Ghosts in the Machine

Mar 27, 2012

I truly hope I'm not the only one who has experienced this, but lately it seems that every time I publish a course via Presenter, things in my CBT move or change randomly.  I understand that certain shapes and animations in PowerPoint do not translate well with Articulate (and I'm trying to avoid using them as I discover new ones), but often entire objects will be in a completely different place on the screen, or text (with no animations or special effects) will suddenly double on the screen so it looks like entire passages are shadowed.  Then there are the pictures or objects that completely disappear.

Is this a software bug?  Is it my operating system?  Is it me?  

Is there anything I can do to make this stop?

5 Replies
Peter Anderson

Welcome to Heroes, Brooke!

Would you like to send us your files so we can take a closer look at what's going on? If so, 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!

Brooke Boyer


Thanks for responding!  I wish I could send you my files, but my projects contain confidential information for my company, so no uploading allowed.  Without seeing my files, is there anything you can tell me about the issue?  Does this happen to other people?  Is there a possible reason for it?  Is there anything I can do myself to check for problems?

Peter Anderson

Hi Brooke!

Are you using SmartArt graphics by any chance? Or grouped freeform-drawn objects with other objects? 

Not sure if it makes a difference, by anything uploaded to our support staff is kept strictly confidential. This can include screenshots that have sensitive information blacked-out. The more details you can give us about the kind of art, graphics, text, etc. that you've used, the more focused our troubleshooting can be.


Brooke Boyer

Kind of, to the first question.  I start with a SmartArt graphic, then un-group everything and use and change the bits and pieces.  A lot of my text issues came from using the built in text box in the original SmartArt graphic (I think) so I went and made free-form text boxes to overlay on the graphic, grouping them together, so yes to the second question as well. In most cases that actually worked, and everything appeared as normal after publishing.  (I've used broken up SmartArt graphics with the built-in text boxes before with no problems, so that was confusing.)

Also, on one occasion the above fix (making a new text box) did not work at all so I tried un-grouping the graphic and the free-form text box, and re-animating them (wipe) separately so they appeared as they would have when grouped.  However, the text box now refuses to move at all, and just sits there while everything else moves around it as if I never put an animation on it at all.    

I hope that makes sense.  I will talk to my boss about possibly uploading anything.

Adrian Gates

You aren't alone. With SmartArt, I find it often is easier to replace it with a PNG graphic once it's created.

  1. Select the SmartArt and press Ctrl+C to copy the original,
  2. then press Ctrl+Alt+V to open the Paste Special menu.
  3. Select PNG from that menu to retain your transparencies.
  4. Now align the edges of the PNG with the original SmartArt.
  5. Personally, I like to keep the SmartArt on the original slide in case I need to make any changes later, so I'll hide it in the Selection Pane, but other designers might prefer to delete them to keep their files clean and orderly and restore from a previous version if necessary.

The other times I've seen complicated problems in my PPT as you've described (moved, doubling) is if my course is very processor intense to publish. That could be a lot of very visually intense animations (such as full screen sized cross fades between graphics) or a very high slide count with lots of objects on each slide. In those cases, try to minimize the amount of processor power required to publish the presentation - Make the crossfades into Appear or push animations, reduce the number of objects on slides by grouping together still objects and then replacing them with a single PNG, etc. If you conserve the memory required to process the course, you'll see less errors. If you have a relatively simple course and not a lot of intense animations, then you might have something a little more significant in terms of bugs or problems with your configuration.

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