How do I tell if a course uses Flash?

Nov 29, 2016


Our client is phasing out Flash on all of their devices, so they want to know which courses in our library use Flash. I don't have time to check each course for Flash incompatibility because our course library is extensive, so I am wondering:

Is there any way to know by looking at a SCORM file structure whether a course would run without Flash?

I've noticed that there are Flash files in the SCORM output of courses that I have designed with Storyline even though none of the course components were built with Flash, so just searching the directories for .swf or .flv files isn't an indicator that a course will break if the user doesn't have Flash.

Please help!

Thanks so much,



46 Replies
Craig Wallace

Some of these courses are so old that we don't have the source files for them anymore. Some are SCORM files that were purchased from external vendors and we don't have access to the Storyline files. Some of the content predates HTML5. 

Is there any way to know by looking at a SCORM file structure whether a course would run without Flash, given all of these limitations?

Nancy Woinoski

If the courses were developed using Storyline 1 or 2,  or Articulate Studio 13 or below they will have Flash files in the output.  If they were published with the HTML 5 option enabled you can use the html5 index file to force the course to run the html5 version instead of the Flash, but there is no way to remove the Flash files.

The new versions of Storyline and Studio which are available as part of the Articulate 360 will publish html5 only versions of your courses. No more Flash files.

Lila Elliott

This is really helpful!

 I'm running into some browser/flash compatibility issues running SCORM files that were published using Storyline 2 on a Mac that is using Safari. 

I've upgraded to Articulate 360. Is there anything special that I need to do to ensure that the file outputs include only HTML 5 files (no flash) when I re-publish the course?



Alyssa Gomez

Hi Ashley, yes there is! Here's how:

  • Extract the files from the published zipped output.
  • Right-click on the story.html file, and select Open with >> WordPad.
  • Scroll down until you see runtimeOrder: (or do a Find to search for the term in the document).
  • There you'll see Type: HTML5 and Type: Flash. Whichever one comes first will indicate whether it was published with HTML5/Flash or Flash/HTML5.

Here's a Peek at those steps in action! 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Sara,

What version of Storyline are you using to publish? You can only adjust the order in Storyline 3 or Storyline 360. If you were using an earlier version it'll always publish with Flash and you can choose to add HTML5 as a fall back.

If you're not sure, can you share your published output link here with us and we'll take a look! 

Philipp Reichel

Hello all,

This is an incredibly helpful thread, as we are more or less in the same position as Craig.

In order to ensure our catalogue will survive the death of flash, we want to republish, or where necessary rebuild our still relevant courses using Storyline 3. Unfortunately our catalogue was built using various tools, some of which we don't have access to. Additionally, we also have only the .zip files in a large number of instances.

In order to start to identify the flash-containing courses, I have the following questions:

  1. Is the story.html file referenced by Alyssa only part of the .zip if the course has been authored using storyline?
  2. If so, is there an easy way to identify the tool used for courses that have not been created with storyline, and therefore do not contain the story.html file?

Maybe someone in this thread has some relevant experience here and can sharer it, or point me in a helpful direction.



P.s. This community is invaluable! This is the first time I even need to ask a question, because most of the time the members are so proactive that everything I am looking for has been addressed already. Go Heroes!

Leslie McKerchie

Hey Phil,

So glad that you've gotten value from the community. I appreciate you sharing that. An official welcome to you :)

Yes, you should have the story.html file within your zip file if the course was authored in Storyline.

Hopefully, someone can help you out with how you can identify other course authoring tools that may have been used. 

Philipp Reichel

@Alyssa, Ashley & Leslie:

I have another question / something that I am hoping an expert from this forum will be able to confirm. Are the following assumptions/understandings true: 

  1. If I find a "story_html5.html" output in my uploaded .zip file, the content will run in a world without flash without any impact on usability
  2. If i look into the story.html file to retrieve the "runtimeOrder:" parameter/section, and it reads "Type: HTML5", the content will run in a world without flash without any impact on usability (as it will load the HTML Version and not require any functioning flash elements, and still look and feel as functional as if it were the hayday of flash)
  3. If i look into the story.html file to retrieve the "runtimeOrder:" parameter/section, and it reads "Type: Flash", the content will run in a world without flash without any impact on usability (as it will revert to the HTML Version, ignoring all flash elements, and still look and feel as functional as if it were the hayday of flash)

As you can tell from these questions, ensuring that content survives the upcoming death of flash technology is the goal here. I basically want to find out how to determine if Content does not need to be republished or rebuilt without any impacts on UX. So any thoughts / inputs to help me determine the scope of work to be done would be greatly appreciated.



Alyssa Gomez

Hi Philipp!

You have some great questions, and I'm happy to help. 

Overall, Storyline 3's HTML5 output will play beautifully on all modern browsers, and the HTML5 support in Storyline 3 far surpasses what was in older versions of Storyline. If you want to ensure your courses look great in most web browsers while also avoiding Flash, republishing your old courses with Storyline 3 is a smart move.

And if you're worried about including Flash in your publishing output, you can opt to publish with HTML5 Only. 

Publish Formats in Articulate Storyline 3

Kelsey Dul

Hi everyone - this thread has been so helpful! Thanks so much to everyone already sharing input.

I have the same issue that Craig noted a while ago above, which is that we have inconsistent storage of our old source files for some content (created in 2010-2011 ish).

I am curious if there is a way to tell from the user side of viewing a course, if content will be able to play without Flash Player/was published with HTML output? Most of this content would have been published using Articulate Presenter '13. Thank you!

Alyssa Gomez

Hi Kelsey!

Hmm, that's a tough one. By simply looking at the published course hosted on the web, there's not a way to tell if the course was published to include HTML5 output or not. 

I would recommend sticking to Chrome and Safari web browsers, since those are the only two browsers that are supported for HTML5 output


Kelsey Dul

Alyssa - thanks so much for your quick reply! 

So, could you let me know if I am understanding correctly? It seems that, once Flash Player stops working, no content published from Presenter '13 will play in Internet Explorer? Since, regardless of if the output was published with HTML5 output or not, this isn't supported in IE anyway?

Alyssa Gomez

Great question, Kelsey.

Presenter '13 courses are automatically published with Flash, and you can also opt to include HTML5 in the output, too. How does Presenter determine which output to display? Check out this article to find out!

Internet Explorer 11 will play the Flash output, but Chrome and Safari are the only browsers that can play Flash and HTML5 outputs.

Presenter '13 content may be unusable if you had published without HTML5, and you view in a browser which no longer allows Flash content. A lot of the browsers have started to disable Flash by default, but you can always choose to enable it. Also, Flash support is ending in 2020, and you can read more about what we're doing to prepare for that here

If you'd like to look at using Presenter 360, you can start a trial here. You'll be able to open your Presenter '13 courses in Presenter 360 and choose to publish for HTML5 only (or HTML5 with Flash fallback). 

Hope that helps!

Cindy Shaver

Hi Alyssa,

  This is a great thread. Very helpful with finding info on how to survive the flash changeout.

We have a number of older courses in Studio 09 and Articulate 1 & 2. The current version we use is Articulate 360.  The browsers used by our company are IE and Firefox (not Chrome or Safari).

Can you please confirm if my steps will be correct for the changeover. And that using the html5/flash output will work in IE and Firefox before and after the flash phase out?

  • Review all old courses to confirm if there is html5 outputs (find the story_html5.html or check runtimeOrder)
  • If neither of these, update/re-create to Articulate 360
    • Use html5/flash output so they will still work in IE/Firefox until the changeover

Will this ensure our courses will work when flash is phased out?