Storyline Seek Bar & Layers Functionality

Mar 21, 2014

Hi there. I am hoping we can get some ideas rolling here, and I hope I can clearly describe what I am dancing with.

I have been looking to find a nice clean solution to seek bar functionality, but all I do is stumble on new hurdles.

My objective is to create courses that allow users to utilize the seek bar in the obvious way, while having interactive content on each slide.

This works just about never. When ever audio is set to a trigger, the seek bar no longer tracks the audio, causing the user to lose seek bar functionality. 

Even more, if the audio is left connected to the seek bar and triggered to stop, and then interactive audio is trigger and a user clicks the seek bar, audio doubles up.

I have attacked this from several angles, and attached is my most promising solution. However, a more clicky user will break this too.

I have three layers set with only audio.

Each layer is trigger by a button on the base layer.

Base layer objects are visible while any layer is primary. 

Layers allow seeking.

Layers reset to initial state on revisit.

When a user clicks the object to trigger a layer, and then clicks that same object again, the base layer resets. When you toggle the seek bar and press play, audio doubles.

I created a work around by placing a transparent blocker on the layer to prevent the user from clicking it twice.

Please check out the attachment. It is mush easier to see.

After all of my rambling, what I really want to understand is how does the seek bar and layers work. It seems to have arbitrary rules that I can't always wrap my head around.

Many thanks for any contributions.


24 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Tim,

I took a look at your file and didn't see any layer set up, but to answer your general question, ff you use a trigger to play audio in Storyline, learners won't be able to use the seekbar to control how the audio plays—i.e., they won't be able to scrub back-and-forth through the narration. Audio that plays only when triggered is divorced from the slide's timeline, since it requires certain conditions to be met first (such as clicking a button).

To trigger audio and control its playback, do the following:

  1. Add a layer to your slide. (You don't need to add any elements to the layer unless you want to. It can be blank.)
  2. Import your audio to the new layer. (Use the default timing, so it'll start at the beginning of the layer's timeline.)
  3. Click the gear icon (the Properties button) for the layer, and do the following:
    • Mark the box to Hide slide layer when the timeline finishes.
    • Use the Allow seeking drop-down to select Yes.
    • Click OK.
  4. Modify your original trigger so that it shows the new layer (rather than playing the audio).
Tim Samp

That makes sense that you don't see layers, probably because I uploaded the wrong file.: /

(too many samples on my desktop I guess).

Take a look now...I edited my original post with the correct file.

I have used the set up you suggested, and it almost gets me to where I want to be, but play with the file I re-uploaded and you  will be able to see the new issue I ran into with the base layer.

I understand how audio behaves in the timeline vs. a trigger. The hindrance is that if I want the timeline audio to stop, it will restart with you toggle the seek bar.

Daniel Brigham

Tim: Perhaps I don't quite understand what you are wanting, but when I trigger the various layers, scrub the seekbar, the audio is appropriately attached to it. No odd restarting.

And as Ashely showed above, it you want to hide the base layer you could choose that selection in Slide Properties. If you want to hide just some objects, go to the layer in question and and at the below you'll see a triangle next to "base layer objects." Click on that and hide the objects you want to hide.

Dig the cement texture by the way. --Daniel

Tim Samp

Thanks for the response Daniel.

The catch is I don't want to hide the base layer.

I am trying to set up a complete user controlled slide that utilizes the seek bar scrub functionality. I want the user to control the slide from the base layer buttons, then each layer to function as only a way to control the audio. I have almost accomplished this, but now I found a way that a click happy user would break my slide.

Take a look at the file I uploaded and follow the steps as they show up and you'll see the new issue I've stumbled upon with the doubled layer and audio.


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Tim,

I am not getting any double audio when clicking on your different layers - although I do see some doubled up text when I click within the seekbar after I've "visited" each of the additional buttons and their state has changed and then use the seekbar. This is expected as the state has changed when I clicked on each of them and then if I revisit the base layer the original text shows through. I'm also unsure what you mean by "toggle" the seekbar? Could you provide a bit more detailed steps on what you'd want us to click on and in what order?

Tim Samp

Hi Ashley...Thanks for taking a look.

As you can see, the audio on each layer is short, so you do have to click quickly.

For this example, the audio is shorter, but I have other instances with longer audio.

1. Wait for the blue box buttons to appear.

2. Click the "Click to trigger audio on layer" box

3. Click it again.

4. Click any where in the seek bar.

5. Click play.

You can also see the same behavior with the box on the right.

Base layer audio plays and text appears.

I don't fully understand this statement from you: "This is expected as the state has changed when I clicked on each of them and then if I revisit the base layer the original text shows through."

My triggers are set up to change the state of the boxes on the base layer and show each corresponding layer, but never to go back to the base layer or replay it, so I am stumped as to why this happens.

There is no trigger to return to base layer on the slide or any layer. The only option selected on the layer properties is "hide other slide layers" ( to prevent audio on each layer from laying over each other).

Toggle seek bar=click seek bar and have it navigate to a place in the audio/timeline/etc

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the additional directions of how to see this behavior. 

So there are a few things happening in your file that are allowing you to have duplicated audio. First, the audio is the only thing on the layer, whereas the text boxes and shapes that the user click on are on your base layer and are changing states. This is what I meant that the state has changed, and if I clicked back to the beginning of your seekbar the state of each object is still visited and overlaps the text box that reads "Objects set to appear when timeline complete."  which is obviously just a place holder and not a part of your slide's text but worth pointing out. 

Your layers are also set up to always show the base layer, so even though you haven't hidden the individual layers, the base layer is still accessible and and when clicking back into the seekbar you'll see the text overlap.

If you want to prevent the audio from playing if the slide has been completed before, there isn't a built in feature for that and using the seekbar would allow you to jump back in the slide, but you could control the audio on the base layer instead by creating a true/false variable for each slide, to monitor whether the audio has played completely. Check out this discussion thread where Brian explains how to do it.  You'll then want to set the audio on the base layer to play based on a trigger instead of automatically so that the value of the variable would control it when revisiting the slide. 

Tim Samp

Thanks for the response Ashley.

I still do not understand how/why the base layer resets. Nothing on the slide says restart base layer time line. I need the layers to show the base layer in order for users to access the audio on each layer, and from what I understand, once I make a layer active, that layer's timeline is represented in the seek bar, regardless of if the base layer is hidden. 

It is important that our courses utilize the seek bar as one would it expect it to work, so converting audio to a triggered audio is not a user-friendly option. When this happens, a user will click the seek bar hoping to rewind or jump forward, but nothing happens.

The only way I can get my audio to operate independently and allow seeking is to put the audio on individual layers ,allow seeking, and block the base layer trigger of the active layer. Take a look at the middle box (Shelter-In-Place) in my example of how I made everything work.

I placed a transparent object on the trigger layer. So when the layer fires and the audio plays, the user can click away at whatever, and the base layer never resets. I never get doubled text or audio.

From all I can tell, this double-click dilemma that I described in my last post seems like a glitch that doesn't have logic behind it. I am hoping to understand what's going on if that is not the case. If what you are describing is true, I would guess that my transparent box fix would not function as well as it does.

Thanks for your patience as I do my best to type this all out. Getting into the specifics of storyline challenges isn't always easy.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Tim,

Sorry if I've confused you - let me try again. 

I didn't mean that the base layer is resetting - but that it's always accessible as it's not hidden on the individual layers and users are able to click on it and within the seekbar.  In regards to the "transparent shape" - it's not clicking on those objects twice which is causing the replay of the base layer audio - it's clicking back within the seekbar and then clicking the play button, but I also don't see any transparent shapes on those layers? 

Anyway - I played with your file a bit further and ended up setting each of the layers to "pause the base layer" and  "allow seeking - yes". This stops me from being able to replay the base layer audio or have any of the other audio overlap. 

Tim Samp

Hi's me : )

So I played with your file and I can still create the same problem.

The transparent shapes are there...just look at the time line on my original file.

Take a look at the file I attached.

I have lowered the transparency so you can see the function they have. They allow the user to interact with the objects on the base layer, while preventing them from double clicking the active layer trigger and creating the base layer reset.

So now I have finally come to a point where I can clearly ask a question.

At what point does the seek bar transition from controlling the timeline on a layer and the timeline on the base?

What causes the seek bar to jump from controlling a layer to a base?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Tim,

It's not the clicking on the layer object again that cause the audio on the base layer to replay though, you can click on it once, show the layer with that audio and then click on the seekbar, hit play and both audio overlaps in your original file. Clicking on it a second time doesn't have an impact in the original file.  I tested my file again, and I can't get the audio to overlap and have been clicking all over and very quickly. So I'm not sure what's different about how I've tested it vs. how you've tested it? 

When you allow seeking on a layer, and pause the timeline of the base layer - the layer now controls seeking for that layer. If you don't pause the timeline of the base layer, then you'll be able to seek back through it and replay the audio for both the layer your on and the base layer. 

Tim Samp

I do the exact same thing as I was doing before.

On your file:

1. Click the "Click to trigger..." layer button

2. Click it again

3. Click the seek bar

4. Click play

Same issue.

It only happens when I re-trigger the layer.

When I use a transparent object over the base layer trigger, it prevents me from click the layer trigger a second time, avoiding the base layer reset.

I've had a couple other co-workers try and they were able to reproduce the same issue too.

I am sorry, but I am not closer to understanding how layers work in conjunction with the seek bar and base layer.It seems like the only way to get the result I am looking for is to play until it just works.

Stephan Sinka

Tim , Ashley ( et al)

I've been reading through your posts and I can recreate Tim's issue of base layer audio on top of  Lock-down layer audio. By altering all the audio layers properties to "pause timeline of base layer"  the scrubbing seek-bar issue with double audio ceases. ( as Ashley described). So in short, pause the base slide timeline and avoid the ability to invoke the base layer reset (audio) on top of a layer with the seek bar.

Yan C

I have a slide with 4 clickables and the 4 slide layers showing when you click one of the four clickables. Now everything works fine until you revisit the slide.

I have a video that plays before the clickables show up at the end of the video.(set above the video in layer position so it will be clickable) Video is about 30 sec.

I have set the slide at 'Resumed Saved State' so the four clickables will be there shown with the visited and hover state still intact.

For some reason, the video starts playing at about 21 sec. when revisiting. There is no known trigger that sets it to play at that exact position. 

I also have built 8 versions of courses that applies this method with all of them acting the same way when revisiting but not consistently. For example, another course, same 4 clickables, different video, and this one only plays back about 3 seconds of the video. 


Any ideas?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Yan,

You mentioned you have the same set up across a few different files and they all behave differently. Please confirm that you're working on project files as described here. 

If you're still seeing odd behavior after confirming that you're working locally it would be helpful to take a look at one of your files, and you can attach a .story file here for us to take a look. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Felisha,

I don't have an example handy - and I can't think of any recent ones I've seen in the community. You could take a look at our general examples page here, and feel free to reach out to the Community for additional ideas by starting a new post (may get a bit more visibility that way) - you could also do it on the Building Better Courses side of ELH, as that's where more how to/design posts tend to be focused.

Paul Escobar

HI , 

We seem to be experiencing the same type of thing as Tim.  We have slides with layers but the scrub bar is not stopping the animation and sometimes the audio does not play.  Example:  Audio is on base layer with a title.  The base layer is set to show all the time. There are two layers.  The layers have animation movements. When the slide gets to the layers the animation continues to go and toggling the seekbar button between pause and play does nothing. We want to be able to scrub through the entire slide, pause and play where the trainee needs to. 

  • base slide - contains all audio and layers none
  • base slide - set to show, Hide other slide layers is only one chosen - Layers
  • pause timeline of base layer checked - Layers
  •  Allow seeking set to yes - Layers
  • When revisiting set to Automatically decide - Layers
Lisa Schweitzer

I agree with Paul. If we are having to remove the layers, it defeats the purpose of the use of layers. When we have layers the scrub bar (search bar) does not seem to be working. Lots of double voices or the whole layers are missing, only shows the information on the base layer. Except the talking is on the base layer and that has disappeared as well. 

What is the true purpose of the Scrub bar when layers are involved?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Paul and Lisa,

I'm sorry for the confusion surrounding the layers and the seekbar. The seekbar should be able to seek through a layer if it's enabled as such, but with these types of setups, it's always helpful to look at and test the .story file. Can you share a copy with us here so that we can take a look?

If you'd prefer to share privately, no worries, our Support team are also happy to help and you can send it along to them here.

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