Quick image tricks and techniques in Captivate

Posted by Greten on 01 Dec 2019 under Tips, Tools

Elearning modules use a wide array of images: diagrams, maps, pictures, and anything essential to the learning process. You can use images to convey information that can be difficult to visualize with text or audio alone. Images can also be used to catch and keep the learner's attention or stimulate emotion on them, which can aid in the learning process.

Working efficiently with images is an important skill you can develop if you are using Adobe Captivate. Efficient here means you can work faster, and you can keep the file size of your raw Captivate file (CPTX) and SCORM file (ZIP) as small as feasible. I tested the techniques that this entry covers in Adobe Captivate 2019. These techniques also work in Captivate 2017, but my tests are not as thorough as in 2019.

Two of the tricks below use the Captivate Library, a vertical rectangular interface that lists all the media assets used in the module. If you cannot see the Library, click the Library icon near the upper-right corner of the Captivate window.

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 Library icon, it means the custom workspace is enabled. You can display the Library by checking Windows » Properties or by pressing Control, Alt, and L together (Ctrl+Alt+L).

Copy/cut a selected part of an image

If you want to use a small section of one large image, one of the things you probably do is to crop the image to the part that you want, save it, and then put it on a Captivate slide using Media » Image.

The library tab of Adobe Captivate showing the different assets used for this project. Currently highlighted is the Clipboard4588137380703.PNG, which was generated by copying from a selection in an image editor.An alternative is to open the image using an image editor such as MS Paint, GIMP, or Adobe Photoshop. Then, select the part of the image you want to put on the Captivate slide, copy or cut the image (Ctrl + C or Ctrl + X), go to the Captivate window, and paste it there (Ctrl + V). The image will be pasted as a slide object. It will also appear in the Library with a weird name: Clipboard....(trail of several numerical digits).

You can change this weird name into something descriptive and easier to memorize, or you can keep it as is depending on if you intend to put this image elsewhere in your captivate file. To rename, right-click the image on the Library, select Rename, and type the name that you want.


If you copied a selected part of an image and press Ctrl + V twice or more, it would create multiple instances of the same image in the Library. To save on file size, delete the additional instances from both the slide and the Library. Then, drag the remaining instance from the Library to the slide if you need more than one instance of the same image. You can also select the image on the Captivate slide and copy it instead.

Replace all instances of an image

If an image is used several times in Captivate, you can change them without changing one-by-one provided that they are instances of the same image in the Library. You can verify this by checking the Use Count in the Library.

A top hat with CP Captivate logo on it, a magic wand, and an image icon emerging from the hat.Follow the steps below to replace the several instances of an image at once.

  1. Right-click one of the instances of the image on the slide. Select Find in the Library.
  2. Right-click on it in the Library. Click Properties.
  3. In the Image Properties window, select Import.
  4. Browse and select the image you want to use as the replacement.
  5. Click Open.
  6. At this point, you will see that all the instances of the image have been replaced. It will remain in effect regardless of whether you click OK or Cancel to close the Image Properties. If you don't like the replacement, press Ctrl + Z to undo before you do anything else, and the instances will revert to the original image.

The image file name in the Library will be replaced after you completed these steps.


The instances will retain the values of W and H (width and height in pixels). Meaning, if the replacement image does not have the same proportion of length and width as the original image, you will see some distortion.

Paste image as background

You can paste an image as background of a slide. After you already copied an image, right-click on any part of the slide where there are no slide objects and select Paste as Background (Shift + Alt + V).

A Captivate slide using an image of the planet Jupiter as a slide object object image. The same image is also used as the slide's background.

You can have any source of the image. It can be an image that is already a slide object on the same slide, another slide of the same Captivate file, or from another file. It can also be a copied part of an image using the Select function of an image editing application. It can also be a background from another slide that you copied by right-clicking on the slide and selecting Copy Background, or by pressing Shift + Ctrl + Y.


  1. If the image is smaller than the slide, the image is shown as background in its original size centered vertically and horizontally on the slide. If the image is larger than the slide, it shrinks so that its entirety is visible on the slide.
  2. If a PNG file with a transparent part is used as a background in one slide. Then, it was copied as background to another slide using Copy Background and Paste as Background; the transparent parts turn to black. It does not happen if the image with transparent parts is copied from a slide object.
  3. If you use a slide object image as a background, it does not become two instances of usage. Instead, the background becomes a separate image with a "Clipboard......" name.

Just like any other work, efficiency is important in developing learning modules using Captivate. Speed is important, but not the only important thing. You also have to ask yourself if the next person who will modify your course will find it easy to trace the assets you put in the Captivate file and what they do.

Last updated on 27 Oct 2020.

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