Summary: Using the transparency features of Studio ’09, you can use the same master slide throughout your presentations giving them a more consistent look.
Difficulty: Easy

There are so many new features in Studio ’09 that it takes time to explore everything. This article looks at a great new addition to Presenter ’09, Quizmaker ’09 and Engage ’09 which allows you to really make all three appear great together. Last year, I was asked to write an article on how to make Engage and Presenter appear consistent together. Much of what is said also applies to Studio ’09 but now there is a better method and frankly, it is just great!

When you are creating a presentation in PowerPoint, one of the easiest and best ways to make sure that you get a consistent feel throughout the project is to use master slides. Now we can have those same master slides with embedded Quizmaker ’09 quizzes and Engage ’09 interactions.

Have a look at this demo to get an idea of some of the things you can now do in Studio ’09.

View Demo

How Do We Do It?

So you should have seen that we can make a PowerPoint masterslide appear through most Engage ’09 interactions and Quizmaker ’09 quizzes. The question now is how?

Three things need to be done:

Change Presenter Settings

1) The first thing to do is to set Presenter ’09 to show the Master Slide behind both Quizmaker ’09 and Engage ’09 and for this there is a simple setting that needs checking.

Go to Articulate -> Presentation Options -> Publish

and select “Include slide master behind quizzes and interactions“:

Change Engage Settings

2) Next, you need to edit the Color Scheme for your Engage interactions to allow the Masterslide to show through.

There is only one area that you can make transparent in Engage and that is the Background.

Either create a new Color Scheme or Edit an existing scheme and change the Background transparency to 100% (or a little less if you want the background to show a little).

Make sure you choose this Color Scheme when you publish to Presenter.

Change Quizmaker Settings

3) Finally, edit the Player Template in Quizmaker ’09 to also allow transparency in the template.

Video Demo

The above steps are slightly simplified. You clearly need to create a master slide or several master slides in PowerPoint to use with Engage and/or Quizmaker. Also, unlike Engage, there are a number of areas in the Quizmaker template which you can make transparent giving you more scope to customize the look as you want. The video demo below goes into more details and shows how I put the presentation together.

View Video Demo

Project Files

If you want more help on this, why not download the project files for the presentation I made? I haven’t included the audio files to make the download file smaller but you will be able to see the masterslides and the transparency settings I selected for the Quizmaker and Engage templates. You can download the project files for the first demo above here:

Download Project Files


One of the new Community interactions, the Flashcard interaction, does not allow changes to the Color Scheme so transparency will not work. The Flipbook interaction does allow transparency in the latest version of the interaction. Be sure you download the latest version from this page.

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31 Responses

  1. jeanette cefre says:

    Dave..just tried looking at your demos, however, my anti-virus alarms kept popping up stating there was a sample of the VBS malware.

    Not sure if you were aware or if anyone else has reported it.

  2. Great blog entry and demo, Dave! This is probably an overlooked feature in Studio ’09 and hopefully people will now take advantage of it.

  3. Joe says:

    HI Dave,
    Were the project files removed from the site? Keep getting a message saying that the file I am looking for isn’t there.


  4. joe says:

    Hi Dave,
    Just want to check to make sure I get it. I assume that if you make the background transparent, you will also make the feedback message (you selected/did not select the correct response) transparent as well. The problem is that the feedback message is unreadable for me right now because the Quizmaker slide is showing through. You seemed to avoid that problem by not having any text under the feedback message. If you can’t separate the two, I guess the best thing would be to make my own feedback slide?


  5. daveperso says:

    Hi Joe, you seem to be right. The background color of the slide would seem to be the same as the background of the feedback panel. I am not sure that this is by design or if it is a mistake. Either way, yes, you could create your own feedback slide provided that you just want to give your users just one attempt. Or else, place the text on the question slide in an area that would not cause it to be covered. Dave

  6. danroddy says:

    Sweeeeet! This is a really helpful demo Dave and the presentation does a great job of getting this across. Thanks.

  7. Payal says:

    Hi Dave,

    I am facing the same issue that Joe brought up – the feedback panel also becomes transparent. In my case, I need to give the user multiple attempts. Does this mean that I cannot use this tip to make quizmaker slides consistent with powerpoint slides?

    Please help.



    • daveperso says:

      Hi Payal,

      This is a problem and one which I hadn’t spotted when originally writing the article. I have contacted the Articulate developement department about this but for the moment at least there is nothing that we can do. So it is time to use workarounds! One workaround I have found which might work for you is to use audio as your feedback rather than text. So when the student gets the wrong answer, you tell them via an audio message that the answer was wrong. Do not ask them to try again in the audio message though as that will interfere with the final attempt feedback – just let them know they got it wrong. In the actual question slide, make it clear to the learner that they have three attempts to get it right. Ideally they won’t need the feedback telling them to try again. It should be obvious. On the third attempt, they are marked as incorrect and they move onto the next question. To remove the feedback, just remove the text from the Incorrect and correct feedback boxes and add audio to feedback by clicking on the More button.

      If you don’t want to use audio for feedback, then the other alternative might be to blank out the feedback box altogether with the exception of the Try Again box which appears in a different color. I’ll leave you to find out what colors to change for that to work but it might.

      For others wanting to use this solution, but who are just interested in letting the user have just the one attempt, then you can branch the users to customized feedback ie. branch them to blank slides where you add the feedback you want and thereby not rely on the inbuilt feedback boxes.

      All of these methods should allow you to have your Quizmaker quizzes lie on top of your Master Slide in PowerPoint. Hope that helps a little.

    • Stupid Feedback boxes!
      I needed to solve this for a project and came up with a solution that involves copying one file into my published course.

  8. Payal says:

    Thanks alot Dave for your detailed response. I think the workaround with voice feedback might do the trick for me.

    Just to try out the other workaround in which I only use the Try Again box, could you please tell me how I can change the colors for that. I could not figure out where in Player Templates, I would be able to change the colors.

    Thanks alot for your help.



    • daveperso says:

      Hi Payal. Glad to hear the voice workaround might work. To get the Try Again box to appear by itself, you would need to edit the Color Scheme in Player Template Manager -> Colors And Effects. Like I said, I am not sure if it is possible but that is where you would need to make the changes if it were. Regards

  9. [...] cet article en anglais pour faire apparaître votre masque de diapositive derrière votre interaction [...]

  10. Brant says:

    Hi Dave:

    Just so you know, Flipbook does not seem to support transparent backgrounds, even with the latest version 1.21.

    I downloaded the latest version today, set up engage and presenter options as required. Transparency does not work.

    I can get it to work with Stairstep, but applying the same procedures to Flipbook does not give a transparent background.

    Any chance this will be fixed soon? I like this interaction, but if I can’t get the transparent background to work, I will have to rip out all my content and dump it into another interaction, something I would really rather not do. :)


    Best regards,


  11. David Becker says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’m having a transparency problem I cant seem to solve. Have tried everything yousuggested in the post above, but I still cant get it to work. I have created a seedy bar background as a master template behind a quiz. Ive set all the quiz template properties to white and transparent, but it still overlays a giant white block onto the seedby bar background. Can you take a quick look at this file and tell me what i’m doing wrong please?

    Thanks you so much for any help you can offer. PS the file download is under 300k.



    • daveperso says:

      Hi Dave, Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, you are not doing anything wrong. You just can’t make that part of the quiz transparent. If you look at the examples I did, only the contours of the quiz were transparent, not the main question area. It would be a great feature to have of course. With Engage, you can get a better effect with the Labelled Graphic interaction for example. If you make your graphic very small, then the whole of your PowerPoint slide will show through. Probably not much good to you in this instance though. Regards, Dave

  12. Alison says:


    I am struggling with the same transparency issue and the pop up feedback box. I can use the work around for the correct or incorrect answers, but can’t turn off the “invalid answer box” which looks stupid. I need to submit feedback one at a time, so it isn’t an option to turn it off by submitting it all at once.

    Work around will be much appreciated if there is one.

    • daveperso says:

      Hi Alison, What sort of answers are the users putting which gives them the invalid answer box? Can you style or create the question differently such that the learners would not be able to put an invalid answer?

  13. Alison says:

    PS – by invalid answer, I mean if you don’t submit an answer in my quiz and just press submit, it brings up a box that says you must submit an answer to continue.

  14. Alison says:

    I’ve tried asking the questions so they submit all the answers at once, which I think would stop this, but I really need to ask it each question answered one at a time and I cannot find a way at all of stopping this “invalid answer” prompt.

  15. Wayne says:

    This is a great work-around, and I appreciate Brian B. pointing me to it. In my case, a complex PPT background template was designed by a particularly creative SME, and I wanted to use as much as possible of that template in Quizmaker without laboring through a complete re-creation. This technique saved me much time and carried on the overall color and layout from the lesson itself. I also applied it to the interactions for even better consistency.

    Regarding the invisible feedback, this seems to have been overcome in later versions since this work-around was posted, as my quiz feedback shows up properly.

    Last, I suggest this minor correction: in item 1) above, working in Presenter, the instruction should read “Go to Articulate -> Presentation Options -> PUBLISH” (instead of …OTHER)

  16. daveperso says:

    Hi Wayne, thanks for the comment and for noticing the error which I have corrected! I am still seeing an issue with the invisable feedback box so any hints as to how you worked around it would be appreciated..

  17. Adam says:

    I was able to make the Engage interaction transparent but am having trouble with the Quizmaker being completely transparent. I am still getting the white box behind the question and answers to appear. I went even as far as going through each sub category of “Frame” and set the transparency to 100%. What am I missing?

    • daveperso says:

      Hi Adam, I just concentrated on getting the Quizmaker background transparent (choose “background”). But it still causes issues with the feedback becoming transparent too.

  18. Niall says:

    I would like to make the box around the Interaction Title disappear in an Engage Tab interaction. I have managed to reset all the other colours and transparency. My aim is for the Enage Titles to appear the same as Presenter titles. Can I do this? Or am I missing something obvious? Thanks

  19. Susannah says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve made both engage interaction (timeline) 100% transparent and showing masterslide in presenter so all good there. Unfortunately the company PP slide template master I am required to use has a blue bar at the top of the PP slide with our logo on it and it sits behind the title bar of the engage interaction.

    Anyway I can resize or reposition the interaction to sit lower so it shows the blue company bar and logo?

  20. [...] cet article en anglais pour faire apparaître votre masque de diapositive derrière votre interaction quiz.Voyons quelques exemples de ce qu’on peut faire. [...]

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