Intro

Adobe just released an update to Captivate 7. There will be a lot of talk by the Mac-users because it will now again be functional on their updated 'Maverick' system. But there is a lot more added in this update. I was agreeably surprised to see some of my requested variables, commands and advanced action features added, and some lack of congruence in interactions solved as well. Sure, lot of other Captivate users will blog about their favorites, but what did you expect from me? Variables and Advanced Actions features of course :)

Variables

In Captivate 7 we got 3 new system variables:

  • cpInfoCurrentDateStringDDMMYYYY : allowed to show the date in the in Europe usual DD/MM/YYYY format

  • cpInfoCurrentLocaleDateString: shows the date respecting the Settings of the local machine, for me 'Zondag, 17 november 2013';
    this variable was not doing very well in the original 7-release but does now in 7.01

  • cpQuizInfoTotalUnansweredQuestions: returns number of unanswered questions in real Quiz only (not in Pretest)

In Captivate 7.01 4 new system variables are added, all in the Quizzing category:

  • cpInReviewMode: a boolean (0/1) that will be toggled from the default 0 to 1 when user gets in Review mode; this long awaited and begged for variable can be very useful for actions that will show previously hidden objects (text, audio,...) when a question slide is entered in Review mode; up till now this was only possible by creating a user variable for that purpose.

  • cpQuizInfoPreTestMaxScore: returns the maximum score that can be obtained in the Pretest. The system variable cpQuizInfoTotalQuizPoints (=cpQuizInfoTotalProjectPoints) stores the sum of the total scores in pretest and normal question slides (value you can also find in the Advanced Interaction); the default score slide will show the results for the normal question slides, this number has no system variable; now with the system variables for Pretest you can create a separate score slide for the Pretest as well.

  • cpQuizInfoPreTestTotalCorrectAnswers: stores the number or correct answers in the Pretest, whereas the variable cpQuizInfoTotalCorrectAnswers stores that number for the normal question slides.

  • cpQuizInfoPreTestTotalQuestions: returns the total number of Pretest questions. The system variable cpQuizInfoTotalQuestionsPerProject stores the sum of all the questions (pretest and normal), whereas the number on the default score slide shows the number of normal questions (which has no system variable equivalent).

Variable Usage button!

Long awaited: we finally have a Usage button in the Variables dialog box. It was added to the Advanced Actions a while ago as well. This makes it much easier to clean up unused variables. But there are still some limitations. If you select a variable and click on the Usage button, these situations can occur:

  1. The variable is used in actions, advanced actions, shared actions: those actions will appear in the Usage dialog as you can see on the first image in the Gallery.

  2. The variable is used in actions but also in Text Entry Boxes (even the generic ones), in Widgets, in Interactions: only the actions will appear, usage in TEB, Widgets/Interactions will not be mentioned.

  3. The variable is only used in Text Entry Boxes (even the generic ones), in Widgets, in Interactions: the Usage dialog will appear but will be blank.

  4. The variable is not used anywhere : the warning message 'The variable is not in use' will appear (second image)


Advanced Actions 

AA dialog box enhancements

Have a close look at the third image in the Gallery and you'll see that there are three new buttons under the Decisions labels, to the right of the already existing + and - buttons that allow to add/delete decisions:
  1. The first button looks like the Duplicate button that you'll also find for Advanced Actions (top right of the dialog box), indeed tooltip is 'Duplicate Decision'. I have so been begging for it since version 5, because it happens often that you have to create a whole bunch of similar decisions where only a few statements have to be edited. Up till now this was a pain: copy/paste the statements in IF, then copy/paste the statements in the THEN section, then copy/paste the statements in the ELSE section. Now one button click gives you a complete duplicate of condition+then+else sections.

  2. The two arrow buttons next to the Duplicate Decision 'Move Left'/'Move Right' can be used to rearrange decisions, another long awaited feature! You know that sequence of the decisions is very important in Captivate. And it happened a lot to me, that after having created a long action, I discovered that another sequence would have been better, or that I wanted to add a mimicked standard action at the beginning. Now this is possible with less work using those move arrow

Even more news: there is also a new black left arrow as first button in the top row with buttons in the Advanced Actions panel: tooltip reads 'Preview'. It will open a separate window that shows you all decisions (ELSE included) of your conditional action. That Preview button is not available for Standard actions, will be dimmed. 

A Preview example is visible as fourth image in the Gallery. The window size cannot be customized, will cover up the Advanced Actions window and has same size. When necessary a scroll bar appears and you are also able to collapse all or some parts of the action. Don't look for a Print button, not there. 

New statements/commands in actions

When publishing a table with statements (commands in simple actions) available in Captivate 6 I pointed out some discrepancy between the commands available in the dropdown lists for simple actions and the ones in the advanced actions dialog box.  Someone listened to me, and this has been repaired:
  • Increment/Decrement was only available for simple actions up till now, had to be replaced by an Expression in advanced actions; that is over, now there appear in advanced actions as well.

  • Pause/Exit are now ready as statements for advanced actions (although Exit working depends on more than CP alone)

  • Toggle is a new command/statement, and you can apply it to all Boolean variables (system and user); it is a shortcut to using the Expression 'var = 1 - var' (like cpCmndMute = 1 - cpCmndMute), a time saver.

  • Lock/Unlock TOC, Show/Hide TOC, Show/Hide Playbar are alternative commands/statements that may be easier to understand than using the Toggle or the Expression 

Reusing actions between projects

We have Shared actions, but the only way up till this patch was to Export them (as cpaa files) from the Library and to Import them in other projects. I'm a fan of External Libraries and now I'm happy to announce that you can also open an External Library and just drag the shared action in the Library of the present file, just as was the case with all other objects in an External Library. 

Moreover when you copy a slide, or an interactive object that has an advanced action attached, to another project... you'll not lose the action anymore. What do you think about that?  


Other features

You have to explore the new Swatches panel, allows you to create a custom palette or import an existing palette like the ones you can create with Kuler. There are lot of other enhancements, bug fixes but with this post I wanted to focus on those related with shared/advanced actions and variables. You can have a look at http://helpx.adobe.com/captivate/kb/captivate-7-patch.html for the complete list.