Webinar – Using Captivate 2017 Fluid Boxes with Drag and Drop – Thursday, August 24th, 2017

UsingCap17FluidBoxesDragAndDropInteractions_Blog Header 800x350

I won’t be conducting my usual #eLearning #LIVESTREAM this week, however, instead I will be a guest on an eLearning Brothers webinar Thursday, August 24th, 2017.

In this webinar, eLearning Brothers hosts Paul Wilson, noted Captivate expert as he takes learners through some of the features and parameters of the Adobe Captivate drag and drop interface. Paul will demonstrate some in which you can customize your drag and drops to fit all your different learning scenarios. In addition, he will instruct learners how to make Drag and Drop interactions work with the new fluid boxes responsive design interface.

Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9061148276662168066?source=Wlearning

Master those Fluid Boxes!


A while ago I published a post explaining the setup of the Quizzing Master slides, compulsory parts of each theme, even the almost empty Blank theme. In this article I will try to explain my experiences using Fluid Boxes on Content Master slides. Most themes shipped with Captivate have several content master slides (exception = Blank theme). Let us first start with the master slides that are not behaving like the content or quiz master slides.

Main master slide, Blank and Title master slides

Main Master slide

It is not possible to insert Fluid boxes on the main master slide: the button seems active but both options (Vertical and Horizontal) are dimmed. Objects placed on that Main master slide, and inherited by the daughter master slides, are to be set up using the Position Properties panel. Example: the text container with my name and copyright in the example movie.
As you probably know, it is not possible to have shape buttons timed for the rest of the project when you use Fluid boxes. You could put a shape button on the main or one of the other master slides but you cannot control it because it has no ID. In the example movie I preferred to have a Next button on the individual slides, because ton most slides it is hidden until the learner has visited everything. However a toggle shape button for Audio, for CC, for the TOC could be on the Main Master slide. They will not behave like objects in a Fluid box however, but act as defined on the Position Properties panel for size and location.

However after some more testing on iOS devices, the Position properties set up for those objects are not correctly displayed in portrait mode.

TIP: at this moment avoid putting objects on the Main master slide (except background of course), since they don’t display at the correct location on some mobile devices.

Blank Master slide

This master slide has no Fluid boxes by default but you could add them. As I have explained in previous articles, you should prefer to duplicate the master slide for editing, don’t edit the original slide because it is used for Powerpoint import and for software simulations.

Title Master slide

That master slide has one Fluid box (parent fluid box) but no child fluid boxes. It is set up as ‘Squeeze in a Column’, and vertically and horizontally centered. Since the Title Placeholder is inserted directly in this Parent Fluid Box, you are not able to add child fluid boxes.  Because each new project, using the default theme White will start automatically with a Title slide, this has caused already many frustrations when starting with the use of Fluid boxes. If you want to use fluid boxes on the first slide, you have to change the master slide from Title to Blank (exception Blank theme which starts with a Blank slide).

TIP: if you want to add objects on the Title master slide, first take out the Title Placeholder, to be able to insert child fluid boxes. Then put back the Title Placeholder in one of the child fluid boxes.

Content master slides

It can be a time saver to use a content slide that has already Fluid boxes. In a future next article I’ll explain how to create a custom content master slide with the help of Guides, but for now let us focus on an existing master slide, and see how we can tweak it.
In the example movie, the second slide is based on the Content04 master slide from the Theme ‘OldPaper’. I didn’t customize the theme, just applied the correction explained in my last post

Look at the setup of the Fluid boxes on the master slide: the parent fluid box (FB_15) has two vertcial child FB’s (FB_16 and FB_17). The top one is meant for the Title placeholder:

The bottom Fluid Box has 4 child FB’s, (FB_19,FB_20, FB_21, FB_22), which are set up to wrap Symmetrically (when width is too small, two FB’s will move to the next row), and have a padding both vertically and horizontally to have some spacing between the FB’s. Each of them has a placeholder for an image.

Example movie

Play with this responsive movie (will open in a new window) which has only 3 slides: Title slide (with inserted Next button, and taking over my name from the main master slide), a slide based on Content04 master slide, with a lot of tweaking, and an End slide. On the content slide you are supposed to click each of the 4 buttons in the top. The Next button on that slide will only appear when you have clicked all available shape buttons and seen all the content.

Refining slide based on Content master slide

The FB setup on the master slides can be tweaked on a slide based on that master slide. You can remove all fluid boxes, but that has not much sense. To demonstrate I did a lot of tweaking for the second slide of the movie which you just watched:
  • I deleted the image placeholders
  • I decreased the height of the top fluid box (FB_MS2_16) to 10%, originally it was 15% (edited font style as well)
  • I added a third vertical child FB under the parent FB_MS2_15, it is labeled FB_9

    TIP: changes like this will not affect the master slide. You can get the original layout from the master slide back by using the ” Reset Master Slide” button in the Properties panel of the slide.

  • That last FB_9 got two horizontal FB’s, FB_37 (70% of the width) and FB_38 (30% of the width); the last one will be used for the navigation buttons (Back/Next)
  • The setup for FB_38 is visible in this screenshot
  • Each of the four FB’s in the center (FB_19,FB_20, FB_21, FB_22) has no longer any object (see 1) and can be divided in two new vertical child FB’s
  • As you can see on the screenshot, the top FB will have a shape button and explanation text (originally hidden, but cannot be grouped in FB’s what would make the advanced actions a lot easier), the bottom one has an example of the style of that state in a shape (also initially hidden).
  • Setup for the top FB’s here is visible in this screenshot; for the Shape button (‘Normal’) the option Maintain Aspect Ratio is kept, but not for the Text container, so that it can change for smaller screen sizes (especially in portrait mode).

More questions?

You will have seen that I always had Rulers and Guides activated. My next blog post will focus on the use of that great tool, which almost no one seems to use?

Sure, I have several advanced actions in that movie, but that was not the goal of this post. No explanations here about those actions.

Software Simulation Part 1 & 2

In this first part of a two part video tutorial, I cover the procedures for recording your software simulation. Make sure you watch the second part to see how I edit my recordings. Prior to starting your recording, it’s important to take certain preparation steps to make sure you are truly ready to record.

  • Script out your steps – Practise your steps so you know exactly what you’re going to record.
  • Run Captivate as an administrator – I generally run Captivate as an administrator anyway but this is one of those functions that really demands it.
  • Run the application to be captured from your primary display – When I’ve tried to record applications on my second monitor, Captivate fails to capture all the screen shots and mouse movements. This is a known bug with Captivate.
  • Know your keyboard shortcuts – While I don’t use all the shortcuts, it’s important to know where on your keyboard you need to press to activate certain functions.
  • Reset your defaults – In case you have changed your settings make sure that everything is setup to record the right kind of recording for your own situation.

In this second part of a two part video tutorial, I cover the procedures for editing your recordings and preparing them for your learners. Make sure you watch part one to find out how you get to where this video tutorial begins.

Captivate 8 Vs 10 (2017 version)

Hello,I need to use Captivate for an upcoming project. I have used Captivate 8 before, but now I have the option to install Captivate 10. Should I go for the 10 version because its latest? Or can I use 8 because I have already worked on it and quite familiar with the functionalities?



Built in States for Drag&Drop objects


With Captivate 9 multistate objects was one of the most welcome new features. In previous versions only buttons and shape buttons had states like ‘Rollover’ (hover) and ‘Down’. Interactive objects like buttons/shape buttons have InBuilt States: ‘Normal’, ‘Rollover’, Down and with Captivate 2017 a fourth InBuilt state was added: ‘Visited’. For all objects, static or interactive, you can create custom states..

Less known is the presence of InBuilt states for all objects in a Drag&Drop slide, both for drag sources and for drop targets. Custom states can be added as well. Both InBuilt states and custom states have some limitations similar to the Inbuilt states for buttons. Drag&Drop objects have also limitations for extra custom states.

Example Movie

Watch this movie. Beware: it will open in a separate browser window. When closing that window you’ll be back in this post. After watching interactive explanation slides about all the InBuilt State, you’ll be able to play with two Drag&Drop  use cases:

  1. The first use case has only two drag sources, one of them being correct, the other incorrect. There is one drop target, the cup. Watch the different InBuilt states both for the two drag sources which have identical InBuilt states and for the drop target. All objects also have one extra custom state. Because of my manipulation of the states on Submit, the default Reset button will not return you to a fresh start if you have used the Submit button. You’ll have to use the custom ‘My Reset’ button in that case.
  2. In the second use case you’ll see 7 drag sources and 2 target objects: the box and the trashcan. You are supposed to drag all sources to the appropriate target. You’ll find the ‘My Reset’ button here as well.

Drag Sources: states

The Drag Sources have 5 InBuilt States (see slide 2 in movie). Common to all those states and to the custom states is that you cannot add any object in a state. All the options on the Big Button Bar (horizontal toolbar) are dimmed with the exception of the Record button (for audio): no Text objects, no Shapes, no Higlight boxes (under Objects), no Media can be added to any state. Here is a short description of each state, of its functionality and limitations. As a visual reminder have a look at the Gallery, which shows those states for the first use case

  1. Normal state (InBuilt): is the Default state. This state will appear before dragging, and will re-appear if a drag source is sent back to its original position as well (for an incorrect object). The size of this state is important, because several states are locked to the same size. You can rotate the Normal state (watch the rotate handle at the top), which will also lock some of the states to the same rotation.
  2. Dragover state (InBuilt): this state appears when the drag source is over a drop target and will remain so until the object is dropped on or moved away from the target. This state is not locked, it can be resized and rotated.
  3. DropAccept state (InBuilt): will appear after dropping a drag source on the drop target, it will replace the Dragover state and become permanent. It is totally locked (watch the lock symbol bottom right): will keep the same size as the Normal state, cannot be rotated. Be careful: if you allow all drag sources, both correct and incorrect, to be dropped on the target, the DropAccept state will also appear for correct and incorrect objects! If you only allow the correct drag sources to be dropped, this state will only appear for them.
  4. DropReject state (InBuilt):  will appear after dropping an incorrect drag source on the drop target if the target is not set to allow All objects to be dropped. It will replace the Dragover state. When the incorrect object is sent back to its original position, the DropReject state is replaced by the Normal state. Like the DropAccept state this state is totally locked: no resizing, no rotation possible
  5. DragStart state (InBuilt): this state appears when you start the dragging movement until you are over a drop target, where it will be replaced by the DragOver state. The state is not locked, it can be resized and rotated.
  6. Custom state: this state is also fully locked to the rotation and size of the Normal state. As written before, you cannot even add objects in this state (which is possible for buttons). That is a limitation, in many cases you’ll want to revert to the old method of hide/show objects. For this example it seems as if I added the image of the wings, but I’m just cheating: for all states I used smart shapes. That way I was able to change the form of the shape (Replace shape), to change its fill and stroke. For the InBuilt states I used gradients or solid colors as Fill, for this custom state I used Image Fill. Since a shape can also be used as Text container, it was possible to change the labels of the states as well. If you are not yet member of the Smartshape fan-club, maybe…

Drop Targets: states

The Drop Targets have 6 InBuilt States (see slide 3 in movie). Three of those states have a name that is identical to an existing state for the drag sources: DragOver, DropAccept and DropReject. For Drop Targets you can add objects to all states, both InBuilt and custom states. Some states appear immediately, other states only appear after Submitting the exercise. Here is the overview, again with a visual reminder from the first use case in the example movie.

  1. Normal state (InBuilt): is the Default state. This state will be the main state before the Submit button is clicked. It can be replaced by another state but that will only be for a short duration. The size of this state is important, because several states are locked to the same size. You can rotate the Normal state, which will also lock some of the states to the same rotation.
  2. Dragover state (InBuilt): this state appears when a drag source is over the drop target and will remain so until the object is dropped on or moved away from the target. This state is not locked, it can be resized and rotated.
  3. DropAccept state (InBuilt): will appear after dropping a drag source on the drop target, it will replace the Dragover state. However this state will remain visible only for a short duration. Then the Normal state will re-appear. The reason is that a drop target can accept multiple drag sources, and has to be ready to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ the next drag source.  It is totally locked: will keep the same size as the Normal state, cannot be rotated. But, as told, you can add objects, which was the case in the example movie (adding the wings).
  4. DropReject state (InBuilt):  will appear after dropping an incorrect drag source on the drop target if the target is not set to allow All objects to be dropped. It will replace the Dragover state. The state will appear for a short duration before reverting to the Normal state. State is  It is totally locked: will keep the same size as the Normal state, cannot be rotated. But, as told, you can add objects, which was the case in the example movie (adding the wings).
  5. DropCorrect state (InBuilt): this state will appear after Submit if the drag source(s) dropped on the target are all correct. It will replace the Normal state permanently. The state is fully locked (to the Normal state): no rotation nor resizing is allowed. You can add objects.
  6. DropIncorrect state (InBuilt): this state will appear after Submit if the drag source(s) dropped on the target are not all correct. It will replace the Normal state permanently. The state is fully locked (to the Normal state): no rotation nor resizing is allowed. You can add objects.
  7. Custom state: this state is also fully locked to the rotation and size of the Normal state which is limiting even though you can add objects.

Reset – My Reset

The default Reset button has been added to both use cases (slide 4-5). This button can only be used to reset before submitting the result. I added an extra button ‘My Reset’, which is really the Replay2 button described in a previous blog post. If a D&D slide is not included in a quiz, has not score it will be reset when you re-enter the slide. This is what I’m doing, getting back to the last frame of the previous slide, then continue. That may result in some flickering, depending on the bandwidth, but the D&D will be totally reset. The mentioned blog post explains the need for a user variable v_enter to store the first frame number of each slide with an On Enter action.

Setup Use Case 1

Have a look at the Timeline of this slide:
There is only one correct answer: DragSource1 to Target1. There is an object action for this correct answer, to change the state of the other drag source to the Custom state, as you can see here:

Setup is almost the default set up: Snap behavior will change the size and the opacity of the dropped object to 70% (size) and 80% (Opacity), and snaps to the center (Anchor). There is one attempt allowed, and the actions on Success and Failure are visible here:

The advanced action SuccessDD4 has three commands:

  • Change State of Target1 to AfterDD
  • Hide Gr_Draggers
  • Continue                                            to release the playhead

Due to hiding the drag sources with this Success event, the On Enter action of the slide has to ‘reset’ the situation by showing the group Gr_Draggers again. This was combined with the assignment of the user variable v_enter for this slide in the action:

  • Assign v_enter with cpInfoCurrentFrame        for the Replay action
  • Show Gr_Draggers

Use Case 2 ?

I hope you can figure out the setup of this slide. This article is a refurbished version of an older article which I wrote for Captivate 9. Feel free to visit that original post. This second use case has been modified: I edited the SVG’s by roundtripping with Adobe Illustrator, and the surprise at the end is no longer a Xmas surprise.

My plans are to upgrade important older blog posts to CP2017 and HTML5 output. At least if you let me know if this would be appreciated 

Congratulations! The Adobe eLearning Community just turned one.


A year ago, August 9th to be precise, the Adobe eLearning Community was born. And what a year it’s been. A year full of excitement for all of us at Adobe and hopefully for all of you out there who have been instrumental in making this portal one of the most widely used and popular resources in the eLearning space today.

The Community over this past year has clearly grown to be a place where all eLearning professionals, from ‘newbie’ to ‘legend’ have not only found resources at their fingertips but have also contributed actively to make it a community in true sense, where peers connect, contribute and consume.

What pleases me most is that almost 90% of the content has been contributed by members of the community – making it truly a community initiative supported by Adobe. Congratulations to all the Legends, Wizards and Masters for your contributions. We look forward to seeing many more among you to share your experience, content and expertise in the coming years.

I look forward to welcoming you at the 10th Adobe Learning Summit (http://www.adobelearningsummit.comin Las Vegas on October 24 where we shall celebrate this momentous milestone!  I want to announce a special pricing to all community members and we will be making an announce on the PROMO code in the coming days. Stay tuned!

While it is physically impossible to host this large community at Vegas, we are exploring how we can do an event that allows us to connect with each one of you in the coming years.

Thank you all for your passion, support, and contribution.

To many more birthdays together!


Tridib Roy Chowdhury
Sr. Director of Products & GM

Repairing/Editing Themes in CP2017

Why this short post?

If you have read my article about the 3 most important stumbling blocks for Captivate (newbie) users, you’ll know that Themes are amongst them.  The components of themes are described in What’s in a Theme/template. and in this post you’ll learn about he use of Theme colors. Almost daily I see questions, comments on the forums like “I don’t use a theme” which is  – sorry for the word – nonsense because every project is based on a theme. The theme with the least intrusive design is the Blank theme, which has no color palette and only offers the minimum set of 6 master slides.
The themes packaged with Captivate 2017 have some issues with the feedback messages:
  1. Hint shape is using the Success Shape Style, should use the existing Hint Shape Style
  2. Failure shape is using the Success Shape style, should use the existing Failure Shape Style
Shapes are set as default for feedback messages, not captions
The feedback captions use an appropriate style in the themes Easiest way to solve the problem would be to change Preferences, Defaults and choose for captions if that is not messing up your design.  Below you’ll read how to ecit the themes.

Where are default Themes stored?

The original themes can be found under the installation folder, in the GalleryLayouts for the language you used when installing. I am on Windows, installed the US version of Captivate and the path on my Win system is:
Crogram FilesAdobeAdobe Captivate 2017 x64GalleryLayouts10_0en_US. 
You’ll also find the ThemeColors folder in that location. The included themes are: (Blank), Blue, Clear, Clean, OldPaper, Poise, Suave, White (which is the default theme). All themes are responsive, but can be used for normal, blank projects.
However, while working with Captivate, you will use the themes from a copied folder. In Windows that copied folder can be found under
UsersPublicPublic DocumentsAdobeeLearning assetsLayouts. 
Reasons for this work flow are possibly:
  •  you cannot mess up the original themes
  •  the Public folder is accessible for developers which do not have administration rights.

If a theme seems corrupted or is too messed up, you can always restore it by copy/paste from the Gallery (need for administration rights). If you have both CP9 and CP2017 installed, you’ll see both Layouts in the copied folder. But the layouts folder for CP2017 has a subfolder ‘bpthemes’ containing all the CP9 themes on my system (not sure if that is the case when you only have a CP2017 install).

TIP: don’t put custom themes in the sames folder as the default themes (Public). If you have to restore all themes by deleting the Layouts folder you will not lose the custom themes. I store them mostly with the project(s) they are used for.

Editing default Themes

Restoring the correct object style for the Failure and Hint shapes is pretty easy: open the Object Style Manager (SHIFT-F7), and replace the Success style by the appropriate style (which does exist) as you can see in this screenshot

I suspect you will want to keep the correct object styles for the feedback messages for future projects as well. Use the menu Themes, option Save Theme.  The result will be that the theme is edited in the copied folder, in the Public documents To change the original theme in the Gallery, you’ll need to do it outside of Captivate, using Explorer and needing administration rights. However a user yesterday reported that the option ‘Save Theme‘ was dimmed(?).  Reason was that he was working in a blank, normal project. All default themes in CP2017 are responsive. To protect the responsiveness, you have to edit the theme from within a responsive project. The option ‘Save theme’ will be available in that case. You can always use a responsive theme in a normal project.

LMS Review: Adobe Captivate Prime by John Leh


Somehow I made it through more than 3 years and 150 LMSs without seeing or reviewing the Adobe Captivate Prime LMS. Recently, several clients asked me about it by name, so I headed to the Adobe website for a first-hand look. I am already a limited member of the Adobe community — I rely on the Adobe Sign service to digitally sign PDFs and use Adobe Stock for my photos and graphics.  Since I was already logged-in as an Adobe user, I  initiated a 30-day free trial of Adobe Captivate Prime with just one click.  Easy.



Strengths of Adobe Captivate Prime include:

  • Free trial
  • Plenty of clear self-service tutorials and free support
  • Ease of use
  • Modern UI with quick response
  • Good LMS for small, simple solutions
  • Simple pricing
  • Good capabilities for course, training plan and certification management
  • Skills focus
  • Content integrations with Lynda and Harvard Mentor Manager
  • Global content management
  • Reporting


There’s room for improvement in several areas:

  • Lack of responsive design requires mobile users to download app
  • Gamification and social are minimal; require more enhancements such as leaderboards and social homepage widgets
  • Not designed for selling content directly through the LMS. However, it supports B2B commerce if transactions are managed outside of the LMS
  • User training completion transcripts are merely unformatted Excel dumps

Read the full review – http://goo.gl/s9CeZq


Contact Adobe:  https://adobe.ly/2ukdQ4h

Show, Don’t Tell – The Power of Visuals in Educational Media


Show, Don’t Tell – The Power of Visuals in Educational Media

Have you ever noticed how drug commercials follow a similar pattern? They highlight a medical disorder, for example, depression, diabetes, overactive bladder, etc. They then introduce their solution — a pill, a shot, a patch. Finally, they list a litany of “side effects” as mandated by federal law.

These narrated effects range from slight nausea, to death — all while B-roll plays of grandpa frolicking with the grand kids in a pool, mom, on a candlelit dinner date with her dashing new boyfriend or Suzie, closing the deal in a 50th floor boardroom. Those viewers who sufferer from that particular affliction often remember the name of the product, but never retain the potential side effects. This is the goal of the advertiser, they want customers to recall the product title, to be able to discuss it with their doctors, but they don’t want them to associate the deleterious effects with the product. This is the power of well designed visuals to influence and guide watchers to a desired conclusion.

So, what does this mean to instructional designers. Increasingly visuals, in all their forms, are becoming a powerful primary channel of information flow. Not just a secondary, complimentary channel as they were in the days of PowerPoint training. (Don’t get me wrong, Stick People were cool, just a little simplistic.)

When you consider adding visuals to your training today you need to consider active video, 2D/3D simulation, competent narration, or a hybrid of all three. You need to seemlessly weave those elements throughout your training, in a way that compliments your primary lesson objective, but doesn’t distract your learner.

Fortunately, its never been easier to do this, also unfortunately, its never been easier to do this.

Like the early days of PowerPoint, there is a lot of shaky iPhone video, rambling narrated software simulations and cheesy 2D animations in many training courses. In order to benefit from the power of multimedia, you need to understand it, but more importantly, you need to adequately plan for, and resource it. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money on equipment or hire professional actors. It does, however mean that you need to think and plan carefully when creating the media and understand what constitutes strong educational multimedia, not what is just distracting noise.

In this blog series, we will cover educational multimedia creation from nuts-to-bolts: planning, design, writing, equipment, execution, tools, tips and more. To hopefully shed some light on the subject, and help create a community of best practices for educational multimedia.