Timeline Preview vs. Project Preview

Jan 28, 2015

Hi everyone,

I'm using Storyline right now for a screencasting/tutorial project, which means I'm using the Timeline Preview (i.e. pressing space bar to stop and start at play head) to play and add cue point for annotations, etc.

The problem I'm having is that I'm finding this preview is actually inaccurate and the timing is different than when I click Preview under the Publish menu on the Ribbon at the top of the screen. This is a serious problem as it means all of my cue points are off and it is taking me a lot longer than it should to put together a simple annotated screencast.

Are there any plans to fix this issue? I also notice that the more I use the Preview Timeline function (with the space bar), Storyline seems to crash a lot more (three times yesterday).

Any help would be great - thanks!

31 Replies
HPL Training

Sorry, forgot to mention - I'm using Storyline 1.

I haven't used the timeline preview very much in the past, so I don't have much to compare it to unfortunately.

I seem to notice it more the more objects are on a slide. If I press the play button in the middle of the timeline, it definitely doesn't start at the right spot because the audio of the screencast and the annotations are off. Actually clicking Preview does not cause this.

HPL Training

When I click Preview, it runs as it should (or as I assume it should). It is not the shapes that are out of sync on the timeline preview - it is the audio/screencast that is out of sync with the shapes. If I start at the beginning of the timeline it doesn't seem as bad.


Let's say I start the timeline preview at the beginning, and at 12 seconds exactly the screencast shows clicking on a link on a website and the audio of the screencast says "Click this link." If I pause the timeline and then move the playhead back to the 12 second mark, the audio will not be the same - it will be slightly earlier/later. This stops me from using the timeline to add cue points and align objects, since I know that's not the right spot on the timeline.

Hopefully this makes sense.

Stacy B

Hello Emily,

I, too, am having this issue using the Timeline Preview in Storyline 2, and yes, I've done the upgrade. I am sure to work off my hard drive.  I also have trouble with the more fully engaging Preview | This Slide.  If I slide down the track, then quite often the audio and vido do not line up.  Seems like fixing this should be a priority.  I don't feel I should not have to Unistall and Reinstall to get proper function.  I work remotely and am not confident this will fix the problem.

Sandra Stocks

I too am experiencing this issue. It's very frustrating and incredibly time consuming! Not only do things get out of sync in the timeline preview, it also happens in the regular preview when I "jump ahead" via the playbar. This means for every visual cue I add, I have to listen to the entire screencast from the beginning. 

Has a fix been found yet?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Sandra,

I know that a number of users have shared inconsistencies in the timeline preview, and that is something our team continues to take a look at improving.

As for the behavior with your seekbar while viewing the entire preview of the course or the published output - do you have a video in connection with the slide elements? Have you enabled the video controls, if so that disassociates the slide timeline with the video timeline and therefore items can be out of sync. Our team is investigating some unusual behavior with the seekbar set up when you've adding other elements such as text boxes and audio/video (no controls) and how they can get out of sync. If that's what you're seeing as well, I'll include this thread in the report filed with our team. 

Sandra Stocks


I experienced the strange behavior with the full preview and jumping ahead during a different project a few months ago--so I didn't try it again on my current project. 

Also noteworthy is that on some days the timeline preview function seems to work better than others. For example yesterday I wasn't able to see the "current" snapshot of the screencast, when I paused the timeline preview, so I had to add all my callouts "blind". Yet this morning it seems to be working a little bit better.Maybe this is related to the length of the screencast, it's a bit shorter than the one I was working on when the timeline preview was barely working at all. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Sandra,

The timeline preview behavior has been inconsistent so your description seems to continue that experience as well. We'll keep folks posted here in the forums if we have any updates to share from our Quality Assurance team, so in the meantime your method of going blind, although no perfect seems to help work through the set up. 

Walt Hamilton


There is a better option for placing cue points that flying blind. I use a program with well-formed timing abilities (Audacity for audio, and MS MovieMaker for video) to find the exact (even to .01 sec) timing of the cue points, then set them to that number in SL. You still have to play the entire slide to check them, but seldom have to change them.

Having to preview the entire slide to check timing has given me a better appreciation of what I am subjecting my users to, as a bonus.

Sandra Stocks

Thanks Walt, 

All really great ideas. Unfortunately I'm creating software training and have to match up  screencasts with audio narration and visual cues. 

What's your experience with the quality of MP3s imported from other programs? At one point we considered importing  MP3s produced with Camtasia, but that seemed to erode the quality of the MP3 when they were published from Storyline. 

Any advice?


Leslie McKerchie

Hello Jessica and welcome to E-Learning Heroes :)

Thanks for reaching out and letting us know that you're running into an issue in Storyline 3 as well.

Are you using the latest update to Storyline 3, which is Build 3.6.18134.0?

I'd like to understand what you are experiencing.

  • Are you using the play button below the timeline?
    • If so...
      • is it always out of sync or only when scrubbing the timeline?
      • are you having difficulty using the spacebar to play/pause the content?
  • Do you have video or audio on the slide you're running into difficulty with?
Lisa Pastoor

I have the latest update and I'm also seeing differences in timing between preview and publish. I've gotten to the point where I'm only spot checking in preview and do my thorough QA in Review (published). This is pretty frustrating, especially bc I'm working with a complicated interactive video project that relies on cue points for jumps to pages based on end-user selections.

Leslie McKerchie

Thanks for sharing what you are experiencing within your projects as well, L P.

It looks like the original issue reported here was specific to Storyline 2.

Could you share some additional details about what is on your slide?

You mention an interactive video and that you're using cue points. Are you finding that the triggers you've aligned with cue points are not happening when expected once you've published the course?

With your permission, I'd like to take a look at your project file to investigate what's happening. You can share it publicly here, or send it to me privately by uploading it here. I'll delete it when I'm done troubleshooting.

Melissa Iverson


Looks like there's been a lot of back and forth on this thread, but I currently have Storyline 360 and I've been experiencing the same issue that is mentioned at the top of the thread  - throughout my entire eLearning, my timeline preview differs quite a bit in terms of timing from the View>Preview view. I've been trying to work around it, but it's been a challenge! I'm more than willing to send a segment of my training privately if that helps troubleshoot the issue. Thank you!

Crystal Horn

Hi there, Melissa. Thanks for reaching out! I started a support case so we can have a look at your training.

You should have an email from support@ articulate.com, and you can use the upload link to share your file privately with us. We'll delete it when we're done troubleshooting. And since you have Articulate 360 for Teams, you'll get priority support!

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