Tips and Tricks: Advanced to Shared action (intermediate)


Recently i presented ‘Deep dive into Captivate with Shared and Advanced actions’ at the Adobe eLearning Word  202 conference.  During that presentation I used the ‘newbie’ scenario because the start poll pointed out that the majority of attendees were not really familiar with those actions. For the intermediate or advanced user, will try to post some blogs about tips which I would have included in my alternative scenario.  You may have seen the memory game which I published yesterday, and shows how you ca n include short JS scripts in the shared action.

The following tips are linked with my more than 19 years history of using Advanced actions, and 6 years with Shared actions. My viewpoints have changed quite a lot in that period. Presently my natural attitude is to reflect in most situations whether a Shared action is not appropriate. Why? One of the reasons is of course rIusability (with an external library), but even more important: it forces me to find better workflows. 

Throughout the presentation I used a demonstration project (include d here as well) FlipCard.   It started with an original slide from the Quick Start Project ‘Alliance’. I added two slides where the functionality of the original slide was extended  to have more functionality (toggle flipcard, forced view, reset of slide on re-enter). I used two different workflows for the Advanced action and the Shared action slides. Why? You’ll discover it below.

You can download the project file using this link.


Actions in the slides

Advanced interaction panel (F9) shows all actions on the 3 slides

Slide 1 (original from the QSP)

As you can see in the screenshot above, this slide has no action On Enter (normally meant to Reset), only   3 similar advanced actions for the flipcards. Those cards are shapes used as buttons, with two states: an image in the Normal state and the explanation in the Active state. Here is a screenshot of the advanced action for one flipcard:

The state Active is shown instead of the Normal state, a spin effect is applied and the shape button (flipcard) is disabled.  This means:

  • You cannot flip back to the image, because the shape button is disabled
  • Nothing happens when all flipcards have been flipped. Without a default playbar or adding a custom Next button, the learner will be blocked
  • When revisiting the slide:
    • the images will show up again, because the option ‘Retain state when slide is revisited’ is not activated
    • the shape buttons remain disabled, no clicking possible
    • which also means there is nothing to pause the slide, after moving throughout the duration (3seconds) of the slide the playhead continues to the next slide

 Slide 2 (extended Advanced actions)

To fix the issues of the first slide, the advanced actions used here look like this example:

This advanced action has two decisions. The changes in a nutshell:

  • The command ‘Go to state ‘Active” has been replaced by ‘Go to Next State’; this means that clicking act a s a toggle, since the shape buttons have only two states. It would also have been an advantage if this action was converted to a SA, one parameter less.
  • To track the clicks, a variable is needed for each of the flipcards, in this screenshot it is v_one. Its default value = 0, is toggled to 1 when the flipcard is clicked and that value remains 1. It is a so-called Boolean variable.
  • The second decision is conditional, checks the value of all the tracking variables and shows in this case a Next button.

When revisiting the slide, some issues are now automatically solved, but to have the slide behave completely like the first time, an action On Enter for the slide was used. 

That action will hide the Next button, and reset the tracking variables to their default value, 0.

Slide 3 (Shared Actions)

Many expected that I would convert the Advanced actions of the second slide to shared actions (at least for the flip act), but I used another workflow. If I use the Shared action ‘FlipAct’ as template for an advanced action for the first flipcard (as demonstrated in the session) it would have looked like this (Preview window):

That looks more complicated:

  • The command ‘Assign var with 1’ has been replaced by an Increment command
  • A new variable v_counter was added to keep track of the clicks. It is only incremented on the first click as you see in the second decision. For shared actions I don’t mind so much about needing more variables. Whe they are not defined as a parameters, they are created automatically when importing the action. Moreover this makes the last decision easier
  • since I need only to check the value of v_counter. Instead of comparing with a literal (which should have been 3 in the first project), another variable v_max was used which will be populated with the On Enter action. That will make the shared action more flexible. 

Result of this workflow is that only 3 parameters are needed for the shared action FlipAct:

For the Reset issue, I could have used an Advanced action, slightly different from the second slide. However I also converted it to a Shared action. Why?  When I drag that SA to another project, all variables (none are parameters here) will be created. For that same reason, I added some variables (here  7). This is a filled in action to be used On Enter, only the last two commands need a parameter. One of them is the number of flipcards (value fo v_max):

Not convinced?

For those who are not yet sure that the second workflow is better for shared actions, have converted the first Flip advanced action to a shared action. These would have been the needed parameters:

This is the situation if you have only 3 Flipcards. If you have 5 flipcards, you’ll will have 2 extra parameters: tracking variables.  The risk of missing to indicate the correct parameters when attaching the shared action to the shape buttons is much bigger than with the shared action I used in the third slide.


'Advanced Interaction panel' - Q&A


Some panels in Captivate are ‘under-used’, perhaps because they never show up automatically in the Newbie UI which is the standard after installing the application. You may have discovered the Branching view panel, but from what I hear on the forums the Advanced Interaction panel is much less visited.  Personally I use it very frequently, find it very useful (contrary to the Branching view) in many circumstances. Both panels will open as floating panel.

You have 3 ways to open the Advanced Interaction panel::

  1. By using the shortcut key F9
  2. From the Project menu which has Advanced Interaction as option
  3. As expected, since it is a panel, you can also open from the Window menu.

Although it looks like most l panels, it is a ‘passive’ panel. You cannot really edit an field in this panel, but that doesn't mean you have to skip reading the rest of the post. 

Exploration of the panel

Name of this pane can be confusing. It is not limited to information about Advanced Actions (often confused with interactions).Let us explore it in-depth.

Control bar

In the top of the panel you’ll see the control bar. of this screenshot.  I ‘translated’ the tooltips:

From left to right:

  • Next to view you see ‘All Scorable Objects. That label is not correct, because you can show not only scorable objects. This is a button, when you open the panel, default is the ‘pressed’ state. That means that all the filters (icons further on the bar) are selected. There is no way to deselect them all at once, has to be done manually. But if some or all of the filters have been unselected, pressing this ‘All Scorable Objects’ will activate all Filters. I really wished this was a toggle button to select/deselect all filters but that is not the case.

  • Next to ‘Filter by’ you have icon buttons,. The explanation is visible in the screenshot above. Those icon buttons are toggles. In the screenshot all filters are active with the exception of  two which I deactivated: 'Interactive Widget'  because since 11.5 there is no interactive widget (learning interaction) packaged with Captivate anymore, and Hidden Slides because I don’t have hidden slides. Two of the item categories in the filters can never be scored: Hidden slides and Hyperlinks. The other categories can be scored, but need not to be scored. Think about Drag&Drop slides which can be used as Knowledge Check slides. Same for Text Entry Boxes, buttons, click boxes. Knowledge Check and Pretest slides will appear in the same style as normal Question slides.

  • In the center you see ‘Total…x points’. Beware; this is the total of the scores of the items shown in the table using the filters. If you show only the questions, you’ll see the total score of the questions, but scores of  other scoreable objects will not be included. 

  • At the end you see three buttons: first will collapse all items to the highest level (which is slides), second will expand all items and the last allows you to print the table which can be useful.


Some of the column headings are confusing.  Let us start with a very simple state of the table, which can be supplementary to or an alternative for the Filmstrip. All filters are deselected in this screenshot (marked in purple). Advanced interaction panel is floating, you can resize it. This is the minimum size which is possible, the missing columns are not relevant in this status.

In this situation you see only the slides (top level item)… with the exception of the Question slides. The first column shows the slide numbers, the second the name if you edited the name. The missing slides 4-11 are quiz slides. It is a bit strange that the Results slide is showing. 

The column ‘Success’ heading is misleading. On slide level this column shows eventual actions triggered by the On Enter event.   The actions are identified: simple action (slide 1, 13), Advanced action  (slide 2) or Shared action (slide 3). 

The panel is dynamically linked to the Filmsbrip. If you click another slide, it will be selected in the Filmstrip and its Properties panel will appear. 

Similar the column ‘Failure is showing the actions triggered by the On Exit event of the slide.

When the filters of the first screenshot (control bar) are activated (sorry Hidden slides i added here, but is not relevant), this will be the result:

All objects from the filter categories are now visible, with their actions. The type of object is in the  second column. ‘Smartshape’ is a shape button, Image is a bitmap image used as button, SVG is a SVG used as button. I don’t have click boxes, TEBs nor Drag&Drop in this example.

When you select an object in the table, the dynamic link will result in the object being selected on the stage and its Properties panel popping up. A nice enhancements would be to have the Quiz Properties being selected when you choose a quiz slide. 

Success column shows the action triggered by the Success event in this case. It doesn’t matter whether there is a score or not.

“Failure” column is still not a correct heading for most instances. Only when the number of Attempts is set to 1 it will be a real Failure event. For attempts higher than 1, the name should be replaced by ‘Last Attempt‘ action. If the number of Attempts is Infinite, there will never be a Failure attempt, you can ignore that column.

Watch the other columns having an entry, they summarize the settings for scored items and quiz slides: score (Points), penalty (Negative score), whether the score is added to the Quiz total (default quiz slide’s score is always added, but not marked here), if they are included in the quiz and reporte (get interaction ID-. All settings of the Reporting section for interactive objects.


Advanced Interaction panel is fantastic. When using Drag&Drop slides the Success column will show the action ‘On Success’. When you have a limited amount of Attempts, the ‘Failure’ column will sow the ‘Last Attempt’ action. But if you are a fan of the Object Actions  (like me) you have to know that they will NOT appear in this panel. Maybe in a future release?

Use cases

Quiz result

A question often appearing in the forums ‘I have answered every question correctly, but I don’t have a score of 100%’. 

Answer; use F9 to open the Advanced Interaction panel. Check the total score on top (all filters are selected by default). Is that what you expected or is it higher? If it is higher look for other scorable objects in the Points column.

Working with Advanced/Shared actions

Having an overview of all events to which you have attributed actions is a time saver.  Moreover, due to the dynamic link, you can navigate immediately to a ‘suspicious event’.

Example 1: You have created some enhanced advanced actions to replace the present ones. To double-check if the replacement has been done for all the events, use this panel.

Example 2: After testing out an advanced action, you’ll replace it with a shared action. Did you not forget some?

Example 3: some slides do not reset on testing. Check if they have (or need) an On Enter action. Find the slide without On Enter action in this dialog box.

Example 4:  because your project now needs to be viewed on multiple devices and browser resolutions, you decided to replace all images used as buttons by SVGs. Filter on the buttons and you have a good overview of tthose image buttons (at least if you use a consistent labeling system).

Find the Twins - Game (Shared Actions)


Looking back in my blog history, I remember very well the first Memory Game created 10 years ago (with version 5.5). It was quite an adventure, because I wanted to prove it to be possible without having to use ActionScript  (since only SWF output was available).

Now 10 years later, ActionScript has been replaced by JavaScript but  I still try to create games without having to use JS.  That is possible when randomness is not necessary as is the case for this game. However newer features like multistate objects, SVGs which can be used as buttons, and most important 'Shared Actions' make it a lot easier now. Kudos to the Captivate team!

Have fun with the embedded version (fixed size), or the rescalable version using this link

Extensions possible?

The structure of this game allows a lot of flexibility. The two challenges have a different total number of shapes. Shapes can be replaced by images to convert it into a kid's game. It is also possible to increment the number of pairs, or to make a search for trios instead of pairs.

SVGs  used as buttons have several advantages. You can limit the clickable area to the image, instead of to the bounding box. They remain crisp ion all devices, whatever the browser resolution.  Disadvantage is that they take a while to redraw, which you may have seen when the slide was reset. 

As you could read I used:

  • 3 shared actions.  one of them was used 30 times!  If you are not yet convinced about the value of Shared actions over Advanced actions, I will present about both on 24th of June in the  Adobe eLearnng World 2020 conference.
  • 2 advanced actions for the Reset action On Enter for the challenge slides
  • 4 variables

Replace Rollovers: Click/Reveal interactions (back to basics)


There are many ways to create a Click/Reveal interaction. Some are very old (with jump to slide), others are pretty old (show/hide) and lot depends on the exact situation. It is possible that I will make a complete analysis, although  I don’t think this will appeal to many users.

However my sense of justice is too keen, and I cannot  leave this type of comment (newbie)  without reacting:

This is basic stuff right! Why is it so complicated?  “

If you want to know more, explore the discussion link.

I created a quick example of the most basic workflow which can be used. Will explain step-by-step.


A two-slide project. The Click/Reveal interaction is on the second slide. You see three characters, which act as toggle buttons. When you click a character, a speech bubble will show up, when you click the character again, the speech bubble will disappear.

There is a Back button top left (but you can also use the Back button on the playbar which I have left in this project). You'll see that when revisiting the slide, the original situation is reset: no speech bubbles. Even if you leave the slide with one or more speech bubbles opened.

You can use this link to view a rescalable version or watch the embedded one below (fixed resolution):


Step 1 Characters to button

Download the Characters and insert them on the slide.  Check the option ‘Use as button’ in the Properties panel (red outline in screenshot below). Leave the option ‘Retain state on slide revisit’ unchecked (green outline)
TIP: you don’t have to do this three times. Select the three inserted Characters (using CTRL button to add to the selection, or by creating a selection rectangle which cuts the three characters. Check the option in the Properties and it will be done for all the Characters.


Step 2: Custom state

Select one of the Characters. Click the State view button in the Properties.  Look at the screenshot above, where you see the button with a Blue outline. The  Object state panel will appear, which will have 3 states because you have a ‘button’: Normal, Rollover and Down. I deleted the last two ‘InBuilt’ states. They were identical to the normal state. You can do that with the right-click menu as shown in this screenshot. The Down state was already deleted, here the Rollover state will be deleted. 

Now add a Custom State using the New State button. Make sure to choose Custom under the first dropdown list (click the triangle button). You can edit the default name (NewState1). You have seen in the previous screenshot that I labeled it ‘Answer’.

That state will be selected, and you can add the speech bubble (eventually even with audio attached to it) and or any other object you want. Use the stage, where all will be dimmed in the background except your new custom state:

Close the Object State panel using the Exit State button at the end of the top Big Button Bar:

Step 3: Actions

Select the Actions tab in the Properties panel for the selected Character button. For the On Success event  set up this action:

You may see how easy it is to detect the multistate object to choose from the second dropdown list, since its name appears at the top of the Properties panel.

IMPORTANT! You have to uncheck the option ‘Continue playing the Project’ (red outline). That will prevent the playhead to be released. Will not expand in this article on pausing the timeline.

Your toggle button (character) is ready.  Start testing using F11, Preview HTML in Browser.

Comparison with Show/Hide

What are the advantages of the described workflow over the older Hide/show workflow which was chosen by the user:

  • Show/Hide will need a lot more objects on the slide. In the multistate workflow the character is the only object: it is used as button, and the bubble (eventually the audio and/or other objects) is in a state of the character.
  • Since using 'Go to Next State' will loop between the Normal and the Custom state, there is no need for a close button. If you want to achieve the same with Show/Hide you can also create such a toggle button, but that means a tracking variable and a conditional advanced or shared action. If you don't want a toggle button, you need to add a close button to the group to be shown.
  • One of the biggest advantages is the automatic reset when revisiting the slide. Because the option 'Retain state when revisiting the slide' is unchecked, revisiting the slide will result in having the Normal state for each of the Character buttons. If you use a Show/Hide workflow, you have to use the On Enter event of the slide to reset everything, which means another advanced or shared action.

Hope you understand why I labeled this post as being a 'super easy' workflow. Multistate objects are available since version 9, there is no reason why you want a more complicated workflow in the 3/4 last versions.

To be honest, there is one disadvantage: you cannot apply an effect to the Speech bubble when appearing.

Game: test your logical mind!

If you have watched my course about Using Shared Actions, you'll already know that this is one of my favorite features. It makes it possible for newbies to create rather complicated tutorials without need of programming skills. 

I already uploaded a game recently, here is another one. You can use this link or play with the embedded one:

It was created with SVGs (thanks to Illustrator), one shared action, two advanced actions (which could be converted to shared actions as well), Drag&Drop features, multistate objects. The setup makes the game very flexible. In the example sequences were all with 6 shapes, but you can create them with any number of shapes. You would have to find a new indicator for the degressive score if you have more or less shapes. The adult version can be converted to a kid's game, by using easier sequences . Have fun!

Who is afraid of ... Shared Actions? Crash course - Lesson 2 (step-by-step)


You prefer step-by-step workflow for this second lesson over a video. Great. Let us start with this second lesson,  explaining how to use the shared actions from the first project in your project. Believe me: it is as intuitive as the first lesson.

Workflow: (re)Use shared actions in your projects

Step 1: Preparation

To follow this workflow, you need a project with at least two slides:

  1. Content on the first slide is not important, it is meant to allow you to test the project.
  2. Second slide needs to have these objects:
    • Two multi-state objects. Content is not important: audio, video, graphics, text or combinations in the states. Only requirement: same number of states in both objects (although you can have some identical states). They are labeled Container1/SVGContainer in the Timeline below.
    •  A shape or caption which will be used to insert the variable v_counter. You will insert the variable later on. Labeled SS_Counter in the Timeline.
    • Two navigation buttons: Next and Back. They are labeled SB_Back and SB_Next in my project (shape buttons)
    • A button to jump back to slide 1, with the action ‘Jump to slide 1’ or ‘Go to Previous Slide’. I used a SVG as button, labeled SVB_Home.

Here is an example of the Timeline of the project I use, the names are mentioned above::

If you are eager to start but do not have time to create a custom project, you can download this one:

Please do not use the SVGs from SVGContainer in your projects. They were extracted from a licensed AI file.

Step 2: Variables

Have a look at the variables, using menu Project, Variables.  The default view will show you the two user variables which are added to each project:

Step 3: Open External Library

Use the File menu, option Import, External Library. You have to point to the original project which has the shared actions on board.  In this case that will be the start project which you used in the previous practice; “SlideShow”.

The project will not open, but its library appears as a floating window in the left top corner of your screen. You will probably need to increase its height, and collapse the Images folder to see the Shared Actions folder clearly. 

You can use any object directly from this external Library in your project. I used the Home button (SVG). However for the Shared Actions, it is better to not use this method. It can be done if there is only one independent shared action, but in this example the three actions are somehow linked due to the used variables.

Step 4: Drag shared actions to project Library

Select the three shared actions in the external Library, and drag them to the project library. They will appear in that library with the Usage set to 0. Be sure to drag all the actions  at once. Reason:  they share some variables. which could lead to the creation of multiple instances of the variables. You will check this in step 5.

Step 5: Check variables

Use Project, Variables and… surprise! The variables used in the shared actions have appeared, including their default value and description

You can now insert the variable v_counter  in the text (see Timeline) SS_Counter, using the X button in the Properties panel, Character part.

The text will look like this:

…. $$v_counter$$

Beware: if you see more than one instance of a variable, it means that you didn’t drag ALL the shared actions at once. In that case, please delete the shared actions, delete the variables and retry Step 4.


You can now repeat what you learned in the previous lesson: drag the shared actions to the slide and to the navigation buttons, and choose a ‘value’ for the parameters.

Do not forget to test if everything is working as expected. Use F11, Preview HTML I Browser for the best preview.


The step-by-step workflows described in this and the previous blog (or in the video and the next video to be published soon)) can be used for all the interactions in the Demo project, provide you have the shared actions. Not only for those rather simple interactions! It is also possible for more complicated projects like the Matchstick game, which I published recently, and for many more use cases.

I sincerely hope that at least some Captivate users will realize possibilities.  Ask an expert to design shared actions which can be used by any Captivate developer,  without having to dive into advanced actions, variables etc. .

I may post an 'epilogue' to this short crash course, listing up some Q&A. If you have a question to contribute, do not hesitate to post it in a comment.

Who is afraid of ... Shared Actions? Crash course Lesson 2 (video)


In Lesson 1 you started from an existing project, which had created objects for the Slide show AND shared actions in the project Library. Topic of the lesson: workflow to attach the shared actions to a slide event (On Enter) and to buttons (Success event). Lesson ended with the proposal to create a personal project with two slides. First slide is a title slide with only a Start button (Go to Next slide). Second slide needs two multistate objects. Number of states is not important but has to be the same for both objects (you can have identical states if wished).  Two navigation buttons (Back and Forward) and a button to get back to the first slide and your homework is done.

For this video lesson you need:

  • The original project, which I provided in Lesson 1. If you lost it, here is another link (dropbox)

  • Your project. If you are really lazy, you download my project as used in the video. Please, do not reuse the SVGs, they are created from a licensed Adobe Stock file. You can use them only for practice the video workflow.


You will transfer the shared actions to your custom project, and reuse them.

After finishing the workflow, you can compare your result with 'Lesson2'

Who is afraid of... Shared Actions? Crash course - Lesson 1 (step-by-step)


You will create the Slideshow from the Demo project. Please download this Start project (dropbox link) if you want to practice the workflow explained below.



Step 1: explore project

1.1 TImeline and setup

Take a look look at the setup of the second slide. In the Timeline I grouped all design elements at the bottom. 

The 5 items on top of the group are:

  • ImContainer: a multistate object with 5 photos
  • TxContainer: a second multistate object, which has texts in the same sequence to explain the photos
  • SS_counter: smart shape with the text having the embedded variable v_counter
  • SB_Next: the Next button, a shape button
  • SB_Back: the Back button, shape button
  • SVB_Home: SVG used as button

1.2 Variables

Open the Variables dialog box, using Project, Variables.  You will see two variables: v_counter and v_max. The latter will store the amount of items in  your show. Their default values are not important, they will be set with the actions.  Just for clarification I set v_counter to start with 0 and v_max to 5 because the example has 5 photos. But they are not important.

1.3 Library

Open the Library panel, and find the subfolder ‘Shared Actions’. You detect 3 shared actions, and their Usage is stil at 0 for the moment: 

Step 2: ‘EnterSlideShow’ to Slide

Double-check in the Properties panel or on the stage that NO object is selected, that you are in the Slide Properties. 

2.2 Link the action to the On Enter event

There are two possible workflows:

  1. From the Library: drag the name of the shared action to the slide. You just have to be careful not to drag to an interactive object (the three buttons in this slide). It will automatically be linked to the On Enter event, never to the On Exit event. Moreover the Parameters dialog box (see 2.2) opens directly. This is my preferred workflow.
  2. From the Properties: go to the Actions tab, open the dropdown list next to ‘On Enter’, choose ‘Execute Shared Actions’ and choose the action ‘EnterSlideShow’

2.2 Define the Parameter(s)

If you used the Library approach, the dialog box ‘Shared Actions Parameters’ will be open. If you used the Properties  panel approach you need to click the {P} button next to the Action field. In this dialog box you’ll see both description of the action and of the parameters. Please give a value to all the parameters needed. You can use filtering (will post a video tutorial for a more complicated parameters set).

Step 3: actions for the buttons

The Home button has the simple action to return to the first slide. This will allow you to test the reset actions in the On Enter action of step 2. Before testing you still have to attach the shared actions to the two navigation buttons. Workflow is exactly the same for both.

3.1 Link the action to the Success event

You can use again two workflows, similar to step 2:

  1. From the Library: No need to select the button! Drag the name of the shared action to the button.. It will automatically be linked to the Success event of the button.  Of course, this is my preferred workflow, because the Parameters dialog box (3.2) will open immediately.  Saves a lot of clicks.
  2. From the Properties: select the button, go to the Actions tab, open the dropdown list next to ‘On Enter’, choose ‘Execute Shared Actions’ and choose the action ‘EnterSlideShow’

3.2 Define the Parameter(s)

Identical to 2.2. Parameters for both button actions are identical: the two containers. It doesn’t matter if you switch image with text container, sequence is not important.

Step 4: Test

Test and have fun. 

Lesson 2

In the second part of this crash course, you'll learn how to use the same shared actions in your projects. It is not harder than what you have achieved today. Keep on learning...
Prepare a custom project similar to the one you used today:
  • with two slides, start slide only navigates to second slide
  • second slide needs two multistate objects with the same amount of states
  • second slide needs two navigation buttons (back/next) and a home button (jumping to slide 1)

Who is afraid of... Shared Actions? Crash course Lesson 1 (video)


You have read the introduction and watched the Demo project. This lesson will explain the interaction 'SlideShow' which you did see in the demo. You may download this start project, which has two slides. Exploration is explained in the video:



You will be exploring the start file, discovering the shared actions in the Library, and the variables. You will attach the shared action to  a slide event (On Enter) and to button Success events, in both cases you will choose the parameter values.

The result of the completed lesson should look like you can see under this link. I left the playbar for your convenience.


Preparing Lesson 2

Lesson 2 will show how you can transfer and use the shared actions to your project. If you want tot follow, prepare a project:

  • with two slides
  • second slide needs two multistate objects with the same amount of states
  • second slide needs two navigation buttons (back/next) and a home button (jumping to slide 1)

Who is afraid of ... Shared Actions - Crash course Introduction

For any Captivate user, new, intermediate or advanced.

Even if you are very new to Captivate, continue reading!

Contrary to Advanced Actions and JavaScript, Shared actions can be USED without needing to write out or edit scripts, nor to create variables. You don't need to be able to assemble an engine for your car to be able to drive, isn't it? What do you need?

  1. One or more shared actions created by a friend/colleague who is more advanced with Captivate
  2. To understand what a  'parameter' is (new term in your personal Captivate glossary)
  3. To learn how to add shared actions to your project, slides and interactive objects. Description and name of the shared action will help you (contrary to advanced actions).
  4. To choose the parameter values based on their descriptions. Automatic filtering by Captivate is a big help.

You read the introduction to a short ourse for adventurous newbies, including:

  1. A demo project with 4 useful interactions. All interactions can be realized using shared actions without having to create variables nor scripts.
  2. Explanation of the term 'parameter'

The course for newbies has TWO lessons. Each lesson comes in two 'flavors' to adapt to your taste:

  • Short video
  • Step-by-step text

To facilitate your learning/understanding, you'll get a start project  to practice the workflow.  You will also be able to use your personal project for the second lesson.  Both lessons are about one of the 4 interactions in the Demo project (see below). Depending on the 'welcome' by the community, may repeat this workflow for the other interactions or even for a game like  MatchStick game

Demo project

Watch this project, which includes 4 typical interactions:
  • Dashboard interaction (menu going to 4 chapters)
  • Slideshow
  • Click/Reveal
  • Toggle buttons

I used design elements from the new Quick Start Project ‘Diverse’. You can open the demo project using this link:


Or watch it below  (fixed resolution):

What is a Parameter (in shared actions)?

This is my definition: a parameter is an ‘item’  replaceable by another item when you (re)use the shared action either in the same or in another project. That ‘item’ doesn’t always have a fixed type! It depends on the used command. Look at a some examples for clarification:
  1. Command Jump to slide: needs one parameter which is the slide. It is clear that you cannot change to another type of item than a slide.
  2. Command Change State of…: needs two parameters, first is the multistate object, second is the state you want to show. The first parameter has to be a multistate object of any type: shape, caption, button (for custom states), image, video, animation… Second parameter needs to be a state of that multistate object.
  3. Commands Hide/Show: need one parameter. Anything that can be shown or hidden is possible: shape, caption, button (for custom states), image, video. But also groups are possible! Look at the practice session below to see how this extends shared action functionality beyond what you are used to.

You may skip the explanation about the two types of parameters and go directly to the first lesson if you don’t like definition texts. Knowing the differences between parameters is not so important in this crash course, . BTW: the terms ‘compulsory’ and ‘candidate’ are just my personal choice, not official terms.

Compulsory parameters

All the items mentioned in the previous examples are compulsory: you will always have to choose them in any shared action.  Even though some will be the same in all instances of that shared action.

Candidate parameters

You probably know the command ‘Assign’ to store a value in a user variable or a system variable of the category ‘Movie Control’. A variable when used in a shared action can be a parameter, but it is not compulsory. If it is not a parameter, here is a rather unknown secret: importing the shared action in a new project will automatically create that variable, with the same name, description and value as designed originally. 
In some circumstances it is necessary to define the variable as parameter. You will see an example in the practice session for the toggle action.

In a conditional action you can have another candidate parameter, the ‘literal‘. Example: you want to limit a number of attempts by the learner to a maximum of 5. If you want to be able to edit that maximum number, you could define the literal as a parameter. This can be a bit tricky, but is beyond the scope of this basic blog.