Blog

CMairsCreate and Candyce Mairs blog about Adobe Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Acrobat, Captivate, eLearning, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Livecycle Designer and all things web and mobile. Learn tips and tricks on a variety of web, PDF, and elearning in the posts below.

Accessing All Commands in Microsoft Excel

I just taught an Advanced Excel course and was reminded of how many different versions of Microsoft Office are still being used within organizations. Most of the class I was working with was still using Office 2010, despite the fact that it is 4 versions old. I was reminded during class of how making the jump for users from Office 2010 to later versions of Office can be version confusing. Many of the items in Excel 2010 are removed from the ribbon in Excel 2013 and later. It is easy to customize Excel to access these commands in the newer versions but most people do not realize this or know how to do it.

The ribbon area of Excel does not contain all the hundreds of commands within the program. Microsoft Excel 2013 & later all offer the capability to access every command within the program even if it is not in the ribbon. All of these commands can be added to the ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar very easily. You simply need to add those you use and need by customizing these areas of the program..

To add commands to both the ribbon & Quick Access Toolbar, go to File->Options in the program. To add commands to the Quick Access Toolbar, choose Quick Access Toolbar in the left column. To access every command within the program, select All Commands from the Choose commands from dropdown menu. You then select the command you wish to add and click the Add button in the center of the dialog box.

A similar dialog is available to customize the ribbon. To add commands to the ribbon, select Customize ribbon in the left column of the Options area and choose All Commands from the Choose commands from dropdown menu. You then choose the command you wish to add to the ribbon, highlight the tab where you want to add it in the right column and click Add.

It is well worth taking the time to customize both the ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar to simplify accessing the commands you consistently use in the program. This will make you a much more efficient Excel user and speed up any tasks you need to do often. Take the time to explore these options within Excel and become more productive.

 

WordPress Video Course

Need to learn WordPress? Candyce Mairs recently released an online WordPress video course at VTC.com. Learn how to build your own website using the software that powers over 30% of the web. Get your website up and running using best standards for site creation. Learn how to navigate the WordPress dashboard and become familiar with the difference between posts and pages. Learn to use themes to create your website layout and customize the theme to meet your needs.

Candyce Mairs has years of experience in classroom, online and elearning training. She has created numerous video courses for web development and business processes for a variety of companies. She will lead you through creating a WordPress website quickly and easily.

Learn more about this WordPress video course and view sample videos at VTC.com.

 

User Experience Training Course

UX training is very important to ensure that the designs for web pages and apps are user focused. Candyce Mairs has introduced a new training course for UX & UI to accommodate this need. A UX/UI Design Training course sample outline is now available to view. This outline provides a sampling of the topics covered in this new course. This outline can be modified to suit a 1 or 2 day course that covers the topics of web design, user experience design and tesing, and the user interface.

Please contact Candyce Mairs for more information about this new course or to learn more about this training.

Importance of UX UI Design

I just finished teaching another UX UI Design this week which immediately followed my attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. What a perfect 2 week combination. Everything I saw at CES had to following the principles of UX & UI design.

UX UI is a rapidly expanding topic and there seems to be no end to this expansion. CES this year was all about the Internet of Things (IOT) and Voice integration with products. This may make it seem like the pattern is to eliminate the need for an interface to control services and products, but I think it means quite the opposite. Each of these devices needs an interface to set up or use the product or service. That also means more products and services will need someone to design those interfaces.

When the internet was introduced and businesses were just creating websites, there were no clear cut standards for UX UI. There were no processes that could be used for testing, no such thing as personas, user stories, wire framing, or even metrics to analyze when creating a website. Everything was a guessing game at that point. Those who guessed correctly were able to greatly benefit from their decisions, others struggled or perished. The industry was new, therefore there were no official processes to fall back on.

With the success of new technologies and new products, each business began to create design processes of their own to use in this brave new world. Apple will forever be at the forefront of creating these processes due to the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. User interfaces started to become extremely important in order to keep up and survive as a business.

Companies saw this as a great opportunity and started researching machine and human interface interactions. Much research was made into this subject and UX/UI was officially born. Businesses now understand the importance of the user experience and the effect it can have on the success of a product. Companies now have metrics about their users they can use along with this research in order to make sure they are developing a great product that is easy and pleasurable to use.

The overall principle of humans reacting based on the pain-pleasure principle can easily be applied to new products on the market. If the product is a great product, but is impossible to get set up correctly or used easily, the product will fail. If the product causes pain to use, humans will not use it and be very careful to avoid anything associated with it. If the product or service causes pleasure, users will be very interested in it. Our human instinct is to avoid pain and seek pleasure.

Since more and more products require an associated app to set up or use the product, the user experience has become a vital one to the success of the product and the business itself. The industry of UX and UI is a vital one, and companies must be willing to invest time and effort into this area of the business in order to succeed in this competitive marketplace.

If you are planning to move into the user experience or user interface industry, now is a perfect time to do so. For more information and resources, view my UX and UI Design page. If you are interested in learning more about this topic or wish to attend a UX/UI course, please contact Candyce Mairs.

ColdFusion Video Training by Candyce

Candyce Mairs has completed a new video training course on ColdFusion 2016 for VTC. This new course is presently being edited and should be available for viewing this month.

Get up to date on the latest version of Adobe ColdFusion in this over 8 hour hands on video training course at VTC.com. Candyce is an Adobe Certified Expert and Instructor who will guide you through learning ColdFusion on a step by step basis so you can become familiar with the entire process. Candyce begins with the software installation and complete ColdFusion setup.

The course then moves on working through the process of creating a ColdFusion database driven dynamic website. This course caters to the beginner and intermediate level front end web developer who wants to build a strong foundation in ColdFusion.

This course can be purchased as a single course, or through a subscription service at VTC.com. Watch for it coming soon!

The XML Language

I recently finished teaching an XML class, and was reminded of the importance of this language that is used behind the scenes and not talked about or considered cool. There are so many systems that communicate digitally that use this language but we never hear about it in the media. XML is one of those workhorse languages that does its thing behind the scenes day after day allowing totally different systems to communicate with one another.

XML allows data to be moved and rearranged into different formats for use in various systems. The language can be parsed and converted into other formats for web viewing. Thousands of different systems send this language around the internet everyday. It is a silent quiet language doing its thing allowing data to flow automatically. Nothing sleek or shiny about it so it is not discussed.

Whether it is formatting data into standards that abide by specific formatting rules to conform to regulatory standards or simply allowing data to flow, XML does its thing. What an interesting & dependable language.

Need Help with eLearning Courses?

Are you having trouble keeping up with eLearning projects? Are you trying to work in Adobe Captivate and having some issues? Could you use some training on specific commands within Captivate? Are you wasting hours trying to create consistent styles across your eLearning projects?  Do you have present courses that you need to convert to projects for desktop, tablet or mobile viewing?

Candyce Mairs is available to assist you with your projects no matter how small or large they are. Need an hour or 2 of training on Captivate to become familiar with a feature within the program? Need an entire team to get up to speed creating projects or rebranding old ones. Let an expert trainer show you how to save time and get your projects online faster with more consistency across projects.

Contact Candyce Mairs now and reduce your project time and frustration. She is available for onsite or online training no matter the size of our project.

Adobe Discontinues Acrobat Mobile Link

Adobe recently announced that the mobile link feature available now in both Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be discontinued on July 12, 2016. In case you were not aware, the mobile link feature automatically uploaded and stored documents to your Document Cloud account.

The Document Cloud is still available to use across all devices. Simply save your files to Document Cloud from any device, and that file will be available from any device. This is a great feature that it has taken me some time to implement. I was so used to not have that storage space, and needing to copy files onto a USB drive or copy across my network in order to view or work on files on my desktop, tablet or phone. Now that Document Cloud is a part of my workflow process, I could not live without it.

For more information and what this means for you, go to the Mobile Link FAQs.

Adobe Captivate 9.01 Update

Adobe Captivate 9 has an update available that includes a few new features along with some bug fixes. Be sure to go to Help->Updates to access this new update. Once the update has been applied, your Captivate version will display as 9.0.1.320. If your IT department is responsible for all software updates, you will want to make them aware of this update.

One exciting new feature available through this update is the ability to use Rulers & Guides within Captivate in a similar manner to other Adobe products. This is a feature that has been sorely lacking in previous versions and has frustrated many users. This new capability is well thought out within the program. You can set rulers and guides to be based on pixels or percentages depending upon whether you are working in a responsive or non-responsive project. Rulers are applied by default as percentage based for responsive projects, and pixel based for non-responsive projects. View the rulers and guides video to learn more about the new Rulers & Guides in this video.

Another new features is a small checkbox within the Object State area that allows you to retain the state of an object if a user revisits a slide. This simple checkbox sales you a lot of work when using multi-state objects.

Captivate Draft for the iPad has also had an update. This is a storyboarding program available with Captivate 9 that allows you to plan your projects and share these storyboards for team collaboration. You will find the app a bit easier to use with this update.

Another new feature from this update are some additional responsive navigation players that are now available for you to bring into your own projects. There can be some quirks to working with some of these new players, so you will want to view the video before working with these new responsive navigation players.

For more detailed explanation about how to install the update and all the new features available, visit Captivate 9.01 Release Notes.

 

Responsive Web Design & eLearning

Responsive designs for both websites and eLearning projects is here to stay. A responsive design is a page layout design that has different content layouts based on the screen size of the device viewing it. The big difference between a responsive layout and a non-responsive layout is that the content designer has factored in how to accommodate the best page layout for each device width.

The number of devices and screen sizes is growing, and with it the web community has learned to adapt to building websites and elearning projects to accommodate this new environment. I find that websites have come a long way in adopting responsive design.so users can easily view content on mobile devices, even screen sizes that are a third of the width of a standard web page for desktop.

Content creators for eLearning however, are not quite so up to date in thinking about page layouts for varying screen sizes. The assumption is that since the eLearning content is being delivered via an LMS (learning management system) the user will always be viewing the content via the desktop environment. This is becoming less and less the norm, with users needing to view eLearning content in any spare moments they have.

I have created 2 new training classes to get up to speed on working with responsive page layouts for both websites and eLearning projects. This is in response to my asking the question in Adobe Captivate classes “Do you plan to design your content for mLearning?”. Most people ask me “What is that?” and How do I create responsive Captivate projects?”.

For more information about my Responsive Web Design or Responsive Projects Using Adobe Captivate, please contact Candyce Mairs. Learn how to get your eLearning content moved into mLearning content today!