Parameters in Shared Actions - Captivate 7 vs. 8


In my last article, where I explained my exploration of Captivate 8, with strong focus on the enhancements of shared actions (shape buttons, theme colors), I have promised to explain my work flow to prepare the shared actions for import into another project. The idea is to create a library of shared actions that can be used over and over again in all future projects. Maybe you want me to create such libraries, post a comment if that is the case.
Since I started a sequence of articles about shared actions in Captivate 7 (Dare to Share 1 and Dare to Share 2) and promised then to explain how to reuse shared actions in other projects, this article will be an in-depth explanation of the differences between version 7 and 8 concerning parameters. 

Parameter in shared action - definition

What is a 'parameter', new Captivate term since the introduction of shared actions with Captivate 7? It is an item that is replaceable by another item when you reuse the shared action either in the same or in another project. The range of items that can be used is extended in the latest version (see further). Some examples of 'item': slide, text container, image, button, audio clip, group. When defining the shared action, you have to enter a description of each parameter. Those descriptions are very important (I know some users find it always cumbersome to type descriptions) because the 'replaceability' rules are very tolerant, flexible. It is not necessary to replace an item by an item of the same type! You can replace a text caption by an image, an audio object,  group with objects, perhaps for a Hide or a Show action (examples in Dare to Share 2).

What is the difference in parameters between Captivate 7 and 8 

Captivate 7 compared with Captivate 8 

1. Parameters in Captivate 7

All slides, objects, groups that you use in an advanced action to be converted to a shared action, compulsory will become a parameter in Captivate 7. Examples:
  • Slides: mostly used with 'Jump to' statement, not really interchangeable with another item
  • Non-interactive objects  (captions, images, rollovers, highlight boxes, shapes, audio objects...); often used with 'Hide' or 'Show' statements. Those objects are interchangeable, also with interactive objects and groups; they can also be used with 'Apply Effect'.
  • Interactive objects (buttons, click boxes, Text Entry Boxes, shape buttons), that can be used with 'Hide', 'Show', 'Enable', 'Disable' statements, totally interchangeable like non-interactive objects
  • Audio clips: when used with statement 'Play Audio'; not really interchangeable contrary to audio objects.
  • Grouped objects: mostly with Hide' or 'Show'. Even if all objects in group are interactive, the statements Enable/Disable cannot be applied. Neither can 'Apply Effect'.
The most important limitation in Captivate 7 is that variables cannot be a parameter. As I explained more in detail in this On Demand webinar about Shared Actions (Adobe ID required), this means that you'll often be forced to use the shared action as a template for an advanced action, instead of using it as shared action. I will explain this work flow in a future post for CP7-users. In this screenshot you see a shared actions opened in the Advanced Actions dialog box (using the template menu top left, where you see ChapIn). First two statements cannot be changed if used as a shared action. This is the CP7 equivalent of the actions described for the first buttons in the Dashboard in my last post.

When you import a shared action into another project, and that action is using variables, the variables will automatically be created in that project, which is a time saver.  If only the shared action shown in the screenshot was imported in another project, the variable v_ch1 would be created.  Another reason to establish a personal labeling discipline :).


2. Parameters in Captivate 8

Captivate 8 has the same compulsory parameters as Captivate 7 but it has also candidate parameters, a term I'm using for those items for which you have the choice: either you accept them to be static, or you convert them into a parameter. Candidates are:

  • variables: as used in statements 'Assign',  'Increment/Decrement', 'Expression' or used in conditions for conditional actions.
  • literals: which can be used in the same statements and also in conditions; first warning: if you choose to have '1' in this example as parameter, all literals '1' will be considered as the same parameter (more about that in a later post).

I explained in my last post how to convert a candidate into a parameter. In this screenshot you see the same action in Captivate 8 as I showed previously for version 7:

The variable v_ch1 was converted to a parameter, which made it easier to reuse this shared action for different buttons in the same project. The variable v_counter, nor the literal '1' were converted to parameters, they remained static. Reason is that the first statement, Increment, is the same for all chapters. I will always use v_counter, and increment it always with the same amount '1'. Why did I replace the Expression from CP7 by Increment? Easier, but that new statement did appear with 7.0.1, was not yet there when I created this dashboard with 7.0.0.

What happens when importing such a shared action in another project? The variables that are not converted to parameters will again be automatically created. In this case, the variable v_counter will be created.


This comparison and introduction to the 'parameter' rules, will make it easier to explain how I used this knowledge to save as much time as possible in the use case described in my previous article. Thanks for being patient.

2 responses
Hello, Lilybiri, I have been struggling with trying to get a shape or button to change color on a click. My latest try was to 1) create two shapes 2) change them to buttons 3) Create an "on success" caption 4) Go to apply effect, color, tint for each button 5) Continue (not sure this is right) 6) Click "pause" off 7) Make success captions transparent. The buttons change colors, but there is a pause before each and the second button changes along with the first click or not. Would you like to accept the challenge?
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