With all the jazzy design tools in Articulate Storyline, it’s easy to overlook the humble and unassuming Zoom Region feature. Quietly, it awaits notice in the slide area of the insert tab. This wonderful tool, so capable of bringing drama to your course, never begs for your attention. But today, I want to give it a long overdue turn in the spotlight.

What is the Zoom Region tool?

The Zoom Region tool does exactly what the name says: it zooms into a region of the slide. It’s a great way to draw your learners’ attention to a particular part of the screen or a certain item in a software simulation. You can even use it to give a tour of the screen. Here are some tips to get you started with the Zoom Region feature

How to Add a Zoom Region in Articulate Storyline

Inserting a zoom region is really easy. You simply click the Insert tab, select the Zoom Region tool, and then use the pull handles to alter your zoom region size on the screen. The smaller you make the region, the more zoom effect you’ll produce. To modify the speed of the zoom, right click on the zoom region area on your slide and select Zoom Transition Speed.

How to Create a Screen Tour in Articulate Storyline

You can also use the Zoom Region tool to create a cinema-style screen tour of on-screen images or elements. Moving between zoom regions creates a panning effect—like you’d see on a movie screen—and gives a sense of motion as you explore. To set it up, simply follow these steps:

1. Add a zoom region to the screen and place it over the area you’d like to zoom in on.

2. Add a second zoom region to the screen over the next area you’d like to visit—and so on for as many zoom regions as you’d like to feature.

Bonus tip: If you leave a gap between the zoom regions on the timeline, the screen will zoom back out. However, if you nudge the second zoom region up against the first, it will flow directly to the next zoom region.


Use Zoom Region to Create a Special Effect

A zoom region gives your project a cool special-effects touch. For example, in his Articulate Storyline Guru contest submission, Superhero Phil Mayor uses the Zoom Region tool to focus in on the iPad and the iPhone when the user clicks them.  It’s a really great effect that draws focus to that particular area of the desktop.

Use Zoom Region to Add Polish to a Conversation

Similar to the first example where we toured the screen, you can use the Zoom Region tool to pan back and forth between characters engaged in a conversation. It’s a great way to introduce a little movement and give your presentation a bit more polish.

In this screencast, I’ll show you how to create the effects that I discussed above:

For more on the Zoom Region tool, watch this getting started tutorial. In the meantime, if you have some great ideas for using the Zoom Region tool, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


If you want to try these tips for yourself but don't have Storyline, no problem. Just sign up for a fully functional, free 30-day trial. And don't forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We're here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.

E. Mills

So I know this thread is super old, but I just came across it today in a search for how to do the exact thing that the Phil Mayor Periodic Table submission demo does (click to zoom in on an area). I wasn't able to find anything that explained how he does it, but with some playing around I think I figured out a way. What I did was create my slide with the clickable object (on the periodic table it would be the ipad with the hover effect). Then I... - Duplicated the slide - On the new slide, switched the object's (ipad's) normal state to the hover image - Added a zoom region that starts .25sec into the timeline and zooms in on the area I want to emphasize (play around with zoom speed to get it however you like) - Set the entire timeline to last all of 2sec - Added a trigger to adv... Expand

Josh L
Chris Janzen

I'm new to Storyline but so far, I have to say I like it better than Captivate (to be fair, I've only used Captivate for about three or four months, so I may just not have learned about a lot of what it can do). But Captivate does have an animation feature called Scale that is very, very cool, and it kind of puts zoom to shame. With Scale Out, you can select an object, and then select the scaling factor you want. You apply the start and duration times to the animation and, sure enough, at the start time, that object expands out to the increased size you configured - essentially, zooms in on exactly that object you selected. When it reaches the end of the duration, it scales back in. The way I would use this would be to copy the image that contained a section or region I wanted to zo... Expand