TIP: Controlling the NEXT Button 101

May 13, 2021

It's great to let users explore content on their own. But sometimes you need to ensure they view the full timelines on the slides and complete the interactions. For example, this might be required for compliance/regulatory reasons. 

In other words, sometimes you need to control when the Next button is disabled and enabled. 

The attached file demonstrates how to control the Next button in these situations: 

  • Force users to view the full timeline on all slides by using Restricted navigation
  • Force users to complete an interaction by verifying that all of the buttons have been clicked
  • Force users to view the full timelines on the slide layers by verifying that all of the timelines have been completed

The demo also explains how the triggers work.

Nothing new here for advanced users. But I hope newbies find this helpful.

By the way, this is about controlling the Next button while the user remains on one slide. If the slide branches to other slides, well, that's a custom menu. You'll find details about those here: https://community.articulate.com/discussions/articulate-storyline/create-a-custom-menu-slide 

18 Replies
Laura Parenti


I can’t thank you enough for putting this information together into a Storyline file and making it available to everyone! I’ve only been working with Storyline for around 9 months and I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to troubleshoot the courses I’ve made (and the ones I didn’t make but I’m now responsible for making sure they work) when learners get stuck when they try to replay or go back to a slide they’ve already seen. I wish I didn’t have to restrict navigation because I know the science behind letting learners explore, but that aspect is out of my hands when it comes to my employer. 

Thank you so much for this, and I feel that you’ve saved me many hours of frustration!

Judy Nollet

Hi, Laura,

Thanks for letting me know that this post was useful. 

FYI: I always recommend bookmarking this link: Articulate Tutorials & User Guides - E-Learning Heroes. The User Guides are a great resource for learning how things work.

And, in case you're interested, these links lead to some webinars I've done:

There are other miscellaneous tips on my Articulate profile page: Judy Nollet - Profiles - E-Learning Heroes (articulate.com)

Best wishes with your Storyline projects!

Glenn Bragazza

Hi Judy,

Some really helpful content there, thanks for sharing!

I'm having a bit of trouble with slide attached. I was hoping you could offer a solution.

I've got 3 buttons, 2 set to disabled until the first has been visited and the subsequent layers seen.
I have a variable that says whether or not the 1st button has been set to T/F based on whether it's visited or not.
And I'm trying to make it so that Button 2's state turns to Normal once one of the 3 'answer' layers have been shown i.e. once the variable changes to True and the final layer in that trigger sequence has been seen and closed.

No matter what I try, it doesn't work properly. I have to go through the layers shown from clicking button 1, then once back on the base layer, have to click Button 1 again for Button 2's state to change. I've tried when the cursor hovers over the page, but that requires the cursor leaving the page and then returning. I've tried quite a few things but no luck!

Hoping you can help!!

Or am I trying to do something I needn't bother trying? Would it be better to cover the whole layer with semi-transparent colour, and just have a trigger saying 'change state of button 2 when button 1 is visited' - omitting variables altogether?

Judy Nollet

Hi, Glenn,

The attached file shows a simplified way to present each character's content, using only 1 layer per character.

The trick? Using states for the Feedback, which is controlled by a text variable. And enabling the next character button is done with a simple trigger on the layer's Close button. 

After the edited slide, I added a slide with some additional notes. 

Since this isn't directly related to the topic of this post, I suggest you start a new discussion if you have additional questions about your interaction. That'll make it easier for others to find in the future when searching. Also, a new post will probably be answered more quickly. (FYI: The Forum doesn't tag people. Someone will only get a notification if they subscribe to a discussion. So even a post's author won't necessarily get notified when a comment is added.) 

Danielle Dupuis

Hi Judy!  Thank you so much, this has helped.  But I still cannot get Next > to display Normal so users can click to proceed to the next slide. I've checked my triggers at the base layer as well as all 4 layers, set my value to 4, etc. Something is still not working. Am I able to confidentially send you these two slides to view? Any help would be appreciated.

Judy Nollet

Here are the best practices for uploading a .story file to the Forum for troubleshooting:

  • Only include slides that are related to the problem.
  • Be sure objects, layers, motion paths, and variables have meaningful names.
  • If there is proprietary content, replace or delete it. For example, replace proprietary text with “ipsum lorem” text.
Danielle Dupuis

OK, I removed all slides but the 4 in question.  When you click on the section on the Index, you go right to these two sections which are my problem child.  Next at the end of each section should go back to the index. I also can't get my icon1 on slide 1.3 Layers to trigger to normal when you hover over them. This is one of my first three projects, so bear with me. I appreciate the help and 2nd set of eyes on this. 

Judy Nollet

You don't need triggers to change to Visited or Hover states. Those have built-in functionality. Here's more info: PRIMER: Take advantage of built-in states - Articulate Storyline Discussions - E-Learning Heroes

The icons for closing layers on slide 1.3 don't work because their Initial state is Disabled. That means the program can't recognize when someone hovers over them or clicks them, so they're never changed to Normal. Instead, start them in the Normal state, but don't show them until just before the timeline ends. (Alternately, you could start them Disabled, and trigger them to change to Normal when the timeline ends.) 

There are also some issues with clicking the icons, because the transparent checkmark isn't clickable. Here's more info: TIP: Making icons easier to program and easier to click - Articulate Storyline Discussions - E-Learning Heroes

The triggers that disable Next when the timeline starts would run if a user revisits the slide. They need conditions to prevent that from happening if the user has completed the requirements. For example: 

Note that the conditions are connected with "or" (not "and"). That means the trigger will run if either variable is False. 

You don't need the number variables to track that the layers are viewed. You can enable Next using just the T/F variables.

Note that the conditions are connected with "and" (not "or"). That means the trigger will only run if both variables are True. 

I fixed these issues for the Section 1 content in the attached file. That should help you figure out how to fix the issues for Section 3. 

Good luck!

Danielle Dupuis

That was extremely helpful.  I was getting so frustrated this week, but you just helped me understand those triggers...I know I will use those for the many projects I have on my plate.  I will be sure to keep these notes and additional links saved for future reference.  Thanks again for your time, much appreciated!  I can rest easy this long Memorial Day weekend!