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I think what you are missing is an understanding of what Captivate does. Hopefully, that will lead to a more intuitive grasp of how it does it.
In creating a "movie" of a task in an application, Captivate "reads" the actions the developer is applying to the mouse, and exactly where on the application-background those actions are being applied.
1) For instance, if you are showing the user how to save a file in MS "Word" (or most other applications) to a new name or location (the "Save As" operation). When you begin to record in Captivate, a screen-shot of the background (showing the "Word" application) would be taken ... that would be slide #1.
2) Then you would move the mouse up to the "File" menu and "click" to open the menu. The movement of the mouse would be shown on that slide, and when you "click" the menu, Captivate would take another screen-shot showing the change in the background, which now shows the opened "File" menu. That would be slide #2.
3) Then you would move the mouse down to the "Save As..." menu item, and "click" that menu item to open the "Save As" dialog. Captivate would interpret the "click" as a background change once more, and would create another screen-shot showing this latest change in the background - which now would show the "Save As" menu item "highlighted". This would be slide #3.
4) Immediately following the "click" of the "File" menu "Save As" item, the "Save As" navigation dialog will open, resulting in - again - a change in the background, and - once again - triggering another screen-shot showing the "Save As" dialog as a part of that background change. This would be slide #4.
And so on, and so on ...
As Captivate captures the background changes (as screen-shots), it is - if you have elected - adding text-captions and other objects that make the successive background screen-shots appear to be an animated movement of the mouse-pointer through the application. In the end, you have a completed recording - to which you can then add other objects to edit and complete the Captivate "movie".
As a last thought ... on the main user-interface of the Captivate product there are a series of tutorial movies showing different aspects of Captivate. These are text links located in the right-side column of the main UI, and can be viewed as a tutorial series on the application and its functions. All were done in Captivate...
I hope this helps. Best of luck!!
Addendum: Oops, forgot something important ... Welcome! ... to the Captivate User-to-User Community!!
I've seen the movies, but they have the same problem - they're all about a lower level of detail. I'm thinking I'm looking for something that isn't there.
Given your example, how would you organize a hypothetical application that had 20 different features you wanted to demonstrate, spread over 200 slides? How do you show that slides 1-7 demonstrate debugging, slides 8-20 demonstrate basic editing, etc? Just the notes on the slides? That's the only thing I've found, and it feels fairly primitive.
So far all I've found is what I think of as the "soup of slides' view - there are just 200 of the things in chronological order, with no way to give someone a higher view of what's going on. That seems unwieldy - I kept looking for something like folders for slides, a way to draw boxes around them to group them together, or something vaguely like that.
If you create a project of 200 slides, you may have gone beyond "best practice" in file size and are almost guaranteed to have trouble because of it. So create multiple movies, each short and dealing with a specific point. That will help in editing and in avoiding the risk of taxing machine resources.
Then do your "tying together" through a menu? I don't know what "higher view" might mean, so I can't be any help there. As a matter of fact, I have the uneasy feeling that you might be right - that you are looking for something you can't define - and it is going to be hard to find it without knowing what it is.
Having said all that, are you using Captivate 3? If so, there might be "grouping" functions that are not available in Captivate 2 ... in Captivate 3 "Help" go to the TOC and find "Slides", then "Grouping Slides", and see if that is any help to you. Then if you have specific questions, perhaps you can return here with them and we can help. Good luck!