Captivate 2017's gems


About two weeks ago Captivate 10, now labeled Captivate 2017 was released. If you did visit my blog in the past, you know that I prefer to wait a while before posting my first impressions. My focus is also more on the non-hype features added in this release, I call them the 'hidden' gems. Some are mentioned in the documentation, some not.

Retina screen - software recordings

Captivate 9 was the first release which could be used on retina screens. However to record a Video Demo or a Software simulation you did have to edit the AdobeCaptivate.ini file. It was a solution, but bit cumbersome. After the capture process you had to edit that same file again to be able to use Captivate on that screen.

Tip: when using Windows 10 as OS, be sure to check the Display setting before recording a Video or a Software simulation. Bu default it will be set to a number higher than 100%. To record you have to reset it to 100%.

In Captivate 2017 this is no longer necessary, thanks to the Adobe team!

Advanced Actions enhancements

The Advanced Actions dialog box has been refurbished, and many will have emphasized that it is now easier to combine standard with conditional actions. Personally I don't find that so important because the condition 'IF 1 is equal to 1' worked as well, but much more has changed. I will post an article later explaining the changes in the dialog box more in depth. 

Enhancements Decisions

The existing functionality for multiple decisions in former versions has been preserved: adding decisions, moving decisions, duplicating decisions. The buttons got another look as you can see on this screenhot. There has been added two extra time savers,  if you have a lot of decisions in one advanced action:

  • A dropdown list showing all decisions, and allowing you to navigate and select  a decision (Section 3, to the right)
  • A control panel to scroll to the next, previous decision, and to the Last and First decision (Section 2, to the right).

Added commands

I am very happy that the commands 'Go to Next State' and 'Go to Previous State' (one of my first feature requests when multistate objects appeared) are now available in the list with commands in the Advanced Actions. In Captivate 9 there were only available as simple actions (Actions Tab dropdown list). This improves efficiency quite a lot, as you will see in the example movie below.

While loop

It has taken a 'while' but finally we have a looping possibility in Advanced actions, no longer needed to switch immediately to JavaScript. In combination with the command 'Delay Next Actions.... ' a lot is now easier in advanced or shared actions. Just one pretty easy example: create a countdown animation by combining a counter variable, a while loop, an effect and that Delay command. While loops can be combined with standard and conditional decisions as well.

Example movie

This short example has two slides:

  • First slide shows a countdown animation and a progress bar. That slide is using the new While loop. Use the Start button to see the animation. When the animation is finished you'll get a Reset button. Here is a screenshot of the used action (Preview). .
  • The second slide is using the "Go to Next State" command both for the text items and the images with the sticky character. Use the Continue button to go to the next state. When all states have appeared, you'll get a Reset button.

Test this movie out, if Flash player is enabled in your browser:

Typekit integration

Finally we have access to the Typekit Library (I'm used to it using CC applications)! In the example movie I used two fonts which I already acquired with a CC subscription (Fira Sans and Rosario), but Typekit also has a free license. You have to check it out, time to get away from those limited set of websafe fonts. When publishing with Typekit fonts, you'll need to add a domain name. For testing purposes you can choose for 'Local host'. If you are collaborating on a project, you'll have to be sure that the collaborators have a Typekit license as well. In that case when opening a Captivate project, Tk fonts will be synchronized on their system.

Responsive projects

A lot of articles and tutorials have been published already to acclaim the use of Fluid boxes in responsive projects. However I am also happy that the 'old' way with Breakpoint views is still available as well. If you upgrade a responsive project from a previous version (8 or 9), it will automatically show in the Breakpoint view mode, since the development has happened in that mode. After two weeks with Fluid Boxes in CP2017 I don't have enough experience yet to judge their full power. My first impression is that the kind of project will indicate (dictate?)  the choice of the development work flow:

  • Fluid Boxes mode development will be a big timesaver for text-heavy projects. No need to check all text container styles for font sizes in all breakpoint views, no need to adapt the margins, leading to have text fitting in a text container on any mobile device.
    The continuous slider to see the changes for all possible browser resolutions is great!
    The design of a responsive theme with fluid boxes needs a different set of mind: how to set up the grid with Fluid boxes in content master slides. 
    The minus point of working with Fluid boxes is that you lose some control. My teacher's experiences learned me that you cannot use the same layout on a smartphone as you use for a laptop or even a tablet screen. That will make using Fluid boxes not appropriate for all courses. If you are a die hard designer, maybe you will not like the way that objects will be handled when the browser resolution changes? 
    Objects in a Fluid box are essentially in a 2D space: you cannot have overlapping objects. That is the reason why the Help explains that Zoom objects, Highlight Boxes and Click boxes are not allowed in a FB. The line object and mouse objects are excluded as well. However you can use them in a static Fluid box.

  • Breakpoint mode development is a lot more work, but gives you more control for layout differences between devices and for design. You can have overlapping objects, and with the exception of the Rollovers almost anything can be used.

Tip: to switch to Breakpoint view development use this option in the Project menu:

The possibility to change a normal (blank) project to a responsive project is a much asked for, very useful addition. The reverse is not yet possible, responsive to non-responsive.

After some more experience with using Fluid Boxes, my opinion could change of course. Anyway I am persuaded already that the customisation of the theme is more important than ever. If you wonder why, maybe have a look at this article: 'What is in a Theme/Template?'

Update August

This week I discovered an undocumented enhancement thanks to a user on the forum:

When using the Submit All feature for a quiz, up till now it was not possible to localize this popup dialog box (style can be changed using the Object Style Manager):

In Captivate 2017, the dialog box whidh appears when you click the option 'Submit All Messages in Quiz, Preferences has all you need to localize everything. In previous versions this dialog box had only 3 items.



This personal view on the new features/enhancements in version 2017 (10 under the hood) is based on a limited time of exploration. In a future blog post (or showcase) I will give more details about the creation of the example movie. As promised, the overwhelming number of buttons and features in the new Advanced Actions dialog box will be the subject of another tutorial. At least, if you find this useful?

4 responses
Thank you for all your work and information. Question: Your thoughts on the Auto-migrate from non-mobile to mobile feature? Does it work? Caveats? Could you see using it for converting legacy swf projects into 'responsive' or 'normal htlml5 output? Again many thanks!
All depends on the type of courses, and it is not as simple as the promotion videos seem to show (marketing hype). You have to add fluid boxes, and that is the first hurdle: biggest limitation is that fluid boxes do not allow to have stacked objects like a click box over an image (something that was used a lot in the past). Static fluid boxes do allow them, but have other limitations, you'll not have the smooth repositioning when screen size changes. As for converting swf projects directly to responsive, forget it (sorry to be so blunt). Not everything is supported for HTML5 output, that was supported for SWF output. I would opt first to recreate as a normal project, than maybe turn to responsive. I'm afraid that most companies largely underestimate the amount of work involved in the SWF-HTML5 conversion. Not a pleasant answer, sorry.
Many thanks for responding so quickly and thoroughly. I agree with you on the marketing hype making it sound like a 'no brainer', but I suppose anybody in the elearning industry takes it with a grain of salt. Upon gathering info on the subject the consensus seems to be determine what really needs to be converted, and does it need to be just converted from 'like to like', updated with current info and graphics, or completely redone and how is it going to be accessed and viewed and rebuilt accordingly. A truly major undertaking that requires more planning and execution than maybe even the 'original' project even required. Murphy's Law If anything can go wrong, it will. Corollaries Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you think. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way will promptly develop. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first. Every solution breeds new problems. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw. Many thanks again!
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