Learning Articulate Storyline

1 (1 reviews total)
By Stephanie Harnett
    Advance your knowledge in tech with a Packt subscription

  • Instant online access to over 7,500+ books and videos
  • Constantly updated with 100+ new titles each month
  • Breadth and depth in over 1,000+ technologies
  1. Creating a Story

About this book

Storyline is an authoring tool packed with out-of-the-box features that don’t require any special knowledge to operate. That’s right; this is a programming-free zone! E-learning authoring is no longer limited to developers; the doors are now wide open for subject matter experts with their content, writers with their storyboards, and designers with their media to work in conjunction with developers to collectively create some very cool e-learning projects.

"Learning Articulate Storyline" introduces the powerful and easy-to-use features that are changing the landscape of e-learning development. You will learn about the new paradigms and features that set Storyline apart from other development tools. You’ll gain insight into how you can best leverage your skills and some best practices when working with Storyline.

Storyline rocks! And you’re about to discover why. The aim of this book is to help you bring content to life in interesting and engaging ways, customizing the learner experience, allowing for hands-on participation, and optimizing your production processes to streamline your efforts. This book will help you enhance your skills and become an accomplished e-learning author and Storyline user.

You’ll work on several different projects, all created from scratch by you as you work through this book. Each task focuses on a set of complementary topics to complete the project. You’ll be up and running building your first project within 10 minutes of starting this book and will add content, animate it, and control object and slide behavior to complete your first project. You’ll then move on to more advanced topics to incorporate media elements, quizzing, and scenarios, then conclude by publishing your projects.

When you finish this book you will be able to confidently create shining examples of e-learning done the right way, and it is this skill that will set you apart from the crowd.

Publication date:
July 2013
Publisher
Packt
Pages
298
ISBN
9781849694223

 

Chapter 1. Creating a Story

Let's get started!

This chapter provides a brief look at the key features of the Storyline interface, followed by the steps needed to create your first Storyline project.

Included in this book are exercises that you can follow along. To do this, you will need Internet access and Storyline installed so that you can download and work with Articulate sample templates.

In this chapter we will discuss:

  • Storyline launch options and some basics about the Storyline interface

  • How to create a story from scratch and from a template

  • What initial settings should be reviewed before adding content to a story

  • How to import existing content from PowerPoint, Articulate Engage, and Quizmaker

  • How to save your first story

Tip

Downloading the graphics and exercises of the book

You can download the graphics files and exercise of this book from your account at http://www.packtpub.com. If you have purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.packtpub.com/support and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.

 

Launching Storyline


Storyline presents a launch screen each time you start the program. This screen provides options for creating new projects, opening existing projects, and importing content previously created in PowerPoint or Quizmaker. You'll also find a series of helpful getting started tutorials and pre-built templates that you can download and install on your computer.

 

Creating a new story


You can create a new story in several ways, including the following:

  • To create a new story that is devoid of content and formatting, choose the New project option

  • To create a new story with content you previously produced in PowerPoint or Articulate Quizmaker, choose Import PowerPoint or Import Quizmaker respectively

  • To create a new story where the initial content is a recording of your computer screen, choose Record screen

  • And finally, to create a new story with Storyline template-driven content and formatting, choose From project template

 

Storyline interface


If you're following along, choose the New project option to create a new, blank story file. This option is best when you want to create an original story file with your own design. When New project is selected from the Storyline launch screen, the initial view you see looks the same as the following screenshot and contains just a single, blank slide:

This view is called Story View and it's the default view.

Tip

You can hide the ribbon by right-clicking anywhere in the ribbon and choosing Minimize the Ribbon. You can reveal it again by repeating this. Any item on the ribbon can be included on the quick access toolbar by right-clicking on a ribbon option and choosing Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Story View

Story View is a new concept for those transitioning from Articulate Studio and one that you're likely to grow quite fond of. Story View, similar to the Slide Sorter View in PowerPoint, shows all the slides in your project, providing a big picture view of the entire project.

The following screenshot is a sample course in a Story View. You can see the slides are organized into groups. The groups are called scenes. Scenes help to visually organize content into logical segments similar to chapters in a book. There are no hard and fast rules of when and how to use scenes other than logical breakpoints. You could have all of your content on slides within a single scene; but as you start working with Storyline, you will appreciate the ability to group topics together.

Outside of visual organization, scenes also play a role in the menus of a project as each scene by default becomes a submenu in the navigational structure. This can be overridden of course, but by default it offers another compelling reason to use scenes; to expedite navigational refinement that is part of the publishing process.

You can clearly see from this vantage point how content flows from one slide to another. As projects become larger and more complex, you will find Story View indispensable for organizing and managing project content.

Normal View (also known as Slide View)

When working on an individual slide, you'll most often use the Normal View. This view is quite similar to PowerPoint and will be familiar to Articulate Studio users.

Normal View can be accessed in a few different ways, including the following:

  • The easiest method is to double-click on the slide while in Story View

  • You can switch to Normal View using the Slide button in the lower-right corner of the screen

  • From the ribbon, you can click on the View tab and then choose Normal

Once in Normal View, you can toggle back to Story View by clicking on the Story View tab, clicking on the Story View button, or choosing View | Story View from the ribbon as shown in the following screenshot:

In both views, you will notice a zoom slider in the lower-right corner. You can use this to adjust the viewing size of the slide or the viewing size of the scenes and slides, depending on if you are in Normal or Story View.

The far right side of the slider displays a fit to window button that you may find useful to quickly fit the slide or Story View content back into the available screen space.

The slider is a quick method of controlling zoom levels. You can also do this by holding the Ctrl key and moving the track wheel up or down (using a mouse that has a track wheel).

 

Preparing a story


When you create a new story there is one thing you need to review, and ideally adjust, before adding content to your story and this is called story size.

Story size

The default size for a story is 720 px x 540 px. This refers to the slide size, and is the same 4:3 aspect ratio and slide size as a default PowerPoint file. The project size will be larger in dimension when published, since the player (the interface that appears around the perimeter of the slides) can consume up to 260 pixels in width and 118 pixels in height.

You can adjust the story size at any time, but it's best to do this before adding content. This is because existing slide content is rescaled to fit the new slide dimensions, which could result in text appearing smaller or larger than you'd like and graphics being stretched disproportionately.

Adjusting the story size

The setting to adjust the story size and the option to control it is found under the Design tab.

You can adjust the story size from the default to any size you'd like. The 720 px x 540 px default is a 4:3 aspect ratio, while the 720 px x 405 px preset is a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. If selecting a custom size, you can decide whether or not you want to lock the aspect ratio.

There are two options that you can work with to control the result of resizing, depending on whether the new size is larger or smaller than the existing story dimensions.

When sizing a story, you have the option to scale the contents of a slide to fit proportionately within the new size. Sometimes, scaling produces undesirable results, such as stretching images. You may opt to work with non-scaling options instead. If the size of the story is larger, you can choose to scale the background only, leaving the objects on a slide unchanged. If the size is smaller, you have the option to crop content to fit within the new size.

Here are some examples of the effects sizing has on slides with content:

As you can see, it's possible to adjust story size when you have content on a slide, but it takes a little tweaking to get the right result. You'll save time by adjusting the size of your story to its final dimensions before you begin developing content.

 

Creating a story based on a template


Templates consist of one or more slides with design elements and functional elements such as animations and interactions. Storyline ships with templates that you can leverage to kick start the development of your e-learning projects.

Storyline templates have the file extension of .storytemplate and are located in My Documents | My Articulate Projects | Storyline Templates on your local hard drive. This folder will also contain any templates you download or create yourself.

Two templates ship with Storyline: Character Panels and Top Interactions.

There are two ways to create a story from a template:

  • Choose From project template from the Storyline launch screen or double-click on a .storytemplate file in Windows Explorer to open a new story based on the template chosen.

    From the Insert tab, choose New Slide | Templates to add new content based on a template into an existing story and then follow these steps to insert the template's content into a story:

    1. From the Template drop-down menu, select a template.

    2. One or more slides will appear. Click to select a slide template or hold down the Ctrl key and click to select more than one slide template. You can also use Ctrl + A to select all slide templates.

    3. From the Insert into scene drop-down menu, choose how you would like the slides to be inserted into the existing story. There are three choices:

      • Current scene: Places new slides directly after the current slide

      • Same as imported template: Inserts the slides into the current story in the same way they were originally named and organized.

      • New scene: Places the new slides into a scene of their own

    4. Click on Import.

After creating a story from a template or inserting slides based on a template into an existing story, the template used will be added into your template library and will appear in the Templates drop-down menu the next time you use the menu.

Templates are located in My Documents | My Articulate Projects | Storyline Templates. You can rename templates, copy templates into this folder, or delete templates that you no longer use, just like you would with any Windows folder. Changes made here will be reflected in the Templates drop-down menu.

Tip

File Open versus From project template

If you choose File | Open to open a template, Storyline will open the template and you can make changes to the content, formatting, and interactions within the template. If you save the template, you will be overwriting the original template. If you would rather create a new story or new content from a template (as opposed to editing the formatting and functionality of a template) choose one of the two preceding methods instead.

Importing content from external sources

Storyline offers features that help you leverage work you've already done in PowerPoint, Articulate Studio '09, and even other Storyline files. Although Storyline does a very good job at accurately transitioning content from other sources, there are variances. The variances are largely related to different formatting and feature support between the products.

There are two main methods of importing content; from the launch menu at start-up or from within an open project:

  • Choose Import PowerPoint or Import Quizmaker from the Storyline launch screen.

  • From within an open project, select the Articulate menu and choose Import. There are more import options available here including Engage and Storyline.

Importing PowerPoint content

Importing PowerPoint content is a great time saver. You won't need to recreate your content from scratch. Articulate does not support importing from the 64-bit version of PowerPoint 2010. You will also want to ensure your version of Office has the latest updates applied.

PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter features are not 100 percent converted into Storyline using the Import feature. For example, annotations, branching, attachments, presenter bios, learning games, and player template settings are not imported (a complete and current list of considerations when importing from PowerPoint can be found on the Articulate support website at http://www.articulate.com/support/kb_article.php?product=st1&id=catmp4tjk9r8). Most of these features can be manually recreated after importing. It's recommended you look at the PowerPoint Import option as a way to bring content into Storyline more than a functionality of PowerPoint or Presenter into Storyline.

The content conversion isn't quite one to one. There are some differences you can expect as noted here:

  • Some variations in font size, line spacing, alignment, colors, and bullets (Storyline doesn't support embedded PowerPoint fonts)

  • If the PowerPoint presentation is of a different size to the Storyline size, some adjustments will be needed to be made in graphic and text size and alignment

  • Entrance and exit animations along with emphasis and motion paths are not supported in Storyline

  • Border and line thickness may appear different in Storyline

  • 3D rotations and GIF images aren't supported in Storyline

  • Smart Art objects, tables, and equations are imported as non-editable images

Even with features that are not 100 percent supported, you may find it faster to import content in, rather than manually replacing or manually recreating the content.

Tip

When importing Articulate Presenter content into Storyline, you will need to make sure that the .ppta file as well as any embedded Quizmaker (.quiz) and Engage (.intr) interactions are all located in the same folder.

Selecting slides

After selecting a PowerPoint file, Storyline will display thumbnail images for all slides in the presentation. By default, all slides are selected, as indicated by a yellow border around each selected slide. You can change this by clicking on and selecting just one slide, or by using Shift + click or Alt + click, or you can select all slides again using Ctrl + A. The imported content will appear in the current scene or a new scene depending on your Insert into scene selection.

Once done, slides will appear in Storyline and you can freely edit the objects on the slides and apply formatting and functionality to them.

Importing Articulate Quizmaker content

Importing a Quizmaker file is straightforward and works well. Storyline maintains most of the original formatting and functionality, making it a snap to rapidly incorporate existing quizzes into your Storyline projects.

One consideration is that Quizmaker has a default slide size of 686 px x 424 px whereas Storyline defaults at 720 px x 540 px. For that reason, you can expect some minor formatting to tweak the alignment of text and graphics.

Articulate Quizmaker files have an extension of .quiz. After selecting a .quiz file to import, Storyline will display thumbnail images for all the slides in that quiz, divided into sections based upon the question groups they are in. As with other methods of importing, you can select one, a few, or all of the slides to import into Storyline.

Once done, the questions, feedback, and results are 100 percent editable in Storyline.

Importing Articulate Engage content

Unlike importing PowerPoint slides and Quizmaker files, Engage content cannot be modified within Storyline except for resizing the interaction on the slide. In order to modify Engage content, you must be working in Articulate Engage.

Importing Engage interactions provides the ability to playback previously created interactions without having to rebuild them in Storyline. However, you may want to rebuild them, as Storyline contains all of the features of Engage plus some that take interactions to the next level in terms of look, feel, and functionality. Another reason to rebuild them is that they are Flash interactions and Flash does not playback on most mobile devices or the iPad.

The steps to import an Engage interaction are the same as with PowerPoint and Quizmaker.

Importing Storyline content

This sounds unusual but it's a really neat feature of Storyline. Being able to import Storyline files lets you combine content in a smart way; you can pick and choose specific slides from certain project files to import. The look, feel, and functionality are imported. This is a great feature for re-usability where you create a library of your own interactions and layouts, then re-use them inside many different projects.

Saving a story

It won't take long to start to accumulate content in your story, especially when working with pre-built templates or importing content from external sources. It's a good idea to save your work often and it is recommended that Articulate files are saved locally instead of on network drives or USB sticks, to prevent file errors.

There are three ways in which you can save your story:

  • The quickest way to save your work is to press Ctrl + S on your keyboard. If this is the first time you are saving a file, you will be prompted for a filename and location. Subsequent presses of Ctrl + S will save the file under the same name without additional prompts.

  • You can also save a project by clicking on the Save button on the quick access tool bar.

  • You can choose the File menu and select Save or Save As….

Storyline files are saved with a .story extension.

Tip

Shortcuts

Shortcut keys are a time saver. A complete listing of shortcut keys, such as Ctrl + S to save a story are listed in the Appendix.

Give it a try

Now it's your turn. This exercise gives you a chance to practice some of the key points covered in this chapter. You'll continue to build upon this example file as you progress through the book.

  1. If you've been following along with the practices in this chapter you'll likely have a blank story file already open. Close this file by clicking on the File menu in the upper-left corner and selecting Close. When prompted to save, choose Don't Save. From the Storyline launch screen, choose From project template.

  2. Navigate to My Documents | My Articulate Projects | Storyline Templates.

  3. Select Character Panels.storytemplate and click Open.

  4. Various character templates appear. Look for the one titled Folder, select it, and click on the Import button.

  5. After the template opens, notice there is a single scene with a single slide. Both should be renamed to be more descriptive. Follow these steps:

    1. Right-click on the scene (grey boundary around the slide) and select Rename. Type the new name as Starting Sequence.

    2. Right-click on the slide, select Rename, and type the new name as Home.

  6. Click on the Fit to Window button to the right of the zoom slider in the lower-right corner of the scene. This will enlarge the Story View display to make content on the slide viewable.

  7. Double-click on the slide to switch to Normal View.

  8. Change the aspect ratio of the project to widescreen by choosing the Design tab and then Story Size. Change the size to 720 px x 405 px (16:9). Choose Scale to fit and click OK.

  9. Save the story by pressing Ctrl + S, typing Exercise 1 – Workplace Compliance in the filename box and clicking on the Save button.

Summary

This chapter introduced some of the basics of the Storyline interface, including two new concepts for PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter users: Story View and scenes.

Story View is a powerful new way of looking at your project content. You can see how slides are grouped into scenes, and the navigational relationships between slides and scenes.

With these basics in hand, including configuring story size, working with templates, and importing content from external sources, you're now ready to add text and images into your story and make it sparkle and shine using Storyline formatting and animation techniques.

About the Author

  • Stephanie Harnett

    Stephanie Harnett is a learning consultant who has over 20 years of training and communications experience. She has worked with business leaders, key stakeholders, and project teams, designing, developing, and delivering collaborative solutions, online learning, and interactive communications. Her areas of expertise include governance, compliance, operations, human resources in oil and gas, and government.

    Stephanie is passionate about learning and technology—it is her work and her hobby. You will frequently spot her in the global community of learning professionals, sharing her knowledge through guest blog posts and tutorials. Her contributions to the community can be viewed on stephanieharnett.ca and by following her on Twitter (slhice).

    Over the years, she has developed a keen awareness of adult learning in a corporate setting and uses her research and analysis, instructional design, writing, presentation, and technical skills, along with a dash of common sense, to produce effective, engaging, and on-target results that meet business challenges.

    Away from the office? This is a foreign concept for Stephanie. She weaves learning and technology when she works and when she plays—finding new devices and effective ways to communicate, collaborate, work, play, learn, and share, no matter where her GPS coordinates are.

    Specialties include instructional design, writing/communications, technical writing, storyboarding/layout/design, advisory, and technical support/training.

    Browse publications by this author

Latest Reviews

(1 reviews total)
V POOR QA - As the latest release the book needs rewrite to bring up to date already, lots of file path errors and narration text missing, even to be told after reporting issue I was wrong, from the author, until email screen shot of issue.
Book Title
Unlock this book and the full library for FREE
Start free trial