Managing Projects in iSpring

Learn how to manage your projects when creating e-Learning courses or presentations with an iSpring authoring tool. It’s important to know before you start working on complex courses, record audio or video, create quizzes or add other resources to your project.

In this article

What is a project

iSpring for desktop is a PowerPoint-based authoring tool, which means that you start working with a PowerPoint presentation, supplement it with narrations and interactive objects, and publish it to a web-ready format so it can be played in a web browser.

Creating a project is so natural that you don’t even recognize the moment of its creation. Every time you open a .pptx file and switch to an iSpring tab, it becomes an iSpring project.

A project in iSpring is a combination of your original PowerPoint presentation file and the respective project folder that stores your project files (narrations, quizzes, etc.). iSpring creates this folder automatically when you add something by means of iSpring, and gives it the same name as your .pptx file.

This is how your project looks in Windows Explorer:
iSpring project is a .pptx presentation and a project folder with the same name.

You can work on your project, zip it, and send it to a colleague as a part of collaborative work, or make a backup copy to ensure the safety of your data.

Tip: We recommend that you put every PowerPoint presentation that will become an iSpring project into a separate folder. This method of file organization will make your experience with iSpring fitter, happier and more productive. Otherwise, you have a risk of losing your project folders.

Choose the right place for your project

Select the right place to work on your projects. It must be the main storage of your computer (HDD or SSD), C:\ or D:\ logical drive.

The default location is C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Presentations, but you can create any other folder for your iSpring Projects in your Documents or another user folder. You should have full access (read, write) to the folder where you store your projects. There should be plenty of free space on your drive for recording audio and video.

iSpring project folder tree

Take a look at the tree structure below to see the best way to organize two or more projects:

iSpring project folder organization tree scheme.

Every project is located in a separate folder (Project 1, Project 2). You can see the dashed links between project’s components and the published components (on the bottom level). Closed folders on this scheme are not supposed to be manually managed.

Other places to store projects

Fast USB drives can be carefully used, but it may cause some problems with lost project folders. Use external drives for storing large media files, backups and documents.

Network locations are not recommended because they have slower access time, and can cause conversion issues or errors while saving the project. An example of an Ethernet location: \\JOHN\

Microsoft OneDrive can store .pptx files and other documents, but cannot be used for storing iSpring project folders. A sample web path to your OneDrive place starts with https://d.docs.live.net/

The structure of the project folder

The project folder is automatically created when you click on any of these buttons on the iSpring toolbar: Resources, Record Audio/Video or Manage Narration, insert a Quiz, Visual Interaction, TalkMaster Simulation, Screen Recording or a third-party Web Object. This additional information cannot be saved in a PowerPoint file, and therefore goes to this folder. It is given the same name as your PowerPoint presentation (as in the picture above).

iSpring Suite tools that create project folder

Don’t open this folder, rename it or delete it, unless you know exactly what you are doing. Learn more in the Troubleshooting section for managing projects.

This is how the content of your project is organized inside this folder:
iSpring Project folder structure and dependency from the toolbar options.

Note: The audio, bgaudio and video folders are inherited from projects created in the previous version of iSpring (v.7). If you create a new project in the most recent version, these folders won’t be added.

Space Odyssey 2001, Kubrick's movie screenshot of an astronaut.

Audio

You can record an audio narration with iSpring. Here is a preview in the Manage Narration window:
iSpring Manage Narration audio

The source audio is stored as uncompressed .wav audio files inside the "project_folder_name\audio2\files" folder:
iSpring source audio folder uncompressed recorded audio files.

If you import a sound file in any compatible format (e.g., .mp3 or .wma), it is also saved into this folder (without any additional compression).

The file names are generated randomly using letters and numbers [a-f, 0-9]. This is an internal automatic hex naming format, and there is no way to apply a custom naming scheme (e.g., audio01.wav, audio02.wav, etc.). If you need to find a specific source file, apply file sorting by the Date created column in Windows Explorer. It will list the audio files in their chronological recording order.

On the upper level there are folders with description .xml files that store the audio file timings and modification instructions you apply when you edit the audio in the iSpring Audio Editor (opens by clicking on the Edit Clip button on the Manage Narration toolbar). For example, if you crop the audio in the editor, the source file stays unchanged, but the .xml file gets a modification instruction for this audio file.

Post-processing with third-party tools

If you need to apply any advanced post-processing to your source audio using some external tools (e.g., Audacity), perform the following steps:

  1. Copy the source files to another location (e.g. to your “Documents\Audio post-processing” folder).

  2. Modify your files with a 3rd-party editing tool.

  3. Delete the old audio in your Manage Narration window.

  4. Import the new reworked audio back to the iSpring Manage Narration window.

It’s recommended that you don’t change the length of the audio files and their bitrate, otherwise it may require re-syncing the new audio to the original slides.

Video

Video is arranged the same way as audio. Here is a video preview in the Manage Narration window:
iSpring Mange Narration video

Videos are stored in the respective "project_folder_name\video2\" files folder:
iSpring video source folder with uncompressed .mkv files.

If you import a video file in any applicable format (e.g., .mp4 or .avi) it is also saved as-is inside this folder (without any additional compression).

The upper level "project_folder_name\video2\" stores folders with description .xml files containing file timings and modification instructions from the iSpring Video Editor (opens by clicking on the Edit Clip button on the Manage Narration toolbar).

If you need to post-process your videos, use the same method as for audio.

Quizzes

This is a quiz, added on one of the slides of the PowerPoint presentation (by clicking the Quiz button):
iSpring quiz added on the slide with iSpring Suite 8.

The source file for this quiz is stored inside the project_folder_name\quiz folder. Once created, every quiz is automatically given a sequential name (e.g., quiz1.quiz, quiz2.quiz, etc.).
iSpring quiz source folder with editable quizzes.

If you import a quiz to this presentation, it will also be copied to the project folder and given the automatic name.

Tip: If you have a number of quizzes that you share among many presentations (courses), it’s recommended that you create them using standalone QuizMaker and save to a dedicated folder (e.g., “Documents\iSpring Quizzes”). This way they will have distinctive names (not automatic). Import quizzes to your courses prior to publishing.

What’s stored in the PowerPoint file

There are some actions with the iSpring toolbar that don’t create a project folder. If you insert a Character, YouTube video, or a Flash Movie, they become a part of the .pptx file. Also, some settings that you adjust in the Publish, Presentation Explorer and Presenters dialog windows will be saved to the system folder and the PowerPoint file.
iSpring Suite tools that create project folder

Also, the .pptx file stores the publish settings for your project and the path to the project folder.

A PowerPoint presentation may contain Audio or Video that you add in PowerPoint’s INSERT tab on slides (don’t confuse with iSpring narrations).
PowerPoint insert audio video

Learn more about .pptx files in another article.

Output folder

After you publish your project, you will get an output folder with the web-ready presentation. This folder also has the same name as the project folder, but it always has the suffix (Web), (LMS), or (CD) added.

The output folder has an index.html file for launching the presentation and a data folder that stores everything else. In other words, it is a webpage, created by iSpring out of your PowerPoint presentation. The data folder doesn’t store the original project files (e.g., quizzes) and it has a totally different structure than the project folder.

Tip: It’s not recommended to change the contents of the data folder. However, you can edit the index.html file. For example, you can insert a piece of Google Analytics code to track the presentation’s traffic or change the filename without affecting the converted presentation.

Take a look at the diagram below that shows the dependency of the output folders on the publishing option you choose.
iSpring output folder scheme that shows dependencies from the publishing options.

You cannot edit the presentation (course) once it’s published. Using technical terminology, the iSpring conversion is similar to rendering a video project or compiling some code into a program. Once it’s done, you can’t turn it back to make changes if you don’t have access to the original project.

You can upload the (Web) folder to your website via FTP or give it to your webmaster to do so. Recommended freeware tool: FileZilla. Read more about sharing published presentations.

Note: As you can see, iSpring automatically creates several folders with similar names, including the project folder and the output folder (from 1 to 3). If you store many projects in one common folder, it will soon be flooded with similar folder names. That’s why we recommend having a separate folder for each project.

Backups and collaborative work

Nothing is as important as making backups of your projects (not just iSpring projects). It will ensure that you don’t lose a bit of your precious work. Also, you can track the version history and share it with your colleagues for collaborative work.

Manual backup

Click the Exportbutton on the iSpring toolbar to save your project as a .zip archive.
iSpring Export to Folder window. 'Create Zip package' option checked.

Note: Export is the same operation as if you copied the .pptx file with the project folder and then added them to a .zip archive in Windows Explorer.

After you get a backup copy of your project, you can:

  • Put it in a project backup storage folder on your computer (create it manually).

  • Send it to a colleague, who will continue working on it (e.g., to record or fix a voiceover).

  • Send it to the iSpring Support email if you were asked to share the presentation with the iSpring Help Desk to reproduce the issue.

The repository of your backups may look like this, providing you with version control options as well:
A folder on your disk that stores different versions of the zipped project. Version control.

Automatic backup solutions

There are plenty of different solutions that will automate the backup routine for the whole system or selected folders that store the important projects you work on.

Commercial backup software:

Built-in backup options:

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