Point-and-click interaction in Captivate using shapes

Posted by Greten on 09 Jul 2020 under Tools

The two previous entries cover the two of the simple point-and-click interactive elements found in Adobe Captivate, buttons and click boxes. A button provides several different ways to customize its appearance. On the other hand, you cannot alter the click box's appearance because it is an invisible interactive element meant to be placed on top of a graphical element. Other than appearance, buttons and click boxes are functionally the same.

There is a third kind of point-and-click interactive element that works in the same way as buttons and click boxes; these are the shapes converted into buttons.

The functions discussed in this entry is based on Adobe Captivate 2019 or Captivate 11. However, the way these functions work is very similar to that of Captivate 10 or 2017.

How to convert shapes to buttons

To turn any shape into a button:

  1. Select the shape, so its properties appear in the PROPERTIES tab.

The PROPERTIES tab of a regular shape and a shape used as button put side-by-side. The one on left for regular shape has only one state (Normal) and only has Style and Option tabs. The one on right for shape as buttons has three states (Normal, RollOver, and Down) and an additional Actions menu.

  1. Above the Style and Options tabs, enable the Use as Button checkbox.

After you enable the checkbox, the shape instantly turns into a button. Notice that the Actions tab appeared between Style and Options. Select the Actions tab. It has the On Success dropdown menu, which allows you to choose what happens when you click this shape. It also has all the other options and functions available for buttons and click boxes.

By default, the PROPERTIES tab is not on display. Click the Properties burger menu near the upper-right corner to show it.

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 in your Captivate. To display the PROPERTIES tab, check Windows ยป Properties or press Shift, Control, and D together (Ctrl+Shift+D).

Difference between a standard button and a shaped used as a button

You can customize both the regular buttons and the shapes used as buttons can in several different ways. The shape used as a button, being a shape, retains all the options available to alter the appearance of a shape. Being a button, the shape used as a button also has three states: Normal, RollOver, and Down.

A circular button with Captivate CP logo on it. A mouse pointer hovers near but outside the circle on the upper right.The difference between the standard buttons and the shapes used as buttons are as follow:

  1. A button comes with a Caption field under the Style tab. This field controls what text a button displays. Shapes do not have a Caption field; you can add text in a shape by double-clicking it or selecting it and pressing F2, like a regular shape.
  2. There can only be one text for all three states of a standard button, the one you encoded in the Caption field (or no text if your button is an image button). In a shape used as a button, the three states can have different text.
  3. You can change the shape of the button into something other than a rectangle. However, the shape is entirely aesthetics. The clickable area is still rectangular. For example, you have a circular button; this button will still react if you click a region outside the circle but still within its bounding box.

Look at the sample circular button on the right (or above this paragraph if your screen is narrow). It is a circular button with a mouse pointer on the white space on its upper right. Even though this white space is already outside the circle, it is still within the rectangle or square that bounds the circular button. Thus, hovering or clicking here will still affect the button, and so does the white spaces on the lower right, lower left, and upper left.


In Adobe Captivate, you can change a shape into a button with a simple tick on a checkbox. However, there are still subtle differences between shapes used as buttons and standard buttons, such as the caption, states, and the kind of shape.

Last updated on 27 Oct 2020.

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