Top Storyline Mistakes

Articulate Storyline 2 is such a powerful tool for creating interactive e-learning. And, thank goodness, it’s really intuitive and easy to learn. But I’ve found that there are a few missteps that folks make all too often. If you can eliminate these Storyline mistakes from your workflow, you can give your productivity a boost.

Mistake #1: Working from a shared drive

This is a mistake that even seasoned Storyline experts are guilty of making sometimes. Working from a shared network drive (for example: Dropbox or Google Drive) or a USB is a bad idea because it increases your chance of corrupting your project files. Make sure to always work locally, and to follow the tips in the following articles: Follow These Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Corrupting or Losing Project Files and Save Time with This E-Learning Project Troubleshooting Checklist.

Mistake #2: Not using the format painter

As I’ve watched more than one person tediously create multiple states manually across many objects, I’ve wondered: Do they not know that the Format Painter copies over the formatting of an object (color, font, stroke color, etc.) as well as all of its associated states? There’s another time-saver too, the Format Painter’s cousin, the Animation Painter. Quickly duplicate animations across multiple objects with this nifty time-saving feature. Here’s a short tutorial about using the Format Painter: Working with the Clipboard and some more awesome time-saving shortcuts you should know about in Storyline: 10 Storyline Secrets You Need to Know.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the player

The dead giveaway that a Storyline project was created by a newbie is when the default gray player appears untouched. The player is often an afterthought—or forgotten altogether. If you don’t want to spend time customizing the look and feel of the player, you can follow these steps to make it invisible to create a clean, sleek look: How to Create an Invisible Player. And here are some more simple tips for jazzing up the player: Improve Your Course’s Storyline Player with These Simple Tips.

Mistake #4: Forgetting about slide masters

Do you ever find yourself copying and pasting the same object onto multiple slides in your course? If you are, it’s time to consider using the slide master! Slide masters are a powerful feature that lets you create and apply layouts to slides. It’s especially useful when you have multiple slides that contain the same items, such as a header or custom navigation options. Read these articles for more helpful tips about working with slide masters: Using Slide Masters in Storyline 2 and Working with Templates, Slide Masters, Themes, and Layouts in Storyline.

Mistake #5: Not labelling items

Labelling the items in your project—from the slides, to the layers, to the objects on your timeline—is a great best practice that can save you tons of time and heartache as you develop your courses. When you set up your triggers, or when you’re using the form view for freeform slides, you’ll notice how much more quickly and efficiently you can work when your items are already labelled. Not to mention, should you (or someone else) need to re-open the file and make adjustments down the road, proper naming will be a huge time-saver then as well.

These are just a few of the most common mistakes people make in Storyline. Hopefully these tips will help you tweak your routine and save a few seconds … which will eventually turn into minutes and then hours … and eventually you can take a day off from all the time you saved … maybe. Do you know of any other common mistakes or errors people make when they develop their e-learning courses? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate software? Download a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.


Mohammad  Hassam
Pedro Fernandez
Nicole Legault