New Storyline Feature: Closed Captions

Mar 07, 2017

Hey folks,

We just released a new feature for Storyline 360: Closed Captions! This is one of our most requested features, and allows you to add closed captions to both video and audio (narration).

Storyline supports the standard Closed Caption formats in use today: .srt, .vtt, .sbv and .sub. These are super easy to create with a range of third party tools such as YouTube (we’ll add a simple caption editor in a future update, coming soon).

You can specify a custom font in player properties, and choose whether to use a built in player control or roll your own button with the new Player.DisplayCaptions trigger. As you’d expect, everything works seamlessly across desktop, tablets and phones.

Check out Arlyn’s video for more info:

And here's the full Closed Captions Documentation.

To get started, just update your 360 Desktop App and then update Storyline 360.

For an overview of everything in the March ’17 update, see our What’s New Page



155 Replies
Malcolm McKinnon

Hi Andrew,

It sounds like you just need to:

1) Create a button (perhaps labelled transcript)

2) Create a transcript layer (perhaps with an 'x' to close)

3) On the base layer - create a trigger to show the transcript layer when the learner clicks the transcript button.

4) On the transcript layer - create a trigger to hide the layer (perhaps when the learner clicks the 'x' or somewhere else on screen).

I've attached a quick and dirty sample (using Storyline 2).

Andrew Sellon

Malcolm--Thanks so much for your reply and sample.  I had considered layers, but aside from coding the toggle button so that it both opens and closes the layer, the problem remains that my client wants the Transcript box to be moveable, if possible, and also, I was hoping to automatically populate the Transcript text box with the Notes text for each slide without having to manually insert the Notes text on each layer.  I'm suspecting that any solution might need to involve Javascript, which alas is not part of my current skill set.  I was hoping some element of the new CC feature might help, but I'm thinking now that's a separate creature from what I need.

I may ask the client if the layer solution with a non-moveable box would be acceptable, but if there's a way to auto-populate it with the Notes field content, that would still be preferable.  They also want "Page x of y" on each slide--something I don't normally do, given the non-linearity of most of what I build.  But they are insisting on it, so I'm reading various forum posts about the most efficient way to incorporate that into my template, as well....

If folks have other ideas, I'd very much appreciate it.  Thanks, all!

Malcolm McKinnon

Hi Andrew.

No problem. You can achieve a toggle function easily enough (it's actually two buttons placed in the same X,Y coordinates). See updated attachment. I'm not quite sure I understand the other parts of the problem...

When you say 'moveable', do you mean moveable by the learner? I'd be questioning why they need that functionality.

As for the auto-populate, do you mean audio- to-text functionality, or just replicating what you've already manually added to the Notes section?

Andrew Sellon

Hey, Malcolm--Yes, the client wants the transcript box moveable by the learner.  I agree that unless for some reason you have it blocking important onscreen content (which can be avoided by the design layout!), it shouldn't be much of an issue.  But it's something another vendor did for them using a proprietary tool, and now they're asking me to replicate it in Storyline.

Yes, I was just hoping I could just insert a variable into a Transcript text box that would pull in the text from the developer Notes pane.  They don't need the full timed CC functionality.  And the new CC feature seems geared only for audio or video files where you can generate a separate transcript file.  But in this template example, I only need to pull the content from the Notes pane--if possible.

Andrew Sellon

Malcolm--sorry, no; this is the problem with conversations in tidbits:  Per my earlier notes: the clients doesn't want any Storyline player.  I have to hide the player entirely (which is easy enough).  But that means all navigation and other features must be built custom.  Which means no standard Notes/Transcript tab is available on a player menu.

Typically, this client wants me to Storyboard in PowerPoint, which I then import into Storyline and flesh out from there.  The voiceover script would import from PPT to Storyline, into the Notes pane in Developer view.  So I'd rather not have to copy and paste the text slide by slide into a custom Transcript text box if there might be a way to do it with a variable.  But there may not be a variable functionality to leverage the text content of the Notes pane.  I'm looking for the simplest, cleanest way to create and populate a custom Transcript box--even if the box ends up not being moveable.

Malcolm McKinnon

Okay, you hadn't mentioned that you were importing it from PowerPoint.

The only solution I can think of involves copying the Notes content into a text variable that you could name something like "TranscriptX", where X is a unique identifier for each slide. Then on the slide layer you could just reference it as %TranscriptX%. But that sounds like a lot more work than just copying and pasting into a layer, so it seems pointless. 

Looking at other forum posts, it seems that you can only move the Notes tab from the sidebar to either topbar left or right, which obviously won't help you either...

You might just need to warm up the 'Ctrl', 'C' and 'V' buttons!

Baptiste Recoules

As malcolm I think there is no other way than copy/paste for the test itself.

Concerning the moveable box, the only solution I see is to have your transcript zone in a rectangle on the base layer (not on a slide layer, it won't work), then convert the slide to freeform, choose drag and drop, and from the form view, indicate your transcript rectangle as a drag item, with no drop target. your rectangle will be movable, then use hidden/normal states and triggers to toggle the visibility.

The downsides are the amont of work : you'll have to do that on every slide, and the impossibility to use other freeforms during the whole projetc... Does this functionnality worth it ?  

Andrew Sellon

Thanks, Baptiste--Your idea is creative, but yes, I agree it's not worth the trouble.  I just have to see if I can persuade the client that their moveable Transcript box isn't necessary.  ;-). Per the reply I just posted to Malcolm, I think I've identified a new feature request.  For times when we're not using a Storyline player, it would be hugely helpful to have a system variable that can call the data from the Notes field to place into a custom Transcript box/area.

Mike Saunderson

Our client is requesting we insert closed captioning in all the videos we produced over the past five year. I've been working with Josh Caldwell with 3Play Media to create SRT files. We've submitted seven videos so far and am very pleased how quickly the SRT files were turned around and trouble free they have been. Josh has been very helpful. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Leon,

To increase the font size for captions, you'll have to adjust the font size in your player properties. This setting affects all your player features, not just captions - so it will also impact your TOC (Storyline player menu). 

  1. Go to the Home tab on the Storyline ribbon and click Player.
  2. When the player properties window opens, click Colors & Effects on the ribbon.
  3. Increase the Player font size percentage. It can be any percentage between 75% and 200%.
  4. Click OK to save and close the player settings.

As for changing the position of the captions, do you mean where they'll appear on the slide? The captions will appear at the bottom of the slide based on standard closed captioning practice. 

Let us know if we can help with anything else! 

mat corrado

Hi Leon!

Good idea, to be able to specify cc positions.  And I could see how that would be really helpful - so I’ve submitted it as a feature request for you. In the meantime, I did a quick search for cc positioning tags in .srt files, and it looks like the method here might be viable. Just keep in mind that’s not something we can offer support for, so proceed with caution. :)

Dan Veltri

Please add this functionality to older versions of Storyline.  The workarounds for these older versions are extremely time consuming and don't allow for standard importing/exporting of industry standard caption files.  Those of us who use the older versions should not be forced to get 360 just to get the proper functionality for captioning that should have been there all along.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Thanks Dan for reaching out here - due to the redesign of Storyline 360 and all the big changes that were made to accommodate items like closed captioning, I don't know that the same feature could be ported back to Storyline 2, especially since it wasn't something initially built within Storyline  2. But, hopefully there's some solace that Storyline 3 is on the horizon and will be released later this year - and that will have the same features you see in Storyline 360 today such as closed captions, HTML5 only publishing, etc. So stay tuned for more information on the release of Storyline 3 as we get closer! 

mat corrado

Hi Audrey,

What type of media are you pairing with closed captioning?  For example, is there an audio soundtrack that continues throughout the project?  Since media objects are slide-based, not project-based, then yes, you would have a corresponding cc file for each.

Please feel free to share your .story file as an attachment, or you can upload it here and I would be happy to have a look.


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