Numeric variables: Default of "zero" isn't treated as a number?

In SL3 I have a numeric entry box, assigned to the variable "NumericEntry".  In "Manage Project Variables", the default value for NumericEntry is listed as zero.  I want to prevent users from advancing without entering a value, so my "Continue" button has a trigger to display an error layer if NumericEntry = zero.  However, Storyline isn't recognizing NumericEntry as a number until the user enters a value. As proof of this, when I put a text box with "%NumericEntry%" on the page and preview, the text box is blank.  It should show a zero.

I can't cheat and use text entry, because I need to do calculations with this number later in the project.  I also can't put a trigger on the slide to set the variable to zero when the timeline starts, because if I do that, SL3 auto-fills the numeric entry field with a zero instead of the text I chose, which is "(enter #)";  The instructor doesn't want the autofilled zero, because when students click in the box the cursor appears after the zero, leading to a high likelihood that users will begin their entry with zero (e.g. "0100" instead of "100"). This also breaks calculations later.

It seems that if SL3 is telling me the default value is zero, then it should be the number zero, and be usable in calculations. 

Is this a glitch, or am I missing something?

24 Replies
Leslie McKerchie

Hi Michael,

The idea that Crystal shared would force a user to enter a value into the field, but does not change the problem you're running into with the initial value.

Based on your description, you were adding in an error layer so that you would force the user to put a value in, and the Graded Numeric Entry slide will accomplish this.

As for the Numeric Entry default value showing 0 and not being 0, that is an issue that is open with our team.

I was able to make a sample file for the team, and I'll attach this conversation to the report as well.

In the meantime, the numeric entry slide should help you out.

Mark Toranzo

We're running into the same issue with the default value, we'd rather the default value be blank.

For example, we present a phone in the question and ask the user to enter the correct phone number to the answer. Having the 0 in the box throws off the realism of the question, as your phone wouldn't put a zero unless you entered a zero.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hey, Mark! 

Although it's a built-in question type, you can still adjust the variable name.

If you'd like our team to take a look at your file and offer some other ideas, we're happy to! 

You can share it publicly here, or send it to our Support Team privately. We’ll delete it when done troubleshooting. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi all,

Storyline 360, build 3.28.18944.0 was released last week and included a fix for Numeric-entry fields that displayed default values of zero after renaming their underlying variables. They now should remain blank until learners enter values. The exception to this is if you associate the existing numeric entry variable to a different variable entirely the default value will be set to 0. 

Let me know if you're still running into the first problem, Alison, where the value changes when you rename the variable. 

Ana S

I am having the same issue. I have a slide with a few Numeric Entry Fields. Their according Variables default value should be zero (according to the Variables Panel) but Storyline doesn't recognize this value. If I set a trigger to eg. jump to next slide when all of these variables are zero, it doesn't work because Storyline apparently sees them as empty/"blank".

It makes no difference if I change the name of the variables or the Entry Fields or not. The Numeric Entry Fields variables seem to be "blank" by default and if I trigger them to be set to 0 when Timeline starts I see this default value, which is not desired.

And I don't want the user to be able to insert Text, so switching to the Text Entry Field isn't an option either.

Are there any news on this glitch? It's really frustrating trying to figure out a walk-around for this issue.

Robert Law

Was this issue resolved?  I am trying to create a slide which adds up a short column of numbers.  The result is NaN.  Two numeric input fields display 0 (although one of these only shows when the field is highlighted).  No other numeric fields display 0.  The formula result from adding the fields is NaN, if any fields are included other than the two which display 0.  Articulate 360 v3.40.22208.0

Katie Riggio

Hi Robert,

I'm sorry you ran into this! We have documented a few scenarios where can NaN appear. Can you help me with a few more details?

  • Do you have any unused question banks in your file? If so, does deleting them remove the NaN?
  • Do you have a trigger that adjusts the variable without learners needing to type in a number? If so, what happens if you create a trigger to adjust the variable and set it to 0 when the timeline starts?

We'll work on our next steps from there!

Robert Law

Hi Katie

I want to add a short column of numbers (accountancy training).

I can get every cell to start with zero, by having a starting value of 1 and then deducting 1 when the timeline starts. This results in all input boxes showing 0, instead of blank. It also results in a leading zero to a number input. All in all, it does not look professional. It is not good.



Robert Law BSc FCA
AAT Tutor
01392 435349
Southernhay Lodge, Barnfield Crescent, Exeter, EX1 1QT
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Wendy Williams

I see several old comments about the default zero but I don't see how it helps me :(.

We have discovered that when a fill-in field is set as a number variable, it defaults to a ‘0’ in the blank.  You actually have to DELETE the 0 in order to put in the correct number.  In other words, just putting your cursor in the field doesn’t make it go away.  I have tried but cannot set the Default to ‘blank’ and if you don’t delete the zero before you type the number it stays at the beginning and then the answer is incorrect. (i.e. 0 becomes 0563  instead of just 563.)  Is there anything we can do to resolve this? Many will have trouble as they won't think to delete the zero.

I am attaching a sample. (the correct answer is:  2)


Thank you,


Print Designer/Tech Writer

Wendy Williams

no we don't need it for a calculation BUT we want to restrict them from entering text, the answer must be numbers.  We have done the text box with 'numbers only' in some places, but we were hoping for a real solution rather than a work-around. 

Also, will changing to a text box solve the issue where '0' is the answer?  Right now if you try to enter '0' as the answer it says 'you must answer the question before clicking submit' (or something like that).  We need to be able to use the '0' as the actual answer.


Print Designer/Tech Writer

Wendy Williams

While we are at it :).  You said we can use the answer/variable in another calculation.  I actually have need on another screen where we have a java script that fills in a blank, then I need that event to trigger auto-filling another field.  Is there a tutorial or something that would help me with the scripting required to make something like that happen?  THANKS!!

Maria Costa-Stienstra

Hi, Wendy.

Will changing to a text box solve the issue where '0' is the answer? We need to be able to use the '0' as the actual answer.

Yes, a text variable will accept 0 as the answer (correct or incorrect), so that's a good workaround for that.

Is there a tutorial or something that would help me with the scripting required to make something like that happen? 

We don't offer support in Javascript, but I'm hoping others in the community will be able to provide you with guidance!