Flannel: Open Newer FLA Files

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, or CC) 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 (or later). 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.

[airbadge] Flannel, http://ajarproductions.com/go/?getFlannel, 1.0.0, http://ajarproductions.com/software/flannel/images/badgeIMG.png [/airbadge]

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

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

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  1. James says:

    Thanks for this. Perfect.

  2. Justin says:

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

  3. Eric says:

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

  4. Justin says:

    Hi Eric, Glad you found it here!

  5. YL says:

    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.

  6. Justin says:

    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. 😉

  7. PV says:

    OMG! Thanks a lot, this is awesome!

  8. Justin says:

    No problem, PV. Thanks for your comment.

  9. little-vince says:

    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. ^^

  10. Justin says:

    Thanks, little-vince!

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

  11. Elle says:

    Good job! thanks heaps, youre an assignment saver! 😉

  12. Justin says:

    Great to hear, Elle!

  13. HNate says:

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

  14. HNate says:

    Will this work for cs6?

  15. Justin says:

    Thanks, HNate! Much appreciated.

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

  16. HNate says:

    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.

  17. Justin says:

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

  18. not1probBOB says:

    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

  19. Justin says:

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

  20. rob van zyl says:

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

  21. Justin says:

    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?

  22. fla files says:

    very good informations, thanks…

  23. johabna says:

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

  24. Justin says:

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

  25. ling says:

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

  26. Justin says:

    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.

  27. Jake Clark says:

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

  28. Justin says:

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

  29. Chan says:

    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?

  30. Justin says:

    Hi Chan,

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

  31. Sunny says:

    Fantastic! opened CS6 perfectly.

  32. Justin says:

    Excellent. Thanks for the comment, Sunny!

  33. Sito says:

    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.

  34. Justin says:

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

  35. beril says:

    thank a lot !!!!!

  36. Justin says:

    You’re welcome, Beril!

  37. Chelsey says:

    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 🙂

  38. Justin says:

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

  39. Brian says:

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

  40. Justin says:

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

  41. Daniel Mason says:

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

  42. Justin says:

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

  43. NELSON says:

    Is brilliant this aplication …

  44. Justin says:

    Thanks, NELSON! Glad you like it!

  45. Zack says:

    Awesome- just saved me.

  46. Justin says:

    Cool! Thanks for the comment, Zack!

  47. elkestachel says:

    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?

  48. Justin says:

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

  49. Si says:

    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!!

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