While there's plenty to love about Camtasia 2020, the feature I'm highlighting this time is Favorites.
Camtasia is loaded with tools. If you think I'm exaggerating, here's a list of the tools available in Camtasia 2020, Mac:
There are so many tools, you might need to click "More" to see all of them (the "More" option automatically appears if your window size is too small to display all of the tools or your screen resolution is low).
And clicking a tool, such as Annotations, often leads to multiple categories leading to even more tools. In the image below you can see what I'm talking about when it comes to the Annotations tool. There are 6 related tools (Callouts) grouped with the main Annotations tool.
I am not suggesting that TechSmith should remove tools from Camtasia. I say bring on more tools, TechSmith (I look forward to seeing a dozen more tools in Camtasia 2021). However, if you're like me and you use several eLearning development tools, remembering where your "go-to" Camtasia tools are located can be a challenge.
Which brings me to Favorites.
Find a tool you use frequently (any tool). Right-click the tool and choose Add to Favorites.
Once a tool has been added as a Favorite, the tool gets a gold star. And from now on, the tool will be shown in the Favorites area of the toolbar.
Right-clicking a Favorite is going to be the easiest and fastest way to work with the tool. And should you no longer want a tool as a Favorite, a quick right-click allows you to delete the tool as a Favorite (but does not remove the tool from Camtasia).
When creating eLearning in TechSmith Camtasia, Adobe Captivate, or Articulate Storyline, one critical consideration is the physical width and height of your project (also known as the canvas size).
The size of the project is measured in pixels and if you don't get this right from the start, changing your mind later could lead to some unintended consequences. (Objects being resized out of proportion is one of the biggest concerns.)
When I teach any of my eLearning courses, I encourage learners to consider their end-users when determining the size of the canvas. These days, most users access eLearning content on anything from a desktop computer to laptops to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
In my experience, most devices used to view eLearning are shaped more like rectangles than squares. For that reason, I think the eLearning canvas should be set up to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to 4:3.
The aspect ratio of an eLearning canvas designed to be viewed on its side, or in landscape mode, is the ratio of its longer side to its shorter side. If you go with a 4:3 aspect ratio (4 pixels across for every 3 pixels in height), you're working with a shape that is tending toward a square. If you go with 16:9 (16 pixels across for every 9 high), the shape is very much a rectangle.
Once you decide on the shape of your canvas (again, 16:9 is a strong rectangle shape), the exact size you use depends on your design and/or the needs of your users. Both 1024x576 and 1280x720 are 16:9 ratios. (Here's a handy list of 16:9 aspect ratios.)
So how do you ensure your aspect ratio is a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to 4:3. Read on!
Because eLearning often begins in Microsoft PowerPoint, let's start there. Go to the Design tab on the Ribbon and, from the Customize group, change the Slide Size to Widescreen (16:9).
In TechSmith Camtasia, click the drop-down menu just above the Canvas and choose Project Settings. From the Canvas Dimensions drop-down menu, choose a size from the Widescreen group. All of the sizes in this group are set to an aspect ratio of 16:9.
In Articulate Storyline, the default aspect ratio for new projects is 4:3. Go to the Design tab on the Ribbon and, from the Setup group, click Story Size.
From the Story Size drop-down menu, choose 720:405 (16:9) and then change the Width and Height as needed. Select Lock aspect ratio to ensure you're maintaining a 16:9 aspect ratio as you change the size.
In Adobe Captivate, when creating new projects, select Blank Project and then, from the Canvas drop-down menu, choose an appropriate 16:9 aspect ratio. If you need to change the size of an existing project, choose Modify > Rescale Project and change the Width and Height as appropriate.
After receiving an email from a Camtasia developer looking for Camtasia shortcuts, I started creating a handy-dandy document that was going to list some of the more helpful keyboard shortcuts available in Camtasia. But then it occurred to me, why build a better mouse trap? Check out the Camtasia keyboard shortcut page TechSmith built (if you find a shortcut missing from the list, do tell).
I am really enjoying your Camtasia 9: The Essentials eBook that I purchased on Amazon recently, but I have run into a problem regarding how to extend the duration (pages 58-59) on the Timeline.
I followed steps 1 and 2 on page 58 for the logo, but when I attempted to change (by typing) the Duration from 5 seconds to 20 seconds, I got the screen message “Please enter a number between .1 and 5,” and the time can’t be extended beyond 5 seconds. I am also attaching a screen shot so you can see the actual message.
I have tried grouping the items as directed on page 59 and then trying to extend the duration in that manner, but that method doesn’t work either.
I am using Camtasia Version 9.1.2. Any suggestions you might have would be appreciated.
I was able to replicate this issue on my computer, but I found this strange because when I wrote the book, the Duration feature worked just fine (changing the Duration of a Timeline object pushed items on the same track to the right). I reached out to TechSmith support and received the following reply (and the fix).
Sorry for the delay – I wanted to confirm some information with the Camtasia team first. This change was a deliberate change made in Camtasia 9.0.1. The reason for the change was because of feedback that we were receiving from users, which was (as Matt mentioned) that projects were getting out of sync when extending frames and durations. So, this change was implemented, and we also published this tutorial with best practices on using ripple move and extend frame (similar to duration). https://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-camtasia-ripple-move-and-extend-frame.html I am really sorry for any trouble this change has caused! Please let me know if you have any questions.
Kind Regards, Nate Senior Support Specialist
Whew! It's good to know that I'm not losing my mind. To get past the Duration issue, press the [shift] key on your keyboard and manually extend the playtime for the object on the Timeline (instead of using Duration feature).
You can still use the Duration feature if there is enough space to the right of the selected object. For instance, you'll need a little over 5 seconds of space if you want to increase the Duration of an object by 5 seconds. Otherwise, you'll see the same error reported by the reader above.
If you intend to create an eLearning course, it’s a good bet that you’re going to start the development process in Microsoft PowerPoint. However, PowerPoint is missing some key eLearning features to allow you to output finished eLearning content. For instance, PowerPoint cannot create software simulations or video demos. There is no way to add quizzes or learner interactions in PowerPoint. And, because there are no reporting features or provisions for SCORM or AICC, you cannot effectively integrate PowerPoint presentations with Learning Management Systems.
Instead of relying on PowerPoint alone for your eLearning content, you’ll need to take your finished presentations into an eLearning development tool such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, or TechSmith Camtasia. While in those tools, you’ll add the necessary eLearning features and then publish your content. Alternately, you can rely on Presenter, a PowerPoint plug-in that works together with PowerPoint to accomplish many of the things you can do in Captivate, Camtasia, and Storyline.
But what happens to your beloved PowerPoint slides when they get incorporated into today’s eLearning tools? Do the animations still work? How about the hyperlinks? Does the voiceover audio you added to your PowerPoint slides still work when the slides are imported into your eLearning tool? Do the fonts look okay? If you or the subject matter expert updates the PowerPoint presentation outside of the eLearning tool, does the eLearning version update or do you have to re-import?
Attend this action-packed session and learn how PowerPoint works with the top eLearning tools of the day. You’ll learn the strengths and weaknesses of each eLearning tool via live demonstrations (there is no pre-recorded content). This is live, online training at its very best!
While developing a recent Camtasia project, I needed to split a large video into multiple segments. The video I was given included mouse movement and plenty of screen clicks. Between all of those clicks, I needed to freeze the screen background for 5-10 seconds so I could explain a concept via callouts.
One way to accomplish the task is to export a specific part of the video as an image, import the image into Camtasia, and add it to the Timeline.
To begin, position the Playhead on the Timeline at the exact moment in time that you need to use as an image.
In the image below you can see the part of the video that I need to essentially freeze for a few seconds.
Choose File > Produce Special > Export frame as.
Name the file, select a File type (you can save as a bitmap, GIF, JPEG, or PNG), pick a save destination, and then click the Save button.
And that's it. The exported frame is an image and can easily be added to the Clip Bin and then the Timeline. There won't be any visible difference between the frame you exported and the video itself, except you'll have more timing controls over the image than the video.
When developing eLearning, one important goal is to ensure consistency from object to object. In addition, unless you're a top-notch designer you should use just a few fonts and a limited color palette. (Lest you run the risk of creating an eLearning lesson that, despite your good intentions, is visually overwhelming to your learners.)
This week I want to show you an easy way to ensure objects used in a project are formatted consistently. The key to project-wide Camtasia consistency lies in the use of multiple tracks.
When I develop in Camtasia, I create several tracks and add similar objects to those tracks. For instance, I might add alert callouts to one track, speech callouts to another.
In the image below, notice that there are two tracks. The formatting of the callouts in Track 2 are identical so they're fine. Unfortunately, the callouts in Track 1 are a mess. Notice that each of the callouts is formatted differently.
The first step to consistency bliss is to lock the track that you don't want to alter. Since the callouts in Track 2 are fine, I locked the track via the lock icon to the left of the Track (the icon is shown below in its locked state).
A locked track is easily identifiable on the Timeline thanks to the diagonal lines (as shown in the image below).
I then selected all of the callouts in Track 1 by pressing [ctrl] [a]. (I could have also selected objects via [shift]-click (to select contiguous objects) or [ctrl]-click (to select non-contiguous objects). In the image below, all of the callouts in Track 1 are selected. It is worth noting that because I locked Track 2, pressing [ctrl] [a] did not select any of the callouts in Track 2.
On the Callouts panel, I changed the color of the selected callouts to Purple.
Still working on the Callouts panel, I then changed the shape of the callouts to a Filled Rounded Rectangle.
You can see the results in the image below. All of the callouts in Track 1 are now formatted consistently.
The big trick here was working with multiple tracks, combined with the ability to easily lock a track (eliminating the possibility of changing anything about objects in the locked track).
While producing a Camtasia project, assets such as videos, images, and audio clips can be imported from your hard drive, a network drive, or other external resource.
During the development process, I always encourage my students to backup the project as often as possible (I backup at least once a day). Backing up a project can be as simple as dragging the project folder from your local drive to a network drive. However, if the assets you imported into the project are not in the project folder at the time you back up the project, those assets are not backed up and will be missing. If there are missing, moved, or renamed assets you'll get an alert box asking you to locate them when you attempt to open the backup project.
If you cannot locate (or update) the assets from other sources, you're in a heap of trouble because missing assets won't appear on the Clip Bin or the Timeline--nor will they preview or publish.
To ensure that all of the project assets are backed up (therefore avoiding the missing assets alert), you can create a zipped version of the project that contains everything (even linked assets).
The zipping process is simple: choose File > Export project as zip. Ensure you select Include all files from Clip Bin in zip. (This option is selected by default.) Select a network drive as your save destination. When backing up your project, a network drive would be preferable to a local drive... if your local drive goes down you've lost both your project and the zipped backup.
Down the road, if you need to access the backup project simply create a new, blank project and choose File > Import zipped project.
All of the Clip Bin assets will be imported and those assets automatically added to the Timeline.
During a recent Camtasia class, a student asked about providing the captions in other languages than English (she was asked to create versions of her project in a dozen languages).
Localization of an eLearning project can present a tough challenge to any developer. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to convert Camtasia captions to different languages. Here's how.
In the image below, notice that I've already added the closed captions to my project.
After adding the captions, I ensured the captions and the voiceover audio were synced via the Timeline.
At the bottom of the Callouts panel, I clicked Export captions.
I gave my caption file a name and, from the Save as type drop-down menu, I selected SRT. (There are two choices: SRT and SMI. They are basically the same type of Caption File except SRT files do not retain font formatting; SMI files do.)
In the image below, I've opened the SRT file in Notepad. Then I replaced the English text with Chinese. (I used Google Translate for this test so if you speak Chinese, please forgive any errors.) When replacing the text, I was careful not to mess around with the numbers above each caption.
Back in Camtasia, all that was left to do was to click Import captions and open the SRT file I had translated.
And in an instant, all of the captions were translated to Chinese.
Perhaps more important, the synching work I had done on the Timeline was retained.
If you'd like to watch a video that demonstrates the process of localizing Camtasia callouts and importing/exporting, here you go.
Closed captioning (CC) allows you to provide descriptive information in your published eLearning project that typically matches the voiceover audio contained in your Camtasia project.
There are a couple of ways you can add closed captions to your project. During this post I'm going to show you how you can add the captions manually (by typing or copying/pasting from an existing script), and how to have Camtasia transcribe the voiceover audio using the Speech-to-text feature.
In the image below I've opened a project that already has audio on the Timeline.
To add closed captions, select the Captions tool. (Closed captions aren't the same as Callouts.)
If you'd like to listen to the audio and transcribe what you hear, click the Add caption media button.
You can then press [enter] to listen to the voiceover audio and type what you hear. When finished, press [tab] and [enter] to create another caption.
Personally, I'm not a fan of typing/transcribing. In an ideal world, you would have a voiceover script (perhaps a Word document). In that case, typing and pasting between Camtasia and Word makes the process of adding the captions a painless process. (If you've never created a voiceover script, check out our voiceover script-writing class and learn how.)
If you don't have the voiceover script and you're not a fan of typing, check out Camtasia's Speech-to-text feature. To begin, bring up the Captions panel as if you were going to add the captions manually and then click Speech-to-text.
The Tips for Generating Accurate Speech-to-text Captionsscreen offers some awesome tips on making the process as smooth as possible.
Click the Continue button and Camtasia will scan your project and transcribe the audio for you.
While I found the Speech-to-text feature to be awesome, it was a bit hit or miss. For example, the first caption you see below ("The if the if the left half the") was actually background music. I have no idea why Camtasia attempted to transcribe it, but the results were just a tad off the mark considering there were no lyrics at all. The second caption was a fair attempt, but there were several typos. The third caption was actually quite good.
Getting rid of the unwanted caption is no problem. Simply right-click and choose Delete caption text.
In the images below, you can see the significant edits I needed to make to the second caption. Nevertheless, I found it faster to edit the caption as opposed to typing it manually.
And in the following two images, you can see how little editing was required to get the caption ready to go.
And in the image below you can see how the second caption appears in my produced eLearning lesson as a closed caption.
If you're like to see a video of the process of manually adding closed captions to a Camtasia project, check this out.