If you are new to Storyline and think a trigger is the lever pressed to discharge a firearm or maybe you think it is the Lone Ranger’s horse, then read on and I will try to guide you through the basics of using triggers in Storyline.
What are triggers?
After slides, triggers are the basic building block of Storyline. Without triggers you will be very limited in what you can achieve.
Where are triggers?
One really great aspect of Storyline, is the way in which triggers are managed via the triggers pane. This can be found on the right hand side of the screen. Here you can create new triggers, copy and paste triggers, delete triggers and change the order of triggers (this final option is very important and will be discussed later). You can paste triggers to multiple objects by copying the trigger then selecting multiple objects using either the ctrl or shift keys and then pasting the trigger.
What types of triggers exist?
All triggers are set up the same way, and behave the same but there are fundamental differences as to their functions.
The first type of trigger you will see when creating a new project in storyline are player triggers. In your newly created project the first slide will already have a trigger on the next button that jumps to the next slide. This is a player trigger. It is important to note that the previous button is not available to add triggers on.
The second type of trigger is a Slide Trigger. Slide triggers are triggers that are set on the slide itself, so they either play when the slide starts or ends. This is a great place to add a trigger when you need something to happen before a slide loads or when a slide ends.
The third type of trigger are Object Triggers, these triggers are on shapes, characters, buttons, images, markers etc. Generally a project will have more of these triggers than the other types.
How do I insert a trigger?
Inserting a trigger cannot have been made any easier. If you insert a button, and then click on that button you will note in the triggers pane (right hand side) that the button has been added to the trigger pane and that an add trigger hyperlink is visible, click this and you will be able to ‘program your trigger’
To add player triggers
The next slide trigger has already been added, but you can always add extra triggers, just click on the new trigger button on the trigger pane and ensure you set it to the next button (see below)
To add Slide level triggers click on the slide in story view and again press the “add new trigger” button on the trigger pane.
How do I ‘program’ a trigger?
The real joy of Storyline, is that there is no programming involved. By using the triggers you will be able perform complex operations that until now were only available by programming. When you press the insert trigger button you are presented with a dialogue box.
The first option is the action; basically what do you want to do? You can do many things, which include jumping to a slide, showing a layer, adjusting a variable. Dependent upon which action you choose the next option will ask what this action refers to.
For example if you choose to jump to a slide, the next action will ask which slide you want to jump to.
The next choice asks “when shall I do this” e.g. When you click on an object/button, hover over an object or when a state changes.
The final option asks which object or button or slide does this relate to? If want a trigger to fire when an item is hovered over or clicked on, It is good practice to start the trigger process by first clicking on that object and then pressing the new trigger button. This will automatically select that object in this step. Otherwise choose the object from the drop down list(you will notice a red square highlights the object to ensure you have the right one selected).
Objects and Triggers
All objects in Storyline can have more than one trigger applied to them. This way it is possible to build up a complex order of commands. An interesting feature of Storyline is that if you copy an object, it also copies the triggers associated with that object. If you have a lot of objects that need the same triggers applied a real timesaver is to build one object with all of the triggers in place and then copy and paste that object. An example of that can be seen here each individual element is a copy of a single element with all the necessary triggers applied.
The order of triggers is very important as Storyline fires each trigger from top to bottom in order. If your slide does not work as you expect, the first thing to check is the order of the triggers. For example any triggers after a jump to a slide trigger will not work. Storyline makes reordering triggers easy, just click on the trigger that is in the wrong place, and press the up or down arrows on the trigger pane.
Conditions are the final part of using triggers. The conditions allow you to do complex programming such as IF and ELSE statements. If programming scares you don’t work like everything else Articulate have made this easy and intuitive.
Conditions are applied in the new trigger dialogue
At the very bottom it says “show conditions” click on this and this displays
Here you can add a condition. A condition means that this trigger will only fire if this condition is met. Conditions can be set, based on a variable, an object or a window. You can also add multiple conditions to one trigger. These conditions can be combined using AND (meaning all conditions must apply) or OR (where one or another condition must apply) commands.
Articulate have made “programming” easy in Storyline by using an intuitive interface, hopefully this has given you a better understanding triggers This article has only scratched the surface of what trigger can accomplish., indeed this Periodic Table Demo has 8,000+ triggers and is a good showcase of what can be done using triggers and conditions.