Articulate Vs Captivate


We are starting work on our e-learning offering. Presently all our focus is on the course material. 

Simultaneously we are talking to companies that provide enabling software for developing the course material for end delivery. 

The first big question that comes up is whether one should opt for Articulate or Captivate. I understand that one can actually use both, but if we were to choose one tool, which one would you recommend and why?

The other question is about protecting our content from being plagiarized. For instance, how can we prevent someone from downloading the video file... or copying our content. Which delivery platform would you recommend?

Thank you in anticipation. 



19 Replies
Kayla Burtch

If you have the file in an LMS there is no way (that I know of) to download the file. Also the file is "flash" output, so the file doesn't actually have the file you created (i.e from the flash file you cannot make changes via articulate/powerpoint)

My company looked at both articulate and captivate when we began making courses. We liked articulate because it uses powerpoint as it's root, so if you are already familiar with powerpoint then the learning curve is pretty low. Captivate is more extensive (I've heard) but the learning curve is higher.

Captivate has the ability to create better software demonstrations (where users can actually try out the software, with "popups" for suggestions etc) so if you are doing a lot of software training it might be a better option.

However for soft-skills training or similar articulate is better (in my opinion)

Also the BIGGEST plus about articulate is 1)you can customize almost everything (and even the things you can't there is usually a work-around) 2) The community (Forums, Tutorials, Free Downloadable Assets/Content, Course Examples etc.) turns you into an articulate Pro in no time. I'll be honest I don't know what the captivate "community" is like...but as it is a big faceless corp (Adobe) I doubt it is anywhere near as impressive as the "E-learning Heroes" here at articulate.

Just my $0.02

Rahul Goel

thanks, Kayla. this is very helpful. 

we are very familiar with powerpoint, and that works in favour of articulate i guess. 

our aim is to keep our offering very simple... 

just to let you know, we are going to be offering online learning courses... on topics like derivatives and stocks. 

one of our main concerns is that people should not be able to copy our content... 

presently we do not have any LMS in place... in fact we were not planning on purchasing any... idea was to develop a simple delivery tool in house. 

do you think this is a good idea? 

which LMS would you recommend if any?



Phil Mayor

Plagiarism is difficult, if I can see it I can copy it.  If I have played it on my machine it stored on there somewhere and I can get at it.

An LMS will give you some protection, but if someone has access to your lms to view the course and understands the file structure of the published elearning it is relatively simple to guestimate where that file is on your server and download, it may not be easy but it is possible

Video files are relatively easy to get at and download or record on my machine.

I think the key thing is that if you are determined enough you will be able to get hold of it.  I worry very little about people copying my content, and copying is the biggest form of flattery


Kayla Burtch

But once again, even if they "get" the file, the file is more like a "movie" and to "recreate" it they would have to start from scratch. (They won't for example be able to get your pictures, assets, animations, etc etc because that is not in the "published" file you upload) Of course they can copy your ideas, but that is ALWAYS possible no matter how it is uploaded (just like someone can still copy an uneditable, unprintable PDF by hand if they REALLY wanted to)

For LMS we developed our own in house based on moodle. But if you don't require recording (That is, you don't need to know the results people got on quizes...or you want to have people print or email those results instead (All possible with Articulate) you don't really need an LMS.

Rahul Goel

thank you all. 

i understand that adobe flash server, or even some flash players can prevent the viewer from saving a copy of the video on their local machine. 

has anyone used this feature?

i agree that even if the user downloads a flash file, he cannot do much with it other than view it and worse, share it. and we are not keen to allow that to happen! 

on the point about the LMS, i guess its best to build a simple LMS in house... that should allow a high level of customization. 



Robert Kennedy


I think the point that Phil is really making here is that if someone REALLY wants to plagiarize your work, there is not much you can do to stop them.  That does not say that care is not required.  Just saying that you shouldn't put yourself out because, as he said, unless the person understands the file structure, they wont know exactly what to look for immediately.

As far as your initial question, ARticulate vs Captivate.  Remember, they are different tools.  My personal thoughts? I love that Captivate publishes more quickly than Articulate.  But, that is able to happen because its a standalone tool and there really isnt much conversion involved.  Articulate Presenter is essentially converting from the PPT platform, then compressing and then into Flash.  Extra step there.  But, I love that all of the pieces of Articulate are so much more customizable, especially for a complete beginner.  If you can do something basic in Powerpoint, then you can use Articulate fairly easily.  I use a bit of both together.  But, if I had to recommend one to start with first, I would go with Articulate.

Ali Zaheer

HI there,

Very interesting comments. I have been using different tools but have always had Articulate as my base authoring tool. So everything that is created from any software is integrated and placed back in Articulate for me.

Customer/Tech Support for me plays a very big role in deciding the vendor. In that case, Articulate is a clear winner!

The fact that they dont hide the bugs but talk about it openly makes me feel very comfortable that some action will be taken very soon. Their response time is very fast. And when you post a question, not only do the articulate staff reply but the users also reply back. Hats off to all!

You can still import powerpoint presentations into Captivate and create courses. No biggie that way. So it all comes down to the support provided and the knowledgebase.

My suggestion: Articulate! (Simple and clear as I didnt want to say anything -ve about other vendors! LOL!)

All the best!


Hugh Gardner

For me the biggest selling point for articulate is ease of use and support.  I can't recall a request for support where I didn't have a response from Justin, Jeanette, Brian or another rep within an hour.  Captivate has a few folks like Captain Captivate who try, but oftentimes you wait days or weeks, and there are some issues that have crossed over from Cap 3 to Cap 4 to Cap 5 and never get completely resolves.  If Adobe treated Captivate like they do Photoshop, maybe a difference, but Articulate is the main product of the company that makes it, so it gets #1 attention.

For ease of use, especially in dealing with SMEs, Articulate wins hands down.  I can sen the SME the ppt file to make any text changes, then remarry it to the ppta file and not have to compile a demo.

Leah Hemeon

I have to agree with everyone who uses both tools. I use Captivate for things where a script is a must. Since I don't know actionscript natively, it's helpful that Captivate makes it easier to create simple scripts for different functionality (like menus that check things off as you go). I know I can create some of that effect in PowerPoint using multiple slides but it gets pretty messy with 5 menu items with 5-10 slides per item.

I also much prefer Articulate for soft-skills (branched or not). I know PowerPoint very well and find it very useful to use the built-in creation available in PowerPoint. 

I'll also add my plug for the community and the tech support from Articulate. Adobe's forums are awful and I haven't seen an employee answer a question in months.


Joe Deegan

Had to chime in after struggling with the same decision.  I agree with many others in that I use Captivate for software simulations and Articulate for everything else.  I have an older version of Captivate that actually works better with Articulate than newer versions because it is action script 2 so I can easily embed Captivate software simulations in an Articulate project.  As others pointed out, Articulate is easier to learn and the support from the community is incredible.  When I was struggling with this decision I wrote this blog post to help me think through it and got some great feedback in the comments.  When I finally made my decision to purchase Articulate I wrote this post that lay's out exactly why I think it's worth every penny.  Hopefully my post will help you out.

Gerry Wasiluk

Repeating something I posted in the "old forums":

An e-learning developer from one of the local firms that we use here at 3M for Articulate development has produced two great blogs articles so far on Articulate versus Captivate.

For your enjoyment . .

Articulate vs. Captivate Part 1: Comparing popular rapid eLearning development tools

Articulate vs. Captivate Part 2: Exploring Articulate Studio

Jeff ("JP") Redman

On the LMS subject....

We've found Articulate Online to be a very useful hosting service. One of our clients now has a dozen or so different courses posted there and several others have a course or two there. I have never heard a single complaint from even the "whiniest" of the clients that use it.

It has password protected access (I understand it can be setup to allow access only users on a registry/database, but we have not used this feature) and produces usage stats and many reports our clients have found very useful and informative. The cost also seems to me to be quite reasonable.

Good luck!

Nick Hutchings

Captivate vs, Articulate

1.) If you plan on developing any software simulation WBT's go with Adobe Captivate 5.

2.) If you plan on converting any PowerPoint to WBT's go with Articulate Studio,

3.) If you are in a situation to buy both products you should be all set.

4.) You also should check out a competitive (cheaper $99) alternative to Articulate >

5.) Protecting content - Only way to secure content is to place it in a secure location (password protected/invite only). Anything that is available to the public online can be copied.


David Anderson

Feature comparisons are not usually a realistic means for evaluating products. On paper, a lot of products seem similar, but their workflows can differ significantly.

That's why I always recommend you build out one or more real-world projects using each of the tools you're considering. Don't just download the demo and tinker around with some miscellaneous projects--follow an actual development plan and build a course from beginning to end.