Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Flash CS5 Pro Parse Error

This is just going to be a quick post as I am under the pump at work at the moment (which is a good thing, right?)

Recently I upgraded to Flash Pro CS5 and came across an issue which upon opening a file recently saved as a CS5 .FLA or .XFL, it would fail to open and output an error "Flash can not parse this document."

Thankfully, I had version control enabled and I managed to rescue a day old version of the swf I had been working on. Upon flagging the issue with Adobe and getting a response from them, it appears that they have narrowed down the cause of the issue.

Basically if you have a movieclip in your library that contains a layer with NO KEYFRAMES (see image below), and you save the file in a CS5 format - then you will now have a corrupted file that you won't be able to open.

So how to avoid this? There are two things that I would do...

1) Backup and backup often. I set up my Windows 7 machine to automatically backup my working projects each afternoon to a designated folder on the network. Version control and incremental archiving saved my ass this time around, but in the past I have not been so lucky. Avoid heartache - do it... NOW!!!

2) Do not leave any empty layers within any movieclips in your library. If you do, and you save, you will have a useless file.

Until Adobe come out with a patch for this issue (which they should now that we have flagged it with them and their techs have identified the cause) heed my word people!




  1. There are ways to correct this manually, I documented a fix I was able to find by editing the XML files inside of the FLA here http://www.sosuke.com/index.php/2010/08/11/flash-cannot-parse-this-document-adobe-flash-cs5/

  2. Another cause to this error, is a special charatcer pasted on a textfield. I had problems with (0x03,ETX). Unzip your fla to a folder and search and delete such character. Solved my problem. More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_character