eLearning: Adobe Captivate and Microsoft PowerPoint
by Kevin Siegel
What came first, the chicken or the egg? Wait... before answering that, let's rework that classic question with this: what comes first, the eLearning or the PowerPoint presentation?
When developing eLearning, the content is often created in Microsoft PowerPoint first. I'm not going to get into what it takes to create visually compelling PowerPoint presentations (we have a mini course for that). Instead, I'm going to show you how to take existing PowerPoint content and quickly re-purpose it for eLearning.
You can import PowerPoint slides into an existing Captivate project or create a new project that uses the PowerPoint slides. During the import process, Captivate includes the ability to create a link between a Captivate project and PowerPoint presentation. Using this workflow, any changes made to the original PowerPoint presentation can be reflected in the Captivate project.
Note: Microsoft PowerPoint must be installed on your computer before you can import PowerPoint presentations into Captivate. Also, the ability to import PowerPoint presentations isn't new. In fact, Captivate has supported PowerPoint imports for years. If you're using a legacy version of Captivate (even version 4 and 5), the steps below will work for you just fine.
To create a new project from a PowerPoint presentation, choose File > New Project > Project From MS PowerPoint and open the PowerPoint presentation.
The Convert PowerPoint Presentations dialog box opens, offering a few controls over how the presentation is imported.
The On mouse click option adds a click box to each Captivate slide. The other available option, Automatically, results in Captivate slides that, when viewed by a learner, automatically move from slide to slide every three seconds. At the lower right of the dialog box, there are options for High Fidelity and Linked.
During a standard import process, PowerPoint pptx presentations are first converted to the ppt format and then converted to SWF. If you select High Fidelity, the import process takes native pptx files directly to Captivate SWF (the ppt conversion is skipped). This option, which is available only in Captivate for Windows, results in the best-looking content in Captivate, but it takes much longer to complete the import process.
The Linked option creates a link between the PowerPoint presentation and the new Captivate project. The link allows you to open the PowerPoint presentation from within Captivate. Additionally, any changes made externally to the PowerPoint presentation can be reflected in the Captivate project with a few mouse clicks.
After the PowerPoint slides are imported into Captivate, you can add Captivate objects such as captions, highlight boxes, or animations.
If you need to edit the PowerPoint slides, choose Edit > Edit with Microsoft PowerPoint > Edit Presentation. The Presentation will open in a window that can best be described as a union between Captivate and PowerPoint. If you've used PowerPoint before, you will recognize the familiar PowerPoint interface.
There are two buttons you wouldn't normally see if you opened the presentation directly in PowerPoint: the Save and Cancel buttons at the upper left of the window. Once you have edited the PowerPoint slides, click the Save button and the changes will appear in the Captivate project.
If the PowerPoint presentation has been edited outside of Captivate, (perhaps your subject matter expert is adding or removing content from the presentation) you can still get the changes. Choose Window > Library. On the Library, notice that there is a Status column.
A red button will indicate that the PowerPoint slides within the Captivate project are no longer synchronized with the PowerPoint presentation. A simple click on the red button will update the Captivate slides.
Next week: Articulate Storyline and PowerPoint.
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