Want layers to show at specific points on a narration-cue points?

Nov 16, 2013

I have a one minute narration on a slide and I want specific layers to show when I get to specific points in the narration.  I added "cue points" to the narration, thinking I could hook them into a trigger, but I cannot.  In fact the term "cue points" does not show up in the support files or forums at ALL.  (1) What the heck are cue points supposed to be used for if not as triggers, and (2) even if it's not by using cue points, how can I set layers to show at specific points during a narration?

20 Replies
Kevin Thorn

Hi Susan,

Cue points are used to mark specific spots on the timeline based on points in the narration. The cue points are then used to align objects and text boxes to appear, fade-in, etc. While  you can't tie a cue point to a trigger, that is a great feature request for the next version of Storyline. I hadn't even considered that before.

That said, here's how you can trigger a layer to show based on points in the timeline:

  1. Insert a shape. Any shape. It's just going to be used as a 'dummy function' and place it off to the side of the slide
  2. Create as many shapes as you need based on how many cue points/layers you want to show.
  3. Label them 1, 2, 3, etc.
  4. Even though they're positioned off the slide, they still appear in the timeline. Move the first shape and align it with the first cue point.
  5. Align the remaining shapes to their respective cue points on the timeline
  6. Add a trigger to the first shape to "Show Layer 1 when [shape 1] is equal to Normal." The shape is already Normal *but* the timeline doesn't know that until it actually appears. Once the timeline reaches that cue point it will recognize that shape as Normal and thus show the layer.

Things to consider is how do you want the Layer to behave once it's shown. The main timeline will continue to play the narration so you'll need a trigger to "Pause Media - audio narration - when Shape 1 is equal to Normal"

Or - if you just want to show the Layer for a brief second or two while the narration continues, just set a trigger on the Layer to hide when the timeline ends. Then just adjust the timeline of the Layer accordingly to 1 or 2 seconds to time the hiding with the narration.

That should work.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi David,

The method Kevin shared here is to get the layers to display at a particular time, but otherwise you'd need to set up a trigger to display them based on a click or hover. If you haven't already, I'd suggest sharing your thoughts on how you'd like to be able to work with layers by sending a feature request along to our development team. 

Kevin Thorn

Hi Donald,

You are correct in that you don't see that as a selection. 

Let's recap...you'll create a shape and place it off the slide. Like all objects, their initial state is "Normal." 

Even though it's off to the side and not a design element as part of the main content on the slide, it still appears in the timeline. Move that shape on the timeline to a cue point. For example, at 3 seconds. 

The trigger you want to add is not an Object trigger, rather a Player trigger because we're going to fire that trigger off based on the timeline and not the user clicking. That said, add this trigger: Show Layer [name] when the Shape [name] is equal to Normal.

When the slide starts and the timeline begins, the Shape is 'not' normal because it doesn't appear yet. Once it appears at that 3 second mark, Storyline then recognizes it and since it is by default Normal, the trigger will fire and show the layer.

Hope that helps clarify.

Diane  Dempcy

Hey folks,

Not quite getting the layer with narration trigger.  Here's what I'm doing that is NOT working:

  • Inserted a trigger box off to the side "bullet trigger" in the base layer
  • Timed trigger box with narration in base layer
  • Created a layer with bullets with trigger:  Show layer, bullets, timeline starts, bullet trigger shape.
  • Nothing happening when the narration hits the timeline. 

Per Kevin's instructions, I don't have anything that says "is equal to Normal" on my trigger box. 

Thanks for any suggestions!  Diane

Dwayne Schamp

I do this but use "when timeline starts" then select the object that i am using as the trigger. There is a slide timeline, but each objects timeline can be used to trigger anything else you can do with a trigger. 

So here, Layer 1 will show when the timeline of Rectangle 1 starts.

Contrary-wise, you can use "Timeline ends" for the object in the same manner.

Diane  Dempcy

Hi Ashley,
Sorry for the delay. Below is a dropbox link. I have layers in slide 1
and 9. I'm just not getting what I'm doing wrong. Do I have to have the
audio in the layer? Hopefully you'll see what my problem is.

Thanks so much for taking a look. Diane


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Diane,

Thanks for sharing your file. I took a look and saw the object on slide one that you inserted offstage, but there aren't any triggers associated with it that are connected to your audio files. It is being triggered to show a layer - but that layer also doesn't have any audio on it. Without knowing how you'd like the course to behave in terms of closing the layer or which audio file to play, I hesitate to make changes to it. What the trigger may look like is "Play media 'Sound 1' when the timeline of Textbox 1 'trigger' starts".

If you're still having difficulty please let us know. 

Diane  Dempcy

I want my layer to come in at cue point 2. So let me see if I understand:

Insert full audio into base layer
Insert object off screen on base layer to trigger at cue point 2
Create layer with content
Copy full audio to layer? I did that and the sound on the layer played on
top of the base layer audio
On base layer trigger off screen object to trigger layer at 24 seconds?
Do I need to put the layer to trigger at 24 seconds with the audio?
Do I need a trigger on the layer.

Boy, I'm lost. . . .So appreciate your help!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Diane,

Since you're using Storyline 1 you won't be able to set up triggers based on a cue point, but I think you may be over complicating things - easy to do in Storyline. 

Taking a look at just the first slide, and using what you've already got. I added a trigger to play the media "sound1" when the timeline on the "trigger" shape starts. That shape is also showing the layer automatically. 

I also made a duplicate of that slide, and just put the audio right on the layer so that it'll play when the layer starts - and the audio is not tied just to the base layer. 

I didn't change any other settings, so the base slide timeline will continue to play - and there isn't any triggers to hide the layer, but since the base layer and slide layer can play together it all works and everything is visible. 

Let us know if we're misunderstanding what you'd like to set up. 

Diane  Dempcy


I'm not getting it.  As staff do you have the ability to call me?  I also cannot find the "media" trigger in the "when" field.  I'm sure I'm missing something very simple, but I've played with it and still can't figure it out. 

Just in case you are able to give me a call, my number is 504-330-6017.  Thanks!!

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