Customizing Review Messages in Captivate 5.5 or 5.0


This is the first post since the release of Captivate 5.5 and eLS 2.5. For this reason I worked out an example for both versions. I suppose the work flow used for 5.0 will also be functional for 4.0 but honestly I did not try it out. As you probably already know, the default Question slides did change with 5.5 but are the same for 4.0 and 5.0.

This post is (again) meant as an answer on yet another question on the user forum that pops up regularly: 'How can I have an individual Review message per slide?' Indeed, whereas it is perfectly possible to customize the Success and Failure captions for each question, this is not the case by for the Review Messages. The only control you have are the small sentences (see screenshot Review Messsages for CP5.0 in the Gallery), but with the exception of the mentioned given answer and correct answer for incorrect results the phrasing will be always the same on each question slide.

I will have to use advanced actions to achieve this goal, but they are very simple standard actions. You really do not need programming skills, be reassured.

Control of Question slides: what is (not) possible?

You are perhaps aware of the limited control concerning Question slides: if you watch its timeline quite a lot is contained in that single gray line! Let's try to enumerate:

  1. all the necessary text captions (you can format them after selecting on the stage but they do not appear separately on the timeline) for title, question, answers
  2. buttons you choose (Clear, Back, Skip, Submit)
  3. success/failure/hint captions
  4. functionality to show the proper captions when the user clicks on Submit and to pause the slide until
  5. user clicks again on the slide or enters Y
  6. this last action triggers the Success or Failure actions you'll find in the Quiz Properties (see screenshot 3 in the Gallery), default setting is to Continue

The playhead will only be released by the last user's activity (6), and execute the action set in the Quiz Properties based on Success or Failure. All other activities are before that pausing point, set by default at 1,5secs.

If you delete the Success/Failure captions, 3-5 will be skipped, and the click on the Submit button will immediately release the playhead and execute the proper action set in the Quiz Properties. In this thread on the user forums, I explained how you can use this possibility to show images instead of the Success/failure captions during the remaining time after the pausing point:

Using custom correct/incorrect images

For normal slides one has the possibility to execute an advanced action on Enter and on Exit of the slide. For Question slides this is only possible on Enter (used that in previous blog posts). But you can execute an advanced action both on Success and on Failure, that will be executed either:

  • on clicking the slide or pressing Y if the Success/Failure captions are present and will be shown
  • on clicking the Submit button is there are no Success/Failure captions.

This last functionality will be used in my work flow, both for CP5.0 and CP5.5.

Work flow - general

I did not use the Success/Failure captions to simplify the work flow but deleted them for both versions in the example Quizzes. But everything will functional as well if you keep those captions.

  1. On each question slide create two Text Captions (or Shapes with text), initially set to invisible in the Properties panel; those are the customized review messages on Success/Failure. I preserved the default Review Message for skipped or uncomplete answers. I used the labels OK1, NOK1 (for Question 1),OK2, NOK2, OK3,NOK3
  2. Setup the Quiz preferences: be sure to check the Review possibility
  3. Do not show the Back button (because in this simple work flow, the review messages are set to be visible on when exiting the question slide, going back by the user would show them before reviewing); that is also the reason why I did not use a playbar.
  4. Set up the Review messages - different tips for the 2 versions, look below in the specific work flows
  5. Create two Advanced actions for each question slide, I labeled them Correct1, Incorrect1 (for question 1), Correct2, Incorrect2, Correct3, Incorrect3
  6. In the Quiz Properties, Actions accordion (screenshot 3) replace Continue by those advanced actions

Work flow - Captivate 5.5

Please, play this movie to see the result. Be sure to click the Review button on the last slide to see the customized review messages.

I used a customized Radial gradient as background on the master slide, with 4 stop colors, Reflect as Pattern and I edited the Gradient handle. Shadows are applied to the Captivate title and all buttons in this movie.

Typical settings here, referring to the steps described in the General workflow

  • Step 1: I used a rounded rectangle with a radial, customized gradient fill (two color stops and Reflect as pattern) and inserted Text for step 1

  • Step 4: In Default Review settings, the correct/wrong answers are indicated by checkmarks, not by a Review message like in previous versions, with the exception of the Incomplete message. I kept the default settings here.

  • Step 5: Both advanced actions are visible in the Gallery: Correct1 and Incorrect1. The first statement shows the appropriate shape (OK# or NOK#). The second statement is 'Go to Next Slide'. If you do not include this statement, on executing this action, the playhead would continue through the rest of the slide timeline after the pausing point. The user would then see the Review message during that time, which is not what is wanted.

  • Step 6: This step is illustrated in screenshot 3 of the Gallery.

Work flow - Captivate 5.0

Play the movie to see the result, please. Be sure to click the Review button on the last slide to see the customized review messages.

I used one of the default Background Images 'DryPaint' but changed its Hue and Transparency. I replicated the shadow feature from the previous movie by applying the Dropshadow effect to the title Captivate on the intro-slide.

All steps are similar to those for 5.5 with these exceptions, be sure to check my discovery for step 4!

  • Step 1: Used the Ivory Text Captions here. 

  • Step 4: Contrary to version 5.5 review messages are now displayed in all circumstances. But I didn't want to display the default Correct message, since I already had a better Text Caption. And this is where I discovered something about 5.0 that I want to share!
    I deleted the Correct Message in the Review Messages (screenshot 4 in the Gallery) and what happened? When reviewing all questions and answers disappeared, only my proper Review Text Captions and the Skip button were visible! I thought the project became corrupt, and recreated it, with the same result. The solution is to enter at least one space in the Review message you do not want to show up. You are warned, do learn from my problem, please.



Why didn't I use the On Enter event on the next slide to trigger an action to show the message on the previous slide? This is not possible, you can only show objects with an action on the slide where this object is really.

If you want to allow Backwards movement, the situation will be a little bit more complicated, because you will need conditional actions to show the messages. I wanted to keep this solution as simple as possible. And it allowed me to illustrate the difference in Review between versions 5.0 and 5.5

As always, I really would appreciate feedback. Is this post too basic, do you like it, do you want me to extend it with possibility to have Backwards navigation enabled, please let me know!

9 responses

Is there any way to let the user highlight or underline text on a slide in Captivate? I am really stuck on this!

Not really about this topic, you could have more answers if you post in the adobe forums, and just saw you did and got the correct answer from Rod Ward. The closest to your wishes, is th Notepad widget by Yves Riel that will allow that the user takes notes during the course and he will be able to print those notes later on. Here is the link to his site:
Hi Lieve,

I'm having some trouble implementing in 5.5. I'm guessing this doesn't work when using question pools, correct?

I can't seem to see my objects in the Advanced Actions Item List.

Any suggestions for adding Review Messages to pooled questions?


hey lilibyri, could you give me the example as captivate project? I have little time for the creation.
Sorry, I offer free tutorials, but no free files. I am very busy as well :)
Do you have a solution for the following scenario: - 3 Slides with 3 Multiple Choice Question (Radio button widget) (1 correct answer) - after choice there is ONE button to get the next question without feedback but with counting the points - The last slide show me the total score and i can review the quiz
Not difficult, but comments on a blog are not meant to get consultancy for free. Sorry again. Do you live in a country where all experts offer everything just like that? Find it very strange...
I know this is an old post but I would really like to know how to extend the customised review messages with possibility to have Backwards navigation enabled, I have quizzes that have to have individual feedback on questions answered incorrectly only as a review for those only who have passed a 60% passmark. Also they have to be able to retake the quiz with the feedback hidden again. I can't use Captivate 7 as I need to publish the quiz playable on Flash Player 9
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