Launching external files

Mar 13, 2013

I would like to have a trigger launch an external file -- PDF, Word, PPT, Excel -- that the user may download and/or print.  I do not want to have it hidden in Resources or Attachments tabs -- I need an active link on the main screen.

I have tried "Jump to URL/File" trigger but cannot get it to launch the file. Is it even possible?

23 Replies
Nancy Woinoski

Hi Mark - this is possible.  Add a button, text box or shape to your main screen. And the add a trigger to the button, text box or shape that says:

Action: Jump to URL/File

File: click the ... and select the PDF you want to use.

When: user clicks

Object: select the name of the button or text box you have added to the main screen.

When you publish your project, Storyline adds the PDF to the external_files folder in the published story_content folder.

Note that the link will not work if you are previewing the project and sometimes the link is blocked ( because of browser security) when you are running the project from your desktop.

The best way to test whether or not the link is working is to upload to a webserver or to your LMS.

Caesar Aycocho

Kenneth Hansen said:

Some times, if you upload to Sharepoint the name of the folder is forcefully changed from external_files to external_files_

Which Storyline dosen't detect...

I hope there is a way to change the name of the output folder or links to that folder

 or to change Sharepoint rules... :(

Hi kenneth,

I recently experienced this problem when i tried uploading my published SL course to sharepoint 2013. Have you found and answer or workaround to this issue.  Basically, the hyperlinks to external files dont work since these are found inside the external_files folder.

This is a show stopper for my project. Any help or suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.


Garrett Buffenbarger

Kenneth Hansen said:

"Some times, if you upload to Sharepoint the name of the folder is forcefully changed from external_files to external_files_

Which Storyline dosen't detect...

I hope there is a way to change the name of the output folder or links to that folder

or tochange Sharepoint rules... :("

I have also run into this issue. Has anyone found a resolution?


Guillermo Alzuru

I want to do the same thing Mark described at the top of this thread. I have a very large image that I want to display but it is too large to be included in the Storyline file. So, I placed a smaller version in a slide and linked it to the larger image.

I did all the steps Nancy listed. But it does not work. The strange thing is I have done this before but cannot get it to work now. I wonder what I'm doing wrong. No matter what I try, the External Files folder where the image should be, is not created.

Guillermo Alzuru

Thank you for responding again. The image is on the desktop computer; in fact, in an "images" folder, next to the folder where the Storyline project is. This is very strange because as I said, it did work for me at one time.

It seems like it's not a programming issue but a technical issue with Storyline. Why wouldn't it create the Extenal Files folder? Or, it does create the folder but it is empty, which is even stranger, why would it create it and not put anything in there?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Guillermo,

Are you seeing the folder created and it's empty or it's not being created at all? You mentioned working locally, are you publishing locally as well as described here? If you're able to share the .story file here with the image you're trying to link, perhaps we could see if something is not linked correctly? 

Guillermo Alzuru

Well, this is getting too complicated for me. First, let me say that I cheated and solved the problem, manually creating the External Files folder inside the story_content folder, and placed the image there, and it works. It works only when viewing it online, it does not work off my hard drive.

Second, the project belongs to an online course delivered in Desire2Learn. So, after publishing the project locally, I upload it, along with the html page where the it goes, to the server. By the way, when I say publish, I mean locally, I select the web option and save it to a folder in my hard drive, then zip it and upload it. Is that not the way to do it? I've been using that way for months and it works. I use an <iframe> tag within my html page.

Third, I noticed a warning in the tutorial you indicated, where it recommends to publish to a local hard drive, not a network drive. I wasn't doing that, I was publishing to a network drive, not my desktop computer's hard drive (that's what we are told to do). But I just tried publishing to the local hard drive and it does not work either.

Finally, I don't know what the .story file is, I don't see it. I see a story.html file and a story.swf file.

Vivian Slaughter-Mitchell

Thanks @Nancy Woinoski for your suggestion resolution, which worked. However, I'm having an issue of when the linked pdf is closed my entire course is closed. How can I have the linked document display within the current browser window and allow users to close the document without closing the course?