Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Adobe Captivate 2 in anger

No this isn’t a rant about problems with Adobe Captivate 2, far from it. I have just finished creating my first real-world project, the solution recipe PayPal Websites Payments Pro. Using any piece of software on a real project (opposed to testing the software during the development cycle) can be a daunting experience. Does the software live up to it’s expectations? Do the new features really improve the user’s workflow and most importantly when used under normal working conditions does the application remain stable?

Well, in the case of Adobe Captivate 2 I am happy to say that this project the program performed really well. I am still amazed at how quickly Captivate 2 saves project files, even those that during development consisted of over 140 slides still saved in a fraction of the time they used to in Captivate 1 and, as for the new Library feature – well you’re going to have to wait a little while longer before I talk about that one.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Transparent Text Captions

Today’s Adobe Captivate 2 feature is transparent text captions. Transparent text captions, I hear you say! What possibly could be so exciting about these? Well in Adobe Captivate 2 if you need to create a transparent text caption and you want your text color to be say white, the Text Captions dialog box temporarily fills the background with a color so that you can see what you are typing! How much do I love this feature? More than words can say!

Transparent Text Captions

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Preview Next X Slides

Project Preferences

Today’s Adobe Captivate 2 feature focuses on Previewing. When working on a project there as many instances when you only want to preview a certain amount of slides; although with Captivate 1.x you could preview the next five slides, there were many occasions when this simply wasn’t enough.

To address this issue in Adobe Captivate 2 you the user can now specify how many next slides the program should preview.

Another option in this dialog, is the ability to specify the default duration for newly created blank, image and question slides.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Keyboard shortcuts

Adobe Captivate 2 Keyboard shortcut dialog

One of the reasons why I decided to start using Captivate over other screen recording tools was because Captivate enabled me to create truly interactive simulations. For the past 8 years, I had been creating video-based tutorials for my former employer Virtual Training Company.

Whilst I have nothing against creating demonstration tutorials, the chance to create interactive simulations was something that for many years I had wanted to explore. So, needless to say having discovered Captivate and been offered the chance to create some interactive content, I leapt at the opportunity.

Last year one of the interactive projects I got to work on was the Dreamweaver 8 Getting Started series. Whilst Captivate enabled me to create a “fairly realistic” series of tutorials, I kept hitting two major problems:

  1. I could not attach a key board shortcut and a mouse click to the same object
  2. I was not able take advantage of the numeric keypad.

Thankfully, in Adobe Captivate 2 all this changes. Adobe Captivate 2 enables you to apply both a mouse click and keyboard short cut to the same object.

What is even more exciting is that you can also include the numeric keypad as part of your keyboard shortcut combination and ensures that the learner's experience is incredibly realistic!

For example it means that as well as learners being able to press say the Return key on their keyboard, they can also press the Enter key on the numeric keypad instead, which of course, is what many users in the real world do!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Automatic Slide Branching

Today, I want to focus on another of the Adobe Captivate 2 feature set: Slide Navigation.

Although Captivate 1.0 you could send a learner to another branch (part / section) in your project, using interaction objects such as click boxes, text entry boxes etc; if a learner landed on say slide 20 and you wanted to send them to say slide 45, and you didn’t want them to interact with the project, you were pretty well sunk.

In Adobe Captivate 2, the Captivate team has dealt with this limitation by including automatic slide branching. Now, if the learner lands on slide 75 and you want to send them to say slide 25 you can do so by simply setting the Slide navigation option to Jump to Slide 25 in the Slide Properties dialog.

Slide Navigation in Adobe Captivate 2

The complete range of navigation options are:
  • Go to previous slide
  • Go to next slide
  • Jump to slide
  • Open URL or file
  • Open other project
  • Send e-mail to
  • Execute JavaScript

The level of flexibility this offers is truly breath taking and provides Captivate developers with the ability to create paths that can seamlessly merge back onto a path in a previous or main section.

Adobe Captivate 2 eSeminar Series

Interested in learning about the exciting new features in Adobe Captivate 2, then sign up for the Adobe Captivate 2 one-hour online interactive seminar (09/13/2006 - 11/29/2006) and learn about the benefits of the new version of this awesome software .Plus you will also have the opportunity to get your questions regarding Adobe Captivate 2 answered to!

Sign up for the Adobe Captivate 2 eSeminar Series.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Adobe Captivate 2: Edit view

Adobe Captivate 2, Edit viewToday, I will reveal some of the cool new features that you will find in the Adobe Captivate 2 Edit view.

Open Adobe Captivate 2 and the first thing that you will notice is that at the very top of the view you now have a toolbar. This offers a convenient way to perform basic tasks such as cutting, copying, arranging objects, displaying object and slide properties as well as showing/hiding the grid and snapping objects to the grid. Over on the right hand side of the tool bar is a magnification menu enabling you to zoom in and out of your slide – you can also choose Best Fit.

However, this is one extra little surprise. Select any object and you will notice that the position and size text fields also appear. This means that for the first time you can position and size your objects with pixel level accuracy.

Adobe Captivate 2 also makes the Slide notes much easier to discover as these are now located at the bottom of the Adobe Captivate 2, application window.

Another great addition in Adobe Captivate 2 is the ability to float the Filmstrip. This is an ideal feature for those who have two monitors or very large screens. Simply tear-off the Filmstrip, drag it to the desired location and resize it.

Lastly, one of the great little new tools is the Go to Slide option. Located in the Edit menu and available by pressing Ctrl + Shift + G, this ensures that have to scroll through the Filmstrip trying to locate the desired slide is a thing of the past. It might be a small feature but it is a great timesaving tool that many Captivate users will be thankful for.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Meet the Adobe Captivate 2 Development team

Today, instead of looking at the Edit view, I have decided to share the Excellent Captivate 2 file created by Adobe Captivate 2 Quality Engineer - Randeep Singh.

Adobe Captivate 2 Team
This rocks and shows the type of amazing presentations you can create with Adobe Captivate 2! A big thanks to Randeep for letting me link to this.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Adobe Captivate 2 - Quiz Sample

For all those who create quizzes in Captivate here is a sample Quiz created in Adobe Captivate 2.

>Creating quizzes used to drive me nuts, you could never get contents of the question slides to align correctly and although you could apply a background image to the questions because the Results slide was only generated at run-time (when you preview or publish) typically many Captivate users would just leave this slide with it's default white background color.

Well, with Adobe Captivate 2 all that changes, as you now have the ability to position all your slide objects with pixel-level precision and most importantly the Results slide is now included in the Edit view so adding background image and aligning your result object in their desired locations is no longer a problem.

Adobe Captivate 2 - Recording - Pt 2

Full Motion Recording in Adobe Captivate 2
The biggest full motion capture improvement is that technically, there isn't any maximum length; essentially the only restriction is the performance of your computer system. If your full motion recording is very long, Captivate will simply split the full motion recording into multiple slides.

Adobe Captivate 2 also includes the ability to automatically create full motion recordings using mouse wheel actions.

Monday: The Edit view

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Adobe Captivate 2 Sample file

Ok, so I couldn't wait any longer. Here is the first Adobe Captivate 2 sample file. To see the file in action, just click on the image shown below.

In this example I show the following

  • The new Adobe Captivate 2 Skin and menu feature
  • The Zoom Area effect
  • Fill outer area Highlights
  • Closed Captioning with Interactive objects such as Click boxes.

A big thanks to Joseph Lowery - Author of the Dreamweaver 8 Bible for letting me use one of the original Dreamweaver 8 Bible techniques to demonstrate these features.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Adobe Captivate 2 - Recording - Pt1

With the announcement of Adobe Captivate 2 and having received permission from Silke (Product Manager for Captivate) I am delighted to be able to create my first post on key new features in Captivate 2.

Below is the first list of key new Recording features:
  • Pause during Capture: In Adobe Captivate 2 you can press the Pause key on your keyboard to move the red capture rectangle and then resume the capture by pressing the Pause key again.

  • Instant Text Entry Boxes: With Adobe Captivate 2 whenever you are auto-recording you can automatically add text entry boxes for text boxes.

  • Record actions in real time: With this new feature if it takes you 20 seconds to click on say a button then the resulting slide will be 20 seconds long.

Tomorrow - More on Recording.

Introducing Adobe Captivate 2

Well it is official, Adobe has announced Adobe Captivate 2. This is an amazing new version of Captivate and the main reason why I decided to create this blog! Over the next few days and weeks I will be posting lots of exciting information on Captivate 2 and samples, so, stay tuned!

Congratulations to all members Adobe Captivate 2 team, you have done us proud. A special word of thanks to Kenneth and Silke [you know why :-) ] I really appreciate all the support you have provided!

Update: The Adobe Captivate 2 product page is now live!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Right-Click menu article for Captivate

Today whilst trawling around the Captivate Developer's Center, I came across a new Right-Click menu article - Using Animations to Extend Macromedia Captivate for Right-Click Capability. This technique uses an animation to enable Captivate users to add right-click functionality to their projects. If you haven't seen this one yet, it is definitely worth taking a look! I've only done some basic testing on the techniques used but so far, so good!