Articulate Storyline 360 vs. Storyline 3

Apr 05, 2017

Hello everybody,

Tell my, please, are there any differences between SL360 and SL3? Now I am thinking about the purchase Articulate 360 or SL3. I don't need some programs that are part of Articulate 360, I need mostly SL.

52 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Brenda, 

If you're thinking about the content library templates, those will be Storyline 360 specific as Storyline 3 does not allow for access to Content library. If you download and use a template in a Storyline 360 project that you then open and use in Storyline 3 you'll be able to carry those assets over.

We also share templates and examples within the ELH community that are created by our team and the community members at large - so those may be Storyline 3 or Storyline 360.  

Wendy Farmer

Hi Mohammed

SL360 is part of Articulate 360 which is a subscription model that includes lots of other products 

SL3 is the next perpetual version after Sl2

see this link for a comparison of SL1,2,3 and 360 so you can see the features of each version and this link for information about the Articulate 360 model

Ryan Schwartz

Things to consider when thinking about upgrading:

Storyline 360 is not enough of an improvement from Storyline 2 to purchase alone. 

Even though 360 and Storyline 3 claim to be responsive, they are not.  Rise is responsive in that it truly adapts the content to the size of the screen, but it does not have the power to accomplish the things you can with Storyline. You can create a nice linear course with Rise, but you cannot do the programming you can in Storyline (triggers, variables, etc.).

The only current benefit of 360 is the amount of new content, assets, and characters you have access to.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your insight on Articulate 360, we know it's not for everyone and the continued feedback will help us with our future roadmapping! 

Storyline 3 and Storyline 360 included 35 new features, including our new responsive mobile player, vastly improved HTML5 output, HTML5-first and HTML5-only publishing options, closed captioning, dial interactions, and new triggers events and motion path options for enhanced interactivity. We're adding new features all the time--here's what we've got coming soon.

I wanted to share one thought about the responsive design in Storyline (and Studio) vs. Rise. Within Storyline 3/360 and Studio 360 our team made a choice to use the responsive player vs. truly responsive design (where the content adapts to the size of the screen, as you see in Rise).

We made this decision based on a number of factors, including talking to existing users and what we saw in some of our competitors responsive options. This article is a really good explanation of our thinking and philosophy about responsive design. 

I hope that helps bring some clarity to the changes we included in Articulate 360 and Storyline 3, but please let me know if you've got other questions! 

Jackie Van Nice

Hi Ashley!

Thanks for all the scoop here. Can you tell me if I can install SL360 and SL3 on the same machine?

I understand that SL360 files are basically compatible with SL3, but if my client has SL3 rather than 360, I'd also like to be running SL3 to be sure we are beyond-a-doubt on the exact same page. Do you know if the two installs can coexist, or should they be on separate machines?

Thanks for your help!

Russ Sawchuk

Hey Ryan,

I respectfully disagree - for me upgrading to SL3 was a no-brainer! After A360 was released, I spent a considerable amount of time (months) testing competitive products (i.e., Captivate, Lectora, Adapt, Xara Web Designer). All of these have features that SL2 does not. (I do not need all of the other programs and assets included in SL360. I already have many of those tools. Therefore, I am unwilling to pay annually for something I don't really need).

However, as I discovered, all of the competitive products also have limitations and disadvantages. Some downsides were fairly significant learning curves and the prospect of having to redo hundreds of existing SL courses and learning games.

I was so happy that SL3 was released and so quickly. (When Articulate said release date was sometimes in 2017, I was expecting SL3 in November or December.)

After years of using StoryLine, I feel very comfortable with it and able to develop courses and educational games quickly and with relative ease. I am still discovering new features every day. So having to learn a new e-Learning development program was not at all an attractive prospect!

StoryLine 3 addresses the two most serious shortcomings that SL2 had. The first was to publish HTML5 only or first. Where I use other development software (games, quizzes, apps), I have already switched to HTML5 only. So SL3 now enables me to publish our SL video presentations and games in this format.

The other big missing feature in SL2 was the ability to view on mobile phones. This is now addressed by SL3 through its responsive player and enhanced mobile player app. I tested SL3 output on a range of mobile devices both Android and Apple. I was impressed with the results! It was certainly better than expected.

No, SL3 does not have true responsive design capabilities. I have tried my hand at developing content for different sizes of devices on Captivate and Xara Web Designer. It takes a lot of time and effort, and the results are not that much better than what is produced by SL3. So for now, SL3 meets our needs for published output that can be viewed by a variety of mobile devices. (Heck, our courses even look quite decent on a small iPod screen).

Finally, I like the fact that I can upgrade from SL2 to SL3 with very few, if any, changes required. (We have found a few small bugs in SL3 that have been reported to Articulate.) What a relief! When I upgraded from SL1 to SL2, it took me 6 weeks to upgrade our existing courses. Every slide had to be viewed and revised! So I was not looking forward to doing that again, especially since we now have twice as many courses to upgrade!

I applaud Articulate for quickly responding to those of us who just needed an enhanced StoryLine, but not the entire 360 suite. I am currently working on about 8 major e-Learning projects. I am now using SL3 every day. And so far, I have been very pleased with it. I have been able to produce quality e-Learning courses and educational games that my clients love, and keep coming back for more.

If you are wondering whether you should upgrade - the answer is YES! Based on our experiences, I strongly recommend upgrading to StoryLine 3.  



Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jackie,

All versions of Storyline can coexist on the same machine. For me I run a couple different virtual machines, so on my Windows 8.1 I'm running Storyline 1, 2, 3 and Storyline 360. The only thing to note is the .story file will default to opening in the most recently installed version of the software. So likely Storyline 3 - you can often change that in your Programs or Control Panel settings. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Shannon,

Yup - today you can use Storyline 360 files in Storyline 3, and vice a versa.

The challenge will be when a new feature is released to Storyline 360 that Storyline 3 doesn't have yet (or may not have at all). If you were to use that new feature in your Storyline 360 file, then that file wouldn't open in Storyline 3.

That day has yet to come...but we'll keep folks posted once the two paths start to take their own course. 

Mike Jones

Hi Ashley,

I just noticed that Articulate 360 just released a 5/31/17 update, but there doesn't appear to be a release for SL3 according to the support release notes page. Does this A360 update split the two titles in terms of cross-version compatibility?

If not, how will we know when that split does occur?

Nicole Luchkow

Hi Ashley,

Can you please clarify? Will the same updates and features eventually be available for SL3?  Do you mean that we will still be able to open 360 in SL3 as long as we update to the latest release?  Or does this mean that we should assume that the 2 programs will not be cross compatible?  I have a vendor who uses 360 and we plan to use SL3 and I want to be able to open the files from the vendor without having to purchase a 360 subscription.




Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Nicole, 

A lot of the same features and updates will be available for Storyline 3 as you see in Storyline 360, but they'll be released to Storyline 3 after Articulate 360. Items that are specific to the subscription elements of Articulate 360 won't be available for Storyline 3.

If someone were to use a feature that only existed at the time in Storyline 360, that file would show the error message above when you try to open in Storyline 3.

An example of this today is Tables, which are only available in Storyline 360. If you had inserted a table into a file and shared that with a colleague who only had Storyline 3, they would not be able to open the file. If you removed the table, and sent them an updated copy - that version they would be able to open. 


I just had a look at the link, and the only new features really worth mentioning are the 
- Trigger Action When Objects Intersect
- Trigger Action When Object Intersection Ends
- Trigger Action When Object Enters Slide
- Trigger Action When Object Leaves Slide

The rest seem more like fixes/add-ons that other eLearning tools already have...some of the following are hardly worth parading:
- Rename Motion Paths
- New Design Elements for Result Slides
- Triggers Remain When Swapping Out Placeholder Images
- Duplicate Multiple Layers Simultaneously - (can we get a copy all actions feature instead please)

All 360 projects have the same look, which, is super I the only one not impressed?

I'll stick to SL2 until v4 comes out.