Review Snapshot

The interface is easy to use and navigate. It offers video, animation, and quiz support.


The program is very expensive; many customers complain it's too similar to Microsoft Powerpoint.


If you make a lot of presentations, consider purchasing it.

Reviewed by:
Annie Oh : I am a 20-something freelance writer who specializes in technology and health re...Member Reputation 124 • 110 active Krits
Adobe Captivate 5.5 from Adobe Systems
Adobe Captivate 55 Review
Annie Oh rates this 3.5/5
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Adobe Captivate 5.5 detailed information
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FULL REVIEW: Adobe Captivate 5.5

Call it Microsoft Powerpoint on steroids: Adobe Captivate 5.5, an eLearning software program that can help professionals create seamless, interactive presentations from the privacy of their own computer.  Though Capitivate seems nothing more than Adobe's version of Powerpoint at first, a deeper look into the program reveals it's more useful--and more powerful--than its archaic predecessor.  Here's why this program is a must buy for professionals.

  • It contains more interactive tools for enhancing the learning experience
  • The interface is simple to use: Even the most novice of computer users can master it easily
  • Presentations can be converted to .avi or Youtube format for instant sharing online

  • Comes with a hefty price tag--free to try, but $799.99 to buy
  • Geared towards professional presentations; casual use isn't recommended
  • Customers argue that it's too similar to Microsoft Powerpoint


From first glance, the similarities are striking: Both Microsoft Powerpoint and Adobe Captivate 5.5 seem like carbon copies, minus Captivate's sleek and updated interface.  They both even use master slides to place and organize content, such as text, pictures, and graphs.  But where Captivate differs is in the amount of features that can be placed on these so-called master slides.

To start, while Powerpoint leaves consumers working with basic text and graphical options to customize their presentation's look, Captivate goes a step further, offering support for videos, animations, and even self-created quizzes.  Users can also choose from a multitude of templates and then tweak them using Captivate's toolbox.  There are also small tweaks users can make to make the slides stand out--from the addition of shadows to special graphical effects, such as glowing animations.


During an online presentation of this program, I was impressed with how easy Captivate's interface was to navigate.  Everything was clearly marked and organized; symbols easily marked each button's purpose in the interface.  Although I thought the interface itself was too cluttered up--sometimes, this made it hard to navigate from slide to slide--overall, I was pleased with its look and organization.  It may be similar to Microsoft Powerpoint, but it sure doesn't act like it.  

As a side note, those with bad vision probably won't like this program, since the text and symbols are absolutely tiny--and I'm not exaggerating here.  Perhaps there is way it can be adjusted in Captivate, but as of right now, I don't think this feature exists.  It's a shame, considering this would be a really excellent program provided the text and symbols weren't so tiny.


To add more interactivity to the interface, Captivate also allows you to export your finished presentations in several video formats, ranging from .avi to .mov, all of which are supported by multiple computers and online video sharing programs.  This makes it an excellent asset for professionals, such as teachers, who may need to upload presentations online as part of a lesson.  I see this being useful for online learning, though I personally do not know any schools who currently use Captivate at the moment.

In my opinion, I think the biggest feature here is the ability to convert these presentations to video format, which then can be uploaded to websites such as  Should you want to share lessons or presentations, you don't have to record the presentation with a video capturing device and then upload it to the Web; instead, you simply convert it to the appropriate format via Captivate and you're good to go.


I covered this earlier, but my main beef with Captivate is how tiny its text and symbols are--you'd need a magnifying glass to see them properly.  I certainly don't have the worst vision on the planet, but I am near-sighted, and found the text impossibly hard to read.  In future versions, Adobe would be wise to fix this issue.

One issue many customers bring up, which I disagree with, is that Captivate is just too similar to Microsoft Powerpoint, and therefore people shouldn't spend their money on Captivate.  "Basically its exactly the same as a PowerPoint, just with added video export and quizzes," says one customer.  "Its a program meant for dummy who can't use more powerful application for better interactivity."  

However, I see this as being Captivate's biggest strength--most professionals who need the program probably can't work more difficult programs, so this program will suit them just fine.  There are certainly more complicated programs out there that can deliver more precise control over the creation of eLearning presentations, however.


Overall, I liked Adobe Captivate 5.5, and loved how it intermixed detailed presentation creation with its simple, easy-to-learn format.  The learning curve isn't too big, so both novices and experts can grasp this program immediately.  However, the price tag just seems too much to justify a purchase.  If you plan to make a lot of presentations, I can see this being a justified purchase; if you just create them casually, however, I'd advise you to stick with Microsoft Powerpoint instead.
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2012, 11:06 am
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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