Studio files not saving properly when updating a course

Apr 06, 2015

Hello all,

We're having a new and very strange issue with Articulate '13 (and Quizmaker and Engage) that started after update five.  When we finishe a project, all files are copied to a network drive for backup.  When we need to update the files, they're copied back locally.  Frequently we do a 'Save As' for the original Powerpoint to change the date in the file name, this creates a new PPTA and we go from there with engages and quizzes and such.


When I tried this last week, it not only did not give me a new PPTA, but no changes were being made to the quiz and engage files.  I would edit them from within the PPT but in looking at the files themselves, the date modifided dates were not changing and opening the engages and quizzes standalone was showing no changes had been made.


After some investigating, we found that the only place the changes were being saved was a temp directory in the Users - Apps Data folder.  Obviously, this isn't useful.  Is there anything that would account for this change?  And is there any way to make it stop.  I had to pull all the old engages and quizzes out of the old project and re-add them to get it to save properly.  For a 30 slide presentation, that's not a big deal.  For a couple hundred slides, that's more of a problem.

23 Replies
Leslie McKerchie

Hi Jada!

When creating, editing, and publishing Articulate Presenter '13 courses, be sure you're working on your local hard drive (typically your C: drive). Working on a network drive or a USB drive can cause erratic behavior, such as file corruption, an inability to save changes, and loss of resources. See this article for more information. Please note the section about saving as a Package.
Jada Olson

Hi Leslie,

All our work is always done locally on the C: drives.  Files are copied to a network drive once we're done, we never do any edits from this location.  While I did see the piece about packages earlier, that was never something we'd done and we've been using '13 since it became available.  This issue has never been seen before out of all of the courses we've done.  I did about 40 courses in December-February where I copied them back, did the save as, etc because there were updates and not one of them had an issue. 

Was there a change made recently to require the package utility that was not mentioned in any updates?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jada, 

You can see all the release notes and fixes/updates included here, and I don't see anything that would have changed - but we've always recommended working locally and if needing to share with another user via a network or USB drive to follow the process Leslie mentioned. 

With Studio '13 there was a change in regards to how the .quiz files and .intr files are stored as described here. 

Jada Olson

I guess what I'm not understanding (and I will say again, we always, always, always, work locally.  The storing files elsewhere and pulling them back down is for updates that can happen later, someone else might be working on them than did the original) is why this behavior has changed.

Literally before a week ago, we'd copy files back, do a save as to change the file name, this would create a new PPT and PPTA with all the content and everything would update fine.

Now, not only are the new PPTAs not being created but the .quiz and .intr files are *not* being updated.  I will make changes, the .quiz files and .intr files do not have new date modified dates on them and if you open them standalone, the changes have not been made in these files.  I'm not sure if I can explain this any better but this behavior is completely new.

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Jada!

When you insert an Articulate Quizmaker quiz or Articulate Engage interaction into your Articulate Presenter course, a copy of the original *.quiz or *.intr file is stored within the course's *.ppta file. This means that if you ever lose the original quiz or interaction file, you'll still be able to edit and publish it in Presenter. Please review this article for more information.

Perhaps something has changed within your setup.

Jada Olson

The only thing that changed was that back in January, we updated to version 5. As we've done courses with no issue since then, I don't think that could be the problem.

I make a change, via the powerpoint, to quiz1.quiz.  Prior to this issue, after I make the change, and do save and close, the quiz1.quiz file would have updated dates on it as well as the PPT and PPTA files. If we would go into the .quiz file standalone, you would see the changes reflected there as well.

Now, that .quiz file is *not* updating.  This is the part that I do not understand.  I understand that there is a backup happening in the PPTA file but the .quiz files and the .intr files do not have the changes saved in them.  It seems like the 'backup' has taken the place of needing those .quiz and .intr files and that doesn't make a lot of sense.

Jada Olson

I think I had said this earlier but to try to be more clear.  Our process is, create a course on the C: drive of a computer.  When the course is complete, the Entire folder structure is moved to another location.  We do not have missing pieces because the entire folder is moved which includes a lot more than just the PPT, PPTA, .quiz and .intr files.

When a course is updated, a new folder is created with an updated name (usually a MonthYear added to the end) on the C: drive of whoever is updating the course.  This might be different from the original person who had done it.  Then the Entire folder from the orignal course is copied into the new folder.  All items are copied so we preserve the orignal for backup, then start work on the new copy.  We frequently will also do a save-as for the PPT, to save it with the new course name.  In the past, this has always created a new PPTA to match.  Updating engages and quizzes has resulted in the .quiz and .intr files being updated as well in the new folder.

It has worked this way for every course we have done since Articulate '13 was released, with no issue.

This project, that I tried to update starting a week ago, is having unexpected behavior.  The orignal was created months ago on a C: drive, completed and archived on a different hard drive.  The archive copy was copied back to the C; drive where I tried to work on it.  Doing a Save-as on the PPT is not giving me the PPTA copy, as it did before.  The engage and quiz files are not updating, as they always did before.  The only change that has been made to that piece of hardware was back in January when Update 5 was installed. 

To get my quiz files to update correctly, I had to delete the originals and reimport them.  Which means outlines, slide levelling, notes pages, all of that needed to be fixed as well.  This is not something that is time effective for large courses. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jada,

Thanks for the detailed description of the behavior. If I understand the issue correctly, you previously made changes to an embedded interaction in your course and successfully saved those changes, but now they're gone. Is that right? It's possible that your changes could have been overwritten by an earlier version if your project files have been moved more than once. Here's a hypothetical scenario:

1) You moved your PowerPoint presentation and its corresponding Articulate (*.ppta) file to another folder or another computer.
2) You made changes to the embedded interaction and saved those changes.
3) Then you moved your updated project files back to the original location.
Can you confirm if your workflow was similar to the steps above? In this situation, the original interaction file was left behind (in step 1), so your changes (in step 2) would have been saved to the cached copy of the interaction in your *.ppta file. When you moved the project files back (in step 3), they re-linked with the original interaction file, which didn't include your changes.
When you need to move or share your project files, we always recommend creating an Articulate Package first to keep all the project elements intact. Here's how.  This isn't a new behavior in Update 5, although you can always see the elements here in terms of  what is included in a new update/release. 
Jada Olson

The workflow is this:

Project was created on Computer A on the C: drive.  All updates were made on that machine, locally.  After the project was completed and delivered, our files were moved to an archiving location.  The *Entire* project was moved.  We have a folder structure that all our people use that contains all the source material, all the presenter files, all the audio, etc. in a parent folder.  And no, the source PPTs and the working files are not kept in the same folders.  The entire structure is moved, so it is not possible to have lost pieces.

After a certain amount of time, the files would have been deleted off Computer A (for space reasons, it's not active, etc.) so the only copy would be in the archive location.

Later, the course would need to be updated.  So the archive copy would be copied to a local system, possibly the same computer, possibly not if someone else was assigned the work.  The archive copy is left alone to preserve all the originals for backup purposes. No work is ever done on the archive location.

Prior to a couple weeks ago, we could just start working from that copy that was newly moved to the C; drive.  You could save the powerpoint with a new name, it would create a new PPTA file, and all the other files would be updated.  This is no longer happening.  Quizzes and Engages are not being updated in their own files.  We occasionally need to send standalone publishes of these things so just having it in the PPTA is not useful.  Again - this is New behavior. 

In re: creating a package file.  I tried that but it is not including all files.  Engages that are used as player tabs, which is something we do very frequently, are not included in the created zip file. 

Michelle Priebe

I am so glad I finally found this discussion. I am having the exact same issue!!!

I am saving my PPT, quizzes and interactions LOCALLY in the same folder. When I go to update either a quiz or interaction, it saves the updated version in some temp folder.

I then have to find them in this temp folder, move them to my local folder and reimport them into my PPT. 

The same issue as Jada... this has happened ever since the last update for Studio '13.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jada, 

Thanks for sharing more detail about your work flow here. You mentioned you tried to create a package, but I wanted to confirm that you've tried to do this since moving the files back and forth? You would need to do that from the beginning of the work with the Presenter files and unfortunately once the connections between the .ppta and the embedded .quiz/.intr files is not adhered to in the Presenter package form, is when odd or unusual behavior occurs. I just tested this on my own files, and added Engage/Quizmaker files as both Player tabs and slides, and then packaged the Presenter course as a whole, and all the files correctly appear there. I can then send that version back and forth, and each time you'd want to extract the files and do the work needed before repackaging to share again. 


It sounds like you have a different workflow and issue than what Jada has shared. Have you already looked into the elements that Leslie and I shared previously? 

Jada Olson

Yes, I tried it since moving the files back and forth.  Because I have no files that have not been moved.  We have used the process I've outlined for every single course we have created since Articulate '13 became available, literally hundreds, and have not had a single issue until now. 

The issue that Michelle is experiencing is exactly the same as I am seeing once we copy the *entire* project folder back to a local drive and start working on it.  There should be no breaking of any connections as no work is being done on a network drive ever.

Justin Grenier

Good Afternoon, Jada and Michelle.

When working on an Articulate Presenter course in a collaborative environment with other developers, you will need to use this workflow to avoid file corruption, loss of resources, and other erratic behavior.  This means that you should never transfer files between your local hard drive and a network drive without first packaging up your files.

If you've ever manually copied a folder full of .ppt(x), .ppta, .quiz, and/or .intr files between your local hard drive and a network drive without first packaging up your files (even once), there is a risk that the link between those files may become severed and difficult to repair.

Not following our recommended workflow will result in erratic behavior (meaning that it might not always fail), so it may work for you sometimes and not work for you other times.  In contrast, if you use our workflow every time from the get-go, you should not run into problems.

Good luck with your projects!

Adam Hain


So what is the best course of action if these guidelines haven't been followed from the beginning?   We haven't had an issue before, although generally work from the C drive.  I have never used the packaging zip method and am happy to do so, but what can we do for a project moved between authors in the normal dragging to between hard drives method?  


Justin Grenier

Hey, Adam.

Not following our recommended workflow will result in erratic behavior (meaning that it might not always fail), so it may work for you sometimes and not work for you other times.  In other words, you could just get lucky!

Is there a specific problem you're running into with a project that has been passed back-and-forth without packaging first?  Please let us know and we'll see what we can do to help.

Adam Hain

Sure that makes sense.  Most of us have been working individually as well so collaboration is newer here.  

There have been two issues mainly.  Quizmaker files will save to random destinations instead of to the same folder as the powerpoint.

More troubling is files passed back and forth will not reflect changes made by authors.  This is erratic though.  

For example author 1 will send over a file and author 2 will not see the updates. When author 2 makes changes and sends back, author 1 will see their own changes (which author 2 never saw) and sometimes author 2's changes.  So it's all very confusing.  These are new users also who I am trying to support.  I want them to have a successful experience so I'm looking for a path forward for this module one, after which we can use the correct packaging method.    



Justin Grenier

OK thanks for clarifying, Adam.  It sounds like you have a project in-hand that is misbehaving on a couple of machines.

What I'd like you to do is to create two different Articulate Presenter packages (one from Author 1, and one from Author 2) and send both packages to us using our Support Case Submission Form.

When you do that, please be sure to (1) reference the URL of this Forum Thread when asked, and (2) when prompted for a description of the problem, tell us what specific edits we might expect to be missing from each package.

From there, we can sort through the two packages and help you to assemble a comprehensive package that will behave consistently for you moving forward.