Friday, April 20, 2007

Exporting Captions to MS Word

Today’s post focuses on one of the reasons why I have been so quiet recently At the tail end of 2006 I was asked if I would be prepared to create a series of getting started tutorials for Dreamweaver CS3. Due to the incredibly positive feedback I received month after month, from the original Dreamweaver 8 Getting Started series I created a couple of years ago, the only answer I could give was “Yes!”

Initially, I had hoped that I would be able to repurpose a lot of the content I had previously created. However, due to the significant changes Adobe has made to Dreamweaver in Dreamweaver CS 3 and also the fact that the original tutorials were created using table-based layouts – so 2005 baby! I end up having to create virtually all of the Captivate project files again from scratch.

For the most part, one of the project components that I did manage to salvage was the caption text. This bring me nicely to the topic I want concentrate on, in this post - Exporting project captions to MS Word.

For those unfamiliar with this feature you can export your text captions to MS Word by choosing File > Import / Export > Export Project captions and closed captions…

In general the main reason why you would want to export text captions to MS Word would be to localize (translate) your caption text into another language. This is why if you have ever used this feature and opened the resulting MS Word document you were presented with two columns one called Original Text Caption Data and the other Updated Text Caption Data.

If you are a regular visitor to this blog you’ll know that I am pretty passionate about the Captivate 2 feature set. I’ll be honest I love nothing more than being able to use, promote and talk about Captivate wherever I can. During the elearning technologies conference I spoke at back in January (2007) many delegates asked about how do localize there Captivate projects and I got a real buzz seeing the look on their faces when I explained that Captivate makes this just so simple but anyway I digress…

For this project I knew that although I would not be able to import the text captions from my existing project files into the new ones (Captivate does not allow you to do this) I had to create for Dreamweaver CS3. What I could do, was to use MS Word’s Find and Replace tool to change all references in the text captions from Dreamweaver 8 to Dreamweaver CS3. And also change the name of the sample web site from Café Townsend to Aquo Drink (the name of the new sample site for the new version of Dreamweaver.)

Having made all required changes I then had to simply copy the text from the MS Word document and paste this into each of the new text captions I inserted into my new project files.

Although this might not seem like a big deal, it did mean that I didn’t have to type all the text for each of the text and failure captions and it also gave me the satisfaction of knowing that nowhere in the Getting Started series (thanks to MS Word’s Find and Replace feature) were there going to be any references to the original sample site “Café Townsend”

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Converting SWFs into a video format

Well, following the sign off my very large Captivate simulation projects (details to follow in the near future) I mentioned briefly back in February I’m finally back and excited to share some of stuff that has been happening over the last couple of months.

Today's post is all about a great new little application from called SWF to Video Converter. Using this powerful new application I am now able to convert Captivate content we create at work ( into an AVI format. This is a very exciting development because it means that for the first time we can distribute / broadcast content on sites such as YouTube

I first came across the SWF Converter thanks to the Developer Center article Silke Fleischer wrote; Silke is a senior product marketing manager for Adobe Captivate. So naturally, being the inquisitive soul that I am, I naturally went and downloaded a copy of this software to put it through its paces and I have to say that I was very impressed. The wizard style user interface is very straight forward and what excited me the most was that this app could also record the audio from the current SWF file. I have to say that along with another very cool feature I’ll come to in a minute, this feature sold the SWF converter for me and I recommend that we should purchase this product. As whilst in the past I had experienced success in capturing Captivate screens using an AVI screen recording tool, capturing the audio at the same time had proved to be very problematic.

The other very cool thing about this application is that whilst you are playing and capturing your Flash (SWF) files using the Converter, you can still interact with your SWF file. This is made possible because the SWF Converter supports ActionScript which means that when you capture your SWF, the ActionScript can be played properly. So what benefit does this give you? Well, it means that using the SWF Converter you can capture all the steps from an interactive simulation (training or assessment in Adobe Captivate) and convert it into a video demonstration! You can view a small example of this by downloading this example file (2,112 KB) Sample Adobe Captivate interactive simulation converted into video format.

You also can see how we are now using the SWF Converter to market the Database Starter Kit on by clicking on the this link. Database Starter Kits on