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Color me Storyline

If you’re an Articulate groupie, you probably know that community manager David Anderson has been posting a weekly challenge for some time now. This week’s challenge: Top 10 Things Learners Need to Know About Storyline. David suggested we target any area of Storyline development. I decided to focus on various ways to adjust colors in Storyline…and it was tough stopping at 10!

Theme Colors

1  Theme Colors…


…accessed from the Design tab on the ribbon, affect the colors that are used for Storyline elements such as shapes, text, and images. You can choose a built-in theme or create custom ones, which can be edited. Themes can be applied to one slide, matching slides, or all slides. Check out this Articulate Tutorial on Working with Theme Colors.


Coloring Shapes from the Menu

2  Shape Styles and Shape Fill Gradients


When you click on a shape, you make it active, and the Drawing Tools Format bar appears. You can change colors quickly by clicking to drop down some quick styles, as indicated above.

Another color change you can make from the menu is adding gradients, as seen in the screen shot below.


It’s true that flat design has become more popular recently. Still, you may, at times, want to take advantage of  gradients. Access some nuanced gradients of the current color, with light and dark variations, by clicking the Shape Fill drop-down.


Coloring Shapes from the Format Fill Dialog Box

3  Preset Gradient Colors and REALLY Customizing Your Own Gradients


For more flexibility and control, right-click a shape and, from the shortcut menu, choose Format Shape. Then, select the Gradient Fill option button, as I’ve done above. You might want to try out the Preset colors…either accepting them “as is”, or modifying them a bit.

Notice how the color in the shape below changed when I removed stops 2, 3, and 5 from the preset Wheat color gradient.


And, by clicking the drop-down arrow by the Color Fill icon you can open the Colors dialog box and begin playing with the slider and other options to really pinpoint the perfect color.


There’s a bit about gradients at in this Fill Formatting tutorial.


Coloring the Question Slides and Feedback Layers


Question Slide customization can feel a bit confusing, since the main part of the slide is controlled by the Slide Master, and the Feedback layers for the slide are controlled by the Feedback Master. So here’s an example.

4  Customizing Colors on Slide and Feedback Masters

The Question Title and background on the question slide above are based on the Slide Master Question layout. And, the Font Colors for the Incorrect and Correct layers come from the Feedback Master Correct and Incorrect layouts.


Articulate has tutorials on Slide Masters and Feedback Masters.


Coloring the Player – So Many Options

5  Storyline’s Built-In Color Options

Don’t stop with just coloring the slides…you can also customize the colors for the Storyline player. Check out this Articulate Tutorial for information on switching players, customizing them, and saving those customizations.

6  The Articulate Storyline Player Colors Job Aid

I like to keep job aids handy, and this Storyline Player Colors job aid, available at the community downloads page, is one I periodically reach for.


7  Free Storyline and Studio Colorizer Tool

Super Hero James Kingsely has created a really cool free tool: the Articulate Storyline and Studio ’13 Colorizer. This tool automates the process of colorizing your player to match up with, say, company or story colors.


Picking up Colors

8  Pixie

Pixie, by Nattyware (free), was one of the first tools I learned about after joining the Articulate Heroes Community.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve used this tool to pick up colors from anywhere on the screen and apply them in my design. I’ve placed it on my Start menu for quick access – noted in the screen shot by the red rectangle.



9  Built-In Storyline Color Picker Tool


Let’s say I wanted to change the option buttons in this story to match the green on this duck (above). The steps would be:

  1. Click on the option button and then click on the Radio Color drop-down
  2. Select More Radio Colors
  3. Click the Color Picker tool to make it active
  4. Hover the Color Picker Tool over the green part of the duck
  5. Click when you’ve found the desired color
  6. Click OK
    Really Easy!

10 David Anderson’s Color Toner Template

Last but not ever least, David Anderson created a very excellent Color Toner template, another tool that I turn to frequently during project development. Check out this blog post, which includes a quick how-to tutorial.



11…Oh, Wait!

Only 10, David, REALLY??? 😉

Split Up Long Audio Files With Audacity

microphone-162205_640One element of eLearning is inserting narrated audio files into an authoring tool for a course you’re working on. Often the narrator will send along one long audio file – say 30 minutes – that must be divided up over several slides. This can feel daunting, but Audacity®, which is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds, can simplify this task.

I’ve created a tutorial that explains how to go about this. If you watch it, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Oh, and I’d like to take a minute for a Shout Out to pixabay. They have such wonderful free images. That’s where I found this “Mic Guy”…and so many other cool images.

A Narration eLearning eLement

If you narrate content as part of your eLearning development, then you know that a good quality microphone is an essential eLearning eLement.

I’ve been really pleased with the Samson USB C01U microphone I’ve been using for a few years now. It has great sound quality. And if you purchase the C01U Pak, like I did, you’ll get a microphone stand, shockmount, and USB cable all inside a nice little suitcase. This makes it easy to bring the mic with you if you travel a lot, like I do.

Still, sometimes it’s tough to squeeze one more thing in during travel, so I was intrigued when I read about the Samson Go Mic in an older blog post by Tom Kuhlmann, Vice President of the Articulate® Community. Talk about portable! Take a look.

photo of Samson Go Mic

It’s really amazing what great sound quality Samson has been able to achieve with this mic. And, as described at the Samson page, it can sit on your desk or you can take advantage of the great design that allows you to clip it to your laptop. You can flip a switch on the side of the mic to change recording modes. Like the C01U, it comes with its own USB cord and carrying case – but a MUCH smaller zipped case.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out Tom’s video here. He narrated the content using the Go To Mic. I guess I could’ve done the same, but why reinvent the wheel, right?

Thank you to our men and women in the military

torso of person in military uniform

Many of us have a variety of happy activities planned for this Memorial Day weekend. In my own family we are celebrating a marriage and planning visits with out-of-town family.

Thank you to our veterans, and to the men and women who continue to sacrifice so that we may go about our lives, enjoying carefree times like these.

More on States for Characters in Storyline®

In a yesterday’s post (5/18/12), I showed how to easily change a character’s emotional state over time in Articulate® Storyline®. And, I promised to demonstrate how to trigger those states automatically. Haven’t had a chance to do that yet, but thought you might be interested in this Screenr (video tutorial) by David Anderson, Community Manager at Articulate® (@elearning).

David discusses how to use Storyline® states to manage a series of your own industry- or workplace-specific photos to create custom character packs.

First eLearning eLements Post

cartoon image of a questioning faceSo, I guess I should get it out of the way: I’m a novice blogger, and a reluctant one at that. Not that I don’t enjoy writing, but it feels like such a big commitment, and a great responsibility to provide information to readers…well, of course that’s assuming I HAVE readers…on a regular basis. So I pondered whether to do this for quite some time.

But, I’ve been encouraged to share what I know, and what I’m learning, about eLearning. And I’m using the term eLearning pretty broadly, because it can encompass so many things: instructional design, graphic design, technical writing, needs analysis, screencasting, script writing, narration, video creation…to name a few eLearning eLements.

More next time.