Storyline - Better preparation

This forum is filled with experts full of great advice so please chime in.

I work for a company where the very intricate, and highly designed eLearning Modules are prepared in PowerPoint by the Art Department. this sometimes takes 2 - 3 full days. The Programming Department then imports those slides into Storyline. The problem is, especially with the complex nature of the last round of modules that involved pop-ups and custom navigation, it took the Programming Department another 2 days to prepare the import before programming. The Quizzes needed to be customized. The pop-ups were prepared as separate slides so the layers needed to be pasted. Does anyone have good work-flow advice?

There were issues with the Storyline type coming in as "autofit" No matter what the settings. List-item bullets take on odd formatting, such as a sentence with italic type at the end would have an italic bullet in front and no amount of formatting could change that. And it seems that Storyline does not know what to do with an em-dash, which the medical industry loves. We finally succumbed to pasting in a tiny rule in front of each block of text that required the em-dash. 

Please share your nuggets of wisdom. I am fairly new to Storyline. (9 months). In that time I have come to see how powerful it can be for interactivity, but as a former designer, I see flaws with its handling of type.

8 Replies
Tim Slade

Hi Lilian,

Having separate teams for design and “programming” can be a huge challenge – for exactly all of the reason you’re describing.

In all honesty, it sounds like a communication issue. My suggestion would be to have the Art Department come down and see what exactly it is that you do to program the slides once you’ve received them. This will help the Art Department better understand how you use their slides and if there's a better way the can prepare them for you. Because they’re not eLearning designers, they may simply be ignorant of all that goes into it.

A while back, I created and posted a time-lapse video, which I recorded the entire process of creating an eLearning template. Jeff Clay had a great idea to do the same thing and show it to his business partners as a way to help them understand all that is involved in the process.

Maybe you could do something like this to help your Art Department understand your needs better.

Best of luck!


Tim Slade

I see - that can be hard if they're creating highly customized graphics or using special fonts. I assume you are using the PPT import feature?

I don't think this will fix all of your issues, but maybe you can have your Art Department simply create the graphics in PPT (which should transfer easier) and then have them provide the text content for each slide separately (maybe in a Word Doc.) for you to manually insert. I know that doesn't 100% fix the issue, but sometimes that can be faster than having to fix the text that imports incorrectly.

Unfortunately, I think that's the nature of the beast when working with separate teams.

Sean Speake

One of my frustrations with Storyline is that it doesn't have quite all the text editing/manipulation features that I'm used to with Word and PPT.

But because I know this, I take exactly the approach that Tim suggested. Graphics in PPT, Text in a separate word doc.

Insert the graphics and create the layouts in SL. Then copy/paste in the text and do any necessary formatting in SL.

Brett Rockwood

Hi Lilian,

I certainly understand your issue regarding type handling in SL vs. PowerPoint. There have been a number of threads about the limited nature of SL type capabilities and I'm hoping with all fingers crossed that the next update addresses what to me are major limitations in working with text.

If your designers are using PPT maybe you could ask them to avoid using some of the things where SL falls down. A partial list from my experience...

  • no adjustable tabs in any way. No left tab, center tab, or decimal tab
  • the bullet issue you mention
  • no em dashes (you can use a long bar which is available in some font sets)
  • line spacing limited to 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0
  • no setting for space before or after paragraph (only the simple line spacing mentioned above)
  • no tables as these come in as bitmap images

Don't get me wrong. SL is awesome and I've literally quit using PPT for development as there are so many great things you can do in SL that are impossible in PPT. It's just that great type design is also important to me and I'm hopeful that the SL team will bring it up to par at least with PPT.

Philip Lima

Having moved from Studio to Storyline I follow the same flow that Tim does.  I work with my designers and they get me their final content in Word.  I use some of Storyline's graphics, but anything that is more complex than a simple shape (3d, reflection, etc.) I create in Powerpoint or other graphics software.  I just copy/paste from powerpoint and resize.

I have come to share some of the same frustrations with handling text as everyone else.  At times I have found myself manually typing in text, rather than copy'pasting, from my source doc because of some insane formatting issue after the paste.

I am sure that future versions of Storyline will care for thses issues.