Hide and lock: working on several slide objects in Captivate

Posted by Greten on 28 Jul 2019 under Tools

As you work on your learning modules using Captivate, there will be times when you need to place several slide objects, or few but large objects on the slide. What can you do if say, a large image is blocking a rectangle? They may not be seen together when you play the slide, but when the slide is not playing, all objects are visible at once. Sometimes, you click an object or a handlebar of an object, but you end up clicking an adjacent object instead.

This entry will cover what Captivate functions you can use to make it easier to work on several slide objects. The tests I did and the screen captures shown here are based on Adobe Captivate 2019 (or Captivate 11); in my experience, this is also how these functions work in Captivate 10 (2017) and Captivate 9.

Show and Lock Controls

One way to prevent accidental clicking or dragging of objects is to lock them in place. When locked, they are still visible, but mouse clicks will not affect them: you cannot move, resize, or rotate them. Hiding an object works in the same way except that you also make the object invisible; this is useful in situations where a large object blocks the object you want to click.

A screen capture of Adobe Captivate timeline, with red rounded rectangles enclosing the eye and lock icons and all the yellow dots under them. The red rectangle enclosing the eye icon and the dots under it is labelled as Show/Hide Controlm, while the rectangle for the lock icon is labeled as Lock Control.

On the left of the 00:00 marker of the timeline, you will see two columns of dots, two dots for each slide object and two for the slide itself. The headers of these columns are two icons: an eye and a padlock.

Lock Control

The dots under the lock column header are the Lock/Unlock Items control. In its default form, you can resize and reposition the slide object associated with that dot. You can click it once or twice for different effects.

  • Click the dot once, and it will transform into a lock with four arrows pointing outward. You cannot resize or reposition the object on the slide, but you can still adjust its timeline bar.
  • Click the dot twice (or click the lock with arrows once), and it will turn into a slightly larger lock without arrows.
  • Click the bigger lock once (or click the lock with arrows twice), and it will turn back into a dot.

Look at the screen capture below. Notice the variation of the icons under the padlock column header.

Captivate timeline showing the different possible icons under the padlock column: a dot, a padlock with arrows, and a larger padlock without arrows.

In this screen capture example, you can do the following on the triangle, circle, and square slide objects based on the icons under the lock column:

  • Triangle: it has a dot icon; you can resize and reposition it as well as adjust its timeline bar by dragging.
  • Circle: it has a lock with arrows icon; you can adjust its timeline bar by dragging but not resize and reposition it.
  • Square: it has a bigger lock icon; you can neither resize and reposition it nor adjust its timeline bar by dragging.

You can lock or unlock all of the slide objects at once by clicking the lock icon in the column header. However, you can turn the controls only into either dot or bigger lock; you cannot switch them all into locks with arrows at once.

The Lock Control is functionally similar to the Lock Size and Position checkbox that you can see when you select an object and then select the PROPERTIES ยป Options tab. However, it does not lock the timeline bar. You will notice that when you check this option, the dot under the lock icon becomes a small lock with arrows at the corner; meaning, you can still drag the timeline. Uncheck it, and the small lock reverts to a yellow dot. You cannot disable the timeline and turn the dot into a large blue lock using this checkbox.

An animated PNG showing the timeline and the Options tab side-by-side. An object is selected on the timeline, the Lock Size and Position checkbox is checked, and the yellow dot under the lock icon changes into a small lock surrounded by arrows. The checkbox is unchecked, and the lock turns back to yellow dot.

The Lock/Unlock items control is useful if you have too many slide objects and you keep accidentally dragging objects that are close to the ones you really to drag, resize, reposition, or whatever you are trying to do to it with the mouse. You can lock these objects and then click the ones you intend to drag with the mouse pointer.

The Lock/Unlock status of any object has no effect on the published lesson.

Show Control

The dots under the eye column header are the Show/Hide Items control. The default dot form indicates that the object is visible on the slide while the red X icon indicates that the object is invisible or hidden.

You can make a slide object invisible by clicking on the dot icon under the eye icon column header. It will turn the dot into a red X, and the object will disappear from the slide. Click the red X, and it will turn back into a dot, and the object will become visible again. You can make all the slide objects visible or invisible by click the eye icon itself.

A screen capture of Captivate timeline showing a square on the slide. The timeline indicates that there are also a circle and a triangle, but under the eye icon, they have a red X mark.

In the screen capture above, you can see only a square on the slide. However, the timeline indicates that there are also a triangle and a circle. The triangle and the circle are still there, not just visible.

The Show/Hide Items control is useful if you have many objects on the slide. It is also useful if an object is blocked by another object, and you need to click that object without moving any of them. You can focus on the object you need to resize, reposition, or manipulate in some other ways at the moment without the distraction of the object slide objects.

Some important notes about the Show/Hide Items control:

  • Setting the object as hidden or invisible also locks the timeline bar of the object. You cannot adjust the time it will appear or disappear or the duration of the object unless you make it visible first.
  • Hidden slide objects will remain invisible in the Play Slide preview or F3, but they will be visible in other kinds of preview such as browser, project, and HTML 5. They will also remain visible in a published learning module. This control is for the convenience of the elearning developer; it does not affect the way the module is presented to the learner.

To summarize what this entry covered, you can work on a slide with several slide objects by making the objects that are not your current concerns invisible or locked. In the timeline, there are two columns of dots, one column has an eye icon as its header, and the other has a padlock icon. Each pair of dots in a row is associated with a slide object. For any object you want to make hidden or invisible, click on the dot under the eye icon to make it hidden or the dot under the lock icon to make it locked.

Last updated on 27 Oct 2020.

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