ScreenSteps Pro adds video embedding and Pages/Word export

Brett Terpstra
B. Terpstra|06.21.09

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ScreenSteps Pro adds video embedding and Pages/Word export

ScreenSteps 2.6 is out, and has added two very useful features: the ability to export to Microsoft Word or Pages, and the ability to embed videos into your documents for online publication. We've covered this screen-based documentation application since its initial release, and it continues to be a personal favorite for me and an incredibly efficient way to create and maintain documentation for clients, employees and users.

The video embedding is a huge deal for my workflow. I've found through years of working with clients that a PDF or online document and a video serve two very different audiences. Some folks, myself included, have a learning style that does not work with video tutorials. We require text and examples we can scan, search and bookmark. The other half are in a reverse situation; videos jibe with their learning style, but pages of text just cause a logjam in their brains. Ultimately, because I can rarely predict the learning style of a client, I end up creating both; documenting a procedure step-by-step, and then demonstrating it while I record the screen, using the manual I just created as a script. With ScreenSteps 2.6, I can now add a shorter video to each step or lesson, allowing me to serve both audiences a little more efficiently.

Embedding video is as easy as copying the embed code from any video service which provides it, choosing the Step > Set Video Embed Code menu option and pasting your code. At this point, the "video embed" is a PR-speak way of introducing a feature which really has much more advanced possibilities. Quite simply, this feature allows you to embed anything you want, and -- at least in HTML exports -- have it interpreted within the documentation as Javascript/HTML. I plan to use this freedom to embed bookmarks in my videos using YouTube's Javascript API. You can also use it to insert code examples with HTML pre and code tags. The sky's the limit.

On to the new export formats ... I really should say format, as it's a single option to export a Office Open XML format. This format can be read by and edited in most modern word processors, including Apple's Pages and Microsoft Word. As with ScreenSteps' other export formats, users can customize templates for their OOXML files, allowing strict adherence to standards within organizations with such requirements. It allows for some pretty darn good-looking Pages documents, too.

A trial version of ScreenSteps 2.6 is available for download from Blue Mango Learning Systems. See the product page for further details. Pricing comes in two levels: $39.95US for the standard version, or $59.95US for the Pro version (which is required for the video embedding and OOXML export features). As noted by the developers in the comments, video embedding works in both Standard and Pro versions.

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