If you’ve ever built a course in Storyline 360, you’ve likely spent a good amount of time working with the Timeline panel. Mainly because after adding objects to a slide, you often need to adjust when those objects appear and disappear in order to synchronize them with audio narration. Since we spend so much time in the Timeline panel, you may be wondering if we have any useful tips to make things more efficient. Well, we’re glad you asked! Read on as we answer the “as heard in training” question: “ How can we use the Timeline more efficiently?”
- With Cue Points, you can add marks across the top of the Timeline that make it easier to determine when you want things to happen on a slide.
- With Timeline Visualization, you can preview how your slide looks at a specific point on its Timeline.
When these two features are used together, it can be a real game changer! So, let’s begin by exploring how Cue Points work.
During training, we often hear lots of “ooohs” and “aaahs” when covering Cue Points. That’s because many developers who’ve developed in Storyline 360 for years didn’t know about the power of Cue Points. Believe us: once you learn about Cue Points, you won’t be able to imagine building a course without them!
Cue Points can be added to your Timeline in two ways:
- You can right-click with your mouse on the Timeline to create a Cue Point wherever the playhead is located.
- You can press the letter C on your keyboard as a keyboard shortcut as you’re playing the slide from the Timeline.
Let’s examine both ways of adding a Cue Point.
Adding a Cue Point with a Right-Click
The inverted triangle that appears at the top of your Timeline is called a playhead. If you select a point in the top of your Timeline, you’ll notice that the playhead jumps to the time you selected. After moving the playhead, you can right-click the Timeline and select the Create a Cue Point at Playhead option.
Using this method is helpful if you already know where you want a Cue Point to be. But, what if you’re not sure where your Cue Points should be? That’s when you may want to listen to your audio narration, and add Cue Points with the keyboard shortcut as you go along. So, let’s find out how to do that.
Adding a Cue Point with a Keyboard Shortcut
If you want to add Cue Points as you listen to your audio narration, follow these steps:
- Select the Play button on the Timeline. The slide begins previewing while you’re still in slide editing mode. (Note: This is different from selecting the Preview button at the top of Storyline 360).
- Then, press the C key on your keyboard each time the audio narration says something you want your objects to move in time with. This creates a Cue Point.
- If you accidentally press the C key at the wrong time, simply select and drag the Cue Point to the desired location.
It may take some practice to get this right, but if you ever need to start over, simply right-click on the Timeline and select Delete All Cue Points.
Tip: After you’ve created your Cue Points, you can right-click an object and select Align to Cue Point. This “snaps” the object to that specific Cue Point. This can be much faster than dragging objects to the desired location on the Timeline, especially if you have a long slide.
After adding your Cue Points and adjusting the timing of your objects to match, you may notice that the slide is quite busy, and it’s difficult to see what the slide will look like at a specific point in time. This is where the Timeline Visualization comes into play! So, let’s explore how that works.
If you move your playhead to a specific point on the Timeline, you can use the Timeline Visualization button on the right-side to preview exactly what will be displayed on the slide at the time you selected.
This can be extremely useful, especially when you have overlapping objects that appear and disappear from the same area of a slide.
Tip: Remember to turn off the Timeline Visualization when you’re finished using it. (We’ve forgotten to do this before and then wondered why certain objects were no longer displayed on the slide stage!)
Hopefully these tips will help you to use the Timeline more effectively in Storyline 360! Cue Points and Timeline Visualization are often overlooked and underutilized, but they can significantly speed up development. Do you have any tips or tricks for working with the Timeline? If so, please share them with us and the rest of the Instructional Design community!
Here Are Some Quick Links on this Topic!
For more on this topic, check out the following posts from Articulate and The Articulate Trainer blog:
Until next time!