Using Ctrl+F or Command +F to find things – keyboard shortcuts.

search in PDF

search Wikipedia page“I would find that when I am reading poilicies which have so much text to read, I go to the  summary and then use the find and just go to the specific bit. If you know you need a specific item such as ‘consent’ – then use Ctrl +F [Command +F], add the word to the search box and find it directly.”

Amber – nursing.

Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don’t Know How to Use CTRL+F

This week, I talked with Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google, about the time he spends with random people studying how they search for stuff. One statistic blew my mind. 90 percent of people in their studies don’t know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page! I probably use that trick 20 times per day and yet the vast majority of people don’t use it at all. (Alexis Madrigal)

Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts for Windows

vBookz PDF – free iPhone app for reading PDFs with text to speech.

vBookz PDF Voice Reader

vBookz PDF Voice Reader

“I’ve just tried a different vBookz app [from the one that offers free Audiobooks  – 30,000+ classics read aloud with text to speech]!   Its called vBookz PDF Voice Reader.  It is a free PDF TTS app and will read directly from a PDF, so you see the page as it should be, not just plain text.  It uses a moving box, rather than highlighting – the box surrounds the word currently being read.  The screen shot shows how the reading speed is controlled and page control.”

The company provide a quick overview of the vBookz PDF Voice Reader app on YouTube.

Neil – Psychology

Free Balabolka will open unprotected ePub files (and PDFs)

Balabolka logo

Balabolka logo

“Free Balabolka will open unprotected ePub files (and pdfs), but not protected ones like library books. Balabolka has options for changing font style, colour, size and background colour.  It can use the free MS voices or any voices you have with other programs, and speaks with highlighting. It does not preserve presentation or images.”

The on-screen text can be saved as a WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG or WMA file. The program can read the clipboard content, view the text from CHM, DjVu, DOC, EPUB, FB2, HTML, ODT, PDF and RTF files.

Here is a video with Craig Mill showing the use of Balabolka being used with MyStudyBar

Direct YouTube video link 

Jean – Dyslexia support

Successful cataloguing on a memory stick (USB pen drive) with alphabetic folders

alphabet folders“…the library staff help and give me guidance – don’t sit in silence and suffer! Probably when you find something you just save it, then it takes so long to find it again. I made, on my memory stick, a reader library and I put all my texts in folders in alpahbetical order so I do not have to go through the whole search process again which is more eye strain. I  just make up folders with certain headings and then you can go straight there – It is handy that each one has a date so that I can see ones from the previous year.”  Microsoft File organization tips: 9 ideas for managing files and folders. 

Amber – Nursing

Using Two Screens when Reading, Writing and Revising

double screens“I like the double screens and I like ATS (Assistive Technology Service room) as it is quiet – the two screens help because you are able to look at two things at the same time rather than flick back and forth having to flip between things. I do not have a good short term memory so to look at things and compare is good otherwise I forget things. I cannot remember what I have just read, so I have the text up on one screen and then make notes on another.”

Sarah – Philosophy and Economics

Excel storing and filtering past exam questions to help with revision

“Use Excel to look at past exam papers and work out patterns – make Excel spreadsheets to see what has come up – list the questions under each topic and then you can see what keeps coming up and work out the different sections that need revising. This works well with any lists of things you have collected.”

Sarah Philosophy and Economics.

YouTube Video Sort Data in Excel Rows

Microsoft Excel 2007 to 2010 – How to Sort Data – Article with images.

ClaroRead for reading out text.

ClaroRead screen grab“I use ClaroRead to read out my essays so they make sense  I don’t use the Claro filter as I have glasses for colour – I have a blue filter.  I don’t use my printer very much as it is too expensive – I tend to print double sided but prefer larger fonts.”



YouTube link to the ClaroRead for PC Overview Video

Sarah – Philosophy and Economics.

Adobe PDF to Word for text to speech and annotation

TextHelp scan document“Reading is big issue for me – I find it hard to concentrate on the content so I have to scan in documents so I use a program to read them back to help me focus and absorb more information. Quite often I download E-Journals and they are all set up in PDF format. But, when I come to use the software, it is quite hard so then I transfer it to a Word document.  It is much more user-friendly.

Basically, I have been used to using the software for TextHelp Read and Write [Gold] (YouTube video) and in that program you can scan the document – you can scan the PDF document and transfer it to a Word document” [This is also possible with ClaroRead (YouTube video)]

Tom – Sports Science BSc Hons

Microsoft Windows Magnifier for viewing Blackboard

windows magnifier

Docked Windows magnifier at 500%

…”you can generally get hold of Windows magnifier if they haven’t locked down computers too much. But there is still a limit. It’s a work-around, but it works OK for me….   Knowing separate web addresses for sites, so I don’t have to use SUSSED [the university portal]., I mean things like “Blackboard is (said the web address), webmail is webmail……(gave web address) – we don’t want the extra frames.”

Hannah – Occupational Therapist

Linearise layout of tables and presentations for screen reader users

“If certain things aren’t designed in a way which is friendly towards my screen reader, if I struggle to navigate pages of notes or what have you, then I find I just give up. …It very rarely happens, but there have been times, like for the last year we had presentations we had to do for French. Otherwise we used to have to produce a sheet that went with the presentation, like a document, and I used to have to get that e-mailed to me. Now if there were tables in that, you had to set them out in a very standard way, you couldn’t have a non-standard table, one of those funny shaped things, you’d have to have just a plain table. If you’d pulled it off a website, well fine, but then edit it, because otherwise I can’t read it.” David –  Politics and French

WebAim provide very good examples alongside their articel on Creating Accessible Tables

“Here is a table which was created for visual effect:

toilet in a table

The visual user will read: “Basement Toilets Must Flush UP!”

The screen reader will hear (or feel via Braille): “Basement UP! Toilets Flush Must”