From SWF to FLA can it be done?

The big question, how can I convert an .SWF file back to an .FLA file? Well there is no easy answer, a lot of factors need to be considered when attempting this complex and time consuming task. This tutorial will outline a number of ways to ease the task and cut the time done as much as possible.

Step (1) - Vector Graphics , Basic movie structure
Importing an swf file into the flash editor well give you a limited but very important set of information. It will give you all the vector graphics and a basic movie structure. Although movie objects , action script and sounds are removed and not imported.

The main aim is to get as much of the vector graphics information from the .SWF file. So you really want all the movie objects to be imported individually to get all the graphics detail. To do this you can use a program to extract the movie objects and save them as new individual SwF files. Livetronix currently doesn't have a tool for this but there are a few out there that can do it very well for you.

Now that you have all the vector graphics info you now need to fill in the gaps - Sounds, Images and the most complex, Action script

Step (2) - Images and Sounds

SWF Scanner is the key to constructing your .FLA from an .SWF file. It's easy to see how to get the sounds and images out of the .SWF file and add them into the new fla file.

Just extract each one, and add it into the project. Information like frame numbers can help in the placement of both into the new movie. But most sounds and images and defined as in frame 0, though there don't always get displayed in frame 0.

(V2.5 and below - ADPCM encoded sounds can not be extract)

** important note - in Flash the first frame is frame 1, in .SWF the first frame is frame 0


Step (3) - Action Script
Action script is the most complex and important part of the SwF file. Information such as the frame number and frame label are given when extracted with SwF scanner. These should be used to place them into the correct frames of the new fla file

You can have the script translated into SwF version 4 or 5 , you should use the appropriate version for the target fla file.

Translating the action script is a complex process and it will not always be perfect. But it all most all cases the resulting script will give the same result as the original script. An example of this is the script given below. As you can see the script is different, but the over all result is identical.

Original Script Interpreted Script
if( var1 < 1023 ) if( not ( var1 > 1023 ) )

You need to have a good knowledge of action script to be able to take full advantage of the action script extraction features. Novices should be warned that simply copying and pasting the script into a

new fla project will not always work, you may need to make some changes to the syntax of the script.

An Example of possible changes that may be needed to be made to the script to make it have valid syntax is, sometimes " characters are inserted when they are not needed. ( This is being worked on and more accurate translations are in development, the engine is being constantly improved )


Step (4) - Sprites\Movie Objects

Movie Objects

A movie object is the same as a symbol that has a movie behavior set to it. These are also called sprites. SwF scanner displays each of the useful movie objects in it's objects list as shown here.

For each of these you should create a new symbol in your project, and add the action script , sounds, and images in each using the frame numbers as a guide.

Step (5) - Buttons

Button Objects are much like Movie Objects. You can select a button object from the object list and the buttons action script will be displayed. This works exactly like any other action script that can be viewed and extracted.

You can copy the script and add it into new button object in the new fla file.


This brief tutorial will give you a good start in creating a new fla file from your SwF file. As this is a very complex process it is very hard to take every variation into account and give an accurate solution to it's extraction. But you should now be able to get starting and have a head start in getting the best results possible.

Jared Allen - Livetronix Software Engineer

* The information in this document and this site must be used within the user license agreement. Copyright should be acknowledged in all cases and ownership of the SwF files being "scanned" should be honored.

** The .FLA and .SWF icon belong to Macromedia.
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