Updating SWF

Nov 07, 2013

After editing a flash/SWF animation, Is there a way to update a swf file in Storyline without having to reimport?

8 Replies
Leslie McKerchie

Hi Ed! 

A SWF file can be inserted into Storyline either as a video or as a Flash object. So how do you decide which method is best? It depends on how you'll use the SWF file:

  • If your SWF file is a movie that requires no interaction from users, use the Insert > Video > Video from File option. This synchronizes the video with the slide's timeline.
  • If your SWF file contains interactive elements, use the Insert > Flash option. This method plays the SWF file independently of the slide, allowing your users to interact with it at their own pace.

These are the two supported methods.

Ed Gen

Thanks Leslie for your reply. However, my question is pertaining to updating an edited Flash object. I understand Adobe Captivate has this process but was wondering if Storyline has a similar feature.

For example, there are times when I need to change text, timing, or an image of an inserted Flash object (SWF). After I edit the original FLA using Adobe Flash, I would publish an updated SWF. In Storyline, do I delete the unedited SWF and re-insert the newly published SWF?

In Capivate, all we have to do is right-click the flash object and select "update" to implement the latest file.

Paul Colby

I'd like to weigh in on this issue. I am building a course with 82 pages, each page has a .swf file inserted. With each QA review, there are often changes needed for each .swf. In Presenter, after making changes to Flash files and republishing the .swfs, all that was needed was to republish Presenter course and .swf files would be automatically updated. With Storyline 3, which I am currently evaluating for possible use in our organization, they do not update. Mike's suggestion is not feasible. No way we're going to go through the course after each review, identify Storyline's name for each .swf, then rename and copy over. That would take way too long. Deleting the .swf from each page and re-importing would also take too long. Why can't you guys just auto-update inserted content ... keep a link to external resources and update them on each publish? This is so basic, especially for a Flash based product, I can't believe it's even an issue. It was bad enough that Presenter used absolute instead of relative paths to imported .swfs, but even that was better than no link at all to inserted content that is continually updated over and over and over. Please tell me I'm missing something.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Paul,

We don't automatically update the files you've added into your project if you make changes to the original on your computer. Once they're added to the project, they're pulled in and connected to the .story file in case you need to move the .story file from one location to another.

If you'd like to see the updates happen automatically, perhaps instead you could look at linking to web objects and then once the changes have been made to the web-hosted content that'll update within the published content. 

Paul Colby

I tried the link you included and found no information about linking to web objects. Here is the problem with the way that Storyline handles external files. If you click on the web object, it shows a link to an index.html file, as shown in the attached image. If you update that index.html file and then click "Test Link" from within the "Edit Web Object" dialog box, Storyline will show the updates you made to the index. html file. However, when publishing, Storyline does not include the updated index.html file that is shown by the path name in the attached image. Storyline instead includes the original index.html file that existed when you first inserted the Web Object. As you said, the original index.html file has been permanently connected to the .story file and any changes I make to the original index.html file are for naught. The only way to include the changes made to the index.html file are to delete and re-import, or to manually copy into the published Storyline folder. For 82 screens, that is not going to happen. Just not efficient. There has to be a better way, for example, the way Articulate Presenter 09 worked, where imported .swf files were updated automatically upon publish. Why or why do you make things so difficult Storyline? If I need to move my project from one location to another, it is on me to also move the associated files, including Web Objects. I don't need Storyline involved on that level. The number of times I move a project location is almost nil. The number of times I update an external Web Object is way too many  to count. If I were on the Storyline team, I would default to externally linked content being updated automatically upon publish.

Web Object Path Name

Crystal Horn

Hey Paul.  Thanks for taking the time to describe what you're seeing.  It seems like it's been a frustrating process for you to first discover how best to update that content, and then to manually do it.

Web objects allow you to insert "web content" from two types of sources:  your computer and drives, and from external web servers.  Each type of content behaves a bit differently once inserted into Storyline:

  • Content from your computer (like your F: drive, illustrated above): Storyline pulls in the "local" content and makes it a part of the published output.  If it's been pulled in and published once, updates are not reflected without removing the web object entirely and re-adding it.
  • Content from the internet: Storyline will reference this external, "online" content, so you'll always see the latest updates to the web content when launching your course without needing to edit the source file.

The issue that you've identified is that when you test the "local" web content in Storyline, you're seeing the updated content on your machine rather than what's currently embedded in the Storyline course.  That is misleading and definitely something that can be improved for your experience.

I'll document this issue (as well as the need to make it easier to update locally hosted web objects) and keep you in the loop about any changes.  I'm glad you shared so we can keep getting better!

I know it isn't ideal for you right now, but the best bet for your F: drive web content will be to remove the web object and re-add it when you need to make updates.

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