Flannel: Open Newer FLA Files

Justin | AIR,Flash,software | Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

On a few occasions, I’ve had to open Flash CS5.5 files on a machine with CS5. Since the FLA format is now XML- and ZIP-based, it’s relatively easy to unzip the package, open a file, and set the version back so that the file can be opened in Flash CS5. It does, however, take time. So I decided to make this process into an easy-to-use desktop application.


Just drag and drop a Flash CS5.5 (or CS6) FLA file onto Flannel and it will make a copy and append _CS5 to the file name. That file can be opened in Flash CS5. Conversion for CS4 is a little trickier, since several new elements were added for CS5, but I’m working on it.


You can install Flannel using the badge below.

Please upgrade your Flash Player This is the content that would be shown if the user does not have Flash Player 9.0.115 or higher installed.

Or you can download the file directly Flannel.air (Adobe AIR is required).

Flannel is available at no cost, but donations are welcome.

If you like Flannel, you should also check out the other tools that we have available.


  1. Thanks for this. Perfect.

    Comment by James — March 28, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  2. Hi James, you’re welcome. Glad you like it!

    Comment by Justin — March 28, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

  3. Been looking for a solution like this for a while, thanks so much!

    Comment by Eric — March 31, 2012 @ 2:57 am

  4. Hi Eric, Glad you found it here!

    Comment by Justin — April 1, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  5. This is great! Now I don’t have to worry about making animation with CS5.5 and not able to bring it to computers with older versions!

    CS5.5-to-CS4 conversion is there in Flash CS5.5, but I’m predicting that CS6 will remove CS4 output capabilities, which will make this tool even more useful if CS6 and CS4 (I’m hoping for 8 and CS3 as well) support gets included.

    Good luck figuring out the binary FLA format.

    Comment by YL — April 2, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  6. Hi, YL. Glad you’re finding Flannel useful! I hope to get CS4 worked out, but I don’t plan on tackling binary FLAs any time soon. ;)

    Comment by Justin — April 2, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  7. OMG! Thanks a lot, this is awesome!

    Comment by PV — April 20, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  8. No problem, PV. Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by Justin — April 23, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  9. Thank you so much!!
    Really appreciate your work!
    Just a note though, the new file doesn’t always perform 100% like the original.
    Like it glitches a bit here and there.
    I was converting from CS5.5 to CS5.
    But I’m assuming that’s adobes problem and not yours… :S
    Anyways, yea.
    Thanks for your work. ^^

    Comment by little-vince — June 8, 2012 @ 7:01 am

  10. Thanks, little-vince!

    If you notice any specific glitches, feel free to post them here. I’ll fix them if I can.

    Comment by Justin — June 8, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  11. Good job! thanks heaps, youre an assignment saver! ;)

    Comment by Elle — June 11, 2012 @ 8:11 am

  12. Great to hear, Elle!

    Comment by Justin — June 11, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  13. This saved me from having to upgrade. Awesome sauce man, awesome sauce! Donation on it’s way.

    Comment by HNate — June 25, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  14. Will this work for cs6?

    Comment by HNate — June 25, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  15. Thanks, HNate! Much appreciated.

    I ran a quick test and it looks like it works with CS6 as well.

    Comment by Justin — June 25, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  16. Thanks, HNate! Much appreciated. I ran a quick test and it looks like it works with CS6 as well.

    That is ridiculously awesome my friend. If I end up using this a lot I’ll be sending you more dollar$. This is great as the only files that were going to force me to upgrade are flash files. I’ll be sending this link out to friends as well.

    Awesome awesome stuff man. Awesome.

    Comment by HNate — June 25, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  17. Awesome, HNate! Glad I could help. Thanks for your support!

    Comment by Justin — June 25, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

  18. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I was panicing trying to find a way to open my cs5.5 file on a computer that only had cs5 installed and this did the trick!!! Much Appreciated

    Comment by not1probBOB — July 11, 2012 @ 2:12 am

  19. Hey, glad to hear it, not1probBOB! Thanks for your comment!

    Comment by Justin — July 11, 2012 @ 3:15 am

  20. app didn’t work. dragged FLA and nothing happened.
    target version dropdown also greyed out.
    running 10.6.8 on an Axiotron Modbook.

    Comment by rob van zyl — August 2, 2012 @ 10:21 am

  21. Hi Rob,
    The target version is greyed out because that feature is not yet enabled (CS5 conversion only at the moment).

    When the operation is complete you should get an alert message (and the file with appear in the same folder with a _CS5 suffix). Do you see any message?

    Comment by Justin — August 2, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  22. very good informations, thanks…

    Comment by fla files — August 10, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  23. I`d marry you for this! thank you soooo soooo much! you`re a lifesaver!

    Comment by johabna — August 29, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  24. I’m taken, but glad to hear it, johabna!

    Comment by Justin — August 29, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  25. i need to convert cs5/ cs6 files to cs4!!

    Comment by ling — September 5, 2012 @ 2:27 am

  26. Hi ling,
    I’d love to help out, but I’m currently swamped. Hopefully I’ll be able to offer CS4 export in a future version.

    Comment by Justin — September 5, 2012 @ 3:35 am

  27. Hey man, thanks a ton, saved me a couple hours. Very clean and intuitive, good work.

    Comment by Jake Clark — September 16, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  28. Thanks, Jake! Happy to have saved you a couple of hours!

    Comment by Justin — September 17, 2012 @ 1:19 am

  29. Hi Justin,

    We use CS5 and received a file produced in CS5.5. I installed Flannel og draged the .indd file over but it doesn’t work/accept. Once the mouse pointer is on the Flannel, a red circle with a slash across appeared beside the mouse pointer. Do you know what wrong this could have been?

    Comment by Chan — September 24, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  30. Hi Chan,

    Flannel is for Flash (.fla) files. InDesign (.indd) files will not work.

    Comment by Justin — September 24, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  31. Fantastic! opened CS6 perfectly.

    Comment by Sunny — September 26, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  32. Excellent. Thanks for the comment, Sunny!

    Comment by Justin — September 26, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  33. [...] Para usarlo sigan el link: http://ajarproductions.com/blog/2012/03/06/flannel-open-newer-fla-files/ [...]

    Pingback by Flannel: Convierte archivos .fla en versiones anteriores – Agua | Ariel Tom├ís — October 3, 2012 @ 1:08 am

  34. Im just sitting here saying out loud how cool this is. I saved a file as a cs6 at my school, and need to open it to complete an assignment, i was locked out until i found this, what I call, a internet gem. You are doing god’s work, son.

    Comment by Sito — October 16, 2012 @ 2:43 am

  35. Thanks for the kind words, Sito! Glad to be able to help with your assignment.

    Comment by Justin — October 16, 2012 @ 3:25 am

  36. thank a lot !!!!!

    Comment by beril — October 16, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  37. You’re welcome, Beril!

    Comment by Justin — October 16, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  38. Hi there, looks like you are helping a lot of people with this flannel. I do hope that you will be able to help me soon. I have CS4 and am learning from a book that has all CS5 files. As a newbie to the subject I had no idea that files would not open. I look forward to the future when I will be able to open the files. Be happy :)

    Comment by Chelsey — October 17, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  39. Hi Chelsey,
    I tied up working on this project at the moment, but I’ll try to return to Flannel at some point.

    Comment by Justin — October 17, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  40. Had to say this was a complete life saver. Thank you so much for this simple AIR Application!

    Comment by Brian — October 23, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  41. You’re welcome, Brian. Thanks for your comment!

    Comment by Justin — October 23, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  42. Im with brian, LIFESAVER.
    helped me fix my silly mistake that im sure will happen again

    Comment by Daniel Mason — November 1, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  43. Glad to hear it, Daniel! Thanks for your comment!

    Comment by Justin — November 1, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  44. Is brilliant this aplication …

    Comment by NELSON — November 24, 2012 @ 1:08 am

  45. Thanks, NELSON! Glad you like it!

    Comment by Justin — November 26, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  46. Awesome- just saved me.

    Comment by Zack — December 1, 2012 @ 2:08 am

  47. Cool! Thanks for the comment, Zack!

    Comment by Justin — December 1, 2012 @ 3:32 am

  48. Hello – I hope you can build for a version that will be able to open just older files – from flash cs6 down to flash cs3… !!
    Or will this never ever work?

    Comment by elkestachel — December 4, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  49. Sorry elkestachel, the XFL file format was introduced in CS4, so messing with the CS3 binary is out of the question.

    Comment by Justin — December 4, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  50. Hi Justin, i’ve just expanded one of the CS5.5 files we’ve been trying to get into after i saw you mention the word ZIP up there. Glee! Is changing the version a case of modifying one of the files in there, or is it more complex?

    Great stuff, thanks!!

    Comment by Si — December 14, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  51. Hi Si, in some cases it is as simple as a single variable (of the top of my head, I think it’s xflVersion or something similar). I may have removed a few settings in the XFL that were not available in the previous versions as well, but mostly it’s that version variable.

    Comment by Justin — December 14, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  52. I was wondering if there was any plans to allow this to convert a cs5 flash file into CS3 file? :-)

    Comment by Mike Milo — January 5, 2013 @ 7:25 am

  53. Hi, I was wondering if you were going to make a version that would take a CS5 and convert it to a Flash 2 file and complete website in HTML, with animated gifs, a donation page, and cross-platform browser capability. That would be AWESOME.

    Anyway, thanks for a great tool. It is a life saver…

    Comment by Darrin — January 5, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

  54. Thanks for your comments, Darrin and Mike!

    @Mike, no plans for CS3 conversion. I still work in CS3 most of the time, so I know how helpful it would be, but CS3 uses a completely different (and closed) file format.

    Comment by Justin — January 7, 2013 @ 2:50 am

  55. Thanks Justin! I totally understand… I’ve begun to work in CS5 as it’s just easier albeit not as good in my opinion. As an aside, I run a website called http://www.animationinsider.com that interviews animation people across the globe and I’d like to interview you guys. We’ve got almost 700 interviews and counting. I only interview individuals so if you or any of your other principals would be interested let me know.

    Comment by Mike — January 7, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  56. Simple and efficient. thank you very much.

    Comment by Lmaster — January 23, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

  57. You bet! Thanks for the comment, Lmaster!

    Comment by Justin — January 23, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  58. Thank you very much;; it works perfectly well!!!!

    Comment by Bernd — January 26, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

  59. Hi Ajar Production, I really appreaciate of your product. Thank you.
    It’s very helpful and useful!!

    Comment by JJs — January 31, 2013 @ 11:18 am

  60. Thanks for your comment, JJs!

    Comment by Justin — January 31, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

  61. Hi, this is awesome! Will this work saving from cs6 to cs5.5?

    Comment by ben — February 27, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

  62. Hi Ben, thanks! Yes, drag the CS6 onto Flannel, then open the CS5 file in Flash Pro CS5.5.

    Comment by Justin — February 27, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

  63. Thanks !!! gr8 its superb

    Comment by cdk — March 1, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

  64. Glad to hear it, cdk!

    Comment by Justin — March 4, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

  65. Thank you very much! The tool is fantastic! Do you plan to make a command line version? It should be very useful for batch processing. Actually I need it. Thank you once again!

    Comment by Evgeniy — March 25, 2013 @ 5:55 am

  66. Hi Evgeniy,
    Thanks for your comment! A command line version is an interesting idea! Not sure when we could get to it, but I’ll keep it mind.

    Comment by Justin — March 25, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

  67. I want to convert InDesign CS5.5 to CS5 ASAP.
    Any idea??
    Please email.

    Comment by Sonali — April 5, 2013 @ 1:49 am

  68. Hi Sonali,
    I don’t know of a tool (other than InDesign) that can do this. Best bet is to find someone you know who has InDesign CS5.5 that can save it back for you.

    Comment by Justin — April 5, 2013 @ 2:37 am

  69. This is brilliant! I had to finish some CS5.5 animation I made at work with my home computer that has CS5, you saved me. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Dadam — April 8, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

  70. Glad to hear it, Dadam! Thanks for your comment!

    Comment by Justin — April 8, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

  71. Great tool, thank you!

    Comment by pallzoltan — April 13, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

  72. Thanks, pallzoltan!

    Comment by Justin — April 15, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

  73. Oh my Gosh! Thank u so much :)
    You’re a big help.
    Thanks again

    Comment by Michelle — April 19, 2013 @ 11:03 am

  74. Great Man! thanks a lot!

    Comment by Gustavo — April 19, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

  75. Thanks for the comments, Michelle and Gustavo!

    Happy to help!

    Comment by Justin — April 19, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

  76. You are an amazing person i have ever seen in my life :D

    Comment by Cihangir — April 24, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  77. thanks a lot, you will never know how much you saved me with this

    Comment by a b — May 7, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  78. Glad to hear it, a b!

    Thanks for your comments, Cihangir!

    Comment by Justin — May 7, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  79. Hi! Is it possible to NOT have the “_CS5″ suffix and create a new folder instead?

    Comment by Julien — May 24, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

  80. Hi Julien,
    I may be able to add that to a future version, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make that update.

    Comment by Justin — May 27, 2013 @ 12:18 am

  81. awesome!

    Comment by Kim, Beon-Yeong — June 3, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  82. life saver! thanks a lot!

    Comment by Habib — July 22, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  83. Glad to hear it, Habib!

    Comment by Justin — July 25, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  84. Excellent!!

    Thank you!

    Comment by Thank you guy — September 8, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  85. Thanks for your comment, Thank you guy!

    Comment by Justin — September 9, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

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