Using Captivate Widgets? Some tips


Captivate comes with several widgets that you can use freely. Some of those widgets are really easy to use and to configure, but I have to confess that sometimes I had to curse quite a while before discovering some functionalities of the Widget Properties dialog box. Because there is no explanation available at all. This small article is meant to offer you some tips and warnings. Some of those tips have already appeared in other postings, where I used widgets.

General tips

Duplicating widgets

Some widgets do need a lot of editing (formatting), but if the widget has an associated variable do not copy it to save time, because the copies mostly will cause issues.

Multiple widgets on one slide

You can use multiple widgets on one slide, but be careful when stacking interactive widgets that are in the same location on the slide! This can lead to unpredictable results, same as with interactive objects on the same place. 

Interactive widgets

Those widgets can have a score (eventually to be reported to a LMS) and perform actions on Success and on Failure like other interactive objects (button, TEB, Click box).  They will appear in the Advanced Interaction view (F9). Of course that is also the case for the Question widgets (only one available in the Captivate box).

Master slides and widgets

You can only add static widgets to master slides, no interactive nor question widgets. The static button widget can be very useful on master slides until it will be possible to add regular buttons.

Specific tips

Widgets with associated user variables

 Several widgets have associated user variables, which can be used later on to display in Text Captions, or in advanced actions. Examples are CheckBoxes, DropDown, RadioButtons, TextArea, Timer... 
  • You have to create those user variables separately, using the Project, Variables dialog box; and like all variables they are case sensitive
  • If you have to enter more than one variable in the Properties (ListBox, ComboBox, DropDown,..) they have to be separated by commas but you do not enter a space before/after the comma or only the first variable will be accepted
  • If you have to enter more than one value, same rule: no spaces after or before the comma separator

Preview area

To me this is a misleading name because I expect such an area to be read-only which is not the case: for some widgets you have to edit in this preview area! Some examples, just to push you at exploring that Preview area in case you want to change something that is not available elsewhere in the Properties Dialog box:

  • ArrowWidget: you can use the preview area to resize the arrow and to move the text
  • StaticButton: use the Preview area to resize the button, and to make place for more letters in the Text. Be careful with the text resizing: if you resize using the corner handles or the handles on the horizontal borders you'll resize the font as well, just use the handles on the vertical borders. 

  • If you want to use a customized image, it will by default be placed to the right side of the button.
    You have to cover up the button with that image if you only want the image to be visible. Do not use transparency in the image and be sure to copy it to the folder where you will put the published file. Moreover this image will be not visible when previewing, only after publishing! 

I expected a similar behavior for the InteractiveButton widget as for the StaticButton. I do not remember ever using this button and checked it out. It seems to be buggy, the caption doesn't appear in the Properties dialog box, which makes it very difficult to adapt the size of the text. I'm not sure if this is also the case for other users, didn't read any question about this widget on the forums so far.