External Content?


I am wondering if there is a way to have your content externalized to the Storyline piece.  For instance, could you have your content (text) in a XML or txt file and have it read into Storyline.  So if you have a text box, the content is read from an external file, so you could edit content externally vs. from within Storyline?  The same thing for images, have images external, and then linked into Storyline.

I know you can put Web Objects or Flash pieces in Storyline, just wondering about external content right from Storyline.



25 Replies
Brian Batt

Hi Jeff and welcome to Heroes,

You could probably do some of this via the Execute JavaScript trigger:


However, that would only take you as far as text.  It's not currently possible to swap out rich data like images.  If you'd like to see that feature implemented into a future release, please submit a feature request to us by using the link below:


Jason Dogan

I'm evaluating Storyline and I have essentially the same question. I have multiple lessons that need to be created in several languages. I would like to be able to have a separate XML file for each language, and load the appropriate XML at runtime. This way I wouldn't have to maintain separate slides for each language.

I'm familiar with JavaScript, but the fact that it doesn't work on the iPad could be a showstopper. Is that the only method for loading dynamic content at this time?



vivian berger

This is exactly what I have been trying to understand. I want to be able to read in text from an XML file and also to grab external audio files so that translation could be done without republishing the Storyline. I took a look at the link above but got concerned with the comment "JavaScript is not supported in the Articulate Mobile Player for iPad.". Since one of the primary reasons for evaluating Storyline is to be able to use one source and publish to multiple platforms including the iPad this would be a big problem. Are there any examples out there of how this could work with an iPad?

Mark Baranowski

Nancy Woinoski said:

You could do it with Flash. I've have created an example that loads text, images and even video into Storyline via a Flash file that I inserted into Storyline. 

Hi Nancy,

Is it possible to see the source of how you did this.  I am very familiar with Flash and importing xml - but making it work with Storyline is another story (no pun intended).

Nancy Woinoski

Hi, here is an example of storyline output which has a flash file that refrences xml. All of the text, images, videos you will see in this example are external to Storyline.


I could give you the Storyline source but it really just contains the Flash swf - nothing else.

The key here is that any external files that the Flash file references need to be placed in the Storyline output folder at the same level as the story.swf file.  I had to manually place wallimages, wallSwf, wallthumbs, wallVideo and xml folders in the published storyline folder. These are all the various folders and files that the swf (in this particular case) reference in the source.

Two things to keep in mind -

1.  you have to place these folders in the output each time you publish the Storyline project.

2. this solution will not run an the ipad.

Hope this helps.

Julia Tan

Hi All, 

I am new in this platform. Currently I need to come out with a content that all the texts used have to be stored externally so that the person in charge can modify the texts if needed, without re-compiling. I have no experience on html5 and flash too. Articulate Storyline 2 is my first tool. :)

How can I go about achieving this? Thanks alot.  

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Julia,

I'm not sure I'm clear on what you need to accomplish - do you mean that all the content and text within the course needs to be stored somewhere else so that another colleague could access it and maintain it without having access to Storyline and not republishing it? If so, that's not something that Storyline could accomplish (at least to my knowledge - although the community regularly amazes me with it's creative ideas). 

Hopefully you can share a bit more information here so that we can get you the help you need.

Jeff Forrer

Hello.  Essentially I started this a few years ago in the search of being able to have externalized content from Storyline, without the use of Flash or other tools.  At this time, I am unaware of this capability in Storyline.  In Flash courses, we build them so that content can be external to the final application, so that if our client wants to change the content, they can by just adjusting for instance content in XML.  So the written content can be changed to a compiled Storyline application by anyone, and the content in the application changes without recompiling.  XML can also store references to documents, images etc.  so that is how it is done in Flash.  At this time, Storyline does not have this feature.  So from what Julia is asking, I believe cannot be done by Storyline, or if it can, not very easily without using Flash or other tools.

Jeff Forrer

I agree, This should be in this forum.  It is great if folks can blend tools, we do all the time.  We use Flash or other tools blended with Storyline to give the best result.  The power of Storyline is that it can be used by folks who are at a low level, such as those with a PowerPoint understanding.  It also can be used by serious programmers.  I don't think folks know how powerful it can be.  If you use logic, and apply basic mathematics, you can build some pretty elaborate schemes and courses.  You have to think outside the box though.  Also, yes, other tools that have programming or scripting such as Flash may make some things easier, but that requires programming. You can still do many of the same things in Storyline if you put some effort in.  We had an elaborate drag and drop that was admired by our client, it did take 100 triggers, but most of those were repetitive and it was all of what we built in Flash and more.

Jeff Forrer

All tools have their strengths and weaknesses.  One tool may be better than another in different circumstances.   We use: HTML5, Java, OOP, Flash, Captivate, Storyline, Studio, Zebra, Lectora, all kinds of tools. Sometimes clients require different tools based on what they have, or their knowledge base, or in-house needs.  We use many of these tools together, which gives the opportunity of the strengths of each tool to join together.  For instance we use Flash all the time with Storyline, we also write code, and have used Flash since before it was officially released.

The real issue here is using the right tool at the right time and being able to adapt to the circumstances in front of you.  Another key thing is to not be limited to the tool, which may limit your design.  The design is the key here.  Without a great design, it doesn't matter what tool you use.  Ideal world is to create a design, then use the tool or tools that work best given all the requirements around you, to be adaptable.  In some cases this may be Flash, in others it may be Storyline.  End of day, be creative, have a solid design, build interactivity, and engage your learner.  You can do this with all these tools, if you have the necessary skills and an open, creative mind.

Rich Sigfrit

I feel like I should add this here:

While with work you can add content by inserting or loading Flash into your SL projects, they won't play in the HTML5 output, which most (if not all) mobile devices utilize. It will execute Java though. While Java may not be allowed in the mobile player, you should be able to turn off the mobile app feature when you publish, forcing the user to view the HTML5 content.