Snip, a free screen capture tool

If you occasionally need to take a screenshot (or a screen capture of your screen), recent versions of Windows provide you with the Windows Snipping tool. It works well for simple jobs, but a recent Microsoft Garage project called Snip takes it to the next level.

snip

It offers a number of advantages:

  • it runs in the background and is always available
  • it stores your screenshots in a “library” without having to save manually to a file
  • you can annotate your screenshot with various drawing tools. Especially useful when you are using a tablet
  • you can save your annotations in a video file and add voice-over to it (very handy for describing an issue)

 

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Book: Adobe Captivate 7 for Mobile Learning

People are often asking me if I can recommend good study material about Adobe Captivate 7. Of course, there is a lot of “free” material available on the web, especially from the Adobe site, but it is not always easy to get a full, structured overview of what is the best way to use the program to its full potential.

Recently, I had the opportunity to review Adobe Captivate 7 for Mobile Learning, written by Damien Bruyndocnkx. The title indicates that the book was written with a specific focus on the use of Captivate for Mobile Learning, but it is also a good introduction for people who are just getting started with the program and want to create animations and simulations that will just be published to pc. If you are creating e-learning content today, it is in your best interest to go directly for a “mobile-friendly” format, as you will get the question anyway to make your content available on iPad or other devices.

The book is really “hands-on”, with practical step-by-step exercise and does not just explain the features of the program, but teaches you the optimal “workflow” to produce Captivate content. This is what makes this book stand out from some others that are just explaining what the different buttons in the program do.

The book is available in e-book and paper format. Table of contents and sample chapters are available.

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iBooks, the future of course material?

If you are in the training and learning business, you know that course material always has been the subject of many discussions. Some say it is necessary, others say that they are never used, but most students want “a manual”. Entire forests disappeared because of it, the added value of it is uncertain.

What if you could avoid using paper, and make the manual really deliver added value? I spent some time playing with iBooks author, a manual in Word format about an IT application, and Adobe Captivate software demo’s, to see if this could be a valuable alternative.

The workflow to replace all your paper based manuals by this solution would be:

  • Get yourself a Mac :–)
  • Get yourself an iPad if you want to preview your iBooks
  • Download a copy of iBooks author
  • Import your Word document into iBooks author
  • Publish your Captivate demo’s as .mp4 (standard publish function in CP 5 and higher)
  • Convert your .mp4 files to .m4v with QuickTime
  • Insert the demos in your iBook using the Media widget
  • Add some interactivity if necessary, e.g. multiple choice questions
  • Publish your project
  • Distribute your iBook (via the store or as a file)
  • Get an iPad for all your students :–)

I will let you judge for yourself. This is the result:

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Keyboard shortcuts for Tabs in IE

This morning, I was looking for the keyboard shortcut that allows you to switch between different tabs in Internet Explorer. Like ALT+TAB allows you to switch between open windows, CTRL+TAB allows you to switch between open tabs. But there are even more interesting shortcuts I did not know about, like ALT+ENTER. Little things that can save you quite some time. See the list below, taken from the IE Help:

To Press
Open links in a new tab in the background Ctrl while clicking the link
Open links in a new tab in the foreground Ctrl+Shift while clicking the link
Open a new tab in the foreground Ctrl+T or double-click an empty space on the tab row
Open a copy of the current tab in a new tab Ctrl+K
Switch between tabs Ctrl+Tab to move forward or Ctrl+Shift+Tab to move backward
Close the current tab (or the current window when there are no open tabs) Ctrl+W or Alt+F4
Open a new tab in the foreground from the Address bar Alt+Enter
Switch to a specific tab number Ctrl+n (where n is a number between 1 and 8 )
Switch to the last tab Ctrl+9
Close all tabs except for the one you’re viewing Ctrl+Alt+F4
Open Quick Tabs (thumbnail view) Ctrl+Q
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The ribbon in SharePoint 2010 – tutorial

I have been getting a lot of questions about tutorials on how to use the ribbon in SharePoint 2010. Of course, creating a “general” tutorial about this is not so obvious, because the ribbon is context-sensitive, and what you need to know about it, actually depends on the functionalities you use in SharePoint. But I think the movie below (by Lynda.com) gives you a good overview.

Users who are familiar with SharePoint 2007 and are looking for a familiar command in the ribbon, can download the SharePoint Server Ribbon Reference on the Microsoft Office website. This is an Excel spreadsheet that lists the new locations of SharePoint commands in the 2010 version.

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