Articulate randomly adding/removing shapes and text boxes & more!

May 09, 2012


I'm currently experiencing some very odd issues with Articulate.  When I try to publish (to web), Articulate is adding random shapes and text boxes.  I've attached a screen shot (with a purposely blurred portion) showing the issue.  (The vertical text is being added for no apparent reason.)  I've tried deleting the shapes/text boxes, saving, closing out of PowerPoint and reopening the file to no avail.  Additionally, other slides have some of the images (though not all) removed and the slide header removed.  Finally, after publishing, the background on the last three slides have changed.

Any thoughts on correcting this?



11 Replies
Peter Anderson

Hey Matt!

Can you send us your files so we can take a closer look at what's going on? Please create an Articulate Presenter package, then upload the zip file to our server. You can review how to do this here: 


Send to Articulate Presenter Package – Articulate Presenter ’09 Help


Upload the resulting zip file from your computer to our server using this upload form: 


Articulate Support - Upload Your Files for Review 


Please be sure to include a description of your issue, your version of PowerPoint, version of Windows and version of Presenter '09, which you can find in Help and Support -> About Articulate Presenter. Please also include the URL for this thread so I can follow up with you personally in the forums. And feel free to come back and leave your case number here so I can keep a close eye on it. Thanks!

Christine Hendrickson

Hi there Margaret,

Unfortunately, I have no way of finding the solution for the issue Matt encountered. Since I cannot find a support case for him, we may need to get a little information on what's happening for you. 

First, please make sure you're working with local project files:

  • Work on your local drive (your C: drive). Working on a network drive or a USB drive can cause erratic behavior, including file corruption, loss of audio, and other unexpected behavior. 
  • You should also make sure the directory path to your project files and your published output is less than 260 characters (for example C:\Articulate).
  • Avoid using special characters, accents or symbols in your file names (this includes spaces and underscores).

Additional information regarding "Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces" in Windows operating systems can be found in the following Microsoft article.

Can you tell me what type of shapes you used on the slides? Did you have any SmartArt in the slides?



margaret richards

Hi Christine - Here are some screenshots. In the first one you see the purple box in front -- this is the most common shape that pops in, usually in front of other objects. After the presentation is published, this extra shape is there on the slide and I can delete it. In the 2nd screen shot though, the same shape is behind the other images (on the right) but after publishing, it is gone.

In this 3rd example, the published screen shows the same purple block on top on the right. However in the PPT file, what I found was the 2 shapes that are on the left (green & purple boxes) duplicated and blank in multiple copies on top of the same shapes on the left. But no purple box on the right.

To answer your questions: I am working on my C drive - I was having lots of trouble with the program crashing when in my dropbox folder but when I moved it, that stopped happening thankfully. I'm using the default My Articulate Projects folder which is by default nested in a few folders so the path is longer than 60 chars. I would think Articulate would not set this default and also that it wouldn't use a folder with spaces.  I will try moving it and dropping the spaces. I actually always use underscores instead of spaces in my filenames which works for general websites - interesting you say it is not a good character to use. What about - and .   ?

I'm using Office 2010 - there is no smart art in the affected slides but there is smart art at other places in the presentation.


Christine Hendrickson

Hi Margaret!

Thanks for getting back to me and thanks for the screenshots!

Just wanted to touch on one topic you mentioned, first. Anything other than normal text characters can cause an issue. Now, I'm not saying that's what's happening in your case, but I have personally seen some really funky behavior when projects have been saved with spaces, underscores, dashes, etc. in their file names. I've seen entire projects break because of an underscore - one. Yeah, I know it's odd :)

For the shapes, does this happen at all when you preview the presentation, or only after you've published?

If this only happens when you publish, can you tell me how you're viewing the course? Are you uploading it to a web server, LMS, or viewing it locally? 


margaret richards

Good to know. When I preview everything is fine - like I said, after I publish, the objects appear in the original file. If I preview them at that time, they show up. If I delete them, they are not in the preview.

I've painstakingly changed all file names to remove all non-letters. Screenshots 2 & 3 from my previous email still have the same problems as previously described (only in these 2 slides). All the slides that had the problem in screenshot 1 above (there were several) are ok now.

I'm having separate problems with my LMS right now so I'm publishing these for the web so that people can preview them.

Christine Hendrickson

Hi Margaret,

Ahhh, I see. That may be at least one of the issues. If you're having trouble with the LMS, it sounds like you may be viewing the published project locally. If you'd like, you may want to try uploading the course to Tempshare and see if it shows up properly. 

If you're viewing this in a specific browser, it may also help to clear your browser cache. It may also help to view it in a different web browser.

How large is the presentation? If it's not too big, you could create an Articulate Presenter Package and share it here. I'd be happy to take a look and see if I run into the same problem on my end.

Just a heads-up, if the file is fairly large, it may not post here. 


margaret richards

Hi, I'm back to this issue as it is recurring in all of my courses now.  I don't think it has to do with the LMS because like I said, the random shapes appear in the slides themselves after publishing and (I've just noticed) previewing. In the latest case, the preview (of 3 slides) looked fine but when I closed the window, there was an extra shape in one slide.

One pattern I may have found is that at least most (or maybe all... not sure) of the slides that have this problem are based on the "Comparison" or "Two Content" layout. Some of them use this format as-is but in some slides, I've deleted all or some of the shapes that are automatically inserted (because of moving content around). Are there known issues with using this content layout?

Christine Hendrickson

Hi Margaret,

Sorry to hear you're still working with this. I'm not aware of any similar issues, but it might be best to let us take a look and see if there's anything we can find.

Please create an Articulate Presenter package by following the steps in the following article:

Send to Articulate Presenter Package

Attach the .ZIP file to the second page of the following form: 

Submit a Support Case

Please be sure to include a description of your issue and also include the URL for this thread in the case. Also, if possible, please share the case number with me, so I can follow up with you in this thread. You're welcome to share the case number in this thread, or send it to me in a private message.


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