Welcome back to Storyline Tips & Tricks – where we are always on the lookout for ways to streamline our work in Articulate Storyline. Last time, we gave you some tips about converting Flash to HTML5. In this session, we will explore best practices to use while working with the timeline.
1. It’s All in the Name
The simplest tip of all is to take the time to name and organize items on your slide’s timeline. You will thank yourself when you come back to apply edits, and your fellow colleagues (if you work on a team) will thank you in case they need to modify your work in the future! There’s nothing more confusing than opening a slide filled with things called “Rectangle 1” and “Text Box 5” and not knowing where to begin your edits.
You don’t have to get super creative or spend a lot of time on your naming. As you can see in this drag and drop example, we have given simple yet descriptive names that clearly link the objects. In the case of the drag and drop objects, for example, “drag1” goes to “drop1”, all the way through 6, so that it is immediately evident which drag piece corresponds to its respective drop item.
Once you have a set name for something you commonly use, you can copy that object to many slides and save yourself the trouble of having to create and name the object each time. This keeps your slides consistent and easy to understand, which allows you to work faster.
2. Keeping It Together
You can also stay organized by grouping objects on the timeline. This keeps your timeline from becoming dauntingly huge, as grouped objects are collapsible/expandable. You can move and align groups around as one unit on the slide. So, for example, if you want to center a text box with an image in the middle of the slide, you can group the text and image and then center the group itself. To group objects, select the objects you wish to group, and then select Home > Arrange > Group (or press Ctrl+G), as shown below. Don’t forget to name them!
You can then apply an animation to the entire group or different animations to separate objects within the group. For example, if you wanted a group’s background to fade in first, and then your text to fly in over it, you can animate each separately within the group.
In the sample shown below, we have a group of “bubbles,” some of which animate in together at the start and then others that float in one at a time a few seconds later. You can see their separate motion paths in the screenshot below.
3. Controlling the Chaos
Ever opened a slide and had it look like this?
Luckily, since we named our objects properly, it’s easy to identify which items are which. Using the object names, we can employ the “Show/Hide” and “Lock/Unlock” buttons to make editing easier. You can hide specific objects that are causing confusion or use the lock feature to keep from accidentally moving the wrong things around when editing.
And if you have a crowded slide, you can use the “Show/Hide All” buttons at the very top of the timeline to hide everything on the timeline, then unhide only the items you are working with so that you can see through the chaos.
See how much easier it is to work with this slide now? We have locked and hidden everything except for a small section. Also, we organized similar items together to make the timeline easier to read at a glance.
Important Note: Any objects that you have Hidden will not show when you publish. Once you have finished your edits, make sure to “Unhide” everything before moving on.
Remember, doing the work up front to keep your project organized will save you (and potentially others!) from unnecessary extra work in the future. Feel free to reach out to us for more help with Storyline projects or whatever questions you may have. And stay tuned for the next edition of Storyline Tips & Tricks!