Captivate 9 review – is it any good?

Captivate 9 review
So Captivate 9 has been out for a couple of weeks now and I have had a good play around. While compared to Captivate 8’s new responsive layout, this release of Captivate lacks a headline feature. However, there are still plenty of new features that will help make your e-Learning great.

Multi state objects

So you can’t really review a software without comparing it to a competitor and Storyline is, in my opinion, Captivate’s best competitor. The good news is Adobe have taken a leaf from Storyline’s book and added the option to have one object with multiple states.

Adobe did introduce this feature in Captivate 8, but you could only apply it to smart shapes that you were using as a button. Now you can give any object multiple states. This is great news as you no longer have to spend your time showing and hiding objects with advanced actions, you can just simply change the state of the object.

Working with states is simple, all you have to do is turn on state mode and any changes you make to the object will only be made to that object.

Effects upgrade!

This is the feature change I have wanted since effects were added in Captivate 5! I don’t want to go into this feature too much here as I am going to devote an entire blog to it next week. But the new effect options are so much better. Here are a few of the highlights why:

Effects can be seen on the timeline, so you can adjust timing on the fly far more easily.

They have finally added motion paths, no more editing xml files!

You can delay effects in advanced actions.

As I said I will go into this next week and I’ll include a downloadable demo I have been working on…

Improved responsive settings

While Captivate 8’s responsive layouts were great, they had some issues. The main one was that as soon as a user turned their phone or tablet landscape everything went horribly, horribly wrong. Captivate 9 addresses this issue in two ways. The first is by introducing the option to add two more break points:


This allows us to develop a specific layout for both tablet and phones in a landscape orientation. Which is how most media is digested on these devices.

The second is the option is to Disallow phone landscape orientation in publish settings:

Force landscape view in Captivate 9

While this does seem like a quick fix, any e-Learning developer should know that if you are making content that has to be viewed a certain way up then it’s not really responsive.

I can imagine I will end up using this setting for initial demos and first drafts, but I hopefully won’t ever go live with any e-Learning course with this check box still checked.

Knowledge check questions!!

This is just one of the features that I have just never understood why it’s not there, but now it is! We can finally add question slides throughout the project without them having to be part of a formal quiz!!!

Of all the features that Captivate has added in the last few additions this is the one that will save me the most time. I spend hours building fairly basic knowledge check questions by hand, using click boxes and advanced actions. That’s all over now I can start from the Captivate defaults and build from there.

Other new features in Captivate 9

Adobe Captivate Draft

So, Captivate has a companion app for IOS. I’ll be honest, this has me less excited than Barnsley’s game against Gillingham on Saturday. While I see the attraction of being able to maybe start building a course on an iPad, I just can’t ever see myself doing it. To build a course I need Photoshop, Edge Animate and After Effects to name just a few programs. So, for me, this feature can only really be used for storyboarding and I tend to do that in Photoshop. But hey, others might find it useful.

I should point out that I don’t own an apple product. However, even if it was on Android I probably wouldn’t use it!

Preview in SCORM Cloud

This is a fairly useful feature, and I’m glad they have added a SCORM testing feature without sending you down their Adobe Captivate Prime route. Although I will continue to test Captivate’s SCORM output manually on the Armada LMS as well as SCORM Cloud.

A new asset store

So a few months back I got an email saying that the e-Learning brothers were going to pair up with Adobe and provide 25,000+ downloadable assets for free. When I tried to test this I kept getting pushed to buy an eLearning Brothers subscription. However I did eventually get a free one! This will be a useful resource, but I will continue to prefer creating my own interactions and assets as that’s the fun part!

So is it any good?

In short, yes. I am looking forward to developing with Captivate. There are some good new features in this release without it having one stand out feature. While last year I felt that Adobe had put all their efforts into a creating responsive layout and ignored a lot of the issues with Captivate, this year I feel that they have addressed some long-standing issues. This makes Captivate 9 a significantly better tool to develop with.

Don’t forget that next week I’ll be going through the new effect options in more details, so stay tuned…. You could even subscribe?

Captivate 9 review – is it any good?

4 thoughts on “Captivate 9 review – is it any good?

  • September 23, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Hey George,
    Great insight on the new Cp9. I agree that Multi state is a definite reason to upgrade… Shared actions was a great step forward in terms of Show-Hide but you still had the naming process to go through. Multi state will surely be a time saver in replacing some advanced actions. Effects has me most interested. I’ve replaced many of the SWF effects with Edge ones but I really love (and still rely heavily on) the native Cp ones. I’m eager to see your examples related to this; your demos are excellent inspirational examples.
    Thanks for talking the time to post..

  • December 2, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Can you use multi-state objects in a situation like a custom menu? In my case, the client would like the menu buttons to show ‘current,’ ‘visited’ and so on whenever the user returns to the menu?

    Would that work with multi-state objects in CP9??

    -Marc Lee

    • December 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Marc. Yes you can, you will have to have it wraped up in an advanced action so the state is changes of all instances of the smartshape/button. It a good way of making a menu.

  • September 28, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Great review of Captivate 9. I have recently upgraded, the responsive settings are so much better, had so many issues with this using 8. There is a free trail from the following if anyone is wanting to try Captivate out.


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