If you are creating a soft skills eLearning lesson (a lesson teaching a life skill such as conflict resolution instead of a software simulation), the appearance of each individual slide is critical. If you are creating a software simulation, the background is typically the application being simulated so that's one less thing you have to worry about. Not so with a soft skills lesson where you either start with a blank project or import a PowerPoint presentation.
If you've started with a blank project, you need to come up with the look and feel of each slide. Ask yourself, do the slide backgrounds look professional? Do the slides adequately convey your corporate identity when it comes to the object and background colors, and the use of fonts, fonts sizes and font colors? Are the slide objects placed consistently throughout the lesson?
One way to ensure the consistent placement of repetitive objects across slides is the use of Master Slides. Since Master Slides can't create or design themselves, you'll appreciate the power of Themes.
A Theme is a collection of pre-designed and positioned slide elements, master slides, object styles and Skins designed to quickly give your project a consistent look and feel. I want to emphasise the word quickly here. Once you select a Theme, the look and feel of your project is going to dramatically change, typically for the better, and faster than you might imagine.
Captivate ships with a handful of Themes. You can use, edit and save the provided Themes. If you've got a design background, you can create your own. You can elect to apply a theme to a brand new project, or apply a Theme to any legacy project on the fly.
To apply a Theme, first display the Themes panel by choosing Themes > Show/Hide Themes Panel.
From the Themes panel, it's now a simple matter of selecting the theme that best meets your design needs.
In the image below, I've created a project with perfectly good content, but zero design.
The image below is the exact same slide as it appeared just seconds after I selected the Blackboard theme.
Keep in mind that each Theme, at its core, is simply a collection of Master Slides and Object Styles. If you don't like any one particular part of a Theme, simply edit those areas and then save the Theme (via the Themes menu). The next time you use the same Theme in any project, the updated Theme will be used instead of the original.
Looking to learn Captivate quickly? We offer two live, online Captivate 5 classes. Adobe Captivate Essentials and Adobe Captivate Beyond the Essentials (Advanced). Our Captivate 6 classes will ramp up in August.