Thursday, March 10, 2011

Attaching External Files to Your ProForm Courses

When creating eLearning courses you may often want to attach external files to your course pages. For example, you may want the user to reference a PDF or download a PowerPoint for later reference or use.

Rapid Intake ProForm now makes it extremely easy to attach external files such as:
- PDFs
- PowerPoints
- Word Docs
- Excel Docs
- Zip files
- Another other type of file

This means you can create a link that when clicked on the user will download to their desktop any attached file. Here are some steps on how to do this with your Rapid Intake ProForm software.

Step 1: Open an project or create a new one.

The first step is to open a current project or start a new project inside of ProForm. Now you can create a text link in any text editor area inside of ProForm.

In this example I have just created a basic text page but you can do this with any page that has text.

Step 2: Creating the text for the link

Once you have added the text page or any other page that has the text field area, you can now set up your link. Usually when creating a link you want to have text such as "Click Here" or "Download the PDF". Type your chosen phrase inside the text field.

After you have typed in your text, select the part of the text that you want to be the hyperlink and then cli the hyperlink button as indicated in the picture below.

Step 3: Creating the link

After you have selected the part of the text that you want to be the link and the selected the hyperlink button you will be presented with the URL input prompt. Usually this is where you would type in the path to some website that you want to link to. But in this case we are not pointing to some external website. We want to point to an external file that we are storing within our course.

All we need to do here is type in the name of the file we want to pop up for the learner. Now, the name has to be exact or else it won't work. It is good habit to copy and paste the name as well to make sure you got the name exact.

One important thing to notice in the above screen shot- you will see that you also have to type in the extension of the file. The extension depends on what type of file you are linking to. In my case I am linking to a PDF so I need to type in ".pdf" after the name of my PDF. If I were linking to a Word document I would need to type in ".doc" after the name of my Word document. The same goes with any type of file you are linking to.

Also keep in mind that if you are linking to an external file the user's computer has to be able to support that file. If you are trying to use an Excel file and the end user does not have Excel or any other program that opens Excel then they will not be able to see the attachment.

You do not need to select anything in the target field, so from here just go ahead and select "ok". You will see now in your text field that the part of the text that you highlighted is blue. You can change this if you wish to a different color but the default color usually is blue. If you are using a custom style your CSS could be changed to a different color as well for your hyperlinks.

Step 4: Getting your files in the right location

We have created the link, but if we were to preview the course right now it would not work. Why not? Well, essentially what we have done is here is said to ProForm that when the user clicks on this link, look in your project folder for a file called "Sample.pdf" and pop it up for the user to see.

Ok so the logic is there but we have right now the Sample.pdf, which in my case is not in my project folder. I need to drag and drop my sample PDF into my project folder.

Where is your project folder? It depends on where you saved it when you first created your project. In my case if I go back to my project settings by clicking on the project settings button up at the top of ProForm, I can see the path of my project where it says "Project Folder"

Ok, now that you know where your project folder is on your desktop you now need to open up a window to that project folder. You can see from the image below that I have pulled up my project folder in a finder window.

Now all you need to do is drag and drop your file into this location.

Once that is in the project folder you can now go back to ProForm and preview your project. When your have your preview up, try clicking on the link and watch your PDF or other files pop open.

Things to keep in mind

If you are going to have a lot of files that you link to you may want to organize your files a little more rather than just placing them in the main directory of the course. You can create a folder inside of the main directory and place all your attachments there. If you do that you will have to update your links or type in the path for new links to that folder.

Before, all we had to type into the URL area was "Sample.pdf", but if in my main project directory I created a folder called "attachments" and I placed my Sample.pdf into that folder I need to let ProForm know that it is now within that folder. So my new path in the URL text field should now look like this "attachments/Sample.pdf".

Tell us what you think about this post, if you have any questions or comments feel free to ask them here or email our support team at

Here is a short video with no audio showing the steps I took to create this hyperlink.

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