How to get Textbox to auto focus on screen entry in Storyline 360

Mar 21, 2017

I know there are a lot of comments on this, and I've been able to get this to work in Storyline2, but I can't get the same methods to work in Storyline 360.

Basically, on the previous slide, I have it setup so you click a button that advances to the next screen, and on the next screen I want the cursor to be active in a text entry box (in a different location than the button being clicked).

I've tried Converting to Freeform Text Entry, and I've also tried inserting a data entry text box.

In both instances, I placed the text entry box on another layer, and I add a trigger saying to show this layer when the timeline starts. 

This used to work in Storyline2 and it would autofocus the text entry box. Am I doing something wrong, or forgetting a step?

23 Replies
David McDonagh

Just for my own sanity at this point, I opened up Storyline 2 and was able to get this to work as I described on my first try.

Screen 1 - Hotbox advancing to next slide

Screen 2 - Trigger to show a layer with a data entry text box when the timeline starts. The cursor auto-focuses in the data entry text box as soon as the slide starts, without needing to click into the data entry box


Leslie McKerchie

Hello again David - Thanks for the steps needed to re-create the behavior you are seeing. After checking this out, I think it's more of a difference in Flash vs HTML5 output.

Here is my SL2 published test file. If you are viewing the Flash output, it works as expected. The HTML5 output does not auto-focus, even in SL2 though. Keep in mind that the preview for SL2 is Flash-based, so it looks great there as well.

Here is my SL360 published test file (upgraded from SL2 file). I published the same as SL2 standard with Flash first and HTML5 fallback and the Flash version works as expected, but the HTML5 version does not auto-focus. The preview for SL360 is HTML5, so the difference shows there as well.

All that being said, it is something we have shared with our team and I will add this thread as well for both users impacted as well as for update when applicable.

David McDonagh

Oh wow, didn't even think that there could be a difference between the behavior of the text boxes between html5 and flash outputs.

Thanks for investigating and sharing with your team! The main reason we're upgrading to 360 is due to the security issues with Flash, and overall 360 does a much better job exporting to html5. Hopefully you guys can find a fix/work around for this.

Crystal Horn

Hey folks! I'm happy to let you know that we just released Update 12 for Storyline 360, and you can check out the new features and fixes here!

Specifically included in this version is a fix to address some issues with data entry fields:

  • Data entry fields that should have focus when slides load weren't immediately accepting learner input.
  • Text entry fields didn't always have scroll bars when learners entered overflowing text. 

Simply update Storyline to the latest version and republish your project to see the fix. Here's how updating Storyline 360 works.

I'm happy to hear how you make out!

David McDonagh

I just had a chance to make a course utilizing this method.

I wanted to write back and confirm that after downloading the updated version, the text box does in fact auto focus again!

The trick of putting the text box on a new layer and then a trigger to show the layer once the time line start works.

Thank you!!!

Crystal Horn

Hi there, Seth. How does the learner get to the slide where you need the triggers to fire? If they are using player buttons, like Next, the focus stays on the player and not the slide. We're looking into that behavior.

Feel free to share a couple of example slides with what you need to do! This community is always happy to dig in.

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Richard,

I do not have an update to share on the question Seth raised above. 

Phil has chimed in to share an idea with you.

With your permission, I'd like to take a look at your project file to investigate what's happening. You can share it publicly here, or send it to me privately by uploading it here. I'll delete it when I'm done troubleshooting.

Ernesto Yannini

Hi everyone!
I've been following closely this discussion 'cause I've faced the same issue more than once. I've tried the methods you describe down here: sometimes succesfully others not so much. Nevertheless, it's gratificating for me to inform that I've found the solution on the tool "Record Screen" (SL360). Once the program generates text natively I just duplicate it on the slides I need it. I share a video with the process.

Video-click here

Vincent Scoma

Hey Doug,

Thank you for letting us know! Just to make sure I am on the same page, the Text Entry box works at the bottom of the timeline but isn't working when moved to the top? 

With your permission, I'd like to take a look at your project file to investigate what's happening. You can share it publicly here, or send it privately to our Support Engineers. Either way, we will delete it when finished troubleshooting.

Seth Merriam

Hi, sorry for the long delay... I "fixed" this by essentially telling the user they had to press the tab key to "activate" the arrows I wanted them to be able to use (the arrows are the only items in the tab order on the slide, and thus what *should* have been in focus if the focus left the slide controls. This is all centered around accessibility. I have a list of items that a leaner will step through, and they can use on-screen buttons (arrows) on the screen to do so. To make it compliant I make sure a learner can use the keyboard only, but it was getting "Stuck" when someone advanced to the slide which contained the arrows because the directions indicate you can use the arrow KEYS on the keyboard as well (there are triggers for the buttons to enable this) but without it being focused on the screen content, those triggers would not do anything. Ergo, adding the (somewhat cluggy) instruction to "press the tab key to activate the arrow keys" does the job... for not at least.

Doug Mattson

Thanks Seth! We decided to instruct our learners to first click in the box then enter their response. I've been to websites where I can just start typing...and some sites where I start typing and nothing happens and then I just know to click in the text entry box. That extra click really bothers some folks. Depending on the audience, it can be a show stopper.

Vincent, do you still want to see a sample file where this is occuring?

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