Shortfall of SL 360 "New Browser Window Properties"

May 08, 2019

SL 360 "Jump to File" trigger is problematic.  Depends on the LMS and browser.  I'll point out the details and a possible solution. 

The LMS we operate opens the course in a "locked" new window.  So do the LMS of some of our clients.  Not the same LMS vendor either.  So our LMS isn't the only one that behaves this way.

No new tabs can be opened in the course window. It's "locked". This ensures learners can not open another tab(s) in the course window. This is a good idea.

Incidentally, the learner's window normally covers (hides) the LMS window.

Now to implement a button in SL for the learner to view a pdf, there's the SL trigger "Jump to File".

Using the SL "Jump to File" trigger option: "Display in the current browser window": opening a pdf with this option will open in the course window which exit the course completely displaying the pdf. (no new tabs.) We don't see how this is useful.  The learner must close the window, revealing the LMS, launch the course again, resume where they left off. Wow.

Using the option "Display in a new browser window", the pdf will open in the LMS window as a new tab. (Is this really a new browser window? It is a different browser window, sure.) This brings the LMS window to front, covering the course.  Some learners will not recognize this two-tab browser window as the LMS and close the LMS window, oblivious to the alert decrying this action and poof! The learner is logged out of the LMS and course. Wow again. Course progress may be lost to boot!

What we have had to do is avoid the simplicity of the "Jump to File" trigger and write a JavaScript trigger. This is really cumbersome to do but it solves the problem SL created.

The JavaScript opens the pdf in a new window, not "another window", as follows:, "_blank", "resizable,scrollbars,menubar=no,toolbar=no");

The "_blank" forces a NEW window, not a tab in ANOTHER (LMS) window.  After viewing the pdf, the learner closes that window, course revealed. Voila. A satisfactory learner experience.

Should the SL "Jump to File" option  "Display in a new browser window" open a NEW window rather than ANOTHER window?  If not, should there be a third option "Open in a brand new browser window"?

PS, our clients, and our testing group, uses Chrome which holds 60% market share. I was surprised no other browser, IE, Firefox, whatever... is more than 10%.  I mention this because other browsers may behave differently.

Sorry for the long post, but this has been a problem for some time.

6 Replies
Alyssa Gomez

Hi, Sam. You're right – there is an issue in Storyline 360 where the jumping to a file in the current browser window will cause the course to prematurely close. We've got this issue reported to our team, and we'll update you as we know more.

Now, let's tackle jumping to a file in a new browser window. Depending on the browser you're using, one of two things could happen:

  • The file could open in a new browser window.
  • The file could open in a new browser tab.

In Chrome, you'll see the link open in a new tab – this is the default behavior for Chrome. We wouldn't want to force something other than the default behavior for two reasons:

  • Launching a link in a new window creates an opportunity for that link to be blocked by pop-up blockers.
  • General user preference is to open a link in a new tab rather than a new window.

If you do want to force the link to open in a new window, you're welcome to use the Javascript trigger you referenced. 

Sam Carter

Hi Alyssa,

By that logic, why have any options at all? If anything is a "default", it is current window. But I disagree with the use of "default". Javascript has many attributes. I'd hate to have to separate some as "default" and others as "not default".

Let's agree that SL is opening windows using JavaScript.  SL provides authors with two options today, one that opens in the same window, the other that opens a tab (but the option says "new")

The "_blank" option has been around as long as browsers have been available.

Understanding Articulate won't extend a third option to avoid the bad behavior of the current options,  how about renaming the current option "new tab" instead?  The label NEW is incorrect.

Let's not wrap this discussion in "depending on what browser you are using".  Chrome owns the browser market.


Elizabeth Cunningham

Does this javascript (below) work with links as well as PDF documents?, "_blank", "resizable,scrollbars,menubar=no,toolbar=no");

My team is experiencing the same issue with links to resources, but I can't seem to get this code to work. Would I just add an an Execute Javascript trigger and include that one line, replacing 'fname' with my link? 

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