Adobe Captivate is a rapid electronic authoring tool that is used for creating elearning content such as software demonstrations, software simulations, branched scenarios, and randomized quizzes in .swf and HTML5 formats.
It can also convert Adobe Captivate generated .swf to .mp4 which can be uploaded to video hosting websites. For software simulations, Captivate can use left or right mouse clicks, key presses and rollover images.
While the product started out as a pure screen recording utility known as Flashcam (Nexus Concepts 2002), it evolved into an E-learningauthoring tool after San Diego-based eHelp Corporation acquired Flashcam and released it as RoboDemo. Eventually, software firm Macromedia acquired eHelp to gain RoboDemo. Shortly before Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia, they changed the name of the product to Captivate.
Adobe Captivate 9 (August 2015) Adobe Captivate 9 adds new features including multi state objects, improved effects and motion paths, creating a content draft on an iOS device, and publishing to the new Adobe LMS known as Captivate Prime.
Adobe Captivate 8 (May 2014)Adobe Captivate 8 software reimagines the way interactive eLearning is created for a multi-device world. Develop any-screen mobile learning without programming using all-new responsive authoring. Now use an intuitive UI to transform PowerPoint presentations into engaging eLearning using actors, voices, interactions, and quizzes. Leverage best-in-class HTML5 publishing to deliver any content to mobile devices, the web, desktops, and leading LMSs. 
Adobe Captivate 7.0 (June 2013) Wide range of drag-and-drop components such as games, quizzes, and learning modules. HTML5 conversion for Microsoft PowerPoint projects. Newly bundled MathMagic equation editor for both Mac OS X and Windows versions. Enhanced accessibility support. Interactions library.
Adobe Captivate 6.0 (June 2012) Interactions (pre-built widgets), actors ( pre-built images), themes and HTML 5 support.
Adobe Captivate 5.5 (May 2011) New features include gradients, shadows, and object rotation, enhanced quiz/assessment templates, MP4 output option, YouTube publishing option, pay-as-you go subscription licensing option. Available as a stand-alone product or as part of the Adobe eLearning Suite 2.5 bundle.
Adobe Captivate 5 (May 2010) Unlike previous versions that were derivative of Captivate 2 and carried over notable bugs and technological limitations, Captivate 5 was written from scratch. Features include a new GUI similar to other Adobe CS family products, built-in animation effects, extended Microsoft PowerPoint support, extended video embedding and control (it functions similarly to audio in older versions), master slides and object styles. Developers are able to publish their content to Acrobat.com and use it as a quasi-Learning management system. Adobe Captivate 5 is available separately or as part of Adobe eLearning Suite 2.
Adobe Captivate 4 (Jan 2009) New features included SWF commenting, professional project templates, customizable widgets, roundtrip PowerPoint workflow, table of contents and aggregator, text-to-speech functionality, variables and advanced actions, expanded output options, Adobe Photoshop layer support. This version has features for collaboration, extends Adobe Captivate and interacts with other Adobe products like Bridge, Soundbooth, Photoshop, Adobe Device Central, etc. This version of Adobe Captivate is also part of the new Adobe eLearning Suite.
Adobe Captivate 3 (July 2007) New features included multimode recording, automatic rerecording, XML export/import (XLIFF) for localization, find and replace, audio recording with preview, randomized quizzes, answer shuffle, new question types (sequence/hotspot), PPT import with animations, rollover slidelet, and slide transition effects. This version has an Adobe Captivate logo preloader added to the beginning of all simulations, but this can be changed to a generic preloader. It would eventually be included in the Adobe Technical Communication Suite.
Adobe Captivate 2 (October 2006) New features included branching view, simulation wizard, library, interaction dialog, zoom, skins and menus, Flash Video (FLV) support, export to Flash 8, step-by-step documentation output, customization options, and PENS.
Macromedia Captivate (October 2004) New features included timeline, audio editing, demonstration and simulation recording modes, customizable quiz questions, export to Flash MX 2004, smart full motion recording, 508 compliance, SCORM 2004, and Breeze integration.
RoboDemo 5 and eLearning Edition (Fall 2003 by eHelp Corporation) New features included tighter integration with Flash via FLA and SWF import, full-motion (real-time) recording, SCORM 1.2., video import, multiple copy/paste, undo, shortcut controls, grid, alignment toolbar, filmstrip view, background audio, animated highlighters, and project resize.
RoboDemo 4 and eLearning Edition (Spring 2003 by eHelp Corporation) New features included AutoText Captions, Animated Text Effects, PowerPoint style interface, publish as email attachment, customize capture key, SCORM, Quiz question slides, support for Questionmark Perception.
RoboDemo 2 (May 2002 by eHelp Corporation) First version with major FlashCam bug fixes (therefore, it was called version "2").
Responsive design - From a single project, users can create elearning content that can be viewed across multiple products
HTML5 publishing - Fully supports publishing to HTML5 formats
All-new, simplified user interface - In Captivate version 8, the user interface was completely revamped to create a new and simplified authoring environment
Retina display support - Captivate has high-resolution icons and UI assets that make program elements look crisp
Rapid eLearning authoring environment that allows users to create elearning material without having to mess around with code
Rich multimedia to attract learners - Captivate version 9 includes tons of assets that users can add to their courses
Easy quizzing - Add quiz questions to provide interest and interactivity to an elearning course. Scoring is also supported. You can also publish the course to any SCORM-compliant LMS, for example, Adobe Captivate Prime.
Capture content from iOS devices - From Captivate 9 onwards, users can capture actions from iOS devices that are connected to the Mac, and create simulations or demonstrations of actions in the iOS device.
What types of products can be created using Adobe Captivate?
Using Captivate, users can create elearning courses with audio-visual content quickly and easily. Users can also convert PowerPoint files into advanced web-ready digital formats with added interactions, and quizzing and tracking functionalities.
From Captivate 8 onwards, responsive design is supported. That is, users can seamlessly create content that can be viewed across multiple devices such as tablets, phones, and laptops/
The software also contains many pre-developed interactions and templates.
.cptx: Captivate 9.x, 8.x, 7.x, 6.x and 5.x project files, which can be edited with the Captivate software. Note that cptx files created using older versions of Captivate can be opened in newer versions of Captivate. However files from newer versions of Captivate cannot be backported to older versions.
.cpdx: Captivate 9.x, files that are created using the Captivate Draft application on the iPad.
.cpvc: Captivate 6.x onwards, these are video project files (when you create a video demo).
.cptl: Captivate project template files
.cptm: Captivate project Theme files
.crev: Captivate Review File. In version 4 and later, a project can be reviewed in a collaborative way. This file is published when a project is sent out for review. A Review Application can open this file and can accept comments which can be seen in the main Captivate window. The Review Application is an Adobe AIR application and can be installed on any machine without requiring Adobe Captivate license.
.aggr: Adobe Captivate Aggregator file format. The Aggregator is a new application that is installed along with Adobe Captivate 4. It can take multiple Captivate modules and publish an aggregated course with a table of contents.
.cp: Captivate project files which can be edited with the Captivate version 4.0 software
.cpdt: Captivate design file which was available for Captivate version 4.0 only