Static and Interactive Button Widgets in Captivate

Recently I was approached by a former Captivate student who had a question regarding Button widgets.  Wait…what’s a widget?  So glad you asked!  A widget is a SWF file (Flash object) that can be inserted into a Captivate project.  Captivate developers use widgets to broaden and enhance Captivate’s functionality.  For instance, widgets can be utilized to insert a personalized printable certificate at the end of a lesson, insert a chart or table within Captivate, or even add a Twitter feed. Widgets provide you with options that may not be readily available in Captivate.   Sounds pretty cool, right?   So how do you create a widget?  Well, widgets are SWFs so they are created and edited in Flash.  Oh, bummer… you’re not a Flash developer?  Don’t fret!  Captivate actually comes with a handful of widgets that are ready for us non-Flash developers to use (and there are widgets available online for download as well!).   To access existing widgets in Captivate 5 or 5.5, click the Window menu and select Widgets.  The Widgets panel opens.  You may need to click the folder icon at the bottom of the Widgets panel to browse to the Widgets folder. (Program Files>Adobe>Captivate> Gallery>Widgets).  

There are three types of widgets:

  • Static- this is a basic widget, but don’t let the name fool you. In this case “Static” doesn’t mean that the user can’t interact with it.  It simply means there is no ‘Success/Failure’ Action associated with it.
  • Interactive- this type of widget can perform an Action based on user Success/Failure, just like any other interactive object in Captivate
  • Question- a question widget can be used to insert a new Question type.

That’s a brief background on what widgets are and what they can do.  Now back to the original question.  The question that was asked this week had to do with a Button widget.  The student noticed some of the Button widgets do not include the “Pause after” option in the Timing group.  The “Pause After” option is what makes the slide pause until the learner clicks the button to continue.  I did a little exploring and discovered there are two button widgets that come with Captivate 5.5: a Static Button and an Interactive Button.  The Static Button widget does not have the “Pause after” option.  However the Interactive Button Widget does.

Timing properties for Static button widget with no “Pause After” option:

Timing properties for Interactive Button widget :


 I couldn’t figure out why the static button would not include a pause option, so I decided to see if I could find any documentation on this issue. My search brought me to this blog post by lilybiri.  If you look under the “Changes I do not like” heading, lilybiri writes about how the static button used to have a pause option, but when Captivate 5.5 was released the pause button was removed.   Interestingly enough, Adobe caught wind of her post and actually provided a Static Button with Pause widget that you can download from lilybiri’s blog post.  Way to go lilybiri for catching that and thanks to Adobe for providing a solution!

If you’re interested in learning more about widgets, I came across a site that has some great information on all things widget.  The  Widget King’s site is entertaining, informative and will provide you with helpful tools and tips if you’re interested in expanding your widget knowledge.

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