In this edition

Quote of the month


Welcome to our April 2014 newsletter: Tools and tricks we can’t live without

We like to share our toys and this month we’ve got some free tools and tricks that can save you time.

Enjoy and, as always, we’d love your feedback via Facebook, Twitter or email us.

Regards from the @EconnectTeam:

Website maintenance – 3 tools

By Alison Binney

If you build or maintain websites, explore these 3 tools that I can’t live without.

1. Web Developer toolbox
This free browser extension is a great set of tools for the Firefox, Chrome and Opera web browsers.

It allows you to quickly analyse a website from within your browser. For example, you can list all html colour codes used on a website. This is useful if you are trying to develop a colour scheme for a website.

The colour scheme we used for Biomass Producer

You can look at style sheet information, such as the fonts used for body text or the margins used around images.

You can check your code for errors—this is especially useful if your site needs to comply with the Australian Government web accessibility and usability guidelines.

And there are loads more tools in this toolbox for you to explore.

2. Awesome Screenshot
With this free browser extension, you can take a screenshot of a web page.

Capture an entire webpage, from top to bottom, or just the visible part. You can even crop a page and annotate the screenshot.

This is great if you are putting together a portfolio of ideas for a new client, or if you need full-screen visuals to help discussions about the information architecture.

With Awesome Screenshot, you can annotate the screenshots before sharing them.

Screenshots can be saved as jpg or png.

Browsers supported: Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

3. Broken Link Checker
This WordPress plugin is one of the most valuable I have installed lately.

Hyperlinks to external content change often as websites get reorganised or government departments get renamed.

When a hyperlink breaks on your site, Broken Link Checker emails you, so you can get in and fix it before anyone notices.

WordPress’s Broken Link Checker emails you when it detects a broken link.

Storing bookmarks in the cloud

By Robbie Mitchell

Bookmarking is a great way to store and access your favourite websites without having to Google them all the time.

Because I work on several computers and smart devices, and use Chrome, Safari and Firefox interchangeably, I use a cloud-based bookmarking service to organise and manage my bookmarks.

The benefit of cloud-based bookmarking, commonly referred to as social bookmarking, is that all my bookmarks are stored in one location in the cloud, which I can access through any of my devices and browsers.

There are many social bookmarking services available.

I use Delicious, which is one of the original social bookmarking services.

It’s easy to use. You create an account and download the app to your browser.

To save a bookmark, just click on the Delicious icon in your browser window.

In a pop-up box, you can type in a title, tags and a description to remind you why you bookmarked the site.

Delicious was the first service to popularise tagging—a useful feature that allows you to organise and find your bookmarks.

Delicious allows you to tag your bookmarks.

Sharing bookmarks with other Delicious users is something I also enjoy. It is optional (you can choose to keep your bookmarks private), but it has helped me find web content that I would otherwise not have found.


To-do lists

By Sarah Cole

If you’re a fan of lists, you’ll love Todoist—a simple tool for creating and managing to-do lists that you can access wherever you are.

Why I love Todoist:

  • It’s free. No catches, no marketing. (There are premium features that you have to pay for).
  • Add-ons are available for your browsers, MS Outlook, mobile and desktop.
  • Tasks can have different priorities.
  • Tasks can have sub-tasks.
  • Keyboard shortcuts allow you to add tasks quickly.


Recent items

By Sarah Cole

We have many folders on our server and navigating a deep file structure every time you want to open/save/attach a document takes time.

The Recent items feature of Windows Explorer makes navigation faster and easier.

The other reason I love it is that I can be sure I always attach the latest version of a file I’m working on.

First, go to your Recent Items folder by typing or pasting this address in the address bar of Windows Explorer and pressing Enter:

Then, add the Recent Items folder to your Favourites list in Windows Explorer—simply right-click on the folder and select ‘Add current location to Favourites‘, or drag and drop the folder into your Favourites.

Find your recent items quickly by adding them to your Favourites in Windows Explorer. 

Tracked changes – flipping views

By Mary O’Callaghan

As an editor, I often hear authors and reviewers say: ‘Can you send me a clean copy as well because that will be easier to read through’.

If there are a lot of edits in a MS-Word document, it can be easier to use a clean copy to check that the meaning and structure remain intact (of course, every edit should also be checked).

But you don’t need 2 copies of the document to do so. Instead, in the tracked copy you can flip between views that show or hide the changes.

Select the Review menu and then click on Final Showing Markup.

The drop-down list offers 4 views:

  • Final Showing Markup – the final document with all changes visibly marked up (insertions inline, deletions and moves in the margin)
  • Final – the final document with changes tracked but hidden (the ‘clean copy’)
  • Original Showing Markup – the original document with all changes visibly marked up (deletions and moves inline, insertions in the margin)
  • Original – the original document with all changes hidden (useful if there are so many edits that it’s hard to see what the original text looked like).

Just be aware that flipping between views doesn’t change anything. I’ve heard of one scientist who thought that choosing the ‘Final’ view would accept all changes. He submitted his paper to a journal with, unbeknownst to him, all changes tracked, including some sensitive comments.