Welcome back to Getting Started in Lectora Online. In this blog series, I’ll walk you through all the basics of course development in Lectora Online one small step at a time.
Today we’ll be talking about the Project Explorer (formerly known as the Title Explorer).
Understanding the Project Explorer will help you navigate your project and work more efficiently.
First, we’ll introduce you to the Project Explorer and then we’ll talk about the concepts of layering order, visibility, and inheritance, which you’ll need some basic knowledge of to work with the Project explorer effectively.
The project explorer allows you to see the relationship of the individual objects in your course and navigate between them. I like to think of it like a layers panel in most graphic design tools. The pages, chapters, or sections act as a parent layer with the child objects related to it underneath.
Above, Lectora's Project Explorer compared to a photo editing software's Layers panel
When you insert an object on the stage, such as text, an image, or a shape, the object will also be added to the project explorer below the object that is currently selected.
Once an object has been added to your project, double click the name of the object in the project explorer and rename it using a simple and descriptive naming convention that will allow you to find it later.
As you add additional objects to your project you can easily reorder them in your project explorer by dragging and dropping them to the appropriate location.
Clicking on an object in the project explorer will bring it into focus on your stage, as if it were on top of the other objects on that page. This will give you access to the object’s properties and allow you to make any edits or adjustments to that object
You can also right-click an object in the project explorer to access some quick commands like jumping directly to its properties menu, locking its position and size, or adding an action. In this menu, you’ll also find common commands like cut, copy and paste.
Layering order is how objects overlap on top of each other to create what your users see on a particular page of your course.
In the project explorer objects appear in order of how they would load if your course was a typical web page.
On a webpage, the background loads first, and everything else loads on top of it.
So in the project explorer, the object that is on the back-most layer will be listed first, while the object furthest down is on the topmost layer of that page.
The most common way to affect layering order is to rearrange the objects in the project explorer.
To change the order of the objects, simply drag and drop to move them to the appropriate location, or right-click and select Layering from the context menu.
Check your stage to see how moving these objects affects the appearance of your page.
If you know there is something you want to have always on top, select the object in the Project Explorer and navigate to its properties. Now select the option to always be on top.
Adjusting the visibility of objects can help improve your workflow during course development.
It also gives you control of which objects display at a given time when a user takes your finished course.
If you would like to temporarily hide an object from view while you are editing your course, simply check or uncheck the box next to the object in the project explorer.
Toggling off the object's visibility does not affect its visibility on publish or your ability to target it with actions.
By selecting an object in the project explorer and navigating to its properties tab you can initially hide an object from view.
This prevents the object from appearing when the page first loads.
The object will only be visible when an action is added to make it so.
This is useful for things like question feedback that you only want to appear after the user has answered the question.
Inheritance is the concept that objects can be included or excluded at a certain level within a project.
The levels of your Lectora project include the project itself and all chapters, sections, and pages within the project.
Each level of your project allows you to include objects in one Parent location that then get applied to all levels below it.
Objects placed at the project level will appear on all chapters, sections, and pages in the project, while objects placed at the chapter or section level will only appear on pages in that chapter or section. Objects that are placed on a page will only appear on that specific page.
Now let’s talk about adjusting the inheritance of objects on a specific page.
Select the page in the project explorer and then navigate to its properties tab.
Now, select inherit options.
In the dialog window I can tell Lectora I want the page to either inherit All, None, or Specific objects from the parent.
Remember the parent referenced here is either the project, chapter, or section this page belongs to.
In this case, I’ll select Specific objects from the parent.
Now, I’ll select the object you’d like to exclude from the list of objects currently inherited and move it to the excluded list by selecting the right arrow button.
If I accidentally move something by mistake or need to change an object's inheritance later, I can always move it back by selecting the left arrow button.
Once I’ve finished I’ll select Okay, and the object will no longer appear on this page.
One last thing to remember: Be careful when you select an inherited object on a page. Although you selected that object on a particular page, you will be navigated to the level where that object exists in the project explorer. Any changes you make to that object will affect it everywhere it is inherited.
And that’s the basics of working with the Project Explorer.
Understanding the Project Explorer will give you the foundational knowledge you need to start rocking your first course in Lectora. Watch out for future entries in this Getting Started in Lectora Online series. In the meantime, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us in the eLearning Brothers Rockstars Community.
Don't have Lectora yet? Sign up for a free trial now.