Where is the “Save and Compact” in CS5?

I found the “Save and Compact” was missing from the new Flash CS5. At first it didn’t bother me until I copied a previous project with loads of bitmaps to act as base for a new project.
I always work this way when I start a new project: I copy my most recent (similar) project, remove the stuff I don’t need, rename some stuff and start building the new project.
No problem for as-files, but oddly enough stuff like movie clips, sounds, bitmaps, etc. you remove from your fla-file-library are not actually removed from the fla-file itself. This means all stuff removed from the library is actually just hidden (but with no way to un-hide) and will float forever in your fla-file without any use.
In previous Flash versions this problem could be solved by hitting the “Save and compact” option but for some reason they removed this option in the CS5 version of Flash.

Very annoying if you ask me because I just want to work like I was used to without fla files growing in size with each new project (for no apparent reason).
Luckily I found a very simple solution: clear everything from your library you don’t need any more and then just hit “Save as…” and save as a CS4 file. Thiss step will remove most of the overhead. After this, saving it again as CS5 file will reduce the file-size even more!

This trick is a bit more work than before (and it would make more sense if Flash did it all by itself),  but atleast it gets the job done.

Hopfully an update for CS5 will get rid of this problem once and for all…

12 Responses to “Where is the “Save and Compact” in CS5?”


  • The .fla format in CS5 is completely different now. It is actually a zip file with an xml file and your assets, rather than a binary file like it used to be. You can change the .fla extension to .zip and unzip it and see what’s in there. Thus, “save and compact” is no longer needed.

    You seem to be upset that your fla size is growing, but as a solution you say to “clear everything from your library you don’t need any more…” Well, naturally, if you have a bunch of stuff in your library that you aren’t using, it’s going to increase the file size. And clearing it out will reduce the file size.

    I think you have some confusion also on what “save and compact” did. It would not have helped you in this case. In CS4 and earlier, the fla could grow with each save. Even if you removed stuff from the library, it would still be in the saved fla. Old stuff was not always removed, just new stuff added. “Save and compact” refreshed the fla, saving only what was really valid. CS5 does NOT do this. The only reason your fla is growing now is because you have unused stuff in your library. Save and compact would not help you in that case.

  • Keith,

    The point you mention in the last paragraph is not entirely true. Even if I remove/delete unused stuff from my library, the fla doesn’t reduce in size but remains the same size as it had before, just like you mentioned it did in CS4. Since you can still save your project as a fla-file the “Save and compact” would still be useful in my opinion.

    Indeed saving as xfl project also is a solution (if that’s what you mean in you 1st paragraph). I didn’t check this out enough until now, but I’ll try working this way with my next project.

    PS: Simply renaming a fla to zip didn’t work for me…

  • Are you saving it as a cs4 doc?

    1. Create a new fla. Save it. Size should be around 6-7kb
    2. Add a large image to the library. Save it. For me, fla was now 3557kb.
    3. Delete image from library. Save. Size is back to 6-7kb.

    In Flash CS5 there are 3 options for saving.

    Flash CS5 document is a compressed (zipped) XFL document with assets.

    Flash CS4 document is the old style binary fla.

    Flash CS5 uncompressed document will create a folder with the raw xfl document and all assets. This is the same as the first option, but it is not zipped up.

    From what you are experiencing, you are saving as a Flash CS4 document. Just save as Flash CS5 and you shouldn’t need to save and compact.

  • Hmm, when I try to save a (new) file I can only chose between
    – Flash CS5 Document (*.fla)
    – Flash CS4 Document (*.fla)
    – Flash CS5 Uncompressed Document (*.xfl)

    The first option (where the fuzz is all about :P) can’t be renamed to zip (not to a valid zip anyway) but the problem of not reducing the file-size when I clean my library seems to be gone when I try with a new file (like you suggest).
    It’ll probably only lead to problems when you use a file from a previous version or maybe it only happens in specific cases (not sure which, but more people seem to have this problem). In that case people can use the solution suggested in the post 😀

  • Arno –

    Saving to a Flash CS5 FLA (zipped XFL document) and then re-naming it to zip works for me. Not sure if you are on Windows or Mac, but works for me on Mac and pretty sure it worked on Windows before as well.

    Maybe try another zip utility? On Mac, I use UnArchiver or RuckSack, and on Windows, I used 7zip.

    I haven’t been watching file sizes since using Flash CS5, bu t as Keith mentioned, Save and Compact doesn’t exist anymore because it couldn’t work the way it did since the FLA file format has changed.

  • I tested a bit more and all seems to work like it’s supposed to when I start from scratch (create a new fla-file in CS5).
    Apparently CS3 or CS4 fla-files opened in CS5 and then stored as CS5 (just “save” in CS5) handle the same way as if they were still CS4-files.
    It seems I just have to start the next project with a clean fla and then I can continue my old work-method of copying and reusing old projects.
    Tnx for the help and pointers guys!

  • I just tried it out on a CS4 document that was quite old and worked no problem. I did a Save-As however..

    Saved it to a new CS5 document, changed file extension to .zip and extracted it.

  • Keith, you’ve totally missed the point in every instance.

    Throughout its history, Flash has always included assets in the FLA even after they were removed from the library if the FLA was saved with the Save command. The only way to remedy this was either a) Save As a new file every time or b) Save and Compact.

    Adobe has released CS5 with a new FLA format and removed the Save and Compact feature because, supposedly, it’s no longer required. Bullshit. I just saved an FLA at 5.7mb and since I knew it should be much smaller than that, I did a Save As and saved to a different location. Yep, the new FLA was just 2.6mb in size. I opened the original 5.7mb file again and tried two things – first Save and then Save As and saving to the same location. In both instances the FLA remained at 5.7mb. I did another Save As and saved to another location and AGAIN it came out at 2.6mb.

    So, we can see from this simple test that most of your post is bullshit, so you should really check your condescending attitude before replying to people’s genuine concerns. We can also see that once again Adobe has dropped the ball by excluding a feature that is needed just as much today as it was back in Flash 5 – no matter how much they want to bullshit about the feature no longer being required.

    I’m considering going back to CS4. I don’t have the time or patience to Save As with brand new files each time I make a change to the library. CS4’s Save and Compact was a workaround for broken FLA functionality and although CS5 has taken the feature out, it’s still needed.

    I think my only option is to write a JSFL file that does what Save and Compact used to do and cross my fingers that the clowns at Adobe get enough complaints that they’re forced to add the feature back into CS6.

  • Gareth, why the hell are you insulting and swearing at me? I came twice to answer the author’s question, and did so and he thanked me for it. Learn some social skills, man.

  • Keith, I actually think the reason was quite clearly defined in my original post. That the author was polite enough to thank you for patronising him sadly doesn’t alter the fact that you did. He raised a very valid point and you talked to him like he was the problem, when actually the problem is yet another borked Adobe release.

    Learn to practice what you preach, man.

  • Gareth, take your bloated .fla and change the extension to .zip and see if you can open it up a zip. I’m curious as to what’s going on.

  • Thank you for the post! It kinda irritated me too that the Save and Compact feature was removed when i needed it. So i tried saving it into CS4 and it worked! For me the best Flash ever was CS3, all other versions were too slow and bugged.

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