Built-By-Burton

Building better code one byte at a time.

Project Beacon for Articulate Presenter ’09

If you find yourself losing track of the Quizmaker and Engage files for your Articulate presentations, you might be interested in the PowerPoint 2007/2010 Add-In called “Project Beacon”. I developed this PowerPoint Add-In to assist Articulate Presenter Users with keeping their projects linked and organized.

Before I dive right into the Project Beacon and its usage, I feel it’s important to understand why I developed this. If you would like to skip the ugly details and get right to the Add-In, please click here.

Send to Articulate Presenter Package Summary

If you want to back up all of your Presenter ’09 project files for safe keeping or send them to your collaborators working on the same project – or just send your project to another computer, Presenter ’09 provides a simple and effective tool to package all the necessary files into one zip file. This Send to Articulate Presenter Package feature creates a package of the contents of Presenter ’09, along with any embedded Engage, Quizmaker and other inserted media files (such as Flash movies) so they can be edited on another computer.

… but did you know …

all of the absolute path data for Quizmaker and Engage project files (.quiz and .intr) is stripped from the project?

Who cares! Why does this concern me?

In the simplest terms, by stripping the absolute path data associated with Quizmaker and Engage project files,  a collaborator on another system can extract the Articulate Package and Presenter will not attempt to access the Quizmaker or Engage project files from the original location when editing.

OK, that’s nice but I still don’t see why this should concern me!

Whether you have just one or hundreds of Engage interactions or Quizmaker quizzes in your Articulate Presenter project, when using the Send to Articulate Presenter Package a second time (“Repackage” if you will), Articulate Presenter will not add your Engage or Quizmaker project files if you did not edit them; this is by design and eliminates the possibility of packaging the wrong project file if the end user chose to move the extracted files.

The workaround to the above  issue, is to manually add all of the .intr and .quiz project files to the new Articulate Presenter “Repackage” or select the ‘Edit in Engage’ or ‘Edit in Quizmaker’ buttons followed by ‘Save and Return to Presenter’ button for each slide or tab containing these modules. Both of these workarounds would have to be performed every time a user attempts to “Repackage” an Articulate Presenter Package. Not anymore …

Project Beacon v1.0 Released!

This utility can be used to perform the following:

1. Check for valid Engage and Quizmaker project links inside your Articulate Presenter project.
2. Automatically link all Engage and Quizmaker project links with a single click.
3. Generate a report,  listing all Engage and Quizmaker project files along with full directory paths.
4. Identify any broken Engage and Quizmaker project file paths.
5. Donate to your favorite developer :-)

When loaded into PowerPoint 2007 or 2010, this Add-in will appear under the Add-Ins menu or ribbon.

The usage is simple…

Download and Install:

1. Download the ProjectBeacon_v1.0.zip
2. Extract the contents of the ProjectBeacon_v1.0.zip file by right-clicking and selecting Extract.
3. Locate the Extracted files and double-click the setup.exe file.
4. Follow the Installation Wizard Instructions.

Usage:

1. Start by opening any PowerPoint project, preferably one containing quizzes or interactions.
2. Select the ‘Check Links’ button to get feedback in a message window indicating if there are any links that need to be updated.

If any files are identified as not linked:
– Either choose ‘Yes’ to Attempt to Auto Link or ‘No’ to do nothing.

3. Use the ‘Auto Link’ button to quickly relink a newly extracted Articulate Presenter Package.
4. Use the ‘Generate Report’ button to get a full list of quizzes and interactions that are part of your project along with the link status and path.
5. Use the ‘Donate‘ button to, link back to the donation portion of my site.

All button actions will always give feedback as to what was performed or if any files could not be located. After attempting to Auto Link if the feedback states only some of the files have been updated, simply use the ‘Generate Report’ button again, to identify the offending file.

Note: The Project Beacon PowerPoint Add-in is not supported by Articulate, and is provided as is. However, I have tested this extensively and found this to work without any issues.

Additional Information and Links

Download: ProjectBeacon_v1.0.zip

Articulate Help Document: Send To Articulate Presenter Package
Articulate KB Article: Engage interactions and Quizmaker quizzes do not get included in Articulate Presenter Package

Engage interactions and Quizmaker quizzes do not get included in Articulate Presenter Package

59 comments for “Project Beacon for Articulate Presenter ’09

  1. Tina
    March 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I am having trouble downloading this. Can anyone assist?

    • David
      March 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Tina,

      Are you having an issue with the download link or when you are installing this? What sort of errors are you getting?

      • Tina
        March 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

        I get to the setup page and then the report is that not all system components have been successfully installed.

        these are the two files that could not be found:

        TempintallOffice2007PIARedisto2007pia.msi

        TempVSD248F.tmpintstall.log

      • David
        March 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm

        Tina,

        This Add-in is for PowerPoint 2007/2010 only. Are you attempting to install this for PowerPoint 2003 or some other version?

      • Tina
        March 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

        no, I have 2007

      • David
        March 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm

        Tina,

        Do you happen to know if you have the .NET 3.5 installed; this is a minimum requirement. Please post your OS version and .NET version here.

      • Tina
        March 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        I am not sure. I will have to have our IT department check. they aren’t sure what has been loaded but assure me that it won’t be a problem.

      • David
        March 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

        Keep me posted when they find out what .NET framework you have installed. Its important .NET 3.5 SP1 is in place/installed before attempting to install the Project Beacon. I apologize for not making this clear.

      • Tina
        March 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

        Thank you. I am downloading the service pack right now. I appreciate your help! I was so excited to find this, because I think it is a huge inconvenience not to have the links to interactions.

      • David
        March 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        No… Thank you for your interest. Please let me know if you run into any other issues.

        Note: You should restart your system after installing .NET 3.5 SP1, then install the Project Beacon.

      • Tina
        March 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm

        I am so bummed. I performed all of the requirements for the service pack and I still am unable to download, Here are the details:

        The following package files could not be found:
        C:DOCUME~1TWOODR~1LOCALS~1TempinstallOffice2007PIARedisto2007pia.msi

        See the setup log file located at ‘C:DOCUME~1TWOODR~1LOCALS~1TempVSD36.tmpinstall.log’ for more information.

        • David
          March 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

          Tina,

          Yeah, I’m bummed as well. Could you locate the log file in the directory noted below and send this to me or if not too long paste the contents in a reply here.

          ‘C:DOCUME~1TWOODR~1LOCALS~1TempVSD36.tmpinstall.log’

          Thanks

      • David
        April 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

        Good News! – I re-packaged the Project Beacon and it now includes the missing Office2007PIARedisto2007pia.msi file. Please use the download link above and reinstall with this new package.

        Note: You may need to clear your browser cache before the download link is updated.

  2. Kat
    April 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Hi David,
    Similar prob here as well – it gets an error on install.
    I have .net 3.5
    I’m using PowerPoint 2010

    Error: The following package files could not be found:
    C:ArticulateAddinsProjectBeacon_v1.0Office2007PIARedisto2007pia.msi

    • David
      April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Kat,

      Good News! – I re-packaged the Project Beacon and it now includes the missing Office2007PIARedisto2007pia.msi file. Please use the download link above and reinstall with this new package.

      Note: You may need to clear your browser cache before the download link is updated.

  3. Jim
    May 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Sorry, posted as a reply previously.

    I have downloaded the Project Beacon 1.0 zip file and it does not contain an exe file. It just has a 6.17mb “ProjectBeacon_v1.0″ file with no extension. Any ideas?

    • David
      May 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Jim,

      The file I’ve provided is a zip file which has to be extracted. When right-clicking the ProjectBeacon_v1.0.zip file, selecting “Extract All” will extract a folder named ProjectBeacon_v1.0. Inside the extracted folder will be a couple more folders as well as several files, simple double-click the ‘setup.exe’ fileto install (or ‘setup’ file if your system is set to hide file extensions).

      I hope this helps!

  4. Dave
    June 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    When I try to use the zip file I get an error: “Cannot open file: it does not appear to be a valid archive….”

    I think your zip file is corrupt or something.

    Dave

    • Dave
      June 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Exact error I get is:
      “End-of-central-directory signature not found. Either this file is not a Zip file, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part Zip file.”

      • David
        June 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm

        Dave,

        My apologies. My site was optimized last week which affected the download links as you have noted. These should be working now but you might need to clear your browser cache.

        Please try again.

        • David
          June 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

          Dave,

          Thanks for the additional info. Please try the download again after clearing your browser cache. Make sure you save the File to your local drive.

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

        No Joy. Cleared cache, cookies…. same result.

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

        on you site, the file ending with .zip-old opens, but i’m concerned about changes you may have made since.

      • David
        June 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

        Bummer :-(

        This file is not part of a multi-part zip file.

        I just tested this and it works as it should. Its possible your system’s zip application is corrupt. Can you try downloading on a different system?

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

        file dates in the .zip-old file are 3/16 except for .dll.config.deploy which is 3/9.

        I assume the other file would have something newer in it, but it won’t open.

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

        why would the file pointed to by “http://www.builtbyburton.com/wp-content/downloads/Add-ins/PowerPoint/ProjectBeacon/ProjectBeacon_v1.0.zip-old” unzip properly, but the file pointed to by “http://www.builtbyburton.com/wp-content/downloads/Add-ins/PowerPoint/ProjectBeacon/ProjectBeacon_v1.0.zip” not unzip?

        I don’t think it is my WinZip program because it correctly opens the .zip-old one.

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        You have my email address, can you send me the zip file that works on your system?

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Maybe that’s a bad idea if it is over 5 meg. It may not be allowed through the email server.

      • Dave
        June 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        I’ll try it at home and if it works there I’ll bring it in by sneaker net.

      • David
        June 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        You should not be accessing the download folder directly, however, I’m glad you pointed this out to me. I have since locked access to this folder. You should not be downloading the -old file, as this did not contain all of the files needed to install correctly.

        Please try the download link from a different system.

        Thanks.

      • Dave
        June 13, 2011 at 9:19 am

        The only reason I looked at the -old file was to verify if I could see the contents of the zip. The -old zip file does show it’s contents; the new file is an invalid zip.

        I can not even see the contents of the current zip file. I have used more than one system to download this zip file and can not view the contents of the zip file on any machine I try it on.

        I believe it is truncated somehow. I get the “end-of-central-directory signature not found’ whereever I try it.

        Even though this was built to reduce the hassle of links in packages, at least for me, it is more of a hassle to even get the program to test it.

        Have a great Monday.

        • David
          June 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm

          Dave,

          > The only reason I looked at the -old file was to verify if I could see the contents of the …
          No. Worries. I’m glad you pointed this out to me. I needed to secure this end of my site.

          I am truly sorry to hear you are still having problems downloading and extracting the file. Please delete all instances of this file from your system including the -old you downloaded and try again.

          Please note, I’ve had 10 colleagues of mine test the file download many times from different browsers and system configurations. The type of error you are describing appears to be system(s) specific where the download is getting blocked mid way or the file has picked up corruption making it incomplete.

          Please note, that although “end-of-central-directory signature not found” can mean the zip file is corrupt, this error message may also show a user has uncompressed a file which has the same name in the same directory. Try opening the zip file and selectively dragging the content to a new folder.

          I can assure you, the file is not damaged. Good luck!

      • Dave
        June 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

        Well, I never make it to the actual unziping stage.

        I never unzipped the -old, only looked to see if I could see the contents – it worked. I could never even see the contents of the new one.

        I agree that something keeps it from being fully downloaded; therefore, not capable of being opened. I still find it interesting that I could use the same computer to download and see contents of the -old file, but not the new one.

        Things that make you go, “Hmmmmm”

      • Dave
        June 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

        Good news!
        I finally was able to get the file using a different computer on a different network.
        Now I can see if I like it!

        • David
          June 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

          Thank you for trying what I suggested. I really appreciate it!

  5. Lauren
    June 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

    This is the first time I am at your website and downloading this zip. And I am getting the same error message when trying to unzip your zip file. I have tried to use WinZip as well as WindowsXP’s built Open with “Compressed Zip Folder” The message is “The compressed zip file is invalid or corrupt.”
    I do have .Net 3.5 and I am using Office 2007. However this part shouldn’t matter as of yet, because I can even get to your files do to the error.

    • David
      June 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      Lauren,

      As noted in the comments above, this issue is system related. Unfortunately, I can only suggest that you attempt to download this from another system or possibly outside of your work network.

      I hope this helps!

  6. Ioanna Papanikolaou
    July 26, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Hello,

    This plug-in works really good, thank you for sharing it with us.

    I have a question regarding the “generate” file (file where u can see all the links of engage or quizmaker files. In some of them, it’s indicated “no link”, although this engage or quizmaker exists. I tried to embed it again in the presenter but i always have the “no link” indication. What should i do? Thanking you in advance,

    Ioanna

    • David
      July 26, 2011 at 8:23 am

      Ioanna,

      When the report shows (NOT LINKED): YourQuiz.quiz or (NOT LINKED): YourEngageInteraction.intr, this would indicate the path data for these slides is no longer valid; this can happen when the quiz or interaction has been moved or renamed or sometimes resides on a network drive.

      Try this:

      First copy the quiz or interaction to your local drive C:, if they are on a networked drive, before proceeding below.

      1. Delete the slide that contains the quiz or interaction that is showing (NOT LINKED).
      2. Save the PowerPoint file with a new name.
      3. Use the Quizmaker Quiz or Engage Interaction Buttons to re-import these slides into Articulate Presenter.
      4. Save the PowerPoint file again, using the same name from step 2 above.
      5. Use the Project Beacon Generate Report button.

      Note: If a PowerPoint file has gone through numerous changes, it’s possible there’s obsolete data conflicting your project. The best way to clear out obsolete data is to publish the whole project from the Articulate Publish option.

      The Project Beacon was designed to help discover broken data links for your interactions and quizzes. If the above method does not help fix the data link, please let me know.

  7. Eye-D
    September 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Hi – thank you so much for creating this tool!

    I was able to install it successfull on Parallells.

    However, when I ran it, it found multiple Engage interactions that were not linked — then, I tried to auto-link them… and it keeps saying “0 of 18 links were updated” —

    Ive got some presentations with hundreds of interactions and would really like this to work!! :)

    Is there a way to point the add-on into the right directions, ie, search for interactions in specific folder?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thank you

    • David
      September 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Eye-D,

      If the Project Beacon reports back that no links were updated, this is because the original Interaction file (.intr) could not be accessed or located. I did not design this application to search the entire system for the missing file. Only the the original path or the folder where the PowerPoint/Presenter files resides is searched. I chose to do this because any given system could have numerous Engage files all with the same name and no way to differentiate them, without opening first; this process requires the same steps if you were to select the “Edit in Engage” button from the PowerPoint slide and then locate the file when given the prompt to locate.

      Because the Project Beacon report is showing you which files need to be relinked, try locating the associated .intr files for each and copy and paste these to the same folder the PowerPoint/Presenter project files reside. Then try the auto link again.

      Please note, if your files reside on a network or on the Mac shared profile, this will not work. All files must reside on the local computer or VM.

      • deepak
        September 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

        Thank you for the quick response!

        Yes, all the interactions are indeed already in the same folder as the ppt and articulate files.

        When I get home, I can post the log if you wish. Maybe that will help?

        Thank you again

        (please feel free to email me as well)

        • David
          September 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm

          deepak,

          I’m not sure the log will show me much other than the files not being linked. Please see my reply to Ioanna above. You might need to publish the project to remove any erroneous data from the .ppta then try the Project Beacon again.

      • Eye-D
        September 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

        Sorry to bother again – but I just deleted my ppta file for a project. Then I republished the project. This generated a new ppta. I knew there is 1 interaction that is not linked. I ran the beacon and it detect 1 interaction as not linked… but then wouldnt auto-fis the link.

        Any other suggestions?

        Rename files?

        My pptx and ppta files are all in the same folder as the interactions.

        Thank you!

        • David
          September 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

          Eye-D,

          My apologies for the delayed response.

          Interestingly, I handled a case yesterday that was the same issue as you have noted. I’ve found when files are packaged manually or placed into a zip file without using the Articulate Package option, the paths are not stripped. So if there is a valid path embedded in the project, the local path is not check. To work around this issue, I recommend using the Send To Articulate Package option first to create a package, then manually copy all of the .intr files and .quiz files into this zip package. Once this is done, extract all of the contents to a new folder and re run the Project Beacon. This should relink all of your interactions and quizzes. I’ve tested this method and found this to work.

      • Eye-D
        September 15, 2011 at 1:21 am

        thank you so much! this seems to have done the trick! What a time saver!….

        (donation coming soon) :)

      • David
        September 15, 2011 at 9:26 am

        You are welcome. I’m pleased this worked for you!

  8. Jennifer
    December 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Hi!

    I was hoping your program might be able to help me with a related linking problem. I have a project that was moved around without packaging, and the linking has been giving me some problems (as expected). When I try to manually relink any engage or quizmaker files, a .ppta file with the extension -old appears in the folder with my project. The .ppta that is correctly named suddenly loses all of its information and the project-old.ppta now seems to have all of the information. I have been deleting the empty .ppta and renaming the -old file to relink it to my ppt. It seems that most of the information is there, however most of the links are still broken. I was hoping your program might provide me with a clean version of my .ppt and .ppta. If not, I thought you might have some experience with what I have described here. It may be a shot in the dark, but I am really hoping to find a solution.

    Thank you!
    Jennifer

    • David
      December 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      Jennifer,

      The -old is the side effect of Articulate Presenter not knowing where the project file is. Please review the following link regarding the -old file and how to restore this version. Under no circumstances should you delete the -old version as this most likely contains all of your audio and other project data.

      Audio is missing or lost in published Presenter ’09 presentation:
      http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter09/kb/?p=643

      The Project Beacon will attempt to relink the Engage interactions and Quizmaker quizzes however, if the PowerPoint file is corrupt, this would have to be fixed first. Please refer to the following link for fixing a corrupt PowerPoint file.

      Here’s how to fix a corrupt PowerPoint file:
      http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter09/kb/?p=503

      Please let me know if you need further assistance.

  9. Kayla Abercrombie
    July 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I am using articulate to package presentations that were not originally on my desktop. The beacon seems to not recognize the quiz that I am trying to link with my presentation. I have transfered all of my presentations and quizzes to my desktop because I though the issue might have been with my flash drive but it is still not recognizing my quizzes. Could you tell me why you believe this may be happening. Thanks.

    • David
      July 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Kayla,

      It’s possible either the quiz file or the Presenter project itself is corrupt. Have you tried to create a package using the Articulate Presenter Send to Package option and then adding the quizzes into the zip file that is created? Just copy and paste your quiz files(.quiz) into the zip file before extracting all files. This is essentially what the beacon would attempt to do, if the path data inside the PowerPoint file isn’t corrupt.

      I hope this helps!

  10. Norma Miller
    January 18, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Hi David,

    Thanks for creating and sharing this tool.

    After having to rename a couple of Engage files back to their original names (I did not create them but am taking over someone else’s work), I was able to get the message to come up that all links were working. So I thought, “Yay!”

    However, I am still not able to edit the files in Engage by clicking the button on the slide.

    What am I missing?

    Many thanks once again,
    Norma

    • David
      January 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Norma,

      What is the exact error you are getting when you attempt to edit the Engage file? Have you tried Saving the PowerPoint project after running the Beacon? Please remember to always save to and work with projects on your local drive.

      If there’s just one Engage file/slide giving you issues, try deleting the slide and re-import.

      Finally, if all suggestions above do not help, try opening the Engage file from inside of Engage. If the file doesn’t open, there might be data corruption that would require rebuilding the interaction from scratch.

      Watch my video for fixing a corrupt Engage interaction file.
      http://www.screenr.com/lMC

      • Norma Miller
        January 23, 2013 at 11:03 am

        Hi David. Thanks so much for your reply.

        It’s an Articulate Presenter error that says, “Unable to access interaction Course_Tutorial.intr. Please locate the interaction.” When I do so, it bounces back to the same error and stays in that loop.

        I have been playing around with this for over a week, trying all kinds of suggestions I’ve found in forums and blogs. I will work through your suggestions as well and let you know what happens.

        Thanks again!
        Norma

        • David
          January 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm

          Norma,

          If browsing for the missing/disconnected .intr file when prompted does not fix the issue and this only happens for this one slide, the slide itself might contain data corruption. Please try my suggestions above and let me know if this helps.

      • Norma Miller
        January 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

        Hi David,

        The cause of the problem turned out to be very simple: I had been using the network copy of the Articulate file without even realizing it. As soon as I switched to a local copy, I was able to re-link the interactions and quizzes without any trouble.

        I appreciate your help!

        Norma

        • David
          January 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm

          That’s great!

  11. Paul Figueiredo
    January 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I have a course built in Articulate Studio ’09 and I always work on the files from my desktop. I currently ran your application and it told me I have 20 file which are not linked. Which is correct!

    Tried to use your Auto Link feature but it didn’t re-link anything. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

    • David
      January 17, 2014 at 11:26 am

      Paul,

      For your convenience I copied my reply to Ioanna below.

      When the report shows (NOT LINKED): YourQuiz.quiz or (NOT LINKED): YourEngageInteraction.intr, this would indicate the path data for these slides is no longer valid; this can happen when the quiz or interaction has been moved or renamed or sometimes resides on a network drive.

      Try this:
      First copy the quiz or interaction to your local drive C:, if they are on a networked drive, before proceeding below.

      1. Delete the slide that contains the quiz or interaction that is showing (NOT LINKED).
      2. Save the PowerPoint file with a new name.
      3. Use the Quizmaker Quiz or Engage Interaction Buttons to re-import these slides into Articulate Presenter.
      4. Save the PowerPoint file again, using the same name from step 2 above.
      5. Use the Project Beacon Generate Report button.

      Note: If a PowerPoint file has gone through numerous changes, it’s possible there’s obsolete data conflicting your project. The best way to clear out obsolete data is to publish the whole project from the Articulate Publish option.

      The Project Beacon was designed to help discover broken data links for your interactions and quizzes. If the above method does not help fix the data link, please let me know.

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