How to Get Adobe Captivate For Free: One Cheapskate’s Journey

How to Get Adobe Captivate For Free: One Cheapskate’s Journey

If you want to include e-learning samples in your portfolio, you need to have access to e-learning authoring software.  Most offer free trials which is helpful.  Ideally, though, you want to have your own copy. The software can be pretty expensive, though, which may be prohibitive for many.  It was for me which is why I was excited to find out I could get one (Adobe Captivate) for FREE.  Read on to find out what I did.


This whole adventure started when I came across this video: which describes how to get Adobe Captivate for free.

I’ve been wanting to try the newest version of Captivate (2019 Release) for awhile now.    Of course, I could just buy it.  It’s $34 a month for the subscription (where you have to commit to a year) or $1300 for a perpetual license.  $34/month isn’t too bad.  $1300 is definitely too rich for my blood.  And free?  Now you’re talking my language!  After learning about the method Cara mentions, I decided I’d give it a try.

How it Works

If you watched the video, you already know how it works, but I’ll recap it here in case you didn’t.  Basically, you go to and sign in with your Adobe ID (or create one if you don’t have one already).  Once you are there, check out the incentives and levels:

The gist of it is that you get points for taking certain actions.  For example, for every post or blog article you “like”, you get a point.  If you post a comment, you get two points.  If you actually write a blog article, you get 100 points.  There are a bunch of others as well which you can see. The idea is, the more you participate, the more points you get and points lead to incentives.

Shows the points you can earn

Here are the different ways you can earn points.

The first “level” where you actually get an incentive is Guide and it only requires 150 points.  What do you get?  Three months of free Captivate!  That’s pretty good.  The normal trial is only one month.  At $34/month for the subscription, that’s like getting $102 (or $68 if you subtract the free trial month).

Three months is nice but the incentive I was after was a full YEAR of free Captivate.  You get this with the Wizard level which takes 1000 points.  Quite a bit more than 150 but doable. I know, because I did it.

shows the levels and points required

My goal: Wizard Level

How I Did It

I’d love to tell you that I was this awesome contributor to the community.  That I created helpful videos and insightful blog posts in order to achieve my Wizard status.  But I didn’t.  I did three things.  1. I liked articles and others’ comments in them.  2. I made some comments in some of the articles – usually just a simple “Thank you”.  3. I posted a question or two and then commented on any comments I got.  That’s it.  And now I’m a “Wizard” according to my profile.

comment with arrow pointing to points

Comments don’t have to be lengthy.

I did this over a period of about three days during Thanksgiving break, dedicating a few hours a day. It was a bit tedious, to be honest, but I got my thousand points.

Obviously, the goal of the program is not to encourage a marathon session of “likes” and brief comments.  Ideally, you would earn the points organically as you share and comment on various topics and posts. So, while I don’t necessarily recommend my method for everyone, it did work, which is what I wanted to see.

The Experience

As I mentioned, going through and liking/commenting on enough things to reach 1000 points was pretty tedious.  Part of that, though, is the overall set up of the site.

Posting a question, for example, is very confusing and not user friendly.  You have to pick a Category and then a Subcategory and then a tag or tags.  There is no “General” category so whatever category I  picked really didn’t match what I was asking.  I had a question about the incentive program but there isn’t a category or subcategory for that.  And then, once you create a post, it doesn’t actually post.  It goes into a “pending” status for some kind of approval. Once it does post, you get 10 points which is good.  It’s just not a very intuitive system for asking questions or posting a discussion topic.

Generally speaking, I found the whole site confusing to navigate.  I also found that most of the discussions revolve around problems people are having so there isn’t a whole lot of back and forth interaction.  A person or two may chime in with a solution and that’s about it.  When there are topics where you could have a meaningful discussion, there doesn’t seem to be much participation.  Now, to be fair, I’m not on there every day so maybe that isn’t how it is all the time.  I’m just saying that once I hit my point goal, I didn’t feel compelled to go back and keep participating in discussions.

That’s a problem if the goal of the incentive program is to encourage an active and highly engaged community.  Again, I’m not necessarily qualified to say it ISN’T an active and highly engaged community.  As with anything, YMMV.

Getting my Free adobe captivate

First of all, I’m very happy to say that I did get my one year license for Captivate which is awesome.  The process for getting it, though, was a bit confusing.  When you read the description for incentives, if you’re like me, you think once you hit a level you will get some kind of email or something with info about your prize.  Nope.  You get nothing.  Well, if you set up notifications, you will get an automated email telling you that you hit a level like “Guide” but nothing whatsoever about the free three months you have earned.

To save yourself some confusion, read this post from Adobe:

It’s been updated since I first saw it.  Basically, though, the onus is on YOU to contact THEM once you hit whatever level.  I’m glad they have cleared that up.  Originally, when I saw the post, it said you’d get an email automatically in the quarter after you earned the incentive.  When I didn’t get anything, I was confused and posted a question about it.  You can see the exchange here.

Once I contacted them, the Adobe folks were very helpful and I got the serial number.

Final Thoughts

So was it worth it?  Yes, definitely, for me it was.  I now have my own personal, fully functional version of one of the “big” e-learning authoring softwares.  i.e. one of the ones you will see most often on job postings.  Now, if I get an idea for something to include in my portfolio, I can just go and build it.  I don’t have to worry about only having 30 days or having used up a trial already.  I can also make updates any time I want on existing courses.

I’m excited to get back into Captivate and learn more about it’s new functionality.  I also plan to hit the community again as I do more in Captivate so I can assuage my guilt for not really being all that much of a “Wizard”!  🙂

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