• Dave Foord
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The ‘Align or Distribute’ tool in Microsoft Office

There is a brilliant tool within Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel, that allows you to easily align objects (e.g. shapes or pictures) so they are evenly spaced and perfectly aligned. When producing diagrams (e.g. flowcharts) – having objects neatly aligned makes them look much smarter and more professional, and using this tool, makes it very quick and easy to do.

All you need to do is select the objects that you want aligning (the easiest way to do this, is to hold your finger on the shift key, and then left mouse click on each object in turn)

Then go to (These instructions are for Office 2003, or Office 2000)

  1. Draw (usually bottom left of the screen)
  2. Align or Distribute
  3. (and then select whichever option you want)

The image below, shows the steps that you would go through to space the 3 rectangles out evenly – f you click on the image below, you will get taken to Flickr, where there are some hover over noted explaining what each of the options does.


Originally uploaded by Dave Foord.

For Office 2007, the align or distribute tools appear in the top right corner, when you select the shapes.


STOLEN principle wiki

People that have followed my work over recent months, will be aware of something called the STOLEN principle that I devised to help with the educational use of wikis. Details can be found at


I have been asked by a few people, if there is a wiki itself to allow people to edit (and I hope improve the STOLEN principle) – so I have created one


The password to edit is nelots (the word stolen backwards)

New e-assessment tool from the University of Derby

On Monday, I spent the day at my old employer – the University of Derby, who have a unit called I4L that have developed over the last few years a highly sophisticated e-assessment tool called Quicktri , that will hopefully be available for sale in the next few months. This is based on the universities extensive experience in this area of work, but up until the development of this tool, it could only be used by teams of developers experienced in Authorware. The idea with this tool is that you don’t need any programming knowledge to use it, just an understanding of question types and styles, but it still retains much of its power, that goes way beyond the other simpler tools that are currently available.

With the Government’s desire to engage more and more in e-assessment I think tools like this will come to the fore, and I hope that people when choosing such tools look at a variety of options, including Quicktri, rather than jumping for the first that comes along.

Like any e-learning tool. If used well can be excellent, if used badly can be horrible – yet again that cry for taking staff development seriously!

Wikis in simple English

similar to the last posting, and from the same people comes…

RSS in simple English

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is not that easy to explain to many people. This simple YouTube video does a pretty good job!

Creating ‘Hover and Reveal’ resources with Flickr

Flickr – the image sharing website, can be used to very good effect as a teaching resource, with one such use being the creation of simple hover and reveal resources. Very good if you want to identify parts of say a piece of equipment, location of muscles in the body etc. All you need to do, is take a photo, upload it to Flickr, then use the ‘notes’ tool to add notes to part of the image. When the student views the image, they can hover over the regions and see the notes.

To see an example of this, click on the image below


Originally uploaded by Dave Foord.

If you hover over the gyro keyboard in bottom right corner of image, there is then a link within that note to a more detailed picture.

There is also the ability to leave comments – which could be useful.