What we’re doing about Flash (updated 01/16/2020)

Aug 04, 2017

NOTE:  The discussion below is now outdated.  For the most updated information on how the end of Flash affects Articulate apps and courses, please click here.

You may have heard that Adobe is phasing out support for Flash in 2020. We’ve known that Flash has been on its way out for some time. To make sure we’re ready, we’ve been working hard to build tools that’ll fit your needs today and in the future.

We’ve been shifting to HTML5 for several years. That’s why Articulate 360 and Storyline 3 have HTML5-first or HTML5-only publishing options, making it easy for you to create e-learning that relies only on HTML5. You can read a bit more about our shift towards HTML5 here.

For your existing courses, you have a couple of options:

  • If you included HTML5 as a part of the published output, you can point to that directly over the Flash version and make sure your users are viewing the course in a supported HTML5 browser. Here’s how.
  • You can update your courses using Articulate 360 or Storyline 3, and publish for HTML5 only.

Articulate 360 is officially Flash-free, so the Flash Player isn’t required to use any Articulate 360 apps.  The same is true for Storyline 3.

Storyline 2 and Studio '13 rely on Flash for authoring.  We recommend that you upgrade to Storyline 3 or Articulate 360 since these applications do not have any Flash dependencies.

UPDATE (01/16/2020): Edited to link to this article.

238 Replies
Becky Lijewski
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi David, 

Flash is being removed from the major browsers currently, although some still allow you to play Flash content when the user explicitly allows it. The end of Flash support from Adobe won't be till the end of 2020, so you've got a bit more time to transition. 

If there is a concern about learners accessing the HTML5 content in a wider variety of browser than Chrome or Safari, I'd look at upgrading to Storyline 3 or Articulate 360 so that you can publish content for HTML5- Only and have a wider array of supported browsers. Here's a handy chart which compares Storyline 3 and Storyline 360.  (Hope that helps you too, Daniel!) 

Let us know if you have any other questions! 

Robert Callan

Question--I'm working on converting a large batch of courses from Flash to HTML5 format. If I'm building a course from scratch in Articulate 360, is there any chance that any of the interactions I include could inadvertently contain Flash elements? Or are all the buttons, sliders, etc., that I could include while building a course in Articulate 360 guaranteed to be Flash-free? Hope that's not an ignorant question! 

Lauren Connelly

Hi Robert!

Great question! Our most recent update, Update 32, made authoring courses in Storyline 360 Flash-free. To ensure your courses are flash-free, we recommend not adding Flash elements such as an SWF file and publishing for HTML5 output only. Our content isn't Flash specific by default, so anything you're adding from within Storyline is flash-free.

And that's the recipe for flash-free courses!

Ryan Brown

Greetings. I have a question concerning SL2/Flash. Our organization has SL360 and we are publishing all courses as HTML5 only moving forward. However, we have many courses that were published in SL2 with the HTML5 box checked. I am trying to better understand how these SL2 courses published with the HTML5 box checked will behave on both Chrome and IE11 browsers once 2021 rolls around. Can you definitively say that they will work (provided the courses do not contain .swf files etc)? Will these courses definitively not work? This seems to be a big gray area and I was really hoping you could help me clear this up.

Lynn Puhr

Ryan - I'll give you some 'boots on the ground' experience - SL2 is a very old version of Storyline. The HTML5 capabilities were very limited - and the newer your browser, the more problems you will have.  For example, the newest Chrome (and depending on how your IT department sets it up) may take a course and display a blank screen -- if you have Flash with HTML5 fallback, it may work... but it may give you odd interactivity or formatting issues.  We have completely shifted to HTML5 with no interactivity issues (we have SL360) and we use IE11, Edge, and Chrome. We have Firefox too, but I don't tend to use it.  The newer releases of SL360 are improving HTML every day.  I do not work for Articulate (LOL) but I would certainly recommend you upgrade this content. . . And that and $5 gets you coffee :D

Kari Bogdan

Hi Ryan,

I agree with Lynn- your best bet is to republish everything in HTML5 only using Storyline 360 or Storyline 3.  Our experience with SL2 courses is they do not play consistently even when they are published with the setting "include HTML5 output".  Its my understanding that the player for SL2 still uses swf files, so perhaps that is why?  The task of republishing all our courses has been quite the undertaking, but we were overdue with updating many of our courses to begin with so it was worth it. 

We still seem to have problems with courses that have video when publishing as HTML5 only using Storyline 3 because our organization uses IE11 as a default.  To solve this problem, we put a slide at the beginning of those courses asking learners to close their browser and login again and reopen the course in Chrome instead.  Its not ideal, but at least we know the videos will work.  Hope this helps...

Logan Stahler

Hi everyone-

Slightly different scenario I'd love some expert opinion on:

We have been publishing courses in SL360 as HTML5/Flash backup for a while now. We have just been told that these modules can be problematic even though HTML5 is the default version. 

Question - if a module (as published above) has a flash backup and flash is officially no longer supported, won't the browser just ignore the flash output anyway? We were told that HTML5 only browsers have experienced some glitchy issues with modules published as HTML5/Flash backup. We haven't seen this firsthand, but are trying to avoid unnecessary conversion to HTML5 only if the above will work just fine once Flash is gone.


Justin Grenier

Great question, Logan.

If you are publishing from SL360 as HTML5/Flash fallback and viewing the content in a browser that supports HTML5, the Flash content will never be seen or experienced by the learner.  Therefore, the published output will perform exactly as if you had published to HTML5 only.  There is no opportunity for an HTML5 browser to see this content differently.

One scenario where Flash may be seen in this environment is if learners are using a browser that doesn't fully support HTML5 (think IE 10 or earlier).

Bottom line:  Publishing to HTML5 with Flash fallback is a solid strategy, and if learners run into any trouble, we'd love to help troubleshoot!

Lynn Puhr

Logan, we are travelling down the same path - using HTML5/Flash fallback unless we absolutely have to republish.  Here are my ramblings: 1) It may depend on what version of SL360 was used in the course publish -- Articulate has made so many updates in HTML5 functionality -- older publishes (say if you published it over a year ago or more) may have more issues than those published out today; 2) we have been testing all of our courses in the latest browsers to ensure that we validate our assumptions and the oldest of the courses are indeed causing issues -- republishing seems to resolve issues; 3) We cannot predict what browser updates will cause us to have to publish, but given the volume, we will cross that bridge later for those that are testing out ok today.  

I hope that gives you some insights...

Lynn :)

Logan Stahler

Thanks for the quick reply, Justin! 

So, if I understand you correctly, you're saying that there shouldn't be an issue with modules that are published as html5/flash backup moving forward, and especially once flash goes away, right?

We were told that certain browsers are requiring the flash backup to be removed in order for the content to play without issue. My logic about an html5 capable browser never touching flash (confirmed by your reply) seems to hold true, yes?

Thanks again,

Justin Grenier

Hi, Laura.

While Studio '13 can publish to HTML5, this published output is only supported in:

  • Windows: Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mac: Safari 6.0.5 or later, Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mobile: Safari in Apple iOS 6 or later

The HTML5 output from Studio 360 is supported in most modern browsers, so you may want to consider an upgrade to Articulate 360.

In addition, Articulate 360 is officially Flash-free, so the Flash Player isn’t required to use any Articulate 360 apps.

Please let us know if you have any other questions!

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