Your Menu tab is where you determine things like font, color, and size of your menu items as well as specify what videos are going to be part of your menu. It is divided into three basic sections: General Properties, Colors, and Menu List.
In the General Properties section, you probably want to start off by giving your menu a name. Note that this is the name of your overall presentation, not an individual component thereof. Simply type a name into the Menu title field. Upon production, the folder and file names of your project data will derive from the text you enter here. While the menu name can be pretty much anything you want, non-IE browsers tend to have issues with accented characters (e.g., ñ, ö, á, etc.), so you might want to keep this in mind when naming your menu. Take a look at the finished menu here:
A menu created by Camtasia Theater. The menu can be placed either to the left of your video (as shown here) or to the right.
As you can see, you’ve got your menu title at the top, with the individual menu items listed beneath. You can adjust the font size for both the title and the menu items. Just click the Menu title font size or the Menu item font size drop-down arrow to select an appropriate size. As there’s no preview, settling on a size can be tricky, and you may have to produce multiple menus before you’re happy with the result. Keep in mind that your menu area is pretty narrow, so if you have lengthy title names, it’s probably best to keep the font size small.
Also note that your menu needn’t necessarily display to the left of the video area. You can change the Menu alignment by clicking on the drop-down arrow and choosing your desired alignment, left or right. This is more than merely an aesthetic choice. If your videos have large dimensions and you want to be sure that your menu isn’t clipped at smaller monitor resolutions, you’ll probably want it on the left. If the navigation aspect is less important to you than making sure your viewers see your video in all its full-screen glory, you might want to place it on the right.
Finally, you have the choice of whether to Play movies in sequence. This option has an effect not on the menu’s appearance, but rather on the behavior of your video content. When this option is checked, whenever the user finishes viewing one of the videos in your menu, the next video in the series queues up and begins to play. This is a handy feature if you have a series of videos that build upon each other, such as step-by-step tutorials. It can be a real convenience for users, who aren’t constantly having to click in order to proceed in the series. The menu provides visual feedback using an underline (as well as the defined Item rollover color; more on that in a second) to make clear exactly which video in the sequence the user is currently watching.
In the Colors section, you have the option of defining a custom color scheme for your menu. You can set the color of the following menu components:
Movie background. This is the background color that displays behind your video. You will only see it if the video in question isn’t large enough to fill up the entire playback area.
Menu background. This is the background color of the navigational bar that displays the individual menu items.
Menu title. The color of the menu title you entered.
Item normal. This is the color of a menu item in its normal state (i.e., not actively playing or being hovered over).
Item rollover. A menu item becomes this color whenever the user hovers over it with the mouse cursor. In addition, any active menu items (where its corresponding video is currently playing) display in this color, plus have an underline, so as to let the user know which video is currently playing.
At the bottom of the dialog, you’ll find the Menu List, where you can assemble all the SWF files that go into your project. Right now, the list window is empty. Let’s remedy that. We’ll navigate to some SWF files and add them to the list. If you don’t currently have any SWFs on your machine and you can’t wait to get cracking, there are some on the CD-ROM in the folder for this chapter.
There are a few different ways to add files to the Menu List:
Click the Add SWF movie button, which is located to the right of the list. It looks like this: .
A dialog pops up, allowing you to navigate to your desired file. Just double-click the file, or single-click and then click Open.
Repeat this step for each individual SWF file you want to include (for some odd reason, multiple selections don’t work here).
Click the Add all SWF movies in folder button. It is also to the right of your Menu List, and looks like this: .
A Browse for Folder dialog opens, which lets you open the contents of an entire folder. Browse through the file list by clicking the + to open folders or by double-clicking on the folder itself.
When you’ve navigated to the desired folder, click the Open button to add all SWF content in that folder to your menu list, organized in alphabetical order. However, for SWF files produced in Camtasia Studio, this is often less than ideal, since Camtasia Studio can produce a number of by-product SWF files, such as video preload movies and the playback controller. Both of these become superfluous when creating a Flash menu with Theater, since Theater efficiently creates only one set of these files that work with every video in your project. It is therefore not necessary to add these files.
Open a file window in Windows Explorer. This can be done by right-clicking on your Start button and then choosing Explore.
Move and resize your Explorer window so that this window and your Camtasia Theater window are side by side.
Click and drag a SWF file from your Explorer window to the Menu List window inside Camtasia Theater. With this method, it is possible to select multiple files using Ctrl-click, and then drag them all over at once.
As mentioned, when adding your SWF files to the list, you need only worry about the actual video SWF file. It is not necessary (or desirable) to add the SWF files of your controller or preloader. In fact, you should be producing the SWFs using the Legacy template exclusively, and playback controller files should therefore not be present in the folder at all.
Now that we have some video files to play around with, let’s see how we can manipulate the Menu List window and the files it contains. First off, note that the window is divided into two columns: Menu item name and Menu item file.
Your file’s Menu item name is the title of the menu item that will actually appear in the navigation menu. By default, it takes its name from the file name, but a double-click in this field will select the name so that you can type a replacement. The Menu item file can be similarly replaced with a double-click in its field. This time, the Add movie items dialog appears once again, and all you have to do is select a new file and click Open. But rather than merely adding a new file, the newly opened file replaces the file you double-clicked. The Menu item name for the file also changes accordingly, even if you had previously edited it.
Now let’s talk about arranging our items into some kind of order. While Camtasia Theater lacks the autosort tools of MenuMaker, it is possible to manually change the sort order of your individual items. This process can be a tad labor intensive if you’re adding a long list of files, so it’s helpful to add these files in the order in which in you want them to appear, so that your sorting tasks are minimal.
To change your sort order, simply follow these steps:
Click once on the menu item you wish to move (on either field).
Click the Move movie up or Move movie down button to shift your menu item up/down by one slot. These are located to the right of the Menu List, and look like this:
Continue until the video is where you want it. If one of the arrows is grayed out, that means that the menu item is already at the top (or bottom) of the list and cannot be moved further in that direction.
Repeat for subsequent menu items. Sorry, no multiple selections are possible in the Menu List; all files need to be moved one at a time.
If you want to remove any items you’ve added, just select it and click the Remove movie button to the right of the Menu List:
We have export options down at the bottom of the tab, but before we compile our final presentation, let’s first have a look at the Controls tab.