It is a partially open repository for multimedia and vector graphics, originating with FutureWave Software and then coming under the control of Adobe. Intended to be small enough for publication on the web, SWF files can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function.
SWF currently functions as the dominant format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the Web. It may also be used for programs, commonly games, using Actionscript.
Originally limited to presenting vector-based objects and images in a simple sequential manner, the format in its later versions allows audio (since Flash 3), video (since Flash 6) and many different possible forms of interaction with the end-user. Once created, SWF files can be played by the Adobe Flash Player, working either as a browser plug-in or as a standalone player. SWF files can also be encapsulated with the player, creating a self-running SWF movie called a "projector".