One of the biggest concerns Captivate developers face when publishing Captivate projects as SWFs is this: will customers have the free Flash Player on their computer so that they can view the SWF? According to Adobe, developers shouldn't worry because the vast majority of the world's computers have the minimum Flash Player installed. Of course, it's certainly possible that your most important customer won't have the Flash Player, and won't be in a position to download and/or install it.
There's also an issue with SWFs playing correctly if your lessons are accessed from a CD (due to Flash security issues, SWFs play best when accessed from a Web server). So if SWFs turn out to not be the ideal format, what should a developer do?
Plan B: Publish a standalone project, either an EXE or an AVI.
You avoid the necessity of the Flash Player and both EXEs and AVIs play well from a CD. Of course, EXEs aren't ideal if accessed from a Web server and they'll only work for PC customers running Windows (your Mac customers will be out of luck). If you elect to go the AVI route, you'll lose any interactivity you might have added to the project. Ouch!
Plan C: Publish a PDF.
This might be an ideal solution since PDFs published from within Captivate can be opened by anyone who has the free Acrobat Reader 9 (older versions of Reader won't play the embedded SWF content). You might be wondering how a PDF eliminates the need for the Flash Player. If there's a SWF in the PDF, isn't the Flash Player required to play the SWF? Yes, and Reader 9 includes the Flash Player. Bam!
When delivering the PDF to your customer, your customer will not need Captivate to open the PDF and take your eLearning lesson. The customer will not need the SWF, the HTML or the standard.js files created when you publish the PDF. In fact, the only thing that your customer needs is the PDF and the free Flash Player 9.
To publish a PDF from within Captivate, choose File > Publish. Select SWF from the list at the left and then select Export PDF. It's that simple! Once the lesson has been published, you can discard everything published to your target folder (all you need to deliver to your customer is the PDF).
Worried about your class canceling? You'll be happy to hear that we never, ever cancel our classes (even if there's just one student registered).