Software Tools

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Revision as of 05:13, 31 March 2012 by BBBAdmin (talk | contribs) (Viewing and Printing PowerPoint Presentations)

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, Ad Aware, and Microsoft Security Essentials all provide 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

Microsoft Word

Most faculty members use Microsoft Word as their primary word processing application. Don’t have Office? Students can purchase Microsoft products at their "Educational Store" which allows students to purchase the full version of Microsoft Office for a great discount!

Professors who do not have Microsoft Word, or the most current software may purchase it at BCC's e-Academy Store

Whatever you use, make sure that you save your files in a compatible format that your faculty member can open!

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 (Mac, Windows and Linux versions available) 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 and Printing 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 is part of the iWork suite. The iWork suite is an office suite for OSx that is released by Apple. iWork default file formats ARE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MICROSOFT PRODUCTS, this means you will need to save your files in a format you're professor can view.

A free option to view PowerPoint presentations on the Mac is to obtain OpenOffice.

Some PowerPoint presentations has been processed with iSpring Free. This creates PowerPoints that are views directly in eLearning and your browser. To view these presentations you will need to have Adobe Flash Player

There are multiple apps for tablets to view PowerPoint files for both iOs (iPad) or Android. To find one, just simply search "PowerPoint" or "Office Suite" on the App Store or the Google Play Store

Printing PowerPoint Files as Handouts

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 $$$!

Watch a video tutorial on how to print as handouts from PowerPoint.

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

Why do you have to cite your sources? This video on YouTube gives you a quick overview. It is worth a watch!

Here are some great online sites and tools to help you keep track of all of your sources:

  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