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Creating Accessible Documents at IU

Creating Accessible Documents at IU

We all know that creating accessible documents is an important part of providing universal access to courses and other university materials. In a recent IT Training webinar, presenters Joe Humbert and Mary Stores from IU’s Assistive Technology & Accessibility Centers provide general guidelines, along with detailed demonstrations, to help you ensure your documents are accessible.

View webinar recording. View the webinar recording for “Creating Accessible Documents at IU.”

In this presentation, several resources were shared to enable participants to follow along and use as reference later. View and/or download the shared resources for this presentation.

In this webinar, we covered:

  • How to create or improve the accessibility of PDF, MS Word, MS PowerPoint documents
  • Techniques for writing alternate text descriptions and descriptive link text
  • Best practices for syllabi

Follow-up questions are welcome. You can add a comment to this post or reach out to IU’s Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center directly.

Going Paperless at IU: an Overview

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Reducing paper consumption

Everyone at IU needs to know about how to reduce paper consumption.Paperless systems take up minimal space, they save energy and landfill space. Using digital documents allows easy collaboration with others and on-the-go access wherever you have Internet. In comparison to file cabinet systems, good paperless document organization can help you find the information you need at lighting speed. And there’s no need to worry about fires or floods; using digital documents, it is very easy to create back-ups of all your important data. Moreover, with the security available in backup and storage programs, your digitally stored information has stronger protection from theft. Finally, no need to shred when you are done; virtual documents can be easily  purged.

In keeping with that spirit, IT Training has developed a series of articles under the heading, “Go Paperless.” Read on for the  many reasons to leap into the modern method of document storage. Here are the articles in our “Go Paperless” Series:

About paperless, digital storage:

Using Box at IU for Storage and Sharing:

Collaborating with Others:

Going Paperless in the Classroom:

Easily Collaborate on Any File Type Using Box Apps

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Two Box apps that can make your life easier

Using Box at IU along with two Box add-ins, you and your project group can work on a single file — without having to keep a local copy on your device and then sending your document around via hard copy or email.

In his article about Box, Tom Mason has extolled the merits of using Box Edit. Let’s talk about this Box App a little more. With Box Edit, you can simply open a file directly from the preview page on Box, make edits instantly, and save the new version back to Box automatically. Then, when you share your document with others, your collaborators can use Box Edit to work on the same document in the same way—without ever having to download and re-upload it! As long as you have the application on your computer, you don’t have to worry about the file type.  PSD files, presentations, images, CAD drawings, Illustrator files – any file you can edit on your computer’s desktop you can now edit without leaving Box. Install Box Edit once and it will work on all your browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (Windows) and Safari (Mac).

Another app,  Box for Office, allows you to start up an Office Document such as Word, PowerPoint, or Excel on your own computer–and when you choose Save As, you can save directly to your Box account without having to upload it. Once there, share it with others and they can use Box Edit to edit it.

Read the rest of “Easily Collaborate on Any File Type Using Box Apps” »

Real-time Collaborative Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!


This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

When multiple individuals provide their separate contributions to a single document, this is termed as collaborative editing. Having the ability to allow more than one person to update the same document is often as essential as it is advantageous. Until recently, collaborative editing of Word, Excel or PowerPoint files had a major restriction in that only one person could work on a single file at a time; otherwise, it was necessary to keep multiple versions of the file and reconcile them all into a single file. This restriction can be a bottleneck since only one person may edit the file at a time, additional effort is needed for version control and coordination between contributors, and reconciling between multiple files requires additional effort and increases the risk for missed updates.

Collaborative editing technology, however, has matured significantly over the past few years through the use of cloud storage services. By leveraging cloud technologies, collaborators now have access to a number of tools that help streamline collaborative editing. Of specific interest to Office users, synchronous or real-time collaborative editing is now possible, which allows several people to work on a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file at the same time. Let’s take a brief look at this real-time collaborative editing provided by Google and Microsoft. Before we start, please note that Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage services are not supported by IU and are not suitable for storing or sharing institutional data. However, this information may be of use for personal projects.

Read the rest of “Real-time Collaborative Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint” »

Creating a PDF Form in Adobe Acrobat

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Does your department make use of forms that people need to fill out and return to you?  If so, one way to reduce the amount of paper used by printing out all those forms is to create a PDF form in Adobe Acrobat.  Not only does it help reduce the amount of paper your office uses, but there are also other benefits to making use of PDF Forms.  In this article, I’ll show you how to create a simple PDF form using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat XI.

Read the rest of “Creating a PDF Form in Adobe Acrobat” »

Word’s Paste Options

In a recent IT Training workshop that I was teaching, a participant ask me what each of the options in the Paste button on the ribbon in Word meant. I knew the ones that I used, but didn’t know the others. So, I promised to research and get back with the information.

Here it is:


The paste button has an upper part and a lower part. Clicking on the upper part of the button does a simple past from the clipboard to wherever your cursor is in the document. Read the rest of “Word’s Paste Options” »

The End of an Era

It is a sad month for Microsoft Office users. Click here to find out why.

Modifying the “AutoCorrect” in Word

Word’s autocorrect feature attempts to make our lives easier by viewing the words that we type and deciding whether we did it correctly based on dictionaries and styles programmed into it.

For example, Word will automatically capitalize the first letter of a sentence and the days of the week.

If a common word is incorrectly typed into Word, it will be corrected automatically, i.e. if I type begni, Word will change it to “begin” as soon as I hit a trigger (space bar, period, comma, etc.)

However, if it is not a common word, but Word “thinks” that it has been typed incorrectly, a red squiggly line will appear instead, i.e.  Currency: british ponud sterling.

Read the rest of “Modifying the “AutoCorrect” in Word” »

Word: Removing unneeded line break after a table

Found a really great tip the other day over at Penn State. Unfortunately the page is now giving me a 404 error, so I’m reproducing the tip here.

Have you ever added a table to a the end of Word document and ended with an extra page that you couldn’t get rid of? The problem is that when you add a table at the end of a Word document, Word automatically adds paragraph mark after a table.

Most of time this paragraph doesn’t cause a problem, but sometimes there isn’t room for the paragraph at the end of the document and you end up with an extra blank page.

To get rid of the extra page:

  1. Open the document.
  2. If necessary, go to the Home tab on the ribbon.
  3. Turn on the formatting codes by clicking the Show/Hide Button. See Figure 1.

    Image showing the location of the Show/Hide button on the Home tab of Word.

    Figure 1

  4. Find and select the extra paragraph mark.
  5. To open the Font properties dialog box, click the dialog box launcher. See Figure 2.

    image showing location of the font dialog box launcher

    Figure 2

  6. In the Effect section of the Font dialog box, select the Hidden checkbox. See Figure 3.

    Image showing the Fonts dialog box with the Effects Hidden option location highlighted

    Figure 3

  7. Click OK to accept the changes.When you look at the page, it appears the extra space is still there.
  8. Turn off the formatting codes by clicking the Show/Hide button again.

You now should see the document without the extra page.

Multilanguage spelling checks can bee done

Image of the Language group in the ribbon of Microsoft Word.As a sometime language teacher, the ability to spell and grammar check my work in Microsoft Word is critical. But if you’re unlucky enough to be typing in the non-default language on your computer, particularly when the tool to automatically detect language is (a) turned off or (b) just not getting it, such as when you are writing a paper in one language but citing a work in another, you may end up fighting constant multi-colored squiggles, or Word’s usually “helpful” auto-correct features. This can significantly slow you down as you constantly fight with the program.

The key, then, is knowing how to help Word figure out which spell check dictionary it should be using at any given point in your text. Thankfully, it’s not terribly hard. Read the rest of “Multilanguage spelling checks can bee done” »

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