July 30, 2009

Break ice with Variables!!

Variables in Adobe Captivate act as placeholders for data. The relevant data is associated with the variable during user input or when the output SWF is played. Adobe Capativate supports two types of variables:

  • System Variables: These are pre-defined variables, which carry a Captivate movie’s information. In Adobe Captivate, system variables are classified as follows:
    • MovieControl: variables for events that control the movie like pause, resume, previous, next slide, and so on.
    • MovieInformation: variables related to the movie such as variables for the current slide, current frame, and so on.
    • MovieMetaData: variables that provide information about the project such as project name, author, and company.
    • SystemInformation: variables that can be picked up from your computer such as current date and current time.
    • Quizzing: variables related to quizzing, such as the variables that capture the number of attempts and the percentage of questions answered correctly.

The exhaustive list of System variables is enumerated in this post

  • User Variables: Variables that you create and to which you assign a name and value. You can use user-defined variables to store data that is used or updated many times in the Adobe Captivate project. Each variable has a unique name, and a value corresponding to the text that is stored in it. When you modify the value of a variable, the changes to the corresponding text are reflected throughout the project.

How to create user variables:

  • Goto ‘Project’ menu.
  • Select ‘Actions’ menu-item. The actions dialog comes up what is shown below.

So now you have created your variable. This variable is nothing but a user variable.

Information about system variables:

To know about them you just need to select “System” in the “Type” dropdown in the actions dialog:

Now that you know about User and System variables the next obvious question would be ‘what can I do with these variables?’ Well, you could do many things with these variables, which I shall explain in detail in my future posts. As of now I will tell you two basic usecases for variables:

  • Show variables in a Text Caption.
  • Show variables in a Drawing Toolbar Objects.

Show variable in a Text Caption:

Consider a case where-in you want to show ‘current slide of the total slide’ information in your project. For example, if your project has 10 slides and if user is on the first slide, this information would look like: 1 of 10.

  • Insert a text caption.


Show variables in Drawing Toolbar objects:

  • Draw a rectangle.
  • Select the rectangle and press “F2”. The TextEdit toolbar comes up.


I am sure that this post would have helped you to break ice with Variables.In my upcoming posts I will tell you about Advanced Actions. Once you get a hold of Advanced Actions, then we would discuss the ‘what and how’ of variables and Advanced Actions in Adobe Captivate 4. Till then I encourage you to try a date with variables!!


Posted by Manish Anand2:29 PM
  • I used computers a little at work, but on retiring wanted to tap into their usefulness for keeping me connected with folks and developing my interests. This post is just right.

  • Russ Taber

    I used the $$cpInfoCurrentSlide$$ variable, but if flashes the name of the variable “$$cpInfoCurrentSlide$$” with each new slide.Any ideas? Bug?

  • Manish Anand

    Hi Russ,Can you provide more details of the scenario.

  • Sarah

    Can you use variables to have the captivate html write info to? Want to pull user name from urlstring, use document write to put in captivate, and then pull score and name back out. Thanks for your time.

  • Fatima

    HiI am trying to create an e-learning for trainee surgeons. An e-learning that they can use to read, watch and practice the skills needed to be a surgeon. But i don’t know which e-learning system to use to create a quick prototype that contains text, audio and videos.is adobe captivate good to use, if so can you direct me to somewhere i can learn how to use it.

  • Manish Anand
  • Undoubtfully nice article you have here. It’d be really cool to read a bit more about that theme. Thank you for sharing that material.

  • I!ll come back to read more posts from you To sensible men, every day is a day of reckoning. ~John W. Gardner

  • Truly cool post u got here. It’d be really cool to read a bit more about that topic. Thnx for posting such information.Chloe WARD

  • Frank Beach

    On a fast track project and have jumped into Captivate without much preparation. I’m a videomaker so most of the process and UI is intuitive–except for the idea a slide is the smallest unit on the time line yet it can go on for minutes!

    My issue is with “registration” and quiz reporting. From a theoretical perspective I understand how a registration database works as well as “flat file” reporting, but I have no practical experience. In this instance passwords are preassigned–each learner will be given a unique password when they are assigned to take the lesson. Those passwords will be pre-loaded in the authorized user database.

    I have reviewed the Interactivity and Variables tutorials and am getting the idea the answer to how to set up “registration” page and database lives somewhere in those areas. However, I am a lost ball in high weeds and seek guidance and suggestions on how to create and manage this task.

    Guidance will be greatly appreciated.

    • Frank, the concept of registration seems out of context here. I’m guessing that you’re working with a separate Learning Management System outside of Captivate? If so, its the LMS that would facilitate your Registration / enrollment process. Then you just upload the SCO objects (assuming you are using SCORM compatible LMS). The registration all happens in the LMS, not within Captivate. The exception would kind of be Acrobat.com reporting, but even then, the registration or account identification is handled by Acrobat.com, acting as a sort of Lightweight LMS.
      Hope this helps bring some clarity – LMK if i’ve misunderstood the question.

  • steve

    I’ve just upgraded to Captivate 5 (finally I can use it on my Mac! Hazzah!) — it seems that when you use a user variable in a text caption, the indentation settings for that caption box no longer work.

    Does anyone know if that is still the case – is there a fix somewhere that I’m not seeing?


  • Jonecir

    It’s ok to use a system variable, but how do I change one, for example, I’d like to set the cpCmndCC system variable to 1, so the closed caption appears automatically! How do I accomplish this?

    • Bobn

      Did you ever get an answer to this. I want to do the same, but I can’t seem to change the system variavles. It won’t let me select anything.

      • Vish

        Hello Bob, On slide enter action of the first slide you can set it to 1. Is this something you want to achieve? or do you want to make it always 1 for all projects? If so, that is not possible.

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