Course Content in Flash format

flash logo with a red circle and slash symbol overlaid

Course multimedia files in Flash format are an old file type that will no longer be supported by Adobe after Dec. 2020. These multimedia files are often referred to as Flash files and have extension .swf or .flv.

  • A number of U of MN Canvas sites still have Flash content in their course files. 
  • Often when the content from one course site is copied to a new course site, this process includes old Flash files that may no longer be used. 

Instructors should review course content to identify Flash files, and decide if they want to:

  • Delete the files that are not needed, or
  • Convert the files still in use to a different format such as mp4

Deleting Flash files

It is important to delete old unused files in Flash format:

  1. These files are big and take up a lot of space allocated for a Canvas course site. 
  2. Browsers will not recognize these files and will not be able to play them - if students click on the links pointing to the old files, they will get an error message.
  3. When course content is copied to another site, old Flash files might be included and copied over taking up space that could be used for new content. 

Conversion options


If a multimedia authoring application used to create course  files in Flash format is still available, these files need to be re-published as HTML5  format recognized by current browsers. 

Screen capture

It is possible to convert a Flash video file to an MP4 format using a video recording tool with a screen capture functionality. In this case, a Flash file will be played on the screen while a video recording tool captures what is displayed on that screen. 

Please note: 

  • any interactive features present in a Flash file will be lost. 
  • a screen capture recording might need light editing, e.g., trimming at the beginning and at the end.

Depending on how big Flash files to be converted are, the screen capture process might be time-consuming.

If you have questions, contact your local Academic Technologist or Academic Technology Support Services.