Flash animation files are embedded as SWF (Small Web Format) files in webpages. Rather than depending on any software or a third-party website, downloading Flash content is dead simple. The only tool required is a browser and a bit of patience to do the rummaging around.
Just one note: As we will be heading into the internet cache folders of the respective browsers, it pays to clear it of all old files before navigating to the desired page. It makes the Flash file search a lot easier.
So, here’s how to do it in three of our popular browsers.
Download SWF files using Firefox
Fire up Firefox and browse to the page which contains the embedded SWF Flash file that you are eyeing to download. Let the SWF file stream through once completely.
On any empty part of the page, right-click and select the Page Info context menu option. Or alternatively, go to Tools – Page Info.
Select the Media tab. The Media tab lists all image formats, icons, style sheets and flash files that were rendered by the webpage.
Look amongst the items to find the particular file with the SWF extension. The type column will show up with an Embed filetype. Highlight the file and click Save as to save the file on your hard drive.
Download SWF files using Internet Explorer
In IE8, we have to head to the Temporary Internet Files folder which stores all rendered files during a browsing session. (It can be directly accessed from here in Windows XP – C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files.)
Go to the IE Menu bar. Click on Tools – Internet Options.
On the General tab, click on Settings under Browsing History.
The Temporary Internet Files and Browsing History box opens up.
Click on View Files. You will get all the rendered webpage elements in this folder.
To rummage about effectively amidst the mass of files, choose View – Arrange by Type from the menu. Also go to Tools – Folder Options, and uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option.
Seek out your SWF files, copy and then paste it to your preferred location.
Download SWF files using Opera
In Opera, downloaded SWF files can be accessed in two simple ways –
Type opera:cache in the address bar.
Go to Tools – Advanced – Cache from the toolbar.
Either way, a huge list of downloaded page elements opens up with their URLs. Search for a file with the .swf extension. Alternatively, you could search (Ctrl+F ) and hunt it down, with swf as the search query.
Right-click on the particular file and choose either Saved Linked Content As or Save to Download Folder to save the SWF file on the hard disk.
After downloading the SWF file, one can use the Adobe Flash Player to view the Flash file or a supported media player like Media Player Classic. Or, an easier way would be to just open it in a browser by right-clicking it and selecting the browser of choice.