Saving Animations

Saving Animations

There are some great ready made animations that you can use in your classes to help teach all sorts of topics.  To avoid that moment when you cant get a good internet connection you will want to save these to use offline.

The following instructions are adapted from:

Firstly, navigate your browser to a resource that uses Flash/Shockwave components.  The example used here looks at atomic structure and we use it as a link with both IB Physics, and Theory of Knowledge for exploring the nature of models in presenting scientific ideas and the proximity to truth.


View the HTML code ‘behind’ the page with ‘view source’ on the Edit pull down menu of Microsoft Explorer.

Scan the code, looking for any filename reference ending in either ‘swf’ or ‘dcr’

As shown in this example, the .swf filename is straightforward to spot, and is “chart.swf”.  As programmers, we use TextPad (available from as among numerous other features, it offers syntax highlighting (it intelligently colors the text) so that it is easy to spot the difference between paramaters and script commands.  Notepad will serve just as well, and is the default editor on Windows systems, but there is no syntax highlighting.

Now look at the address bar of your brower and replace the html filename and extension (chart.html) with the chart.swf that you noted down from the HTML code.  This will instruct the browser to call the shockwave file directly without the intermediary of the web page

We have done it here.  In this case it required only to replace the .html extension with the .swf extension.  In many cases, however, the .swf component does not have the same name as the parent web page.

The address entry should now look like that one shown in the figure above.  Press ‘return’ and the browser will search for the file.

In this example the chart.swf shockwave animation now loads directly from the remote site.  It remains now only to copy it to the local computer you are working from.

Now to save the shockwave file directly to your hard drive use the File pull down menu and select Save As:

 Select a location and if necessary change the file name to something more intelligible.  As you can see from other files saved from the web, the default file names are confusing and not particularly descriptive.  You can give them descriptive names using the Windows long filename support, which of course allows you to use spaces as well.

Lastly open up your file manager or the Windows Explorer (Windows key + E), navigate to the location you saved the file, and execute the file with a double click…

Double clicking on the table.swf file opens the file either in your browser, or in the Macromedia Flash Player, depending on how your PC is configured.  PRESTO! You have an interactive class resource that doesn’t require a web connection any more.


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