Linking from Engage to Presenter

A while ago there was a great post on Daveperso’s Articulate eLearning Blog about how you can use a hyperlink within Engage to link to a particular slide within your Articulate Presenter course. You can add the code asfunction:_level44.playSlide,5 through the “insert hyperlink” function in Engage, change the number at the end to correspond to the slide which you want to link to, publish and that’s it! (Read his full post here).

This method works great, and also works when inserting Engage interactions in the manner which I described in my last post. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t quite work when the slide to which you are linking contains another Engage interaction – the Engage becomes mis-aligned and appears way over to the left of the screen. You can see in this presentation: the first two links, which are linking just to standard slides, work fine; if you try the third link, which links to a slide containing an Engage interaction, it doesn’t look right.

While I’ve found no way to fix this, I have found a handy little workaround, which is to insert a blank slide immediately before the Engage interaction to which you are linking and set the slide to automatically advance. You can then insert a “please wait” type image onto the blank slide which will appear for the second before the slide advances. You can see that method in action here.

Articulate presentations with resizable Engage interactions

A while ago, I was working on creating this presentation, which was designed to be an interactive tour around 15 Blenheim Terrace (which is the home of Skills@Library at the University of Leeds), as well as an introduction to what support we can offer to students.

The idea was to create the illusion of being in the building, and we wanted the user to be able to navigate around from within the slides, without having to rely on using the Articulate controls, or the sidebar menu (though we ended up including the sidebar aswell).

As we were using numerous Engage interactions within the slides, we had to come up with a way of linking from the Engage slides back to other slides. We also wanted to maintain the illusion of being “in” the building, so that when the user still appeared to be in the room when they accessed the Engage interactions. This Screenr will show you what we came up with.

If you’re embedding multiple Engage interactions into a presentation in this way, you should rename your engage.swf files to something meaningful, otherwise once you’ve published that Articulate presentation you won’t be able to keep track of which is which.

Also, if you then republish your Articulate presentation, the engage_content folder will have to be copied over again.

** Updated**

See a PDF version of these instructions here.

Navigation tab

I hate reading instructions. I much prefer to plough on in and get my hands dirty straight away.

Not everyone is like that though, and it’s easy to forget that not everyone will automatically know how to navigate through a presentation. So I’ve created an Engage interaction, to use as a “how to navigate this tutorial” tab in our Skills@Library student tutorials.

It’s not the most mind-blowingly original idea, I know, but based on my own experience of having been meaning to do it for ages but never getting around to it, I thought it might be useful to the community for me to share. You can see it in action here.

You can download the template interaction from here. All you’ll need to do is swap the image for one of your own presentation, change the colour scheme as appropriate then add it as an Engage tab to your presentation. Don’t forget to remove any of the features that you’ve disabled from your player template.

Mobile development project – assistance needed!

Hello all,

We are currently working on developing a mobile version of the award-winning “Making Group-work Work” resource, which will be accessible via mobile devices.

We have created a test webpage, which at the moment has one of the videos embedded into it. So far we’ve only been able to test it out on an iphone, and we would be very grateful if anyone who has an internet enabled mobile device could test it out, and give us some feedback on it.

You can access the page from the following URL:

http://skills.library.leeds.ac.uk/learnhigherleeds/groupwork_mobile/index.html

We’d like to know how the formatting looks (does the page display correctly), and if you can play the video (only the top video is currently in the page).

If you could test it for us, please reply and tell us what type of phone you’ve used to test it.

Cheers!

Using relative hyperlinking to launch documents from your Articulate presentations

I have recently been working on a marketing piece which has been using Articulate as a house for various Captivate demostrations. Initially I embedded the swf files into my Articulate slides, but this wasn’t a good enough solution, as the demos were too small to see. The next idea was to use the hyperlink function to open the demo in a new window, but this also wasn’t going to work as the piece had to be able to be viewed locally, without an internet connection.

So it came time to think outside the box a little, and I experimented with using relative hyperlinks to launch the demos from within the published project folder, which worked a treat.

This Screenr demonstrates adding a Captivate interaction to a presentation.

You can add as many files as you want in this way, and even whole engage interactions, if you wanted them to open in a new window. Simply link to the engage.html page, and copy that over into the downloads folder along with the engage_swf and engage_content files.

Articulate Template Locations

Unfortunately my second post is another regurgitation of information I’ve provided elsewhere, but there you go.

This one is all about where abouts on your system you can find your Articulate Presenter, Engage and Quizmaker templates, colour schemes, logos and various other bits and bobs.

This document will tell you where to find all this stuff, currently only on Windows XP and Vista.

*UPDATE – Windows 7 details are now included*

Editing Articulate presentations without republishing

My first post on my brand spanky new blog is nothing new, as I wrote a post on the University of Leeds Articulate blog with all of this information. Still, even Shakespeare had to start somewhere…

If you want to edit some text on one of your slides within a published presentation without having to republish the whole thing, you can! Very useful if you’ve spent half an hour waiting for something to publish, only to discover a typo.

Open up your content folders, and within the data folder there will be a file called presentation.xml. Open this up with Wordpad or Notepad, and you can make certain edits to the file which will be reflected in your presentation.

All of these methods also work for Engage interactions – just open the engage.xml file to make your changes.

REMEMBER – When making changes to your presentation.xml file, it’s always a good idea to edit the PowerPoint file also; this way the changes will still apply if you republish in future.

1. Editing Slide Titles

You can use this method to edit the titles of your slides within the Articulate menu to the left of the presentation. Each slide’s title will appear as follows :

<!–[CDATA[Slide 1]]–>

Where [Slide 1] is the name which appears in the menu. Simply edit this and it’ll change, without having to republish.

Using ctrl+F allows you to easily find the text which you want to edit.

**Update – thanks to @onEnterFrame for pointing out that you can also add font tags to these CDTA tags – see here for a demo of how you can do this**

2. Changing colour schemes

In the “data” output folder of your published presentation, you will find a file called playerproperties.xml. This file contains information about any player template which is applied to the presentation. If you wish to apply another template to a published presentation, simply remove this file and replace it with the playerproperties.xml file for the template you wish to apply.

Similarly in published Engage output, in the engage_content folder there is a file called scheme.xml. You can use the same method as above to change the colour scheme of a published Engage interaction.

3. Swapping Engage interactions

If you have inserted an Engage interaction into a presentation, you can change it for another interaction without having to republish. In the data/swf folder of your output, there will be a folder called engage_XX, where XX is the number Articulate has given to the interaction. To switch the interaction for another, publish your second interaction as a standalone, then simply copy all the files from the published output into the engage_XX folder of your Presenter presentation.

4. Changing individual slides

You can edit slide titles without republishing by changing the presentation.xml file. However, you can’t use this method to make changes the slide content itself; i.e. things like the slide text, layout or custom animations, but there is another way. Create a one-slide presentation in PowerPoint and copy the slide you wish to change over to this new PowerPoint. Make any changes you want and then publish this presentation (don’t worry about the player template or anything like that). In the data/swf output folder, you’ll find a file called slide1.swf. Rename this file to match its slide number from your original presentation, then copy it over into the data/swf folder of the original presentation.

This method can be used if you want to apply a different audio to a slide; just copy the slide onto a new presentation, import a new audio, publish and follow the rest of the steps above. This method may be a bit convoluted for most situations – sometimes it is easier to just republish, but this is worth bearing in mind if you no longer have access to the PP source files for your presentation.
You can download a Swiff Player for free which enables you to view .swf files:

5. Swapping video clips

If you have a video clip inserted into a presentation which you wish to change, you can also do this without republishing. In the data/swf folder of the published output you will find any video clips  you have inserted. All you need to do in order to swap a video clip for another is to make sure the new one has the same name as that which was inserted, and then copy the new one into the data/swf folder, overwriting the old one.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the edits you can make to Articulate projects without republishing, I’m sure there are many more applications of this technique that you can use if you need to.