Join Anastasia McCune for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring recording settings and recording a simulation, part of Captivate Projects: Software Simulations.
If you've watched the course up to this point, you've seen what we're going to record in Captivate to create our software simulation. Now, there are some settings that we'll need to decide on before recording, and we just kind of glossed over them before. So, let's take a more in depth look now. You'll need the Excel spreadsheet from the exercise files for this lesson open. You'll also need Captivate. The first place we're going to start, is actually on your desktop, so one thing you might want to think about before making a recording, is what screen resolution you're recording at.
I'm going to right click on my computer desktop and bring up Screen resolution. You can see that I'm at a resolution of 1360 by 768. Now, that's fine but my end user will have to be using the same resolution on their screen in order for my project to appear at the same size that I see it at. If one of my audience members perhaps has a vision problem and their screen resolution's set to something like 800 by 600. So, everything looks really big. Well, my project is doing to appear super big, and they'll have to scroll to see all 1360 by 768 pixels.
Of course, the opposite is true as well. Someone who runs their computer screen at a higher resolution than what I've recorded at, will still see my project, but it will appear smaller overall on their screen. So, just consider your audience and perhaps change your screen resolution for recording if you need to. So, now I'll go to the Start page of Captivate and then to the Edit menu and choose Preferences. If you're on a Mac that's under the Captivate menu and then Preferences. And once that's open I'm going to go into this Category area here on the left. And then, in the Recording section, choose Modes.
We looked at this briefly before. There's this drop-down called Mode, and I'm going to go to Custom. In a previous movie in this course, we had set this, so we have text captions and we have click boxes with a failure caption. That way we can give the user instruction via the text caption and then check and see if they're actually clicking in the right spot via the click boxes. We still want this. Now, it would make a lot of sense to also click here to add text entry boxes as well. That would be so every time you type something in, Captivate puts in what's called a Text Entry Box, so the user can actually practice typing it in themselves.
Instead of doing that, in the category area, I'm going to click on Recording. Here's some settings that apply to all recordings regardless if they're view it or do it projects. I want to make sure that key strokes and hear keyboard tap sounds are checked. What this does is that every time I type something while recording in Captivate, Captivate makes a little mini movie that shows that typing occurring. This again actually doesn't make much sense for our movie, but it's easy to edit around. I'm putting it here because I think it's important to see it and understand what it does.
That way, you can choose to turn it off if you need to for future Captivate projects, and that's really the biggest thing I want you to take away here, is just remember that these preferences exist, so you can play with them and adjust them as you need to later on in your Captivate career. The last thing I'm going to do here is click on Defaults under this recording area, and then when this comes up, click the Restore Defaults button at the bottom. This speaks to how text captions, text entry boxes, failure captions and so on appear in Captivate. By carrying this top drop down, I can open it and select a failure caption, and here we see a preview of what a failure caption's going to look like.
Here's hint captions, here's what a capture caption is going to look like. So, go ahead and leave this on default capture caption please, that's important, and this way we can make sure that your recording and my recording end up looking the same. So, I'm going to click OK. And now we can go onto the settings we need to sort out just before I re-record. On the Captivate start screen I'm going to click Software Simulation to start a new recording. Now, as we saw earlier in the course, we get a settings box and a red outline that's our recording window.
So, you can move this Settings box around, by the way, if you need to just by approaching the edge of it with your mouse, and it turns into a double-headed arrow, and you can drag it wherever you want to. So, here's our red recording window, and let's just go through the settings here really quickly. If I say screen area, it really records what is on the screen area. I could drag the red box out like this. We could resize it. I can move it. Whatever I want. You could also change the size by choosing one of the sizes here in the drop down or by typing in some dimensions here.
So, if we left it like this, what we would get in our recording is really half of the screen with the Excel spreadsheet and then half of it with the blue background. That's probably not what we want. I'm going to select Application. Of course, this drop down now has activated and I can choose what window I want to record. The Excel is what we want. What's cool about this is that when I drag the window around, it takes the Captivate window with it. And if I resize, the red recording box resizes as well. I want this to be full screen.
Now we can look at the difference that application region gives us. So, application window really has that red recording box all the way around the edges of the screen. It reaches all the way to the sides. So, we've got File, and Home, and Insert, and also the Minimize, Maximize, Close button, all of that stuff. Well, for this recording, I might not really need any of that because we're not going to be working in that area of the screen. So, instead, I'm going to choose Application Region. What that does is kind of sense the natural breaks in the application. And adjust the recording window to it.
You can see here I've got the red recording window at the bottom. It's here up the side. And then, for some reason, here it's showing as black, but it's going across the top of the columns here in Excel. And that makes more sense for this recording. So, my control box went away. I'm just going to click once, and it will come back up. And point out that you could also, if you want to, if application window or region doesn't make sense for you, you could click on Custom Size. And then choose, you know, a special size here. Either by choosing something in the drop down or typing it in. So, I'm going to reset this by making my Excel window maximized and choosing Application Region and making sure that we've got just the bottom part of Excel here selected.
So, here's the difference between automatic and manual. Every time you click in Captivate or press Enter when you're in Automatic mode, Captivate will make a screen shot and that's terrific. If you choose Manual, you're going to have to remember to press the Print key on your keyboard every time you want Captivate to take a screenshot. Now that might make sense for when you're recording something that maybe has rollovers, since rollovers don't operate with a click or an Enter. But most of the time, you're probably going to record in Automatic mode.
It is nice to know, however, that if you need an extra screenshot along the way, even when you're in automatic mode, you can just press Print Screen on your keyboard at any time just to take an extra screen shot. So, we've talked a lot about demo, assessment, and training, we don't want any of those, we're recording a custom simulation. Panning refers to if I'm going to be grabbing the red recording box and moving it while I'm actually recording, we're not doing that. Audio, we're just going to leave it at no narration. You could select one of these choices here, that would be your microphone in the event that you want to talk while you're recording.
That's really hard to do. I think it's hard to click in the right spot, get the timing right, and talk at the same time. Most of the time I just record with no narration. You can add audio in to Captivate after you've recorded, so that makes it really easy. System audio allows you to actually capture any sound the computer might make while you're recording. That would be things like bloops or dings or maybe music from a video that's playing. We don't need that in our scenario, so we're just going to keep it unchecked. With that, we're ready to record.
We've practiced this before but I'm still going to narrate the steps as I go through. The most important thing is to remember to take your time and not make a bunch of erratic movements. The smoother the recording, the better the Captivate project and the less work you have down the line. So, here we go. I'm going to hit Record. So, our first step is to click on this box and type 301 and press Enter. Now I'm going to type 285 and press Enter. Now, in one smooth movement, I'm going to go over to the scroll bar and scroll down, and I'll let go only when line 24 is lined up exactly at the top.
Great, now I'm going to go to the nearest location drop down and click once. And I'll click again to open it up. Now I'll click again to choose Los Angeles I'll click once on this orange box. And type in 90 and hit Enter, we're doing well, I'm almost done, I'm going to click on this box here, type in six and press Enter and we are done, I'm going to press End on my keyboard, that's Cmd+Enter on a Mac.
So, here's our recording. You can see down the left-hand side that we've got all of our steps laid out into different slides, and you can click to different slides and see what's on them. But let's just preview our project and see what it looks like, so I'll go to Preview and Project. So, we start out with a text caption telling us to click, and I will do that. There's the typing, and press Enter key. So, it kind of jumped ahead there. That's okay. Here's our scroll down. Here we're meant to select the drop down, select again. If I click in the wrong spot, whoo, I have the failure caption, that's good.
I'm going to click Los Angeles. I'm meant to select the box here, and type in 90, and press Enter. So that's jumped ahead a little bit, as well. Now, I'll select here, the box, that says four. And that's the end of the project. So, there is some work to do, obviously. A lot of the text captions need to have their text updated. The failure caption needed to have better text. Probably the biggest thing you notice is how the text was typed in for us. If this is a true simulation, you want the user to actually type in the text.
Remember before, in our settings, that we had told Captivate to record keystrokes. And that's exactly what it did. It made those little mini movies. That shows the text being typed. So, that's another thing that we're going to edit out. We're just going to take those out and replace them with text entry boxes so the user can actually type. But for the most part, the bare bones of our project are here. And that's about it. It looks like I've got a 13 slides in my recording, and I hope you do too. If you don't, or you feel like you've made other mistakes in your recording, go ahead and re-record.
It usually takes more than a couple tries for me to get a recording right, even if I've rehearsed. It's so easy to inadvertently jiggle your arm, or get interrupted while you're recording or whatever, and it just messes up your flow. In the end, remember you can always use the files in the Start folder in the exercise files as well in case your project and mine don't match up. For the moment, I feel fairly confident about this recording, so I'm going to save it as Solarcalculator.cptx. We'll get started on polishing it next.
In this project-based course with Captivate expert Anastasia McCune, learn how to record software simulations for your company or elearning project with Captivate. Discover how to plan, record, format, and adjust interactions for your simulation—elements that will make the training more realistic and intuitive—and publish the simulation where students can reach it.
- Choosing the right Captivate project type
- Rehearsing your simulation
- Adding intro and outro slides, captions, and transitions
- Controlling click buttons and boxes
- Adjusting slide timing
- Using skins
- Publishing your project