FLA format limitations

Once FLA file is compiled into SWF most of the information about its internal structure and object’s order is lost. As a result, SWF movie file size is greatly decreased which is a biggest advantage for the web usage. On the other hand, restoring original FLA file from SWF could be a problem. Situation is worsen by many third-party Flash editing products that do not follow Adobe Flash specifications and introduce their own standards. We are working to reduce the number of conversion errors to the minimum; however, it is not always possible. We hope that you understand that and will help and cooperate with us. You are very welcome to send erroneously converted files to our Support Team to participate.

Below is the list of situations that are likely to lead to conversion problems:

  • SWF file is compressed, optimized or obfuscated by third-party applications
  • Files compressed with algorithms other than ZLib compression are very likely to lead to erroneous conversion
  • Texts objects contain symbols of a national (localized) alphabet
  • SWF file may contain font, which is not installed in your system. In this case Flash will ask for a replacement when you open a converted FLA
  • FLA format allows placing as many objects on one layer as you want, however, SWF has a limitation of 1 object only. So when converting SWF into FLA objects will be placed into separate layers
  • If a morph belongs to a clip-layer, then if you have “Morphs folders” option in “Timeline” settings enabled, it will be erroneously placed into the folder. The same will happen if this morph lies on the layer which has a clip over it
  • If SWF file does not contain character map, then Texts objects parsing will lead to the following erroneous texts: “??????”
  • When decompiling a Motion Tween, you need to experiment with “Motion tween” settings
  • Some Shape objects that have non-standard fills could be parsed incorrectly. The non-standard fill is the one that is present within a non-closed area that has gaps along its contour. More likely that it was created by a third-party application
  • Usually Morph shapes have beginning and ending states. When placing a morph shape on a frame its intermediate state is used. It means that morph shape can be rewinded/forwarded into any of its states in SWF. However, it is not possible within FLA format. They are placed on the timeline and always run from their beginning state to the ending one
  • When you compile your FLA file into SWF the first time, the hierarchy of the layers gets deformed. This peculiarity is important only for Morphs. When a morph is placed on a frame its state is remarked and written, it leads to the problem when a series of morphs can be “split” into several layers. Such frames cannot be correctly converted into FLA at this stage.
  • Action buttons in FLA file are set when you place them on frames. In SWF files actions are stored in buttons themselves, that’s why each button will be represented as a separate instance in FLA, even if they are different in ActionScript only
  • Flash 9 format is only partially supported due to the fact that Flash CS3 has been released not so long ago
  • When the original FLA file is published into SWF format all the original scenes are joined into one scene. Almost no information is transferred to the output SWF file about the original scenes.This infomation is impossible to retrieve in most cases. That is the reason why the output FLA file decompiled from the SWF file has only one scene. This fact won’t influence the SWF file functionality after it is published from FLA.