Software Tools

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Revision as of 15:26, 1 December 2009 by BBBAdmin (talk | contribs)

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

Most faculty members use Microsoft Word as their primary word processing application.

You will need access to a word processing application in order to complete your BCC coursework. Many home computers come with Microsoft Works or Word Perfect and the computer labs at the campus all have Microsoft Word installed.

Students who opt to take programs in a hybrid or fully online model may need the full version of Microsoft Office 2007 – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.

Not sure if you have Office 2007? If you're on a PC go to the Start menu and select All Programs. Look for a folder named Microsoft Office. Inside you should see a list of programs.

Don’t have Office? Microsoft offers "The Ultimate Steal" which allows students to purchase the full versionof Microsoft Office for a great discount!

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! Google Docs can handle all different types of files (including those created in Microsoft Word). With Google Docs there is 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!

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.

Printing PowerPoint Files

Printing PowerPoints can become problematic because many students will print the full slide view which uses up lots of paper and can completely deplete your ink supply. What you want to do is to print out handouts which will put multiple slides on a page. You'll still be able to read the content but this way you'll save paper,ink and $$$!

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

There are a variety of options available to enable you to create your own PDF files.

  1. 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...
  2. If you have Office 2007 there is a plug-in you can download that will allow you to save directly as a PDF file out of any program. Extremely easy!
  3. is a web-based PDF creator - you upload your file, the system converts it and emails the PDF back to you . Nothing to download or install!
  4. 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.

Citation Resources

Using RefWorks

RefWorks is an online research management and bibliography creator service available to all BCC students. RefWorks allows you to keep track of your research sources, easily insert citations, and create a finished bibliography in a variety of formats.

Learn more about RefWorks and how it can help you with your research!

Other Citation Resources

Although RefWorks is available for all students there are a few additional citation resources available that may prove of interest:

  1. Zotero - This new Firefox extension makes citing your sources incredibly easy! We are extremely impressed with this option and would definitely recommend that you consider using it!
  2. Citation Machine - Cites print and non-print sources for APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian
  3. KnightCite - Cites print and non-print sources including art, cartoons, videos, television programs, etc
  4. OttoBib - Cites books using the ISBN