adobe Animate, Flash Builder and Flash.

The best news that you can open, run and edit the .swf files in many operating systems without much limitations such as in Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux on the x86 architecture and ARM architecture (Google Chrome OS only).

file extension .swf

File Extension of .swf file

The .swf files can be viewed in a browser using below mentioned plug-ins. These applications can be downloaded from the Adobe official website for free.

Since the SWF files comprise assembled ActionScript and compressed images, they are not intended for editing. Instead it is suggested to update the original .FLA file to change a Flash animation.


swf file extension


Programs to open SWF files

As we mentioned earlier, you need to install an Adobe product to open and run your .swf files. However, Flasher is much recognized for its vulnerability to be attacked by the hackers. It is been recently blocked by Chrome and some other web browsers due to this reason.

However, you can use another Adobe program or simply use a separated browser to use Adobe flasher so your sensitive data that will be shared online won’t be handed over to the hackers (if they perform a hack).

If you want, you can convert the .swf files to MP3, MP4, MOV and AVI. These files also can be embedded in PDF files so you can use Adobe 9 or newer to open them.







  • Web browsers


.swf related extensions

  • .fla


How to open SWF files


Instructions step by step method 1 - open from the file

  1. Go to the .swf file in your device.
  2. Make sure you have properly installed Adobe Flasher or another Adobe application to run the .swf file.
  3. Drag and drop the file to the browser window to play it.
  4. With Adobe Flash plug-in, the web broswers such as  Firefox, Edge, or Internet Explorer are able to open the files automatically.
  5. View the file in the software viewer.


Instructions step by step method 2 - open from the programs

  1. Find the .swf file in your computer.
  2. Right click on it and select “Open With” from the menu appear.
  3. You will see a pop-up window saying “How do you want to open this file?”.
  4. Choose “More apps”
  5. Select your preferred browser to open the file.


Instructions step by step method 3

One of the methods according to Wiki How can be:

  1. Open the SWF File Player website.
  2. Click on the green button located left side of the page to download File Player.
  3. Wait until the download completed and install the File Player in your computer.
  4. Open the File Player by double-clicking on its icon.
  5. Choose “file” in the File Player window.
  6. Click on “Open” from the drop-down menu.
  7. Choose the .swf file that you want to open.
  8. Click on “Open” after you choose the required file
  9. You will see SWF’s attributes on the bottom of the File Player page.
  10. Click on “Play” to play the .swf file.

You can perform the same procedure to open your .swf files using Elmedia player.


Associate the extension to a program

You can associate the .swf extension to the appropiate software. This will ensure every time you are opening a enl file the associated program will launch by default.

To do it just double click on the file and select always run with this program option (Always use the selected program).


.swf converters

How is the conversion of SWF format?

There are so many online converters for .swf files in the web. Here are some great converters you can find online to convert .swf files to your preferred format.

1.     Any Video Converter

2.     Avidemux

3.     EncodeHD

4.     Totally Free Converter

5.     Clone2Go Free Video Converter


Can't open a SWF file?

If you have problems opening it you can check the following tips. You must ensure you have all what you need:

  1. Check that you have at least one of the programs need to manage these files.
  2. Check if you have drivers updated.
  3. Get the latest versions.
  4. Reinstall the software .
  5. Ensure you have all the computer privileges.


While it is easy to open the SWF file on virtually all the versions of Windows Operating System, but it is not easy to open the said file on your Mac computer. If the file is not opening on your Mac operating system or even on your Windows operating system, you can opt for a conversion to easily open the file.

Converting the file to another type of file will make it easier to open the file using another program on both Windows and Mac Operating Systems. This will only become necessary if you do not have the SWF player already installed on your computer.

You can unzip the file directly on your computer. In some instances, the file is packed in a Zip file and you only need to use the common unzip program to unzip it, like the WinZip program. Just double-click on the ZIP file to show the contents, then you can use your mouse to drag the SWF file to any location where you want to save it.

The SWF file can equally be opened by using your web browser. This method is also very easy. Open any of the web browsers that you are using on your computer; it can be opened via virtually any of the common web browsers.

Some of the proven ones are Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and so on. You can then click on the SWF file and drag it with your mouse into the window of the web browser. Next, release the SWF file on the web browser window and the file will automatically start playing. You may have to install the latest version of Flash player for your web browser if the file fails to play after following the method described above.

If you do not already have the SWF player on your computer, you can download the essential SWF file Player and get it installed on your computer.

To open the SWF file, you can simply drag the file on to the SWF player app. This requires that you first open the app and drag the file on to it. You can also drag the SWF file to the Dock icon of the SWF player app.

Additionally, you can open the file by selecting File on the menu you find on the SWF player and then click on Open.


How to create a .swf file

You have to create a dynamic link library. These are the required steps to do it with visual studio:

  1. Install  Adobe Flash Player. Obviously, you can use other programs such as Adobe Indesign to create .swf files but the easiest way is to use Adobe Flash Player.
  2. Create a new document in Flash.
  3. Add your graphics including videos, audios, vector graphics etc. to the Flash stage.
  4. You can use graphics and text from Flash library or external files located in your computer.
  5. Complete the animation.
  6. Test your file plays properly by clicking on “Control > Test Movie” from the file menu.
  7. Save the file and accept the .fla default.
  8. Publish the file by “File > publish settings”
  9. Put check marks behind HTML and SWF in the format menu.
  10. Adobe Flash will automatically create two HTML and SWF files for you.
  11. If you want to change the location of your files, click on the yellow folder on the right.
  12. If you have put a checkmark behing “HTML” as previously mentioned, you will see HTML tab on the top of the page.
  13. You can click on it and set-up the Flash version, dimensions, play options, quality, window mode and alignment for your SWF file.
  14. Click on “OK” once the changes are done and hit “Publish”.
  15. Preview the HTML page in the web page.


About SWF files

In this website you learn what is a file with the .swf suffix, how to open, view, edit and convert it.

The .SWF file format can be opened in windows, mac and linux with the programs above.

If you have any comment or need help about the SWF files or related software send it to us through the contact page.