Archive for February, 2009

Getting Started with the New Features in Adobe Captivate 4: Live eLearning session

On the heels of a very successful eLearning session I did on the new User Interface in Adobe FrameMaker 9, I’m posting information about the next live eLearning session, this time on the new features in Adobe Captivate 4.

Whether you have already purchased Captivate 4 standalone, or as part of the new eLearning Suite, or version 2 of the Technical Communication Suite, or are testing the trial version, I’m confident you will find this session worthwhile, so I look forward to seeing you there.

In Adobe Captivate 4, we added a long list of new features and I’ve gotten a ton of emails from customers asking where they can find these new features, and thus the reason for this eLearning session, to help you understand the new functionality and to learn where these new features are.

As always, no registration is required, but please keep in mind that my Connect Pro room only handles 400 people, so please log in as early as 30 minutes before the start time and the Virtual Classroom doors will close promptly at 10am PST to avoid distractions.

Here are the specifics and what we will cover during this two hour live eLearning session:

When: Friday, March 6, 2009 at 10:00am Pacific Time


Login instructions: Please click the link above as early as 30 minutes before the start time, enter as Guest, type your Full Name and click Enter Room.  For the audio portion of the meeting, you will need to turn on your computer speakers and adjust the volume appropriately.  I will conduct a series of audio tests as participants begin to join. Click here to make sure your system is properly configured to participate in this eLearning session via Acrobat Connect Pro.

One more thing to do is to make sure you have the latest Flash Player installed, because the session will include practice simulation in the Flash format.  Click here to install the latest Flash Player.

Duration: 120 minutes to accommodate questions, but it’s likely to end before.  Right-click here and save this MS Outlook iCalendar of the meeting on your Calendar.

Session Description: This eLearning session will cover the following topics:

  • Exploring the new Splash Screen and all the new Captivate Preferences
  • Navigating the new Adobe AIR-based Online Help System
  • Understanding the new Software Simulation Recording options, and the new Panning
  • Working with the new Project Templates, Placeholders and Design Templates
  • How to link PowerPoint files dynamically, and how to change them from within Captivate 4
  • Sending Captivate 4 Projects for Review using Adobe AIR
  • Understanding the new Text-to-Speech feature for automatically converting your slide notes to speech
  • Implementing Variables and Advanced Actions into your Captivate 4 Projects and Templates
  • What are Flash Widgets and how to use the included Widgets
  • Adding a Table of Contents to your Captivate 4 projects
  • Aggregating multiple Captivate projects into a single cohesive deliverable
  • Understanding the new Expanded Output options, including publishing to .AVI and .PDF
  • Importing native Photoshop (.PSD) files and animating each Photoshop Layer individually in the Captivate timeline
  • Understanding the long list of new usability enhancements, including, right-click simulation, single-SWF publishing, inline editing of text captions, the new drawing toolbar and more…
  • Understanding the extended functionality you get in the enhanced version of Captivate 4 in the Adobe eLearning Suite

I’m looking forward to this eLearning session and I hope to see you there!


FrameMaker 9 User Interface onDemand eLearning Session

I’m happy to report that this morning’s live eLearning session on the new user interface in Adobe FrameMaker 9 went extremely well and I thank everyone who participated!

I copied and pasted below a few of the comments I received through the chat pod during the session, which illustrate that while there may be a little getting used to the new interface, in the end it’s a really good thing.

For those of you who couldn’t make it and asked me for the recording, please click here to launch the Getting Started with the new User Interface in Adobe FrameMaker 9 session.

Incidentally, when you are watching any Acrobat Connect Pro demonstration (including the ones in this recording), something you may want to try is to click the “Scroll” button at the bottom left of the Connect Pro window, which will help you zoom in closer and follow the action around the presenter’s mouse.  To the right is what the button looks like in all Connect Pro recordings.

“Oh cool. I can reset my *custom* workspaces, too. Didn’t expect that. Like it.”

“Workspace definition is cool. Can you share common workspaces between several users, e.g. within one department, as possible in Adobe Illustrator, for example?”

“The new UI is a long overdue change for the better”

“Now that I’ve seen the demo, I really like the new UI.”

“i like the idea of not havng to  set up my UI eachi time i open Frame”

“genial idea this interface, and if you learn to work with it in one program you have tha same interface in all adobe programs, e.g. photoshop, indesign etc”

“Nice job. Love the new interface. Look forward to using the stuctured DITA in this interface.”

“Very impressed with new layout.  I think it will help learning curve as well.”

“Can’t wait to try this–I’d gotten used to the old UI and didn’t think this would make much difference, but now I know better…”

“glad UI finally changed … was created in early 90s.”

“I’m back. Very nice simulation.”

“Guided simulation great idea. I didn’t even read my tweets”

“These sessions are very much appreciated. Great job!”

“Hugely helpful, RJ. Thank you so much.”

“Thanks! a well-designed presentation”

I hope you enjoy the recording, and please share your thoughts about the new User Interface and the interactive simulations included in the recording.  You can do so by leaving a comment below.

I have already started working on the next eLearning session, and will post more information shortly.  If you have recommendations for future eLearning sessions, please share them with me.


Adobe Captivate Reviewer on Adobe AIR Marketplace

On February 9th I wrote about how products like Adobe Captivate 4 and RoboHelp 8 are leveraging the cross-platform availability of Adobe AIR to initiate and conduct Project Reviews, and in particular, I provided a demo of how Captivate is doing this through a free AIR application called Adobe Captivate Reviewer

Since then I’ve gotten lots of emails from customers, who have begun sending out Captivate 4 projects for review and who share with me that despite the instructions included in the email, which gets generated automatically by Captivate, Reviewers (especially those less technical) are having trouble understanding that the free Adobe AIR runtime is also needed, so I decided to use our Adobe AIR Marketplace in an effort to simplify things.

The Adobe AIR Marketplace is a terrific online service we offer and it includes a long list of Adobe AIR applications (most of them free) that users can download, and it’s also a great place for Publishers to showcase their own AIR apps.

Perhaps more importantly, all applications come with the an AIR install badge, which means that if AIR isn’t already installed, the application will volunteer to install it, making the whole process seamless and user-friendly, as illustrated below.

If you want to point your Reviewers to this application, please include the link below in the email that Captivate 4 automatically composes for you when you check the “Send Mail” option, illustrated below:

Here’s the link to the Adobe Captivate Reviewer AIR application on the AIR Marketplace:

If you have download the application above and want to experience what is like to review Adobe Captivate 4 projects, right-click here to download a Captivate review (.crev) file, which I use during my demos.

Btw, this project includes many of the new features in Captivate 4, for example on several slides, including the first one, I used our new text-to-speech feature, so the audio you are hearing is from Paul, the speech agent included in Captivate 4.  Also, on slide one you’ll notice that there’s a text entry box where you can enter your first name, which later gets used to personalize the simulation and this is done through the use of our new variables feature.  Finally, at the very end, you’ll notice a certificate of completion, which includes the name you entered on slide one, today’s date, the score from the quiz on slide 2 and whether you passed or failed and this is achieved through the new support for Flash widgets.  These are just a few of the new features in Adobe Captivate 4.

Happy Reviewing and if you have any questions/comments, please add you comment here.


eLearning session on the new User Interface in Adobe FrameMaker 9

The recent launches of our Technical Communication Suite 2 and eLearning Suite have been extremely successful, and we are seeing our customers download the trials in record numbers. As more and more users purchase and begin using our Suites, it’s our hope that not only you use all the applications in the Suites and leverage the tight integration between them, but that you use them in the most efficient and effective way possible.

With this mission in mind, starting next week, I will be leading a series of free live eLearning sessions to help Technical Communicators and eLearning Professionals get started using our products as quickly and as cost effectively as possible.

In order to keep things simple, there’s no registration required, and all you need to participate is a Browser with the Flash Player installed, and a set of computer speakers. We will be using Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and broadcasting the audio through VoIP, and taking your questions using the chat window in Connect.  Click here to make sure your system is properly configured to participate in these eLearning sessions.

Here’s the information for the first session:

Getting started with the new User Interface in Adobe FrameMaker 9

When: Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:00am Pacific Time


Login instructions: Please click the link above as early as 30 minutes before the start time, enter as Guest, type your Full Name and click Enter Room.  For the audio portion of the meeting, you will need to turn on your computer speakers and adjust the volume appropriately.  I will conduct a series of audio tests as participants begin to join. Click here to make sure your system is properly configured to participate in this eLearning session.

Duration: 90 minutes to accommodate questions, but it’s likely to end before.  Right-click here and save this MS Outlook vCalendar of the meeting on your Calendar.

Session Description: FrameMaker 9 now sports the same user interface that other flagship Adobe products, such as Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver and inDesign have.  This means that not only can you completely customize the display and location of various pods and panels based on the types of documents and tasks you are doing, but also that you can save these settings as workspaces and reuse them in the future, without having to repeatedly rearrange them every time. 

For example, if you are designing templates or authoring unstructured documents, you can configure and save a workspace, which may include the paragraph, character and table designers, plus the paragraph and character catalogs, too.  On the other hand, when you are working with structured documents, XML or DITA files, you can configure the interface to include only the structure view, the elements catalog and the attributes pod.

Through a series of before-and-after scenarios, we will explore how the new Interface in FrameMaker 9 not only makes you be more productive than in previous versions of the product, but also opens new opportunities for working faster with features like missing fonts, graphics, cross-references, conditional text and markers. The eLearning session will also include practice lessons through Adobe Captivate simulations.

This eLearning session will cover the following topics:

  • Setting Interface Preferences
  • Understanding the new UI visibility, arrange documents and screen modes functionality
  • Before & After: working with side-heads, paragraph, character and table styles in FrameMaker 9 vs. FrameMaker 8
  • Before & After: working with Structured, XML and DITA files in FrameMaker 9 vs. FrameMaker 8
  • Before & After: inserting special characters in FrameMaker 9 vs. FrameMaker 8
  • Understanding and managing Variables, Markers, Conditional Text, Cross-references and Insets for individual files and for all opened documents at the same time in the new user interface.
  • Identifying, filtering and replacing missing fonts, missing graphics and fixing unresolved cross-references in all opened documents

I’m looking forward to this eLearning session and I hope to see you there!


Adobe AIR is all around the Adobe eLearning and Technical Communication 2 Suites

Adobe AIR continues to gain momentum and just a few weeks ago, during Adobe MAX in Japan, we announced that AIR is being installed in record numbers by consumers and companies around the world.  In less than one year after its initial release, there have been more than 100 million installations of Adobe AIR.

On December 15, 2008, eWeek Labs selected AIR as one of the Top 10 Products of the Year.  eWEEK Labs staff write: “The product that comes closest right now to the true vision of this next-generation Web application is Adobe AIR. Descended from Flash, AIR makes it possible to build powerful and interactive applications that have all of the benefits of both Web and desktop apps …”

Leading companies around the world, such as eBay with eBay Desktop, FedEx, Nickelodeon, Yahoo, and others are building on Adobe AIR today. 

With the launch of our Adobe eLearning Suite and the Technical Communication Suite 2, our customers can now leverage the power of Adobe AIR for conducting shared reviews of Adobe Captivate and Adobe RoboHelp projects; see first-hand how we are using our own technologies to deliver user assistance in our applications, which is aligned with today’s web 2.0 user experiences; generate both AIR applications and Flex applications in RoboHelp 8, and also publish eLearning courses in Adobe AIR format from within Dreamweaver and Flash.

The Adobe AIR platform is all around the two Suites, and here’s where you can see it in action:

  • Adobe Captivate 4 uses Adobe AIR for SWF Commenting

There are many advantages to using AIR for shared reviews of Adobe Captivate projects, namely the reviewers don’t have to have Captivate on their systems and reviewers can virtually contribute from any operating system since Adobe AIR is available for Microsoft® Windows® 2000; Windows XP; Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise; Mac OS X v10.4 or 10.5; and Linux®.

Click here to watch a short Adobe Captivate of how Captivate 4 uses Adobe AIR for SWF Commenting.

  • Adobe RoboHelp 8 uses Adobe AIR for Output Reviews

Similarly to how Adobe Captivate 4 uses Adobe AIR for SWF Commenting, RoboHelp 8 users can also collect and aggregate comments from Reviewers using an Adobe AIR application, which gets generated by RoboHelp 8. This means that Reviewers don’t have to have RoboHelp installed on their systems, and they can also launch and add comments from a Machintosh and Linux boxes through the free Adobe AIR runtime.

  • Adobe RoboHelp 8 generates Adobe AIR and Adobe Flex applications

Adobe RoboHelp, which is used by our customers for authoring and publishing Online Help systems, Knowledge Bases, Performance Support systems and any other type of Online Information Systems can now generate any of these types of output in both Adobe AIR format for the desktop, and Adobe Flex for the inside the browser.  To see an example, check out this guided tour of an Adobe AIR application created in Adobe RoboHelp.

  • The Online Help for Adobe Captivate 4, FrameMaker 9 and RoboHelp 8 is based on Adobe AIR

It’s a beautiful thing when you can use your own technology in your products, and that’s precisely what we have done in FrameMaker 9, Captivate 4 and RoboHelp 8, which now sport a brand new Online Help system based on the same Adobe AIR output that RoboHelp 8 users can now generate out-of-the-box. For those of you who have these applications, just press F1 to display the Help and check out how you can either do searches on the Help system only, or include community results, too.  You can also add comments and display other people’s comments right from within the Help Viewer, which is an Adobe AIR application, it’s pretty cool!

  • Dreamweaver CS4 and Flash CS4 in the eLearning Suite can generate eLearning content as Adobe AIR applications

For those of you already using our new eLearning Suite, you now have two applications, that can generate Adobe AIR applications, which can help you deliver eLearning content, which can be consumed by your learners directly from their desktop.  Both Dreamweaver and Flash include functionality for generating Adobe AIR applications very easily.  For example in Dreamweaver CS4 with CourseBuilder Interactions, you can author HTML-based eLearning content, which can include Captivate movies plus quizzes inserted using CourseBuild interactions, and in addition to publishing to a Learning Management System, you can also generate an Adobe AIR application and everything you included will be fully functional directly from the Learner’s desktop.  I’m currently working on a Captivate movie where I will demonstrate how this feature works and will blog about it when ready!