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Make the center area of a Quizmaker quiz 100% transparent when published inside Presenter

Tom Kuhlmann has a great tutorial here on how to make the Quizmaker player transparent when publishing inside of Presenter. But did you know there’s not an option to make the center or question area transparent?

By replacing a single file in your Presenter published output, you can now have your PowerPoint backgrounds show through and behind your questions. This can really help streamline your design by keeping a consistent background or theme throughout your presentation.

Please watch the Screenr below to implement this workaround. The patch or file used in the Screenr can be downloaded below.

Usage:

1. Download the transparentQuiz_v1.0.zip file.
2. Extract the transparentQuiz_v1.0.swf file.
3. Rename the transparentQuiz_v1.0.swf file to match the background file produced when publishing from Presenter and replace – see below:

Transparent Quizdataswfquizmaker_257quiz_contentSlide455eeb96-9383-4b6a-b6df-c0d159c18054.swf

Note: The above file will always have a different name for every quiz inserted into Presenter. It’s important that this files exists and is not deleted or the Presentation will stall when loading the quiz; this is why we replace the file as opposed to deleting.  The transparentQuiz_v1.0.swf file contains a single line of code, that makes the background invisible.

It’s not necessary to work from within the Slide View or to apply a design theme in Quizmaker. I included these steps in the Screenr to help demonstrate what is modified in the published files. A new quiz with default settings will work as long as the slide background is replaced with the renamed transparentQuiz_v1.0.swf file after publishing.

This method is not supported by Articulate.

Download: transparentQuiz_v1.0.zip

Articulate Help Document: Quizmaker Colors and Effects
Tom Kuhlmanns Screenr: Create a Quizmaker quiz that is transparent and shows the PowerPoint master background.

38 comments for “Make the center area of a Quizmaker quiz 100% transparent when published inside Presenter

  1. Greg Metzger
    May 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I am having trouble downloading the file. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • David
      May 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      Greg,

      Please try a different browser or right-click the file and select Save As. I know some browsers/settings will not allow the automatic download for file links.

  2. Ron
    May 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the tip – exactly what I’ve been looking for recently. I am having problems opening the zip file though – WinZip is complaining that its not a valid archive? Can you perhaps try to upload the file again?

    Thanks,

    Ron.

    • David
      May 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Ron,

      A zip file has to be extracted. Right-click the downloaded .zip file and select Extract All.

      Let me know if this helps.

      • Ron
        May 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

        Yes, I’m following that process with WinZip. Unfortunately though as I noted WinZip complains when I try to extract the file –

        “Cannot open file: it does not appear to be a valid archive.

        If you downloaded the file, try downloading the file again.”

        Any ideas?

        Ron.

        • David
          May 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

          Ron,

          An invalid achieve is the result of an incomplete or corrupt download. Try downloading the file again.

      • Ron
        May 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        Unfortunately this isn’t working after six or seven downloads. If the original .swf file isn’t huge perhaps you could point me to that instead?

      • Ron
        May 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm

        It seems that the .zip file gets corrupted with IE but works OK with Firefox.

        Ron.

      • David
        May 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm

        Thanks for the update Ron!

  3. May 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    This is great David. I can see this working great because just the other day, a client asked me about the slightly different look once we moved to Quizmaker. Maybe I’ll try this with Engage as well.

    • David
      May 18, 2011 at 7:48 am

      Robert,

      Thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate it!

      Please note, the Engage interactions handle transparency differently then Quizmaker or through the Color Scheme –> Background Transparency setting in Engage. A setting of 100% transparency for the background will allow the PowerPoint theme to show through the interaction when inserted into Presenter. Not all interactions support the transparency setting.

    • Anand
      June 1, 2011 at 7:10 am

      hey david i followed all the steps and got the result with transperent background but the feedback box appears behind the the question/options…

      • David
        June 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

        Anand,

        It might appear as though the feedback dialog is behind the questions when the Quizmaker Player Color Scheme –> Frame –> Background is set to 100% transparent. Unfortunately, this color/transparency setting applies to the Feedback dialog as well, making this dialog “see-through”.

        I hope this helps!

      • Anand
        June 2, 2011 at 3:22 am

        thanks for your prompt reply David

        So isn’t there any work-around for feedback box to be appear the same way as it was earlier with just the transpernt BG?

      • David
        June 2, 2011 at 8:51 am

        Anand,

        Like I stated, because the Quizmaker Player Color Scheme –> Frame –> Background, transparency applies to the Feedback background as well, setting the transparency to 100% will make this “see-through”. If it’s not important to have the Quizmaker Player (the perimeter outside and around the question area) transparent, then keep the Frame –> Background Transparency set at 0%, however, this might defeat the purpose of using my method for making the entire quiz transparent when used inside of Presenter.

        I hope this helps!

  4. Kathy
    June 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    David
    First of all, thank you for this work around…it is exactly what I have been needing. You rock!

    I have tried several time to make it work, but it just doesn’t work. I even tried it using the exact PowerPoint background you used. I must be doing something wrong…but I can’t figure it out.
    When I open up the published Quizmaker quiz and then drill down to Data, SWF, Quizmaker_257, Quiz content, I get the following:
    Slide455eeb96-9383-4b6a-b6df-c0d159c18054, but it doesn’t have the .swf. at the end. Am I doing something wrong?
    When I rename your code with this and then replace the original file your renamed code file, it doesn’t work.

    Thank you for any suggestions you might have.

    • David
      June 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Kathy,

      I’m glad this of use!

      Your system by default has file extensions hidden; this is why you’re not seeing the .swf. So in your case when renaming, make sure you only add the file name and not the .swf extension, or you might be producing a file that looks like…

      Slide455eeb96-9383-4b6a-b6df-c0d159c18054.swf.swf

      … where the second .swf is hidden by your system. When files extensions are hidden, if you are seeing the .swf in the copied file, then this is wrong. Your copied file should look like the following:

      Slide455eeb96-9383-4b6a-b6df-c0d159c18054

      More information for unhiding file extension is outlined in the following link:
      http://www.fileinfo.com/help/windows-show-extensions.html

      Note: If my suspicions are correct and you are including the .swf in the file name, the Quizmaker preloaded will just spin and never load the quiz.

      I hope this helps!

      • Kathy
        June 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm

        David,
        Thank you! That is exactly what was wrong. It works perfectly now. I had forgotten about file extensions, and hadn’t change it on this machine.

        I really appreciate you and all of the helpful people in the Articulate community. You are a hero!

        • David
          June 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

          That’s great Kathy! I am so pleased I could help.

  5. sjones
    July 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    David,

    This is another great idea. If I wanted to this without downloading your file, would I create a transparent flash file and what code needs to be included, if any.

    Thanks again.

    sjones

    • David
      July 9, 2011 at 10:56 am

      sjones,

      You would have to add actionscript code to the swf file so that it sets the visibility to false. Simply making a transparent swf will not work.

      I hope this helps!

  6. Derek
    August 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I noticed that on your screenr that your feedback didn’t look transparent. How did you have your feedback not look fuzzy.

    • David
      August 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Derek,

      The feedback window is transparent in the Screenr but believe it appears solid with the dark background I am using. Lighter backgrounds will sometimes make the transparent feedback look fuzzy.

      I hope this helps!

  7. September 7, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Hey David,

    great job… do you let me know, what’s inside your transparency.swf?

    I want to put these script lines into my own Articulate Skin, that i don’t have to change the swf files after each publishing? Maybe it’s possible…

    Thank you..

    Stefan

    • September 7, 2011 at 7:10 am

      Hey David,

      it’s okay.. i thing you can delete my question…
      it’s just “this._visible = false;” or “this._alpha = 0;”, right?

      Nice greetz..

      Stefan

      • David
        September 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

        Stefan,

        The code simply sets the parent container’s visibility to false.

  8. Cathy Conley
    September 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for doing this work. Its great. I’m trying to use it for a video slide; but it doesn’t seem to be working.

    I want to embedd a flash video with controls. It was suggested that I use a quizmaker blank slide to run the video – so the controls will appear. This works; but throws off the scheme of the course.

    I thought if I could make everything from Quizmaker transparent than the user would never know I switched to quizmaker for the video. An ideas on how to get this to work on quiz slides with video?

    • David
      September 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Cathy,

      I apologize for my delayed response.

      If you watch the Screenr recorded in this Blog Article, it demonstrates how to implement total Quizmaker transparency for the center area. Tom Kuhlmann’s Screenr demonstrates making the Quizmaker player portion transparent. These two Screenrs combined will allow you to make quizzes inserted in a Presenter presentation completely transparent. Inserting a video on blank Quizmaker slides should work. I have tested this.

      I hope this helps!

  9. Adam
    September 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Has anyone tried this with the Hotspot type of question? Will this work with having the particular image on the master slide, adding the hotspot to the Quizmaker file and the hotspot still being there after using this SWF file?

    • David
      September 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      Adam,

      Yes. This works with all question types.

      Please note, when inserting an image for a HotSpot question this is NOT part of the background file that is modified.

  10. Laura
    October 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Hi this is great, I managed to use it and get my quiz question to sit on my slide background, seamlessly.

    However now when I have published the whole video, the slide background I applied to this particular quiz slide is flickering up inbetween each slide transition.

    I know there haven’t been any other comments made on this issue, but this is the only thing I changed on the whole presentation since I last published, so I am thinking it must be a side effect of the way I have implemented this interaction?

    • David
      October 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      Laura,

      Is there an example online I can see. I’m not sure I completely understand the issue.

  11. Yoyo
    November 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I found some problems with this solution. Sometimes an answered question will remain on-screen when the next question comes up. It happens especially if a user double clicks on submit (lots of impatient users out there).. but sometimes when you are just clicking submit once. Then the questions become illegible because the last question is still up there. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • David
      November 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Yoyo,

      This is the first time I’ve heard of this issue, however, I believe this issue would occur regardless of transparency.

      Any application served over a network is prone to communication lags, especially when users rifle aimless through the content. I can assure you, the script used to make the background transparent does not affect or interact with Quizmaker’s core functionality in any way; it simply turns the background visibility off. It is more likely users are double-clicking as you stated while on a slow bandwidth connection.

      I hope this helps!

  12. Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro
    February 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Pretty amazing. Thanks for this!

    • David
      February 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Rebecca,

      Thanks for the feedback!

  13. Barbalala
    March 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I really appreciated this – and created a transparent swf of my own to use. It works great – but only up to a point. My quiz has three slides – one for the question, and two ‘blank’ slides used for feedback, depending on whether to quiz is answered correctly or not. I did this to avoid the transparent feedback background that doesn’t work well (accomplished through branching).

    While the slide background for the first quiz is transparent, the slide background for the two feedback slides is solid white again.

    I looked to see if there was another swf that needed to be replaced but couldn’t find one. Has anyone else encountered this problem and does anyone know how to fix it?

    Thanks!

    • David
      April 2, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Barbalala,

      Quizmaker will only produce a single background file unless you have created a custom Slide Master in Quizmaker and used this for your Blank slides or you applied different design themes for more than one slide. My workaround does not support using multiple design themes or multiple slide masters. Always make sure a single theme is used or better yet, the default theme is used for the whole quiz to ensure all slides are transparent inside of Articulate Presenter.

      I hope this helps!

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