A playable Macromedia Flash animation. Playable on any machine with the free Macromedia Flash player, currently available for (at least) Macintosh, MS-Windows, and UNIX often as a plug-in available for Netscape and compatible browsers.
A Flash file extension The .swf file extension is used for a Flash document that can be played with a Flash player. Before it is published, a Flash document, while it is being developed, has the extension .fla.
When a Macromedia Flash MX .FLA file is published for the Web, it takes on the .SWF extension. While normally associated with vector graphics and audio, Macromedia Flash MX now supports embedded video. An advantage of working with the Flash player is its widespread distribution and the ability to include powerful programming elements using ActionScript. SWF files can either be created individually in Macromedia Flash MX using Sorenson Spark, or in bulk as an automated process using the Spark Professional video codec in Sorenson Squeeze for Macromedia Flash MX.
Originally created in Macromedia Flash or Macromedia Director, the file can be viewed using Flash Player or Shockwave Player. Can be embedded in an HTML page, so the SwF extension may only be visible by viewing the page source.