Software Tools

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Revision as of 06:16, 15 May 2007 by BBBAdmin (talk | contribs) (Using Microsoft Office 2007)

Internet Browsers

We highly recommend the use of Firefox as a browser on both the Mac and PC platforms.


eLearningBCC requires all users to have the Java Runtime Environment installed.

For information on how to make sure that you have the correct version of Java installed visit our Java Help page.

Virus, Spyware and Adware Protection

Installing and updating virus protection and adware and spyware detection and removal software is the most important thing you can do for your home computer!

AVG provides free virus protection and anti-spyware programs for Windows users.

Other vendors like McAfee or Symantec offer full security suite applications which will protect you against viruses, adware, spyware and other internet threats. These vendors provide solutions for both Mac and PC users.

Make sure that you set your anti-virus programs to automatically update so your computer remains up-to-date against the most recent threats. Please note that when purchasing anti-virus software packages you often only get a one year’s subscription to the updates so you may need to renew or upgrade your subscription.

And, remember that when purchasing software you can receive a student discount!

Word Processing Applications

You should be familiar with how to use a word processing application to create and edit files and will need access to one in order to complete your coursework. Many home computers come with Microsoft Works or Word Perfect and the computer labs at the campus all have Microsoft Word installed.

You can certainly purchase Microsoft Word from a local or online vendor. However, there are also a variety of open source, free or low-cost software options available to students:

Google Docs and Spreadsheets

Google offers online word processing and spreadsheet applications. There is no software to download – you access the software via a web browser. You can also save and store your work online which allows you to access and edit your documents from anywhere! No need to use a thumb/flash drive to move your documents from place to place – as long as you can access the internet you’ll be able to open, edit and print your files!


Open Office is a free, open source, cross-platform (meaning it will work on both the Mac and Windows) office suite. It contains applications which allow you to do word processing, develop presentations and create spreadsheets. It also has a Math application which you can use to create and edit math formulas. Please keep in mind that the download of this application is quite large – almost 100 MB – so only attempt to download this if you have a high-speed internet connection (cable or DSL). Do not download this if you are using dial-up – it will take forever!

Using Microsoft Office 2007

Unfortunately the new files that Office 2007 creates are not easily opened and edited with previous versions of Office. All computers on campus should already have the converter installed. However, for your home or work computer you may need to download and install Office 2007 converters if you cannot open a file with the file extension of .docx.

Mac users - there aren't many converter options available right now. Your best bet is to try docXConverter by Panergy Software.

Viewing PowerPoint Presentations

Many instructors will upload PowerPoint Presentations for students to view as part of their online course work. If you do not have PowerPoint you can easily obtain a free PowerPoint viewer that will allow you to view a presentation without having to purchase the entire PowerPoint application. Please note that this viewer is only available for Windows-based systems.

Mac users: Keynote will allow you to view and create PowerPoint presentations. Keynote does not come with the MacOS and will have to be purchased if you not already have the iWork suite. A free option to view PowerPoint presentations on the Mac is to obtain OpenOffice.

Working with PDF Files

PDF stands for "Portable Document File." Files that are saved as PDF only require that you have a plug-in installed in your browser.

Viewing PDF Files

In order to view a PDF you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Many systems already have Reader installed so check your system first before you download.

Making your own PDF Files

CutePDF is a free PDF creator that you can use to make PDF files. It works like a printer - to create a PDF file just go to the File menu in whatever program you are in and select Print. From the Printer Name pull-down menu select "CutePDF Writer." The program will "print" to a PDF file - pretty neat!

Please note that you will also need to download a converter application so be sure to read the download instructions. There is a link to the converter from the URL provided above.

Mac users: MacOS X does not require any additional software to create PDF files. It its already built in! In any application: File > Print > Save as PDF...