Demystify Captivate’s Vague “Error” Message

February 9, 2010

If you’re new to Adobe Captivate, as I am, you’ve probably been stymied by the mysterious message, “Error”, that appears when you try to convert Captivate’s native .SWF file to .AVI for use on YouTube.

That’s it. “Error”. Adobe provides nothing else. No clickable links. No Help. Not even a hint. Just the word, error, in the center of your screen. I’ll spare you the speech on usable errors and warnings. Preaching to the choir, no doubt.

I don’t know about you, but I despise when I am beaten by a mere machine.  I played around with various settings, and spent countless hours performing Google searches.

I will not be beaten!

Eventually, I discovered the reason for this obnoxious message:  resolution. Yep. That’s the big secret. Captivate requires resolution set at an even number, so if you’ve accidentally rescaled your project to an odd number… “Error.”

To change resolution

  1. Click Project, Rescale.
  2. Change the width and height so that both values are even
  3. Save settings

Repeat the conversion. It should now work without “Error” messages.

If anyone has Captivate tips/tricks, I’d love to hear from you.



  1. Cool.
    I’ve used it a few times for tutorials, but I’ve always left them in Flash format. Good info though.
    Doesn’t YouTube take SWF files? I thought YouTube’s native format was SWF. (I don’t use YouTube much, I just assumed).

  2. I haven’t been able to successfully upload the .SWF files, nor can I play them on my machine, even though I’ve got the Flash reader. That’s probably another blog post in itself. It seems everything I try is close, but not quite what I need and so, I must tweak and convert and play. Sure makes the days fly.

  3. Trying playing them on a machine where you have the full Flash IDE installed. If it works there, then your Flash reader may be insufficient. I think there are probably different utilities that you might be able to get that are capable of playing back SWF files. You could try several of them.

  4. I’ll do that. You know what else I haven’t yet figured out? How do you replace the stock icon next to my comments with a personal one, as you’ve done?

    • At the top of your blog, when you are logged in, mouse-over the Dashboard menu and click the name of your blog. This will open the Dashboard controls for the selected blog.

      In the left column of links, scroll to the bottom and click Settings. The Settings page opens, and in the right column, you see Blog Picture/Icon.

      Browse for a photo and upload it.

      After that, try this:

      You may need to create a “Gravatar” (global avatar).

  5. Yep, I was wrong.
    Go to the My Account menu and click Edit Account Settings.
    In the right column, you should be able to click a link to setup your Gravatar.
    That’s what you need to do.

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