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.







Curious about Variables in Captivate?

Since Captivate 4 you have access to a whole bunch of system variables, and you can create your own variables. It is possible to change variables and thus taking more control over your Captivate-movie.

If you feel uncomfortable with or puzzled by this introductory paragraph, please read on. Probably you never used a scripting language, or you never liked... maths? But I think it is really worthwhile to get some hints about the power of those variables are and their possible use. For this reason I did create a starters tutorial, with practical examples and ... without writing any script (called Advanced actions in Captivate). If you want more later on, I do plan to write a second part, where simple advanced actions will be used to give you even more power with the variables. All examples can be used in Captivate 5 as well as in Captivate 4.

Not curious yet? Do you know how to hide the playbar temporarily for a couple of slides? Or to turn off the navigation in the Table of Contents? Or to show the score of a question slide without having to type a lot? Then have a look at the examples in this tutorial:

Use the power of variables in Captivate 5 and 4 - without advanced actions