How to Verify the Size of a SWF

Flash can convey anything from cartoons to interface elements, but lacks support on many mobile devices.
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SWF documents serve as the public face of Flash Professional application and website-element development. When you create animations and artwork in Flash, the SWF format applies to the documents you publish for website consumption. You can use multiple methods to determine the dimensional or data size of your SWF files, working either in the Flash Professional application or through the code that drives your website programming.

1 Flash Professional Document Stage

When you create a new file in Adobe Flash Professional, you set the dimensions of your project in the New Document dialog box. This overall width and height defines the size of the stage, the work area in which you create and animate your artwork. If your project includes an overall background that provides a base for your graphics and text, the dimensions of that backdrop define the actual size of your SWF when you export it. Items outside the dimensions of your stage remain invisible until they animate onto the visible area. Your animation paths can extend outside the stage, but they don't change the project dimensions. Unless you change the width and height of your project when you publish it to create a SWF version of it, it retains the size you established in the FLA project file.

2 Info Panel

You can find the dimensions of an individual object or multi-object selection using the Flash Professional Info panel. The panel shows the width and height of your current selection, along with the "X" and "Y" -- horizontal and vertical -- coordinates of its location. To establish the unit of measure that applies to dimensions in the Info Panel, use the Ruler Units menu. If your document contains artwork on hidden layers, you can't select it to determine its dimensions.

3 Player Dimensions

Sometimes the Flash component on a website page consists of a SWF-format player that provides start and stop controls for a movie item. Your movie player can scale to suit the size of the footage item it accompanies. Flash's ActionScript scripting language can enable you to transform the size of the player interface -- the entire thing or only select elements of it -- using the scaleMode property. The optional FlashVars parameter sends dimensional and other variables to a SWF. If your website code uses PHP, you can use the "getimagesize()" function to find the dimensions of a SWF through Web page programming.

4 On-Disk Size

Once you create a SWF file from your Flash Professional FLA project document, you can check its size through the Windows File Explorer or the OS X Finder. If your document appears to be larger than you expected, hidden assets may contribute to its overall data allocation. Bitmapped images -- photos and other pixel-based resources -- enlarge document size more than vector equivalents. Large numbers of embedded font files can also contribute to the amount of space your file requires. Because these assets must pass through a website visitor's online connection to make your SWF playable, eliminating any items you don't need can reduce loading time. File compression also can help lower file size, although it can have an impact on on-screen appearance. Reducing your use of transparency and downsampling music and sound effects also can help make files smaller.

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.