IMPORTANT! - a fix if you have a PLAY button appearing at start of courses

OK, Articulate rolled out an update to Storyline and it seems that now when publishing a course, instead of auto-playing (as before) it now puts a nasty big PLAY button on the first screen.

Hopefully Articulate will roll out a fix (very!) soon.

In the meantime, I have discovered that AUDIO on the opening slide will cause this. Removing the audio, removed the PLAY button and things went back to normal.

Therefore to get round the issue, try what I did - create a tiny opening slide of a flat colour (same as your project background) and set it to be your opening slide.

Worked well for me, and thankfully I can now stop hearing screaming from my clients.

114 Replies
Alyssa Gomez

Hey Mike!

Do you have audio or video on the first slide of your course? If so, you may encounter a gray Play button in Chrome. This should happen no matter what version of Storyline you're using. 

If you do have audio or video on the first slide, you can create your own "Play button" by adding a new blank slide to the beginning of the course. On that slide, add a custom button, and design the slide however you'd like. 

Then, trigger the button to jump to the next slide when the user clicks it.

Publish the file, and test it in Chrome. Now, you shouldn't see the gray button with the transparent overlay. Let me know if that works! 

Nancy Hyde

I'm using Storyline 360 and testing in Chrome on a PC.  I have two different Storyline files that I'm working with. One was created in Storyline 360 and the other was created in Storyline, but upgraded to Storyline 360.  They are behaving differently. One shows an opening gray screen with a white circle and the other shows a black screen with a white play triangle. I've attached screenshots. In both cases I have an opening screen with autoplaying audio.  I tried adding a blank screen at the beginning, which prevented the black and gray screens, but then the audio doesn't play.  I particularly don't like the gray screen because there is no indication you have to click on it.  Any suggestions?

Leslie McKerchie

Hey Nancy,

Looks like you may have one course with Modern Player and one with the Classic Player perhaps?

I'd also check to see if the Publish Format may be different since you mentioned one was upgraded. HTML5/Flash vs Flash/HTML5 perhaps?

If you need us to take a look, feel free to share the .story files.

Crystal Horn

Hey everybody. I'm excited to let you know that we just released update 5 for Storyline 3! It includes new features and fixes - check them all out here.

One of the fixes addresses an issue where the Play Button that you see at the beginning of your courses to address browser autoplay rules for media was not accessible.  Sorry for the oversight here!

Here’s where you can download and install the latest version of Storyline 3. Let me know how you make out!

Nicole Ralph

Hi Crystal,

Just by way of clarification - Storyline 360 will not automatically play a video on the first slide? Users need to 'select pay' to start the package/see video.  By way of observation there are websites out there where a video starts immediately.  I think even the Articulate web site did at one time. Not sure why storyline would be any different.

Thanks and kind regards,


Harold Lentink


I found this post after creating my own, but maybe somebody can relate over here as well.

I've been testing it as you both suggested and still have issues. On the first slide I've placed a PNG of the first frame of my MP4, made the timeline as short as possible and set it to jump to next scene when timeline ends. On the second slide I've placed the video and when timeline ends it jumps to the third slide with an transition. 

Now exported it to review 360 and to scormcloud. On both platforms the scorm is unreliable. Sometimes it plays properly but most of the times (especially after revisiting is refreshing) when arriving the second slide it shows the first frame of the video but does not start to play. The seekbar however does run and at the end of the timeline it starts the transition and proceeds as normal. Very weird. This occurs on my laptop as on the laptop from my colleague as well. Any suggestions? O and by the way the video is a 8sec. Intro of 500KB so filesize can't be the issue. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience while our team investigated this issue. We've determined that videos not autoplaying on any slide without a previous user interaction is the expected behavior in Chrome and Safari based on their changes to media autoplay policies. 

This article is updated to reflect that and some ideas shared there to work around this browser limitation. 

Matthew Bibby
Joseph Ferraro

Funny, I literally thought about this today on a CNET video that autoplayed audio and video with no prompt or user decision. Clearly the rules on this are bendable in some way - I'm guessing it might have something to do with those browsers' media indexing.

The CNET videos autoplaying is likely due to Chrome's engagement index. If Chrome sees that you regularly hit play on content on a certain site, it won't prevent content on that site from autoplaying. 


Luke Sochacki

Hi Ashley, 

I have the latest update applied to Storyline 2, however the play button does not appear on slide 1 (which has audio) so my audio does not play. This is when publishing to Web, the box for "Included HTML5 Output" is checked. Any idea what may be causing this? Thank you!

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Luke,

Thanks for letting us know what you're running into with your project? Since you updated, you've republished your Storyline file as well?

The latest update for Storyline 2 is Build 1804.2716 and this explains what you can expect to see in your courses.

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.

Jonathon Casterline

Will Articulate be releasing an update that allows the developer to turn off the ugly "play button" without having a crazy workaround of adding a blank slide?

Users should have an option of adding it or not, and it should never "automatically" add it (especially since the button is ugly, isn't symetrical or centered and many of us have created "start buttons" of our own already to fix the issue and not have "two buttons".

Please advise.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jonathon,

The play button was added to handle the autoplay changes made by browsers such as Chrome and Safari. Unless there are changes to how those and other modern browsers handle the autoplay of media, we won't be removing the play button.

After a while, learners may stop seeing the play button as Chrome's Media Engagement Index (MEI) learns that they allowed audio to play on previous visits to the same site. When that happens, audio will automatically play as it did in earlier versions of Chrome.