Articulate vs. Captivate

Perhaps you can help me with a problem I'm having.  I'm sold on Articulate and I'm pushing to get the software.  But my company has thrown a curve at me and is now trying to force me into using Captivate 5 because IT already has a license for it.  The ridiculous thing about all of this is that no one around here has used Captivate to create elearning nor knows anything about elearning authoring.  I can only assume that Captivate was purchased as a screen-capture tool.

I've built a solid case FOR Articulate but that won't help if I can't show Captivate to be inferior to Articulate.  I'm solidly in the Articulate camp based soley on reviews and awards, and know very little about Captivate.  Has anyone done a comparison of the two that explains why you chose Articulate over Captivate?

You opinion is very valuable to me.  Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

37 Replies
Gabe Anderson

Welcome to E-Learning Heroes, and hopefully we can help!

Glad to hear you're sold on Articulate. Along with doing a standard product comparison, you may also want to include in your comparison the support and community that we offer vs. that offered by Adobe.

That said, here are some other resources that will hopefully help your case:

Studio ’09 Receives Coveted 4-Star Review in TMR

Download the full review and note the concluding recommendation:

"If I were purchasing an enterprise license for a rapid development tool, Articulate Studio Professional would be at or near the top of the list. Its flexibility, scalability, ease of use, and astonishing performance make this an outstanding product. Unfortunately, many of us get caught up in the Adobe Captivate pricing go-round and sometimes don’t allow ourselves a closer look at higher-cost products that are more affordable in the long run."

Discussion in our old forums about the two tools and how they're very different:

Articulate vs Adobe Captivate

A customer's blog entry:

Captivate Or Articulate?

Hope this helps!

Barry Galvin


Our company had the same issue. They had bought Captivate licences (version 3 back then), and no one was using Articulate. The reason for the Captivate purchase was primarily as a screen capturing tool, which it is extremely good at, but creating full blown modules within was a bit of a pain.

Anyway, I had seen Articulate and really liked the way to worked - the ease, the flexibility (you find more and more things you can do with it over time!) and what you got for your money. I was fortunate as being the only serious e-Learning developer within the company, so they pretty much bought what I needed. BUT...if they did start to umm and err, I would have downloaded the Articulate 30-day trial and just put together a couple of modules based on real company content, and shown it to the relevant decision makers - along with, of course, highlighting the massive benefits to them for developing e-Learning in the first place

I use the Articulate Suite everyday as my main tool, and use Captivate 4 (possible upgrade to 5 later) every now and then purely for producing a motion screen capture with voiceover (however, I have started to use Screenr for screen recording which is excellent). My first choice though is always Articulate, because you can do so much with it. For example, I opt to use the Process interaction in Engage to give step-by-step, how-to  instructions with screenshots, rather than going straight to Captivate. Basically though, BOTH packages complement each other, and are not really in direct competition with one another.

Hope this helps.


eLearning Wannabe

Hi Barry,

I'm like you, the only one interested in elearning.  Our IT department apparently tried to download the trial Articulate onto a business analyst's desktop and couldn't because of some glitch with our systems.  That was enough for them to turn down my request and offer Captivate instead.  I'm certain Articulate will run on my desktop. Since I dont have administrator rights, I haven't been able to download the trial software,  If all else fails, I may have to trial the software at home on my own time *sigh*

Appreciate the feedback.  I'll add what you've said to my rebuttal argument

Hugh Gardner

If you need ammo, bring up the subject of quizzing.  In captivate, you can have one quiz total.  Even if you have questions in several different places, they are all one single quiz, and in your results page you will see Question for each section total (17 of 34 ect).  In Articulate you can have multiple quizzes, and decide for each one whether or not they will be included in the score.

Also, Captivate 4 and 5 have some serious bugs in how they do their actionscript for quizzing, such that in some cases your multiple choice questions will auto answer (often incorrectly) and move to the next question.  I have had a ton of experience with Captivate, having deployed over 50 trainings using it, and I am firmly in the Articulate camp now, and after I wrap up one remaining Captivate 5 project I'm done with it until they make it easier for my needs. 

Sent me a PM if you want to ask me additional questions about Captivate, not to toot my own horn too much, but I have dealt with it good and bad for several years now.

eLearning Wannabe

That's good to know.  Having quiz options is important as sometimes you just want people to try things out and other times you want to test for what they know.  It would be unfortunate if you didn't have the option to do both. 

As for the quiz auto answering, I know exactly what you are saying as I was just last week trying out a memory building game that did that exact thing.  It was awful.  And when it rolled up in the final score, that was the final insult.  I'm glad you shared that bit of info. 

To have a former Captivate user switch over to Articulate is great ammo LOL

I'm building a pretty strong case with everyone's help.


James Brown

Captivate is great and I have used it to create tutorials in the past. It's flash based and it gives you complete control over animations and It's about 1/2 the price of Articulate. However it does not interface with Power Point and it does not create these nice side menus and isn't as user friendly as Articulate.  Yes you can make them, but I just like how user friendly Articulate is. From what I have seen, Articulate is worth the extra cash especially if you are not a graphics designer nor programmer.

Gerry Wasiluk

I posted these links in the old forums. 

An e-learning developer from one of the local firms that we use here at 3M for Articulate development has produced two great blogs articles so far on Articulate versus Captivate.

Articulate vs. Captivate Part 1: Comparing popular rapid eLearning development tools

Articulate vs. Captivate Part 2: Exploring Articulate Studio

Michael Hernandez

I use both Articulate 09 and Captivate 5 in my current position.  The reasons that I would choose to use Articulate over Captivate are that Articulate is much faster and easier to produce a clean presentation and interface.  You have to do a lot more work with Captivate to get that "finished" look.  I have encountered more people who value speed over cost (as long as it is not excessive) and so they find the results that Articulate produces are more desirable than those by Captivate.

eLearning Wannabe

...valuing speed over cost....easier to use..clean and finished look.....side capabilities...ease of sharing...templates...Elearning Heros blog...Rapid Elearning...etc, etc, etc,  

I'm racking up a long list of advantages for Articulate over Captivate.  I'll be interested in seeing future articles in the series that Frederickson is publishing on the comparison as well.

This robust online community support ranks at the top of my list.  You people ROCK!

eLearning Wannabe

Knock me over with a feather!!!

After all of this, I've just been asked to prove the value of elearning.

I've got a paying job for someone.  If I can get someone to develop an elearning course for us and we can roll it out to our network, I can prove it's value.  Maybe then I can get the software.

Here's the job - the course must be developed using Articulate (sorry Captivate users)

It's a Social Housing inspection Course - in essence, a primer on inspecting rental properties - houses, apartment buildings, seniors residences (that property managers or maintenance personnel could learn to do)  This is basic, basic, basic.

  • I have 150 photos and a transcript of a building inspector describing what the picture depicts and what needs to be done.
  • I want the course to be interesting, interactive and above all else, the information needs to be memorable (make it stick).
  • It should have a menu so a person could move around the course, depending on what they are most interested in
  • The course should take no longer than an hour to complete, so I can well appreciate I have an over abundance of photos.
  • The course needs to demonstrate several features in Articulate - the more impressive that is, the happier I'll be
  • The course needs to be published in a form that can be burned to a CD and run from any computer.

I'm sure there are many more things you need to know but that's what you probably need to know for starters.  Is anyone interested?  How does one estimate the cost?  I have no idea.  You'll have to let me know that.  Please try to be reasonable.  We are a non-profit housing agency.

Thanks so much.

Michael Hernandez

I am a big fan of non-profits and interested in networking and promoting the value of eLearning.

I am willing to offer my service for FREE just to demonstrate my skills and build my network.  The only issue would be that I could not start actual development until March.  In the meantime you could send me the source materials and I can at least take a look and provide you with some consultation and recommendations if you end up using someone else.

Let me know if you are interested in my assistance and we can go from there.

eLearning Wannabe

Thanks, Micheal.  I'm taken back by such a kind and generous offer.  I will have to consider all interest before making a decision of course.  That being said, if I were to offer you the job, we would have to work out some sort of payment as I can't imagine accepting your services for free.  I'll see what kind of interest I attract first and go from there.  Thanks again.

Gabe Anderson

eLearning Wannabe said:

Thanks, Micheal.  I'm taken back by such a kind and generous offer.  I will have to consider all interest before making a decision of course.  That being said, if I were to offer you the job, we would have to work out some sort of payment as I can't imagine accepting your services for free.  I'll see what kind of interest I attract first and go from there.  Thanks again.

Very nice offer, Michael!

eLearning Wannabe - You might consider creating a new thread over in our Building Better Courses forum with a different subject if you want to attract additional interested parties.

Robert Kennedy

As others have said, Articulate and Captivate are just very different.  I think Quizmaker alone knocks the socks off anything Captivate offers.  But, Captivate does have built in screen capture.  I use both individually together sometimes.  What I might do if I were you would be to create two simple demos in each tool and then show those to your decision makers.  Let them make the call.  I have done that with a few clients and Articulate was the choice in those circumstances.  Each tool is not perfect but Articulate is definitely more user friendly for "non-designers".  My .02.

eLearning Wannabe

Gabe Anderson said:

eLearning Wannabe said:

Thanks Gabe!  New thread posted

Thanks, elearning Wannabe! Here's the link, in case anyone from this thread is interested in checking it out over there:

Seeking Instructional Designer for Elearning project

Thank you everyone!

I have received a lot of interest in this project and I'm extremely grateful to everyone who contacted me.  I have my work cut out for me now, in going through all the proposals to find the best fit for the job.

Again, thank you.  What a terrific group of people!

Joe Deegan

As others have pointed out it's like comparing apples and oranges.  I believe Captivate is a better tool for screencasts and Articulate is better for everything else.  I started out with Captivate because my first eLearning projects were to create software simulations which Captivate is perfect for.  As I started working on more soft skills projects I went with Articulate and now I basically use Articulate for everything.  I still create screencasts with Captivate but I embed those simulations in a ppt using Articulate.  If possible it's best to have both in your toolbox but it's not always easy to convince execs of that.  I went through the exact problem you are having and wrote a lot more details in a blog post  that I got some great responses to you.   

Good luck selling them on the value of Articulate and eLearning.  Maybe a prototype class on the benefits of eLearning will do the job : )