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Create accessible projects in Adobe Captivate Classic

  1. Captivate Classic User Guide
  2. Introduction to Captivate
    1. What's New in Adobe Captivate
    2. Adobe Captivate System Requirements
    3. Responsive Project Design with Adobe Captivate
  3. Captivate Classic Release Notes
    1.  Adobe Captivate Classic 11.8.3 Release Notes
    2. Adobe Captivate Classic 11.8.2 Release Notes
    3. Adobe Captivate 11.8.1 Release Notes
    4. Adobe Captivate 11.8 Release Notes
    5. What's New in Adobe Captivate (2019 release) Update 5
    6. What's New in Adobe Captivate (2019 release) Update 2
    7. Adobe Captivate Release Notes
  4. Create Projects
    1. Create different types of projects in Adobe Captivate
    2. Customize the size of an Adobe Captivate project
    3. Responsive Project Design with Adobe Captivate
    4. Create Virtual Reality (VR) projects
    5. Work with responsive text in Adobe Captivate
    6. Work with themes in Adobe Captivate
    7. How to apply view specific properties in responsive projects
    8. How to create backup files for Adobe Captivate projects
    9. Asset panel
    10. Create branching and forced navigation in Captivate
    11. Replace image on the stage
  5. Add and Manage Objects
    1. Work with multi-state objects in Adobe Captivate
    2. Object effects
    3. Insert web objects in Adobe Captivate projects
    4. Work with object styles in Adobe Captivate
    5. How to rotate objects in Adobe Captivate
    6. How to manage objects with the Main Options toolbar
    7. How to merge objects in a slide
    8. How to manage objects in the library
    9. How to group objects in Adobe Captivate
    10. Edit object information using the Advanced Interaction panel
    11. How to copy, paste, and duplicate objects in Adobe Captivate
    12. Control the visibility of objects
    13. How to change the display order of objects in Adobe Captivate
    14. Apply shadows to objects
    15. How to align objects in Adobe Captivate
    16. How to add reflection to objects in Adobe Captivate
    17. Import assets into a Captivate project
  6. Slides
    1. Add slides to an Adobe Captivate project
    2. Editing slides in an Adobe Captivate project
    3. Delete Adobe Captivate project slides
    4. Change slide order in Adobe Captivate
    5. Set slide properties in Adobe Captivate
    6. Add and convert slide notes to audio files with Adobe Captivate
    7. Set up knowledge check slides in Adobe Captivate
    8. How to add slide transitions in Adobe Captivate
    9. How to work with master slides in Adobe Captivate
    10. How to lock Adobe Captivate slides
    11. How to hide or exclude slides in an Adobe Captivate project
    12. How to group and ungroup slides in Adobe Captivate
  7. Timeline and grids
    1. Use rulers and guides
    2. Work with grids in Adobe Captivate
    3. Work with the timeline
    4. Shortcut keys in Adobe Captivate
    5. Working with the filmstrip
    6. How to customize the Adobe Captivate workspace
    7. How to use the Adobe Captivate Library
    8. How to use the Branching panel in Adobe Captivate
  8. Create Quizzes
    1. Insert question slides in Adobe Captivate projects
    2. Set quiz preferences for Adobe Captivate
    3. How to enable learners to submit all quiz responses simultaneously
    4. How to set up question slides with Adobe Captivate
    5. Using random question slides in Adobe Captivate
    6. How to allow users to return to quiz
    7. Import questions from CSV format files
    8. Import questions from GIFT format files
    9. How to insert pretests in Adobe Captivate
  9. Audio
    1. How to insert audio into an Adobe Captivate project
    2. How to preview audio in Adobe Captivate
    3. How to edit audio files with Adobe Captivate
    4. View audio details in Adobe Captivate
    5. Set audio recording preferences and recording audio
    6. How to export audio from Adobe Captivate
  10. Video
    1. Slide videos
    2. Work with event videos in Adobe Captivate
    3. Differences between events and synchronized videos in Adobe Captivate
  11. Interactive Objects
    1. Add interactive buttons to your Captivate projects
    2. Create click boxes in Adobe Captivate
    3. Add text entry boxes with Adobe Captivate
    4. How to add audio to boxes and buttons
    5. How to add JavaScript to boxes and buttons in Adobe Captivate
  12. Interactions
    1. Create drag-and-drop interactions in Adobe Captivate
    2. Use Adobe Captivate variables in widgets
    3. Set the properties of widgets with Adobe Captivate
    4. How to create static, interactive, and question widgets in Adobe Captivate
    5. How to add widgets to your Adobe Captivate project
  13. Non-interactive objects
    1. Create and edit smart shapes
    2. Edit and create text captions with Captivate
    3. How to use images and rollover images with Captivate
    4. How to customize smart shapes in Adobe Captivate
    5. How to create zoom areas in Adobe Captivate
    6. How to set audio for noninteractive objects
    7. How to create rollover slidelets in Adobe Captivate
    8. How to create rollover captions in Adobe Captivate
    9. Change mouse properties in Adobe Captivate
    10. Use highlight boxes in Captivate
    11. Work with swatches in Adobe Captivate
    12. Fix size and position of non-interactive objects
    13. Add animations to a Adobe Captivate project
  14. Advanced Editing and Project Reviews
    1. How to link Adobe Captivate projects
    2. Import, export, and delete content
    3. Skins
    4. Create accessible projects in Adobe Captivate
    5. Create a table of contents (TOC) with Adobe Captivate
    6. Resize Adobe Captivate projects
    7. Projects and project preferences
    8. How to preview projects in Adobe Captivate
  15. Variables and Advanced Actions
    1. Adobe Captivate variables
    2. How to create user-defined variables in Adobe Captivate
    3. Advanced actions in Adobe Captivate
    4. Shared actions in Adobe Captivate projects
    5. Edit or delete user-defined variables in Adobe Captivate
    6. How to assign advanced actions to an event
  16. Record Projects
    1. Create interactive videos
    2. Automatic and manual recording with Captivate
    3. Set recording preferences in Adobe Captivate
    4. Record video demonstrations with Adobe Captivate
    5. How to record software simulations in Adobe Captivate
    6. How to pause recording
  17. Publish Projects
    1. Preview and publish responsive projects
    2. Publish project to Adobe Captivate Prime
    3. Publish projects as HTML5 files with Adobe Captivate
    4. Publish projects as executable files
    5. Publish projects as MP4 files with Adobe Captivate
    6. Set publishing preferences in Adobe Captivate
    7. Using web fonts from Adobe Fonts in Adobe Captivate
    8. Report quiz results to an internal server
  18. Use Adobe Captivate with Other Applications
    1. Import and edit PowerPoint presentations in Captivate
    2. Upload an Adobe Captivate project to a Learning Management System
    3. Learn about the Common JavaScript interface for Adobe Captivate
    4. How to publish Captivate projects to Microsoft Word
    5. Using Adobe Connect with Captivate
    6. How to add Captivate projects to a RoboHelp online help system
    7. How to package multiple SCOs using the Adobe Multi-SCORM Packager
  19. Troubleshoot Adobe Captivate
    1. Resolve known issues and limitations in the latest versions of Adobe Captivate, Adobe FrameMaker, and Adobe RoboHelp.
    2. Early build for Captivate (2019 release) on macOS Big Sur (macOS 11)
    3. Hotfix for VR content not playing on devices
    4. Configure SSL for Live Preview on Devices
    5. Captivate (2019 release) activation issues on macOS Catalina
    6. Captivate responsive courses will not auto-play on browsers
    7. Issues with Asset panel in Adobe Captivate (2019 release)
    8. Error 103 while installing Adobe Captivate
    9. Issues when previewing a Captivate project

Since Adobe will no longer be supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021, Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems. 

For more information, see Flash Player End of Life announcement.

Accessibility and Adobe Captivate Classic

You can create output that is compliant with Section 508 for users who have visual or hearing impairments, mobility impairments, or other types of disabilities. You can also take steps at the design level to remove obstacles for people with disabilities viewing your Adobe Captivate Classic projects.

These solutions support government agencies in meeting their users’ needs through Section 508 compliance, as well as companies who are committed to improving accessibility.

Worldwide accessibility standards

Many countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and countries in the European Union, have adopted accessibility standards based on those developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). W3C publishes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a document that prioritizes actions designers should take to make web content accessible. For information about the Web Accessibility Initiative, see the W3C website at

In the United States, the law that governs accessibility is commonly known as Section 508, which is an amendment to the U.S. Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 prohibits federal agencies from buying, developing, maintaining, or using electronic technology that is not accessible to those with disabilities. In addition to mandating standards, Section 508 allows government employees and the public to sue agencies in federal court for noncompliance.

For additional information about Section 508, see the following websites:

What is Section 508- compliance?

Section 508 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring that federal agencies develop, maintain, acquire, or use electronic and information technology to make the systems accessible to people with disabilities. The most recent (1998) version of Section 508 establishes enforceable, government-wide standards.

What does accessible mean?

In general, an information technology system is accessible for people with disabilities if it can be used in various ways that do not depend on a single sense or ability. For example, users should be able to navigate with a keyboard, in addition to a mouse (not with a mouse only). Also, the visual and auditory elements of a user interface must accommodate both hearing-impaired and visually impaired users.

What other types of assistive software do end users need?

Screen readers or text-to-speech utilities (which read the contents of the active window, menu options, or text you have typed) and screen review aids translate onscreen text to speech or to a dynamic, refreshable, Braille display. This assistive technology can provide keyboard assistance or shortcuts, captions for speech and sound, and visual warnings such as flashing toolbars. Tools available include Windows Eye and JAWS.

What does Adobe Captivate Classic do to be Section 508 compliant?

Selecting the Enable Accessibility option makes certain elements in Adobe Captivate Classic projects accessible or open to accessibility technology. For example, if you select the Enable Accessibility and you have filled in the project name and project description text boxes in Project preferences, a screen reader will read the name and description when the Adobe Captivate Classic SWF file is played.

The following Adobe Captivate Classic elements are accessible when the Enable Accessibility option is selected:

  • Project name (derived from Project Properties)

  • Project description (derived from Project Properties)

  • Slide accessibility text

  • Slide label (derived from Slide Properties)

  • Buttons

  • Playback controls (The function of each button is read by screen readers)

  • Password protection (If an Adobe Captivate Classic SWF file is password protected, the prompt for a password is read by screen readers)

  • Question slides (Title, question, answers, button text, and scoring report are read by screen readers)

The following interactions are also accessible:

  • Accordion
  • Process TABS
  • Process Circle
  • Pyramid Stack
  • Pyramid Matrix
  • Timeline
  • Circle Matrix
  • Glossary
  • Certificate
  • TextArea
  • Radio Button
  • Check box
  • Listbox
  • Dropdown

Output generated with the Enable Accessibility option is displayed by all supported browsers. However, your output may not be Section 508-compliant unless it is viewed with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is the only browser with support for MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility).

To access Flash files using a screen reader, users must have Flash Player 9 or later installed.

The Access Board is an independent federal agency committed to accessibility for people with disabilities. 

Create accessible content

Create 508-compliant projects

Create an Adobe Captivate Classic project using the Section 508 option to view and test the output. Generating the Adobe Captivate Classic project updates source files containing information about your project and creates output files that you can publish for users. Read the tips for authoring and use the following procedure.

  1. In an open project that you want to publish as 508-compliant, select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Adobe Captivate Classic > Preferences (Mac OS).

  2. In the Category panel, expand Project, and select Publish Settings.

  3. Select Enable Accessibility in the Project panel.

    Enable accessibility in the project panel
    Enable accessibility in the project panel

Tips for creating 508-compliant Adobe Captivate Classic SWF and HTML5 files

While Adobe Captivate Classic Section 508 output is compliant for navigation, make sure that other elements are also compliant in your project. Assistive software must be able to “read” elements on the screen to visually impaired users. Use these tips to design accessible projects.

  • In the Project preferences, write a meaningful name and description for your Adobe Captivate Classic projects.

  • For users with hearing impairment, add text equivalents for audio elements. For example, when delivering narrative audio, it is important to provide captions at the same time. One option is to place a transparent caption in a fixed location on slides, then synchronize the text with the audio using the Timeline.

  • If your project contains visual multimedia, provide information about the multimedia for users with visual impairment. If a name and description are given for visual elements, Adobe Captivate Classic can send the information to the user through the screen reader. Make sure that audio in your Adobe Captivate Classic projects does not prevent users from hearing the screen reader.

  • Supply text for individual slides that screen readers can read.

  • Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information. For example, if you use blue to indicate active links, also use bold, italics, underlining, or some other visual clue. In addition, make sure that foreground and background contrast sufficiently to make text readable by people with low vision or color blindness.

  • For users with either visual or mobility impairment, ensure that controls are device independent or accessible by keyboard.

  • Users with cognitive impairments often respond best to uncluttered design that is easily navigable.

  • If mouse movement is critical in your Adobe Captivate Classic project, consider making the pointer twice its normal size for easier viewing.

  • Document methods of accessibility for users.

  • Avoid looping objects. When a screen reader encounters content meant for Flash Player, the screen reader notifies the user with audio, such as “Loading….load done.” As content in a project changes, Flash Player sends an event to the screen reader notifying it of a change. In response, the screen reader returns to the top of the page and begins reading again. Therefore, a looping text animation on a slide, for example, can cause the screen reader to continually return to the top of the page.

  • Accessibility in Adobe Captivate Classic demos works better when all the slides have interactive content. If you are using JAWS 6.1 or later, be aware that JAWS sometimes does not clear the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) tree. As a result, the content of previous slides can replay when slides are continuous. This problem does not occur in JAWS 4.5.

  • Ensure that the Accessibility dialog box is not blank. Import slide notes or type appropriate instructions in the Accessibility dialog box.

  • Time your slides and objects appropriately. Provide enough time for the user/screen reader to read the contents on the slide. You can make use of interactive objects; interactive objects pause the movie until the user interacts.

    If you do not factor in sufficient time, the movie advances to the next slide before all objects can be read. In such a case, some objects on the next slide may not be read by screen readers.

  • Specify alt-text for images. Otherwise an image is read as just 'image' by the screen readers.

Add language to your project and objects

The HTML lang attribute identifies the language of text content on the web. This information helps search engines return language specific results, and it is also used by screen readers that switch language profiles to provide the correct accent and pronunciation.

In Captivate Classic (2019 release), you can provide the lang attribute at a project as well as an object level.

At a project level,

1. To launch the Preferences dialog, click Edit > Preferences.

2. On the Publish Settings dialog, choose the Language drop-down list. Choose the language you require.

Select required language from the drop-down inside Publish settings
Language at project level

At an object level,

1. On a slide, choose an object, and click Accessibility in the Properties Inspector panel.

Accessibility button for an object on a slide
Accessibility button

2. In the Item Accessibility dialog, from the Language drop-down list, choose the language you require.

Select the required language from the drop-down inside Item Accessibility
Language at object level

Specify Tab order for interactive and non-interactive objects

When using a screen reader, your readers can use:

  • The Tab key to navigate through interactive objects. Specify the Tab order by clicking the up and down arrows. The Tab key does not work for non-interactive objects. The Tab order works for questions as they are non-interactive.
Specify the order for the screenreader/keyboard navigation
Tab order for interactive objects

  • The arrow keys to navigate through interactive and non-interactive objects. For HTML5, use the up and down cursor keys.
Use arrow keys to navigate through interactive and non-interactive objects
Use arrow keys to navigate through interactive and non-interactive objects

If your course requires your users to navigate through only interactive objects, you can include appropriate instructions as accessibility text (Accessibility dialog box).

By default, the interactive objects are read based on their z-order. You can change the order in which a screen reader must read the interactive objects when users press the tab key.

  1. Click Tab Order in the Property Inspector of the slide.

    All interactive objects, except click boxes and rollover objects, are listed in the Tab Order dialog box. Click boxes are not visible at runtime and therefore are not listed in the Tab Order dialog box. For Rollover objects, add accessibility text to Rollover Area and users can use arrow keys to navigate to the object.

  2. In the Tab Order dialog box, use the arrow keys to place the components in the order in which you want them to be read.

Add accessibility text to slides

A screen reader can read aloud text that appears on the computer screen. Screen readers are useful for people with visual impairment. In Adobe Captivate Classic, you can write text describing each slide for screen readers to read aloud.

  1. Open the slide to which you want to add accessible text.

  2. In the Property Inspector, click Accessibility.

  3. Type the text that you want the screen reader to read aloud.

  4. To use the slide notes (Text-to-speech and closed captioning included), click Import Slide Notes, and click OK.

Customize accessibility text for objects

You can add accessible text to individual objects on a slide. When the object appears in the movie, the screen reader reads that text aloud. If you do not specify accessible text for an object, the screen reader reads the default text. For example, if the object is an image, it reads Graphics Image. This default text is generally not sufficiently descriptive to help a visually impaired user. Also, objects other than text captions and text entry boxes do not contain any text. Accessible text for such objects can help users understand their purpose in the movie.

  1. Select the object whose accessibility text you want to customize.

  2. In the Property Inspector, click Accessibility.

  3. Deselect Auto Label. When Auto Label is selected, the text in the object is read aloud by the screen reader.

  4. In the Item Accessibility dialog box, do the following:

    Accessibility Name

    Enter the accessibility name. For a text caption, you can enter “This text is in a caption,” for example.

    Accessibility Description

    Add a description to clarify information for the person using the screen reader. For example, consider the text caption “Select File > Edit Image.” You can change the text to “From the File menu, select the Edit Image command. This command is available only when an image is selected on the slide.”

Test accessible content

Tips for testing

If you are designing your Adobe Captivate Classic project to work with screen readers, download several screen readers. Then test your project by playing it in a browser with the screen reader enabled. Make sure that the screen reader is not attempting to “talk over” places in your project where you have inserted separate audio. Several screen reader applications provide a demonstration version of the software as a free download. Try as many as you can to ensure compatibility across screen readers.

If you are creating interactive content, test it and verify that users can navigate your content effectively using only the keyboard. This requirement can be especially challenging, because different screen readers work in different ways when processing input from the keyboard. For this reason, your Adobe Captivate Classic content might not receive keystrokes as you intended. Make sure to test all keyboard shortcuts.

About screen reader technology

Screen readers are programs designed to navigate through a website and read the web content aloud. Visually impaired users often rely on this technology.

JAWS®, or Job Access with Speech, from Freedom Scientific, is one example of a screen reader. You can access the JAWS page of the Freedom Scientific website at Another commonly used screen reader is Window-Eyes®, from GW Micro®. To access the latest information on Window-Eyes, visit the GW Micro website. For Windows users, Microsoft provides a free, downloadable product called Microsoft Reader that contains a text-to-speech component. For more information, visit the Microsoft website at

Because different screen readers use varying methods to translate information into speech, the way your content is presented to users can vary. As you design accessible projects, keep in mind that you have no control over how a screen reader behaves. You have control only over the content, not the screen readers. You cannot force screen readers to read specific text at specific times or control the manner in which that content is read. It is important to test your projects with various screen readers to ensure that they perform as you expect.


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