5 Tips to Speed Up Your Development WorkflowLuke Westwood
I’m always trying to get faster with my development process in Adobe Captivate, and have learnt some tricks over the years, which I wanted to share with you.
I appreciate that everyone will already have their own workflow, but I thought these would help.
Tip 1. Save Files With Version Numbers.
This is something I always preach. Please save your Captivate files with version numbers. An example of this could be a Captivate file with name of ‘Module_1_draft_1. I will save a new version every day, before I start working on the file. This way you are able to go back to previous days in case anything goes wrong and you can’t remember how to fix it.
I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me. Captivate can create backup files of your project, but I find this helps so much, especially when you reach a big milestone in development. I even create multiple versions in one day sometimes when I have fixed any bugs or issues.
It can also be applied to any document you work on. Let’s say you’re storyboard is being updated during development, you could add the version numbers to this and in Captviate make a note when you start using a new version of your storyboard.
Tip 2. Use A Folder Structure System.
E-learning projects can become monsters when they start to grow.
With all of the media, job aids, storyboards, review forms and exports; it becomes difficult to manage. You can have a folder for each type of documents.
I personally have a folder for just my Captivate files, a folder for my published files, a folder for all of my media e.g. videos, photos etc. I also have folders for the review forms and storyboards.
I know it can seem a boring part of the process, but if you do this before you begin, it will make it a lot easier as the project grows.
It’s also important to remember to keep everything within this folder structure. I know how tempting it can be to save things to your desktop or other areas when you are in a rush, but if you keep everything centralised, it will be much easier to find everything. This is especially important when it comes to publishing your project and Captivate needs to be able to find everything.
Tip 3. Use a Jump-to slide Button.
This is a trick I use when I need to jump to a certain slide, but don’t need to go through every slide when previewing the project.
Let’s say you have a project of 50 slides and you need to check slide 30 is working. I would create a button on your first slide and use the ‘jump to slide’ action. Then I find slide 30 in the drop down menu, and tell the button to jump to that slide.
If you haven’t used this before, it will make things so much faster for you when you’re previewing your project and don’t have time to go through every slide.
Important Reminder. I do want to remind you to make sure you delete the button when you’re finished. There have been times when I’ve published my project and the button has been left on the home screen.
Tip 4. Use a Colour Pallet.
Colour plays a big role in the design of any e-learning project, which is why I use a colour pallet to speed things up. When you’re in Captivate, you can create some smart shapes and place them outside of the stage, which is the grey area of the screen.
I put the colours I use most often just above my stage and use the eye dropper tool when I need them. If your orgranisation/client has a specific branding colour scheme, this is especially helpful to have. It stops the process of trying to find the exact colours every time you need them.
If you want the colour pallet to appear on every slide, put them on your master slides and they will always be there for you. The colour pallet won’t appear in the published version of your project, as they’re not in the stage area.
Tip 5. Use Object Style Manager.
The Object Style Manager is a must have in your toolbox if you want to get faster.
It allows you to create default settings for objects you use. This means when you create something like a text caption, you can assign the font you need, the colour and same font size. This means that every you create a text caption, it will always be the same and everything will be consistent.
It isn’t just limited to text captions either. It can be used for buttons, text entry boxes, highlight boxes, smart shapes, quiz objects and so much more.
It can be found in the Edit menu and is at the bottom of the menu.
See How Fast You Can Become
I hope this has given you some new ideas on becoming a faster developer with Adobe Captivate. I believe being fast in your job is so important. As long as the quality is compromised, your clients or employer will love you for getting the job done and notice you’re making the effort to improve.