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kelvinluck.com: Flash 8 enhanced stroke bug
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Flash 8 enhanced stroke bug

When Flash 8 came out I jumped straight on the bandwagon and started using the IDE at work. Unfortunately I quickly encountered a bug which effects you when creating an swf for an earlier version of the Flash Player. At the time I was surprised that no one else seemed to be having problems with it but I quickly forgot about it when I started working on some Flash 8 projects…

Then, the other day, Scott Fegette from Adobe posted about the problem and I suddenly remembered. And as luck would have it the next day I was working on a little Flash 6 swf and ran into the problem again. Luckily this time I saved a simple file that reproduces the problem and I’ve sent this over to Scott. He has confirmed that he can replicate the problem and forwarded it on to the product team at Adobe. In the meantime I thought that I would post here so that other people who run into the problem can find the workaround.

The Problem
The designers I work with use Illustrator. We’ve found that generally the best way to get graphic assets from Illustrator to Flash is to choose “Export” in the Illustrator file and choose swf as the format. You can then import the generated swf into Flash (and clean it up a bit).

This has always worked fine for me. Until I started using the Flash 8 IDE…

One of the new features of Flash 8 is Enhanced strokes. These are only available if you export as Flash 8. Unfortunately, there is a bug in the IDE where it will add these enhanced strokes to your project when you import an swf (even if your publish settings are already set at flash 6).

So you create a new fla and set the publish settings to Flash 6 (following best practices as outlined by Scott). You then import your Illustrator swf. Now press Ctrl-Enter to test your movie. “Enhanced stroke is not supported in this player”. D’OH!

Note that the problem is not with the swf created by Illustrator. As we shall see, you can import the same swf into an earlier version of the Flash IDE without any problems… The problem is with the import process in the Flash 8 IDE.

If you want to see this in action then you can download my simple Illustrator file and try it out.

The workaround
I have only managed to find one workaround for this problem so far. It is simple but a little annoying. Basically, you can import the Illustrator into a previous version of the Flash IDE (I still have MX2004 installed luckily). You can then save it as an fla which you can open from Flash 8 and do what you like with. No enhanced strokes. Yay!

Hopefully MacromAdobe will fix this bug in a point release – in the meantime I hope the workaround helps someone. If anyone knows any other ways of avoiding the problem then I am all ears!

  1. I’ve ran into this problem yesterday. I’m no flash dev and not really a fan of it anyways, but i needed a little map with some rollovers on it, and i knew i could bust it out fairly quickly. That is until i decided to have my artist use illustrator to make the map.

    This bug is totally inexcusable and needs to be fixed pronto. How are we supposed to use the newest IDE and use illustrator to do the art? This is nuts.
    Jon Maddox    Feb 7, 15:42    #
  2. It definitely needs to be fixed…
    In the meantime I’ve just figured out another workaround:
    If you choose to save your fla as a MX2004 file then it removes the enhanced strokes… Slightly more convenient than using the old IDE but still a hassle!
    Kelvin    Feb 8, 13:38    #
  3. Saving your ver 8 .fla as a mx04 .fla and then back to ver 8 seems to resolve the problem for me. without needing to have the mx04 version of the program installed.
    Loze    Feb 9, 14:20    #
  4. Awesome! Thanks for the fix! Worked great.
    — Jason    Feb 13, 23:27    #
  5. I always copy and paste between Illustrator CS2 and Flash 8 and have no problems with lowering the flash player ? – Dont know if this is a work around for anyone but its good for me ??
    adam Procter    Feb 24, 13:55    #
  6. Thank you SO much for these fixes Kelvin. I’ve just been racking my brain for the last 2 hours looking for a fix. It’s insane. Thanx again.
    M;cha31    Feb 25, 23:01    #
  7. @ Jason – great – glad it’s helping you :)

    @ Adam – yeah – copying and pasting between the two works fine and you don’t end up with any “enhanced stroke” problems but I find that you do end up with a bit of a mess if there are any gradients or clipping masks involved (and there often are with the designers I work with :) )

    @ Micha – glad it’s helping you out :)

    Thanks for the feedback guys!
    Kelvin Luck    Feb 27, 00:51    #
  8. Thanks for the fixes kelvin.
    Also a special thanks to Loze!

    How lame not to assume someone would import an older swf, and save as a lower version.

    It seems to me to be quite predictable and common.

    I am surprised not to hear more about this bug.
    — steve bilica    Mar 9, 23:58    #
  9. Thank you. You’ve just rescued 2 days’ work.
    — leslie vallhonrat    Mar 18, 17:58    #
  10. Thanks for the workaround. This bug has been really annoying – Flash freezes when I try to export because of the enhanced stroke thing.
    — Eivind Vea    Mar 19, 12:06    #
  11. Thanks for the tip – I was racking my brain – the Technote on Macromedia gives a “solution” that DOES NOT work! http://www.macromedia.com/go/cfafe8c6
    They say you can change the doc to Flash 8, select the artwork and change the join in the Propertu inspector on the artwork from Miter to Round, and then publish back as Flash 7 but that doesn’t work at all. I’m glad saving as an MX 2004 doc fixes this. Very annoying.
    — Jason    Mar 19, 20:32    #
  12. You are a genius. Thanx so much for the work-around.
    — nick    Mar 22, 01:28    #
  13. You can actually save a Flash 8 document to a Flash MX 2004 document within flash 8. This seemed to convert the enhanced strokes and doesn’t throw the error anymore. From what I can tell, the artwork looks the same as well.

    Just save it as a “Flash MX 2004” within Flash 8.
    billy    Mar 22, 17:13    #
  14. Ah, this is such an annoying bug which they really need to fix.
    Jake    Mar 29, 01:40    #
  15. If you break apart your Illustrator artwork, and then convert all lines to fills, it will fix the error.

    Travis    Apr 4, 22:03    #
  16. I have had this problem also with outlined text created in illustrator cs2. If you, as travis suggested, break apart in flash the outline stroke, it will not always render as you wish.

    Note that this does sometimes work but not always.

    Another workaround which is fool proof ( i think!!!) is to expand your artwork in illustrator so that when it imports, it imports with all fill and no strokes. Works a treat for me :)
    Michael Ypes    Apr 7, 09:38    #
  17. I have found that if you are copying and pasting objects from Illustrator CS2 to Flash 8, to avoid the enhanced stroke problem just make sure your objects have flattened transparency in Illustrator before copying!

    — Luke Miller    Apr 25, 10:52    #
  18. many thanks kelvin.
    and again you helped me a lot by solving my problems.


    michael fuchs    Aug 26, 11:41    #
  19. Can anyone please help me? I need to locate a Free download of Macromedia’s Fhash Player Version 8.
    Reason is version 9 will nott allow me to run my software correctly and Adobe won’t supply it.
    any help appreciated.
    Frank Heath
    New Zealand Tel: 0064 9 5291195

    Frank Heath    Aug 30, 02:22    #
  20. If you search the Adobe site for “archived flash players” you should find this page which seems to be whatyou want?


    Kelvin :)

    Kelvin Luck    Aug 30, 08:53    #
  21. In Illustrator File>Save As PDF and in Flash 8 IDE import this PDF. This was an effective workaround for me.

    — Alex Knights    Sep 26, 14:13    #
  22. another way around enhanced stroke problem is after importing graphic into flash 8 document. file>save as>mx2004… then resave as flash 8 doc. no need to have old flash still installed.

    — medved    Jan 15, 14:18    #
    You saved me a week of working :)

    Bez    Apr 19, 15:32    #
  24. No worries – glad it helped you out :)

    Kelvin Luck    Apr 19, 17:26    #
  25. What happens if you are in Flash 9 and can’t save back to before Flash 8? I can’t believe that the new version still has this problem!

    Gretchen T Williams    Jul 22, 21:40    #
  26. I don’t know! Sorry, I haven’t started using CS3 yet (been doing loads of Flex instead).. Please post here if you figure out a workaround…


    Kelvin :)

    Kelvin Luck    Jul 22, 21:44    #
  27. i am guilty of not reading every comment, but thought I’d point out that you can select the gradient line then convert lines to fill under the modify menu. That way you can keep your snazzy lines and not get the annoying warning… :D

    daedalus    Jul 30, 23:43    #
  28. If you have such problem, you can simply save your work in mx2004 format and thean in flash8 (in the same IDE). Strokes are out! :)

    — gratch    Aug 5, 09:29    #
  29. Just ran into this exact problem working with Flash CS3. Of course there is no “save to mx2004” in CS3. I saved down to flash 8, then found a copy of flash 8 installed on my wife’s machine and saved down to flash 7 on there, and finally opened again in CS3. This worked, but what a pain in the ass! Anyway, thanks for the posting and all the other comments here. Anyone else found a better workaround since CS3?

    B. Phillip Smith    Dec 10, 00:42    #
  30. Ok… here was are.. ONE YEAR LATER… and this bug is STILL around. ARGH!!!! I don’t have Flash 8… or MX… I only have CS3… and the client needs their SWF saved in Flash 6 format. Nice. I’m up a certain creek without a paddle.

    — David    Jan 17, 18:37    #
  31. I’m very new to the job and to Flash; using CS3, and got this same error. I changed the publish settings under the File menu to Flash 7, tested the movie, then changed back to Flash 9 and no more error. My movies and illustrations are pretty basic so I don’t know if this will work with more complex illustrations, but I hope it helps.

    — Kerrie    Jan 22, 16:29    #
  32. Never mind; it worked in one movie with this error, but not in the next. Sorry.

    — Kerrie    Jan 22, 17:28    #
  33. I am putting a file to quicktime movie. I was having the same problem with enhanced strokes, I resaved as MX2004 out of Flash 8 and that seemed to work for that problem. But a new problem is occurring—I choose flash player 5 in the publishing setting (even from the first starting the file) and I get an error that I need to choose Flash 5 or earlier still. Even though it is selected. Anyone else having this problem. I tried reinstalling Flash – but no luck.

    — Donna    Jun 5, 18:15    #