Are your Microsoft Office Documents Accessible by Everyone?

When you are creating a document are you considering all of your readers?

Many people who are blind or visually impaired are able to access documents independently with the use of screen readers. Screen readers interpret not only plain text, but also titles, headings, images, and other objects, such as tables and forms. In order for the screen reader to interpret your document properly, there are some formatting rules you need to follow.

Here are a few of the things you can do to make your documents more accessible:

1. Add alternative text to images and objects.

2. Use Styles to create titles, headings, paragraphs and tables of contents.

3. Use meaningful hyperlink text.

4. Use simple table structures.

5. Use page breaks, column breaks, continuous breaks, and text wrapping.

6. Use page numbering, headers and footers.

For how to use these formatting suggestions, and much more, please refer to these links:

Creating Accessible Word Documents

Adding Alternative Text to Images and Objects

Also, did you know that Microsoft Office products contain an Accessibility Checker that you can use to see what needs to be changed in your document?

Where to find the Accessibility Checker

Rules Used by the Accessibility Checker






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Re-purpose your old smartphone

android-smart-thermostat-640x0Do you have an old smartphone laying around? suggest a couple of ways to re-purpose that old phone.

Consider turning it into a smart thermostat.

Or consider turning it into a home hub: “home security, remote monitoring and control, automation, or a hub for other connected devices.”


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Happy Monday

Good morning! I hope you all had a good weekend.
I’m always in search of new ideas, so if any of you have downloaded any great apps or software recently, or come across any amazing websites that you think the rest of the world should know about, then please drop me a line and let me know!

Also, I always welcome comments, questions, corrections, etc about any of my previous posts. Let’s share the knowledge!

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KQED Education

KQEDLogoIf you haven’t already heard of it, take a look at the KQED Education website. It’s a great resource for educators in schools, colleges, universities and informal learning environments, and is packed full of interesting and useful news, tools, and resources.

Produce high-quality digital learning tools such as video and audio clips, interactives, and lesson plans, all aligned to state and national content standards.

Distribute free resources via and other platforms, including iTunes U and PBS LearningMedia

Learn how to use educational media and digital media tools in your learning environment through in-depth professional development and online training resources.

Thank you to Cindy Miller for recommending this website!



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Minecraft – Not Just a Game…

MinecraftLogoIf you haven’t heard of Minecraft, you must be living under a rock. This is a gaming phenomenon that has swept the nation – and the world. My ten year old son plays it, my thirteen year old daughter plays it, and my forty-something husband plays it. Hundreds of YouTube channels are dedicated to Minecraft, filled with tutorials and screen-capture videos, created by enthusiasts from age 5 to age 95.

If you are not familiar with Minecraft, here is a great description by Mark Ward of BBC News:

“The game is set in a virtual world made of cubes of different materials – dirt, rock, sand, lava, obsidian and many more. Almost all of these can be used as building blocks and a few can be refined into usable raw materials (wood, iron, diamond etc).
Playing the game involves surviving by using blocks to build a shelter (which can be as crude or elaborate as you like) and turning raw materials and combinations of them into items (swords, armor, bows) to help kill the game’s many monsters (creepers, skeletons, zombie pigmen etc).” You can read Mark’s full article here.

I’m not just here to review a video game however. I would like to point out that Minecraft is NOT just a game. I could talk for hours about the many real life skills that can be acquired from playing Minecraft.  But I would like to talk briefly about Redstone. Redstone is one of the raw materials that can be “mined,” and it has properties that cause things to move or react in some way. In many cases, Redstone is used to make train tracks, conveyor belts or elevators that allow items to be carried from point A to point B. But more recently, people have been using Redstone to create machines such as printers, and computers. This really blew my mind!

I would like you to take a few minutes to watch a couple of these videos.

Minecraft 100% Working Printer

Redstone Computer (Interactive PC, Calculator, Day/Night Controller)

Interactive Redstone Computer (Calculator, 4 commands, Music, USB)

If you haven’t played Minecraft, give it a try – or at least ask the nearest ten year old of their thoughts on it.

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Did You Know?……Chrome Incognito

So here begins a new FSRC Blog segment called “Did You Know?…” which features cool and interesting tips, tidbits, and shortcuts for software programs that you use every day.

google-chrome-logoI’m starting out with a quick tip about Google Chrome. Did you know that you can go “incognito” on Chrome to avoid saving any cookies or history on the computer you are using?

Step 1. Open your Google Chrome browser.

Step 2. At the top right of the screen, click on the “hamburger” icon. (Three lines inside a square).

Step 3. Choose “New incognito window”.

ChromeIncognito1A new Chrome window will open with a message that says “You have gone Incognito…” You will also see a cool image of a guy in his spy/private-eye outfit in the top left cornerChromeIncognito2

Now, any browsing you do, or any websites you log into will be completely hidden from the computer you are working on. This is especially useful if you are working on a public (or college) computer and would like to access your banking website, or anywhere that you need to enter private usernames and passwords.

Once you close the incognito browser window, all activity will be deleted from the computer, and completely untraceable!

If you have any questions about this, or any, posting on the FSRC Blog, please feel free to contact us here at the FSRC and we can further explain or walk you through the steps., 703-323-3855

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App of the Week – LiveSafe

LiveSafe_logoSo, first of all I would like to apologize for not posting anything for a while. I have been a little busy transferring from my old P14 position, to my new position as Annandale’s Webmaster (!!). Now I am situated, and ready to start blogging again.

While I was attending the orientation for this lovely job, I was told about this fantastic new app that has become available to the NOVA community and thought I just have to let you know about it immediately.

LiveSafe_ImageLiveSafe is a great app that gives you access to the right tools and information to keep yourself and your community safe. There are four main sections – Report Tips, Emergency, View Map, and SafeWalk.

Report Tips –  Send GPS tagged audio, video, picture, and text to the nearest authorities to report accidents, assaults, theft, disturbances, vandalism and suspicious activity.

Emergency – Call 911. Also call or text Campus Police.

View Map – View the latest alerts and crime reports in your area. Find the nearest medical facility, or gas station.

SafeWalk – Share your location with friends and chat on the go. Access a panic button if necessary. Walk by yourself with confidence.

LiveSafe is a free download onto your IOS or Android device. For more information go to:


LiveSafe_Image3          LiveSafe_Image2           LiveSafe_Image4

Posted in Apps, Security | 3 Responses

Web Page to PDF in 4 Easy Steps

PDFLogoDid you know that you can save a Web page as a PDF file?

When you want to save information you find on the Internet, you can usually only save the page as an HTML document. Saving the page as a PDF makes it easier to print and to share via email.

1. Right-click on the page you want to save and choose “Print” (don’t choose “Save as…”)
HamburgerButtonor if you are using the Chrome browser click on the hamburger (three parallel lines) at the top right and choose “Print”
2. In the Printer or Destination option box, choose “Adobe PDF” or “Save as PDF”
3. Click “Print”
4. A dialogue box will open asking where you want to save your PDF. Browse to your location, and click on “Save.”

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App of the Week – CardStar

CardstarLogoAs the avid shopper that I am, over the years, I have built up quite the collection of store cards, otherwise known as “points cards” “club cards” bonus cards” or “rewards cards”. I have been seen many a day holding up the checkout line while rummaging around in my purse for the right card, and you know I’m not the only one…. Some people collect the ‘credit’ sized cards, some people collect the mini cards and keep them on their key-chain. Either way, there are far too many of them, and as useful as they are, it’s just a pain trying to find the one you need right when you need it.

CardstarImage2CardStar is a great app to help you get rid of all of those annoying cards, but still get your points and discounts. Once you download the app onto your phone or tablet, you can start adding cards. CardStar allows you to enter the card number manually, or “scan” the bar code by taking a picture of it. Your cards are entered into CardStar in alphabetical order by the name of the store so they are easy to find when needed.

CardstarImage1When you enter the checkout line and are ready to access your store card, simply open CardStar, scroll down until you find the name of the store. Select the store name and allow the cashier to scan the bar code.

You also may notice that a little gift tag icon appears next to some of the store names. This means there is a store offer or coupon available. Click on the gift tag and follow the directions to access the offer.

Please note that CardStar doesn’t work for payment cards or credit cards, or for any card that uses a magnetic strip rather than a bar code.


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Using your Google Drive

google-drive-iconDid you know all NOVA faculty, staff, and students have access to 30GB of storage space on your Google Drive? This is particularly important to know since NOVA’s IT department recently blocked all incoming e-mail containing compressed (Zip) files and executable attachments. Using your Google Drive is a good alternative way to transfer large and executable files.

Your Google Drive is accessed through your VCCS email address. An example of that is: We all have one, so if you don’t know yours, or don’t know your password, contact the IT department.

For those blog readers who are not faculty, staff, or students of NOVA, this is useful for you to know too. The only difference is you can access your Google Drive through a normal G-mail account. A normal G-mail account gives access to only 15GB of space, but that is still plenty.

Please click here for your PDF print out with step-by-step instructions on how to access and use your Google Drive.


And please feel free to contact us at the office, or via our Facebook page,  if you have any questions about accessing or using your Google Drive

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