layer order

My apologies if this has been covered elsewhere - I tried to do a search in the forums and it returned no results, regardless of the word or phrase I searched for.

In the Storyline online tutorial on Layers (Adding and Editing Layers), in the section called Rearranging Your Layers, the documentatoin says that layers appear in the (Z) order as they appear in your Layers panel. So if I have layers 1, 2, and 3, with layer 1 at the bottom of my layers panel and 3 at the top, and I then display those three layers in my lesson, the three layers should appear stacked in that order when viewing my project. Layer 1 should be on the bottom, then 2, then 3 on top.

However, it actually depends on the sequence in which you display them. If I use a trigger to display layer 3 first (which should be on top) and then another trigger displays layer 1, layer 1 will appear on top of layer 3. In certain situations that would be useful, but for others (including what I am currently trying to accomplish in a Storyline file) that is not so helpful. I need to be able to completely control the Z order of the layers by setting their order in the Layer panel as described in the documentation, but unfortunately that isn't the case.

Just wanted to pass this along in case someone else is having issues with layer order.



11 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Chris,

Thanks for sharing this here. I took a look and discussed with a few members of our team - it is working as designed, but the documentation about this isn't as clear so we'll be updating that information. You're correct in the layers will be shown in the sequence they are triggered, and then if you trigger an earlier layer, it'll appear on top.

Thanks again and if you'd like to see more control over their order based on how they're displayed please feel free to share your thoughts in the form of a feature request with our product development team.

Chris Starbuck

Hi Chris,

I may of found a solution. Given that articulate will 'Enforce Z Order' if  both layers are shown at the same time, you need to add a trigger that shows the layer you want to appear on top at the same time as the layer you want to appear on the bottom and then it will 'Enforce Z Order'.


Hope this makes sense.

Fiona Macelli

Thanks for posting this Chris. I had the same issue and echo your surprise/frustration that the layers don't function the way I'd expect them to (and as the layers in other design tools - e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, etc - would).

I wanted to add my own little notes about your solution.

1. If you want the layer to appear on top, it has to be triggered last. I wouldn't say this is enforcing Z order, since there isn't a Z order and Storyline is simply showing the last-triggered layer on top of each preceding layer as though it were physically stacking them. The only exception to this is the base layer, which is always shown beneath other layers.

2. You have to trigger the top-most layer every time you trigger any other layers, regardless of whether it has already been triggered in the correct order at the beginning of the interaction. With mine, I have a fly-out layer that needs to be persistently on top of everything else, but triggers on the base layer that reveal other layers keep sending that flyout layer beneath them unless every layer-reveal trigger also re-triggers that top flyout layer.


Ashley Terwilliger

Hey Chris,

Double check that it notes as subscribed at the top of the forum discussion - that should be sending you notifications. They'll be from

If you're not seeing them and you are subscribed, we can always check on our end that they're going through - just let me know!