Font issues with variable reference

Jan 29, 2013

Hi All,

I'm having formatting issues with the text box on two slides in my project. Both text boxes inlcude a variable reference. For example, the first line of text reads: Hello %firstname%. I have deleted the text box and recreated it. I have placed the text into Notepad to make sure there is no hidden "stuff."  When published out, both to html and SCORM Cloud, all text in the text box defaults back to the Articulate font style, not the one I've selected.  HELP!

22 Replies
iTechLibrarian ;-)

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for quick the feedback.

Yet another great feature in Storyline, that only works properly under certain ridiculous conditions! I wonder if I can place the font file in the Storyline folder, so that when it publishes....Okay, just kidding, but I'm really starting to develop a love/hate relationship with this software. Right now, I HATE it!

I'm still confused as to why the reference variable is effecting all of the text in the text box, not just the reference text.  

iTechLibrarian ;-)


I'm wonder if a workaround would be to set-up seperate text boxes. One text box for reference variable and another one for the other text on the slide. This way the reference variable text will be in the default font, but the other text will display in the font I selected. I'll let you know if it works!

iTechLibrarian ;-)


It did work!  In my case, the trick was to make sure the reference variable text box was on top of all other text boxes on the slide. I also had to leave "space" within the main text box, to place the reference text box.  

I have one main text box that reads:  Hello__________________________,  blah, blah, blah

The second (small) text box reads: %firstname% (the coding for the reference variable).

Text box # 2 is placed on top of text box # 1, in the "space" where I want the reference variable to appear.

Computers that have the selected font installed, see all text as intended. Computers that do not have that font installed, see the reference variable text (text box #2) in the default font, and the text in text box #1 (everything else) in the font I've selected.

My Storyline love/hate monitor is back to LOVE today! lol

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jeanne,

In regards to reference variables and their fonts, this is currently as designed if the user doesn't have the font installed on their system they'll see the default font for a text entry. The other fonts within text boxes are embedding within Storyline and should display as expected. If I'm misunderstanding what you'd like to see, please let us know. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for the update and I checked in with a few of my colleagues regarding how the custom fonts should appear in Flash, so I'm just waiting to hear back. In the meantime you could also look at putting the variable reference in a separate text box that sits inbetween the regular text boxes with your custom fonts. 

Jeanne Bernui

Thanks, Ashley.  I read that suggestion on here, but chose against it since my variable is first name and the length of names people can put in are so varied.  It's for a client and I didn't want it to look strange with large gaps (short names) or no gaps (long names).  Hope this is something that can be fixed as I know many of us like to use handwriting fonts.

Thanks, as alway, for the quick responses and attention  You guys are great!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jeanne,

Sorry for the delay - but I just talked to my colleague regarding this and he shared that there are some fonts which particular characters won't work and then we roll back to device fonts. Can you send me a link to where I can access the font you were using? If it's a free font, I can send it along to my colleague to take a look. 

Jeanne Bernui

Sure.  I actually got it from here

Thanks for checking into this!  I'm attaching a screenshot of what I'm talking about.  The text in the talk bubble (caption) is Shane Matthews, but when published, the whole thing defaults.   There's a first name reference after "Great job,".

Tony Sawtelle

Hello all, I know this is an older post, but I was wondering if there were any updates on this. I'm new to Storyline and am having a similar issue when I try to publish. The font in any text box that has a name reference changes and often spills out of the text box. I'm just using standard Calibri for now so I don't think it's anything to do with the font not being loaded on different computers.


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Tony,

Text references and the associated text box are not updated dynamically to fit the text so it may spill outside the box. You'll want to ensure that the text box is set to allow for the largest amount of text and not set to shrink the text on overflow either. You'll see this detailed here.

You mentioned the font changing as well, and as detailed here custom fonts aren't supported in variable references, so if you're seeing an entirely different font it may not be installed on that system. 

Pete C

Thanks for the update Ashley. I have installed the most current update (10).

So there really is no way to control the font situation when using variables? I think that sort of defeats the purpose of custom fonts and really isn't a great design behavior if it's intentional...? Just my opinion.

Can you suggest a potential workaround?

Thank you so much for your time and quick response.


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Peter,

I'd recommend using a font that is common, to help ensure it's installed on the computers of your users. You could also do a Google search for web safe fonts to find some recommendations, or look at your own system for the standard fonts installed like Times New Roman or Arial.

As for the dynamic update of the text box, we don't change the overall size as it could interfere with other elements on your slide or cover items up so that they were no longer visible or accessible. You'll want to set up the text box that will receive a variable reference to accommodate the largest amount of text you expect a user to insert. 

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