Tips for Publish to AVI in Adobe Captivate 4


With Adobe Captivate 4, you can publish your Captivate project directly as an AVI file. This enables you to create demos using Captivate and upload them as AVI files on media sharing websites like YouTube etc. There are a few points which you need to keep in mind before proceeding with publishing your projects as AVI. 

  1. Any media encoding process requires a considerable amount of processing power. Publishing to AVI is no different, because it converts the project SWF to AVI using some encoder (more on this in the next point). So, the best result would be seen on a decently powerful machine. I would recommend to close other heavy processes running on the machine before publishing to AVI.
  2. While the speed of conversion partly depends on the available processing power as well, the quality of output and compression are completely Encoder dependent. Captivate uses DirectShow technology to get encoder from the system. On WinXP, we have a default encoder ‘Indeo Video 5.10 Compression Filter’ works pretty well. On WinVista, we have only one default encoder which works and that is Cinepak Codec by Radius. However, it is not a good option as it takes longer and produces a bigger file. The recommendation would be to use a good encoder, such as XviD. XviD is freely available and can be downloaded and installed easily. Klite Mega Codec pack contains XviD, and some other encoders like DivX which can also be used. We have seen good results with XviD. A point to note here is that a few encoders like ‘Uncompressed’ and ‘MJPEG converter’ are not recommended because they do not do any compression and the resulting file can take up huge amount of disk space(can go up to a few GBs).
  3. The size of the project in terms of runtime, as well as the size in terms of disk space used also determines how much time will it take to publish a project to AVI. For a normal demo project it roughly takes 1.5 to 2 times the runtime of the project if the above two points are followed. By normal project, I mean a project demo project which contains some audio in the form of narration, fmr slides, mouse etc. A heavy project which contains a lot of animations, text animations etc will convert a bit slower than normal.
  4. It is not recommended to convert projects which are greater than 800×600 in resolution. As the resolution increases, the conversion process will slow down because it will requires more processing power.
  5. Most of the encoders do not accept odd numbers as project width or height in terms of resolution. This means that if your project resolution is something like 455×450 or 640×479 or 425×315 etc, you’ll get an error message as ‘Error Occurred’ and the publish will abort. A quick solution would be to resize your project to have even numbers as the project dimensions.


If you keep the above points in mind, publishing your project to AVI can be as easy as publishing to SWF.  Just that it takes more time. Hope this helps all who wanted to share their captivate demos on YouTube. Happy publishing!!

30 Responses

  1. hi!I am a fulbright scholar from India and presently at the Florida State University, on a research program to develop a training package for teachers to enable them to teach in online environment. As a part of a course i am presently enrolled for, which is related to developing instructional development, we have been trying to export a captivate file (to demonstrate how to develop wiki-pages ) in avi format to a powerpoint slide and failed. Could you suggest us a method to publish the captivate recording in movie format and insert to a powerpoint presentation.jyoti

  2. Does rendering speed depend on the CPU or the graphics card (GPU)? For example, would it be worth it to upgrade my graphics card or will this make little difference in rendering times?

  3. I assume you mean encoding time when you say rendering time. If this is the case, all older encoders like Intel Indeo , Cinepack that come by default in windows did not use GPU acceleration. But now there are GPU-accelerated video encoders available in the market. So, If you want a faster AVI publish time 1) Get an encoder that supports GPU accelerated encoding and 2)Get a GPU that goes well with the encoder or vice-versa.If you are talking about the rendering time of an encoded video then roughly almost all applications use decoders which use GPU accelerated decoding and you will get a wonderful speed improvement if you own a GPU.

  4. I have imported a PPT into Captivate 4 and want to have the slides move on click, not automatic or timed. How do I set this once the PPT is in Captivate?

  5. Sally, if you are talking about general PPT Import in Captivate, the PPT Import dialog gives you an option of ‘Advance Slide on Click’. For publishing to AVI, this is not possible as Captivate takes an non-interactive view of the project and create the movie out of it.

  6. You wrote that “the best result would be seen on a decently powerful machine.” Can you be more specific? I know what the minimum system requirements for Captivate are, and my machine exceeds those. But I’m guessing that the recommended system requirements for converting to AVI are higher, yes?So what do you recommend in terms of processer speed, memory, and graphics?

  7. Hi,We will be getting large numbers of PPt (e.g. 30 slides) and we will add about 45 mins. of audio to each. We will also want to provide the audio separately as podcast or other mobile. Will Cptvt 4 perform better (inc. compression) than Impatica (java-based). Thanks.

  8. I’m having trouble exporting a Captivate presentation to video. Everything works fine except that in the published file the audio get progressively out of sync. It’s ok for the first 30 seconds or so but then the sync issues start to become noticeable and get worse as time goes on. Video is ahead of audio playback. Anybody else have this issue?Thanks

  9. Captivate just freezes when I try to publish to AVI (a 45 minute clip). It ran all weekend, and when I returned to the machine, Captivate was still using 55% of the (quad core) CPU, and consuming more than half a gig of memory, and the time remaining was just frozen. Publishing to AVI is a non-feature as far as I can see. It should NOT take that long to render a video that length that’s lesson 800×600 resolution.

  10. Captivate 4’s ability to produce AVI files seems to be a crap shoot. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.A 6-minute project of plain slides with voiceovers at 1024 x 768 takes under 10 minutes to publish as uncompressed AVI and the file size is 18 mb. On my quad core machine with 4 gb RAM (Vista), this is fine. What isn’t fine is that the resulting AVIs are unplayable.I have to re-compress this movie as H.264, so I don’t want to use a codec for the export, but now I have no choice but to try each one to see if any of them work. So far, Main Concept and TechSmith both fail.I would rather re-record in Camtasia than output this as a SWF.This is the same computer I use for Premiere Pro and After Effects with much more intensive processes. My only conclusion is that CP4 needs a bug fix.

    • Yes, we realized that its not the best way to offer this feature. Hence in the current version (Adobe Captivate 5.5), you can publish it to MP4. This is very reliable and quality is also very good. In addition, you have the option to publish to YouTube directly.

  11. I have 3GB of Ram on my machine and have not gotten it to work. I need to publish to AVI, if not then I will have to publish yet another piece of software…this was one of the reasons for upgrading to 4.

  12. I am trying to use the publish to avi option in captivate 4. I choose the radius codec and it goes through the whole process and converts but there is no file in the folder it just plays the video in the preview and thats it … please help!! i spent alot of time creating tutorials for my web site and i want to get them on youtube. captivate rocks though overall

  13. Hi, I wanted to create screen-casts with Captivate 4.The swf quality is perfect but once I convert it to *.avi it becomes really ugly !I’m using the Xvid MPED-4 codec. The original resolution is 1200×800.I tried residing the project before converting but without result.Could you give me any advice to fix this ???

  14. Hi,I am having the same trouble with the ‘publish to avi’ setting not creating any output file. It is quite fast and then just replays the video on screen, but no file is saved in the specified directory.Is there an answer to this?

  15. Hi,Great post! Downloaded the K-Lite full codec and the result when rendering avi with Captivate using the Xvid codec is satisfying. Thank you for this helpful post.Best regards

  16. We have Captivate projects that need to be saved a Quick Time MOV movie files. One thing I noticed is that when the video is converted from the AVI back to another format like a Quicktime movie file (,mov) the video and audio is crappy looking and not snyced. Any suggestions how to do it better? thanks 🙂

  17. Hi, I created a swf file includes 93 slides and I want to convert it to an avi file. I downloaded may swf to avi converter but they convert just first slide, not all of them. There is no option I can select slides to convert on this programs. Please respond me immediately.

  18. i love your long article that actually doesnt even explain how to do it. no where does it say click File > then > then > ……thanks for just telling what CAN happen if you ALREADY know what to do. just absolutely genius

    • Hi Jacob, as the title says, it is tips article for Publishing to AVI in Adobe Captivate 4. Feature demo videos were available on the product site when this version was released and hence it was not explained here. Anyway, this feature has matured a lot in the newer release. In Adobe Captivate 5.5, you can publish to MP4 video. For your benefit, this option is available in the ‘Publish’ dialog that can be opened from ‘File -> Publish’ option. In the dialog, go to the ‘Media’ section and from the drop down choose the video option from ‘Select Type’ drop down.

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