"Format Painter" is not working with states in Storyline 2

Oct 14, 2014

In Storyline 1, I used the "Format Painter" to copy and paste states to another object on the slide. However, this is not working in Storyline 2, which can't be right. Is there another way to apply the same states to different objects in Storyline 2 then?

28 Replies
Brett Rockwood

I thought I saw this as a bug yesterday. I had a manually made button with 4 states used repeatedly throughout a course. I later decided I didn't want to keep the Visited so I deleted it from one of the buttons and tried to format paint the others. The deletion of a state did not apply to the other buttons. Out of curiosity I tried going the other way and adding a state and then format painting. This worked. Hmm.

Ala Showers

Thanks for replying! You are right it works just fine in a brand new Storyline 2 file. My project, however, was created in Storyline 1 and then upgraded to Storyline 2, at which point the "Format Painter" option simply stopped working. At least, I know why this is happening. However, this is not the first issue I've had with exporting my Storyline 1 projects into Storyline 2. How is the upgrade going for everyone else?

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

Hi Brett,

This is the thread you're referring to, where we've been batting around the idea of whether or not the "intent" of the Format Painter is to make an exact duplicate, or simply to copy what exists on the target onto the source. What do you you think?

Ala, I was curious about your last comment that states created in SL1 cannot be copied, so I just ran a quick test. I'm uploading the converted to SL2 file here. Everything worked for me, so I'd like to know what might have been different about your states. Brief description of mine:

  1. In SL1 I created an illustrated character with 2 additional states: talking and thinking. I also created a blue rectangle with 2 additional states: red and green.
  2. I saved the file.
  3. I double-clicked on the file and when prompted, upgraded to SL2.
  4. I inserted an illustrated woman.
  5. Clicked on the illustrated man (that had been created in SL1), clicked on the format painter, and "painted" the woman.
    The states were all applied.
  6. Inserted another blue rectangle into this story. Inserted a blue circle into this story.
  7. Clicked on the "original" blue rectangle (the on created in SL1) and double-clicked on the format painter and "painted" the rectangle and circle.
    The states were all applied.
  8. Changed the normal state of the SL2 rectangle (the new one I'd inserted into SL2 to an aqua color.
  9. Double-clicked on the format painter and "painted" the circle and the "SL1 rectangle."
    The states were all applied.
Sylvia Mickunas


Being new to Storyline 2, I'm having an issue with copying states using the format painter. I took the steps as Wendy outlined above. However, when I look at the states of the object that had the format applied, I find I have the same names and number of states as the original object, but the states are all defaulted to the Normal state, The original object states are simply different sizes of a rectangle. Is this type of state (shape size differences) not able to be duplicated?

Thank you very much for any help/information you can provide!

Sylvia Mickunas

Thank you so much for your reply, Ashley. Let me see if I can explain this more clearly.

Rectangle A has states of the rectangle at different sizes (heights):

Rectangle A States

Rectangle B with no states applied:

Rectangle B No States

Rectangle B states after applying Rectangle A states via format painter. The color applied, the state names carried over, and the states were created, but the rectangle heights from the Rectangle A states did not carry over to the Rectangle B states:

Rectangle B Post-Format Painter

I've attached the file used to create this simple scenario as well.

Many thanks for any assistance or answers you can provide about what I may be doing wrong.

Wendy Farmer

Hi Sylvia

 you're not going crazy I can't get it to work either in your file or by creating a new file (this is SL2 update 5).  7 months ago when this thread started I was using an earlier update of SL2 and you can see above the comprehensive testing that Becky did in both SL1 and SL2  and it worked.

Sorry I'm not much help this time around.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Sylvia,

Thanks for sharing a file here as well. I see what you're saying in regards to the state formatting of the size not being applied - but the "format painter" will apply colors, formatting such as bold, etc. when used to be applicable to the states. If you'd like a duplicate copy of all elements I'd look at duplicating the object vs. using the format painter. 

Rory Lavender

So, are you saying that we can't use Format Painter for button states any longer? I have been updating button states using format painter with SL1 - no problem. Yesterday, I started experimenting with two files, both built in SL2. I updated several buttons on various slides using Format Painter. Everything tested fine so I saved my work. When I open the files again, the new button states all default back to the original states, i.e. all the same as Normal. If I update the buttons states manually, save, and reopen they 'stick'. Just want to make sure I am understanding what my process should be. Thanks.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Rory, 

When I was testing previously it wasn't working only when modifying the size and shape of an item within a state. Fill and line colors were working normally - but from your images it seems that they're not applying for you, but only after you have saved, tested and then closed your work? Could you confirm that you're working on project files locally as described here. 

Also, were you changing the text while editing the state? I know of a recent issue we reported to our team where modifying the text within another state caused issues in the states as a whole. If you'd like to share your .story file here with us and the exact steps you're going through in terms of adding, editing and reopening the states that'll help us determine if there is a particular issue you're running into. You can upload files here using the "add attachment" button at the bottom of the thread. 

Rory Lavender

Hey Ashley,
Yes, I am working on files locally. Everything works fine during the update and testing process. I save my work and testing continues to work fine. It is only when I close and reopen the file that  the button states return back to the same design/color for all states. I am not changing the text - just the color, shading, etc. This applies to the button whose states were created using Format Painter. I have attached a sample.

Steps for creating Button Test 1:
1. created shape on stage
2. created button off stage and changed its states to what I wanted
3. used Format Painter to paint Button Test 1 on stage

As you can see from the screen captures - it all worked fine. After saving, it all still worked fine.
It was only after closing and reopening the file, did the button states revert back to all being the same as the normal state. This includes the shape/button on stage and button off stage used for painting.

Button Test 2 has states that were created manually. No issues. Working as expected.

FYI - I used Format Painter for button states in SL1 quite a bit - no issues. Followed this exact same process. Always started with shapes, then turned them into buttons.

I think I have found a partial solution....
If I create the first button state(s) manually, then use Format Painter to change the rest of my buttons in a file it works. It is only when I use Format Painter for the initial button state design that I have issues. I think....





Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Rory,

Thanks for sharing those exact steps here. I took a look at your file and follow the steps - but when I closed the file and reopened it, the same states remained. Take a look at the attached with your initial button and then the shape with the states applied. Let me know if you have any difficulties with that one.

It does sound like you're taking an extra step though? Unless your shapes aren't all the traditional button size/shape - but why not just use the buttons as they are built in and modifying those states? 

Also you mentioned working locally, but are you also on the latest update of Storyline 2? If other odd behavior continues or you can easily replicate this in a brand new file it may also be worth looking at conducting the repair of Storyline. 

Rory Lavender

Thanks Ashley ... I will take a look. The file you sent did keep the varied states. Perhaps a repair is needed. I can replicate the problem in existing files, and well as new ones, like the one I sent you. Yep, I do take the easier way out and use traditional buttons when I can! The file I sent was just an example of the problem, not my normal, non-traditional buttons! I am using the latest version of SL. Thanks again for your help.

Rory Lavender

Well, I am sorry to say the repair did not fix the problem. Attached is a new file with the same behavior. Your file seems to work part of the time, but I also have several copies that show the same state design across the board. I will have to see if my workaround still works after the repair!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Rory,

Thanks for going through that and sharing those images. Can you explain more about how mine works "part of the time" ? Perhaps I'm not following the same steps as you - could you record a screencast of the behavior and steps you go through and how it changes? You could use a tool such as Replay or another instance of Storyline to record and share here. 

Rory Lavender

OK, here are some more stories. The larger one has the recordings. I found one thing interesting - the style of states is kept after closing for some designs, but not for others. The "flat" designs get lost, but anything with a gradient seem to stick. So this is why your story worked and mine didn't. When I changed to your state style, I had more success. The reason I said your story worked only some of the time is because I downloaded your file several times. Some of the buttons states were different, but sometimes the same button had the same state all the way across. Hope this makes sense. If not, please don't worry. I got what I needed and at least I understand better what works and what doesn't.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Thanks Rory for the additional examples. I tested on one of the examples you shared that had the states already set for normal, hover and selected and confirmed that they were the flat styles, and used the format painter to the other shape that had the states appear as the same color across the states - I saved and closed, and it was still applied. So it still seems that we're having different behavior, but since you've found a way that'll work for you - we'll leave it at that. If you run into anything else please let us know and we'll be happy to help.