Convert Adobe Captivate to Articulate Storyline

We often are approached by people who have their eLearning content developed in Adobe Captivate.  Usually they feel locked into Captivate, either through the marketing and sales spiel of their contracted developer, the personal preference of an employee, or the old favourite of “we’ve always used it”.

Sometimes the marketing and belief system they have been given and built since they started developing eLearning for their people, leads them to think that Articulate Storyline is unable to do what Adobe Captivate can.  This is so untrue!

When we demonstrate how Articulate Storyline is just as capable in creating effective, engaging, interactive, accessible and compliant eLearning as Adobe Captivate, and that it is in fact far easier to use they soon turn their attention to converting their existing content.

So how do we convert an Adobe Captivate eLearning module to Articulate Storyline? For experienced Articulate Storyline developers, like our team at B Online Learning, it really doesn’t take very long.

The conversion isn’t as easy as converting a word doc to a PDF or back again. It will take a little bit of time and investment. You can‘t just open a Captivate file in Storyline and expect the conversion to be done for you. So, let’s roll our sleeves up and see what’s involved!

Firstly, how are they providing the old module? Do they have the original Captivate source file .cpt or .cptx or do they only have the published output? If they have the original Captivate source file, that makes the conversion process a little easier. If they don’t and only have the published output, that makes things a little more complex but not impossible. Let’s look at each in turn.

The Source File

With the source file in hand, open it in Adobe Captivate. If you don’t have access to Captivate you can download a 30-day free trial from Adobe’s website which will allow you to open the source file.

Once you have opened the file in Captivate, you will be able to see how many slides make up the module and have an idea as to how the developer has structured the animations and content.

To do the conversion, you will basically be rebuilding this structure within Storyline. Before you can rebuild anything though, you need to get all your images, video, audio and content sorted. Don’t worry about shapes and fonts. Grab the colour scheme vis your eyedropper tool in Storyline or ask the client for their style guide which will give you all the RGB colour codes and corporate fonts. All those can be rebuilt or installed locally for use in Storyline. The key things you want to capture here are images, the audio files and any videos.

To do so open the library interface within Captivate:

This will show you all the images, audio, video that are being used in the project. From here you can right click on them (individually or select all files you want to export) and select export to save a copy to your development folder for insertion into Storyline when you do the rebuild. Make sure you rename everything, so you know where it needs to go once you commence building in Storyline. I like to use the slide number somewhere in the file name for easy reference.

Capturing on screen text is as simple as highlighting the text, copying and pasting it to another document or directly into your Storyline project.

Alternatively, if you have multiple monitors or don’t mind ALT-TABing a lot on a single monitor, you could open Captivate and Storyline side by side to rebuild each slide as you go, copying and pasting the content slide by slide, and adding any animations or interactions as required.

Add any required accessibility information. In Storyline you can access these settings via the size and position menu settings of an object:

  1. Select the object by clicking on it
  2. Select the Format tab
  3. Click on the other settings icon (below in yellow)
  4. Select the Alt Text tab.

The Published Output

Sometimes clients don’t have the Captivate source file. The only item they have access to is the published output. Why would this be so? Well there are two main reasons:

  1. It’s simply been lost or accidently deleted; and
  2. The original developers didn’t provide the source files as part of the build agreement.

So, is it possible to convert from published output only? It’s a little more challenging, but it’s possible. You can locate the audio files easily enough in the published output under the ‘ar’ directory

You will need to go through and listen and rename them to correspond with each slide.

To access the images and video we suggest using a third-party software program known as a flash decompiler.  There are a number of these available online. Some free (with varying levels of success), and some have a cost, but generally they will allow you to extract the images, audio, video, animations and text from the .swf flash file in the published output:

So, there you go! Converting from Captivate to Storyline. Its not a quick process, but it will allow you to share with your client that not only is Storyline just as effective as Captivate, but also once converted, easier to use and update as time goes on!

If you are interested in us helping you convert your Adobe Captivate eLearning content to Articulate Storyline then please contact us here to see some examples.

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