Remove the playback bar in Captivate

A few weeks ago I was working with a student who was interested in removing the skin (playback bar) during a portion of one of her Captivate projects. Her reasons for wanting to turn the skin off were fairly project specific, however I thought this tip might be beneficial to some of our blog readers as well.

Why would I want to remove the skin?

Well, let’s say that you’re working on a Captivate project and the first part of the lesson provides background information for the learner. During this portion of the project, the skin will provide the learner with control buttons to navigate through the lesson as he or she sees fit. However, the second part of the lesson is a simulation.  During this portion of the lesson, you don’t want the learner to have the option to navigate via the playback controls. Captivate’s Skin Editor (Project>Skin Editor) has a “Show Playback Control” command, but it’s an all or nothing deal.  It’s either on for the entire project or off for the entire project.  So what’s the best course of action?  An Advanced Action!

Open the Advanced Actions dialog box (Project>Advanced Actions). Type a descriptive name in the Action Name field. Something clever like “PlaybarOff” will do just fine. Bear in mind, there are no spaces allowed when naming Advanced Actions. Then double click the first row of the Actions grid. A drop down list appears with a number of actions to choose from. Select “Assign”. A new drop down list appears in the next column. This is where you’ll select the cpCmndShowPlaybar variable. The next drop down has two options: Variable and Literal. Select Literal from the list and type 0.  A 0 value turns the variable off, while a value of 1 turns the variable on. If you’ve entered everything correctly it will look like the image below. Click Save and then close the Advanced Actions dialog box.

At this point, all we’ve done is create the action. Now we need to assign this action to a slide. Select the slide where you would like to shut the playback bar off and view the Slide Properties panel. In the Action group, select “Execute Advanced Actions” from the On Enter drop down. Verify the “PlaybarOff” Script is selected and that’s all there is to it! The Advanced Action is now assigned and the playback bar will turn off as soon as the slide is visible to the user.


Now, the million dollar question…..what do you do if you want to turn the playback bar on again? A ha! This will be a great opportunity for you to practice your newly acquired Advanced Action skills. Create a new Advanced Action using the steps above, but this time, set the cpCmndShowPlaybar value to 1 to turn the skin back on again. Don’t forget that you have to assign the Advanced Action to a slide to get it to run.

3 Responses to Remove the playback bar in Captivate

  1. This site is officially my site for heros!!!! I have been trying for 2 months to figure this out and you managed to solve my issue in .5 seconds!!! I am so lucky to have found you guys as a resource!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    • Kerry-Ann, thanks for the feedback and I’m happy that you found this post helpful! Feel free to email me at if you have any questions in the future. I’m always looking for new topics to blog about and user questions usually make great posts. Thanks again for the feedback!

  2. Melissa,

    This is driving me batty… Please picture in your mind 3 slides within Cp 5.5 for PC.
    Slide 1 is a standard text slide with invisible captions and graphics.
    Slide 2 is a Knowledge Object (True/False question which is not tracked)
    Slide 3 is just a splash transition title screen into the next chapter with a huge graphic taking up the entire page. It is a graphic just merged onto a slide – nothing else on it.

    Not sure what the problem is, but I have noticed that even though I have made the splash transition screens only 4 seconds long on the timeline, it is lasting as long as 15 seconds. Actually, I think I do know what the problem is.

    An Advanced Action command is used to turn off the control bar on the quiz screens on Slide 2:

    On Enter: Assign
    Assign: cpCmndShowPlaybar
    With: 1
    On Exit: Go to the Next Slide

    …and an Advanced Action command is used to turn the control bar back on on the splash screen on Slide 3:

    On Enter: Assign
    Assign: cpCmndShowPlaybar
    With: 0
    On Exit: Go to the Next Slide

    I believe this is causing the problem, because on an earlier Splash page (which doesn’t have a Quiz page before it) – has no problem in a delay of 15 seconds and no need to remove the control bar. It just lasts the 4.5 seconds as indicated on the timeline, and that’s it.

    Is there any way to prevent this delay from happening?

    Thanks in advance for your help in this matter -