One of the reasons e-learning designers love Articulate Presenter ’09 so much is that it’s really easy to use. With the familiar interface and workflows, designers can start building courses quickly without learning an entirely new tool.
But those similarities can also blur the lines between when to use PowerPoint and when to use Presenter to build e-learning. Fortunately, it’s an easy workflow adjustment once you understand which tasks to turn over to Presenter. Let’s take a look at three of the most common tasks that Presenter takes over for PowerPoint.
Importing audio and video
Anytime you’re working with multimedia files such as audio and video, you’ll want to go through Presenter and not PowerPoint. Multimedia files inserted from PowerPoint won’t be recognized when you publish your courses, so remember to import them from the Articulate tab. This is probably the biggest workflow difference between the two programs, since you’ll still need to insert other media assets—text, graphics, images—from PowerPoint’s Insert tab.
Presenter offers additional features for displaying and controlling your multimedia files. For example, videos can display in your slides, the presenter panel or even open in new windows. And you can insert, edit, and distribute audio files across slides. So when you’re building e-learning, you’ll need to import your multimedia files with Presenter.
Here’s how to import audio and video in Presenter ’09:
Do: Insert audio and video using Presenter’s Import Audio and Insert Movie buttons.
Don’t: Use PowerPoint to insert audio or video files.
Since most of your course authoring is done in PowerPoint, it can be a little tricky to know what to do in PowerPoint and what to do in Presenter. For example, when you’re including animations in your course, should you use Presenter or PowerPoint? Well, a little of both. Let me explain.
When you’re building regular PowerPoint presentations, you perform all three animation steps directly in PowerPoint:
- Apply animations
- Adjust animation order
- Sync animation timing
But if you’re building e-learning courses in Presenter, you’ll want to break up the tasks this way:
- Apply animations in PowerPoint
- Adjust animation order in PowerPoint
- Sync animations in Presenter
Here’s how to sync animations in Presenter ’09:
Do: Apply animation effects using PowerPoint’s animation menu and sync the animations using Presenter’s Sync Animations menu.
Don’t: Use PowerPoint’s advanced timeline to adjust your animation timings.
Sharing and backing up projects
You should always work from your local hard drive when building courses in Presenter. If you work from a network or external drive, your main files can be at risk for problems, such as:
- Loss of syncing and/or audio files
- Errors saving changes to your file
- Missing content, such as Articulate Quizmaker and Articulate Engage content
When working in corporate environments where project files are shared on network drives, it’s essential to adopt simple production routines. We suggest that you work locally on projects, then archive projects as Articulate Presenter Package files on your company’s network.
Do: Work from a local drive and share or archive your projects using Presenter’s Send to Articulate Package feature before moving to a network or external drive.
Don’t: Work on project files from a network or external drive.
Here’s how to back up and share your projects:
- Recommended workflow for collaborative network environments
- Send to Articulate Presenter Package
- Create, edit, and publish Articulate Presenter presentations on your local hard drive