Captivate 6 - Advanced Actions


If you did read some of my posts, you'll know that I focus often on using Advanced actions in Captivate to extend its functionalities. And if you look at the just released version 6, like me, at first sight you will be disappointed because apparently nothing much has changed about Advanced actions: no enhancements in the user interface, only two possible new statements (play and stop an audio clip), still not possible to export/import/print/comment those advanced actions, etc. To re-use them you'll have to create a template, and here is a first positive note: it is now possible to save an existing cptx-file as a template.

Same as with the release of Captivate 5.5 I'll leave it to the Evangelists and other Captivate friends to talk about the big new features like new video demo, interactions, shapes, quiz enhancements, themes, shapes etc. Those more visible features, even though they are exciting, have never been targeted by this blog and I'm a focussed person. Hoping to find time to publish more in the near future, planning to use the new video feature to publish some YouTube videos about.... advanced actions. Let me know if you find that useful?


On this release day, I want to tell you how two new features (my first favs) will save you a lot of time when scripting advanced actions:
  • object grouping
  • shapes used as buttons
For this purpose I recreated in CP6 a Game, explained in a previous post: Concentration Game. Can you have a look there and play the game if you do not remember about it? The CP6 version is a bit simplified, has less cards and only one image to discover. But the differences due to those new features will be very clear.

Later on, after having explored more in the released version (for the moment I'm still using an prerelease version) I will try to publish a list with my likes and dislikes, in the same sense as this one: What I (dis)like in Captivate 5.5.

Shape buttons

In the original game, each part of the image was covered up with three objects:
  1. a mnemonic-image to be disclosed on click, set for the rest of the project so that it has only one ID
  2. another image with the back of the card, visible before the mnemonic is disclosed, set for the rest of the project for the same reason
  3. a click box to trigger an advanced action:  this cannot be set for the rest of the project
In Captivate 6 I replaced the objects 2 and 3 by one Shape button. Contrary to other interactive objects, a shape button can be set for the rest of the project, to preserve its unique ID. Since now only two instead of three objects have to be addressed, advanced actions will be shorter.

Object Grouping

Long awaited feature: being able to group objects on the Timeline, to label the groups, to collapse/expand them, to make them visible/invisible on the stage for editing reasons. Less known: you can use the group label in advanced actions as well, to execute a statement on all the objects of the group. That is great for show/hide or for enable/disable actions. In the new game I choose to create a group with all the Mnenomics, and another group with the Shape buttons. When entering the last slide (Congratulations) all those objects have to be hidden. In Captivate 5.5 this resulted in a long list with Hide statements, 3 for each card (since I had three objects per card). In Captivate 6 you only need two statements: one for each group, whatever the number of objects in that group. That is really a great time saver.


Do not judge me too harsh, this is my first try at the new video demo feature, have still a lot to learn by practice. If the video doesn't show up on your page, please watch it on YouTube: Advanced actions Captivate 6.
Watch the differences between the two games, and how both the shape buttons and the object grouping made the scripting easier in Captivate 6. Be sure, will blog more about actions triggered by Shape buttons! They cannot only be displayed for the rest of the project, but also be added to master slides and question slides. This opens new possibilities.

13 responses
Thank you for the early assessment of the new release. Perhaps Adobe has done some market analysis and determined not enough users use Advanced Actions. Sadly, they miss the point: overall usability. Being able to find where variables are used and to manage them seems like an essential function. Your investigation points out many other shortcomings in interface and usability for programmers. I guess they don't see Captivate as a programming development tool. I sometimes think all they see is capture and replay (my apologies for my overly simplistic and over-generalized assessment). I also see some "feature bloat" at the expense of bona fide productivity improvements. Again, I can be accused of not being knowledgeable enough about the product to be taken seriously as a critic of the product. Having said that, I really like Captivate and will gladly use it and expand my use of it to the extent of my ability.
I do not see Advanced actions as a full-blown programming environment, just a way to create more functionalities for Captivate files. But of course I agree that, a lot of improvements are possible to make this even more accessible to users. My idea is that this release has focussed more on basic users of the software with Themes and Interactions but there are some nice enhancements with quizzing, with SCORM and the two features I explained here. Crossing my fingers that next time (or for a dot-release) the more advanced users will get their part of the cake as well :-)
Great job, LIeve. I'm so happy to know you and proud to call you my friend.
Thanks, Joe. Captivate enables even opportunities to get great friends like you!
Thanks for the review, Lleve. Like you, I have a lot of frustration with the Advanced Actions side. While I understand Cap6 gives less-experienced developers access to more interactions and integrated HTML5 publishing, more-experienced developers must still deal with a clunky interface. I love having the option of creating my own functionality and interactions, but I'm continually frustrated by working with a list of objects (a loooong list, usually ;-) ) and other odd nuances of the interface. Thanks, again, for your leadership and generosity!
Thanks for your kind words, Mary. I couldn't conceal my sadness that this release didn't address any of my long list with feature requests for Advanced actions and Effects (needs some improvement as well). Grouping objects has rid me of long lists with object Hide/Show statements, because groups show up in the dropdown lists. I'm now tending to start all groups with 'G' so that I can easily navigate to them in the list.
Thanks, Lieve! Naming conventions do help, although using upper-case letters makes me crazy. Initial lower-case letters are the standard, and that's the way I learned (and worked with) in programming shops. So my button names, all beginning "b_" are shoved to the bottom of the list. I'll have to start learning to use the upper-case alternatives. Grouping objects is a great start!
Hello Lieve,

I had created interactivities in CP 5 using advanced actions. Our organization upgraded to CP 6 however, the same project with all the advanced actions does not work at all. Can you please help for a workaround?

There are some changes, mentioned some in the last post about System variables. This is a bit difficult to solve with text on a blog, could you perhaps come to the user forums and post some screenshots of the advanced actions that are broken when upgrading to Captivate 6?
Hi Lieve,
I have uploaded CP 5 and CP 6 projects that had issues on Adobe Sendnow.
How can I have access to those files? SendNow requires an email address to send files, allows you to share, publish files and send only the links.

Hello Lieve,<o:p></o:p>

I followed the instructions for uploading files as per instructions from Adobe Tech Support.<o:p></o:p>

Attached is the mail for your reference. <o:p></o:p>

Thanks and Regards,<o:p></o:p>

Rahul Dhembare| Instructional Designer<o:p></o:p>

Phone (O): 91-20-66041700, Ext: 6277<o:p></o:p>

From: Posterous [mailto:

Sorry, no link shows up in your comment. Easiest way would be if you go to the user forum:
There you can send me a private message with the link to the uploaded files. Or you can also follow me on Twitter, @Lilybiri, I will follow back and you can send me a DM with the link.