Are Resources attachements, or links?

Aug 30, 2016

I've tried to figure this out by trial and error and come up with conflicting results.  

We have process documents to which I link via the Resources list in Storyline2.  I get feedback from my users that "the link isn't working" and when I check it, the name of the file has changed.  So I update the location of the file and Bob's your uncle.  All good, right?  ...WRONG!

We have just made changes to some documents, which (based on my users' feedback) should have broken the link.  It didn't. 

So my question is this: When you attach a document as a Resource (a PDF, for example), does it create a link to the file location, or does it copy the item to the course, like an email attachment?

Thanks all!

7 Replies
Erin Mahabir

Thanks for the reply, Matthew.  So what you're essentially saying is that it creates a copy and attaches it (like an email attachment).  Great... 

Here's what I don't understand about this:  When the link doesn't work for my users, and I discover that the location of the file has changed since publication, wouldn't that imply that the link was broken because it was trying to pull from the old location?  In the case you've described above, the old information (attachment) would show up instead of trying to link to the new document.  No?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Erin,

Did you include it as a hyperlink or web object to something on a server? Perhaps that's where the link issue is happening - as then if it was moved, Storyline can't reference to the old/original location? 

Also are you seeing this yourself? Where are you hosting your published content? Could the links to these files be blocked by the web server or LMS in which you're hosting? 

Matthew Bibby

Hi Erin,

Here is how it works.

  • Create a trigger that uses the Jump to File option
  • Select a file on your local hard drive
  • Publish the course and that file will be copied to the ~/story_content/external_files/ folder

Each time you publish the project, Storyline goes to that same location and looks for a file with the same name as you originally specified in your Jump to URL trigger. 

If it finds the file, it will copy it to your external_files folder and the link in your course will work.

If Storyline cannot find the file (because it has been moved or renamed), then it will not copy the file to the external_files folder. The old version of the document will also not be included in the course (unless it is still stored in the same location/with the same name as specified in your trigger.)

Unfortunately, Storyline doesn't flag this error, so unless you double check, you have no way of knowing that the link has been broken. 

If you are using a web object to carry-on local files, the behaviour is different as it copies the document into the .story file itself, but that introduces other odd behaviour and makes it a bit trickier to update your document. But depending on your needs and your workflow, this option may be worth exploring. I wrote a tutorial about this method a while ago, you can find it here if you are interested.

Please let me know if you have any more questions regarding this.

Erin Mahabir


The Resource is a document (PDF, Word, or Excel) that is saved (or mapped) to our company drive.  For example:


When I changed the file name to Phone_Skills, the link to "Phone_Etiquette" should be broken.  But it's still bringing up the file called "Phone Etiquette" which no longer exists.  This tells me it's been attached to the course like a copy.  

We host our elearning to a web server (not an LMS). 


Walt Hamilton

This could happen if you published the course, uploaded it, changed the file name without changing the links, and published and uploaded it again. If there was no change in the triggers, the publishing process would not find the file, but would not give you an error message. Then if it was republished without changing the names or locations, the external_files folder would not be replaced, and the "Phone_Etiquette" file would still be there and still be accessed by the trigger.

I would expect this to happen only while accessing the published content; in preview, it would not find the file. If you are still seeing the old file in preview, that means it is not pointing to the location you think, but is finding a different copy of the file than the one you renamed. In the trigger wizard, you can test the location of the file, which will bring up the location the trigger points to.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Erin,

When you include a file, it should include a copy of the file as a part of your .story file (currently we've seen so me issues with this which we've reported to our QA team for review) but the other thought is if you're linking to a non local file that could be causing issues as we always recommend working with local project files, including any linked files as detailed here. 

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