Adobe Captivate vs. Articulate Storyline

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

Adobe Captivate is an application used for the development of various eLearning content. It is an alternative to the application we usually use for our development, Articulate Storyline. Although the two applications do share some similarities, and are used for the same purpose, there are some important differences between the two.


I find that Captivate seems to run much slower than Storyline. Storyline seems to run smoothly, even when working on large projects. In Captivate, sometimes when opening specific windows, such as the drag and drop menu, it often takes a while to load. Even when previewing I find that Articulate Storyline loads the preview faster than Captivate.


There is also a great difference in launch time, Storyline seems to launch somewhat quickly whereas Captivate takes quite a while to load upon launch, in fact it took so long that I had to check the task manager to see if the process was even running. Saving for some reason also took a very long time for my system to do which is odd as usually saving a project in any application can’t take more than a few seconds, but in Captivate it was taking more than a minute at times.


The preview in Adobe Captivate also does not work for single slide previews. When previewing slides, I need to choose the “Preview from this Slide” option. When clicking the “Play Slide” option nothing pops up, and no other preview other than the edit window is shown. However, I never had an issue with previewing single slides in Articulate Storyline. The loading times for the previews seem to be similar for both applications.


The UI in Articulate Storyline is also much more user friendly and up to date than Captivates UI. I find that Storylines UI looks and acts very similarly to PowerPoint and has a much cleaner look. The captivate UI can be a little confusing, and for some reason seems to be in a lower resolution. There are select few buttons that are displayed on the upper tab that are not sorted. In Storyline the different options and buttons are sorted in tabs on the top display, so that the option you are looking for is easier to navigate to. Captivates UI just seems sloppy and outdated.


Applying triggers and interactions in Captivate is very complicated, especially when compared to Storyline. In storyline interactions and triggers can be programmed into the objects simply by selecting the object and looking at the various options in the sidebar. Programming interactions and states in Captivate is much more complicated. Only some objects are programmable, and programming states can be quite confusing as new states can accidentally be applied to other objects automatically without notifying you. It is also possible to accidentally change an entire special action, and if you used the action anywhere else in your project, it gets changed there too, again without warning.


Audio is also much easier to work with in Storyline. In Storyline, audio tracks can be easily manipulated and moved around the slide timeline and can easily be triggered by other events. In Captivate, in order to move audio around the slide timeline it needs to be attached to an object. This doesn’t allow for audio to trigger events unless it is within the slide audio. Slide audio is locked to the timeline and cannot be moved around, even in hierarchy position on the timeline within Captivate.


For creating eLearning modules, I wouldn’t recommend using Adobe Captivate. The UI is clunky, it’s a very slow application, changes can be made without notification, and audio is just a hassle to work with. Articulate Storyline is much more user friendly, is much faster, and has a much nicer UI. I would definitely recommend using Storyline over Captivate.


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