Difference Between FLA and SWF

FLA and SWF are two file formats that are utilized by Adobe Flash software. FLA is the file type used to store the editable source file for a Flash animation project, whereas SWF is the file format used to deliver the animation's final result, which can be played in a Flash player or web browser.

Read this article to find out more about FLA and SWF and how they are different from each other.

What is FLA?

FLA is a file type in Adobe Flash software that is used to create rich multimedia content such as animations, videos, games, and interactive applications. It is the editable source file format used to construct Flash projects and stands for "Flash Authoring."

The FLA file format is used to create, edit, and develop Flash content. It includes tools and capabilities for creating multimedia material such as timelines, layers, keyframes, symbols, and libraries. Designers and developers can use these tools to build intricate animations and interactive content with complete control over every piece and detail.

An FLA file's timeline is broken into frames, and each frame represents a distinct point in time throughout the animation. Developers can add, remove, or edit elements on each frame and construct complicated animations by modifying element properties over time.

FLA files can be opened and edited with Adobe Flash software, as well as other compatible tools like Adobe Animate, Adobe Creative Cloud, and open- source software like OpenFL. FLA files are exported to SWF or other output formats after development is complete for final distribution and playback.

What is SWF?

SWF is a file type that is used by Adobe Flash software to deliver multimedia content over the internet. It is the final output format generated from the FLA file and stands for "Shockwave Flash."

SWF files, in addition to supporting multimedia content, also offer interaction through the use of buttons, forms, and other input elements. These interactive features can be used to construct user interfaces, games, and other applications that respond to input from the user.

SWF files are formed by assembling and compressing the FLA file's assets and elements, which include images, graphics, audio, videos, and code. The assembled SWF file includes all of the information required to show and interact with the content, such as the timeline and stage attributes.

SWF files can include complex features such as scripting, vector graphics, and multimedia playback in addition to animations and interactive content. As a result, they are a popular alternative for developing interesting and immersive web experiences.

SWF files are optimized for web transmission and often have a smaller file size than the original FLA file. They are also platform-independent, which means they may be seen on any device or platform that supports Flash.

Difference between FLA and SWF

The following table highlights the major differences between FLA and SWF −





FLA is the file format in which the editable source file for a Flash animation project is stored.

SWF is the file format used to deliver the animation's final result, which can be played in a Flash player or web browser.


It is used to create and edit flash projects.

It is used for delivering and playing back Flash content.


FLA is compatible with Adobe Flash Software and other software such as Adobe Animate, Adobe Creative Cloud, and OpenFL.

SWF files are compatible with devices and platforms that support flash.

Flash Player

It can't open on a flash player.

It can open in a flash player.


FLA holds the more data

SWF holds less data compared to FLA.

Capability of Editing

It can be edited.

It can't be edited.


FLA files are not compressed or optimized.

SWF files are compressed and optimized to reduce their size.


It can't be played back on devices that don't support Flash.

It can be played back on any device that supports Flash.


In a nutshell, FLA is the editable source file format used to create Flash content, whereas SWF is the final output format that is played back on Flash- enabled devices and platforms. FLA files contain all of the original assets and elements used to make a Flash project and may be edited and modified with Adobe Flash or other software that is compatible.

SWF is a zipped file that contains the compiled and optimized version of the Flash project, ready to be played back in a web browser or other software that supports Flash. SWF files cannot be easily altered or modified, but they may be played back on any Flash-enabled device or platform.

Updated on: 03-Apr-2023


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