Author Archive: nandinig

What’s New in Adobe Captivate 5

Smitha V, Adobe Captivate content lead, shares this overview of key new features with links to Help:

Adobe Captivate for Mac
Adobe Captivate 5 is available on Mac OS. Both Adobe Captivate on Mac and Adobe Captivate on Windows have identical features and homogeneous user interface.
For Mac-specific details and system requirements, see the product website.
See http://blogs.adobe.com/rjacquez/2010/05/say_hello_to_adobe_captivate_5.html for an overview of Adobe Captivate on Mac.

Optimized User Interface
Improve the overall authoring experience with Property Inspector that provides an in-context list of attributes when objects are selected. Work simultaneously on multiple projects using the multiple-document interface. Personalize workspaces and switch between them as and when needed. Benefit from a user interface that is consistent with popular Adobe applications such as Adobe Flash, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver.
To know more about the new user interface of Adobe Captivate, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/rapid-elearning/optimized-user-interface-/ and http://www.lodestone.com/training/captivate_training.cfm

Object Styles
Quickly obtain a uniform and consistent formatting for objects by defining styles and applying them. Reuse the styles across multiple Adobe Captivate projects without having to recreate them.
For more information on object styles, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/rapid-elearning/object-styles-/ and http://www.lodestone.com/training/captivate_training.cfm

Master Slides
Use Master Slides to easily create and maintain well formatted and consistent-looking content that meets corporate guidelines. Make project-wide formatting changes conveniently and consistently.
To learn more about master slides, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/rapid-elearning/master-slides/ and http://www.lodestone.com/training/captivate_training.cfm

Rich Animation Effects
Create rich object animations within Adobe Captivate 5, by combining predefined effects such as straight-line motion, rotation, and glow. For added impact, seamlessly import custom animation effects from Adobe Flash® Professional.
To know more about animation effects, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/rapid-elearning/rich-animation-effects-/ and http://www.lodestone.com/training/captivate_training.cfm

Multi-Video Support and Synchronization
Include videos in your content without having to use another application. Import videos in a wide variety of popular formats (AVI, MOV, FLV, MPEG) and synchronize video with a project, slide, or a set of slides.
To know more about multi-video support and synchronization, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/rapid-elearning/multivideo-support-and-synchronization/ and http://www.lodestone.com/training/captivate_training.cfm

In-Context Learner Collaboration using Twitter
Use the Twitter widget to create courses that let learners collaborate with each other as well as with the author using their Twitter account. The learners can ask questions, get answers, and access preexisting discussions.
The Twitter widget will be made available soon on the Adobe website. So, stay tuned.

Collaboration and Review using Acrobat.com
Enable multiple authors to work simultaneously on a project by hosting and sharing projects on Acrobat.com. Also, host projects on Acrobat.com for shared reviews to enable authors obtain collective review comments from reviewers.
To know more about collaborating and setting up reviews using Acrobat.com, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://blogs.adobe.com/rjacquez/2010/05/leveraging_the_acrobatcom_clou.html and http://tv.adobe.com/watch/end-to-end-elearning-development/better-collaboration-using-acrobat/

Tracking and Reporting without an LMS
Meet basic evaluation needs at no extra cost by tracking and reporting key performance metrics, such as average score and pass or fail, without having to invest in a Learning Management System.
To know more about tracking and reporting without an LMS, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/end-to-end-elearning-development/tracking-and-reporting/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F6giegF61M

Expanded Asset Library
Get a larger set of prebuilt widgets, playbars, skins, stock animations, images, text captions, and buttons with superior aesthetics and usability.
To know more about these objects, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://www.lodestone.com/training/captivate_training.cfm

Adobe Photoshop Round-Tripping
Instantly update Adobe Photoshop files imported in Adobe Captivate projects. Adobe Photoshop can be invoked from within Adobe Captivate. If source files are directly updated in Adobe Photoshop, synchronize the linked file in Adobe Captivate with its source using a single click.
To know more about animation effects, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the videos at http://blogs.adobe.com/rjacquez/2010/05/roundtripping_photoshop_cs5_in.html and http://tv.adobe.com/watch/end-to-end-elearning-development/integrating-graphics/

Adobe Flash Round-Tripping
Instantly update Adobe Photoshop files imported in Adobe Captivate projects. Adobe Photoshop can be invoked from within Adobe Captivate. If source files are directly updated in Adobe Photoshop, synchronize the linked file in Adobe Captivate with its source using a single click.
To know more about round-tripping to Adobe Flash, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the video at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/end-to-end-elearning-development/including-animations/

Record Applications from Flash
Record applications from within Flash without having to switch to the Adobe Captivate interface. For more information on the workflow, see Adobe eLearning Suite 2.0 Getting Started Guide.

Adobe Soundbooth Round-Tripping
Edit audio files in Adobe Captivate projects by invoking Adobe Soundbooth from within Adobe Captivate. To know more about round-tripping to Adobe Soundbooth, see Adobe Captivate 5 Online Help. Also, watch the video at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/end-to-end-elearning-development/enhancing-audio/

Round-tripping from Adobe Captivate to other products, such as, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Soundbooth is available only when these products are installed using the Adobe eLearning Suite installer. You cannot round-trip to these products if they are installed as point products or as part of Creative Suite 5.

Adobe Captivate 5 and Adobe eLearning Suite 2 Resources

Today is a big day for some of my favorite Adobe products. Having spent six years of my career in offshore CBT factories learning and implementing e-learning strategies (is Kurt Miles still around?), it’s not surprising that I am a wee bit more attached to Captivate and eLS.

New versions of these products are being shipped today and, finally, Captivate and eLS users get a chance to ‘play’ with these tools (links to download trial versions at the end of this post).
Ever since the new versions were announced, Twitter has been abuzz with queries about when they would be available in the store.

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The good news for all users waiting to try new versions of Captivate and eLS is that Adobe Learning Resources and power users like R J Jaquez (@rjacquez), Allen Partridge (@AdobeELearning), Michael Lund (@cpguru_com), Mark Fletcher (@macrofireball), Kevin Seigal (@Kevin_Siegel), and many others have created several resources that should help you get started. We have tried to make some of these available to you from the Captivate and eLearning Suite Help & Support pages. It’s a good idea to bookmark them.

I am also listing a handful of resources here:

Core Help
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/elearningsuite/els/gettingstarted/
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/elearningsuite/els/extensions/
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/ELearningSuite/2.0/CourseBuilder/elearningsuite_2.0_coursebuilder_extension.pdf
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/captivate/cp/using/index.html

Videos and Articles
End-to-End eLearning Development with Adobe eLearning Suite 2/
Adobe Captivate 5 for New Users/
The New UI in Captivate 5
Animation Effects
Master Slides
The New Effects Feature
Object styles will shave hours off of your development time!
Adobe Captivate 5: Quickest Quizzes Ever!
Constructing Test with Multiple Results (CP5)
Using Advanced Actions (CP5) to show conclusion, based on multiple scores
Widgets and the Widget API
A quick look at text to speech in Adobe Captivate 5
Leveraging the Acrobat.com Cloud in Adobe Captivate 5

As you use the product and the resources, do share your learning with other users by commenting in the Help.

Download trial version of Captivate 5.
Download trial version of eLearning Suite.

More details about the products here.

Undo History panel in Photoshop Elements

Every time you make a pixel change in a photo, Photoshop Elements saves the state. You can jump to any of the last 50 (default and configurable) states by selecting the state in the Undo History panel and start working from it. You don’t need to save a change in order for the change to appear in the history.

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If you can’t find the Undo History panel in your workspace, open it from the Window menu.

For more information about the Undo History panel and a set of guidelines, see this article in Photoshop Elements Help.

Story of the missing History brush

I was analyzing a search report for Photoshop Elements Help this morning. One of the instances of a high bounce rate (highlighted red in the report) was for ‘history brush’. I searched for ‘history brush’ in the Help PDF and found zero results.

Well, I am a new user of Photoshop Elements. And that’s the reason I expected it to be defined there. Had I been familiar with Photoshop Elements (and Photoshop), I would have instead googled for ‘history brush’. And that’s what I did next.
The scenario is crystal clear now. Photoshop users who are aware of the power of the History brush in Photoshop look for the tool in Photoshop Elements.

The History brush does not exist in Photoshop Elements.

The History Brush is useful for performing photo editing tasks, but it’s also a tool that can save you when you encounter one of those “Oops, I didn’t realize I’d done that” moments.

Has anybody figured out a way to simulate the History brush in Photoshop Elements?
Yes, of course. Here’s a list of resources to help you understand and experiment:

If you are a new user like me, let me know how easy or difficult it was for you to simulate the Photoshop History brush functionality with layers in Photoshop Elements.
And for those Photoshop users who are looking for a History brush in Photoshop Elements, I need to do something more. Because they are limiting their search in Help, I need to find the right place(s) in the Help and tell them that the History brush is not available in Photoshop Elements and point them to workarounds (pretty much what I have said here).

SEO – the challenges of a new-age writer!

I can’t see Flash content on Windows 7

I haven’t yet had a chance to work on Windows 7. Although for many months now, I have had some second-hand experience of using it. The developers I work with, my coworkers, and my tweples – everyone’s talking about Windows 7 on the other laptop or the new PC.
Apart from substantiating the general euphoria about the interface and the speed, the comments or the tweets sometimes highlight pain points, many of which are compatibility issues and have a quick fix or workaround.
In a recent blog post, Rick Stone talks about one compatibility issue that our Help users are likely to encounter. Many HTML pages have Captivate demos inserted in them. If you are running Windows 7, you might find that these demos are not appearing (instead, there’s a large placeholder).

Cause and Solution
Flash Player is currently not supported on 64-bit browsers. Use a 32-bit browser.
For more information, see this document from Adobe KnowledgeBase.

To share his experience with RoboHelp users, Rick has added a link to his post in the relevant topic in RoboHelp Help.

If you have encountered any problem testing RoboHelp output and found a solution, share the information with other users by adding a comment.

Pin a project for quick access

By default, the list of recent projects that appears in the Starter pod and in the File menu displays up to the last ten projects opened. Pin a recently opened project so that it always appears in the recent projects’ list. The list displays the pinned projects and recently used projects up to the number of projects set in the Max field.

  1. Select Tools > Options.
  2. On the General tab, select a project from the Most Recently Used list.
  3. Click Pin. Click Apply.

Click Unpin to remove a pinned project from the recent projects’ list.

Create a Custom Feed for Sites with No RSS Feed Option

AfterEffects content lead, Todd Kopriva, shared information about this new custom feed service started by Google. If you are using our Community Publishing System, you would want to know when new articles are posted. Unfortunately, the Community Publishing System does not provide RSS feeds at this point.

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With the new Google service, I could create a custom feed for the index page of Community Publishing System in a jiffy.

Here are the steps:

  1. Copy the URL of the page for which you want to receive feeds
  2. Go to http://www.google.com/reader and sign in
  3. Click Add a Subscription
  4. Paste the copied URL in the text box and click Add.

CPS.jpg

For more information about the custom feed service, see this post.

Creating Your First TOC in RoboHelp

While scanning through bugs and user comments on the RoboHelp documentation, we stopped at this one the other day. A seemingly innocent instruction like “Open the Table Of Contents pod.”, we found, had made a user very very angry. It seemed that the user had wasted hours trying to find out how to open the TOC pod.

I remembered reading a reviewer’s comment that new RoboHelp users find it difficult to locate the Table of Contents folder in the Project Manager pod, especially if they open a big legacy project and the Project Files folder is expanded.

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When you locate the Table of Contents folder in the Project Manager pod, you can either expand it to access existing TOCs or right-click to select the New Table of Contents option. The TOC you open or create is displayed in the Table of Contents pod.

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Yes, you can create multiple TOCs – for different audiences. For more information, see this Help topic.

Steps to autocreate a TOC

  1. In Project Manager, right-click the Table of Contents folder, and select New Table Of Contents.
  2. Specify a name for the TOC.
  3. (Optional) Select Copy Existing Table of Contents and browse for an existing TOC file (.hhc) to create the TOC from an available TOC.
  4. Click OK. RoboHelp opens the Table Of Contents pod.
  5. In the Table Of Contents pod, click the Auto-Create TOC button.
  6. Select an option in the Auto-Create TOC dialog box:
    • Delete Current TOC Before Creating New – Removes books and pages before automatically creating the table of contents. If this option is deselected, existing books and pages are included in the table of contents.
    • Create TOC Pages For Mid-Topic Links – Creates pages in the table of contents based on bookmarks. RoboHelp makes the topic that contains the bookmark into a book and all bookmarks into pages.
  7. Click OK.

Remember that the table of contents is a hierarchy of the folders, topics, and any subfolders in Project Manager. In other words, if the Project Files folder structure is flat, the autocreated TOC will be flat too.

Before you start creating your first TOC, try this interactive demo. The demo shows how to create a TOC manually.

Excluding Topics from Search in RoboHelp Output

If you want to exclude any topic from being searched in WebHelp, FlashHelp, or Adobe AIR output, all you need to do in RoboHelp 8 is select the Exclude From Search option in topic properties.

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Although the topic appears in the Table of Contents, the topic is not searched.

How to exclude topics from search in CHM output
Using the Exclude From Search option does not work in CHM output. There’s always a workaround though as you’ll find in this forum thread.

How to exclude topics from search in earlier versions
If you use an earlier version of RoboHelp, you can still exclude topics from search, using a Conditional Build Tag, say ‘Exclude_from_Search’. The procedure is documented here.

As I said, RoboHelp 8 makes excluding topics from search easy!

Download the Top Ten RoboHelp Tips Brochure

Late last month, we created small brochures of RoboHelp, FrameMaker, and Acrobat tips for the STC India Conference attendees.

Download the RoboHelp brochure from here.

My colleague Samartha Vashishtha has shared the FrameMaker and Acrobat brochures on his site.