If you’ve found a file that ends with the .swf extension, you’re probably reading this file because you’re struggling to actually open it. This is because you need specific software or Adobe Flash enabled in your browser. Then here are some quick ways to open .swf files on your Windows PC.
What is a .swf file?
These letters stand for Small Web Format but it is also known as ShockWave Flash thanks to the fact that the files were created with Adobe Flash software.
.swf files can include audio, video, and animation, all of which are compressed in a way that makes them easy to share online – hence the name Small Web Format.
Flash is an obsolete format that is being phased out, which is why Windows won’t automatically play .swf files.
How to open a .swf file in Internet Explorer
You can use a standard web browser to view .swf files, but this browser requires Adobe Flash. Now, this could be a problem, as Flash is a known means of attack for hackers and viruses, and so a plugin that most browsers – including Chrome – block from. default today.
Our recommendation is to pick a browser – in this case, Internet Explorer – and use it exclusively for things that need Flash. That way you know when you’re using a browser with this potential vulnerability and can therefore act on it (basically, don’t visit phishing sites or download anything) .
To enable Flash in IE11, open the app and click the gear in the top right corner, just to the right of the Search bar. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Manage add-onsthen on the next page click Toolbars and Extensions let it be marked.
Scroll through the list of apps until you find it Microsoft Windows Third Party Application Components section. Here you will see Shockwave flash object.
Below Status it should say either Disable or Enabled. If it is the former, then click Allow in the bottom right corner of the window, then click Close.
Once done, open Windows Explorer and find the .swf file. Once you have done so, right click on it and select Open with… from the menu.
A window named How do you want to open this file? will appear, prompting you to access the Windows App Store. Instead of going that route, click More apps options below.
A list of apps will pop up, so choose Internet Explorer and click ALRIGHT.
IE will launch and start displaying the file contents. You may be prompted with a warning if .swf uses ActiveX, but you can work around this by clicking Allow gives you confidence that the file has come from a safe place.
That’s it, now you will be able to see the video, audio, animation of the .swf file.
Open .swf files with specialized software
If you prefer to use a standalone application to open .swf files, there are several available, usually free. One of the most popular is SWF File Player, which is free and compatible with most versions of Windows.
SWF File Player has an easy to use interface where you simply select the file you want to view, click Play and you’re good to go.
The increasingly popular VLC player also supports SWF files, among many others.
You can also use various third-party web applications to convert the .swf file to something more manageable, such as MP4, so you can view it on any device.
There’s a lot to choose from, and it’s free, with Flabaco, Online Covert, and Files Conversion all working well.
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