What we’re doing about Flash (updated 01/16/2020)

NOTE:  The discussion below is now outdated.  For the most updated information on how the end of Flash affects Articulate apps and courses, please click here.

You may have heard that Adobe is phasing out support for Flash in 2020. We’ve known that Flash has been on its way out for some time. To make sure we’re ready, we’ve been working hard to build tools that’ll fit your needs today and in the future.

We’ve been shifting to HTML5 for several years. That’s why Articulate 360 and Storyline 3 have HTML5-first or HTML5-only publishing options, making it easy for you to create e-learning that relies only on HTML5. You can read a bit more about our shift towards HTML5 here.

For your existing courses, you have a couple of options:

  • If you included HTML5 as a part of the published output, you can point to that directly over the Flash version and make sure your users are viewing the course in a supported HTML5 browser. Here’s how.
  • You can update your courses using Articulate 360 or Storyline 3, and publish for HTML5 only.

Articulate 360 is officially Flash-free, so the Flash Player isn’t required to use any Articulate 360 apps.  The same is true for Storyline 3.

Storyline 2 and Studio '13 rely on Flash for authoring.  We recommend that you upgrade to Storyline 3 or Articulate 360 since these applications do not have any Flash dependencies.

UPDATE (01/16/2020): Edited to link to this article.

246 Replies
Justin Grenier

Hi, Steve.

Desktop authoring isn't going away any time soon, and we are deeply invested in its ongoing growth.  In fact, you're going to see some amazing new features and improvements coming in the next few months.

As Ashley mentioned, you can already publish flash-free from Storyline and Studio--we just need to make desktop authoring work without Flash, and we are absolutely doing that.

Rise isn't a replacement for desktop authoring--here is how we see pros deciding when to use both!

Stephen OHearn

Hi Justin, 

Thanks for your speedy response.  I appreciate your take on this, since you started the thread.  So I have a couple of clarifying  questions 

Desktop authoring isn't going away any time soon, and we are deeply invested in its ongoing growth. (So what do you consider anytime soon, does that mean the next 5 to 10 years? 10- 15 years, never?)

In fact, you're going to see some amazing new features and improvements coming in the next few months. (For both StoryLine and Presenter, not just Rise?) 

Sorry if I am belaboring the point, I just need specifics If I am going to be making recommendations to clients about large software purchases. A detailed road map would be awesome! 



Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Stephen,

We've been adding new features to Storyline and Studio since Articulate 360 launched, so I don't see that stopping!  Take a look at the version history to see what we've done so far. As for what's to come - Justin is spot on that they're pretty amazing, and I hope you'll be as happy as we are! 

We don't share specifics of our development plans, but we're committed to our desktop authoring tools and staying current with technology. 😀

Curtis Wiens

The latest version of Adobe Animate (Flash) does a really good job exporting to HTML5. The files are clean with minimal dependencies, it does a great job optimizing content with sprite sheets too. I hand code most of the my animations but found Adobe Animate CC to works really well for creating HTML5 content for eLearning. 

Stephanie Long

I am currently converting courses to HTML5 and have run into problems embedding Captivate 8 software simulations into Storyline 2.  The simulations were in flash (.swf).  When I embed them with flash, the captivate controls do not work.  What is the recommended approach for using Captivate 8 output in Storyline 2 courses?  

Jackie Waskewicz

Hi there,

Does Storyline 360 (or any other version) have an HTML5 compatibility checker? While I know what is compatible or not, the courses I'm having to look at were not built by me.

I recently had to go back and upconvert courses in Captivate 9 which has an "HTML5 checker" that quickly shows which slides will be broken when publishing HTML5 only (typically hover/hotspot slides). I am now going back through our catalog of Storyline files and am wondering if I will need to go to each slide in each course to review what will need updating. Is there any quick tool that can assist in locating interactions or items that would be broken if published in HTML5?


Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Jackie,

We don't have an HTML5 compatibility checker. Storyline 360 was designed with HTML5 in mind, and we're continuing adding features and fixing any issues that appear specific to HTML5. Take a look at our version history. 

If you're using files that were created in Storyline 2, just open them in Storyline 360 and continue to work as normal. When you're ready to publish you'll see the new HTML5 only/First publishing options. Also, using the Preview button in Storyline 360 will also now preview in HTML5. 

Alex Arathoon

Hi all, this is a timely discussion. As the sole Instructional Designer creating induction content for my client Fastway Couriers, we're now migrating to Storyline 3 (no big desire for 360) and publishing HTML5 first - Flash second. Comparing graphic output (SL2) we're suitable impressed with the increase in quality and of course the sleek mobile player with swipe enabled, well done!

As browsers seem to disable Flash by default, using SL2 'grainy' or slightly 'blurry' graphics are served. Advising Learners to go through steps to enable Flash isn't great as most of our Learners are not tech savvy. Even accessing the Flash options can be a shore for people! 

As mentioned earlier IE. Edge has crippled some of my modules. IT 11 works well though. Some testers still using Edge although, the tech. specs are displayed via an enrollment email - who reads these???

Although HTML5 doesn't cover the whole range of functions compared with Flash it's very close. I believe Fastway will be happy with the move to HTML5.

I did note that when testing on Android (HTML5) some graphics crapped out (attached). Has anyone seen this? It's fine on other browsers tested / platforms. When I restart the module it's fine again. HTML5 glitch? I'll raise as a support ticket. Some pages also don't load with the circle of death spinning around and around.

I wanted to share with you a fantastic service. BrowserStack  is a subscription based tool that allows you to test website content on a variety of 'real' and 'virtual' devices. The big thing for us is to ensure our mods display properly across a variety of devices. I noted that when viewing on iPhones as soon as a nav button is pressed a horrible Safari menu would pop-up below. Very annoying. We decided to disable the default nav, create a chromeless player, and create our own nav buttons above. The other reason for custom nav is that we could 'gate' pages and allow the learner to move on only after reading several sub pages (layers).

Using BrowserSack allows us to test well before recommending browser configurations.

Jay Rymeski

I'm using the "index_lms.html and getting errors. Here are a couple of files to look at. The error screen ultimately resolves itself if you click through the boxes. The other grab is a look at the file structure of the .zip SCORM file I upload to our LMS. I am working in Storyline2.

Leslie McKerchie

Hey Jay,

Sorry to hear that you are getting an error on your LMS.

We have seen similar errors before. 

If your learning management system (LMS) automatically launches content in a separate browser window, don't set Articulate Storyline to launch content in a new window. Otherwise, you may encounter an LMS communication error.

To make sure Storyline doesn't launch your course in a new window, do the following:

  1. Go to the Home tab and click Player.
  2. Click Other on the ribbon.
  3. Uncheck the box to Launch player in new window (creates launch page).
  4. Click OK.



Jay Rymeski

Hi Leslie,

What I'm looking for is a work-around for eliminating any calls to initiate the Flash-driven version of the files sent up to the LMS via SCORM. I'll load my modified file structure up to the SCORM CLOUD and see what happens, but it's likely going to be the same.

I didn't see anyway within Storyline2 to NOT publish a Flash version. Is that an option in 3? 360? The issue here at Nike is that it's like pulling teeth to get IT to allow adoption of a new software platform. I've already written one javascript workaround to fix an issue with recording course completion on our LMS. I'm wondering if someone has written a script to bypass flash...


Leslie McKerchie

I could be misunderstanding Jay and you are certainly welcome to reach out here if you would like to chat with a support engineer on this.

This article explains how Storyline 2 determines which version of your content to display.

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