Get Started with Storyline

Get Started With Storyline 2

posted in: "How To" Guides, Blog, eLearning | 1

New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

I love Storyline 2! It’s the authoring software I use most often. I used it for creating the Spark Tutorials and for several of the items in my Portfolio.

Storyline is fairly easy to learn. Because it’s similar to PowerPoint, you can use Storyline to make something as simple or (almost) as complex as you want. Storyline has some limits with the complexity of “triggers” you can use compared to Captivate, but, it makes up for it by ease of use. You can create something very beautiful and usable very quickly!

Unfortunately, Storyline is expensive! You get half off if you’re an educator or a nonprofit, but it’s still about $800. In contrast, Captivate is about $300 for educators. You can always download a 30-day trial, though, enabling you to get a taste of Storyline and create something really nice for your portfolio!

Get Started with Storyline

Download the free trial if you don’t already have the software. Articulate now offers a cloud-based suite called Articulate 360 that includes Storyline if you’d like to give that a shot also, but it’s very expensive to subscribe to it.

You can always just dive into the software and see what it does, but to take advantage of Storyline’s power and to understand how to publish, check out one of these options:

Articulate’s YouTube Channel

Articulate, the company behind Storyline, has a pretty great YouTube channel with a nice “Get Started with Storyline” playlist. Start with the overview, move on to interactivity, and then learn to use layers, triggers, and states! Unfortunately this option doesn’t seem to offer any practice files, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the videos and just practice on your own.

Do you have access to If you work at a college or university, there’s a good chance that you do. Some public libraries offer free access as well. Check with your employer also – you never know!

I highly recommend working through the Articulate Storyline courses. They have practice files for you to use to follow along with the videos. Complete a whole Storyline course and get a badge/certificate of completion to put on your LinkedIn profile (keep in mind this only offers proof you watched the videos, your projects don’t get reviewed or graded).

Up and Running with Articulate Storyline 2 is a good course to begin. I encourage you to check out the Advanced Techniques course also to get some really great ideas and more hands-on practice with advanced features.

Work Through a Handbook

Prefer a book? I recommend finding a copy of Articulate Storyline 2: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Storyline and also offers practice files for you to learn. I use the Adobe Captivate edition for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book. You have to download the practice files from the publisher’s site, so make sure you do that first before you get started!

Play With Free Downloads

I offer lots of my Storyline raw files as free downloads – you can reuse the Spark Tutorials, Keyword Generator, or Branched Scenario. Just use the files according to the Creative Commons license assigned to each one.

There are lots more free info lit Storyline raw files from Marquette University that you can reuse.

I have a lot of “how’d they do that??” moments when viewing other people’s projects, so being able to see the raw file is enormously helpful to learn new things.

Join the Community

Finally, get involved in the E-Learning Heroes community (managed by Articulate!), if you haven’t already. They have lots of fun Storyline challenges and LOTS of free downloads for you to reuse.

Articulate’s outreach and marketing arm is strong. Their bloggers and content creators are frequent presenters at conferences. They do their best to help you be successful with Storyline!


Don’t forget to save your projects early and often! I save my Storyline raw files on my local hard drive, then copy them over to Dropbox every time I close it out. I also save “versions” periodically – I’ll “Save As” each new day or week. Sometimes you regret making a major change, so you can always go back and redo what you undid if you have multiple versions. This strategy can also help save you in event of a file getting corrupted, or your computer crashing (which has happened to me TWICE in two years!)

Above all – build your portfolio! Telling employers and clients that you know Storyline isn’t enough, you need to have something to show them!