Montclair State University

Student Toolbox

Office of Information Technology

TTI Tech Tips
Technology Training and Integration

Welcome to the Technology Training and Integration (TTI) Group's TTI Tech Tips! Tech Tips are intended to announce new technology tools that are available to the community and to reintroduce and remind the community of the many technology tools that are currently supported and available to help us do our jobs. TTI Tech Tips will be updated weekly.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions via

Tech Tip #45:
Saving a Microsoft Office Document as a PDF File

PDF (Portable Document Format) files are a great way to make sure your documents are viewed with the correct layout and fonts – even when the recipient doesn’t have the program you used to create the document. It also secures the document so others cannot modify and redistribute your work. Some other benefits of saving to PDF format include:

  • Compatible across platforms – PDF files can be opened on basically any system
  • Compact and small – PDF files are smaller in size without losing any quality
  • PDF files are easy and quick to create in Microsoft Office
  • PDF files are viewable within most web-browsers
  • Software to view PDF files is completely FREE!

Saving a File to PDF in Office 2010:

  • Click on the File tab
  • Click on Save and Send
  • Click on Create Adobe PDF under File Types
  • Click on the Create Adobe PDF button
  • Type a file name and choose a location
  • Click OK

Tech Tip #44:
Word 2010 - Making Repetitive Tasks Quicker Using Autotext

Have you ever been working in Microsoft Word and found that you often use the same content throughout multiple documents? Autotext can help save you both time and additional typing! AutoText is reusable content that you can store and access again and again.

Creating Autotext:

  • Select the text or content you plan on frequently using
  • Click on the Insert tab
  • Click on Quick Parts located in the Text group
  • Highlight Autotext and click on Save Selection to Autotext Gallery
  • Type a name for the Autotext entry and click on OK

*You can create a new category if you intend on having many different Autotext entries

Inserting Autotext:

  • Click on Quick Parts
  • Click on the Autotext entry from the list

Tech Tip #43:
Voice Mail Tips

Do you want to leave a message for a coworker but want to skip over their voice mail greeting? You can bypass the greeting by pressing [1] when the greeting starts.

For additional voice mail tips check out the Modular Messaging System Reference Guide.

Tech Tip #42:
Web 2.0 Tools

Are you looking for a particular Web 2.0 technology that allows you to create, collaborate, edit and share user-generated content online? Do you feel lost in the overwhelmingly growing number of Web 2.0 tools? TTI has chosen a few that we feel can be beneficial to teaching and learning. Check out our Web 2.0 Workshop Series!

Tech Tip #41:
Scanning 101

Although scanner software varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are a few basic rules to follow when scanning and distributing scanned documents for courses or for business. For a list of details and tips, please visit our full Scanning 101 document.

Tech Tip #40:
Grouping Messages in Mozilla Thunderbird

Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of emails you receive everyday?  Do you find it difficult to concentrate on the most recent messages, even when your Inbox is sorted by date?  Grouping your messages can help ease your frustration!

Mozilla Thunderbird can group and collapse messages according to the sort order. For example, if you are sorting by date, you'll have a group for emails received today,  yesterday,  last week, and so on.

To group messages in Mozilla Thunderbird by date:

  • Click View
  • Select Sort by
  • Select Date
  • Click View again
  • Select Sort by
  • Select Grouped by sort

*Please note: not all sort order options support grouping.

To return your folder to an un-grouped state:

  • Click View
  • Select Sort by
  • Select Unthreaded

Tech Tip #39:
Private Group Training

Did you know that in addition to our Training & Events schedule, TTI also offers private group training for departments or groups upon request?  The benefit to this is that the training content can be tailored to your groups' specific needs.

To schedule group training or for more information, please contact Susan Graham at ext. 5449.

Tech Tip #38:
Convert Your PowerPoint 2010 Presentation to Video

In PowerPoint 2010, you can now save your presentation as a Windows Media Video (.wmv) file, and distribute it confidently, knowing that your animated, narrated, multimedia presentation will play without a glitch!

When recording your presentation as a video:

  • You can record and time voice narration and laser pointer movements in your video.
  • You can include animations and transitions in your movie.
  • Viewers do not need to have PowerPoint installed on their computers to watch it.
  • If your presentation contains an embedded video, the video will play without your needing to control it.

Depending on the content of your presentation, creating a video may take some time. Lengthy presentations and presentations with animations, transitions, and media content will likely take longer to create.

To convert your presentation to video:

  1. Click on File
  2. Click on Save & Send
  3. Under File Types click on Create a Video
  4. Click Create Video

Tech Tip #37:
Automated Voice-Response Telephone Directory

Are you aware that MSU has an automated voice-response telephone directory available both on-campus and off-campus?

  • On-campus, simply dial extension 2000
  • Off-campus, dial (973) 655-4000

When you hear the announcement "Welcome to Montclair State University" you can speak the first and last name of the individual, or department, you wish to reach. The system will locate and dial the number for you. If there are multiple matches you will be able to select which one you want.

Tech Tip #36:
Creating Course Links in Blackboard

A well organized Blackboard course is essential to enhancing student learning. When building your course in Blackboard, using course links may help you organize all materials or activities relevant to an individual learning unit/session to a central location. Course links are shortcuts from one place in a Blackboard course to another location within the same course. You can add a course link that will direct students to a particular location, tool, or document within your course. For example, when posting an announcement that new material has been added, you can create a course link that will take the students directly to that new material.

To create a course link, follow the steps below:

  • Go to the Content Area where you would like to place the link (be sure Edit Mode is turned on)
  • Click on Build Content and select Course Link
  • Click Browse to view the course menu and select the item you want to link to
  • In the Name field, type a new name if you want something different than the name of the item you are linking to
  • Choose any other options as you wish
  • Click Submit

Tech Tip #35:
Blackboard Online Course Template

Are you teaching online or getting ready to teach online or hybrid for the first time? Montclair State University has developed an online course template informed by research-based best practices. Online courses at MSU adopting the course template are designed using a learner-centered and interaction-facilitated approach. To learn more about the Course Template, we suggest viewing the Interactive Course Template video.  To request a copy of the template simply fill out the Blackboard Course Template request form.

Tech Tip #34:
Best Practices for Copying Content from Microsoft Word into Blackboard
It is not recommended to copy and paste content from Word into Blackboard. This is because Word uses complex and specialized code to create formatting within documents. Although this code is invisible on the page, it can sometimes be included when copying and pasting from one program to another.Therefore, it is recommended to create new content within Blackboard and utilize the formatting toolbar on the text box editor to format the text.

If the content already exists in a document outside of Blackboard, copy and paste it into Notepad before importing into Blackboard. Notepad is a basic text editor. Any code generated by Word will be stripped away when pasted into Notepad.

Tech Tip #33:
Your MSU App (Rave)
Montclair State University continues to be a leader amongst higher education institutions in utilizing mobile technology for students to assist them in all aspects of campus life. Through our partnership with Rave Wireless, Inc., we provide safety, academic and auxiliary applications through use of the voice, text and data capabilities of today's wireless carriers.

Here is an overview of the Rave applications:

  • MSU Alerts - Rave Alerts is the primary mobile communications tool at Montclair State University that notifies the campus community in emergency situations as well as other vital scenarios that might impact the campus. You are automatically registered through your MSU email address and you can add your mobile phone to Your MSU App at any time. All broadcast alerts for situations including school closings, power outages, security threats, weather hazards, evacuations, and natural disasters will be texted to your phone or your preferred email address, or both.
  • Guardian - Guardian is the award-winning safety application that makes your safe campus here at Montclair State University, safer. Guardian is a timer-based system accessed by calling 973-780-1493 and entering a PIN number that you create upon registration.
  • E-TIPS - E-TIPS is a text-based tip hotline. You can text a tip to the MSU Campus Police reporting anything from bullying to a broken car window. All you have to do is text keyword "E-TIPS" a space and your message to 67283.
  • Mobile Blackboard - Receive text messages and/or emails when new announcements, assignments and grades are posted to your Blackboard courses.

To register your cell phone through Your MSU App, please go to the Your MSU APP Website.

Tech Tip #32:
Doodle - Take the Hassle out of Meeting Scheduling!

Doodle is a basic, free service that helps with the scheduling of meetings when a number of people are involved. It eliminates the chaos that comes from scheduling group events and trying to find a time when everyone is available. Coordinating meeting times can be time-consuming—Doodle can help! Instead of offering just one date/time option, you can propose several dates and times and the participants can indicate their availability online. With one look, you’ll be able to see what the best time is for the meeting. Doodle is simple and quick and requires no registration. In addition to scheduling meetings, Doodle also supports polls. Groups can conveniently decide on options other than just dates and times. Visit Doodle at to learn more.

Tech Tip #31:
A Guide to Becoming a Successful Online Learner

Are you getting ready to teach an online course?  Are you concerned that your students aren't ready?  Or perhaps you're a student thinking about taking an online course and aren't sure what's involved in online learning.  We have the answers for you!  The TTI group has developed a website intending to help students self-assess if online learning is right for them and learn about what strategies and tips are required to become a successful online learner.  To access this exciting new web resource please click here.

Tech Tip #30:
Embed a YouTube Video into your PowerPoint 2010 Presentation

If you’d like to include a YouTube clip as part of your PowerPoint presentation, you can easily embed a video to play directly within your slideshow.

  • After copying the YouTube video’s URL, you need to add the Developer tab to your PowerPoint Ribbon
  • Click on File and select Options
  • Click on Customize Ribbon
  • Under Choose commands from: select All Tabs
  • Click on Developer and click Add
  • Click OK
  • On the Developer tab, click on More Controls in the Controls group
  • Select Shockwave Flash Object from the list
  • Click OK
  • Draw a box on the slide where you want the video
  • Right-click on the box and select Properties
  • In the Movie line, paste the YouTube video’s URL. You must change the watch?v= to v/ in the URL. For example; when you paste the video URL it will look something like this: Change the highlighted section to v/ so it will look like this:
  • Run the slideshow to see the video

Tech Tip #29:
Create Speaking Avatars and Use Them as an Effective Learning Tool

A Voki is a a talking voice character or speaking avatar. Adding a Voki to your Blackboard course creates a more "human" element to online/hybrid courses. A Voki avatar motivates students to participate, improves message comprehension, introduces technology in a fun way, and can be used as an effective language tool. The best part is that it's free and easy to use!

Getting started:

    1.    Click on the Create tab
    2.    Pick your character and give it a voice
    3.    Publish when done
    4.    Copy the embed code
    5.    Log in to Blackboard and go to your course
    6.    Click on a content area in your course
    7.    Click on Build Content and choose Item
    8.    Type a name for the new item
    9.    Click the button Toggle HTML Source Mode in the text toolbar
    10.    Click in the text area and paste the embed code
    11.    Click Submit

Tech Tip #28:
Embedding a YouTube Video into Your Blackboard Course

The more engaged your students are, the more interactive your lesson will be, the more your students will enjoy the lesson, and the more they will retain the information from your lesson. Videos are a great way to promote interactive instruction. YouTube has some excellent educational videos that can be embedded directly into your Blackboard course.

  1. Once you find a video on YouTube, click the Share button under the video
  2. Click the Embed button
  3. The embed code will appear 
  4. Highlight and copy
  5. Within your Bb course, click the content area you wish to embed the video in
  6. Click on Build Content and select Create Item
  7. After giving the item a name, click on the Toggle HTML Source Mode icon in the Text toolbar
  8. Paste the video code here
  9. Click Submit

Tech Tip #27:
Creating Your Own Excel 2010 Templates

If you can't find a ready-made Excel 2010 template that fits your needs, create your own! The easiest way to create your own template is to create an actual workbook that contains all of the elements you need.  For example, create a workbook that contains text, data, comments, formulas, formatting, etc. and then save it using the template file format (.xltx). You can then open the file from the Templates folder to create new workbooks as needed.

  1. Create an Excel workbook that contains all of the elements needed for the template file.
  2. Click the File tab and choose Save As.
  3. Type the name for the template in the File name box. (Make sure you use a descriptive name so you can easily find the template)
  4. In the Save as type drop-down list, select Excel Template (*.xltx).
  5. Click on the Save button.

The file will be saved to the Templates folder (unless you specify another location). This allows easy access to the file when you later need to create a workbook based on the template.

Tech Tip #26:
Using Wimba Voice Authoring Tools in Blackboard

Whether teaching an online class or a face-to-face class, adding audio content to your Blackboard course can create a more engaging and effective learning environment for your students. Audio content can provide explanations for difficult concepts, verbally explain complex ideas, post assignments or simply highlight important ideas that will be discussed in upcoming lessons.

To add audio content, click on a content area within your Blackboard course, click on Build Content, and click on Wimba Voice Authoring under Mashups.

Tech Tip #25:
Blackboard: Downloading Grade Center Data

Instructors have the ability to download their Blackboard Grade Center data to an Excel spreadsheet for further evaluation.  They can select specific data to download, or download the complete Grade Center. Please click here  to learn more.

Tech Tip #24:
Scroll Bars Missing in Word?

Have your scroll bars disappeared in Word?  Don’t panic!  This can occur if the Horizontal and Vertical scroll bar check boxes are not selected. To ensure the check boxes are selected, follow the steps below:

Using Word on a Mac

  1. Open Word
  2. On the Word menu, click Preferences
  3. Open View
  4. Click to select the Horizontal scroll bar and the Vertical scroll bar check boxes in the Window section
  5. Click OK

Using Word 2010 on a PC

  1. Open Word
  2. Click the File tab
  3. Click on Options
  4. Click on Advanced
  5. Under Display, click to select show horizontal scroll bar and show vertical scroll bar
  6. Click OK


Tech Tip #23:
Google Calendar has a New Look!

Google Calendar is getting a makeover! The changes are mainly cosmetic and have not affected the way the Calendar works.

A summary of the changes are:

  • The Quick add function is now under the down arrow next to the Create button.
  • Calendars selected for viewing in the My calendars and Other calendars lists will no longer display with a colored background; instead, only the boxes next to them will be colored.
  • The Print and Refresh buttons are now icons rather than text links. The Print button shows a printer, and the Refresh icon is a circular arrow.
  • Visual indicator icons (alarm clock icon for events with reminders, person icon for events with guests, etc.) will only show when the event is hovered over.
  • The My calendars and Other calendars lists on the left are now collapsed by default and may be expanded using the small gray arrow. Once expanded, they will remain expanded on refresh or open.
  • The mini month view calendar under the Create button is collapsible using the small gray arrow.
  • The Save and Discard buttons and Back to calendar link are only available at the top of the event page, not the bottom.

You can switch between the “classic look” and the “new look” by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of the Google Calendar screen.

Tech Tip #22:
Blackboard’s Mashup Tools

The Mashup tools in Blackboard allow the viewing and sharing of media content from external websites. A Mashup can be used in a variety of ways within a course, such as a standalone learning object, part of a test question, a topic on a Discussion Board thread, or as part of an assignment. Although fully integrated within the Blackboard course, the Mashup resides on an external website, reducing file space within a course.

Blackboard Mashups include:

    * Flickr: a site for viewing and sharing photographic images
    * SlideShare: a site for viewing and sharing presentations and documents
    * YouTube: a site for viewing and sharing online videos

Mashups can be found under Build Content within a content area. Please click here to learn how to add content to your Blackboard course. 

Tech Tip #21:
Creating Groups in Blackboard

A group is a subset of students enrolled in a Blackboard course. Instructors may create Group Pages, where members can privately discuss projects, share files, and send e-mail. Setting up groups is also helpful if instructors plan to use the Blog or Wiki tools for group projects. More about creating groups Blackboard.

Tech Tip #20:
Creating a Jeopardy Game in PowerPoint 2010

Have you tried to manually create a table of contents only to find that it never comes out quite right?  Either the
Games are not only a way to add excitement and fun to the classroom, they can also help to motivate students. Creating a jeopardy game in PowerPoint is a great way to review course material, as well as a new way to present course content. Click here to learn more.

Tech Tip #19:
Creating a Table of Contents in Word 2010

Have you tried to manually create a table of contents only to find that it never comes out quite right?  Either the spacing doesn't line up or you have to repeatedly change the page numbers every time you modify the document.  Microsoft Word has a simple solution!  Click here to see how you can easily create a table of contents using Word's built-in styles.

Tech Tip #18:
Snipping Tool - Windows 7

The Snipping Tool in Windows 7 can easily capture a screen shot, or snip, any object on your screen and then annotate, save or share the image.  Check out this fun and easy to use tool!

To get started, click on Start - All Programs - Accessories - Snipping Tool
In the Snipping Tool dialog box, click on the drop-down arrow next to New and choose one of the following snip options:

  • Free-form Snip: draw a free-form shape around an object
  • Rectangular Snip:  drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle
  • Window Snip:  select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture
  • Full-screen Snip: capture the entire screen

After you capture a snip, it's automatically copied to the clipboard and opens in the mark-up window. From the mark-up window, you can annotate, save, or share the snip.

  • To Annotate the snip, click on Tools and choose either Pen, Highlighter and/or Eraser
  • To Save the snip, click on File - Save As....
  • To Email the snip, click on File - Send To - E-mail Recipient

Tech Tip #17:
Password Protect Your Office 2010 Files

Did you know that you can use passwords to prevent other people from opening your documents, workbooks and presentations?  Following are the steps to password protect your files. Please note that passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure the CAPS LOCK key is turned off when you enter a password for the first time.

  • Click the File tab
  • Click Info
  • Click Protect Document/Workbook/Presentation (depending on the program)
  • Click Encrypt with Password
  • In the Encrypt Document box, type a password, and click OK
  • In the Confirm Password box, type the password again, and click OK

Tech Tip #16:
Creating Groups in Google Calendar

Do you find that you invite the same group of people to meetings? Are you tired of adding attendees one by one? Creating groups can help! Please click here to learn how easy it is to create groups in Google Calendar and how much more efficient the inviting process can be!

Tech Tip #15:
ePortfolio in Blackboard

Electronic portfolios enable students and faculty to assemble, present, and share information online for documenting academic growth, career evaluation, and course preparation. Blackboard’s ePortfolio tool is a collection of digital files (artifacts) that are shared electronically for the purpose of reflection, comment, and evaluation. To learn more, please click here.
Tech Tip #14:
Ribbon Customization in Office 2010

Ribbon customization is now available in Office 2010! You can group your favorite and most frequently used commands in one location, or remove seldom used commands. Or maybe you have a repetitive task that you’d like to accomplish in fewer clicks. You now have the ability to put those commands on a custom tab, or add them to a new group on an existing tab.

To start customizing the Ribbon, either right-click on the Ribbon and click “Customize the Ribbon”, or click on the File tab and click on "Options" and then click on "Customize Ribbon". To learn more, please click here to access our "What's New in Office 2010" documentation.

Tech Tip #13:
Using Templates in Office 2010

Sometimes you need to create a spreadsheet or a quick presentation for a meeting. Or maybe you need to create a brochure or just want a simple calendar.  Office 2010 has a wide range of templates that can help.  Click on File in any of the Office 2010 applications and click on New.  Here you will find a list of templates broken down by category which you can download for use.

Tech Tip #12:
Built-in Screen Capture in Office 2010

All Office 2010 programs now include a screen clipping function to help you quickly captures any area of the desktop screen. This tool will automatically take screenshots of all open applications on your desktop (that are not minimized) so you can insert them directly into your document. To learn more about screen capture and the many other new features of Office 2010, please click here.

Tech Tip #11: 
Eluminate Live!

Elluminate Live! is a virtual classroom tool that allows instructors to meet their students synchronously online. Instructors can use Elluminate to generate instant feedback, share instructional presentation, hold virtual office hours, and record classroom sessions for review at a later time. If you would like to learn more, please click here for a listing of our training sessions and to register for Elluminate Live!

Tech Tip #10: 
Wimba Pronto

Wimba Pronto is an academic based instant messaging platform that is integrated with Blackboard. It enables students and teachers to uniquely collaborate and learn in an informal "virtual venue". Wimba Pronto synchronizes with MSU's enrollment records so students and teachers are automatically connected with other Wimba Pronto users enrolled in the same course(s). To learn more about Wimba Pronto, please click here.

Tech Tip #9: 
Adobe Acrobat Pro X

Acrobat Acrobat X Pro can help you increase your productivity and deliver better, more polished work. It’s more than just a simple Portable Document Format (PDF) creation tool.  Adobe Acrobat X Pro allows you to create PDF files, modify them and securely sign and authenticate them.  You can also generate editable forms and combine documents. Adobe Acrobat X Pro helps you get more done - easier, faster and better!  If you would like to attend a training session to learn more about Adobe Acrobat X, please click here

Tech Tip #8: 
Google Docs

Did you know you can do everything that Microsoft Office can do online…for free? Google has free office tools called Google Docs. Google Docs has applications to build spreadsheets, word documents, and presentations. It also allows you to create and share your work online. Your files are stored securely online. All you need is a Web browser and you can access and edit your files from anywhere at any time! You can either upload files from your desktop or create them right in Google Docs. You can also invite people to your documents and make changes together, at the same time. How many times have you had to send a document or spreadsheet back and forth to others to be checked over, edited or just shared? With Google Docs, you can simply upload your files, choose who to share them with, and work away! To get started, visit Google Docs at Please note that Google Docs cannot be accessed using your MSU NetID. If you wish to use Google Docs you will need to create a Google account. So many features, easy to use… and it’s FREE!

Tech Tip #7: 
Web 2.0 Technologies

Are you aware of the web 2.0 technologies available in Blackboard such as blogs, journals, and wikis? For more information, please click here.

Tech Tip #6: 
Color Code an Event in Google Calendar

Google Calendar has just added a new feature that allows you to color code events. This is similar to using labels in Meeting Maker. Color coded events lets you assign specific colors to certain events. It's a great way to stay organized, keep track of recurring events and add some pizazz to your calendar! For the complete overview of Google Calendar at MSU, click here.

Tech Tip #5:  
Streaming Video

Are you looking for a tool to streamline and deliver your instructional videos?  Are you wishing to define access permissions to your streaming videos based on the courses you teach? Do you expect to record a video, directly streamline and then publish it on the web? Then NJVid is the tool you need! For more information please contact Susan Graham at ext. 5449 or email us at

Tech Tip #4: 
OIT Documentation/Instruction

Did you know that the OIT website contains documentation and instruction on the technology tools and applications supported by IT? Please click here to check out our documentation page!
Tech Tip #3:
Creating Surveys

Need to create a survey? Montclair’s online survey tool ( allows you to create and distribute professional-quality surveys, collect responses, and download the data quickly and easily. This simple-to-use survey tool provides a variety of questions and options to meet your needs.  Click here for documentation on how to use this survey tool.  
Tech Tip #2:
Blackboard Mobile

Blackboard Mobile takes interactive teaching and learning mobile giving faculty and students access to their courses, content and organizations on a variety of mobile devices.  To learn more about Blackboard Mobile, please click here.
Tech Tip #1:
Blackboard Communities

Blackboard Communities, also called "organizations" are intended for use by formal and informal organizations within the university for information sharing, collaboration and communication.  A Blackboard Community is similar to a Blackboard course but is designed for organizations or administrative work groups.  Communities allow any department or group at MSU to easily communicate, collaborate, and share information.  To request a Blackboard Community please click here.