Storyline 2 vs. Captivate 8


As an eLearning professional, I know that choosing a software platform can be difficult and even confusing. I have used both Captivate and Storyline (multiple versions of each) and have been curious about ZebraZapps and other platforms that seem to have interesting features. It can be difficult to really find information that compares the various tools.

Lucky for you, dear eLearning professional who is trying to pick between Storyline and Captivate (that totally describes you, right?), I am embarking on a journey to make your life a little easier. This summer I am taking a class that focuses around Adobe Captivate (version 8). I am also a regular user (and superfan!) of Articulate Storyline 2.

So, I decided to try and check my bias at the door and do a series of posts comparing the two systems. I will also be adding to this post along the way as a kind of master document. If you find this is helpful, or have questions about particular features, please comment below and let me know!

 Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2  Notes
Operating Systems PC and Mac versions, projects are compatible between the 2 versions but you must have a separate license for each. PC only, but I believe a Mac version is in the works.
Workspace setup Captivate gives you quick access to an object’s properties and timing menus. On the Mac version, there are 2 different sets of menus which can get confusing. For example, both set have an option for inserting slides but offer different layouts. Storyline is set up to make it easy to build interactions. It is centered around triggers, layers, and states. You can pop-out the timeline, notes, triggers, and layers panels to fully customize your view. You can also add any function to a quick access bar. Storyline’s layout feels more intuitive to me, but that could be because I am used to it. I do, however, really prefer the triggers and layers system as I find it allows me to easily create custom interactions.
Working on multiple projects Can have multiple projects open in one instance – uses a tab system. Have to open a new instance of SL for each project. Being able to copy and paste within the same instance is nice when you want to pull info or a setup from another project.
Themes 11 built in themes. 16 different slide layouts built in. 27 built in themes. 12 built in slide layouts. Tons of free slide templates available to download and import for free from their site. Both allow you to import from PPT or build your own master slide layout.
Timeline Drag an object or slide to change its timing in .1 second increments, regardless of the zoom. Drag an object or slide to change its timing in .25 or .125 second increments depending on zoom. Detailed timing changes that require more precision than the timeline offers are easier to make in Captivate.
Aligning objects Alignment toolbar can be added to your permanent view, which is very handy. Alignment options include all those in Captivate, plus the ability to resize all to the largest or smallest and have any alignment oriented to the slide or just the selected objects.
Changing button/caption styles Can adjust shape (10 options), fill, outline, shadow, and reflection. Can adjust shape (72 options), fill, outline, shadow, reflection, glow (in the colors of the theme), and soft edges (a vignette type of feature). Both of these programs give you almost unlimited options for how you want your buttons and captions to look. SL makes it slightly easier by presenting your defaults in a nice visual way, but allowing you to tweak until you are content.
Setting default button/caption styles Easily set your default styles for objects within the Preferences settings. SL does not allow you to change defaults. It uses the theme colors and type of object to offer a range of presets instead. You can use Format Painter to easily match styles. While the Captivate option here is nice, it is also a little cumbersome if you use different styles for different projects. The Format Painter (along with some good ol’ copy/paste) is a little friendlier for smaller projects.


  1. Hi Allison, these comparisons are quite well-known and thanks for sharing them. Is it possible for you to share views on the quality and scalability of HTML5 output from these 2 solutions, and maybe include a third one as well if you can think of someone as a benchmark,


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