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Using Adobe Captivate for eLearning: A Love/Hate Relationship April 12, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: ,

I’ve been using Adobe Captivate (formerly Macromedia Captivate) for over 2 years and I think it’s a great authoring tool that can help you create powerful simulations and demonstrations for eLearning. However, there are a number of issues (bugs) that can drive you completely insane during the development process. Luckily, many of the bugs found in Captivate v1.0 were resolved in v2.0. However, there are still some problems in v2.0. I recently attended a “Stump the Captivate 2 Experts” session at The eLearning Guild’s 2007 Annual Gathering, and it was not a pretty sight. Two Captivate experts were on the receiving end of about 40 Captivate users venting their frustrations about the product. Of course, we all still love the product, and it is the best value screen capturing/simulation tool on the market in my opinion.

Here are a few of the issues with Captivate 2.0 that were discussed:

  • When previewing or playing a Captivate movie, if your audio sounds distorted (ex. your narration sounds like you are underwater), delete the audio and re-add it to the Captivate file. That should fix the problem.
  • If you have issues with text captions showing up blurry or unnecessarily bolded when using a transparent background, try reinstalling Captivate (especially if you upgraded to version 2.0 from version 1.0).
  • When inserting audio for a slide, make sure you pad the audio with 0.1 seconds of silence at the beginning and end of the slide. If you have audio too close to the beginning or end of a slide, it may not play correctly when previewing or publishing the file.
  • Try to keep Captivate demonstrations and simulations to less than 100 slides. Break up content into smaller modules. Captivate will be much more stable and less likely to do strange things. Some people, including myself, reported that the thumbnail images in Edit mode start getting flaky when you try to edit movies that have over 100 slides. We also noticed slides randomly disappearing and changing places. It is believed that this is simply a “memory issue.”

Several people said that these tweaks work for version 1.0, but I’ve not tested all of them myself. Good luck!



1. Keith Johnson - November 12, 2008

I just recently purchased the Adobe Technical Communications Suite and look forward to learning Captivate to help create quality trainings. Thanks for the heads-up on these issues and I will remember these issues as I learn Captivate. Regards, Keith

2. Steve - April 28, 2011

Hey, four years and three versions later, Captivate still sucks. Aliasing of fonts is awful, buttons always resume slides when clicked (even if they should not), Flash performance is terrible, and Captivate still maintains its awful single-track one-direction mentality. Awful, awful.

3. B.J. Schone - April 28, 2011

@Steve – That’s a pretty harsh statement. Personally, I’ve had pretty good luck with Captivate. To add something positive to the conversation, can you recommend a tool that does all of these things well?

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