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March 2007 Features » Acrobat Connect, Keyboard Shortcuts, SyncToy

Dear ${token1},

Nancy McCord, Owner of McCord Web Services.I wanted to share a few new things that I have found recently with you in this issue. Two are applications that have really wowed me and the other is a helpful keyboard shortcut guide for you to use or share with friends.

Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

Acrobat Connect Reviewed | Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts | SyncToy Reviewed

Acrobat Connect Reviewed

Get connected with Acrobat Connect!Acrobat Connect is a brand new online application that provides online meeting tools that may very well change how you do business. For my part, I have several new staff members and was looking for a way to provide hands-on long distance training. Acrobat Connect allows me to do this and much more.

The application costs $39.99 per month and Adobe will allow you to use if for 60 days free. I am currently testing the application and so far I give it a thumbs up. Not only have I been using it to share my computer's screen with new team members in training, but the application allows me to turn the sharing over to them so that I can monitor their activity as part of hands-on long distance training. My staff so far has found this ability to learn by watching and then by me observing them to be highly beneficial.

I am even using the application with clients and have only run into one instance where the client simply could not see the screen that I wanted to share with him.

Here are some of the features that Acrobat Connect offers:

  • Ability to hold conference call using a unique meeting phone number with up to 15 participants.
  • Ability to bypass the unique conference phone number and still hold an online meeting but using your own direct phone line.
  • Opportunity for application sharing between meeting participants.
  • White board and commenting tools for additional clarification.
  • Instant messaging to the presenter or between meeting participants.
  • Very simple set up for the meeting host.
  • Incredibly user-friendly for the meeting participants - no software to load.
  • Video cam capabilities.
  • Participant screen sharing application installation in five seconds or less on the fly.

I have found the application very easy to use and I was able to get up and running in less than five minutes.

Possible situations where you too may want to consider using Acrobat Connect for your own needs are:

  • Long distance training opportunities
  • Share Powerpoint presentations or Word documents in sales presentations
  • Perform collaborative document reviews online
  • Stay in touch with family members using the video cam settings - grandparents will love this!

There are several other products available that have some of these same features, but none with the ease of use of Acrobat Connect. My team tried Windows Live Messenger and found that the application sharing was not intuitive and was blocked by one person's router. The other person found the application too difficult to understand to implement. We tried NetMeeting, but found that for non-technical staff the set up was too problematic as well.

The best part of using Acrobat Connect is that only the regular host need install software and set up an account. Everyone else can log in as a guest with first name and can participate immediately. To allow a participant to application share they download, on the fly, a small application that takes under two seconds to load. For my needs, ease of use and low cost were the most important consideration.

With Acrobat Connect in my businesses toolbox, I am able to train better, sell more efficiently, and to communicate more effectively. Acrobat Connect, it's a winning combination for my business! Read more or download the free trial from Adobe.


Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts

I've made a keyboard shortcut sheet that you can print out and tuck under your keyboard for quick reference and use. I even learned some new tricks making this one. For example did you know that in Word you can toggle case by selecting your text and then click Shift and F3 to switch to all upper case and all lower case? Want more text options? While the text is highlighted select Format from the tool bar and select even more option for case.

The keyboard shortcuts are in PDF format. To access them, just click the image to the right. You can print it big, by changing the print settings in Acrobat's PDF reader when you go to print it, or so make it small to fit under your keyboard, just make sure to click page scaling "none" under page handling in the print settings for your Acrobat Reader. Want it bigger? Just click under scaling "fit to print margins". I think that you'll find it helpful and you may even learn some new tricks too!



SyncToy Reviewed

I regularly read PC World magazine and found a link to several power toys that have been created for Microsoft Windows products and wanted to share one with you today that I have found to be a real time saver for PC to laptop users. It is called SyncToy. You can download it directly from Microsoft and check it out for yourself.

My situation is that I routinely want to work on my laptop and want a mirror of the files on my regular desktop PC, sometimes at a moments notice. I needed a quick and easy to use synchronizing device that I could sync in a few minutes. I had previously tried synchronization with my Maxtor One Touch backup device, but found file controls lacking. I had tried the XP tool for synchronization, and had found it not user-friendly, and now I am using SyncToy. I have found that SyncToy makes synchronization easy and able to be done very quickly on short notice.

The first time I created an "echo" of my desktop PC file system for my laptop it took about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the full file transfer and set up. It only took me five minutes to create the settings, but the computer had quite a bit of transfer time initially. So, save your first time set up for a Saturday morning when you are not in a rush. Subsequent syncs are typically done in under ten minutes to 20 minutes depending on how often you synch, how many files need to be changed, but are quite painless.

I have found SyncToy to be a valuable little utility that helps me to work faster and smarter.

With SyncToy, you are in charge of how you would like to set up your file copying. You can select from several options:

Echo - This is the setting that I am using. It creates a copy of all of the files on the computer on the "left" to be mirrored on the computer on the "right". My "left" computer is my desktop PC and my "right" computer is my laptop PC. For subsequent syncs, SyncToy only transfers files that have been changed which makes the transfers very speedy. For this flavor of synch, renames and deletes on the "left" are repeated on the "right".

Synchronize - Here all files changes either way are repeated on both machines. This allows laptop users to create a mirror of files on the laptop on the PC and vice versa. Renames and deletes are duplicated on both machines.

Subscribe - In this flavor, updated files on the "right" are duplicated on the machine on the "left". This is a good setting for me when I have returned from travel with my laptop in hand and I need to quickly move files back to my desktop PC.

Contribute - Here files on the "left" are copied to the "right" machine and renames on the "left" are done on the "right", but no files on the "right" machine are deleted.

Combine - In this version of the synch files on both machines are updated, but nothing happens to renamed or deleted files.

The biggest difficulty I had with SyncToy, was trying to decide which version of synch I needed to do. You can even do multiple synch options by creating new synch folder pairs. For my uses, I have found SyncToy to be indispensable to keep my data current on all computers that I use for my business. You can read more about SyncToy on Microsoft's website and then download it here.


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