What’s New in Captivate 8?

Adobe Captivate 8 has been out for a couple of months now, and while we’re still learning the new features and quirks, our initial impression is this is a must-have software for our team. Captivate 8 launches eLearning into the era of mobile learning with it’s new responsive design features. In addition, Adobe has given Captivate 8 a makeover with a new layout, as well as some other minor changes.

All About Mobile

Probably the biggest and most exciting changes to Captivate 8 include features that are focused on designing for mobile devices, such as the new Responsive Design projects, GPS capability, and gestures.

Responsive Design

You can now create Responsive Design projects in Captivate 8. This allows you to customize the layout of your project for different devices. For example, a computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone. Their responsive design scale allows you to easily switch between previews of how your project will display on different devices to help make this process as seamless as possible.

Responsive Design

Of course, while this opens exciting new opportunities for eLearning, it does pose some difficulties for the developer.

  • Captivate 8’s responsive design only allows for 3 different sizes. So, you have to pick the sizes you create at carefully. In a BYOD organization such as ours, where we have no control over which devices people are using, we have to pick the sizes we design at carefully. Of course, I can’t imagine designing for more than 3 screen sizes at a time anyways, which brings me to my next point:
  • You have to design for 3 different screen sizes. Captivate 8 does a great job at scaling your project down and suggesting how your project could look at smaller sizes, but I always find myself having to make minor adjustments to each size, despite Captivate’s adjustments. This is all well worth it in the end, but as a designer it is important to keep in mind that this will add some time to your production process.
  • Probably the biggest problem with Responsive Design is some features just won’t work in it. This includes some interactions and objects. Obviously this is to be expected with some features that are just not possible to do on a mobile device. However, you also are not able to take advantages of some shapes, such as the line shape. It doesn’t make sense to me, but that’s how it is. Instead you’re better off creating the line in another software and importing it into your Captivate project as an image.

GPS Capability

You can now create content that is specific to a learner’s location in one project. Captivate 8’s Geolocation allows you to use the GPS on mobile devices to specify what material they are presented. This is especially handy if you have to deliver eLearnings to multiple locations.

Along with Geolocation, Captivate 8 also has the ability to specify which content is delivered based on Operating System. Unfortunately, this does not yet include the ability to vary content based on web browser.


Captivate 8 now supports mobile gestures such as swiping and pinch and zoom. This will make functionality and control much easier and more natural from a mobile device. However, keep in mind that you may need to educate your learners on these gestures if they are going to be used as your primary navigation for mobile in your project. The gestures seem very intuitive for mobile users, but some, such as the Long Tap and Double Tap, are not.

mobile palette

New Layout

Another big change to Captivate 8 is the layout and user interface. Many of the features of Captivate 8 are now available right in the menu at the top rather than a menu that was split between the top and the sidebar. Of course, the jury is still out on whether or not this is an improvement to Captivate. For those of us who are used to using an earlier version, learning the new layout might be a bit cumbersome at first. But, for those just learning, this new visuals paired with text user interface may be a bit friendlier.


Of course, this new user interface extends beyond the menu. Perhaps the most frustrating interface change for me is it is not as easy to move between your timeline/filmstrip and your master slide. Before the master slide used to be a tab next to timeline. Now, it is its own view. You have to use the Window menu to switch between the two views.

Other New Features

Popup blocker for screen capture

Ever take a screen capture where everything is perfect, except you get an annoying pop-up on your screen from your email, an IM, or just from Windows? Annoying isn’t it? In the past when this happened I would have to grab an image of what that area looked like before the pop-up and cover the pop-up using that. And, of course, hope there weren’t changes to the background while that pop-up was visible. Now, Captivate has a built in pop-up cleaner-upper that allows you to clean-up or replace pop-ups in your video.

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.01.41 PM

This feature is specific to videos. If you have a pop-up while recording a training, you won’t be able to use this feature to remove it. But, you most like have to only remove the slide if this is the option you’re using.

New Themes, Characters, and Interactions

Captivate 8 also comes packaged with new themes, characters in different poses, and interactions. I would suggest browsing through these to determine how valuable these new aspects are to you. In my opinion, there are other eLearning products out there that develop characters and interactions that are easier to use, more visually appealing, and function better than the one’s provided by Captivate. But, if you don’t have access to these alternatives, this inclusion could be a huge help.

Is It Worth It?

While we’re still new to and learning, Captivate 8 has the most changes to the Captivate software than we have seen in a very long time. The jump to Captivate 8 was well worth it for me and my team because it does allow us to more effectively create trainings for our increasing mobile audience, while leaving many of the features that we have come to know and use frequently intact. With that being said, some of the changes we have been waiting for Adobe to correct in Captivate are still there. For example, we are still struggling with ghost lines in our videos. While Captivate 8 is by no means our dream eLearning software, we saw much needed improvements in this version, and it still remains a powerful software for eLearning creation.

Have you used Captivate 8? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below!

Alex is a dual-hatted (or should I say hooded) academic with Master’s degrees in both Anthropology and Educational Technology. Alex specializes in understanding the interactions between learners and technology, the socio-cultural learning environment, Web 2.0 learning strategies, and creating interactive, technology-enhanced learning experiences.

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