ADOBE CAPTIVATE: Why Are Smart Shapes So Smart? Let Me Count The (6) Ways
ONE. You can change the shape.
Smart Shapes in Captivate are similar to some shapes in PowerPoint: you draw the shape, and then you locate the special yellow handle to change not the size, but the actual shape of the arrow.
In the image of the Captivate arrow shape below, left, notice the yellow handle. The handle allowed me to adjust the pointiness of the point and the thickness of the stem. (As shown in the second image.)
TWO. You can add text.
Double-click a Smart Shape, and you can type text on it. And you can format the text any way you like
THREE. You can use a Smart Shape as a button.
Select your Smart Shape, and in the Properties inspector, just below the Style Name drop-down, select the Use as Button checkbox.
After you check the Use as Button checkbox, the Actions tab becomes available, where you can assign an action such as Go to the next slide.
FOUR. You can use them as multi-state objects.
Once your Smart Shape has been turned into a button, it automatically has different “states”: a state is a different appearance that the Smart Shape assumes under certain conditions on screen: when a mouse pointer hovers over it, it assumes its “RollOver” state. Once it has been clicked, it assumes its “Down” state during the click, and then returns to its “Normal” state after the click is completed.
You can format each state however you like. And even when a Smart Shape is not being used as button, you can create states for it and then program in events in your eLearning that cause the shape to change states.
FIVE. You can use Smart Shapes as Captions.
Sure, I already mentioned that you can type text onto a Smart Shape. But the caption functionality goes way beyond that. When setting up to record a software simulation, you can ask Captivate to generate Smart Shape captions instead of Text Captions—automatically.
In the Preferences dialog box (Edit > Preferences on Windows; Adobe Captivate > Preferences on the Mac), in the Recording Modes category, Under Captions, select the Use Smart Shapes instead of captions checkbox, and choose your Smart Shape Type.
Why would you want to use Smart Shapes instead of Text Captions? Because you can more fully format Smart Shapes. Let’s say you want your captions to mimic the colors in your company’s logo. Use the Fill and Stroke color pickers, and you’ve got fully branded training.
Take a look at these examples:
Text caption (not the right shade of green; limited choices):
Smart Shape used as caption (that’s much better, but still…):
Smart Shape formatted to match your logo (THAT’s what I’m talking about!):
SIX. Use as SFH Captions.
Wait, what? You know, SFH Captions—Success, Failure, and Hint captions that appear automatically when your viewers try to click through your eLearning lesson correctly. Often, these are connected with Click Boxes and other interactive elements. To ensure that your SFH captions come out as Smart Shapes, you have to go to the Preferences dialog box, Defaults category, and deselect—that’s right, UNcheck—the Use Text Captions for SFH Captions instead of Smart-Shapes checkbox.
Learn more about states, and Smart Shapes, and many other nifty things about Captivate, in our Advanced Captivate class.
Jennie Ruby, CTT, COTP, is a veteran eLearning developer, master trainer (CMT), and author. Jennie has an M.A. from George Washington University and is a Certified Technical Trainer and Certified Online Training Professional. She teaches both classroom and online courses, and has authored courseware, published training books, and developed content for countless eLearning projects. She is also a publishing professional with more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, print publishing, and eLearning.