Review: Looking for software tutorials?

lynda-dot-comIs it worth your time and money to subscribe to If your job or life demand that you learn software applications from Adobe, Articulate, Google, Microsoft and so many more, then read this review.

I’ve been a subscriber to the training library for years. I often find this site to be a life saver. It helps when working under tight deadlines with little time to learn something new.

There’s nothing like sitting in a coffee shop with your laptop, sipping java and eating pastries (only the healthy ones) and learning how to use Storyline, Captivate or Photoshop with Lynda’s excellent online software tutorials.

For a reasonable monthly fee and no long-term commitment required, gives you access to a long list of well-designed courses. These tutorials teach how to use a wide variety of software programs as well as delving into topics like: web development, business, photography, and audio and video production.

The Best Features of

There’s a lot to like about Here are some of my favorite features:

  1. The courses are organized into many short segments.
    Even though many courses are several hours long, they are organized into very short lesson segments. A particular lesson might only last five minutes. That means you can use the courses to quickly learn one procedure. And you can use the courses for comprehensive training. I often go there just to get the answer to one problem.
  2. The courses are instructionally sound.
    The courses incorporate high-quality instructional strategies. They progress in a systematic fashion, use realistic examples, are organized logically, and assume the intelligence of the audience. I have rarely come across a course that I thought was sub-par. But it did happen once or twice. Note that the courses are not interactive. They consist of short video tutorials.
  3. The selection is broad.
    As of 2014, is offering 3,145 courses on these subjects: 3D, animation, audio, business, design, developer, home computing photography, video and web/interactive. The tutorials include presentation tools and eLearning applications, graphic design software, social media tools, video and audio editing packages, web design and development, iPhone apps, business applications (Office, Google docs), content management systems and many other categories.
  4. The instructors are knowledgeable.
    Most of the instructors appear to know their topics well. They teach in an informal and casual style and give you the sense that they can help you become competent in whatever you’re trying to learn.
  5. You only need to pay for one month at a time.
    You don’t have to make a long-term commitment to You can pay for one month, take all the courses you need and end your relationship right there. Most likely, though, you’ll find yourself coming back for more. You can save money by paying for a full year, which is what I do.
  6. There are a variety of subscription options.
    You can become a Regular monthly subscriber or a Premium subscriber. There is also special pricing for multuser corporate and educational options. Many of the courses are also available on DVD.
  7. The courses work on a variety of devices.
    The courses work on the PC, Mac and a variety of mobile devices.
  8. They often have free trial promotions.
    When you sign up for one of these promotions, be sure to cancel within the time limit or your credit card will be charged for the next month.


A screen from a course teaching Captivate

A Few Things You Should Know About Lynda continues to expand its options for tutorials needed by the eLearning industry. As our field expands into social media, information design, usability and other areas, an increasing number of the tutorials become relevant.

In terms of the eLearning specific courses, you’ll find Storyline, Captivate, Adobe Connect, Blackboard, Camtasia, Dreamweaver, Drupal, Flash, HTML5, Mobile Development, Moodle, Photoshop, PowerPoint and WebEx.  There are tutorials on nearly all the peripheral products and topics that eLearning designers and developers might want to learn, like Facebook, Twitter, Dreamweaver, HTML 5, CSS 3, Javascript, Illustrator, Final Cut, podcasting, animation software, information architecture, usability, Gmail and so on.

Note that as a Regular member, you are not provided with the exercise files that go along with each course. These files are reserved for Premium members. Although the exercise files are not required for using the tutorials, they do provide a way to continue learning and exploring after completing the course. And for some of the programming courses, you may find that the exercise files make it easier to follow along. Still, I’ve been a Regular member from the start and have not found this to be a hardship.

Also, if you sign up for the free trial (it is currently 10 days), be sure to cancel on time or you will be charged for the next month.

Is right for you?

You will benefit from if you find yourself frustrated because you can’t keep up with all the software and new versions you need to know, if you find that you only use a few features of the software you own and if you frequently need a quick tutorial on how to use a software feature any time of the day or night. People who have a passion for learning new applications and technologies will also benefit.

Check out the free tutorials to start. Look for the underlined topics in the tutorial of your choice, as they are open to the public.

[Note: is a site sponsor because I think their products are high-quality and helpful.]

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  1. Michaela says

    I love!!! Actually, my school offers all the tutorials for free, so I just need to find time to learn it all.
    Thank you for a great review.

  2. Norris Hall says

    Be careful. If you sign up for a one month account thinking to use it for the month only, think again. your credit card will keep getting billed each month and if you don’t notice the charge you could end up paying 25 dollars a month forever.
    Make sure you cancel the contract after one month if that’s all you intend to use it for. requires you to opt out..otherwise they’ll keep sending you a bill

  3. Ken says

    Be careful when using the account. I was paging though the movies and loading then too fast. So my account got flagged. If I do this one more time I lose my account.The CS Rep told me to find content using the transcripts and not by looking through the movies to find what I wanted to know. It is a good resource but I should be able to page through the videos without losing my account.

    I paid for a year and won’t do it again. Just my humble opinion….your mileage may vary.

  4. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Ken,
    Thanks for letting us know about this strange situation. This does not sound like the spirit of the I know and I will contact them about it since I recommend them highly. Of course you should be allowed to load movies quickly.

  5. Connie Malamed says

    I did hear back from and they seem to have a decent reason for how they handled the issue. They are working on a better solution. Here’s what they said:

    Dear Connie,

    Thank you for contacting We understand your frustration and we do sincerely apologize.

    Due to people violating our terms and conditions, downloading tutorials and pirating our material, we had to install a new security system.
    This system is set to detect unusual viewing patterns.
    The “quick clicks of high volume in a very short amount of time” is a type of viewing pattern is consistent with downloading or sharing of our videos. Downloading of our material is strictly prohibited and against our Terms and Conditions.

    Also, sharing the username and password is prohibited, as our subscriptions are single-user subscriptions, opening up our services in multiple windows; these are all scenarios that flag our system.

    If you are unsure of what you are looking for, there is a search option in the title box of each tutorial (on the right hand side) and each chapter is broken down into video headings.

    Please review these as well as the description tab to find what you are looking for. This is a time saver versus clicking through the movies as well, and if you click to the left of the transcripts/wording, there are time stamps. If you click on the time stamp, it brings you to that exact part of the video and you can start watching the training from that point.

    Again, I do understand your frustrations and can relate. We are working on fine-tuning the way our system reviews accounts to see if there is a better way to find those abusing our services.
    If there is anything further I may assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact me or one of our Customer Service Representatives at 888-335-9632.

    Thank you again and enjoy your day.
    Best regards,
    Customer Service Team

  6. Connie Malamed says

    I heard from Lynda again! The customer service team lead offered Ken a free month of tutorials. Ken, if you are out there, please send me your email address through the contact form and I’ll put you in touch with the right person. Here’s what she said,

    “Hello Connie,

    Thank you for contacting us.

    We appreciate that you reached out to us and made us aware of this member’s concern. Can you please provide me with their name and email address? I will be happy to contact them directly to reassure them that they will be able to click through our tutorials as their needs require. I would also like to offer them a 30 day extension, at no charge, for any inconvenience they have experienced due to the email notification they received. We want to make sure that they feel comfortable using our site without worry.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

  7. sarah says

    When subscribing it actually says you will be charged a 25 dollar fee each month until you unsubscribe.. Thats why terms & conditions are meant to be read.. I hope you like the site though!

  8. Mary says

    I like the wide variety of topics. I do miss a classroom for software training, where you can see what the instructor is doing then try it yourself. I have the type of membership where you get the exercise files; I haven’t found those to add too much, so I’m thinking of going back to the more basic membership where you don’t have access to the exercise files.

    Sometimes it is a little difficult to catch exactly what the instructor did or what buttons he/she clicked; sometimes I wish I had a takeaway doc with a list of some of the menus and clicks to complete the actions. For example, I’ve been watching one on Word styles, and the instructor goes through how to compare 1 style to another; I reversed and repeated several times, but never was able to duplicate it on my own. The quality of the instructors is really good.

    My #1 issue is the quality of the videos. Granted, I don’t have the fastest connection in the world (3G Verizon broadband), but it is the best I can get in my area about 45 minutes outside of Austin, TX. Often the videos stop and start constantly, so this can be very frustrating. I will sometimes pause it and wait for the whole segment to load before playing, and this helps with the jarring, but it can take a long time to wait for it to queue up. I’ve tried various settings, have read the help, but to no avail.

    So, overall I love, but if I can find another site whose video works better, I will switch. There are many other sites whose video does not do this; I don’t know enough about video to know why one site’s video works smoothly and another does not.

  9. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Mary,
    I have not had any issues with the videos so I guess it must be your bandwidth. I imagine that is very frustrating. I wonder if there is a way to download the video first so it is not streaming? I suggest you contact’s tech support to see if you can download the videos first. Perhaps Verizon can give you some advice too, like a faster modem.

    Have you tried simply letting the video play in one window while doing something else and then going back to the start and watching? I wonder if it would then be in memory or in a temporary file on your hard drive. They used to have some of their courses available on DVD and probably still do. But that is an additional expense.

    Finally, if you are looking for an alternative to technical/programming courses, I know you can find some of these at

    I hope you get the technical issues straightened out.

  10. liban says

    Hello Friends I was thinking about signing up I wanted to do more research on this 1. I wanted to take CAD course 2. Some c++ programming course. My Question is Can I take these with one subscription or do I need to pay EXTRA.

    Thank you please email at

  11. kim says

    I am looking into subscribing to this.. but I do not see anywhere that the programs are available to use with the videos. For example I am looking at learning python. I see the exercises, but if it does not provide the program even a trial version it is quite pointless for me to pay money for the videos. Please someone clarify.

  12. Matt S. says

    It’s becoming a disappointment that is so heavily geared towards Apple users. Many tutorials are no good to me since I use Windows. True, the teachers will talk between both platforms on many. But an equal amount of tutorials, and growing, are becoming more difficult for Windows users to follow along.

  13. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Matt,
    That’s an interesting point. I guess the courses I’ve been taking lately use both so I didn’t notice (also, I have both types of computers) or they are not software specific. I think you should definitely write to and let them know of your concerns. It’s a pretty big deal to leave out the Windows audience and I’ve found them to be responsive. Thanks for your comment.

  14. Lani Green says

    Sad to say, I am not impressed with the customer service at I recently tried to use a coupon I received that provided me with one month’s free use of the site. I’ve had the coupon for some time, however there was no expiration date listed so I saved it until I actually had the time to use it. Sadly, they would not honor the coupon even though I provided proof that there was no expiration date listed on the coupon. This is extremely poor customer service.

  15. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Lani,
    I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience. That must have been frustrating. Thanks for letting us know. Perhaps if you went up the chain of command, the matter could have a better ending.

  16. Len Pritchard says

    It’s a very good product – however I signed up without looking properly and found myself paying for several months because I didn’t notice the small print – which I should have because it’s fairly clear. Other services I subscribe to on a monthly renewable basis send an invoice monthly – e.g. Zen Internet – but quietly takes the money with no communication. I emailed customer service suggesting that it might be a better way to invoice, because even though I accept full responsibility and was certainly not after a refund, it still leaves a bad taste paying for something when you think you are not! Took 6 days for them to reply and I got a stock answer which didn’t even mention my suggestion. So the bad taste remains and unhappy customers don’t typically recommend…

  17. Connie Malamed says

    Thank you for your feedback, Len. I agree with you that it should be more obviously stated (in large print) that your credit card will be charged if you don’t cancel. I have added the fact that it is important to cancel before your trial is over to my article in two places. I still rely on their tutorials and recommend them, but I wish they would do something about this practice.

  18. Rob says

    I am looking into joining but I have some concerns. I am not in any type of computer based biz. I just want a quality, cost effective way to learn more about some of the coursed offered. Would this be a good fit?

  19. Rob says

    In addition to the above post, I am more of a beginner in any computer instruction. If this is to be a bit advanced for me, what would you recommend as a pre requisite?

  20. Connie Malamed says

    I think so. Check out their library of courses and try the seven-day free trial. Just be sure to quit if you don’t want to join monthly as your credit card will be charged when the trial is up.

  21. Jane says

    >>> Other services I subscribe to on a monthly renewable basis send an invoice monthly – e.g. Zen Internet – but quietly takes the money with no communication.>>>>

    This comment really caught my attention because I also have issue with the fact that monthly invoices are not provided. In addition, this phrase: ‘ quietly takes the money with no communication’ strikes a nerve as I have been experiencing a drop-off in course updates from ever since a family emergency has prevented me from logging in for some time. When I was using the courses regularly I received frequent updates. They have stopped sending updates even though my subscription is still running. I too have felt like they were quietly taking my money, letting ‘sleeping dogs lie’ by not sending notifications. I notice this drop-off in correspondence every time I’ve not accessed my account for a time. Hmmm…could it be that they don’t want to ‘remind’ people that they have an account not in use, lest they cancel? This doesn’t sit well with me or other users from whom I have heard the same observation.

  22. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Jane,
    Thanks for writing. You have a good point and a reason to be concerned. I continue to get monthly newsletters whether or not I take courses regularly, so I think you should contact Lynda customer service and try to find out what is going on. Although I do not want monthly invoices (I pay by the year), it sounds like some people would like them. If I were you, I would suggest that they include this option to their regular subscribers. It’s a good idea. Thanks for your comment.

  23. Jane says

    Hello Connie and thanks for the reply. I did notify several months ago, when I had stopped using the site for a time and simultaneously stopped getting emails from them. I received a reply that pretty much stated that I was mistaken (I wasn’t). I really resented being called at best, mistaken, and at worst, a liar. Interesting that my emails from them immediately picked up, then again gradually dwindled to nothing. As of this comment I have not received an email from them since October 2014. Prior to that I received a course update approximately once a week. I know because I have saved each and every bit of correspondence from

  24. Jane says

    That is what I was referring to – the new course listings. Connie, I don’t think it the end of the world. I merely shared a similar experience with the referenced poster, as well as my opinion that communication with shuts down when it is in their best interests to do so.

  25. Connie Malamed says

    Right. Sorry, I hope you didn’t misunderstand me. I am really happy you shared your experience! It will help others to know about the range of customer experiences before someone decides to subscribe. I will delete that sentence from my reply, as it can be misinterpreted.

  26. Doug says

    I am very interested in signing up for, but some of their practices strike me as being a bit dishonest or underhanded – if you sign up for an annual plan, are you notified when it’s time to renew, or are you simply billed for another year without being asked if you want to? Just wondering.

  27. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Doug,
    It might be possible that they do NOT ask you if you if you want to renew. Since I always renew automatically, I don’t know if I have gotten the emails and didn’t pay attention or if I never got them. My experience with online subscriptions is that companies assume you want to renew and don’t ask. So I would check with their customer service and if you still want to benefit from their courses, make a note on your calendar for one year from now to discontinue. That’s what I do in those cased. But of course, check with them first. Hope that helps.

  28. Toddi Kawasaki says

    Hi Connie,
    I am interested in signing up with Lynda tutoring site. But i just want to found out about the dependability of the so called regarding their acclaimed online tutorials in their variety. You as a person who have been with them for some years with some senior experience, can you please give me an unbiased, short but tangible account and guideline about their tutorials details, are they dependable, what percentage is their rate of hands-on virtual training they offer comparing them with the real life academy centers; such as IT colleges, Digital Film Animation Academy center like MAACindia etc.
    In short, will I be able to secure a professional certificate and experience through their courses, so that I may become a professional associate in my life career.
    I want to learn Autodesk Maya’s Modeling and Animation for film. I will also like to learn “Massive software” for crowd animation/simulation.
    Sorry for the long post and for some good concerns, I don’t mind if you answer each paragraph with a sentence or just only two. Some detailed hints are warmly welcome as well.
    With the most best regards,

  29. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Todd,
    I don’t think you will be able to secure a professional certificate from Lynda. Unless they’ve changed things, I have not seen anything like that. Most courses I’ve seen have a few free lessons. You should try out the free ones and see if you like it. The ones I take are all hands-on — learning software. They have other types now that are not about learning software, and these are not necessarily hands-on.

  30. Toddi Kawasaki says

    Hi Connie,
    I am really glad to have a reply from you. I saw your reply just now when I came back to the net after a short break from the business.
    Thanks a million for the reply. I hope to contact you again in the nearest future. Thanks a lot.


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