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What is a Cover Step?

A Cover Step is quite simple: it allows you to display a still image to the learner, which could be an image of some text, a photo, a graph, a diagram, or anything similar. In many ways, it is similar to a slide in a PowerPoint presentation.

Potential uses include:

  • title pages

  • contents pages

  • information steps

  • scenario overview.

Our recommendation is to combine a static image and some text to explain what the simulation is going to be showing the learner at each significant point in the presentation.

Images for this step should be created outside of SimTutor on programs such as PowerPoint, Photoshop, paint.net, etc.

How to create a Cover Step (Basic Details)

Here is a quick guide to creating a simple cover step. Look out for our other articles on the cover step for more advanced features.

1. Once you've added your Cover Step (Add step -> Cover) your Cover Step a name so that you can distinguish the step in editor mode. This step name is only displayed to the end learner within their navigation bar, it's more used for referencing the step later. You must have a step name before you can add the step.

2. Upload an image by dragging and dropping one from your computer, dragging and dropping from the library, or clicking "Browse for files" and selecting the desired file. These images can be ether .png or .jpg. At this stage, GIF images are not supported by cover steps.

3. Change the instructions the learner will see, how long they will see those instructions before they auto-hide, and the position of the instructions box on the screen. For at least the first cover step, it is a good idea to tell the learner that they must click anywhere to proceed to the next step. Changing the positions of the instructions is a good idea to avoid the instructions covering up any important part of your cover step image.

Sometimes, if you prefer to put instructions on the image instead of this instructions box, you can just leave this instructions box empty.

4. Click "Add" to save and add the step to your Sim. Its thumbnail will now show up on the left sidebar.

The Cover Step (Advanced Settings)

Read this article for more customization features for the Cover Step. Featuring: Audio Overlay, Visual Settings, Timed Transitions, Branching, and Learner Titles & Descriptions

Audio Overlay

Under the additional details tab, you can upload a .mp3 file to the Cover Step that will begin playing once the step loads. This can be of any length, but the learner can move on at any time. This audio can be paused, fast forwarded, or rewinded by the learner. If they choose to continue to the next step (by clicking on the screen), the audio will stop and the next step will show.

This feature can be great for narrations - giving a bit more detail than whats on the image. It also helps with learners that have trouble reading, or where English might not be a primary language.

Timed Transitions

Under the navigation settings of the Cover Step, we have a new feature that will force the learner to automatically proceed to the next step after a given amount of seconds. Leaving this box blank will mean the learner must define when they wish to proceed.


This dropdown allows you to select a step in your sim that the Cover Step will branch to once complete (learner clicks anywhere on the image). This is useful for situations such as when you are going down different branching scenarios, or need to track back to direct the learner to learn a section of information. This can also be changed and viewed visually within the Planning Tool.

Adding a Clickable External URL Link in a Cover Step

Adding a URL link can be useful for allowing the user to visit external sites (for things such as downloading additional documents/files, or finding out more information about the subject matter).

1. Once you have add a cover step, hit the actions button.

2. Select the "Insert an image" option

3. Upload the image into the box shown in the first image below. The image should be something clickable so that the learner knows that they should click on it, such as the second image below.

4. Once uploaded, you can check the constrain proportions button and set the image to the exact pixel dimension you desire. Don't worry about this step too much, as you can adjust the dimensions using your mouse in the next step. Click save.

5. You can now drag to move/resize the image to the desired place. For keeping the aspect ratio of the image the same, hold the shift key when resizing. Once happy with the positioning, you can add the hyperlink to the image by hitting the properties icon.

6. Click on the image properties. Here is where you can input your URL destination and if the click will open in the current window the learner is on (not suggested) or if it will open in a new window (suggested) alongside some formatting settings.

(When setting the URL location, Ensure that your url bar includes the "https://" e.g. https://www.google.com)

7. Click the save icon, and then preview your cover step to test that it is working as you intended.

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