Captivate 8 drag/drop caution: Event and Multi-slide Synchronized Videos have different properties

I recently took HTML5 Basics, a one-day virtual course taught by Joe Ganci. In his class, Joe demonstrated how to add a video to a project using the ribbon in Captivate 8. His video appeared on the slide, and he had player control options and other properties he could change on his video.

Event Video

Event Video with player controls

I repeated Joe’s steps, but since I am accustomed to importing to the library first, I imported (the same video Joe used) and dragged it onto the slide. It seemed like such a harmless deviation from his steps. I was wrong. My video did not have any controls on it. Where did they go? Both appeared in the Library. I was confused. Quickly, I backtracked and performed the exact steps Joe performed, and by inserting a video from the Media button on the ribbon worked (It is the same as Video > Insert Video or Ctrl+Alt+V). After the class, I dug around a bit to figure out what happened.

The Adobe help site has a simple write-up for the differences between an event video versus a multi-slide synchronized video, and it helped me understand what was happening. https://helpx.adobe.com/captivate/using/differences-event-synchronized-videos.html.

Here’s the long and short of what I learned:
DO NOT USE DRAG AND DROP TO INSERT VIDEOS FROM YOUR LIBRARY ONTO A CAPTIVATE 8 SLIDE. Sure, it will work for multi-slide synchronized videos, but it creates problems in the long run. I’ve even been able to crash Captivate using the drag & drop method.

Here are the two tried and true options to use. Do not bother importing your videos first! Even if you import your video into Captivate first, you must still choose the location of the video on your computer from these steps.

Option 1: Use the video menu or its keyboard shortcut

  1. Click Video > Insert Video. You can also press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+V
  2. Select either the Event Video or Multi-Slide Synchronized Video radio button at the top.

Option 2: Use the Media button on the Ribbon     event versus multislide media button

  1. Click the Media button on the ribbon.
  2. Select Video from the drop-down options

Below are the options that you can set. The options provided in the Insert Video window will change depending on which radio button you select.
event versus multislide options

 

 

 

Are you not sure which option to use? Try using this chart to determine which type of video you need.event versus multislide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you know which video type you need, here are links to Adobe help to get you started on the many options available.

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Important Bookmarks Getting Lost? Easily save a URL to your desktop

I am a bookmark hoarder with the best intentions. Each time I see something very interesting on the Internet, I feel it must be saved, and I know that I’ll go back to it later.

The reality is that I spend close to 10 hours or more on the computer each day, and most of that time is spent searching, researching, or surfing randomly. If I were to try to view all of my bookmarks, it would probably take me 20 hours per day, and they’d likely keep piling on as I look through everything.

There are many ways of organizing bookmarks and completing projects that will help you focus on specific groups of bookmarks. I am not explaining any of this. Instead, I’m going to show you how you can store super-important bookmarks on your desktop or in any other folder on your computer.

It’s the simplest thing you will learn today. Simply:

  1. Open the page to save. It does not matter which browser you use.
  2. Ensure you can see the address and the location you want your shortcut.
  3. Highlight the address of the website where you want to save a link.
  4. Click and drag the address to your desktop

The weirdest thing is making sure you can see your desktop or another folder. I have two monitors, so it is very easy for me to do. If you have only one monitor, make sure your web browser is not maximized – that is, make sure the browser is only filling a portion of your screen.

Recommitting to my blog… again

Aside

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” – David Allen

I want to take a moment to document my struggles committing to my blog. In hearing others’ stories about their own experiences, I don’t think I’m alone. Though I’m writing about my blog, I encounter this frequently in my life and I want to improve.

I enjoy writing, and I love my job. I thought writing an instructional design blog would be easy and fun. I have a great support team. I have followers. Work and life throw some roadblocks, but none are insurmountable, and certainly none have been so terrible that they’ve gotten in the way of writing a blog post.

Nearly every day, I find at least three or four things to write about. I always pause, and in my head I think of how I will write this amazing blog post which will help solve all of instructional design’s tremendously challenging or tremendously frustrating problems. When I do have a chance to write, those ideas are gone, and I have some other distraction in front of me comforting me – making feel like I was just too busy or too overwhelmed or too whatever to complete my goals.

I tried combating this by starting drafts of blogs. Now I have three or four drafts which I could finish easily, but I got stuck in one paragraph and have become more afraid to finish. I spend more time thinking about distractions than the five minutes it would have taken to problem solve and complete an article.

What’s worse, I’m a terribly guilty person. Once I’ve identified that I am stuck and get past the distractions, I can’t quiet the final distraction – my mind pestering me that I didn’t complete a task and just feeling bad about it.

I’ve decided that I need to focus on how to motivate myself to complete tasks. One colleague recommended I look into a concept called “Mind Like Water”. This is detailed on a site called Getting Things Done, and that is where I got the quote from at the top of this post. I will be learning more about the five steps listed on their site and will share all the goodies I can:

  1. Capture
  2. Clarify
  3. Organize
  4. Reflect
  5. Engage

I may throw in a couple blog posts here and there to provide a progress report for myself, but ultimately, I want to commit more to my personal-professional presence more than I have. I know motivation is a factor, and I don’t know how much Mind Like Water will help that, but I’m going to find out.

I encourage you to find what motivates you to complete a project or fulfill a role you were determined to be in at some point. I encourage you to feel good about the small steps you make towards satisfying your goals, and I hope you find yourself excited to finish. While I do that for you, I will do that for myself!

As always, please share any thoughts you have on ways to motivate yourself and finish projects which you think may help myself and others out there.

… and special thanks to my colleague Hector for hearing me out and offering some ideas to try and get my brain back in the right place!

Recording Audio for Web-based Training – Best Practices and Lessons Learned

I had the great pleasure of presenting at the annual ISO/RTO Training Working Group waveformconference on July 24, 2015. During this meeting, I provided details about how I have worked to improve the audio quality of my web-based training modules.

Below are two files which can be downloaded from the session. The handout includes the checklists and the references for the presentation. The links in the presentation to the supplemental materials shown in class are functional.

Thanks again for the wonderful opportunity! I hope those of you present will share some of your experiences in the comments below.

See you next year!

How to make the ‘X’ in front of your (telephone) extension stay lowercase

The “x” in front of my telephone extension automatically capitalizing when I type it is an annoyance that I waited four years before fixing, though I’ve known how to fix it since before blogs were invented. I’m going to share this simple fix to prevent this from happening, either in an Outlook signature or elsewhere that you may need to add your telephone extension.

One fix is to add a second signature, but that will only correct the problem in Microsoft Outlook. This fix will correct my extension in all of Microsoft Office.

Disclaimer: There are a million and one ways to do this. Do you have a recommendation that could make me more efficient? Let me know in the comments!

The problem:

When I type my extension, Microsoft Office “corrects” the X in front of my extension to a capital letter. I do not like the way that looks, eg:

I want:   x5555
I get:     X5555

Why does it do this?

Autocorrect has an option to automatically capitalize the first letter of a sentence. If the extension is on its own line, Office assumes the X is the start of the first word of a sentence, and it automatically corrects it to uppercase. Since I want it to automatically capitalize the start of sentences, I do not want to change that setting.

The solution:

Add an entry to autocorrect that will fix this for you.

In a Microsoft Office application (Word, Excel, PowerPoint):

  1. Click the Office button in the top-left corner
  2. Click the Options buttonpowerpoint options button
  3. Click the Proofing tab (on the left)
  4. Click the Autocorrect button
    autocorrect button

    autocorrect entry

  5. In the Replace field, add X5555 (the incorrect one)
  6. In the With field, add x5555 (the corrected one)
  7. Click Add, and then Click OK
  8. Click OK to get out of Options

That’s it! Any time you type your extension, Office will first autocorrect the X to capitalize it, but when you type the entire extension, it will autocorrect the X to lowercase.

 

Text Caption or Smart Shape? Rollover Caption or Smart Shape? My struggles with these choices (written for Captivate 7)

Although my department has had Captivate all the way back to version 4, until I came along, Captivate was largely not used in our department. My first published project was created in Captivate 6 in May 2014. I was learning as I was developing, and it seemed I spent as much time reading Adobe forums, posting questions on LinkedIn, and using Google search to find out most steps. It was a rewarding challenge – Captivate brought my training alive and brought file stability in ways that I could not accomplish in Articulate.

captivate-general-text-caption-settings-adobe-blue

My default text caption was Adobe Blue.

I did not have the development time to figure out some things. I don’t know whether I had the option to use smart shapes back then, but I relied heavily on text captions. They got the job done, and I worked around their limitations. I used the “Adobe Blue” caption type as my default, although the blue color did not quite match our company’s color scheme. I was careful how I sized my text objects and ultimately they were good enough. The settings worked the same for rollover text captions, making everything coordinate together well.

Now that I am working on our the maintenance round for this same online training module, I have to update images and text. This is providing me the opportunity to make some things even better than the original. However, now that I’m exploring the many wonderful features of Smart Shapes, I’m finding that I want to redo all of my captions!

Why do I feel Captivate Smart Shapes are a better choice than text captions or rollover captions? 

  1. I can add text to any Smart Shape.
  2. I can convert Smart Shapes to rollovers. This allows me to use a rollover instead of a slidelet, which is more practical in some situations.
  3. The Callout Smart Shapes – there are three – can be sized and shaped to point in any direction. These look the most like my default text caption options.
  4. Stroke and fill options can be changed for Smart Shapes – now my default is my company’s blue with a 3pt stroke – it coordinates more with our brand.
  5. I can replace an existing Smart Shape with a new shape choice. This is handy when indecisive me decides I want an arrow instead of a thought bubble (known in captivate as the rounded rectangular callout). I can also convert Smart Shapes into freeform objects and make it into any shape I can get to look right!

How Do I Do These Wonderful Things?

In the next section, I will briefly explain how I do each of the things above. I am still learning Captivate, so please chime in via the comments if you have a more efficient way to do any of these!

For each of these items, the first step is to create a Smart Shape by selecting the Smart Shape tool and drawing it on the slide.

1. Add Text to a Smart Shape

  1. Right-click on the Smart Shape
  2. Choose Add Text
    Note: Alternatively you can select the Smart Shape and then press F2

2. Convert a Smart Shape into a Rollover

  1. Right-click on the Smart Shape
  2. Choose Convert to rollover Smart Shape

3. Replace the Current Smart Shape with a New Smart Shape

  1. Right-click on the Smart Shape
  2. Choose Replace Smart Shape. A new window will display with the Smart Shapes
  3. Select the new Smart Shape

4. Change the Fill & Stroke Options of a Smart Shape

  1. Select the Smart Shape
  2. In the Properties of the Smart Shape, change the fill and stroke options.

5. Change the Shape of a Smart Shape Text Callout (Thought Bubble)

  1. Select the Smart Shape text callout.
    Note: You will see a yellow square at the pointy end of the callout. 
  2. Left-click the yellow square and drag it to where you want your callout to point.

Summary

It has taken a while to figure out what I need and want in Captivate, and it seems as soon as I have a grasp on one version, a new version of Captivate is available to learn. I hope these text tricks will help someone out that is having trouble getting the most out of text captions.

Do you know of a better way to accomplish these things? Feel free to post any tips or tricks – I am always looking for ways to be more efficient!

Help! My keyboard, mouse, and/or pointer does not work while in PowerPoint Slideshow view!

In August, I was the instructional designer charged with hosting an 8-hour training event. It went very well, but just when I started the first PowerPoint presentation in slideshow mode, I realized my laser pointer didn’t work (and new batteries didn’t help!). Then I realized my keyboard and mouse were also not responding.

To get around this issue on the day of the training, I started the slideshow using the “Rehearse Timings” button.

Rehearse Timings

Rehearse Timings

This meant having the Rehearsal window open during my welcome presentation. More importantly, I could continue the day without interrupting other modules. Fortunately, only the Welcome presentation was affected, and my SMEs (subject matter experts) were safe.

What Happened?

After some digging, the reason why I could not use my keyboard or mouse while in Slideshow View was due to the Kiosk setting. When a presentation is in kiosk mode, certain keyboard and mouse events are unavailable, and some PowerPoint controls do not work during the slideshow.

How Do I Fix It?

When stuck in kiosk mode, simply use the Escape key to exit the slideshow and return to normal view in PowerPoint. Follow these steps to shut off kiosk mode:

  1. Click the Set Up Slide Show button from the Slide Show ribbon.

    set up show window

    Set Up Slide Show window

  2. In the Show type group, change the setting to “Presented by a speaker (full screen)”. This is considered the best setting for projecting a presentation.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Save your PowerPoint file. (options in Set Up Show are stored in your PowerPoint!)

While you have Set Up Show open, be sure to poke around some of the other available settings… though most of these settings are now available from the ribbon in 2007 and up. Although my problem was very specifically kiosk mode, the Advance slide group settings could also have created a fairly similar issue.

How Did This Happen?

Three words: I did it.

This setting was turned on when I decided to reuse some of my welcome slides for mini-slideshows I use in between modules. I turned on the kiosk mode by accident on both slide decks instead of on the new one. When I realized that it was a problem only in one presentation, I was able to trace back the steps I made to figure out the problem.

It can happen to the best of us. In an effort to reuse and re-purpose things, accidents can and do happen. If I had given someone else this deck with kiosk mode enabled, I could have caused a lot of grief!