Gimp meets a team of Orthodontists

elearning, gimp, open source, software

Open Source Software training

A while ago I created and delivered a photo editing course for a team of orthodontists. Strange you may ask why they would want to learn the fine arts of photo manipulation. And so did I until they filled (excuse the intended pun!) me in.

It turns out that they had the clever idea of showing their clients what their teeth would look like after any treatment was done, before it was done! And moreover they didn’t want to pay Adobe’s rather large costs for Photoshop licenses for several of their team.

Open Source (Gimp) to the rescue!

They also had done their homework and realised that Gimp would do all and more of what they wanted. They just needed some expertise to show them how. Every time I use Gimp I get a little buzz from knowing this marvellous piece of Open Source is available to all. Getting to know how to use it is the fun part.

The finished product

Have a look  below of how I designed the course and how easy and fun it is to use Gimp

Broken Tooth Path Tool first jpeg



Non-human characters in e-learning

elearning, elearning samples, gimp, instructional design, open source

The excellent Articulate e-learning community run a weekly challenge to improve skills and share best practice. This week’s was to get a non-human character to ‘talk’. These come in handy especially when I.D. can’t find  a character to suit or in my example below I wanted to reach to a younger audience .

The design

There was always going to be bespoke artwork (I prefer it in my e-learning) so I drew a computer chip, leaving room for googly eyes and a smile. A bit of photo-editing with GIMP ( A Free alternative to photoshop) and I was ready to author.

Captivate 8

Adobe’s authoring software made this bit a breeze, place the photos on the slide, get the timing and audio to match and Boom! it’s a breeze

Click image to launch the sample

motherboar elh #113



Libre Office Writer my top 5 shortcuts

libre office, open source, software, writer
Open Source IT trainers

Open Source IT trainers

This is the first of a series of Libre Office shortcuts to help you work smarter not harder. I’ll start it off with Writer.

  1.  F5 – Opens the wonderful Navigator this handy search tool is essential when editing a multi-page document. My favourite Writer tool.
  2.  F11 – Opens Styles & Formatting this powerful tool will have your document looking ship shape in no time. You can define your preferred fonts, headings etc and save them for your next work saving you oodles of time.
  3.  Move Text- Rather than using the traditional copy & paste try using select text, holding down the Ctrl key then drag your text to its new home.
  4.  Quickly delete text- If like me you’re not a proficient typist or maybe you need to quickly replace what you’ve just typed. Here’s a quick solution Ctrl+Shift+Del will delete the text unto the end of the sentence.
  5.  F2 – Formula bar. This hidden gem is a handy way to quickly insert calculations into your document and can handle Sum, Percentages, Sq Root and Statistics to name a few.

Libre Office Writer Navigator tool

libre office, open source, writer

Intro to Libre Office Navigator tool

Libre Office’s Writer has some powerful tools in its armoury, one of them is the Navigator search tool (see below left)


which is especially useful when editing multi-page documents, such as, reports. Navigator lets you search the document by the type of objects you have used, such as, images, headings, tables; practically anything you have put in the document. This will be indicated by a plus symbol next to the type. Clicking on this will reveal the objects (see image left). To quickly g to the object double click on it.

Tip: naming your objects will make it easier to find them later. You can do this in Navigator by right-clicking the object name then selecting rename.

You can also isolate objects by type using the handy content view option, useful if you have numerous object of the same type.


You can use Navigator in different views

F5- will bring up the floating toolbar or

Use the sidebar icon to launch

Microsoft’s weaker search tool 

In contrast to Navigator Microsoft Word’s search tool is much weaker in terms of user experience and searching.

The launch pop-up box seems to be an after-thought, launched by a small icon that is hidden away at the bottom right of the screen.(see below)

Word search pop up

The search function is severely limited by only being able to move numerically( backward and forward)this is of no practical use in a document with multiple-objects. If, for example, you wanted to find a particular image,you have to go through all the document or know numerically the order it was placed in the document i.e. the sixth image.