Dare to Share - part 2


In the first part of this series about Shared Actions (in Captivate 7) I explained how you can create a shared action. The examples only had the statements Show and Hide. At the end you could see a published CP-movie, in which shared actions were applied several times. This second part will explain the first way of using shared actions. As a surplus you'll get an explanation of the use case that you watched in the first part.

'Execute Shared Action'

The first way of using a shared action is with the command Execute Shared Action, that can be triggered by all the events explained in a previous post: Events and (advanced) Actions. You'll find this new command in the dropdown list, just below its sibling 'Execute Advanced Action'. 

The only place, where you will not find this command, is in the dropdown list for Hyperlinks (Format accordion for Text). However it is available in the dropdown lists for Actions in the Drag&Drop interaction. Look out for an example of shared actions in D&D later on in this series. 

When you have chosen a shared action, next to its name you'll not find the browser button (as for Advanced actions), but a Parameter button. When you click that button, you'll see a dialog box in which you can choose the parameters to apply. In this screenshot you'll see the highlighted Parameter button. This shared action is applied to one of the click boxes of the example in the first part of this series (see later: Use case). Two parameters are already assigned. To find the third one (a new click box) I clicked twice in the field and typed 'peer' (first characters "pe" would have be sufficient as well) to filter the list to those objects/groups that have the character sequence 'peer'. Consistent labeling is good practice, as I told multiple times! 

I could have interchanged the items for second and third parameter, it doesn't matter because both will be made visible. You are totally free which items to use as parameters. As an illustration: here is the same shared action for the last click box: you'll see that the second item to show is not a click box, but a text container:

Use Case - Description

Slide objects

Here is the timeline of this unique slide, it shows from bottom up:
  • Title
  • Image (circle)
  • Group with 4 click boxes, over the circle image; only the bottom one, CB_Social, is 'Visible in output', the others are invisible
  • Gr_Bubble, group with 4 shape buttons that are also text containers, all invisible at the start
  • Tx_Instruction, set to invisible, that will appear when the last click box is clicked, telling to click on one of the bubbles
  • Gr_HLCover, set to invisible, grouping the gray transparent shape covering the slide and a shape button to close the Lightbox
  • Gr_HLBox: set to invisible, group with 4 light boxes that are (again) shapes used as text containers.

Events and Shared actions

The used events that trigger shared actions are:

  • Success event for each of the click boxes, using the shared action Show2Hide1, you have seen examples of the shared actions above. Only the fourth click box had a slightly different use of the parameters: not a click box was shown but the instruction text Tx_instruction. There is no Failure action, because the attempts are left at Infinite.

  • Success event for each of the 'bubbles', the shape buttons, triggers the shared action Show2, showing both Gr_HLCover  and the appropriate lightbox. Again, the attempts are set to Infinite, no Failure action will ever be fired. Here is one example:
    If another slide would be following, at least one of those bubbles needs a pause, to keep the playhead stopped. The four click boxes are no longer visible, so their pause is no longer active, available to stop the slide.

  • Success event for the shape button Bt_CloseHL triggers the shared action Hide2. Wondering why I could use that same shape button with the same action, because there is not only the group Gr_HLCover to be hidden, but also the specific lightbox? Well, I don't hide one lightbox, but hide the whole group Gr_HLBox, which means the one that is visible will be hidden as well. 

Visibility Shared Actions

In the first part I already explained that the number of times shared actions are reused is visible in the library. Double-clicking on the library item you can open the dialog with the Usage button and have details of the events where that action is used. You can also open directly the Usage overview only, by clicking the chain button at the top of the Library:

You will also see a nice summary in one of my favourite panels: Advanced Interaction (F9). Tip: this panel can be printed.

What next?

I did not see any comment in this blog yet, got some on other social media. Series is not finished, I plan to focus on reusing this kind of shared actions in the third part. That will be with another use case.

Dare to Share - part 1


Wondering about that title? It could be my motto: I'm not afraid to share whatever I discover about Captivate as faithful fans do know. Title is not about me, it has a different meaning. With some articles, this is the first one, I want to persuade you to give the new Shared actions a try. There is very little available about them, no tutorials, two recorded webinars (guilty about both), a presentation at Adobe Learning Summit in October 2013. Rare comments on the forums or in the discussion groups I'm attending daily are mostly negative: 'Too restricted', '... not useful at all'. Quotes like that remind me of similar negative attitude when advanced actions appeared in Captivate 4 (clunky interface), when I started blogging about them after their improvements in Captivate 5. Now most intermediate and advanced users do still complain about advanced actions but... they are used more and more!

Today I start with a small sequence of articles, to get you up and running with shared actions. I will also explain limitations (of course) and have my fingers crossed, hoping those limitations will be broken down by the Adobe team in future release(s).

Get your feet wet with Hide/Show 

The statements Hide and Show are perhaps the most used in advanced actions. And as you probably know, to avoid the play head being released when such a command is executed, you will often turn to a standard advanced action instead of a simple action. I explained this extensively in a previous post: Why Choose Standard over Simple Action in which you'll also find a link to a video on YouTube showing the work flow. First shared actions that you can put in your Library and use over and over again by importing that library as external library in any project. Here is the step by step work flow for the creation of a shared action that shows two 'items'. An item can be anything: 
  • a text container, an image, audio object or any other non-interactive object like a static widget/interaction
  • a button, click box, text entry box or any other interactive object (like some interactions, widgets)
  • a group of objects
I will explain the work flow for a shared action 'Show2' that Shows two 'items'. If you want to follow along, be sure to have at least two objects on a slide, that are initially hidden by unchecking the option 'Show in Output' in their Properties panel. And... it is easier when you label them

Step by step

  • Open Advanced Actions dialog box, you'll act like for creating a Standard action
  • You can add the Action Name now or later; we will not use this action as an advanced action. If you add the name Show2 you will be able to keep it when saving as shared action or change the name.

  • Create the two statements 
  •    Show Object1
       Show Object2
  • Press the button 'Save  As Shared Action' (see first image in Gallery

In the Shared actions dialog, give a Title, Description of the shared action, description of the parameters - the parameter name is not important (those are the present object names) but description is (second image in Gallery)

In the Advanced Actions dialog box, the shared action will appear in the dropdown list for the script templates (see third image, only script template that is always available is Blank)

The Shared action will also appear in the Folder Shared Actions in the Library (see fourth image: this shared action was already applied 4 times, if you didn't apply it, number 0 will appear for Usage).

Use case: Highlight boxes

Watch this example movie, click on the green arrow in the center:

As you could see in the fourth image of the Library for this one-slide movie, taken from a presentation I did for the Adobe Education Summit in Barcelona (2013) about Flipped Classes, I used only 3 shared actions:

Hide2 is used once for the close Highlight button that appears with each highlight box

Show2 is used 4 times, triggered by the 4 shape buttons (bubbles) to show a highlight box

Show2Hide1 is used 4 times by click boxes over the collaboration circle, to show the 4 bubbles

Try to create the three shared actions. In the next part I will explain how to use them to create this slide.


Let me know if you want to learn more about shared actions, their power and limitations. You can post a comment.

In the future, I plan to offer online training about advanced/shared actions. Let me know, by sending a note to the info@lilybiri.com) if you would like to participate.