HTML5 with Flash fallback

Jan 30, 2017

What are the conditions that would lead a course published with "HTML5 with Flash fallback" to fallback to Flash?


30 Replies
Sam Carter

The publish format "HTML5/Flash" states: "Learners will see HTML5 output if they’re using a supported HTML5 browser. If not, they’ll see Flash output."

The link to the "supported HTML5 browser" list says HTML5 will run "Microsoft Edge (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version)"

So there's no version indicated for Edge, Chrome, or Firefox that will run Flash in fallback mode... unless it is the "latest version" minus one revision.

My guess is Edge, Chrome and Firefox always run HTML5, even if Flash is installed. If there's a version number that will run Flash when published as HTML5/Flash, we should know.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

Crystal Horn
Sam Clark

So there's no version indicated for Edge, Chrome, or Firefox that will run Flash in fallback mode... unless it is the "latest version" minus one revision.

My guess is Edge, Chrome and Firefox always run HTML5, even if Flash is installed. If there's a version number that will run Flash when published as HTML5/Flash, we should know.

Right -- there's no previous versions of those browsers that will be supported to run the Flash output if you have published with HTML5/Flash output.  Per the system requirements, only the latest versions of those browsers are supported (for HTML5 or Flash).  

If you are publishing with HTML5 first, it is with the understanding that your learners are going to view HTML5 output unless they are on an unsupported browser, which for Storyline 360, will be Internet Explorer versions 8 or 9.

Edward Crane

When I view content in FireFox with the Flash plug-in installed after publishing in Flash/HTML5, it prompts me to run Adobe Flash (unless I tell it to remember my site). I suppose if I I publish in HTML5/Flash, I would not be prompted for that then?

Just trying to understand how the difference in HTML5/Flash vs. Flash/HTML5 manifests itself -- the content should play regardless of which format you use to publish, correct?


Crystal Horn

Hi Edward. Great questions!

  • Firefox requires permission to run Flash Player which is why you are seeing this prompt. 
  • When publishing with Flash/HTML5, the content will try to launch the Flash output first. If Flash Player is enabled in the browser, it will play the Flash output. In Firefox, you'll see the request to allow Flash Player.
  • With HTML5/Flash, the content will always run the HTML5 output, unless you're using Internet Explorer 8 or 9. Since it isn't trying to run the Flash output, you won't see the prompt to allow Flash Player.

With the end of Flash Player support coming, you can consider eliminating the Flash output altogether. Do you have any requirements for it currently?

Edward Crane

I have a customer to whom we sent Flash/HTML5 files and the organization is removing Flash compatibility. I told her that this should not affect the content as there is the HTML5 fallback. She was adamant (the customer is always right) so I published the files as HTML5/Flash, the main reason being that we've had users (including me) have issues with HTML5 format on IE 11 on Windows 10, as apparently Microsoft has not been keeping up with HTML5 changes, so I thought it would be good to have Flash fallback.

The person loading the SCORM files into their LMS discovered that there were Flash-related files in there and now I'm being asked to republish them all again in HTML5 only.  Any suggestions? Are there security concerns if the Flash output is never launched?

Edward Crane

To follow up on this, I explained the HTML5/Flash formatting functionality and the customer wrote:

"I went back to the (LMS) consultant to see if there is any way around this but unfortunately any module containing flash will be tagged and rejected and will therefore not work...We need the files with HTML5 only asap so we can test all of them and...deploy to our learning management system without rejection."

Crystal Horn

Hi, Edward. Thanks for the context. Recently, some platforms have forbidden any Flash content. It sounds like that's what's happening with your customer's LMS. While the security concerns about content that may never be "called upon" could be minimal, some environments still have very strict policies about allowing Flash content. 

You can choose to republish publish with HTML5 only. Even if you have Flash as a fallback option in your output, the HTML5 output will still launch in IE 11 unless you specifically provide somebody with the story_flash.html launch file.

If you're having trouble with your HTML5 output in any browser, we'll be happy to help confirm what's happening!

Gerry Wasiluk
Alyssa Gomez

Great question, Deepali!

No changes needed – those courses published with HTML5 first/Flash fallback will still work fine. 

Let us know if you have other questions!

Hi, Alyssa!

Have you seen this recorded webinar video from eLearning Brothers on the end of Flash?  Ignoring the "commercials" for their services and products, it's a pretty good presentation.  Lots of good background info.

If you go to around to 38:50 of the video, the presenter states a small set of Storyline 2 courses published to Flash/HTML5 may have playback issues when Flash goes away.

Is that true? 


Gerry Wasiluk

Hi, Leslie!  It's more a "possibly realistic hypothetical" question.  (How's that for some weasel words.  :) )

What I gather from the speaker (and he used to hang out here a lot and has lots of street cred) is that there are allegedly a very very small set of published Storyline 2 courses that may not launch as Flash/HTML5 due to changes Google made with Chrome (and maybe also FireFox).  The Flash/HTML5 logic in these SL2 courses gets confused by these browser changes and they don't launch.

At least that's how it sounds to me.  I'm assuming, that if true, you folks made the adjustments from the browser changes.   But if folks didn't republish with versions of SL2 with the adjustments, then they may get caught and their Flash/HTML5 courses not launch

I was asking just to affirm if this was all true or not.  We've been counseling folks at our local user group meetings just to be safe, to doublecheck their courses with their current organizational browsers and, at the very least, confirm as a minimum that they still launch as HTML5.


Lauren Connelly

Hi Gerry,

I can see where an issue would arise if courses that are published in an older version of Storyline 2 are launching in the latest browsers. 

In previous updates of SL2, we did have bugs when rendered as HTML5. You can see the update history of Storyline 2 here. With that, it would be likely to see issues when courses are published in older versions in SL2, rendered as HTML5, and launched in latest browsers.

One way to stay on top of this is update to the latest version of Storyline and require your users to update to the latest browser. Lastly, if you need to perform a mass update for your  published courses so they work on a new operating system and/or web browser, the Articulate Updater is a handy tool. Plus, you won't be prompted to republish the courses! 

We've kept this discussion updated about our plans when flash is no longer supported. 

Janet Browne

Hi Lauren, 

We have some older SL 2 courses that have an HTML5 fallback that has bugs that prevent learners from completing the courses (e.g., Next button stops working or parts of the pages are missing). With the latest release of Chrome, Flash is blocked by default each session so the browser automatically uses the HTML5 version that has bugs and the learners get blocked from completing the course.

1. Is there a way to prevent the HTML5 fallback from being available when the learner launches the course in Chrome so that they are prompted to enable Flash? Is there something we can tweak in the output files, for example? 

2. You mention the Articulate Updater -- but when I read the update list, it doesn't look like any of them relate to Flash. Am I missing something? 

We are in the process of converting the courses to HTML5, but wanted to know if there are ways to make it less painful for learners while the SL2 courses are still in their current format. 

Thank you!


Leslie McKerchie

Hi Janet and welcome to E-Learning Heroes :)

Learners will see the Flash version of the course if the browser supports it. If it's been blocked, they will see the HTML5 output. You can read more here.

We do not support the modification of the published output, so perhaps someone in the community can assist with any custom setup needed.

You are correct, the Updater is not specific to Flash, but getting older courses updated to work well in newer browsers.

What issues are you seeing with your HTML5 output? Sounds like we may need to focus on understanding this better.

Janet Browne

Hi Leslie, 

Many of our older Storyline 2 courses have HTML5 output that does not support all the interactions that are in the equivalent Flash version. For example:

  • Blank screen instead of content
  • Next button becomes disabled part way through the course
  • Resume pop-up is empty

We've had a team testing dozens of courses and this is what we see repeatedly when we turn off Flash in the browser and force the HTML5 version to play.

Anything you can suggest to buy us more time as we convert all these courses to HTML5 would be greatly appreciated!


Katie Riggio

Hello there, Akshat!

Do I need to republish courses that include both Flash and HTML5 output?

It looks like you might be using Storyline 3. Published courses from this version of Storyline will continue to work if they include HTML5 output. Web browsers will simply ignore the Flash content and display the HTML5 output instead in these major browsers.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm happy to help!

For everything you need to know about Flash's demise, check out this great resource: How the End of Flash Affects Articulate Apps and Courses 📌

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