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Captivate – Acrobat Integration

A typical scenario for creating an elearning course with Captivate is to create multiple 5-10 min modules of Captivate movies that are integrated using the aggregator or the multi-sco packager or by creating your own navigation shell using Flash Pro. Today, I’ll show you another option that is available for creating a course with multiple modules.

The Adobe eLearning Suite integrates Adobe Captivate and Adobe Acrobat Pro to help you create a PDF portfolio containing your Captivate movies, complete with rich navigation. You can easily publish these n the web or distribute it via email. Your learners just need the free Adobe Reader on their computers to view this content. One note of caution: If your content contains assessments or significant interactivity, then this is not the best mode to publish in. 

Here’s an example of how you can achieve this. We will create an E-Learning course to teach ‘alphabets’, ‘numbers’ and ‘shapes’ to kids. So instead of creating a single Captivate project containing all the content, it will be broken down into smaller modules. Start by creating a Captivate project on ‘alphabets’ and publish it as a PDF. This option is available in the Publish dialog.

Just check the box which says ‘export PDF’ and publish the project. In the published folder, you will now get a PDF file which contains the embedded Captivate SWF.

Similarly create Captivate published movies for the other two topics. Thus you will get a separate PDF files for every topic.

Now you are just few steps away from creating your cool PDF portfolio of training modules. This can be done using Acrobat 9 Pro which is part of your Adobe eLearning Suite. In Acrobat Pro:

1. Click the Combine task button and choose Assemble PDF Portfolio. Your Acrobat window is renamed the Portfolio[#].pdf window, and is now a dedicated Portfolio interface.

Tip: If you look in the program menus, you’ll see that only those commands that are applicable to PDF Portfolio are active.

2. Click Add Files at the bottom left of the window to display the Add Files dialog. Locate and select the PDF’s you just generated using Captivate, and click Open. The dialog closes, and the selected files display in a grid at the left of the Edit window.

3. Select appearance and display options from the panes at the right of the window, including:

  • Choose a layout from the Choose a Layout pane options at the right of the Portfolio window. The default uses a basic thumbnail grid.
  • Click the Add Welcome & Header bar to display the Welcome Page and Header panes. Click either Welcome Page or Header options to display settings and follow the prompts to select and define the content. Click Done to close the pane and return to the Edit window.
  • Click the Select a Color Scheme bar to display a palette of color schemes. Click to select or design your own.
  • Click the Specify File Details bar to display the files in a list view; configure the list columns in the Details mode using the options in the Specify File Details pane

Click the Publish bar to display options for managing the PDF Portfolio. You can save, e-mail or share the Portfolio on

4. Click Save on the Portfolio toolbar and save the Portfolio file.

5. To close the Portfolio and return to Acrobat, close the Portfolio’s program window.

To know more about designing PDF portfolio, you can visit

Thus your portfolio consisting of different modules is ready. User can choose any of the modules and start learning. The portfolio can look something like this. Click on any module and your Captivate movie is up and running!!


Please click here to view the PDF portfolio created for the above tutorial


13 Responses

  1. I do have two questions:1. Why do you suggest that this approach is not recommended for (intense)interactive trainings. I understand this is not recommended for assessments because it is better to deploy them on a LMS and not in pdf- format. But what are the limitations when used for p.e. simulation trainings? Are there problems with new aspects as the right click functionality.2. This approach for using Acrobat in combination with CP4 I is a very fine idea, thanks for it. I’m using Acrobat in combination with CP-movies for courses by inserting those movies as Flash-objects, as a sort of workaround for the combination of Dreamweaver/CP4 or Lectora/CP4. It would be nice if you have some tips about this use of the eLS.

  2. Mukul, what ‘aggregator’ and the ‘multi-sco packager’ you’re talking about in the first paragaraph?Lieve Weymeis and Ed Lamaster have asked very interesting questions! Awaiting your reply.

  3. Hi Vijay,Captivate 4 provides you with an Aggregator. Using this you can combine more than one Captivate generated swfs and create one single package (swf movie) out of it. This is generally used when every chapter of your course is created as a separate captivate movie and then all these movies are packaged using the Aggregator.

  4. @Lieve: Thanks for pointing that out. The cautionary note is only for swf’s that have assessment. Only if the interactions are scored, or need to be tracked in an LMS will this method not be suitable. I think this also answers your second question and Ed’s comment. To replace a Dw/Cp workflow with this, we need to provide some “SCORM wrapper for PDFs”. This is a project worth exploring. Will keep you posted.

  5. We purchased Captivate 5 (but not as a part of elearning suiite) and it didn’t come with Aggregator or multi-sco packager. How would we package our multiple sco projects?

  6. Help!
    I have created my main SWF files plus additional files with extra Multiple Choice questions. All have been created with TOCs with custom skins.

    When I try to add an SWF file to an Aggregator project, it insists that I download the skins (SWF). OK, so I can add the Skins, but I cannot add the main files. It does not seem to recognise that the Skins have already been added to the project. I am completely hamstrung.

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