How to open SWF files

How to open SWF files on PC

As mentioned earlier, Adobe discontinued support for Flash Player in December 2020 and, from January 12 2021, it was permanently blocked the execution of Flash contents within the official player; among other things, the same software house strongly recommends eliminating Flash Player from your computer, if it has not yet been uninstalled.

This is mainly for two reasons: over time, the Flash language has become increasingly insecure, subject to vulnerabilities often exploited by cybercriminals (but still unresolved) and expensive in terms of hardware resources; for these reasons, I must immediately warn you that theRunning SWF files could expose the data stored on your device to serious security risks, Over which make the operating system unstable. Keep this in mind, before you even do anything, I warned you!

That said, let me explain how to open SWF files on PC using two “replacement” software for Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player projector, the official debugger dedicated to developers; and the famous VLC player which, among the many supported formats, is also able to manage animations written in Flash.

Adobe Flash Player Projector

Flash Player Projector is Adobe's official tool dedicated to developers and suitable for viewing various types of Flash content, including SWF files. As pointed out by Adobe, this program should be used only for testing purposes and not for other purposes as, as already mentioned, Flash is a language considered unsafe and opening certain types of files could damage the computer.

That said, let's see how this utility is used. First, connected to the dedicated page on the Adobe website, click on the item Download the Flash Player projector content debugger which corresponds to the operating system you are using (Windows or Macintosh) and wait for the program file to download to your computer.

When the download is complete, open the file obtained and, if you use Windows, click on the menu File> Open… and press pulsating Shop by Department, to select the SWF file to view; made your choice, click on the button apri, in order to start the execution of the content. If, on the other hand, the element of your interest is on Internet, enter theURL in the dedicated text box, click on the button OK and wait a few moments for Flash Player Projector to download the content locally and start running it.

If you employ a MacInstead, copy the Flash Player obtained earlier in the folder Applications on your computer, access this folder, double-click on theicon just copied and press the button apri, in order to overcome the macOS restrictions on developers and non-certified software and open the program (you only have to do it the first time).

Now, use the Mac menu bar to go to the menu File> Open File ..., if the SWF content resides on the computer disk, or File> Open Path ..., if the animation to be viewed is found on the Internet. The debugger window, as long as it has no content to display, remains invisible.


Another excellent program that you can consider to manage and open SWF files (but also Flash animations in FLV format) is VLC Media Player, the famous multimedia player compatible with the vast majority of audio and video formats in circulation, including those in Flash.

To get it, if your computer has an operating system Windows 10, visit the dedicated page of the Microsoft Store and, if necessary, press the button Open Microsoft Store, in order to start the market managed by the Redmond giant. Next, click on the button Get to install the program on your computer and then on starts, to open it.

If your computer has an older edition of Windows, or if you use a Mac, you can use the "classic" installation procedure via a dedicated file: therefore connected to the official VLC website, click on the button Download VLC and wait for the installer to download completely to your computer. When the download is complete, open the .exe file or .dmg obtained previously and follow the procedure that best suits your operating system.

  • Windows: click on the buttons YesOK e NEXT (three consecutive times) and then on Install end, to finish the installation of VLC and start the player. If the program does not open automatically, use the icon that, in the meantime, has been added to the Start menu.
  • MacOS: following the opening of the package .dmg, the appropriate transfer window should appear on your Mac desktop. When this happens, drag theicon of VLC in the folder Applications on your Mac, double-click the fillet just copied and press the button apri, in order to bypass any limitations of Apple against programs from non-certified developers (it must be done only at the first start).

At the first launch of the program, you will be asked whether to provide permission to download updates and information on multimedia content from the Internet; after setting the behavior you prefer, click on the button Continue and help yourself from the menu Media> Open File ... (its Windows) oppure File> Open File ... (on Mac) to call up the media file selection panel.

Pray be used Windows, set the drop-down menu located at the bottom right on the item All files (on Mac this is not necessary), select the animation in FLV or SWF you are interested in viewing and press the button apri, to start playback. Alternatively, you can instantly open the file of your interest, trascinandone the icon in the VLC window.

If you intend, even in the future, to manage SWF (or FLV) files using the VLC software, you can set it as the default program for opening the aforementioned types of animation, following the instructions I gave you in my dedicated tutorial.

How to open SWF files on smartphones and tablets

And up smartphones and tablets? For these platforms the question is quite different, since both Google and Apple have never frowned upon the Adobe language: on Android, Flash support was discontinued back in 2013; iOS and iPadOS, on the other hand, prevented the playback of animations and Flash content from the beginning.

However, in the stores of the various devices, it is possible to come across some unofficial applications (mainly browsers) which, in some way, enable the playback of Flash content even on smartphones and tablets; these applications, however, can apply navigation time constraints very restrictive and display particularly invasive advertisements. These limitations can generally be circumvented by purchasing the paid version of the applications in question.

The result, in terms of performance, could still be disappointing, and lead to synchronization problems, playback delays or, even worse, to complete locking of the device caused by the huge amount of resources required by Flash.

My advice, therefore, is to abandon the idea of ​​playing Flash content via Android, iOS or iPadOS and to "fall back" on Internet sites developed with the most modern Web languages, such as HTML5, natively compatible with all browsers for smartphones and tablets. If you really need it, try to open the contents in Flash on a computer anyway, using one of the solutions I mentioned earlier.

How to open SWF files

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