Unknown is Unloved (Flemish Proverb): Branching View

If you are a long-time user of Captivate you certainly know the Branching view as one of the "big three" (with Storyboard and Edit view). But I want to ask you just one question: if you upgraded to version 5: 
 "Did you explore the revamped Branching view - sorry, the Branching panel as it is officially called in the Help?"
 It is part of the Navigation workspace (see blog post about workspaces). Of course you can show this view using the Window menu or the shortcut key SHIFT-CTRL-ALT-B.

Similar to the global user interface, this new panel is quite different from the "old" version. It is up to you to discover its small but useful gems. I would like to help somehow in this exploration. Personally I do use this Branching view more specifically for more complex projects:
  • to look for orphaned slides (unlinked to other slides)
  • to check all links, including success and failure links
  • to label slides (undocumented feature)
  • to control logic of slide groups
  • to export to an image (documenting the project)

When opening Branching view, it will have the activate slide in focus. You will see only two panes: above the Main pane, where you will be able to do some editing, and beneath the 'Preview' pane which I would rather call the Navigation pane where you see which part is visible in the Main pane. You can easily move the orange rectangle in this small Navigation pane to go to another part of the project. In the top right corner you'll find a dropdown list and a slider to change the zoom percentage on the Main pane.

Please, open the hidden pane 'Unlinked slides' by using the arrow button left. This will also show the Legend pane, explaining the color code for the link arrows. A pure black arrow link means that the playhead is just moving on, there is no interactive object in the predecessor slide. Green and Red arrow links to sort from slides with interactive objects, could be linked with Success and Failure paths. Beware: if your are using a high resolution screen you will need to zoom in to see the difference between the colors of the arrows. However when a slide is selected, in focus, the sorting arrow will be enhanced (width increases). I add a screenshot of the Branching view with all panes expanded.


Discovering unlinked slides is very easy with the left most pane, a new and useful feature in CP5. In the screenshot you see that one slide is orphaned, has no links with any other slide.

The Branching view (panel) is dynamically linked with the Filmstrip and with the Slide Properties panel. Any editing in the Branching panel will be immediately reflected in Filmstrip/Properties and vice versa. I created a customized workspace 'MyNavigation workspace' in order to make the three of them visible. You will see this workspace in the added Captivate movie. You can dock the Branching view, and it will take then its minimum width or minimum height. When docked with the Filmstrip in the left station it will have its minimum width. When docked with the timeline in the bottom station it gets its minimum height. I just docked it in the middle, and it shrunk the stage to a tiny small vertical panel (width of my screen = 1600 pixels).  You do not really need the stage for the goals I described, since you can increase the size of the slide in focus by double-clicking it (in CP4 double-clicking a slide in Branching view did get you back to Edit view with that slide on the stage). To maximize the size of the Main Pane you can collapse both the Preview pane and the Unlinked slides pane.

Try double clicking the navigation arrows: you'll see which action is responsible for the navigation from or to that slide. 

I find it rather difficult to show the possibilities of the Branching view only with a blog text. That is why I have tried to create a Captivate movie (partially interactive). In this movie I tried to show
  • the navigation with the preview pane
  • the HUD (Heads Up Display) you will get when selecting a slide or double-clicking a navigation arrow
  • collapsing and expanding slide groups
  • detection of orphaned slides
  • labeling slides
  • changing navigation
  • exporting to an image
If you are creating complex projects, hope you will explore this Branching view. Feel free to let me know if you can appreciate its secrets?

Watch this movie:

Create and Use a "Knockout" Master Slide

Intro

This question appears regularly on the Captivate forum: how can I insert captured slides in a master slide that has a logo and other information on board. Perhaps this small tip with a step-by-step planning can help you achieve your goal. Some images are attached to explain the workflow. And you will need some maths (you know probably already that I'm a maths-lover) but I'll provide you with a simple rule.

Work Flow

For this example I wanted to create a master slide to have a final SWF with a resolution of 920x600 pixels. The captured slides were created with a resolution of 640x480pixels, which left enough space to be filled with logo, text, etc.

Step 1 (in Photoshop or other app) - create the Knockout 

I created an image to be used as master slide. I created such an image in Photoshop but any program that allows you to have transparent pixels will do. This is the first image in the attached gallery. It is exactly 920x600pixels, has left a bar with a width of 200pixels, at the top another with a height of 70 pixels, to the right a bar with a width of 80 pixels and a the bottom a bar with a height of 50 pixels. The transparent region is exactly 640x480 pixels. In the image this transparant region is white.

Step 2 (in Captivate) - first rescale

Some maths to start with:
  1. calculate the difference between the widths of the vertical bars:     200 - 80 = 120 pixels
  2. new width project will be 640 + 120 = 740 pixels
  3. calculate the difference between the heights of the horizontal bars:   70 - 50 = 20 pixels
  4. new height project will be 480 + 20 = 500 pixels
Rescale the project using these settings:
  • deselect 'Maintain aspect ratio' and introduce the new dimensions
  • under 'New Size is Larger', select 'Keep project the same size and position project Bottom Right; I choose this because the bottom bar and the right bar have the smallest dimension;
The original captured size and the size after this first rescale are visible in the second and third image of the Gallery.

Step 3 (in Captivate): second rescale

 Rescale now to the final size, for this example to 920x600 pixels, with those settings:
  •  deselect 'Maintain aspect ratio' and introduce the final dimensions
  • under 'New Size is Larger', select 'Keep project the same size and position project Center
The fourth image in the Gallery shows the situation after the second rescale of the project.

Step 4 (in Captivate): apply master slide

Go into the Master slide panel and import the Knockout image either to the Library or immediately to the slide. Be sure it is positioned at X=Y=0 (Properties panel). Apply the Master slide to the captured and rescaled slides. The last image in the Gallery shows the result.

The Gallery is not really showing the image as I posted them. The white space that is added after the rescaling has partially be trimmed, and the difference in total size is not visible because all images are rescaled automatically. I'm very sorry about that, should move over to a better blog hosting.

Please let me know if this kind of small tip is useful, and do not hesitate to give me suggestions.

Shortcut Keys: Moving and Resizing Objects

Intro


In a previous posting I promised to write something about my favourite shortcut keys.  And since editing is something that takes up quite a lot of time, I want to share some tips about that part of the workflow. How can you move, resize and align objects in an efficient way using shortcut keys? And there are quite a lot of (hidden) shortcuts. In the Captivate blog
 

Do you know the Registration point?

For Captivate users that are not familiar with Flash, I first want to explain the importance of the registration point for Captivate objects. If you are a Flash user just skip this, but you will have to know that in Captivate it is not possible to move this registration point.
The registration point is always the upper left corner of the bounding box of an object: you see some examples in the first image. The coordinates you are seeing in the Properties panel, region Size and Position are the coordinates of this point. For the math lovers (also for non-math-lovers): do know that the zero point of the coordinates is situated in the upper left corner of the stage. This means that the X-coordinate of the registration point is the horizontal  distance (in pixels) from the left side of the stage and the Y-coordinate is the vertical distance from the upper side of the stage. In the image gallery included in this posting I show the registration points for some objects.

Why is this point so important?

  • If you use the snap to grid feature, it is the registration point that will snap to the grid.
  • If you use a shortcut key to increase the size of an object, the registration point will not move, it is the opposite corner (down right) that will move.
  • If you align objects their registration points will be aligned. I added some alignment examples in the image gallery

Grid and Snap

Did you ever use the grid? There is a button to show/hide that grid (or you can use the View menu). The default size of the grid mesh width is 16 pixels, but you can change this in the Preferences, Global, General Settings. If you activate the "Snap to Grid" (with button or View menu), moving an object with the mouse or with an arrow key will cause the registration point of that object to snap to one of the grid points.  But did you know that the mesh width is also important when moving and resizing objects with shortcut keys?
 

Moving objects using shortcut keys 

How can you move an object with shortcut keys?  Be sure to have the Selector tool activated and select the object.  If the Snap to Grid is activated, an arrow key will always move the registration point to the next grid point. But if this snap is deactivated:
  • Using an arrow will move the object (by its registration point) by one pixel in that direction.
  • Using an arrow in combination with SHIFT will move the object 10 pixels in that direction.
  • Using an arrow in combination with CTRL will move the object by the mesh width of the grid, thus 16pixels if you did not change the default valuedirection.
This works also fine with multiple selections

 

Resizing objects using shortcut keys

For resizing activate/deactivate the snap is not important. Here are the possible shortcuts:
  • Using ALT+RIGHT will increase the width of the bounding box with one pixel (registration point will not move).
  • Using ALT+LEFT will decrease the width of the bounding box with one pixel (registration point will not move).
  • Using ALT+DOWN will increase the height of the bounding box with one pixel (registration point will not move).
  • Using ALT+UP will decrease the height of the bounding box with one pixel (registration point will not move).
If you combine SHIFT+ALT+Arrow: instead of 1 pixel the size change will be in steps of 10 pixels.
If you combine CTRL+ALT+Arrow: instead of 1 pixel the size change will be the mesh width (16 pixels if you did not change the default value).
 
As with moving those shortcut keys also work with a multiple selection.
 

My favourite sequence

  • Duplicate an object with CTRL-D; the duplicate will be placed 10 pixels to the right and 10 pixels down the original
  • Use SHIFT+UP to align the tops of the duplicate and the original; then you can use one of the other shortcuts to move the duplicate to the right  OR
  • Use SHIFT+LEFT to align duplicate's left side with the original; then you can use one of the other shortcuts to move the duplicate down.
Here is a captivate training to practice this workflow.

Unleash the Power of Variables in Captivate with Advanced Actions

A couple of weeks ago I blogged 'Curious about variables in Captivate 4&5', pointing to an introductory article on variables.

Was a little bit wondering why no one blamed me yet for not keeping my promise to publish a second part, explaining how to extend this power by using (simple) advanced actions. I always try to keep promises, but had a lot of deadlines to meet.

The promised article is just published. As the previous one it is meant for those users who want to start using variables and advanced actions, not for experienced programmers. You will see how to realize this video, where system variables and user variables are used. The Advanced actions are explained elaborately, you will create four Advanced Standard Actions and one really simple Advanced Conditional Action.  You will learn about the need for initializing. In this article the statements for the actions that you will use are:

  • Show to make an invisible object visible
  • Hide to make a visible object invisible
  • Assign to change the content of a variable
  • Expression to create a formula to be stored in a variable
  • Apply Effect to apply an effect to an object whenever the Advanced Action is played
  • Jump to to branch to a slide

You can play with this SWF. There are different ways to show a date, p.e. today will be indicated as:

10/6/2010   in the USA

6/10/2010   in Europe

2010/10/6   according to ISO rules

Make your choice, you can change your mind as often as you want. If you are getting curious about the workflow for this movie, check the link to the article:


Just hope that you will be as captivated as me by the way you can control your movies using those actions!

Some Reasons for Labeling in Adobe Captivate

Before plunging into this subject, I want to thank those who commented, tweeted, e-mailed as a reaction to my previous blog post 'To blog or not to blog?' A lot of those reactions really touched me, and they provided me with the energy needed to get on with the blog. Please, feel free to suggest new subjects or react to the postings, I would appreciate it a lot.

 

If  you have been reading one or more of my articles, you already know  that I'm addicted to labeling all kind of objects in Captivate. This is partly but not only due to my playing a lot with Advanced actions. I will try to explain the reasons for spending "precious" developing time to label master slides, slides, objects, effects, audio etc. Although the screenshot in this posting are from Captivate 5, a lot of the reasons mentioned are also valid for earlier versions of Captivate. Where necessary I will indicate that it is only valid for version 5.

Screenshots are in a Gallery at the end of this post.

 

1. Why do I label slides?

First of all, it is so much easier to find a particular slide in the Filmstrip and in the Branching view.
For complex projects I use the Branching view a lot and  as you can see on this first screenshot if feels more comfortable to judge the different workflows in the project when meaningful labels are visible. If I'm working with slide groups I may just label the slides within a group with the group name followed by a number, especially if the slides are the result of capturing some software process.

Tip for CP5 users:  do you know that it is possible to label slides in this Branching view using the HUD (Heads Up Display)? In this HUD you can also define the action 'Jump to'. Do not forget to confirm either labeling and/or jump action with the positive tick.

Since I'm often using a Table of Contents in my projects, the navigation for the user will be facilitated by labeling the slides as you can see in this second screenshot. 

For navigation in a non-linear project assigning the action 'Jump to slide X' is often necessary, and it is so much easier to jump to a labeled slide than having to search for the right number of a slide one wants to jump to. This is even more the case when inserting this kind of action in the Advanced Actions dialog box.

And, more specific for reporting reasons, the Advanced Interaction view will show the slide labels as well.
  

2. Why do I label objects?

Let us start with Non-interactive objects (that cannot be scored by default): Text Caption, Rollover Caption, Rollover Image,  Highlight Box, Zoom object, Image, Drawing objects. Labeling those objects is interesting in all CP-versions if those objects are used in actions like Hiding/Showing and certainly if those actions are in Advanced actions (CP4 and CP5 only).

Only for CP5 users: did you see that object labels are visible on the timeline? This should be stimulating to label them, at least when you have a lot of objects on a slide. Try to select one out of all those Click boxes (see screenshot) if they are indicated by their default names Click_Box_x!  Only Text Captions  are by default easily recognizable on the Timeline because the text (or part of it) is visible.

Same reasons are valid for Interactive objects (that can be scored by default).

Only for CP5 users: extra advantage is objects labels will be visible in the Advanced Interaction view!


3. How do I label Advanced actions and variables?

Here you have no choice: each advanced action and each variable has to be labeled. Some tips? I will always start a variable name with v_ to make it clear that this is not a simple object. In dropdown lists where system and user variables are mixed up, all user variables will then be grouped together.
Advanced actions have to be triggered by an even like Entering a slide, clicking on a button or a click box. Since Advanced actions will have to be assigned to the 'trigger' for the action, I will often put an indication to the trigger in the action label. This is very useful when you need similar actions to be triggered by similar events (where you will use duplicate functionality and editing). I believe this will better be explained by a couple of examples:

  • If the action is to be triggered when entering a slide labeled 'Menu', this advanced action I'll label 'EnterMenu'
  • If the action is to be triggered as a success action for a Click Box and there are different Click Boxes with similar actions, I will choose a similar name for the Click Boxes (such as Yes1, Yes2,...) and the corresponding actions are labeled CB_Yes1, CB_Yes2,... Attributing the correct action to the corresponding Click Box is then a lot easier.

 

If you are not yet persuaded that labeling has a lot of advantages, I give up ;-) But you have to know that for most project I will also label master slides, decisions in advanced conditional actions, voice over clips, customized effects and object styles.

Here is the image gallery: Branching view, TOC, Timeline and Advanced Interactions view.


 

 

 

 

 

 

To Blog or Not to Blog?

At the end of this posting I will offer a small 'toggle' tip. Feel free to jump my (first) personal reflections and get immediately to that tip.

Just one month ago I started a 'trial period' with this blog, and it is the moment to decide if I will continue?  Why did I start?

  • Using the Adobe Online Publishing application I had published several articles, tutorials about new and improved aspects in Adobe Captivate 5. But those articles were not that easy to find, and I felt a little bit frustrated. Several kind friends offered to post a link to them on their website/blog.
  • Publishing an article takes quite a lot of time. And I had so many ideas, tips I wanted to offer to the Captivate Community. I thought that a blog was an easier and quicker way to achieve that.
  • Have been tweeting small tips, sometimes adding a screenshot. But 140 characters (or less if using an image) are limiting of course.
  • As I am rather active on the Captivate user forums, some questions are repeated by several users, and being able to point to an example on the blog seemed to be a better solution than having to create static screenshots to try to explain each time. 
  • Until now I only rely on my intuition and experiences on the user forum to choose subjects for the articles and for the blog postings. The articles did get a few comments, and I was hoping to have a more active interaction with readers on this blog, to get feedback, eventually suggestions for new subjects.

What are my conclusions after this month:

  • Positive: I am really amazed by the number of views of this blog; but is this proving that it did help someone?
  • Negative: no interaction at all, no comments. Being a teacher that gets upset when a class of students is silently absorbing without any reaction or question, this is hard to deal with.

Here is the reason why I am wondering if I would be able to go on with this blog. This morning I sent a tweet asking for advice. Thanks to Rick, Jason, Jenise and Dieter for their reactions. Please, if you have read this until now, send me a tweet (@Lilybiri) or post a comment. Tell me what subjects you would like me to blog about, concerning Adobe Captivate and the eLearning Suite.

 

Toggle-tip

Play this project (it is only one slide), to see what I will explain. Everything has been done with the built in Effects in Captivate 5. Try the three buttons in the top right corner:

  1. Playbar:  clicking this button toggles the visibility of the playbar
  2. Mute: clicking this button pauses/plays the audio  (hope it will play, first time I post a SWF with audio on posterous)
  3. CC: clicking this button toggles CC on/off

What do you think? No, I did not create a conditional action to be triggered by those buttons at all. To be honest, I got this suggestion from the Adobe team. You only have to create an Standard Advanced Action for each button. And this action has only one statement, an Expression. In this screensho you see an example (for the first button 'Playbar'). If the system variable cpCmndShowPlaybar = 0 (playbar is invisible) this Expression will result in 1 and the playbar will get visible. But if the variable = 1 (playbar is visible) the Expression will result in 0 and the playbar will be hidden. The actions for the two other buttons are similar, but use the system variables cpCmndMute (for the Mute-button) and cpCmndCC (for the CC-button).

Workspaces in Captivate 5

In Captivate 5 workspaces are introduced, to make its interface line up with other Adobe applications. In a workspace panels are arranged normally in groups and have a fixed place in one of the three available docking stations or docks: the left, the right (both vertical docks) and the bottom (horizontal) dock. There is no docking station at the top, where you have the menu and a couple of toolbars. It is always possible to make a panel floating, and to put it elsewhere outside of the docking stations.

Which workspaces are provided with Captivate out of the box, and what is their arrangement and goal? I'll try to give some indications, since this is apparently missing in the Help. 

Classic Workspace

This is the default workspace that appears when you start Captivate for the first time, or when you have not changed any workspace arrangement. Probably you will be working a lot in this workspace because it has the most common used panels on board for working with a Cp-file.
  • in the left dock you have the Object toolbar (call it the Toolbox myself) and the Filmstrip. If you turn the Filmstrip into a floating panel, you can adjust its dimensions and it doubles as the former Edit view.
  • in the right dock you have the Properties panel, grouped together with the Library
  • in the bottom dock resides the Timeline
 Note: do I use this workspace? Yes, a lot, but I customized it  by adding the Master slide, Slide notes and the Effects panels to the bottom dock. When working with effects I will turn the Timeline in a floating panel and put it at the top of the stage.

Applying Skin Workspace

This is the same arrangement as the Classic workspace, but the Skin editor panel is added as a floating panel. It is meant to be used when you are editing the skin, TOC and borders included. 

Note: do I use this workspace? No, for this goal I just open the Skin editor (SHIFT-F11) on top of my customized classic workspace. Perhaps because this Skin editor is not used that many times during the editing of a project.

Navigation Workspace

This is also the arrangement of the Classic workspace, this time with the Branching view on top as a floating panel. This is clearly meant for navigation in more complex projects, where the linear Filmstrip is not sufficient. I think that the Branching view is really underestimated and am using it a lot.

Note: do I use this workspace? Yes, for more complex projects it allows me more quickly to pop up the Branching view than having to use the Window menu or trying to use the complicated shortcut key SHIFT-CTRL-ALT-B (cannot do this blindly, my hand doesn't like a combination of more than 3 keys).

Quizzing Workspace

This workspace is the most different one (and I like it). It has these panels:

  • in the left dock you still have the Toolbox, but the Filmstrip has been replaced by the Quizzing Properties panel
  •  in the right dock only the Properties panel is left
  •  in the bottom dock you will have 3 panels: Timeline, Question Pool and the Filmstrip (banned from the left dock) with the Filmstip in focus
This workspace is recommended while working with Question slides. When editing a Question slide you need both the Quizzing Properties (configuration of the Question itself) and the Properties (for formatting, layout of the Question slide) a lot. That is the reason that they have been separated between the left and the right dock. Question pool is right available in the bottom dock too. 

Note: do I use this workspace? Yes, and I customized it a little bit: added the Master slide panel to the bottom dock and the Library to the right dock. When checking the scores I will often open the Advanced Interaction view as a floating panel on top of this workspace, but that is easy using shortcut F9. You see my customized workspace for Quizzing in this screenshot.
   

Review Workspace

This is again a Classic workspace with one modification: the Comments panel is added to the right dock, not in the same group as Properties and Library but in the bottom part.

Note: do I use this workspace? No, certainly because until now I did not have any reviewers. But I think that I would prefer to have the Comments panel in the left dock and put the Filmstrip in the bottom dock in that case because the properties panel needs all the 'real estate' it can get. 

Widget Workspace

Similarly to the Review Workspace the bottom part of the right dock is here filled by the Widget panel. It is meant to be used when inserting Widgets.

Note: do I use this workspace? I have tried to use it, but changed it quickly and docked the Widgets panel in the left dock grouped with the Filmstrip. The bottom part of the right dock is too small.

Some Ideas for Photoshop Roundtripping with Captivate in eLearning Suite 2

I really do like the new feature in the eLearning Suite 2 that allows you to edit the source file in Photoshop from Captivate. In Captivate 4 you had already the possibility to import a layered Photoshop file, indicate which layers you wanted to use. But after import each layer was converted to a PNG-image. If you wanted to change an image, you did have roundtripping to Photoshop and it worked fine. But if you had to change multiple images, that were all imported from the same Photoshop file, you had to repeat this 'trip' for each of those images separately.

In Captivate 5 you can edit all layers at once using the 'Edit Source PSD file'. If you never used this possibility I created a small demonstration to show the workflow. In one of the Photoshop-files I created with reusable objects I have two buttons, using five layers as you can see in this screenshot. When imported in Captivate, as you'll see in the demonstration I can create each of the buttons using three images: an Text image (Nee or Ja), a background color (RoodNee or BlauwJa) and the Overlay (which I use for both buttons). Both text and background color have to be changed.

Similarly I created Photoshop files with all kind of arrows, with text balloons etc. The idea is to be able to reuse those items, and when necessary to change quickly the color by using the roundtripping feature I described in the demo.

Customize your Quiz using Advanced Actions (CP5)

Captivate has a lot of predefined question slides on board of all kinds. Formatting options have been greatly improved in version 5 using the Object Style Manager and the Property Inspector. But those Question slides are different from normal slides, and you have much less control over them. Just some examples:

  • you do not see the different objects on the Timeline, it shows only one 'interactive object', although you have a lot of Text Captions, dropdown lists, Text Entry Boxes and buttons on the slide
  • you can have only one type of Question on a slide,
  • the score for a Question slide is always 'black/white', correct or incorrect, you can never have a partial score
  • you can add only non interactive objects on the Question slide (no buttons, no click boxes, no Text Entry Boxes)
  • you can customize the success/failure captions for each Question slide
  • even have up to 3 different failure captions but... Review message wiil be the same for all Question slides

To have more control you can create your own Question slides. Of course this is possible using Flash (or Dreamweaver). Using standard objects, variables and Advanced actions can however result in constructing most of the Question slide types, except for the types that involve drag-and-drop (as can be used in Sequence and Matching Questions). I published several articles for different usecases. In the articles I provide a Captivate SWF to show the result and start files (for downloading), to enable you to practice the workflow described in the article. Here are the links:

  1. Creating a test resulting in multiple scores: using Advanced Standard and Conditional actions you will construct a test that will collect scores about the learning type of the user (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic). Contrary to a normal Quiz resulting in one score, here you will obtain three scores. Those scores will be used in the next article:

  2. Conclusion based on multiple scores: based on scores obtained in the previous article, you will use one Advanced Standard and one Advanced Conditional action to show the conclusion. I meant this article to be an introduction to the new User Interface of Advanced actions.

  3. Create question slides with partial scoring and customized feedback: one of the issues with the default Captivate Question slides is that the user never can get partial scores if his answer is partially correct. In this article I created a hotspot question slide with multiple hotspots and the user can get a partial score.

  4. Create customized feedback: in this video tutorial you will learn how to use an Advanced Conditional action (with multiple decisions) to show differentiated feedback based on the score of a Quiz constructed with the default Question slides of Captivate. This video is meant as an introduction in the terminology and workflow of Conditional actions.

I hope this can help to start using Advanced actions. Please, feel free to comment and suggest other usecases.

Editing Motion Paths and Reusing Customized Effects

One of the new features in Captivate 5 are Effects. Krishna Kiran posted an interesting introduction to those effects in the Captivate blog. Here is the link:
Effects allow you to apply special formating such like dropdown shadows and bevel and to create simple animations without having to use Flash. In this tip I will show how you can adapt motion paths when using motion effects. It is possible to save customized effects and use them again in the same project or in another one. Once you have re-used a customized effect, it will be added in the dropdown-lists to a special category, labeled  Custom. If you want to see the custom effect also in the Advanced actions dropdown list, you'll have first to apply it in a time-based version to an object.
 
It is also possible to reorganize the effects in folders, but this involves deleting the Preferences folder in order to have this reorganisation reflected in the dropdown lists of the Effects panel.
 
I created this demonstration SWF to show how to customize a motion effect, to save and to reuse it.