PowerPointLabs add-in

Using this free PowerPoint add-in, you can save time creating image effects and animations without effort. It includes more than 20 built-in features in the menu, not only for image edition but also for creating audio narrations, animations with motion paths, spotlights and highlighted text among others.

I found it particularly useful the options to cut out an image, and to stand out an element of the image, like a magnifying glass, or to blur the background.  The auto-animate option creates motion paths between shapes, which don’t work well when the slide is imported into Storyline.

If you use PowerPoint I recommend you to check it out this free add-in. Below, some of the slides I created using this tool:


Using Question Banks in Storyline: activity to identify palm trees

This time, I learned how to use Question Banks in Storyline. Question banks are really useful to randomize and organize related questions within a course.

The idea

Since my visit to a Botanic Garden last month, I became more interested in the different types of palm trees, as I learned there are so many species in the world, that identification is sometimes difficult. I created an activity to learn how to easily classify a palm tree based on its key characteristics: leaves, trunk, and height.

The design

The Question Bank of this demo contains 9 questions, grouped in two quizzes of 5 questions each. Each question is formed by 4 slides, so I had to link them in the Draw.

The question layout is based on the example shared by Montse Anderson, where you get instant feedback from the correct answer. I must admit there are a few points to improve, the navigation, for example, I didn’t use the default player, so buttons might be sometimes confusing. The objective is to encourage the learner to practice, showing their progress in the Results slide.


What I learned

Quizzes are really easy to manage with Question Banks. You can even randomize question draws to keep quizzes from being predictable. Or you can group related slides to be presented together. Question banks can be reused or imported from another project.

Click on the image to view the demo.


Next time you see a palm tree, I’m sure you’ll identify some features you didn’t recognize before;)



Convert a double-entry table using Storyline

Imagine that you need to include a large double-entry table in your e-learning course, but you want to avoid scrolling up and down. You can convert this type of chart into an interactive double-tab navigation table in 4 simple steps using Storyline.


  1. Set up tabs for rows and columns. Each tab should have at least three states: Normal, Hover and Selected. Make sure each group of tabs is a Button set.
  2. Create as many layers as cells the table contents. Label each layer to avoid confusion when adding the triggers.
  3. Add triggers: “Show layer A-1 when user clicks Tab A and Shape 1 is equal to Selected” and the other way back: “Show layer A-1 when user clicks Tab 1 if Shape A is equal to Selected”
  4. Copy and paste the triggers to each combination of tabs.
Click on the image to see the result Essentialvitmins

Check out another example of double-tab navigation in this post

Double-tab navigation: Colored sand beaches

The Idea:

It was 2006, in those days social networks were not as popular as they are now, and people used to forward emails through large mailing lists. One day I received a PowerPoint about the colored sand beaches around the world and I was so amazed by the pictures it contained, that I saved it in my Documents folder.

A couple of months ago, cleaning up the folder, I realized I had kept that Powerpoint all that time, and decided to convert it into something more interactive. Click on the image to see the result:


The Research:

Searching on the web, I found lots of pictures, videos and articles about the coloured sand beaches. All images included are under Creative Commons licence; in total, almost 40 pictures and 4 videos were included. In the web of the University of Georgia, I found a sample image collection of sand from around the world. I picked the most representative samples, those from the beaches that I had written about.

Most of the information is from blog Sand Atlas and from the U.S. Geological Survey. Check the rest of the sources on the Credits section.

The Design: rounded tabs, borders and buttons!

Using basic shapes, I gave every element in this demo a rounded style. Top tabs are ovals that grow double the size when they’re selected and Bottom tabs are simply two overlapped ovals.

To create the double-tab interaction, I needed 50 layers and 20 triggers! And 12 T/F variables for the customized Menu. Enjoy!

Labelled interactive image: Las Meninas

meninas2A couple of years ago, when visiting Museo del Prado in Madrid, I was amazed by one of the masterpieces of the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. Back at home, I created a labelled image with a free software called Images Actives.

Unfortunately, this freeware hasn’t been updated since 2011, and this week when I tried to revamp the first version of the file, I got some bugs especially when zooming the image details.

For this new version of the labelled image, I used Storyline. I set up one scene linked to a Spanish and English description, using the information of Wikipedia in both languages. And I added a simple drag-n-drop interaction activity.                                                                                                      Click on the image to launch demo

Today museums  are exploring digital technologies to enhance the visitor experience. Labelled images have a great potential to make it more interactive and immersive; offering a visual description of the works of art that can be seen in museums and galleries.

The transparent echo effect for image backgrounds

This week the Articulate team shared a super easy technique used in advertisements and presentation backgrounds: the echo effect. This effect is achieved by duplicating one of the images and placed it on the background. The background image is scaled beyond the slide size and transparency is increased to blend the image into the background.

Watch the tutorial where Tom Kuhlmann explains clearly how to do it:

My sample:

To create this cover, I used images of a cooker showing a prepared food in different poses.  Background photo was scaled and blurred. On top I added a shape with a transparency of 70% and placed the other image. Finally, I imported the PowerPoint slide to Storyline.

healthy eating cover

Very cool design tip! Check out other great examples in the Weekly Challenge 117


Images by Photl

Font: KaushanScript by Impallari Type. SIL Open Licence