Captivate Capture Tips and Tricks


Adobe Captivate is one of those tools that every Instructional Designer should have in their skills set.  It’s great for creating software simulations, interactive practice exercises, or just creating some great e-learning courses. There is plenty of training out there for all skill levels and versions of Captivate – my favorite resource is

If you are an Instructional Designer, you have probably worked with a variety of Subject Matter Experts (SME’s).  SMEs are an awesome resource as they are the people who help you gather and validate the content you need to develop training.  However, most SMEs tend to wear 50 other hats throughout their day and they have their own workloads, this means that they will have very limited time to work with you.  If you are working on a process-driven or technical development project, the time with you spend with your SME is critical.  You have to make sure you gather as much information from your SME as possible.

Here’s where Captivate plays a big role for me. After the project kick-off meetings, I schedule an hour meeting with my SMEs (I beg for a full hour of their time at kick-off). Because I work remotely, I never get to meet with my SMEs face to face (first challenge), so I rely on Webex and Lync as a meeting space (second challenge), call recorder on my phone and Captivate to record my sessions.

Now, here’s how I use Captivate in these sessions.  Before my meeting, I launch the meeting room and I launch Captivate. When my SME logs on to the meeting, I start my Captivate recording and give my SME control of my computer.  They launch the application we will be working in on my computer and as they click along Captive will capture each click, drag, and screen along.  While they have control, I am still able to press Alt+P to capture important screens. When we end our session, I end the Captivate recording and am left with the right screens and steps that I need to use in my training.  I can add the call audio that I recorded on my phone to the Captivate and I end up with a full capture with audio.

Tips for Using Captivate to Record a SME Session:

  • Close all open apps on your desktop including any instant messengers and your email app. – you don’t want any message pop-ups in your capture.
  • Inform your SME of the plan before the meeting – so they can be prepared.
  • Ask your SME to share the Best Practice steps of the process – most times they have more than one way of doing things, you want to capture the most widely used and acceptable way.
  • Set your Captive recording settings before your meeting.
  • Record in Manual Mode not in Full Motion Recording (FMR) mode
  • Even in Manual Record mode, Captive will capture FMR screens for menus and click and drags – as the SME goes along you should Press Alt+P to capture these steps as screens as well because FMRs are hard to edit in older versions of Captivate.
  • Ask your SME to talk about the steps they are taking and why they are doing it – this will help you build out your narration as well.
  • Record the audio.  If you are using Lync or Webex they have recording features as well.  I use Call Recorder on my phone when I call in, that way I know that the audio is captured.
  • Ask questions during the recording to clarify any areas you may have a question about.

Don’t have access to Adobe Captivate? You can try WINK for PC or ActivePresenter for Mac. 

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