On the Adobe Captivate Forums, someone asked if Adobe Captivate 5 for Mac OS X could be used to capture Windows applications running via VMware Fusion 3. It was a good question, so I decided to give it a test.
In both cases, what you see here is raw output from a simple capture in demonstration mode, using Captivate’s default settings. The point here isn’t to show off my screencast production chops. The point is to compare raw output when capturing a virtualized app compared to a native one. I’ve kept the default slide duration (3 seconds), so you may have to pause here and there to really see what’s happening. I’ve also kept the default slide quality (low). Feel free to avail yourself of the audio on/off button on the playbar, as that typing sound effect can get a little tedious.
First Test: Microsoft Word 2010 running on a Windows XP (SP3) virtual machine in VMware Fusion 3 on Mac OS X (10.5.8/Leopard):
Second Test: iWork Pages ’09 running on Mac OS X (10.5.8/Leopard):
The comparison shows some useful things. First, Adobe Captivate 5 was able to capture actions in Word 2010 even though it had to navigate through VMware Fusion’s virtualization layer to do it. That’s impressive. The mouse was captured as a separate object, just like it always is, which means you can reposition or hide it in post-production (which has always been one of my favorite features of Adobe Captivate).
On the down side, none of the highlight boxes were properly positioned, and quite a few extraneous text captions (a.k.a. “callouts”) were added, saying “click the Windows XP Professional window.” So, clearly, there were times when Captivate couldn’t determine what to name an interface element. If I were going to do a real project this way, I’d probably disable automatic highlights and text captions and just add my own manually, as that would, on the whole, be less trouble than repositioning and/or deleting all of these.
So, the answer to the question that prompted this post is a qualified yes. Adobe Captivate 5 can, in fact, capture apps running in guest operating systems in VMware Fusion 3, but the raw results of such captures will require more post-production cleanup than you might like.