Captivate Can’t Open a File?

Hi all.

I’m having trouble opening a file in Captivate 9, which someone has shared with me.

They have shared it with me via sharepoint, which means I get an email with a link to click on. This is a client of mine and I’ve never had issues opening shared Captivate 9 files before. Below is a screen capture of the message i get.

Adobe Captivate Error Message

I’ve done some research online and have seen posts with steps on how to fix it, but because this is a file, which has been shared with me, I can’t do most of the suggestions.

Has anyone come across this and was able to fix it?

Easy Custom Navigation Template With Master Slides

Something I use a lot in my work is having slides, which can have both the Back and Next button, just the Next button or just the Back button.

There is a debate on whether you should restrict navigation for adult learners, but as this will inevitably come up in your career, it’s useful to know how to do it quickly.

Master Slides.

The quickest way I suggest doing this, is to use your Master Slides. If you have a blank master slide, which has the Next and Back button, you can duplicate that slide. I suggest duplicating it twice. After you’ve done this, you should rename]one called ‘Next button only’ and the other ‘Back button only’.

Now you will have three slides all with your navigation buttons, so it’s time to save you so much time.

Go to your ‘Next button only’ slide, click on the back button, and press delete.

Now go to your ‘Back button only’ slide and do the same with the next button.

You’ve now saved yourself lots of time by doing this in your master slides, and you can simply choose which master slide you want to use in your properties menu.

Bonus Tip

If you have a slide where all of the buttons/interactions need to be clicked before the user can progress, there’s an easy way to do this. Select your ‘back button only’ master slide, then copy a Next button from any of your master slides and put it on your stage/development area. After you have scripted your buttons for the Next button to appear, when everything is selected, you can use this Next button, as it’s totally separate from the template.

If you do use this and need to hide the Next button, just make sure you hide the Next button when the user enters the slide.

Enjoy adding this to your pro toolbox.

If you would like further help with this, I provide virtual one-to-one coaching with Adobe Captivate.

5 Tips to Speed Up Your Development Workflow

I’m always trying to get faster with my development process in Adobe Captivate, and have learnt some tricks over the years, which I wanted to share with you.

I appreciate that everyone will already have their own workflow, but I thought these would help.

Tip 1. Save Files With Version Numbers.

This is something I always preach. Please save your Captivate files with version numbers. An example of this could be a Captivate file with name of ‘Module_1_draft_1. I will save a new version every day, before I start working on the file. This way you are able to go back to previous days in case anything goes wrong and you can’t remember how to fix it.

I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me. Captivate can create backup files of your project, but I find this helps so much, especially when you reach a big milestone in development. I even create multiple versions in one day sometimes when I have fixed any bugs or issues.

It can also be applied to any document you work on. Let’s say you’re storyboard is being updated during development, you could add the version numbers to this and in Captviate make a note when you start using a new version of your storyboard.

Tip 2. Use A Folder Structure System.

E-learning projects can become monsters when they start to grow.

With all of the media, job aids, storyboards, review forms and exports; it becomes difficult to manage. You can have a folder for each type of documents.

I personally have a folder for just my Captivate files, a folder for my published files, a folder for all of my media e.g. videos, photos etc. I also have folders for the review forms and storyboards.

I know it can seem a boring part of the process, but if you do this before you begin, it will make it a lot easier as the project grows.

It’s also important to remember to keep everything within this folder structure. I know how tempting it can be to save things to your desktop or other areas when you are in a rush, but if you keep everything centralised, it will be much easier to find everything. This is especially important when it comes to publishing your project and Captivate needs to be able to find everything.

Tip 3. Use a Jump-to slide Button.

This is a trick I use when I need to jump to a certain slide, but don’t need to go through every slide when previewing the project.

Let’s say you have a project of 50 slides and you need to check slide 30 is working. I would create a button on your first slide and use the ‘jump to slide’ action. Then I find slide 30 in the drop down menu, and tell the button to jump to that slide.

If you haven’t used this before, it will make things so much faster for you when you’re previewing your project and don’t have time to go through every slide.

Important Reminder. I do want to remind you to make sure you delete the button when you’re finished. There have been times when I’ve published my project and the button has been left on the home screen.

Tip 4. Use a Colour Pallet.

Colour plays a big role in the design of any e-learning project, which is why I use a colour pallet to speed things up. When you’re in Captivate, you can create some smart shapes and place them outside of the stage, which is the grey area of the screen.

I put the colours I use most often just above my stage and use the eye dropper tool when I need them. If your orgranisation/client has a specific branding colour scheme, this is especially helpful to have. It stops the process of trying to find the exact colours every time you need them.

If you want the colour pallet to appear on every slide, put them on your master slides and they will always be there for you. The colour pallet won’t appear in the published version of your project, as they’re not in the stage area.

Tip 5. Use Object Style Manager.          

The Object Style Manager is a must have in your toolbox if you want to get faster.

It allows you to create default settings for objects you use. This means when you create something like a text caption, you can assign the font you need, the colour and same font size. This means that every you create a text caption, it will always be the same and everything will be consistent.

It isn’t just limited to text captions either. It can be used for buttons, text entry boxes, highlight boxes, smart shapes, quiz objects and so much more.

It can be found in the Edit menu and is at the bottom of the menu.

See How Fast You Can Become

I hope this has given you some new ideas on becoming a faster developer with Adobe Captivate. I believe being fast in your job is so important. As long as the quality is compromised, your clients or employer will love you for getting the job done and notice you’re making the effort to improve.

Lessons From My First Two Years in e-learning

Recently I achieved my 2 year mark within the elearning industry, as a full-time developer, and looked back at how far I’ve come. I thought it would be helpful for those just getting started and relatable for those who’ve got more time under their belt.

Whilst I’m only a developer, I believe these lessons can apply no matter what your role is. These are also just my own views and not an exhausted list.

Lesson 1. Don’t Get Attached. Change Happens.

Don't Get AttachedThis was the hardest hurdle for me. As creatives, we tend to become emotionally attached to the work we create. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s become proud of what they’ve created and then a decision is made where it needs to be different, or even removed.

In the beginning it can make you angry, as you believe what you’ve made is the best solution. As a result, it can be difficult to get through, but the important thing to remember is the old saying, ‘the customer is always right’. As a developer, it’s my job to make the customer’s vision come to life.

My background is in the film industry and it’s very similar there. You have a director who hires a team to make their vision happen. The director can’t make a film on their own, but things can change and sometimes scenes in a film can be thrown out.

Try to keep your emotions out of the work and see it as part of the process, and also as a learning opportunity for everything you create. This is something I’ve started realising lately.

Lesson 2. Upskill. You Won’t Just Be a Developer

UpskillThis was an important lesson, as I’d never experienced it before.

e-learning departments are usually a small team of creatives with a range of skills, and if you don’t have the skill you need to complete your work, you ask for help. But this isn’t always possible.

An example for me is with Adobe Illustrator. I’m not a natural illustrator/designer and when I couldn’t ask for help, I had to learn it myself. The best way to do this is by having a deadline.

It can be intimidating to learn new skills, especially under pressure, but it will make you less dependent on others in your team. It is also liberating knowing you can do something new.

Lesson 3. Speed Is Everything.

SpeedThe e-learning process is often called rapid development, which has been the case for my journey.  I’ve been working in a SCRUM environment, which means tight deadlines, a fast-pace environment and you need to get the job delivered on time.

When I started my job, I had never worked in this industry, and knew nothing about Adobe Captivate. I’m grateful I had the help of my team and with my own learning outside of work, it became easier. I would also like to give a special mention to Paul Wilson here. I can’t express how much his YouTube Channel helped me get started back then. Even today I’m still going back to his old videos and love the new ones. So thanks again Paul.

I know I’m a lot faster than I used to be, but I’m always trying to get faster with not just developing, but the entire process. I believe you need to know more than just how to put a module together. You also need to know about Quality Assurance (testing), usability, accessibility and design.

Lesson 4. Design and Aesthetics.

DesignI’ve never found the design side of e-learning easy, or any type of design. Even when I’ve got a storyboard, it’s difficult for me to put my own spin on it and this is still definitely one of my weakest areas.

The theory of the left and right side of the brain comes to mind for me. Whilst I’m not a coder or hot on analysis, I’m not the best designer either. I think I’m in the middle somewhere.

I have started to learn the theory of design, but hopefully this will come more natural to me over time.

Lesson 5. Test, test and test

I wanted to mention the testing phase, which I think can be difficult for some of us.

testPersonally, it’s something I do enjoy, but things can be missed. This is especially true when you’re under pressure and the development stage has taken longer than planned. I’m trying to get in the habit of testing as I go along, rather than at the very end, which is what I think a lot of us do. We get so focused on putting everything together, we forget to slow down and test it.

For those of you who do your own QA, It’s so important to have someone do it for you, even if you’ve done your own. I know it can be hard seeing the corrections you need to do, but it will make you a better asset to your team.

Lesson 6. Do Extra Work, Outside of Work.

I decided I wanted to start teaching others how to use Adobe Captivate in a consulting/coach role.  I can’t tell you how much this has helped me learn new skills.

There’s something very different when a client is paying for your knowledge and needs your guidance. Even when you’re in a full-time role, having a client need a solution within the hour teaches you a lot about yourself.

The best return from this is that I’m better at my job, and I can pass on new knowledge to my team.

Pro Tip. If you are going to do extra work, I suggest having clients in a time zone where their day time is your evening. This makes communication a lot easier as you’re able to focus on your day job, and then your customer in your evening. This means there’s no delay for them, which is crucial when they need a fast solution. I live in the U.K, so when I finish around 4pm, my customers are just starting their day, such as the United States.

That’s a Wrap.

I hope this has been useful to you and would love to hear what you’ve learnt in your career, no matter how far you are in your journey.

Matching Quiz and Drop Down Formatting Question

I’m using the matching quiz type of question slide, where the user needs to click on a drop down menu to match with the correct asnwer. I’m having trouble with changing the colour of the text in the drop down itself. I’ve done some research already and it seems others are having this issue.

Does any know how I can change the text colour in the drop down as it’s currently white, which is unreadable. I’m using version 8 of Captivate

Many thanks



Making Information Security eLearning Fun/Engaging

Hi all.

I’m designinig my first eLearning course outside of work, where I’m a developer, and it’s on Information Security/Cyber Awareness for employees.

I’ve never designed a course before, and am struggling to find a way to make it interesting for the learners. I’ve looked around and a lot of people use animation of characters/cartoons, but I don’t have this skillset, and feel it doesn’t treat adult learners as adults, like Paul Wilson talks about. I’ve also worked my way through some, which are unbareable and are just information dumps with a quiz at the end.

I was wondering if anyone has experience in compliance and if you have any tips to for non-instructional desingers. I am learning about instructional design, but it’s more the approach I’m struggling with.



Visiting Universities to Talk about eLearning


I’ve been pondering on the idea of whether universities would be interested in having someone from the eLearning industry come in and talk about online training, and how it can help professions like teaching. I think students on teaching degrees would be the most relevant audience, but also for the course lecturers as well. I know I need to get in touch with the universities to find out, but was wondering if anyone has done this before? I was thinking of showing them how quickly a course can be made by the teachers themselves using something like Captivate and how it can help engage their students.

Would appreciate your thoughts.

What Makes a Good Laptop for Captivate?

Hi all,

I’m in need of a new laptop as mine is dying. Even crashed whilst on a skype call with a client recently. Great first impression.


I was wondering what makes Captivate happy for performance, and if any of you have recommendations on any models. Budget is up to £1,000, which is around $1,262.90, according to Google, as of today.

I would prefer a laptop over a desktop for portability and for taking it to meetings etc.