Limiting and Persisting Choices in Storyline

I recently read Michael Hinze’s Limiting Choices – a Storyline Question, which was a response to a question in the Heroes community where a member wanted to limit learners to making exactly 3 out of 8 choices and then display the choices on the following slide. If you aren’t already, you should follow Michael’s work on his blog, on Twitter, and in the Heroes community.

When I saw his post, I immediately thought of a course I worked on several years ago where I did something similar (in Storyline 1), so I thought I would share how I tackled the problem. The course had a few extra twists, the first being the need for two columns of items to select, but only one set that needs to persist to the next slide.

The first slide has a list of strategies for doing a particular task. The learner reads through the list and selects a check mark if he/she has used the technique. They can check as many or few of these as they like.

strategies selected with check marksstrategies have used and want to practice






Then the learner must select 3 strategies in which they will practice the technique. These are the yellow stars. So this is where the limit comes in – exactly 3 – no more, no less.

Let’s start with the check marks. I created True/False variables for each of the check marks and set the default value to False. I created a Normal (grey) and Selected (green) state for each check mark. I also created hotspots for each check and star.

check mark triggers in StorylineNext, I added the following triggers to each check hotspot. The first trigger toggles the Checkbox trigger between True and False. The default value is False. If the learner clicks a check, the variable changes to True and the second trigger takes affect, changing the check from grey to green. If the learner clicks the check again, the third trigger changes Checkmark back to False and the color of the check changes back to grey. Each check hotspot has these three triggers, so the learner can select as many or few of these as desired. The check marks serve as a type of review for the learner. Have I done these things or not? These do not persist to the following slide.

Now, on to the stars. I created True/False variables for each of the stars and set the default value to False. Each star has two states, Normal (grey) and Selected (yellow).

Storyline triggers for the stars.Next, I added triggers to each star hotspot. The first three triggers are the same as those I created for the check hotspots – a toggle that changes the value of the variable, and triggers that change the state of the stars between Normal and Selected. Again, the learner can select as many or as few as they want. But, I only want them to select three stars. So I added another variable, Total, to keep count of how many stars are selected, and two additional triggers that either add 1.00 to Total if True (selected) or subtract 1.00 from Total if False (not selected). The Total variable is a numeric variable with a default value of 0.

Storyline triggers for Next buttonFinally, I add two triggers to the Next button. I add a layer to the slide as a gate screen. If the Total variable is greater than 3 or less than or equal to 2, the layer displays with a message reminding the learner to select three starred items. Then, when they select three items (when Total = 3), they advance to the next slide.

So that takes care of the requirement for only 3 items. The next challenge is making sure the selected 3 items appear on the next slide.

selected strategies with yellow starsFor slide 2, I copied the 8 strategy text boxes and the 8 stars. I removed the Selected state from each star and added a Disabled state. I set the initial state for each star to Hidden. I also added a Chosen state to each text box with a dark rectangle to better highlight which strategy is chosen.

Storyline star trigger for slide 2For each star I added a trigger that changes the state of the star to Disabled if the associated variable is equal to True. Variables persist throughout a course, so when you select your three stars on the previous slide, the variables associated with those stars changed to True.

Storyline trigger for strategy textI also added a trigger that changes the state of the strategy text to Chosen if the associated star variable is True.

Another twist in this course was the request to have the learner think about and type in their plan for practicing each of their starred strategies.

selected strategies and planning tabstext entry for plan 1For this I added a 3-tab interaction to the slide. Each tab displays a layer. Each layer has a text entry box for learners to type their plan. When the learner is done entering their plans, they click Submit. Their entries are stored and displayed in a review slide at the end of the course via a reference variable (e.g., %plan1%).

I’ve included a demo and the source file (SL 360) if you would like to take a closer look.

Launch Demo


Source File

Comic Book Starter Kit

comic book sample slidesComic book designs are great for e-learning projects. They engage people through the art of visual storytelling. For some great examples of using comic book designs in Storyline, check out E-Learning Challenge #11: Design a Comic Book Theme for Your E-Learning Course.

To that end, I thought I would create a comic book starter kit in Storyline. Rather than making a bunch of high-end graphics and importing them into Storyline, I built these directly in Storyline with the existing shapes and buttons. The idea being that someone new to Storyline or new to a comic format can easily manipulate the images. The only “outside” influence is the use of comic book style fonts that I downloaded and installed.

The kit includes panels, callouts, shapes, buttons, font examples, and backgrounds in a variety of colors.

The comic book font that I used as the sample text is Crimefighter BB. You’ll need to download and install it to view the source file properly in Storyline.

Launch Demo


Source File – SL360


Source File – SL2


For additional resources, checkout the free course assets page in the ELH community.

Using Multiple Button Sets on a Single Slide in Storyline

I recently developed a course in Storyline 360 that made use of multiple button sets on a single quiz slide. Click the image below to see the published slide.

Multiple button sets on single slide

Coincidentally, David Anderson recently shared how to create just such a slide.

David’s version uses the convert to freeform function to make the slide a pick-many quiz question (which could be tracked for LMS purposes).

For my course, I created a less formal, non-graded question. The exercise consists of four statements. Each statement has a four-letter acronym next to it. The learner reads the statement and chooses the correct letter of the acronym that the statement represents. Since there are four letters in the acronym, I created four statements (one to match each letter).

Since there are four sets of the acronym (SHOW), I created four button sets – one for each statement. Instead of converting the slide to a freeform (pick many) slide, I simply created a feedback layer that displays when the learner clicks the Submit button. In this case, the feedback displays the correct letter of the acronym for each statement.

feedback layer for multiple button sets

So, there you have it – another simple way to use multiple button sets on a single slide to perform a quick knowledge check.

Want to look under the hood? Here you go: Source File

Bonus Tip: Like the slide layout/font/colors? If you have Articulate 360, you can find this template (Harmony) in the Content Library.