Variables Lost When Importing One Storyline 2 Project into Another One

Jan 26, 2016

I decided to run a test to verify what happens to variables when you import from one Storyline 2 project into another one. I made a sample project with some simple true/false variables (click a button to change the variable on one screen and the variable displays as a reference on the next screen) titled "test1" then saved off a second copy of it as "test2."

I opened "test2" and changed the names of the variables (so they no longer have the same names as the variables in "test1") but otherwise left the project the same. I then opened "test1" and imported "test2" into it. The slides appear but the variables from "test2" are gone. When I open the variables list I only see the variables from "test1," but their use count has increased by 1 each. It appears that the triggers in the imported "test2" slides have been changed to use the variables from "test1." But the displayed reference in the imported "test2" slides still shows the original "test2" variables in the text box.

Does anyone have any idea why this is happening?

I'm working locally for all of this. I'll attach images below.

19 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jennifer,

What update of Storyline are you working on? I ask, because there was an issue fixed and described below:

You may find that your variables are unexpectedly renamed when you import slides from one project into another.

This issue was corrected in Update 5 for Articulate Storyline 2. To take advantage of the new features and fixes, install the latest version from the link in your product confirmation email or download it here.

If you're still having difficulty we'll want to take a look at the .story file. 

Jennifer Ritter

There should be 6 variables in the "merged" project: button1clicked, button2clicked, and button3clicked from "test1" and var1, var2, and var3 from "test2." If you view "merged_vars.JPG" you'll see that button1clicked, button2clicked, and button3clicked are the only variables.

That said, their use count in that screen cap (3) is one higher than it is in "test1_vars.JPG" So, it may be possible that they're being re-named. But if that's the case, I'm thrown off by the fact that the displayed reference for the "var#" variables still shows up (see "merged_test2_display.JPG) in the text box but the triggers it's supposed to be controlled by (which are on the screen after the buttons with the triggers) are using the "button#clicked" variables (see "merged_test2_button_triggers.JPG).

Walt Hamilton

Pretty much a wild guess on my part, and it's kind of esoteric, but I think it is a programming thing.

My best guess is that when you create the variables, they get an internal name. When you duplicate the story, they have the internal names. When you rename them, you don't change the name, only a database tag that describes them (much like a label). When they are imported, the internal name is imported, but not the tag database.

The text boxes that display the values on the second slide (%var#%) are connected to the variables only if there is a variable of that name. Otherwise, they are just symbols in a text box, and shouldn't be expected to change.

Don't know if this helps you, but it is consistent with the behavior you're seeing, and that I saw when I looked at your files.

My experience importing shows that this is not a problem if the variables have not been renamed.

Jennifer Ritter

Thanks for putting forward that theory Walt. The same thought crossed my mind too.

I have a feeling that there won't be much that I can do about it for the "real" project I built these tests for. But if the Articulate folks can confirm or pin down the cause for sure maybe I'll be able to adjust my work flow in the future to avoid this (or at least be prepared for it if there isn't an alternative).

Jennifer Ritter

Support got back to me. Here's the response in case anyone else runs into this:

"I understand that you observed that importing a slide with variables derived from the destination project, renamed the variables and saved a duplicate through Save-as, they are not imported into the destination file.

We have reviewed the behavior and we were able to duplicate your issue. I have submitted your case to our Quality Assurance team for their review. Unfortunately I was unable to determine a workaround. I cannot offer a time frame for when or if this issue will be resolved."

Christie Pollick

Hi, Jake -- Thanks for reaching out and unfortunately, we are not able to provide timeframes for if or when issues can be resolved. As a ticket is already in with our QA team for investigation and this forum post has been linked to the ticket, any updates we receive will be shared here, and you will receive email notification as you are now subscribed to the thread. Your patience is appreciated! 

Ryan Davenport

Oh here's a fun bug... I've been messing around importing different ways. Created a new project and imported my multiple .story files into it. Most of my buttons either lost their associated text, or the states of the buttons are crazy. Most have things shifted all over the place. 

I have a client that changed their mind, wanting their individual courses as one large course. It's looking like I'm going to have to rebuild a ton of this because of this major bug... 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Ryan,

Update 22 of Storyline 360 included a fix for an issue where a renamed variable reverts to its original variable name if you had imported a file into another .story that has the original variable. We're now on Storyline 360, build 3.24.17733.0.

As for the behavior you're seeing with the buttons changing or missing text upon import, and the button states going haywire, it doesn't match any known bugs. I'd like to have our team take a look at your file to do some testing - this way we'll determine if it's a bug in the file or something happening in Storyline. I'll open a case for you - so keep your eyes out for an email from! 

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