I've downloaded the trial version of Adobe Animate CC and before I begin the process of making an interactive presentation with it, I want to ask the following question: do you HAVE to have Internet connection to open a .swf file in a browser? We want to present this to people who might not have access to internet connection on a laptop/PC but have a browser available. If there are other ways of opening a .swf file without using a browser, please let me know!!
Some browsers (e.g. Chrome) do not load raw SWF files in the browser. You'll need to use the Flash Player projector, available for download at Adobe Flash Player - Debug Downloads
Note that as of Flash Player 23, loading local files was disabled by default (due to security reasons). There is a work-around to load local files. Please see the 'Disabling local-with-filesystem access in Flash Player by default' section of the Flash Player 23 Release Notes
If you're building new content, you're far better off targeting HTML5 Canvas instead of Flash Player. Animate supports output to HTML (that's the rationale behind the name change from Flash Pro to Animate), and running HTML content locally in the browser is a much, much simpler problem.
By default, Flash Player does not play content on the local filesystem. As the threat landscape and the complexity of the web ecosystem evolved over the last two decades, functionality that made sense in the past (Flash content on CD-ROM) became a liability as attackers found ways to leak data about local files to the Internet using really clever techniques.
At the same time, we're quickly approaching the end of Flash Player support in all of the major browsers, and Flash Player doesn't serve the mobile community well.
So while the answer is technically "yeah, you could author content to run on the local filesystem", it comes with a bunch of caveats -- it's no enabled by default and both Flash Player and the browser would block it, and any .swf file served in a browser today needs to be wrapped in a hosting HTML file. You can't just load a bare SWF anymore. Most browsers just drop it into the downloads folder.
You're far better off using Animate CC to publish to HTML5 Canvas or WebGL, unless there's a really compelling reason to do otherwise. Both should run fine locally, and give you a much, much smoother user experience than Flash Player, given the ongoing efforts to deprecate Flash Player across the browser ecosystem.