Software simulations are a powerful e-learning tool. They allow a learner to actually click through a process in a system or on a website and experience it like it’s the real thing. But the good news is that it’s NOT the real thing, it’s a simulation, so there’s no chance for learners to make costly errors or damage the system while they’re learning new processes.

You can create software simulations using Storyline’s Screen Recorder, a powerful tool that lets you capture step-by-step processes in any system, application, or website. The tool is super-easy to use: launch the recorder, select your recording area size, and click the Record button to start. Once you click the red button, click through the process that you want to teach your learners; everything that happens on your screen inside the recording area you’ve selected will be recorded into a movie. When you’re done, press the ESC key and your recording will then appear in a window like this:

Insert a recording as either a video on a single slide or as step-by-step slides

The recorded process can be inserted into your course as either a single video on one slide, or as step-by-step slides that will include captions, mouse clicks, hot-spots, and more (depending on the mode you select: View, Try, or Test). If you enter your recording into your project as step-by-step slides, you might end up needing to edit some of your slides, including the background and the animation that’s happening on each slide. To do that, you’ll use the Action Fine Tuning tool.

But before you use Action Fine Tuning, it’s important to understand that when you insert your recording as step-by-step slides, Storyline takes the entire recorded video and breaks it down into small chunks, so that each slide shows a small clip of the recording. Whether you insert your step-by-step slides as View mode, Try mode, or Test mode, you’ll notice every slide has an object on the Timeline called “Screen Recording.”

Take note of the Screen Recording object on the Timeline

The Screen Recording object displays the short animation that occurs on each slide. If you want to edit this Screen Recording, you need to use the Action Fine Tuning option. To access Action Fine Tuning, right-click anywhere on a step-by-step slide and select “Action Fine Tuning” from the menu that appears. You’ll open up a window that looks like this:

This is the Capture Action Fine Tuning window

This window displays the entire recording as a movie. You’ll notice there’s a long skinny gray bar, the Timeline, along the bottom of the video, with a Play/Pause button at one end. You’ll also take note of two small vertical lines that appear on the Timeline; these are the starting and ending markers. These markers define what appears during the Screen Recording clip on the slide in question.

Edit the length of a Screen Recording clip

One thing you can do inside the Action Fine Tuning window is edit the clip that appears on the slide. Simply drag the starting and ending markers along the Timeline until you’ve selected the clip you want to keep. If you need to be precise about the exact moment you select from the clip, you can select either your starting or ending marker and use the “Previous Frame” and “Next Frame” buttons to select a precise frame. Once the markers are in place, click OK. The Screen Recording object on the slide will be updated to reflect the new start and end times you’ve selected.

Remove the animation to create a static background image

You might prefer to not show any Screen Recording clip on a slide, but just have a static background image. That’s absolutely possible in Storyline in just a few clicks, and here’s how:

  • Right-click anywhere on a step-by-step slide

  • Select “Action Fine Tuning ...” from the menu

  • Deselect the “Show Animation” checkbox

  • You’ll notice that once you deselect this option, there is only one marker on the Timeline

  • Drag the marker to the spot on the Timeline that is how you want the background to look

  • Click OK

Once that’s done, the Screen Recording object will be gone from the Timeline, and you will simply have a static background image on the slide. If you change your mind and want to bring back the animation, pop back into the Action Fine Tuning window and re-select the Show Animation checkbox. Your Screen Recording object will be returned to the slide Timeline.

Those are a few of the handy ways you can use the Action Fine Tuning tool to edit your Storyline Screen Recordings. You might also want to check out these other related articles about creating Screen Recordings with Storyline:

Do you have any tips of your own for using this tool? If you do, let me know in the comments below.

Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate software? Download a free trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

Pedro Fernandez