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IT Software Tips

Internet Browsers and Browsing

Update Adobe Flash Player in IE for improved Internet security
Adjust your pop-up blocker for Skidmore College web pages
Remove 3rd party toolbars that block Skidmore pages - for Internet Explorer
Use spell check in typing boxes on web pages
For fun: Search Google Images for decades of Life Magazine photos
For the prettiest search page: Bing
Translation is built into Internet Explorer

Antivirus Software

College-owned computers: As part of a lengthy process, we are switching to Microsoft Forefront Security.

Personally-owned computers: If you want a free, effective alternative for your own Windows computer, we highly recommend Microsoft Security Essentials. It's easy to download and install, it updates easily, it has a clean interface, it does not slow your computer by eating up computational resources, and it's free. Get Security Essentials

Apple Macintosh OS X Tips

Adjust the Safari or Firefox pop-up blocker settings
Create an alias by dragging a document or network folder
Toolbars can be hidden or exposed in Finder
Tweak your Mac - mouse pointer, drive icons, file extensions, sleep
  The above tip sheet is optimized for reading on mobile devices.
USB thumb drives: Safe removal


iPad: Per Academic Technologies, the iPad apps for Blackboard do not work with our version.
Pop-ups: Blackboard uses pop-up windows so you should adjust your browser to allow them.
General: Academic Technologies' page with Blackboard information
Login: Go here to login to Blackboard 9.1 or later
Mobile: Information on Blackboard Mobile Learn for certain devices


Our calendar and email are now integrated in one server, Office 365.

It can be accessed via the Outlook Web App, , or via a client like Outlook. It is also available on multiple mobile devices such as Windows Phone 7 & 8, iPhone, iPads, Windows tablets, and some Android phones.

Microsoft Office

Universal Tips
Excel: Charts - Troubleshooting wrong x-axis labels
Excel: Extract text from a cell - e.g. first name from full name
Word: How to generate random text for layout tasks

Office 2013 for Windows
Control the Ribbon in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

Office 2011 for Mac
Control the Ribbon in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
Signatures in Outlook email messages

Office 2010 for Windows
Create PDF files in Word, Excel, etc. without Adobe Acrobat Pro
Free Excel training from Microsoft
Page numbers in Word

Office 2007 for Windows
Save compatible Office documents with 3 clicks
Create PDF files from Office 2007 SP2 or later
Excel: Expose formulas and functions within cells
Excel: Create and modify a pie of pie chart
Word: Adjust AutoCorrect annoyances
Word: Expose or hide the ruler and learn about tabs
Word: If you need to, you can revert to Word 2003 line and paragraph spacing
Word: If you need to, you can change the default font in Word 2007
Word: Hide codes in Word 2007
PowerPoint: You can change the default font of the text box tool
Control duplex (double-sided) printing

Outlook General
General: Delete email quickly
General: Housekeeping and message cleanup

Outlook 2007
Working with signatures

Outlook 2010
Open a shared calendar
Signatures, how to create and edit
Turn conversation view on or off

Outlook 2011 (Macintosh)
Addressing tips
Signatures in email

Microsoft Windows XP Tips

Disk Cleanup Utility
Print Balloons: Learn to control them

Microsoft Windows 7 Tips

USB thumb drives: Safe removal
An article with dozens of keyboard shortcuts
What's better about the Windows 7 taskbar?

Microsoft Windows 8 Tips

Which version of Windows 8 is on a computer?

Obtaining New Software

College-owned computers: Request college licensed software by help ticket

Please see the IT Purchasing Page to buy a personal copy of Office.

Urgent Note on Personal Orders

  • If you go online to order Microsoft Office for your computer, make sure you choose the correct version. For example, Office 2010 and 2013 are only for PCs running Microsoft Windows. Office 2011 is only for Apple Macintosh computers running Apple OS X.
  • If you purchase the wrong one, you will not be able to return it.
  • If you purchase the wrong one, you are not permitted to transfer it to another person.
  • If you purchase the wrong one, you may not purchase another copy of a different version.
  • These versions of Office cannot be installed on an iPad.
  • These versions of Office cannot be installed on a Windows RT tablet. Your tablet, however, may have a version of Office 2013 already installed.
  • Full Office can be installed on a tablet that runs full Windows 8.

Other Software Purchases:

Students: Free Mathematica for Students via these directions (the college bought the license)
Faculty: Our Mathematica agreement includes faculty home use licenses. Go to this web page to request it. Get the license code from Beth DuPont, IT Director of Academic Services.

SPSS Statistics for College-Owned Computers and Faculty

  • Modules are licensed selectively. Those selected by the college may be viewed here.
  • The main college license is only for "teaching and non-commercial academic research on computers owned by [the college]."
  • There is no free, home use option for your personal computer. However, the college purchased a few home licenses. You may request one by help ticket.
  • The college purchased a very limited number of licenses for administrators' office computers. You may request a license by help ticket.

SPSS Statistics Student Software
Information on sources for SPSS Student Software

IT Recommended Downloads

When taking advantage of downloads, you may be offered Google Toolbar, Yahoo! Toolbar, or OpenOffice software. Please uncheck and do not accept these add-ons. They often interfere with Oracle web pages.

Windows SFTP: Secure FTP with WinSCP (free/donation); vendor documentation
Windows SFTP and Your Personal Web Space: Our WinSCP docs
Mac OS X SFTP: Secure FTP with Fetch (contact help desk for license #)
Mac OS X: Open Zip, Tar-GZip, Tar-BZip2, RAR, 7-zip, LhA, StuffIt & more - The Unarchiver
Java (for Windows) which helps various applications: Free Sun Java download

Software Training

IT training schedules