Monday, August 10, 2009

Remaining Questions From the Captivate 4 STC Webinar

From Peter I – How… set Captivate closed captioning to "ON" by default? – The easiest way I found to do this is from Thanks to Captiv8r for pointing this out on Adobe's Captivate forum at

From Judith S - Does Captivate 4 capture right-mouse clicks? – Yes, but it has a few quirks and can vary depending on the version of ActionScript. See this thread on the forum -

From Debora G - …published captivate files are of poor quality (fuzzy text and background image) - how can we improve the quality? When we preview in CP it looks crisp – Did you insert the image as a bitmap (GIF, JPG, or PNG) and have you scaled the movie? Let me know by email offline.

From Linda K - is there a way to correct typos made during capture so they're not repeated in the output? – Per Peter I – “One can replace the original typing with animated typing text.” Is that what you need?

From Linda K - when should we use auto recording mode vs full motion recording? – Basically, use auto mode to record standard movies and fmr to record movies that show continuous visual change like drag and drop or, on the more unusual side, something like the view through an electron microscope. Note that you can start recording in auto mode and switch in and out of fmr as necessary by pressing F9 to enter fmr mode and F10 to return to normal.

From Linda K – how… control the size of the frame in the SWF output? – This question may be referring to two things, so I may not be answering the right one. Read this thread on the forum - – and let me know if that’s NOT what you were referring to, in which case we can talk a bit more offline.

From Linda K - how do we remove the Captivate branding from the... player? – If you’re referring to the Adobe Captivate “button” from the playbar, open the skin editor (Project > Skin Editor), select the Playback Control tab, open the Playbar field pulldown, and select any playbar style other than default.

From Judith S - Can you demo or show us the aggregator? – Are you asking in terms of how it works compared to MenuBuilder or just in general? Shoot me an email offline if you have a chance.

From Judith S - How easy is it to translate… Captivate movies from English to another language? – I’ve done little translation work so this response may not be complete, and I ask anyone who has translated to extend or correct what I say next... It seems fairly straightforward - pick the desired language for the auto-captions and modify the text as necessary, translate your text captions, and re-do any voiceovers (obviously). You may also have to re-shoot any screens in the appropriate foreign language version of your software. Also watch for culturally-based issues. One example that I ran into years ago was the use of a rural post box icon as an email icon, only to find that many people outside the US didn’t know what it was.

From Jeff F - …explain more about widgets? – There’s a pretty good write-up on them in Captivate 4’s help, but email me if you’re looking for more than what’s there and we can discuss it.

Enjoy the tool...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Attendee Questions From My Captivate 4 STC Webinar Last Week

Thank you all for your questions. Here's the first set of responses. Look for the rest over the next few days...

From Cynthia K - file sizes for the two examples you showed - The SWF for the Decimal-Binary Conversion movie was 249K. The SWF for the diaper-changing movie was 2.45 Megs.

From Michael M – …interactivity capabilities of Camtasia vs Captivate? – Overall, I’d say they’re similar. They're both major commercial tools, which usually means they support the same overall set of features and differ in specific areas or capabilities – e.g. they both offer text caption boxes, for example. Check Camtasia’s features at for specifics.

From Don W - What is the output format for... Captivate? – There are seven options. I’d say the most common is SWF for the movie, then Print (Word) for producing review copies or handouts. You can also output to Adobe Connect Pro, AVI, EXE, an email attachment with several specific formats, FTP, or a new (in Captivate 4) AIR-based “review” format as a way to move reviews off paper.

From Erin H - can you talk a little bit about how it integrates with other help systems? What things should we be aware of? I woudl like to include movies in online Help (and we use a content management tool for Help). Also, what can be done to minimize file size? – In Flare and RoboHelp, and probably any other tool that lets you insert SWF files, it’s a simple matter to insert a movie into a topic. The problem is that the movie runs automatically every time the user opens that topic, cool at first but wearing thin fast. A better solution is to create a separate topic to hold the movie, then add some link text in the main topic, like “Click here to see a demo” and popup link that text to the help topic that contains the movie. This lets the user decide whether to run the movie. Two points re minimizing the movie files sizes… First, reduce the number of graphics that you insert in the movie. Second, if you’re doing audio narration, do it in one or two takes rather than twenty or thirty to get the audio "just right", since all those takes add up.

From Cynthia K - how many tiers can you branch out to? – As far as I know, there is no technical limit. The only limit may be how many you can keep track of.

From Peter I - can you suggest approach for maintaining captivate movies? For ex., if one screen changes. – I think it depends on the size and nature of the change and its proportion to the overall movie. Overall, there are two main options. Re-shoot the changed material as a new movie, then import its frames into the existing movie and delete the original, now-changed, frames. Or, delete the old slides in the movie and use Cap’s re-record feature ( Insert > Recording Slide). I lean toward the first option because I find it less confusing, but that’s me.

From Susan H - Can we change text to variables after the fact? – You can remove text and replace it with a variable, if that’s what you mean…

From Linda K - may we use the music shipped with Captivate in our movies? are they copyright concerns? – As far as I know, the audio clips that ship with Captivate are freely distributable with no copyright issues, but don’t take my word for this. I'd contact Adobe to check, or else have your legal department do so.

From Susan H - Please confirm that Captivate DOES support double-byte characters. – Per the features page at, under the Unicode Support heading, it says “Create your content in any language, including double-byte languages, and count on Adobe Captivate to publish it properly thanks to Unicode text encoding”

From Linda K - How to change the default text used in the automatic captions? – Open the appropriate CaptureTextTemplates_.rdl language file in the Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 4 folder and change the default text as needed. This file is a bit programmatic, so make sure you’re changing the right wording. Back up the original RDL file before changing it.

From Erin H - perhaps you could post a short demo of using Captivate on your blog? – I’m going to run a brief (35 minutes) demo on Wednesday. Let me know if you’re interested in sitting in and I’ll send you the connection info.

More to come...