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5 Things You Didn't Know About Working with States in Storyline

State of the Union. Fifty, nifty United States. State troopers. State of grace. Trance-like state.

Wherever we turn it seems like states are all around us. Well, I’m going to add one more source to the list: Articulate Storyline. States in Storyline can be instrumental in helping you create engaging, interactive eLearning. I’d like to share five things I’ve learned about states in Storyline that you may or may not already know.

1. Almost everything in Storyline can have a state

You probably are familiar with character states like those shown below.


But, did you know that text, captions, objects, and shapes can also have states? Even cutout people or stock images downloaded from eLearning Brothers can have states.

2. You can create your own custom states

Several objects, such as buttons, checkboxes, sliders, and character sets, come with pre-configured states.


In this image, you see the Normal, Hover, Down, Visited and Disabled states. These are the typical, pre-configured states for each of the buttons in Storyline. But you can create whatever states you want.

Start by clicking the Edit States button:


Then select the New State button:


Give it a name, then start editing.


Here, I’ve created 3 states (Red, Blue, and Orange) that each highlight a different section of the text.

3. States Can Be Different Objects

One of the great things about states is that they don’t have to be all the same object throughout each of the states. You can use different objects for each state you create.


Even though I used caption images through each of the states above (Normal, Thought and Serious), you can see that states aren’t just about changing the color of an object or the pose of a character. You can add almost any type of object to a state, including video.


4. Any State Can be set as the Initial State of an object

But what if you want to have your object start in a different state than the default Normal state? You can do that easily. That’s another wonderful thing about states, you don’t have to have everything start in the Normal state. You just go into the Initial State drop-down menu and select which state you want as your default or starting state.


Notice that Hidden, is one of the possible states in a character set. You can start with an object in Hidden state and then reveal it at a later point in the timeline.

5. States can trigger and be triggered

Like anything else in Storyline, states can be triggered by other objects and actions. They can also be used to trigger an action.


As you look through this trigger, you can see that Oval Caption 1 is triggered to change to its Thought state when the state of Button 1 changes to Down (from Normal). While this is a very simplistic example, you can see how an object can be triggered by a state change. Maybe you want your character to change from Thinking to Communicating and then for the audio to start after that. You use the change of state to trigger the audio.

There are so many other things you can do with states that I’d invite you to experiment and explore the forums and blogs as well. These five were just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

A great way to start learning about shapes is to download any of the Storyline Character Sets and experiment with them. Each set has 10 pre-configured states you can use to create engaging eLearning courses.  Find them in the Cutout People tab in our library under the heading Storyline Characters. Or just click here.

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