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Exporting a Captivate Project to Flash

Exporting a Captivate Project to Flash

The first thing to do before exporting to Flash is to create a Captivate file or open an existing one. I created a sample file (contained in the sample download, so that you can see how the file looks in Captivate before exporting it to Flash. Later, you’ll see what Flash does with the Captivate piece. To view the sample, click the link below:

launchPlay the demo: The Captivate project before exporting it to Flash

This is the sample file you will export for customization in Flash. The movie contains many Captivate items including:

  • Captions
  • Graphics
  • Animations
  • Narration
  • Music
  • Buttons
  • Captured application

Export the Captivate demo to Flash MX 2004 as follows:

  1. Start Captivate. Open FLAexport.cp.
  2. Select File > Import/Export > Export the Movie to Flash MX 2004.

    Exporting the movie to Flash MX 2004

    Figure 1. Exporting the movie to Flash MX 2004

  3. Captivate asks you to save your Captivate file, if you have changed it at all. I recommend that you always click Yes even if you have just saved the file.

    Captivate asks you to save the file.

    Figure 2. Captivate asks you to save the file.

    If you click Yes, you will briefly see the following window as Captivate saves the file:

    Captivate saves the project.

    Figure 3. Captivate saves the project.

    Captivate asks if you would like to open Flash MX 2004 (Figure 4).

    aptivate asks if you would like to open Flash MX 2004.

    Figure 4. Captivate asks if you would like to open Flash MX 2004.

    While you could cancel this dialog box and open Flash later, selecting Open Flash MX 2004 saves you a little time; you can avoid having to go through the Flash opening dialog screen.

  4. Save your Flash MX 2004 piece as Flash loads your Captivate file. Captivate populates the Flash file name with the name of your Captivate file.

    Saving the Flash file

    Figure 5. Saving the Flash file

    Unless you need to name your Flash piece differently, stick with the default Captivate file name for ease of maintenance.

    Once you save the piece, the following dialog box appears to help you when you are in Flash.

    Captivate dialog box that gives you instructions on what to do when you open Flash MX 2004

    Figure 6. Captivate dialog box providing instructions on what to do when you open Flash MX 2004

    If you’re wondering why this dialog appears, it’s because Flash does not automatically import the Captivate movie to its Timeline. Follow the steps described above in Figure 6 to actually import the Captivate movie.

    In RoboDemo 5, the export to Flash opened and imported the movie, but there were so many variables and so many potential issues that the Captivate development team decided to simplify the process and eliminate the potential for confusion and error.

  5. Start Macromedia Flash MX 2004 if you haven’t already. In the following steps, you’ll import your Captivate content. Figure 7 shows the Flash interface when it opens.

    Note: Your screen may look different depending on your screen resolution and the interface that you’ve configured for Flash.

    The Flash MX 2004 interface

    Figure 7. The Flash MX 2004 interface

    Select File > Import.

    Importing Captivate file into Flash

    Figure 8. Importing the Captivate file into Flash

    Flash opens the Import dialog box. Notice that the file type is already set to Captivate (Figure 9).

    The Import dialog box

    Figure 9. The Import dialog box set to Captivate Projects

    Select the FLAexport file from the Import dialog box and click Open.

  6. The Captivate Options dialog appears. This dialog box enables you to select which elements you want Flash to import from Captivate.

    Captivate Options in the import process

    Figure 10. Captivate Options in the import process

    1. Basic elements

      • Background changes (keyboard typing and state changes): Most of the time, you import all background changes. However, if you want to modify your piece with Flash typing or components, deselect this option.
      • Mouse movements: Unless you want to customize mouse movements yourself through Flash, keep this option selected.
    2. Slide elements

      • Highlight boxes
      • Images
      • Captions
      • Animations
      • Click boxes
      • Text boxes
      • Buttons
      • Rollover captions and images
    3. Movie elements

      • Audio
      • End options (Stop or loop movie, goto URL)
      • Playback controller: Depending on what your Flash needs are, you can probably create more sophisticated navigation and playback structures in Flash if you have the expertise. If not, then keep this option selected to import the Captivate playback controller of your choosing.

In this tutorial, keep everything selected on and click the Import button. Flash shows the following as it imports your Captivate project:

Flash importing the Captivate project

Figure 11. Flash importing the Captivate project

When the import is done, Flash warns you that several elements were not imported (Figure 12):

Some elements were not imported.

Figure 12. Some elements were not imported.

The following elements were not imported:

  • Reporting Options: This refers to the SCORM and AICC tracking capabilities built into Captivate. Since Quiz elements are not exported, the reporting, or LMS tracking, options are also ignored. If you need to track items in your new Flash piece, insert the Flash E-Learning objects into your movie.
  • Loading screen: This is your preloader screen. If you need to have a preloader in your Flash piece, either create your own or use one of the many preloaders available for Flash on the Internet.
  • 508 compliance: These are the accessibility options built into Captivate and supported by Macromedia Flash Player.

Click OK to close the Captivate Importer dialog box. A second dialog box will appear if your Captivate project has animations on any slides.

The Captivate Importer dialog box

Figure 13. The Captivate Importer dialog box if your Captivate project has animations on any slides

Slides 1 and 11 have animations on them. Captivate exports the animations as individual Flash SWF files and then loads them dynamically at run-time.

Note: You must have any animation slides that Captivate generates included in the root directory of your published Flash piece for them to play correctly at runtime. I have included these SWF files in the ZIP file in the Requirements section of this article.

Congratulations! You have just imported your first Captivate project into Flash MX 2004. That was pretty easy, wasn’t it?

In the next section, you’ll learn how the Captivate elements are imported into Flash.