Summary: Use Presenter ’09 to create a menu for other Presenter modules.
Difficulty: Medium

 

Break up your work

So you have a 500-slide presentation and you are finding that it is a little too large to handle? Why not split your presentation up into smaller modules and link them together with a starter menu? Not only do your modules publish quicker, it also means you can edit just one without touching the rest.

Advantages of using modular approach

  • Quicker and easier development time. Just publishing the module you are working on is quicker than publishing the lot.
  • Easier to maintain. If you need to change just one part of your presentation, just change one module and the rest stays the same.
  • Change your menu as and when you like it. Make new modules available via the same menu and take others off.
  • Overcomes system errors inherent when working on very large presentations. Large presentations tax your system more.
  • Disadvantages

  • May not work on your LMS. Tracking might not work.
  • You can use PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter to create that menu.

    Use all the creative tools of PowerPoint to make just the menu you need. You can use just HTML but why not use Presenter. I have put together some simple examples of menus. To navigate, click on each of the chapter headings in the main menu to see different types of menu, and then click on the Menu button to come back to the main menu. The other menu options are not working in these demos.

     

    menutitledemo2

    View Demo

     

    How does it work?

    In this article we saw how to link from one presentation to another. By placing a web object in a presentation we can elegantly link to another presentation. We place a linking web object in each of the modules which will link to the main menu. In the main menu presentation we have a series of web objects each linking to the modules. The advantage of using this method rather than just launching a presentation via an ordinary hyperlink is two-fold.

    1. No new windows are opened when you launch another presentation. New windows can be blocked by browsers or Flash.
    2. You can link back to the main menu easily.

    Note

    Use relative links rather than absolute links. In other words, don’t specify the exact location of the modules, but their location relative to the menu and to each other. That way we don’t need to worry about the final destination of the presentations. Just so long as they know where they are relative to each other is all that matters.

    Directory Structure

    We begin by assuming that your modules are ready to be linked together by a common module. Let’s organize our directory structure first.

    1. Create a folder for the files you will need for the project. The folder can be anywhere on your computer. Call it something like My Menu Project.
    2. Create two more folders within the My Menu Project folder and call one My Project Web Objects and the other My Project Upload Files
    3. Create folders within the My Project Web Objects folder and call them menu, module1, module2, module3 etc. Create a folder for each module you will have in your presentation.
    4. Create folders within the My Project Upload Files and call them module1, module2, module3 etc. Create a folder for each module you have in your presentation.

    Your directory structure should something like this:

     

    directorystructure2

    Prepare a web object to link to the main menu from each module.

    1. Open Notepad.
    2. Paste the following code into the file:
    3.  

      <html><head>  
      <script language="JavaScript">
      <!--
      function na_delay_url(url, delay_sec) 
      {
        setTimeout("top.location.href = '" + url + "'", delay_sec*1000);
      }
      
      // -->
      </script>
      
      </head><body onload="na_delay_url('../../../player.html', 1);">
      </body></html>

       

    4. Save the file as index.html.
    5. Place it in the menu folder in the My Project Web Objects folder.

    This will be the web object you will need to use in Presenter to link to the main menu. We’ll use it a bit later.

    Now let’s do the same for the modules.

    Prepare web objects to link to each module from the main menu.

    1. Open Notepad again.
    2. Paste the following code:
    3.  

      <html><head>  
      <script language="JavaScript">
      <!--
      function na_delay_url(url, delay_sec) 
      {
        setTimeout("top.location.href = '" + url + "'", delay_sec*1000);
      }
      
      // -->
      </script>
      
      </head><body onload="na_delay_url('../../module1/player.html', 1);">
      <p align="center"> </p>
      </body></html>

       

    4. Save it as index.html and place it in the module1 folder in the My Project Web Objects Folder.
    5. Create an index.html file for each module and place it in its corresponding folder in the My Project Web Objects folder.
    6. Notice the link in the code above to module1? Change the code so that it matches the module you are working on. So if you are linking to module2, make sure that the link in the code says module2/player.html.

    Note

    In case you are wondering, the code above is the same as the first piece of code for the menu. Just the link has changed.

    You should now have a series of folders within the My Project Web Objects folder on your computer, each holding a unique index.html file.

    Inserting the web objects into your modules to point to the menu.

    The next step is easy. In each module, add a web object at the end and point to the menu folder index.html.

    1. Create a blank page at the end of the module.
    2. Go Articulate -> Insert web object
    3. Do not enter an html address but rather click on the yellow button to the right and navigate to the index.html file in the menu folder you created earlier.
    4. Click ok.
    5.  

      Insert Menu Web Object

       

    6. Make the web object small or even take it off the slide area so that it won’t actually appear when published.
    7.  

      webobjectoffstage

       

    8. Customize the PowerPoint slide with a message like “Please wait while a moment”

    You need to do exactly the same for all your modules. Always insert the menu web object index.html file since we want to send the user to the menu.

    Download the project files for one of the modules to see how the web object has been inserted.

    Inserting the web objects into the Menu to point to the modules

    Now let’s prepare the menu.

    1. Create your menu like in one of the examples.
    2. For each menu item, create a hyperlink to a new slide. So, if you have four menu items, you will have four new slides each corresponding to your four modules.
    3. In the first module slide, insert a web object as before but this time point to the module1 folder and insert that index.html.
    4.  

      Insert module1 web object

       

    5. Customize the page as before.
    6. Do the same for the other three pages, but each time point to the corresponding module web object folder that we created earlier. So for the Module 2 slide in your menu, point to the module2 web object folder etc.
    7. Remove the player controls (Articulate -> Player Templates -> Navigation) and make sure that the slides do not move on automatically in the Slide Properties Manager.
    8. You probably don’t want to show the outline in your menu, so make it appear in Slide Only view (or No Sidebar) (Articulate -> Player Templates -> Layout)

    Download the project files for the demo menu module to see how the web objects have been inserted.

    Publish and prepare the folder to upload

    Now that your presentations are all ready, you can publish each of them and place them in the My Menu Project folder we created at the beginning.

    1. Publish your Menu presentation to the web. (Articulate -> Publish -> WEB) Publish the files into a default area on your computer like for example in My Articulate Documents. This will avoid confusing the published projects and your server project.
    2. Place all the published files in your My Project Upload Files folder you created earlier..
    3. Publish Module 1 to the WEB to My Articulate Documents. (Articulate -> Publish -> WEB)
    4. Copy the player.html, the data folder and the player folder into the module1 folder in the My Project Upload Files folder.
    5. Publish Module 2 to the web to My Articulate Documents and again copy the published files into the module2 folder in the My Project Upload Files folder.
    6. Do the same for the remaining modules.
    7. Finally test your structure by launching player.html at the root level of your folder on your computer and see if the menu works and that you are able to get back to the menu from each of the modules.
    8. Once you are satisfied that the links are working fine, you are ready to upload the folder to the server.

    The final folder structure in the My Project Upload Files will look something like this:

     

    finished-prodcut

     

    These are the only files that need uploading to a folder on your server.

    Creating A Menu For A CD

    This method will also work for publishing to CD. There are a few important differences however.

  • Publish your presentations to CD (Articulate -> Publish -> CD). Not only will this make the quality better on CD, it will also overcome branching problems within the Launch_Presentation executable.
  • Copy the Launch_Presentation.exe, autorun.ini and loader.ini files when you publish the main menu presentation into the My Project Upload Files folder.
  • You don’t need to copy the Launch_Presentation.exe, autorun.ini and loader.ini files for each of the modules. Just the player.html file, and the data and player folders are needed.
  • Your directory structure will look like this within the My Project Upload Files folder:

     

    cdstructure

     

    These are the only files and folder you must burn onto your CD ROM.

    Download the CD ROM version of the demo presentation.

    You will need to unzip it and then launch the presentation via Launch_Presentation.exe. There is no need to burn it to CD ROM (though you can if you want). It should work straight off your computer.

    What’s great is that all the modules play within the launch so there are no Flash or browser security issues.


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    48 Responses

    1. Jenise Cook says:

      Dave,

      This is great, and very much appreciated!

      Can’t wait to test it on a few LMSes to see if tracking and reporting still work.

      Merci bien,

      ~Jenise

    2. JayM says:

      Hey Dave,

      I tried out all the steps you wrote but the titles in the first slide of my menu file aren’t click-able (not hyper-linked). I downloaded your main menu file and you didn’t have the “Chapter 1″, “Chapter 2″ etc. hyper-linked either. How did you manage to make them point to the modules by clicking on them?

      Thanks,
      JayM

      • daveperso says:

        Hey JayM, I didn’t hyperlink the text itself but the text box. That way you don’t get the hyperlink underline you get when you link text. If you right-click on the text box you’ll see they are hyperlinked. Hope that helps. Dave

    3. Lisa says:

      Hi Dave,

      This is great. Question: You write to “publish to web”.
      Would the steps be the same to publish to LMS or would they be different.?
      Would each have to be publiished for LMS, then copied?

      thanks!
      Lisa

    4. Lisa says:

      Hi Again, Dave…

      I should have completely tested before asking the above quesiton.

      I followed the steps you’ve written, with one exception. I did not need to link from modules
      to main menu; only from main menu to modules. I created my web objects using the
      code, except I have two folders; English and French. I changed the code in the web
      object index.html to

      (for example) and the same for French/player.html.

      Published as written and the links don’t work. My root under My Projects Upload is as you
      have identified (except for the name changes). and I am unable to get the index.html to refer
      to the player.html.

      Any ideas?
      thanks…I’m really excited about getting to utilize this!

      Lisa

    5. Jose L. Cisneros says:

      Hi, Dave.

      I was using your tip and break in modules a large presentation works fine. But now the client use an html page with a simple menu (into blackboard) where the user can select the course or presentation, he or she prefers…and when the user select one the first part runs embeded into the blackboard page and when use the webobject link, the browser opens to full page to artticulate presenter part of the course. Do not run embeded like the first articulate presenter part into the course. Is it posible the webobject link maintain the object link embeded in a frames architecture?

      Thans in advance for you time.

    6. Andrew says:

      Dave,

      I copied your directions exactly but cannot get the relative addressing for the web objects to work. HELP!

    7. daveperso says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Relative address linking can be a pain. You need to make sure you get it just right. Sometimes, you might need to add an extra ../ to make it go up a folder. I’ll give me instructions another go myself to make sure there is no error anywhere. But I would encourage you to download the project files and the CD version of the demo and see how the relative links work there. That might help you to figure the problem.

    8. daveperso says:

      Hi Jose, The simple answer here is I don’t know. Working on an LMS could be more problematic as you need to make sure that tracking is maintained. The code above would need to be changed to work in frames. I am guessing it is possible but can’t tell you how. Sorry! I’ll see if I can dig something up.

    9. chieri says:

      Hi Dave,

      In the post you state that “May not work on your LMS. Tracking might not work.”

      Have you tested this? I am just starting out with Articulate, and I was able to successfully create a menu for multiple presentations by following your tutorial, but I don’t know anything about LMS (was reading about it just now).

      My individual presentations each have a survey and I would like to store this results on some sort of database (use LMS? how does that work?) …

      On a side note, is it possible to have a ‘back to main menu” button anywhere on the articulate player area? (as opposed to having a slide with a web object etc)

      Thank you in advance!

    10. jrwti says:

      Thanks for this excellent guide. I was able to adapt this idea and create a menu that links to sub-menus, which link to lessons. After you can create the submenu articulate presentation, and populate it with the appropriate webobjects, you can save it as a template for others. If you use the same directory structure for each of the submenus’ courses, you will be able to use the existing web object links (created in the first submenu) without any trouble. Relative pathnames have quite an advantage for repetitive work!

      • daveperso says:

        Thanks for your comment! It is nice to hear people are using these ideas. Using templates does save a lot of work and I am glad you have managed to get it working with the submenus.

    11. Justin W. says:

      Hey Dave,

      I’ve been trying to link multiple modules together using the steps given in this blog but am running into some problems. Everything seems to go smoothly until it is time to test the Menu module.

      When I click the hyperlink in the Menu module, I am taken to the slide specified in the hyperlink but I am not redirected to the next module, the module essentially freezes. I have tried relative links and direct links but to no avail.

      I have also tried testing the Web Objects before inserting them, internet explorer loads but is unable to load the modules. The modules themselves work fine in internet explorer when opened indivdually, but seem unable to load using the index files. Could this problem have anything to do with my internet explorer options?

      Any help you could offer would be appreciated.

    12. Catherine says:

      Thanks for the tips – this addresses a problem that I was having packaging multiple modules to a single CD. Everything is working great on my desktop – and I was able to copy on a flash drive and transfer to another computer. However, as soon as I burn to a CD – no luck – it freezes to a blank screen on the launch. I’m sure it must be relative addressing? however, it’s impossible to see the addressing in the web objects in the sample because of the graphic’s scale. Can you give a bit more info on this? Thanks in advance.

    13. Catalyst (Thomas) says:

      HI,

      When using this approach, and using Articulate Online to host the modules, will Articulate Online treat each module as a seperate content item, thus allowing for the tracking of one Quiz in each module?

      Thank You,

      Thomas

      • daveperso says:

        Hi Thomas,

        Yes, my preliminary testing shows that if you first import all of your modules into Articulate Online as separate presentations and then use the Articulate Online Invite Link URL in the adapted web object code of your menu, then each presentation will run and track as a module of your menu and the quiz will be tracked if you chose to track the presentation according to quiz results. Of course, you will still need to add web objects to your modules to get them to come back to your main menu which would also have to be a separate presentation on Articulate Online (or a regular server if you prefer). This article about tracking multiple quizzes in the same presentation shows the same technique with web objects. Hope that helps.

    14. Declan says:

      I have done all this for the multiple presentations and it seems to work well. Thanks! I have tried to insert a stand alone quiz in here as well. It is just a link called “quiz” on the menu. Where all the modules are listed out – module1, module2 as in the example I have one extra module called “quiz” linked in. however, it doesnt work – IE cant connect. I am wondering what “content or files” need to be included from the published quiz to allow it to work? I have not embedded the quiz into a presentation but if I am really stuck I will go back and redesign the project that way. Would prefer quiz separate…. any ideas where I have done wrong??

      thanks
      Dec

    15. Kathy says:

      Hi Dave!
      This was just the solution i was looking for, but like Justin, I am taken to the slide where it is supposed to link to and then nothing happens. I have repeated these steps at least 4 times now and still no luck. I have even tried changing the number of levels in the index.html but no luck. Are there other settings i should be aware of when inserting the Web Object in the menu file – for example should i set that web object’s setting to Advance Automatically?

      Kathy

      • daveperso says:

        Hi Kathy,

        No, you shouldn’t need to get the web object to advance automatically. Have you downloaded the project files for the same module I did, and looked at the code in the web object there? (you will need to publish it first) Are you testing online or locally? If you are testing locally, maybe there some kind of security block working. Have you tried downloading the CD version to see if that works ok on your computer? Again, you can take a look at the web object code in each of the modules. If the CD version works, there is no reason why your version shouldn’t work too. Maybe try uploading yours to a server to see if it works there?

    16. Kathy says:

      Thank you Dave for the tips. I had downloaded the other files but not the CD version. I will download it and disect it and also test on the server. I had only tested on my machine. Thank you!
      Kathy

    17. Kathy says:

      Dave! I have to say you are a genious! I never thought of uploading to the server to test… as i stayed stuck in testing it on my machine. When I downloaded the CD and started playing with the index files., then i went into my folders and started testing them individually and they would work… I uploaded to the server, and all is working! Thank you!!! Someone from Articulate said that you would respond if I posted my problem to your site and they were right! Thanks a million!!!

    18. Steve Hunt says:

      Dave – I followed your instructions to the letter! It does not work for me. Would you be so kind as to help me through this. I have invested so much time and money in this and I am extremely frustrated.

      • daveperso says:

        Hi Steve, sorry to hear you have been having problems on this. Have you tried your menu online? Testing offline won’t always work due to browser security blocks. The only menu that will work ok offline (ie. locally) is the CD Menu. Have you downloaded the CD version of the menu that I created to see if that works on your system? Maybe comparing your files with mine might help you to figure out why it is not working for you?

    19. Peter says:

      Dave

      I am really frustrated with trying to get this menu scheme to work. I probably need something to jog me out of the rut I’ve been in all day… I’ve got the feeling that I should be able to see the problem but just cannot!

      First, I downloaded all your samples and demos. The original example in your previous blog which links via a web object to an absolute web address worked fine.
      So does the CD version which I downloaded.
      I can see how it all fits together, but obviously cannot see how the player gives effect to the web object.

      Now, I have built my own very simple menu and one additional presentation to link to, but just cannot get it to work, whatever I try. I have gone back and compared every detail with your example. I have rebuilt from scratch, just to make sure I didn’t do something really stupid…

      Now comes the kicker: I decided to go back and re-do the exercise in your blog How to link from one presentation to another – Part 1, which uses an absolute url address. And now, it does NOT work…. But it did work earlier today when I first tried it.

      I did have one strange problem where the Articulate Web Object window showed an overlaid text field, and it would not work. After a while, I closed down and restarted the machine and it seemed fine.
      But then I got suspicious that something in Articulate had been damaged. So I went through the Articulate repair process, rebooted the machine… And still the same. Also ran full repair on Office 2007. No change.

      Whatever I do, whenever the player moves to a slide with a Web Object, it just sits and stares back at me… This is both with an absolute web address, and any variation of relative address I have tried…
      I left the player controls in place etc, so I can still navigate around the few pages I set up.

      So either I am missing something basic, or my system has been damaged in some way?

      Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

      Peter

    20. Peter says:

      Dave

      After some more investigation I have found that my demo DOES work in Articulate Preview mode, but not when Published. This allows me to test using absolute url addresses, but not relative addresses.

      I have now submitted it as a case to Articulate.

      Peter

    21. Jacques says:

      Dave,

      How does this work if one wants to have a 2 or 3-level menu displayed in the left panel, i.e., when a module is launched, what is displayed in the menu, just the name of the slide containing the web object?

      Is it possible to have the menu of the module REPLACE the menu of the top-level part of the course?

      thanks.
      Jacques

    22. Kathryn says:

      I tried to link files per the blos and when I run the player file, I receive the following message:
      Adobe Flash Player has stopped a potentiall unsafe operation. The following local application on your computer or network: d:\my menu project\my project upload files\player\stealthray.swf is trying to communicate with thie Internet-enabled location: d:\my menu project\my project upload files\player.html. To let this appliation communicate with the internet, click steeings. You must restart the application after changing your settings. I click on settings and nothing opens or happens. Can someone help, thanks.

      • daveperso says:

        Hi Kathryn, You shouldn’t need to adjust your Flash settings. It sounds like you are testing an online version of the menu locally on your computer. If you uploaded to your server, you wouldn’t be getting those messages. If you do want to be able to view locally, then I would suggest looking at the “Creating a menu for a CD” section at the end of the article. That circumvents those Flash security messages you are getting.

    23. Melissa C says:

      Thank you for this great tutorial. It took some time to make sure I did every step–and some I had to repeat, but it made me feel like a super star to get my presentation running so smoothly!

      Thanks.

    24. Di Wilson says:

      When I try to ‘insert a web object’ (the ‘index.html’ txt file within the menu folder) from within Articulate to link each module to the main menu, I get the following message: “Could not locate ‘index.html’ or ‘index.htm’ in the specified folder even though though the ‘index.html’ txt file is in the menu folder. Don’t know how to fix!

    25. CleoS says:

      Di, it must be a .HMTL file not a .TXT file. To save the code as .HTML file in Notepad do the following:

      1. Select File->Save As…
      2. For the “Save as type:”, select “All Files (*.*)”.
      3. Then on the “File name:”, type “index.html”
      4. Select the “Save” button.

    26. Di Wilson says:

      Thanks heaps, Cleo. Just such a small thing, but what a difference it makes!! Much appreciated that you took the time to reply.

    27. [...] Moxon turned out to be a god-send. ┬áHis blog “Dave Moxon’s Articulate Blog” offered a tutorial on creating a menu for your training. I followed each step and it worked [...]

    28. Shell says:

      This is great… need one more thing.
      How can you do this and make all menu items required BEFORE moving to a quiz in quizmaker?

    29. Shell says:

      I need a menu driven course (using custom pics built in Photoshop) that requires a user to go through each menu item — when complete go to a quiz.
      Any suggestions?

    30. Patrice says:

      For groups of modules published for LMS, would it make sense to point the menu web objects to the index_lms.html file of each module rather than the player.html file?

    31. Bob Heller says:

      Dave:
      I’ve tried downloading your project files from this menu structure posting, but WinZip says they can’t be downloaded. Any help?
      Bob

      • daveperso says:

        Hi Bob,

        I just tried downloading both sets of project files and the demo CD and had no problems. Perhaps not use Winzip? I just used the Windows unzip program in Windows 7. Other alternatives are 7zip or Winrar.

        • Bob Heller says:

          Thanks Dave, yes, it was my problem on this end. On another note:
          I am working on a large project with 8 mini moduloes in which I want to implement your menu ideas. I see in some comments about this not aligning well with LMS tracking and while I don’t need the individual modules tracked, I do want a completion recorded for at least one module.
          Have there been any tweaks found regarding LMS tracking?
          Thanks,
          Bob

          • daveperso says:

            Hi Bob, You could certainly have a completion record for one module. Use the same system as decribed but have the module you want recording in the LMS as part of the main menu presentation. ie. it would not show up a web object but just within your overall presentation player. On the last page of the module, you can place a link to go back to the main menu. When the user has seen all the pages of the module, they will have effectively seen all the pages of the presentation (make sure that they can’t just jump to the last page) and it will show up as completed in your LMS. Don’t forget to publish everytbing to LMS this time. The web objects will still be linked up as before.

    32. Jill Freeman says:

      Hi, Dave. Thanks for providing this menu idea! I successfully created a menu that links to 5 modules, which all link back to the menu using a web object. Everything works perfectly on my computer, but not on my client’s computer, or my husband’s computer. (I published all to LMS instead of Web, but those extra files shouldn’t get in the way, should they?)

      On the client’s and hubby’s computer, the menu opens, and clicking on a module opens the appropriate slide, but stops there instead of continuing to open the Articulate module. If I am playing it locally, and it works – shouldn’t it also work on another computer?

      This is the hardest thing about wearing all the hats…I don’t have an IT department to help troublehoot this type of thing. Any ideas?

    33. Rob DeSimone says:

      Hi Dave,

      Great idea and very useful! A couple of questions… I notice the web objects folder isn’t needed for the project to work. Is that because the web object information is only used on publish? Is it possible to use more than one layer of menus. For instance, I have a project that has different configurations so the first menu would provide a configuration and second menu would actually control navigation. Any thoughts on the best way to do that? The other question has to do with the use of a quiz in this structure. I successfully added a quiz to the menu but I’m wondering how to get the student back to the menu at the conclusion of the quiz.

      Thanks,
      rob

    34. Dave Newgass says:

      Hey Dave,

      I am looking to do something similar to this…..I don’t have the time or design flair to pull it off though. Do you have a better solution for this or what should I look for in a Freelancer? Are you available?

      Cheers,

      Dave

    35. Judy says:

      Dave,
      Not sure if you’re still monitoring this thread but I successfully broken up my large training into 5 presentations using your suggestion and it works great. I have the following structure:

      - Main Menu
      - Module 1
      - Module 2
      - Module 3
      - Module 4

      My client would like users to be able to ‘resume’ where they left off in the course. I removed the ‘Resume’ option from the player in the Main Menu presentation because this presentation is just set up to launch one of the other 4 (modules). However, I included it in the Module presentations but when I go back to them and reply ‘yes’ to resume – it takes me (logically) to the last slide I was on WHICH is the one with the web object returning me to the Main Menu application. A workaround for this is to disable the resume option and force the user to locate where he left off himself by using the outline in the sidebar. However, is there another way to enforce the ‘resume’ feature in each module?

      Thanks for any suggestions you might have! – Judy

      • daveperso says:

        Hi Judy, I am still monitoring! But yes, I have a little less time to delve into issues and workarounds. Is your client using an LMS? Maybe you could somehow use the resume function with the LMS to get the user back to their last page but you would probably have to abandon the web object way of grouping presentations.

    36. Edit any flaw if present on picture because Giclee prints are best suited for making original, authorized garden furniture 8 seater round table prints.

    37. Donna says:

      Dave,

      Any way you can comment on how to do this with Articulate Presenter 13?

      Thanks!!!

    38. Dannie says:

      Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post.

      Thank you for providing this info.

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