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How to edit swf files

Posted on 2004-04-08
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Last Modified: 2012-12-15
I may be tasked with either changing or rewriting a website for a small business.  Currently they have their complete site written in flash, and the files that get loaded are .swf files.  The original author no longer works at the company.  I believe they want simple text changes, since their CEO names and many other names have changed.

My question is, If I want to make changes to this site to save them from creating something new, do I simply (1) buy flash development environment, (2) download website contents, and (3) open swf files from within the flash interface, edit the text, and reload swf files to the server?  I have never worked with flash, please advise...
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Question by:mark_at_acc
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by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 100 total points
ID: 10785097
Dont think you can - you usually need the .fla files the swf was made from :(
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by:seanpowell
seanpowell earned 100 total points
ID: 10785245
Pete's correct - but if the author made the file while working for the company, the .fla files should be there somewhere...

You can also go to google and type in Flash Decompiler. I've never used anything like it, and it would likely only work if there are no security restrictions in place on the original .swf

There seems to be a lot of that software out there, I'd be curious to see how Macromedia is reacting to it, and if they consider there to be any copyright violations taking place on unsecured files...
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by:mark_at_acc
ID: 10785530
So if the .fla files are on the server or somewhere we can find them, then my steps above would work, except I recompile .fla into .swf after changes, then upload the swf's?
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by:tintedfish
tintedfish earned 100 total points
ID: 10785600
I would echo the above comments.
Technically the previous designer should have left the original .fla's lying around somewhere, perhaps on the webserver, or on the local network, but if not you could also approach them and ask them to provide you with the .fla's as  unless they had an unconventional contract the .fla's should be property of the company, and not  the designer.

There are a number of swf decompilers available, however, I tested quite a few of them a couple of years back and found them to be of very limited help, and when they did do what I wanted them to do it was only on swf's written by considerably older versions of Flash. Since then I believe Macromedia has tightened their compiler security considerably. There is no harm in downloading a few decompiler demo versions and playing around with them, you may get lucky and find one that works.

I suspect you will have to rewrite the site though. As you have no flash experience I would suggest you look at either Swift3d from erain.com or Swish from shishzone.com as Macromedia Flash itself has quite a steep learning curve and it could take you a while learn enough to design a professional level site.

Best of luck with whichever route you take.



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by:tintedfish
ID: 10785616
If the .fla's are lying around somewhere, you will need to get your hands on a copy of Macromedia Flash to edit them. Then its just a case of making the changes you want, and exporting them as swf's, and building some html pages to load them.
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10785629
Yup  - Imagine that - Me knowing somwthing in the Web TA? wonders will indeed never cease :)
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webwoman earned 200 total points
ID: 10785679
You're all assuming that the files CAN be edited. It's possible they CAN'T be. The text might not even be text, it might be a graphic from Photoshop, or have been rendered to outlines. In those cases, it wouldn't be editable at all.

I say forget the old Flash site and offer to redesign it totally. Not only will trying to edit the Flash probably take longer (especially if you're not a Flash guru), but the next time it needs changing you've got the same problem -- it's Flash, you have to use Flash, and if you want to do anything different, it's a HUGE time investment.

If you don't know Flash already, and don't know how they're set up, you've got to learn that. If you're not an artist and don't understand graphics, you've got to learn that. If it's got ANY scripting (and it almost certainly does), you've got to understand Actionscript AND decompile somebody else's code.

That's AFTER you get the ORIGINAL FLA files. If you can't get those, it gets even WORSE.

Not worth the effort, if you ask me.
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by:tintedfish
ID: 10785747
Yup, another good point by webwoman.

You also have to ask if there is any real need to have a purely flash driven site? If there is not burning desire, and especially as a novice Flash user, may the better option not be to come up with nice tidy standards compliant CSS driven site.
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Author Comment

by:mark_at_acc
ID: 10785804
Wonderful feedback from all.  They don't require flash in the new site, so I guess I will try to land the deal for a rewrite.  I will award points shortly, thanks a lot!

Mark
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10785813
:)
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by:seanpowell
ID: 10785871
Thank goodness for that - good luck on the deal :-)
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10785933
ThanQ Mark - Im not here that often, so its nice to get out of my usuall TA's once in a while - Ill skulk back to OS's and Networking, and leave this to the Experts who know what they are doing :)

Regards

Pete
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by:seanpowell
ID: 10786116
Experts? Where?

Thanks Mark :-)
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by:tintedfish
ID: 10786332
Cheer's Mark, hope negotiations go well :)
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by:bluestormstudios
ID: 10881886
You need the .fla files, but you CAN view the raw assets and even scripting in the .swf file in case you want to repurpose some items for future use such as branding, art and  text (saves you from having to retype/write everything).

Note: You need to unlock the .swf files in order to do this if the file is password protected.

There are a few tools out there that do this, just do a search on Google for ".swf unlock" and you should be able to find a free unlock utility (such as "unlockswf.exe") among other tools. All of which pretty well documented.
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by:najiarehman
ID: 10886680
Sir,
        there is a simple way , might not gud but fine................. open flash then import swf file
the edit there name..............its totally simple believe me if you have got any other problem contact me online i_virgo@hotmail.com
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by:Pantyboy
ID: 10972115
Just a pointer for the future, Flash allows importing of text and images from external files.

If the developer has used this method, all you need to do is edit the necessary details in the external text file.

Pantyboy :)

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by:drmingdrmer
ID: 10993928
ActionScript Viewer 4 could rebuild a .fla file from a .swf.
This function is powerful for most .swf file structure,except some 'shape' tweens in multi layers.If u get this soft,most problem would be solved.
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by:abdulqabiz
ID: 11023464
Hi,

You may try Kinetic Fusion which can be downloaded from http://www.kinesissoftware.com/.

Its SWF to XML to SWF compiler or decompiler...I do use it for my actionscript....But for editing static texts, you may need to generate font outline swfs....

Look at it and go through the docs...It would surely help you now...Or anyone else..want to edit actionscript/text/graphics in swf and compile it back...KF is soln...

Soon you would see AS2 compiler in it with more AS2 things....Its a good flash compiler though...

Hope it helps,

Regards,
Abdul
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by:MatrixII2004
ID: 11024152
Hi,

You may try [url=http://www.hypertracker.com/go/sourcetec/Quicker/
]Sothink SWF Quicker[/url], which is a professional tool to edit swf file without fla file.

All the imported elements and ActionScript can be easily modified and decompiled back to new SWF movie with all functions of the original flash movie.

I have been working with it and really enjoy it.

Hope it helps!

Regrads,

MatrixII
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by:MatrixII2004
ID: 11024160
Oops!! It does not support [url][/url]. So, once again.

You may try Sothink SWF Quicker, downloaded from http://www.hypertracker.com/go/sourcetec/Quicker/.

It is a professional tool to edit swf file without fla file. All the imported elements and ActionScript can be easily modified and decompiled back to new SWF movie with all functions of the original flash movie.

I have been working with it and really enjoy it.

Hope it helps!

Regrads,

MatrixII
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by:bbragg
ID: 11306592
Try this program here:

http://www.sothink.com/flashdecompiler/

I've used it before to decompile a .swf file back into a .fla when I've lost the source file.
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by:Scott659
ID: 11401732
you can only edit .fla files.


Scott Wiseman
<advertizing removed per http:help.jsp#hi106>
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by:fantaser
ID: 11867653
well if you just satisfy from cookie drag 'n drop, you won't be capable to change in it. If  you're surfin in flash then you might be know the outlet order of layers in swf.
 better just change the name and bang..
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by:pixelengine
ID: 11893338
Your answer is this application.  www.ave-imperator.com/  

It will rebuild MOST .swfs and recompile them into .fla's with all actionscripting included.

has worked for me 99.7% of the time!

pixelengine
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by:billyvandergaw
ID: 12100842
Well like everyone else has explained before me, there are problems with editing a .SWF file.  for one, you CAN import the SWF into the flash editing program, but only if it isn't password protected.  Then you can try editing the file the hardway.  Frame by Frame.

If you can find the .FLA of the file, its easy to edit that as well.  Since you have never worked with Flash before, I suggest getting a book, most likely a crash course: "Flash MX for Dummies" and then work on it, and probably surpass your former employee's designs.  

Anyways, your plite seems extraordinairy in which they are going to ask you to edit things you don't know how to.  But good luck!
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by:jorjis
ID: 12399730
hi MR. mark_at_acc
i know that u didn't get ur kindly answer of other's post. but i think u can find ur best result here:
I know a program that convert a swf file to fla once. with this program u can easy edit every thing and ejoy of it.
U can find it on http://www.ave-imperator.com. if u download a free demo versionu can only edit every thing except ActionScripts and if u want to edit actions so u must buy it for € 59.00.
and if u need any more help on this project or other flash projects and can help u for free.
bye
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by:anim8n3d
ID: 12651728
i'v used all the decompilers, the best is like some others have said ave-imperator, but if your going to have do this without the fla's and use a decompiled version that is going to be 99 percent of "what the hell is this?" to you anyway. then start from scratch and use the existing ones as a guide to what they should look like. if it doesn't need to be in flash and they  don't need the power of flash then there are programs out there that can built 90 percent of the site for you, and you just tweek it a little. but today i do not see how a site can not use flash or java and be interesting to the looker and give you the creativity.

dig in and go for it, you will probably build it better anyway...

anim8n3d
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by:simply_junior
ID: 12742928
Helllooo...

One my friends tried it and he find it very difficult to edit those files in flash...
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by:mehfuzmunna
ID: 12942543
you can use swiss max to edit an swf file
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by:prevarant
ID: 13522176
Hi

Try "SWF Decompiler"...

Regards
Marko
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by:Maddogslo
ID: 13553731
If you are not the flash master than leave the stuf alone and don't bother. And that applys to all non flash designers. like the lads from top said "if you dont know the flash and dont have the fla file you are just going to waste  time.

I design flash sites and all and if the fla get lost for some reason I would start from scratch it would definitly take less time to create new required swf and fla, than decompile stuf and not get the things you would expect.
But in my case I'd still have all the images required to restart so you had much bigger problem.

Reagards
James
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by:Maddogslo
ID: 13553822
Ok here i am agein and back from testing few decompailers and here is an example of what you get from it.

original fla file: size 5.771 KB
swf from original fla: size 293 KB

Decompiled original swf to demanding fla

decompiled fla: size 1.421 KB
swf made from decompiled fla: size 280 KB

What was lost in those 4.350 KB i leave to your imagination.

James
 
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by:prevarant
ID: 13567372
What decompilers you tested?
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by:Maddogslo
ID: 13590777
Non specified just some I'we spoted in previous coments.
Maybe there is some that are better than what I got but still I am almost certain that you can't get full fla out of swf.

"the thing was that this question was interesting to me for quite some time now and I made test not only for myself but for all lads that want to know more about so caled decompilers and their efficiency and the above results is what I got"

If need anything just ask.

James
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by:learningAS
ID: 13607876
Sothink SWF Decompiler and SWF Quicker both just released a new version.
Take a look:
http://www.sothink.com
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by:Maddogslo
ID: 13609817
Still great loss of data (about 70% were lost) "i used free version"
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by:prevarant
ID: 13612005
Maybe Decompilers commpess data?
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by:prevarant
ID: 13612020
I am just kiddin'
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by:dcpedrossi
ID: 14462942
SoThink SWF Decompiler has always worked for me. You open the program, then browse to your .swf file using the menu to the left. Once you find it, click "Export .FLA" (it's a button on the top part of the program). Once it's done, it should create a .fla version of the prevous .swf. The name will be the same, except it will have a "~" in front of it.
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by:PhilipYim
ID: 14951820
I think they (except dcpedrossi ) don't Flash in depth. Actually, SWF Decompiler or similiar software can help you to retrieve at least some of the elements of the fla. Sometimes it is impossible to get all.
The learning curve of Flash is high, so re-think it before trying to use it. But it is very useful in WebDesign. Or use some other software that can produce flash files without knowing Flash. They are usually more simple in usage. Or use the Flash MX 2004. It comes with more helps and templates.
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by:dcpedrossi
ID: 14951898
PhilipYim has a point; Flash is easy to learn, but it does take time and effort to do it. You won't become a pro overnight. I wouldn't personally recommend anything other than the original Flash, unless it's for something very small (like a banner ad or a simple menu).

An alternative to learning Flash is to hire a freelancer (outsource your work). I work part time as a freelancer myself, and working with freelancers is often a lot cheaper than hiring a company to do it.

A good freelancing website (I often get projects there) is www.getafreelancer.com; you post your project for free along with your budget, and freelancers will bid on it. You choose a freelancer, and only pay after the work is done. If you're short on time, it might be worth a try.

If you want to learn Flash, however, I recommend www.kirupa.com for tutorials. FlashKit (www.flashkit.com) also has a huge tutorial database, and they have thousands of examples you can download and experiment with for free; that's one of the best ways to learn.
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by:chadprawitz
ID: 15137499
Also for basic editing of SWF try using Sothink Quicker - http://www.sothink.com
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by:gujrati
ID: 38694152
You are so called experts. Then please answer that files like this :http://www.miniclip.com/games/300-miles-to-pigsland/en/game.swf which are locked to miniclip.com.
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