Allow shapes outline to be inside or outside, not only middle?

Nov 02, 2022


Everyone using programs like Photoshop or Illustrator are similiar with shapes' outline. We have shapes' outline in Storyline too, but these comes with predefined setting as "draw outline on the middle of the shape path". That's why when you do a shape and give it an 6px outline, it exceeds the selection box - 3px inside the selection and 3 pixels outside. It makes aligning things difficult (because you align to path, not to the outline) and forces to do additional work. Also, when you do odd outline value, like 5px, we get the baaaad thing - half pixels for rendered courses, which honestly storyline doesn't handle well. Then the overall look of the course dimnishes. Things starts to get blurry, things that you aligned so they are sticking - starts to move apart etc. etc.

I've managed to live with it for past 10 years :D But maybe it's time to change? Inside or outside approaches are way more versatile and designing-friendly. The best option would be option to select how the outline should be drawed. For designing and aligning purposes - the inside seems the best way. I guess like 99% of webdesigners first line of CSS is "* {box-sizing: border-box}" so they can have inside-drawn borders from the start.

What can you say staff? I know it's feature request, but I guess it's more than a feature - it's going with the actual trends in design and making a better workflow for everyone and seems relatively easy to do.

20 Replies
Mateusz Szuter

Phil! Thank you very much for cheering me up on this sunday evening, I've laughed hard :D Can you find me one post on the forums stating that we seriously need drag&drop reorganization of the states (which just made storyline crash 3x times more than before) or 360 images? ;)

I don't say that nothing happens, but I rarely find new features helpful (or that they couldn't be achieved before with some knowledge) - the biggest and best update was when after 15? years you can finally rearrange few objects at once on timeline. It took 15 years for such a basic function to implement. I (and my clients) still dream of possibility to allow one drag item to be dropped on multiple drop-areas or to limit drop-area capacity. Things that competetive softwares have from ages.

When company truly wants to hear the voice of its community or well, clients paying them thousands and thousands dollars, they should have some vote tracker like this:

If you have feature request function without something like this, we all exactly know where the feature requests go by using mail filter ;) and if you have this, you simply hear from the community what they need, not go randomly punching new ideas, like super-niche of 360 images which need a lot of budget and effort to pull off.

Phil Mayor

There have been plenty of posts asking for the ability to move more than one item at a time on the timeline. Also asking for states to be able to be renamed and reorganised.

In recent years we have had lots of productivity features, such as the new trigger panel, new alignment features. At the same time this has had to be balanced against the need for huge improvements on accessibility.

I stand by my post Articulate do not ignore feature requests they may not happen as fast as you would like but they do appear more often than not and Storyline 360 is much easier to use than when it was originally released.

Sent from my iPhone

Mateusz Szuter

Yeah, I wrote about timeline moving. That we got so simple feature after 15 years (my bad - 10, as Storyline is only 10 years old, time doesn't go as fast as sometimes we may think). Not after a half a year after release, when that would be really, really time saving feature. It took 10 years. We can rename states since beginning I guess, that's not a new feature. And as for reorganise them... well, I'd like not to reorganize them and see hundreds less of crashes due to that functionality. Really, ability to change places of drop incorrect and drop correct isn't any game-breaking feature, that's just some addition that could be spared, it's usefulness is near zero. Or, you know, you can spend a few minutes more on that and give a switch to enable drag&dropping the states so they don't crash so often when moving by accident. Also, I did a quick search - I haven't found a single post on these forums stating "I want to drag and drop my states because I'm lost". Situations when you are using more than a few of custom-made states are rarity, But ok, let's not throw this and that is needed at each other, I know that some people find some things useful and I won't (and vice versa).

Seriously, don't get me wrong, but that's enchanting reality. I'm not saying NOTHING is getting better. This is just so slow or crucial things are not addresed, that's a shame. This app is still 32 bit, it has poor ram usage, when you use a more than a 5 or 6 high-res png on one screen it takes ages for it to respond. Adding things like d&d of states is like powdering a dead man and pushing it for a catwalk, when it is clearly decaying. - here is version history and new features:

  • Replace and missing fonts - gamebreaking, good one.
  • Closed captions, also.
  • Tables - would be good, but working with them... painful and nothing changed since release.
  • Convert text to speech - I guess it's useful, but won't go in any company that seriously treats e-learning process.
  • New alignment features and motion paths - that was gamebreaking too, but it still has many flaws.
  • People still complains about modern text and are hesitating to use it.
  • Media library update was sweet and that's the thing I guess Articulate did the best, I cannot find a problem with it (well, I'd like to import .pdfs so I can pin them to the course, but that may come in some time).
  • Adding slide numbers - that improved workflow, I'm not gonna lie. But you could that that by hand earlier.
  • Trigger panel also improved workflow, we all can agree that was also a huge and nice change.
  • Jumping to cue points on timeline... I personally don't find it too useful. It works with really simple scenarios, and it breaks when you are trying to do something more complicated.
  • After only almost 9 years you finally doesn't need to copy portion of your slides to a new scene to watch only X from Y slides.. yay! :)
  • Text styles are too not reliable.
  • 360 images... with budget that can be nice.
  • Some nice months - SVG support, variable preview, LRS function, timeline enhancement. And progressive WCAG implementation.

This is 6 years of Storyline 360. 1100$ per freelaner user annualy to use it. As you can read on the website - all 100 companies of fortune 100 is using Articulate products (1400$ per user). Well I don't even want to shoot a number of cashflow here. But it's huge. Now look at that new features list above :) sooos, so much. That's why monopolies are bad. 

That would be it for my yearly rant on Storyline. Nice, stable love-hate relationship ;)

Phil Mayor

Nice list, however you gloss over the accessibility features that have been added. Accessibility has been big focus of Articulate staff and it should be, I am sure this has meant that some new features have had to be delayed. Renaming states was a new feature this year.

I am always asking for more features, I probably use Storyline 40+ hours a week and it is definitely easier to work with.

Sent from my iPhone

Math Notermans

I agree with Phil that accessibility is important. And getting more and more important. However Storyline as is is not fully 508 compliant and you the designer/developer need to watch carefully what interactions and elements from Storyline to use. For example the sliders... they are not accessible. If you check when that was noted by Storyline users... 12 months ago... maybe even earlier, but thats what i can quickly find... 

So i have to agree with Mateusz and disagree with Phil. I love Storyline, but Articulate really needs to improve this. However i do need to backup Phil a bit too. At some point, 2 years ago i made a Feature Request Overview in Storyline...
in which users could add their Feature Requests and vote on existing ones. It been used quite a bit since then and when you check it, you will notice that the request users have vary quite a bit. Things i ranked #1 other users didnot.. 

I do think accessibility, the possibility to speed up/slow down the timeline and all elements and SAAS and/or Mac availability are the top 3 requests.

Accessibility is clearly a focus for Articulate. And speeding up/slowing down the complete Storyline is under development.

So i think the wait is for the timeline speed feature and how well they implement that. And keep an eye on the other feature requests. Would be great though if Articulate was more open on the feature requests.

My feature requests for 2023 would be:
Saas Storyline, Webbased and open for collaboration/teamwork.
Fully 508 compliancy checker build into Storyline. 

Mateusz Szuter

@Phil I gloss over it because... Vast majority of my projects (and I do a lot of them through the year) doesn't require WCAG support. And, sadly, adding support point by point every update doesn't change a thing - project from Storyline would not be WCAG compliant. It won't pass the requirements. Also, these added points are... well, storyline-like - they are often broken. You can do really simple WCAG course, but nothing more complicated than a screen with text and maybe a layer. But of course there is improvement in Accesibility features and I won't deny it. know it takes time, but...

But look at the list, add WCAG-partial-support. Do you really think that multimilion company cannot do better, at least at repairing bugs from 10 years ago or from new features? I really don't mind about new features, I'd just love to have bugfree environment in which I can work flawlessly. I can manage with new functions on my own through webobjects and javascript, if I ever need to. But I can't change internal code so the lines doesn't change width and height randomly or - yesterday case, when suddenly all my circular buttons went elliptic. Twice. On new project.


@Math thanks for the supportive vote. I've seen your feature list earlier, but this is unofficial. If someone uses forums, maybe they stumbled upon it. But most users won't see it. And you know about the flaws of it too :) But Articulate should be learning from you, that this can be done and is needed. I don't really have a problem that MINE ideas are not implemented (of course I see them the most fitting :D), I have a problem that bugs are being added and not addressed. And if bug exists, it shouldn't have 200 people to report it - ONE PERSON should be enough. This. Is. A. Bug. It doesn't work as intended. That's broken software for which company charges plenty of money.

Timeline speed feature affects 10-years-ago courses, when you put text on the screen, you give some voiceover and block next button until voiceover is done. This is really not the path that any e-learning serious company should take. This is first and foremost annoying 'feature' of all e-learning trainings that I've heard from users. If you block them from progressing because someone is reading something, or when you need to click 10 buttons with plus mark to show next bullet on the list. That's not how e-learnings should work. Thanks whatever in heavens that this trend passes away. But some people still do this in this manner... and well, that will be beneficial for users, so for me that feature is not hot nor cold. To be honest I haven't used built-in seekbar for like 8 years. Not a single company has ever asked me of such a feature. And if they do, I'll be very strict not to do so. Well I hardly even user voiceovers these times and generally this is favorable by users :D

I really, really hope that Storyline won't fully go SaaS. This is taking all of your developing freedom from you. You'll be only able to make simple e-learnings with this. Well for me, if SL go fully webbased SaaS, will be the end of the e-learning developer career. Everything will look the same and have the same functions. Brrr ;) The same goes with SL for Mac - as we can see, company doesn't handle well bugs and new features. Now, double the work they have to do. We will get new function once a year ;)

Math Notermans

Agree on all points... except for the SaaS part... it shouldnot limit developing freedom, rather bring Storyline to this it is still 32bit at the moment. Eg. when i compare it with Lectora Online, that is fully webbased...and still has all freedom a developer wants... thats the approach i would like for Storyline.. a webbased workflow in which developers, designers and SME's can cooperate on projects. And the more tech-savvy developers can create reusable addons and components for all to use in their projects.

Mateusz Szuter

Never used Lectora Online by web - can you use your own javascript on this environment? Can you manipulate published files? Add webobjects? That three storyline functions can push this program over the limits and far beyond intended use - that's why I stick to SL in the first place. If my client wanted easily edited text with text changing it's size by 2x or etended line-spacing (hello WCAG) I could do that, despite the fact Storyline couldn't on the first glance. I'd love not to loose that and SaaS sounds like I will :D

I agree of course that this software is outdated technologically. But SaaS isn't also a holy grail. Some programs should stay desktop, as they better utilize the resources. I've used some webbased things (like vyond) and for me, this is painful. When project got a little more complicated, everything slows down due to the browser emulating another program. Browser is for browsing internet, not for making e-learning courses :) I like Rise, but Rise is for some specific, light-weight learnings and that's fine. Well also I work in a small company so we don't need all that project-handling, maybe that's why I'm a little biased ;)

Math Notermans

Yes to all 3. You can add your own custom CSS and JS. You can download and edit published webcontent or Scorm, you can add and use WebObjects. The HTML is generates is more HTML5 then Storyline's.

So why i use Storyline instead of Lectora ?

Storyline ( and Rise ) are easier to use for less-tech-savy developers/designers.... and in Europe Storyline is more used then Lectora so i switched because of available projects and freelance jobs. 

Mateusz Szuter

Gonna check the Lectora then, I've tried it once like 6 years ago but decided that there are more disadvantages then advantages. However... I really loved that I could limit drop-zone capacity :D this is most lacking d&d option for me in SL.

@Phil and how did you manage to allow text manipulation, like 200% font enlargement with bigger text portions, text interline increase? I had big problems with menu focus or grouped objects focus, websites that checked standard showed many errors... I have big checklist for WCAG 2.1 AA and I've managed to check most of them, but only a few using built-in storyline functions. Rest of it were my additional workarounds, not built-in functionality. If I relied only on built-in things, I wouldn't get the job :)

Phil Mayor

For the text I was assessed by three different companies and they all accepted the storyline accessible zoom text function. I never use the built in menu or grouped objects. I cannot say it was as easy as it should be and there were definitely work arounds and JavaScript. But the majority of it was built in functions.

Sent from my iPhone

Mateusz Szuter

My client didn't accept built-in text functionalities. Visually impaired people testing the course stated, that this doesn't help at all. And that's a major thing for WCAG. So that depends. Grouped objects are handy if you want WCAG - you must drop the groups. You also, instead of using built-in menu (which I just hide the bars button and show/hide it using javascript) must do your own menu - plenty of additional work. So I'm sorry, but my conclusion is - Storyline is really, really far of being WCAG compilant if you want to use of like half of its potential. You can do really simple courses and that's all.

When I hear WCAG I immediately propose two separate courses. As this is way more easier to do than trying to make decent course WCAG compilant from within Storyline. But things are happening so we will see.

Meanwhile, Math, I've decided with my college to make a one week with lectora somewhere in the next year and check if it is better than Storyline in actual shape. I've bounced off it the 6 years ago, but well, maybe time has come :)


Anyway, I'm glad that we had this little discussion. Maybe inside/outside outline will happen faster now :D

Math Notermans

Did some projects a few years ago for ( in fact they still use the courses :-)

Ofcourse needed to be fully 508 compliant. Lectora was preferred by them at that time. Have to point out that in Lectora you also need to check, test and fix accessibility issues...but its fully accessible in the end, and at that time it was easier to get done in Lectora then in Storyline.

Erin Shaw

Adding another vote for this feature in this thread, since feature requests seem to be ignored.

If the developers need a use case, here's mine. I have a course that uses snip corner shapes as callouts, dialog boxes, you name it. Due to the inability of Storyline to align strokes to the inside, not the outside, I can't line up my boxes properly and there's always a blurry edge sticking out from under the top shape - so I have a bottom shape that's dark, and a smaller white shape on top to create the illusion of an inside-aligned stroke.

I just got a note to reduce all box edge strokes by 50%. Because this is not possible in Storyline, I have to:

1. Make a square that's 50% smaller (5px by 5px instead of 10px by 10px)

2. Align that to the outside of the bottom layer.

3. Drag the white shape to be flush to the side of the 5px box.

4. Repeat on all sides as needed. For multiple items on every slide.

If Storyline had this functionality, it would be as easy as clicking through everything with the format painter, then making a few tweaks. Please add this functionality.

Steven Benassi

Hi Erin!

Thanks for the detailed feedback on the type of functionality you'd like to see in Storyline 360!

Our development team is tracking a feature request to allow authors More editing options for Freeform shapes in Storyline. I've linked this discussion to the feature report so we can update you as soon as we have news to share!

Have a great start to your week!