Object styles were introduced in Captivate 5. While they aren't necessarily the coolest features in Capitvate, Object styles provide one of the fastest ways to update the look and feel of slide objects project-wide.
As I've continued to teach Captivate to new eLearning developers, one of my challenges is ensuring that object styles are used efficiently. Changing the way a selected object looks is fast and easy via the Properties panel. However, using the Properties panel to change the appearance of a single object can be problematic. For instance, let's assume you are working with a project that contains upwards of 100 text captions. You can update the appearance of a selected text caption with a few clicks on the Properties panel. Unfortunately, you'll quickly discover that the remaining 99 captions have remained unchanged.
In the image below, the Style being used on all of the text captions in my project is the default style called [Default Caption Style].
I wasn't happy with the font or font size used in any of my project captions. I selected a caption on one of my slides and made changes using the Character group.
The change took mere seconds. However, none of the other text captions took the change. In fact, it seemed that Captivate didn't appreciate the manual update on the Properties panel either. Check out the plus sign to the left of the style name in the Style drop-down menu.
The plus sign isn't necessarily good or bad (I guess it depends on if you see the glass half-empty or half-full). The plus sign simply means that the selected object isn't using the original appearance (or intent) of the style. In other words, there's a style override that has been applied to the selected slide object. In this case, since I wanted all of my text captions to look like the one that I had manually formatted, the plus sign was bad.
Fortunately, it's not difficult to turn the chicken into some awesome chicken salad. With the updated text caption still selected, a quick click on the Save changes to Existing Style command instantly updated all of the text captions in my project.