May 14, 2012

Still not clear on the difference between Studio and Storyline. When is 12 coming out? Can anyone clear this up? Thanks

17 Replies
Russell Still

Storyline is more of a standalone product. In Studio, you do your authoring in PowerPoint, then Presenter converts it. In Storyline, authoring is done right there. No PowerPoint needed. Storyline also includes iPad support, but I think that's in the queue for the next Presenter release, too.

Storyline has some rudimentary programming functionality built in complete with variables and IF-THEN (but no ELSE) constructs. Event-driven "triggers" make it really easy to add user interactions.

Jeanette Brooks

Hi James! Russ is right; with Studio, you take advantage of the PowerPoint environment to build your content slides, and you can also use the form-based authoring in Quizmaker and Engage to add assessments & interactions to your course.

With Storyline, you have a single standalone tool (completely separate from PowerPoint) that allows you to build everything in one place (content slides, quizzes, interactions, even screen recordings & simulations)... and your imagination's the limit - you can create all sorts of rich interactivity by using features like slide layers, states, triggers, variables, etc.

Here's a summary of the differences. For a sneak peek at what's coming in Studio '12, you can check out this page. And speaking of Studio '12, we plan to beta test that this summer. You're welcome to apply to be a beta tester if you like, by sending an email to

Debra Jones

Wow, didn't expect to receive a reply so soon. Thanks for your thoughts, I'm leaning towards Storyline. Do you know if I can add my own audio narration to slides with Storyline? I need this feature, which Studio offers, for learners with English as a second language. I did notice a very exciting feature,  where the text can be changed to other languages. 

Russell Still

Yeah, us computer junkies found a new drug with Storyline. I'm up late working with it every night.

Yes, you certainly can record your own audio narrations. Two caveats: (1) use a good microphone - not one of the little plastic "electet" ones you get at the computer store, (2) I'm not a big fan of the audio quality that comes from Storyline's built in recorder - if you're serious about audio get yourself a separate audio editing program and import the clips. I have the same opinion about audio in Presenter, too.

Steve Flowers

Hey, Debra - 

You can definitely do this in Storyline. If you're used to Studio, the things you'll miss in Storyline are:

  • Video in the sidebar. You can place video in your slides but neither video or audio can span slides in Storyline. The upside is with Storyline you can build upwards. Presenter is like a one story building. Presenter is GREAT if you need a one story building. But if you need multiple floors (building up with layers and behaviors) you'll really like Storyline.
  • Annotations. This is one area where Presenter really shines. You can replicate the effects in Storyline pretty easily, but they aren't built in like they are in Presenter with an annotation function. You'd have to build them by hand in Storyline (which is fast and easy, just not automatic on click like in Presenter).
  • Animations. The animations in Storyline are relatively limited. This is something I think the team is looking at. This shortcoming doesn't bother me much. I really like to use other animation tools for these outputs and bring them in as video. Storyline's video compression is amazing.
  • Working in Powerpoint. Storyline is standalone. So if you really love all of the features Powerpoint offers, Storyline could be a bit of a shift. Fortunately, Storyline's interface is similar to Powerpoint in a lot of ways.

As for audio, video and other media - I think you'll be very happy with the support offered in Storyline. Activities are also a breeze to build using templates and free-form interactions. If you're feeling saucy, you can delve into triggers, layers, and variables. You can certainly stay on the first floor, but when you're ready Storyline can grow with you.

All depends on what types of outputs you're aiming for. Presenter could be faster to build and offer features better tuned to your needs. Storyline is simply more capable all around, but also a bit more complex.

Bruce Graham

Debra Jones said:

Wow, didn't expect to receive a reply so soon. Thanks for your thoughts, I'm leaning towards Storyline. Do you know if I can add my own audio narration to slides with Storyline? I need this feature, which Studio offers, for learners with English as a second language. I did notice a very exciting feature,  where the text can be changed to other languages. 


There will also (shortly?) be a feature released that allows for text-content to be exported . translated > reimported in some way, no more details yet.

Added to the change of text on the player, this will fully open this product up as an option to thise of us working in multiple languages.


G Dian

Hooked on Storyline!!!!  Provides even more scope for creativity!!!

I am marginally disappointed though that Storyline does not apparently support audio spanning across multiple slides as per Steve's post above. 

I have a specific requirement and am trying to find a 'plan b' to get it to work.  The requirement is to have animated images appearing / disappearing / moving about the screen, along with brief and basic headline text doing much the same, and crucially some background music.  There's no requirement for any learner interactivity in this 20 second or so piece - it's purely visual, creating a particular mood (in this case snappy / fast-paced / dynamic).  I originally developed the 20 second piece in PowerPoint and Presenter 09.  If I want to develop the complete module that this 20 second piece will form just a small part, the only way I can think of getting it into Storyline is by playing it either in PowerPoint screen show or in Flash and using Storyline Screen Record.  Am I right, or can anyone think of a slicker way?  (I have Adobe Premiere Elements 10 which may provide another alternative if anyone has any thoughts on that)?????

Many thanks!

G Dian

And I've answered my own question!!!

For anyone who read my earlier question about capturing PowerPoint output as a video file for inserting into Storyline, the process is pretty simple, at least using MS Powerpoint 2010 and wants to know how to do it, simply save the PowerPoint file, then click on 'File', 'Save and Send', select 'Save as Video' determine the settings you require and click on 'Create video'.  Hey presto!  Then the finished video can be edited in video editing software of imported as it is into Storyline, or even Studio.

Jeanette Brooks

@G Dian - glad you found a solution that works for you! Another idea that some folks like to use for background audio is to build their content on a single slide, and use layers for the content they want to display while the background audio plays. This way, they just insert the audio on the base layer of the slide and then create triggers to display the other layers when needed. Here's a discussion thread where another Storyline user asked a similar question, and it contains an example of the slide layer approach for using background audio. Hope that helps!

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