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Learn how to use Adobe Captivate 5, part of the Acrobat X Suite, to re-purpose your existing spreadsheets and presentations for eLearning.
Donna Baker May 4, 2011
Did you know you can take your PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and other Office output and repurpose them as eLearning?
Captivate 5—the rapid eLearning tool in the Acrobat X Suite—lets you convert your existing knowledge materials in ways you may never have thought of.
And you don't need to be a programmer or designer to use it!
Captivate produces three types of content for three different purposes.
You can use the Demonstration mode to visually explain how to use your product to your customers.
To show a customer or your staff how to do a new process—like this spreadsheet example— use a Training simulation that lets them try out the process before going live.
To create mandatory, tested and scored staff training, turn to an Assessment Simulation.
Captivate 5 even lets you record and store assessment results.Captivate takes over a lot of the work for you, as you'll see now.
Start a new project from the Welcome screen, or the File menu, as I'm doing.
You'll see the capture area frame on the screen.
Pick the recording options.
Choose either the screen area or an application, like the Excel spreadsheet I'm working with.
Pick the type of recording you want to capture—I've chosen all three.
Click Record to start the capture.
The program autorecords the screen, so you don't need to record more than once.You'll hear a camera sound each time Captivate captures a screen.
Press END on the keyboard when you're finished and the versions of the captured content open in tabs in Captivate.
You adjust the timing in the Timeline, where you see the durations for objects added to a slide, such as changing captions, adding audio, or using features like this Flash arrow.
Add anything you like to the simulation, like Powerpoint slides.
That way, you can use your existing material without having to recreate it again.
Right-click in the Filmstrip where you want to add the slides, and click Insert > PowerPoint Slide.
Select the project, then select the slides, and click OK to close the dialog box and complete the import.
Drag the slides to reorder the presentation.
Use round-trip editing to make changes to the PowerPoint slides.
Right-click and choose Edit with Microsoft PowerPoint.
Make your changes and save the file.
Back in Captivate, you'll see the slide updated.
When you're ready to publish your project, choose File > Publish to open the panel.
Pick from several options at the left of the tab, each of which have their own configuration options.
Captivate uses Flash export by default.
As you see here, you can pick output options like HTML or PDF.
When you're finished, click Publish to export the finished product.
In this first example, you see my Excel project shown as a Flash movie running in a Web browser.
In the second example, I've included a project in a PDF Portfolio containing other training materials.
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