Quick Tips

(added 28/1/09)

Australian voices for Clicker 5

The Wishlist page has an entry regarding Australian voices for Clicker 5. At this point in time, there doesn't seem to be any release of these by Crick. However, Australian customers might wish to consider purchasing a software program called WordRead PLUS. It is a very inexpensive literacy support tool in its own right but one of its big features is that it has both a male and a female Australian voice (Lee and Karen). These Australian voices can be used in other text to speech programs such as Clicker 5.
Note: WordRead Plus also has a Pronunciation Editing feature. Pronunciation editing in Clicker 5 is limited to its default speech engine so this is also a real bonus when acquiring WordRead PLUS.

(added 12/6/08)

Adding Vocabulary to images

It is possible to add extra vocabulary to images in your registered libraries. This is useful for adding variations of text entries yet still have a picture appear above the text. To associate extra key words to an image, place Clicker 5 in Edit Mode and open the Picture Palette. Change the view to Details mode, locate the image in question and add the desired vocabulary next to the image. The screenshots below show how this is achieved. (Thanks to Kevin Lynch at Crick for this tip).



(added 26/3/08)

Video Appearance

Videos placed in a cell are not visible until they start to play, so the cell appears blank. To give the impression that a frame of the video is in view, place an image in to the cell that has the appearance of the first frame of the video. If taking your own videos (with a digital camera or web cam), take a still shot before going in to movie recording mode. Insert both the picture and the video in to the cell.

(added 22/3/08)

USB Switch Box

The USB Switch Box can be utilized by switch users to operate a quite extensive listing of software. The Crick company also has a site called SwitchIndex that keeps a listing of all the switch accessible software that is automatically configured to operate with a USB Switch Box. The software list is nearing 200 software titles.



USBKeys is the intuitive software which comes with the USB Switch Box. Besides automatically updating scanning settings of new software titles, users can create their own settings. The emails below highlights one example of this. (They are from a listserv entry posted on the SENIT Discussion Group).
Hi All,
Does anyone know how I can set up a (non-sending) Clicker 5 grid with only two cells, to accept direct switch access from two switches without scanning? Ie. I want the left switch to activate the cell on the left and the right switch to activate the cell on the right. (Both cells play video clips when activated. It seems as though this should be possible but I’m struggling with it at the moment.
I asked Kevin Lynch at Crick this very question last week (ie. How can you click a switch to turn pages in a Clicker book directly, without scanning) and being a genius, he came up with an answer, which is:
Set Clicker user access to none (ie. Not scanning)
Open USBKeys and set the switches as follows:
Switch 1 Ctrl-Page Down (next page in the Clicker book)
Switch 2 Ctrl-Page Up (previous page in the Clicker book)
Switch 3 Ctrl-End (reads the text box content)
Et voila – direct switch access to the Clicker book!

(added 5/3/08)

Adding Speech Bubbles

Extra cells need to be added over an existing cell to accommodate a speech or thought bubble and any accompanying dialogue.
A help file outlining this procedure can be found on the Tutorials page.
A link to download ready made transparent speech and thought bubbles can be found on the Resources page.


(added 6/2/08)

Personalized Buttons

The Cell Palette contains a blank button which can be personalized. To add an image on to the button, open the Picture Palette to locate the desired image. Drag the image on the button.
Tip: Hold the SHIFT key before selecting and dragging the image. This will ensure that no text is entered in the cell with the picture.


Personalized buttons can be used to give visual cues to an embedded sound eg the sound of a bee buzzing, a student's voice recording, a sound byte from a familiar adult containing words of encouragement or praise.


(added 30/1/08)

Working with Embedded Sounds

Voice recordings made directly on to a cell become embedded files. The name of the sound file includes the cell number and a left or right mouse button reference. To view a listing of all the embedded sound files of a Grid Set, place the Grid in Edit Mode, click the Sounds icon. From the Sound and Video palette, choose the 'Sounds and Videos Used tab.
A help file in the Tutorials section outlines how these embedded sound files can be re-used in other cells or functions and also how they can be re-named.
Acknowledgement: The screenshot below is from a Grid Set downloaded from clicker5lifeskills.


(added 18/12/07)

Keyboards with visual supports

Images can be used instead of (or with) text characters for students to type with. The pictures could be added to a keyboard created in a grid, or by modifying and re-saving an existing pop-up keyboard.The screenshots below show how Letterland characters could be utilized to support students. This principle could be used with any set of picture alphabets.

Some planning considerations

Leave any text required out of the cell to ensure the picture is at an optimum size - in the Cell Properties, place the text in the "Send this text' option.
The Space key needs to be configure to only send a 'Space'.
The 'Send this text' option also needs to be selected. Activate the 'Add Space' option.
The Delete key requires this command in the 'Send this text' option.
Type the following - [delete last]


Adding spellchecker functionality to text boxes.

On the Wishlist page, there is reference to the spellchecker icon not being available when students wish to correct text they have entered in to a text box. To overcome this, add a cell to the grid page which is configured to open up the pop-up spellchecker. The Tutorials section has a help file outlining the procedure.
Thank you to Deb Barrows from Crick for coming up with the solution to this issue.



Adjusting the size of sending grids

There may be instances where you prefer the sending grid to be much smaller in size and have the majority of the screen displaying Clicker Writer (the word processor).
Place the Sending Grid in to Edit Mode. Click and drag the top edge of the Grid to the preferred size. Click on Grid > Grid Properties.
Click on the General tab. A reading showing the % height of the grid will be displayed. This can be further adjusted if necessary. Place a tick in the tick box to remember the proportion. Click OK. Click File > Save Grid Set to ensure the setting is saved.

Tip: Make these adjustments to the Master Grid page to ensure every page is the same percentage height.



Exporting the Pronunciation Dictionary

Save time on repeatedly editing the same words on every machine with Clicker 5 installed. Dedicate one machine as an update machine to edit and save pronunciations of words to the Text to Speech dictionary. Then copy this dictionary to a flash drive and place it on every other machine with Clicker 5. The file name is EnglishUKExceptions.dic and it can be found in the directory path C:\Program Files\Crick Software\TextToSpeech\engines\EnglishUK.
Note: EnglishUS for the US version of Clicker.
Single users of Clicker 5 may also want to regularly backup this file in case Clicker 5 ever needs to be re-installed.


Dragging and dropping text

A quick way to add text in to cells or text boxes is to drag and drop. The procedure is identical to dragging and dropping images referred to further down this page.Ensure the grid is in Edit Mode, highlight text from its source (web page, document or Clicker Writer) and drag it in to the cell or text box.
Note: Before attemting to drop text in to a Text Box, 'activate' the box first (ie. Shift + left mouse click in the text box).



Switching without a Switch

Just made a switch accessible grid? Haven't got the switch(s) handy? Use the keyboard shortcuts to test the scan settings of the grid.
F7 = Select
F8 = Move
Shift + F8 = Move backwards
Shift + F9 = Reverse the scanning
F9 = To hear the Right-click sound
Esc = To start the scan again


Clicker 5 Quick Hints

This document is produced by the Crick software team and lists 10 helpful tips and hints.

(added 29/10/07)

Grid File Size

To minimize the file size of Clicker Grids, resize digital photos prior to inserting them. See the Media Management page for a help tutorial.

Audio preview of the Popup keyboard

When a right mouse button click is utilized on a key in the Popup keyboard, the name of the letter is spoken by the text to speech engine. This can be modified to say the sound of a letter by recording a voice entry. Place Clicker in to Edit Mode, open the Popup keyboard, right click on a cell and select Properties. Select the Sound and Video tab, and record your entry on to the RightSound option.
keyb01.jpg _ keyb02.jpg

(added 18/10/07)

Copying Cells (or Textboxes) from one Grid Set to Another

Cells or textboxes (with images or text in them) can be copied from one grid to another. This is useful if you wish to have consistency in cell position and size, have the cell carry out the same actions or to utilize a body of text in other grids. Have the source grid open as well as the newly created grid set. Tile the files so that both are in view and place them in Edit Mode. Copy the desired cell(s) from the source grid and paste in to the new grid. The cells or text boxes will be placed in the same position as the original grid. A help file for this procedure can be downloaded from the Tutorial page.

(added 17/10/07)

Global Changes to the Properties of Cells and Textboxes

Utilize the Master Grids pages to make changes to the cell or textbox properties. Changing the background and font size or colour in the Master Grid will update all of your pages at once. This is particularly useful if you have constructed a grid set with a large number of pages.

(added 8/10/07)

Tiling the View of multiple files

Yesterday's entry touched upon the use of tiling windows. This is a useful feature when you wish to view two (or even more) files at once. In tile view, a number of tasks can be done much more quickly eg. make comparisons between files, view text from one source as it is being re-typed in to Clicker (with visual supports), copying/cutting and pasting between files, utilizing dragging and dropping of images.
There are two view types - 'Tile Windows Vertically' and 'Tile Windows Horizontally'.They suit different tasks so explore both options to choose what best suits your task at hand.

Dragging and Dropping Images in to a cell

Images from web sites, a folder on your machine or your desktop can be dragged and dropped in to a cell (in Edit Mode). Use Tile Windows Vertically or Horizontally for the process. A help file outlining the procedure can be downloaded from the Tutorials page.


(added 7/10/07)

Importing ready made popup grids into your New Grid Set

Creating popup grids from a new template can be time consuming. Clicker 5 can have multiple grids open at once. With these grids in Edit Mode, click and drag a desired ready made popup grid into your New Grid Set. A quick way to view both Grid files at once is to 'Tile the Windows Vertically'. The full procedure for this process can be downloaded from the Tutorial page. A collection of ready made popup grids has been compiled in to one grid file. Download from the Clicker Grids page.


Multiple images in one cell

A cell can only have one image allocated to it. To give the appearance of multiple images, add smaller transparent cells on to the larger cell. If they disappear behind the cell, right click on the larger cell and select 'Send to Back'.
Note: The properties of the added cells should also be set to not send any text or pictures.

(added 5/10/07)

Protecting Grid Sets

There are a number of ways to protect Grid sets being inadvertently modified by students.
  1. Change the User Preferences of the grid so users can not utilize Edit Mode. Choose Options>User Preferences. On the Editing tab, uncheck 'Allow Edit Mode to be used'. Uncheck all four options below this option to have full protection of the grid.
  2. Make the grid set 'Read Only'. Navigate through Windows Explorer or My Computer to locate the file. Right click on it and select Properties from the menu listing. Check the Read Only box and click OK.
  3. Save the grid in to a folder which has Read Only access. Any changes made to the grid will not be able to be saved.

(added 4/10/07)

Visual Supports in the Spellchecker

The pop up spellchecker in Clicker 5 supports the use of pictures. Select Options>User Preferences. Click on the Writing tab and select 'Always' in the 'Show pictures within the spellchecker' option.
Tip: When setting this option, select all your registered libraries in the 'Picture and Sound Libraries setting'.


Create a Home Grid

One of the useful features of Clicker 4, was that it always opened a blank sending grid when the program is started up. This can be emulated in Clicker 5. Create a new blank sending grid from the template wizard and save it as 'home'. Every time Clicker 5 is started up, this grid will open - ready for a student to immediately access Clicker Writer (the wordprocessor).
Tip: Tweak and save to this home grid set any of the settings you would like students to utilize eg pictures displayed as they type, registered picture libraries the home grid can access, speech settings, visual supports in the spellchecker, etc.

Emailing Grid Sets

Avoid emailing grid sets in their normal format. To minimize the high risk of corrupting the file, use a compression tool to zip it up first. If you don't have WinZip or WinRAR, Windows has its built in tool. Navigate (through My Computer) to the required Clicker file. Right click on the file and select Send to Compressed Folder. This will create a compressed version of your file. Attach this file to your email for safer transportation. It some cases, it will also end up being a smaller file size - which is always desirable with emailing.

(added 3/10/07)

Away from the computer

Clicker grids can be printed out for use away from a computer. Students could complete cut and paste activities or, alternatively, print out the grids on to card and laminate them for prolonged use. Utilize velcroe for the pieces (if appropriate).

(added 2/10/07)

Use Clicker Writer as an Assistive Reading Tool

Students may require the support of a text to speech engine to read unfamiliar or challenging text. The text can be from any source including a web page, an email or blog, or a reference article from Encarta. The text is copied to the computer's clipboard and then pasted in to Clicker 5 (using the keyboard command CONTROL+V).
Clicker can now read out the sentence, highlighting each word as it is read aloud. Alternatively, students could independently read the text until they come to an unfamiliar word. When clicked upon, this unfamiliar word will be read out by Clicker.
IWB Tip: When a Clicker document is displayed on an Interactive Whiteboard, students can touch a word to have it spoken aloud.

Size of the Visual Supports

The default setting of Clicker places images of a large size in to the document. It is disproportionate to the default font size of the text. Consider changing the default size of the visual supports for a more prominent view of the text in the document.
Choose File>Settings>Picture and Sound Libraries. Alter the picture size eg from 3.0 to 1.5
Note: Remember to Save the new grid settings.

Web pages with visual supports

Clicker 5 saves its documents as web pages. This gives school sites and parents a powerful authoring tool with which to create information pages that need to contain visual supports. Retype the text ensuring the registered image libraries you wish to utilize are selected from the Picture and Sound Libraries palette.
Links to these web pages can be made on a school's Intranet Home Page. By default, these documents will open in a web browser.(If students require text to speech support they will need to open the web page document with Clicker).
Tip: The visual supports in a Clicker document can include animated gifs. This can make web pages a more dynamic information page. Clicker 5 users can purchase animated gifs created by Cricksoft or Mayer-Johnson. Information on how to create your own animated gifs can be found in the Media Management section.

Emails with visual supports

Students could create their emails in Clicker. Take a screenshot of the document and save it as an image. Add this image as an attachment to emails.

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