Archive for the ‘Authoring tools’ Category

Let’s not forget Captivate!

December 5, 2011

captivate-buttonsCaptivate is a much used tool for the many useful tools it comes with.

However adding personalisation to Captivate buttons is not as easy as another packages are, so we want to help.

You can download our handy pack of Captivate buttons that will allow you to add a touch of green design to your eLearning package by clicking here.

To use the buttons, you just have to copy the png files into the following location in your hard drive:

Adobe Captivate 4\Gallery\Buttons

Hope you enjoy them and if you have any issues, please feel free to contact Rob Hiklin, the clever mind behind them, to resolve your every question.

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And another Articulate skin to giveaway!

December 5, 2011

skin_desktop_thumb[1]And let’s the giveaway continue with another, very different but no less attractive skin for you Articulate users.

This time the skin doesn’t have the logo XML driven logo from the previous skin, so it is a lot simpler to use and just as good looking.

Although some people think that desk themed skins are a bit old-fashioned, Paco Garcia Jaen, eLearning developer and Graphic Artist who did the art direction for this skin (thought he can’t remember doing it, it might be someone else’s, but it doesn’t matter…) disagrees with the statement.

Paco says: “Real life desktops are a dynamic space that people customise until they feel comfortable and ‘at home’, so it’s only natural that people like desk themes as they can also feel comfortable. Using every day items, like a cup of coffee, clips or a pen, provides with a familiar environment for the learning to make it more attractive to the learner”.

So there!

Of course without the talent of Rob Hiklin this skin wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Unless another of the developers had created, but the point is that Rob did and he did a great job with the original art direction!

You can download the skin by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy it!

Let the season of giving start early!

December 5, 2011

They say that Christmas is the season of giving and loving. Why that doesn’t last all year round is beyond me, but we thought it would be very nice to actually live up to the season’s name and give away something. For free.

I know they say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but there is a such thing as a free Articulate Skin!

Paco Garcia Jaen, one of our developers and graphic artists (and talented writer of this post!) has art-directed this skin and Rob Hicklin has built it so you can use it as you see fit.

flare-skinThe skin shows a colourful but neutral theme

The logo is also XML driven, which means you can add your own logo to the skin if you wish.

In order to do that, just you have to change the provided image with another one, but leaving the name as it is at the moment.

The detailed instructions are as follow:

  1. First of all download the Skin Package and extract it onto your hard drive.
  2. Inside the folder, there is a file that contains the skin package. Double click on “kineo_skin_package_Flare.artpkg” to install it.
  3. Amend the logo sample and add your own logo. It is important the size remains unchanged, so don’t resize it. Also remember to keep the file name untouched. If you rename it as anything else, or change it into another format, it will not be seen by the skin.
  4. The XML file drives the image into the skin.Click here to download an image with the folder structure to save your files in So yu will need that file too.
  5. Create your Articulate e-Learning and publish it as normal, making sure you choose the skin as template.
  6. Once you’ve published it, drop the XML file and the logo file in the root folder where you published it.
  7. Enjoy your course with your new skin!

Free Articulate skin

July 4, 2011

Click here to download an image of the skinIt is with great pleasure that I present you, dear reader and Articulate user with this free skin for your enjoyment and pleasure.

This rather bucolic skin has been art directed by Paco Garcia Jaen, and developed by one of our developers, Robert Hicklin.

“The inspiration for the skin came because I wanted to create something different, informal but useable at the same time, and something with the potential to be fun to use too.” – Paco Garcia Jaen

The skin features an illustrated landscape using wooden posts as navigation, menu, transcript and help buttons.

Rob Hicklin – “We decided to add some fun effect with the flying birds on the roll-over states. It was a matter of creating something we haven’t done before and that tells the audience that the skin is interactive, that is not a passive element of the e-learning experience.”

To make it even more flexible, the development team created the skin so the logo is XML driven and customisable by simply changing the image supplied.

How to use the skin

  1. First of all download the Skin Package and double click on it to install it.
  2. Download the logo sample and add your own logo. It is important the size remains unchanged, so don’t resize it. Also remember to keep the file name untouched. If you rename it as anything else, or change it into another format, it will not be seen by the skin.
  3. Download the XML file that drives the image into the skin.Click here to download an image with the folder structure to save your files in
  4. Create your Articulate e-Learning and publish it as normal, making sure you choose the skin as template.
  5. Once you’ve published it, drop the XML file and the logo file in the root folder where you published it.
  6. Enjoy your course with your new skin!

Complex pictorial HotSpots in Powerpoint

November 26, 2010

complex-hotspotBy Rob Hicklin and Paco G. Jaen

Expanding on a subject subject by subject can be tedious if the learner has to go from one slide to the next in a linear fashion.

With this incredibly easy method, you can turn any presentation into a fully navigable hotspot interaction.

You can download the full package here.

The ppt contains 9 slides with a central image and 8 images placed conveniently around it. Each one of those images is a separate graphic whilst the woman of the arrows and the woman have been placed in the Slide Master to make it easier for the slide to be duplicated and remain consistent.

Once you have your Slidemaster ready, this is a step by step guide to creating these hotspots.

  1. In the first slide place the images around the central photograph and set up the layout that will be repeated on the next few slides.
  2. Create as many slides as hotspots you need to have. In this case, 8. this will mean you’ll have one more slide than the number of hotposts. One slide for the initial layout and one for each one of the hotspots.
  3. Select one of the images and right click on it. In the menu that will appear on your screen, select “Hyperlink”
  4. Select “Place in this Document” on the left pane. You will get a list of the slides you have. In this list, select the slide you want this particular image to link to.
  5. Repeat the process with every image you want to convert into a hotspot, being careful to link to the right slide.
  6. When you have assigned the right slide to all the images, select them all and copy them into the clipboard (Crtl – C in PC, Cmd – C if you use Apple computers)
  7. Go to each slide and paste the images (Ctrl – V in PC, Cmd –V if you use Apple computers). They should all appear in exactly the same place of the originals, so if you flick from slide to slide, you won’t see anything moving.
  8. Each slide should have the description for a particular image. Select all the hotspots, but leave the one the slide corresponds to untouched, and then apply a B&W or a colorize effect by right clicking and going into “Format Picture” at the bottom of the menu. Then repeat that step for each slide.

When you have finished you will have a fully interactive hotspot. Now is just a matter of adding the relevant information and text about the topic in each slide, publish, and wait for the compliments to come!

Toolbook

September 29, 2010

I’ve been getting up to speed on ToolBook, one of the older authoring tools. It’s not too bad though a bit clunky. It has some standard issues – what you see isn’t really what you get, bullet points are pointedly problematic. In publishes to HTML which could be a plus though. One thing I have found is that there is quite a lot of documentation out there and some good resources:

Toolbook.org – useful blog with ‘how to’ and links

Toolbookdeveloper.com – this has free and paid for widgets and add ons for toolbook

ToolBookConsulting.com – the blog has lots of tips and links to downloadable widgets and fixes

Let me know if you know of any other sites I should be aware of.

Apply a custom template

November 15, 2009

Kev blogged a little while ago about Kineo’s free Articulate player template. You can get that here. A couple of people have asked for a demo on how to install and apply the skin, so you can see that here.

P.S. I used Screenr to create this demo. It’s really handy.

Screen recording tool for Twitter

November 2, 2009

A great new tool for Twitter is ScreenR.  ScreenR is a free java based screen recording tool which is aimed towards Twitter users.  Simply define the screen area you wish to record, add audio if you so wish and press the red button and start !

You are limited to 5 minute videos but ScreenR is a great way of demonstrating particular features or methods and tying them into your own Twitter feed.

Creating a custom skin for Articulate

November 2, 2009

I’ve just started learning how to make custom Articulate skins. The skin replaces the default Articulate Presenter navigation controls and buttons with new visuals created in Flash. What’s new is that the guys over at Articulate HQ have now provided a ‘skin package’ system whereby the skin will install itself into Presenter to be selected as a player template when publishing, saving a tremendous amount of time at the publishing stage.

Previously a custom skin would have to be manually applied after every publish by copying the files from where they are stored over their counterparts in the player folder of the outputted project – tantamount to manual labour in IT terms.

These days, however, once the skin is ready, one can now zip everything up into an articulate package file which can then be distributed around, and simply double-clicked to install the skin into Presenter – couldn’t be simpler!

I created my first skin package earlier this week. You can get it from kineo’s site here.

I’ve just finished creating a custom skin for use with Articulate.I’ve just started learning how to make custom Articulate skins. The skin It replaces the default Articulate Presenter navigation controls and buttons with new visuals created in Flash. What’s great about creating a custom skinnew is that the guys over at Articulate HQ have now provided a ‘skin package’ system whereby the skin will install itself into Presenter to be selected as a player template when publishing, saving a tremendous amount of time at the publishing stage.

Previously a custom skin would have to be manually applied after every publish by copying the files from where they are stored over their counterparts in the player folder of the outputted project – tantamount to manual labour in IT terms.

These days, however, once the skin is ready, one can now zip everything up into an articulate package file which can then be distributed around, and simply double-clicked to install the skin into Presenter – couldn’t be simpler!

The custom skin is available to download at the end of this post. I created my first skin package earlier this week. If you want to give it a go follow this link

Captivate 4 Text to Speech

October 26, 2009

I wrote a review of Captivate 4 up on the Kineo site last month and got quite a big response. A couple of people commented on the fact that I hadn’t mentioned the text to speech functionality 

So, I have created a short little demo. It contains audio…  

Ok so maybe using it to create a scenario is a bit unfair, but you can see the downside of text-to-speech – it’s a bit flat.

Why use it then? Well, a good way of using it is as dummy audio. Allow reviewers to amend the synthesised audio and then you can add a proffessional voice over once the audio has been signed off. 

Mark Fletcher, whose blog you can visit here, gave me some great tips. He said if you are planning to do a voice over, you should take a look at the links below. They enable you to customise exactly how words are pronounced in the audio.

Customising the Text to Speech Dictionary

Using the Text to Speech – User Dictionary Editor