Adobe Captivate: Tips and Tricks

  1. With demonstration modules, the amount of content on each slide can vary considerably. Attention needs to be paid to each slide's timing to ensure enough time is provided for learners to absorb the information, while not lingering too long and losing the learners' interest.

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  2. Video demos are quicker and easier to produce than screen simulations, because instead of generating slides for each interaction, one seamless video is produced. This also means that there's no filmstrip and only one Timeline, rather than a Timeline for each slide. The Timing Inspector is replaced with Video Effects, which provides some editing tools.

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  3. Timing is always an important consideration when adding content to a training module created with Captivate. The default timing for captions and media added to a slide is that the object will display for three seconds. In almost every case, you'll want to adjust that.

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  4. Before adding question slides, it's a good idea to set some basic Quiz Preferences to control quiz navigation and Pass/Fail options.

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  5. Many instructional designers prefer to create custom caption styles. Those custom styles can then be exported and imported into other projects.

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  6. Captivate offers many stylistic options for captions, or you can create your own. This tutorial will show how to edit the default caption style for modules where the captions have already been generated.

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  7. What if you've recorded a simulation or demo but there's a user name visible that shouldn't be made public? No worries! You can create a highlight box to mask it and then merge the box into the background.

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  8. While image editing capabilities are limited, Captivate does provide some basic tools for cropping, flipping, rotating, and adjusting brightness and contrast.

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  9. If you need to change slide dimensions for a module, it's a fairly simple process, but it can't be undone. If you're unsure whether you'll need the original size in the future, create a duplicate of the project. In this example, a project that started out at 1024 x 627 pixels will be resized to 1024 x 768 pixels.

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  10. Almost any SmartShape can hold text. You simply draw the shape and start typing. Some SmartShapes are specifically intended to to hold text, such as callouts.

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  11. Projects can be combined in Captivate. It's simply a matter of copying the slides from one project and pasting them into another.

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  12. In most instances, click sounds on buttons help to engage learners, but there may be occasions where you want to turn them off.

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  13. The Branching Panel provides a visual representation of the links between slides and can be useful for modules that let learners jump between modules, or contain progressive question slides where different actions are specified for right and wrong answers. The Branching Panel also lets you create slide groups to organize the Filmstrip, and you can export the Branching View for storyboarding and project management.

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  14. If a logo needs to be used in a Captivate module and the only file format available is JPG, the logo will have an opaque white background because transparency isn't supported in JPGs. While Captivate isn't an image-editing program, there is a way to remove background color from an image. The result won't be perfect, but, in a pinch, it's a useful tool to have.

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  15. The themes in Captivate include layouts with image placeholders. We'll start by applying a theme and then inserting one of those layouts.

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  16. If you're developing a project with multiple modules, you may choose to give learners the ability to jump to various lessons using buttons, or simply the table of contents. Naming significant slides, such as a lesson start slides, makes that much easier.

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  17. Variables fall into two categories: system and user. System variables can be used to include project information, such as the creation date or author's name in text captions. User variables are used in many ways. One common use is personalizing modules with the learner's name.

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  18. Knowledge Check Questions are like any other questions except they are not graded. They're typically used to qualify for gaining entry to a training module.

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  19. There are many efficiencies built into Captivate, which is one reason it's the preferred software for so many instructional designers. This example will show how a click box that is common to all slides can be resized on all the slides at once.

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  20. Consistent formatting of objects, such as captions and highlight boxes, cannot be understated when it comes to illustrating professionalism in modules. Fortunately, Captivate provides tools for easily achieving that consistency. In this example, a caption style will be changed globally.

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  21. There are two categories of buttons in Captivate: text buttons and image buttons. Text buttons allow you to change the text to read anything you want, whereas image buttons cannot be changed.

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  22. eLearning Brothers is a great resource for instructional designers to access graphics and templates for use in Captivate, Articulate, PowerPoint, and other software. Captivate actually installs with some cutout characters and provides a direct link to the eLearning Brothers website where you can download more.

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  23. Learning interactions are a great way to keep students engaged. They can take the shape of clickable labels, or even interactive games, such as Jeopardy. The steps here will demonstrate how a process circle interaction is built.

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  24. Callouts are directional arrows extending from captions that point to items on the slide.

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