Point-and-click interaction in Captivate using click boxes

Posted by Greten on 21 Jun 2020 under Tools

Point-and-click interactions are among the easiest active learning that you can incorporate in your learning modules. You click (or tap in the case of touchscreen mobile devices), and something happens. Adobe Captivate has buttons, click boxes, and links to facilitate clicking interactions.

The functions described in this entry and the screen captures shown are based on Adobe Captivate 11 (also known as Captivate 2019). Click boxes are also available in Captivate 10 and some of the older versions, although I am not certain how they are different from the one in Captivate 11.

Difference between a click box and a button

Click boxes work the same way as buttons, except for one thing, you cannot change its appearance. You can use click boxes to execute the same actions as buttons: move to another slide, execute action scripts, trigger animations, among several others.

The PROPERTIES tab of a button has three subsections: Style, Actions, and Options. Since you cannot modify the appearance of a click box, it only has two subsections: Actions and Options. The fields of the click box under Actions and Options are the same as that of buttons. Actions tab controls what happen when the user click the click box. This will be the focus of a future post.

A set of screen captures showing the subsections of the PROPERTIES tab for click boxes in Adobe Captivate. The subsections are also in the form of tabs: Actions and Options. Each subsections as fields, drop downs, and menus for their particular function.

The Options tab controls the size, position, and rotation of the click box; it works in the same way as any other slide object. Also, like other slide objects, you can use the white and yellow handles to resize and rotate it, respectively.

Moreover, the click box has no states. It does not change its appearance if you hover the mouse pointer above it or click/tap on it.

A rectangular Captivate click box. It has black outline, a mouse icon in the lower-left corner, and the word Click Box at the center.

The click box is basically an invisible button. If you are working on your Captivate file, you will see the click box as a rectangle with the word "Click Box" at the center and a small white mouse icon on the lower-left corner. In a published learning module or when you preview your module, click boxes are invisible.

By default, the PROPERTIES tab is not visible. If you cannot see it, click the Properties burger menu near the upper-right corner.

Adobe Captivate's Library (folder with book) and Properties (three short thick horizontal lines) icons above the PROPERTIES and TIMING tabs.

If you cannot see the burger menu as well, it means that the custom workspace is enabled. You can open the PROPERTIES tab by checking Windows ยป Properties or by pressing Shift, Control, and D together (Ctrl+Shift+D).

How to add a click box?

The menu dropdown Interactions of Adobe Captivate, shown with its submenus Buttons, Click Box, Drag and Drop, and Learning Interactions. A tooltip Shift+Ctrl+K is also visible.To add a click box, select the Interactions icon on top of the Captivate window. Then, select Click Box from the submenu. You may also press Ctrl+Shift+K on your keyboard.

A click box appears at the center of the slide. You can resize it and drag it to where you need it. A click box, upon appearing, always comes with three specialized click captions:

  • Success caption: appears if you click the click box.
  • Failure caption: appears if you click outside the click box.
  • Hint caption: appears if you hover your mouse pointer above the click box.

The appearance of these text captions are governed by the Success, Failure, and Hint checkboxes under the Display section in the Actions tab. You can remove a text caption by selecting it and then pressing Delete. You can also remove it by unchecking the check box that corresponds to the text caption that you want to remove. The buttons also have these captions, but they are not displayed by default. If you're using a template, it is possible that the newly created click box includes only two, one, or none of these text captions when you created a click box.

A newly inserted click box outlined by a dashed rectangle. Eight white handles on its corners and on the centers of its sides, and one yellow handle on top are also visible. It also has success, failure, and hint text captions with red border.

These text captions are features of both the button and the click box. I will cover them in details in another post discussing all the functions and features found in both buttons and click boxes.

What are the uses of click box?

Click boxes are used if a part of the learning module was designed so learners must click on a part of an image or background. You can think of them as something similar to image maps found in some websites, except that click boxes can only be rectangular.

Branching scenarios

In gamified learning, there can be a scenario where the learner has to select one of the two or more options. The options are seen on an image depicting the scenario. The learner can make their choice by clicking on a part of the image. For example, the learner needs to select the road that they want to pass through. Your slide shows a photograph of a fork along a road.

Fork that splits the road, one going up the higher parts of the mountain, and the other going down. A question is displayed on top: which path you are going to take?

A photograph cannot receive a click input. If you put buttons, they will stand out and might look awkward on top of the picture. Hence, the solution is to put click boxes above the choices. The subsequent slides that the learner will see, and thus the continuation of the scenario, depends on which click box the user selected.

Software training

One of the more popular uses of elearning authoring tools, and Captivate, in particular, is software training. If for some reason, such as security, you do not want your trainees to have access to the software used in live production, you can have a series of slides with screen captures. The training is basically like click here, next slide, click here, next slide, and so on; it is a railroaded training where the learners can only do what the narration and onscreen text tell them to do.

Being screen captures, the learner cannot interact with the buttons, fields, drop-down menus, and other user interface (UI) elements. You cannot put buttons on them because to make the training effective, the UI should be as close to the live production version as possible. Thus, the solution is to put click boxes on top of the UI element that the learner needs to click next.

Captivate has a feature that makes software training development easy called Software Simulation. You can access it on the top menu by selecting Slides, then Software Simulation from the submenu. The Software Simulation feature allows you to choose another window, where the software you want to develop training for is open. As you work on the software, Captivate captures the different interactions and the various interfaces that appear. Depending on the options you selected, it will also automatically add click boxes. The details of Software Simulation will be covered in one of my future posts.


The click boxes are like buttons except that they are perpetually invisible; thus, you cannot configure their appearance. You can reposition, resize, and rotate it. The click box's purpose is to be put on top of a static image so that a particular part of that image becomes a clickable interactive element.

Last updated on 27 Oct 2020.

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