12 Super Useful Cheatsheets & Job Aids

Learning & Instructional Design

Multimedia Learning Design Principles

Based on Richard Mayer’s

Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

Anyone who designs any kind of learning materials should bookmark this interactive guide to Robert Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction created by Montse Anderson (@mlearning)


Multimedia Learning Design Resources

This collection of resources will give you a nice headstart on finding the things you need when you’re ready to start building.

Articulate Storyline Shortcuts

Give your work in Articulate Storyline a boost of speed with these handy keyboard shortcuts.



Presentations & Design

Here are some useful presentation & design-related guides. For even more, check out this big collection of curated resources for PowerPoint and multimedia design.

10 PowerPoint Shortcuts You Should Know


Character Map for Wingding Icon Fonts

If you ever use any of the winding fonts in your designs, you’ll love having a copy of this complete map created by Bruce Gabrielle. This has been on my office wall for years!



Canva Shortcuts

I’ve mentioned Canva as a great tool for designing just about any type of graphics you need and you’ll have them done in no time with these useful shortcuts.



General Office & Others

Top 10 Document Time-Saving Tips

No matter what job you’re in, you probably deal with documents. These time-saving tips will help you polish them off in record time.



Google Docs Cheatsheet



Google Sheets



Google Drive




Loads of folks regularly share files with Dropbox. This is a useful guide for those who are new to Dropbox of others you’re sharing Dropbox files with who aren’t regular users.



Thanks for stopping by. Do you have any cheatsheets posted on your wall? What are they? I’d love to know!

This is the 9th post of a 12 part series.

Free Download: Storyline Menu Template

Recently, while reading some web development articles I came across this cool animated menu and thought it would make a cool elearning course menu. I took a few minutes to recreate it and this is how it turned out. Add a cool, appealing intro slide in front and this could make a nice opening sequence for your next project.


View the demo | Download the source file


Free Download: Storyline Elearning Navigation Menu

As I was browsing through my morning reading recently, I came across this nifty navigational demo on the codyhouse.com website. I think this makes a nice addition to an online course so I crafted a quick example in Storyline.

Round Stetchy Menu

View Demo  |  Download Storyline file

No Photoshop Required

Ethos3 recently posted a ‘How to’ on how they made their cut out images in Photoshop for their fabulous “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify” deck. I saw a question asking if this could be done using ONLY PowerPoint and the answer is yes and it’s super simple.

Here is one way it can be done:

1. Remove the background First we need to remove the background. (Format  » Remove Background)
Take a look at David Anderson’s screencast on how to use PowerPoint’s Remove Background tool.

2. Use the Freeform shape tool to draw a shape around the outside of your image. David covered this in his screencast too.

3. For the crumpled paper effect copy the freeform shape and fill it with a crumpled paper image. (Format Shape » Fill » Picture or Texture Fill)

4. Increase the transparency setting high enough that your image shows through the shape you just filled.

If you like you can grab a copy of my file to play with and see how it works. No Photoshop required!


I do a lot of reading and try to share a lot of the best stuff I find via twitter. Usually this resulted in a big mass flood of tweets in the dark hours of the morning when most people here in the U.S. are still sleeping.  Recently I discovered a much better way to do this by using Buffer. The beauty of Buffer is that you can queue your updates and it sends them out at the optimum times to reach your audience.

Buffer is very simple to use and there are a bunch of different ways for you to queue your posts including:

If you like this, you might also be interested in “The Ultimate Guide To Becoming An Amazing Twitter Curator” from the Buffer blog.


Insert images instead of copy & paste

I’m guessing that a pretty big percentage of images used in PowerPoint come from the web.  And I’m also guessing that most people may realize that most images on the web have been compressed in some way to provide a balance of quality & small file size.  What I don’t think many people realize is that when you copy & paste images directly from the web into PowerPoint that you lose much of that compression and wind up with a bigger file size than you need to have.

The reason is that whenever a picture is copied to the computer’s clipboard and then pasted into PowerPoint (or Word, etc) the picture is pasted as a bitmap—regardless of the file format of the original picture.  Bitmap file sizes are much larger and have less detail which leaves you with a much larger Word or PowerPoint file than necessary, particularly if you have used multiple images this way.

So instead of copying & pasting directly from the web into your document, you should save them first and then Insert them via the Insert menu instead.

I did a quick test with the following results:


File Size (kb)

Copy & Paste


Copy & Paste (Compressed)




Notice that even after using PowerPoint’s option for compressing the pasted images the file size was still larger than the file using inserted images.

Displaying Documents in PowerPoint

This is in response to a good thread in Articulate’s Elearning Heroes community about “Creative Ways to Include Links

Here are a few ways that I’ve incorporated documents and attachments in presentations / courses:

This document graphic is from one of Tom Kuhlmann’s blog posts.  In the post he shows how he built it along with providing a downloadable copy.

Plain Document:

I usually drop a screenshot of whatever document I ‘m referencing on top of this….which leads to something like this:

At the end of a course I’ve used multiple  smaller versions that are animated with each document rising out of a pocket which is then linked to the actual document.

Download the PowerPoint Template

If you’re interested here is a PowerPoint file containing these examples.

View the published demo

and an Articulate published demo.

Publishing PowerPoint/Articulate to DVD

Since we’re developing materials for people working in power plants, we have a fair number of the people in our audience do not have easy access to a PC. ( Imagine the guy driving a bull dozer in a coal yard for instance.)  It’s much easier for them to find a TV/DVD player than a computer, so we often make DVD versions of our Articulate classes to make it easier for them to access certain courses.

One important thing to remember is that just because you save your project onto a DVD does NOT mean that it will play on a TV/DVD player.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. PowerPoint slides (duh!)
  2. Audio files/Narration (I use Audacity)
  3. Your favorite screen capture tool (optional – I use SnagIt)
  4. A video editing program (I use Windows Movie Maker)
  5. A DVD authoring tool (I use DVD Flick)

Here is the process we use:

Step 1. Save your PowerPoint slides as “PNG”,”JPG” images.

There are different ways to capture your slides as images. The easiest way is to do a “Save as…” from PowerPoint and choose one of the image formats.

However I’ve found that the best way is to take screen shots. This has two benefits. First I get better image quality by taking my screenshots of the slides with SnagIt in .PNG format. And secondly, you can “fake” animations by incrementally capturing slides with bullet lists, etc.  For example a slide with 3 bullet points would be captured with three screenshots – one for each bullet. This gives the appearance of animation in the video.

Step 2. Import the pictures into Windows Movie Maker

Step 3. Select all the imported images and add them to Storyboard

Step 4. Import the audio/narration into Movie Maker

Step 5. Add the imported audio files to the Storyboard and sync them with the images

(Optional) You can add titles, transitions, call outs and video effects to the slides if you like.

Step 6. Save the slide show as Movie File

When you save videos to DVD for viewing on television, it is important to be familiar with the various standard media formats for televisions, because most of the formats are mutually incompatible. In the US you’ll want to select the High quality video (NTSC) option.

The format used in America and Canada is NTSC (National Television System Committee). Western Europe and Australia use PAL (Phase Alternating Line) formatting, and Eastern Europe and France use SECAM (Sequential Color with Memory) formatting. Most DVD authoring software , including DVD Flick, gives you the choice of saving your video to either NTSC or PAL formatting for television.

NOTE: If you save your file for viewing on a television, the resolution may appear blurry on the computer.

Step 7. Burn the resulting .avi video file using your DVD authoring software.  See the DVD Flick help guide for details.

Depending on your content, you might want to consider creating a menu that allows viewers to navigate various sections of your DVD.

ADDED BONUS: If you want or need to get your PowerPoint/Articulate content into a format compatiable with the iPad you could use this same method and publish to an iPad compatible format instead of DVD format.

Another option that I’ve used in the past is to simply play your published Articulate course and use a screen recording program, (I use Camtasia) to capture it as a video file, then burn that using your DVD authoring software.  This option also works well and might be a little bit quicker if you don’t need to add or tweak anything in the video version of your course.

Articulate Community Flip Card Template “in the wild”

I just wanted to share how I’ve used one of the great  elearning templates from the Articulate community for a recent project.  If you haven’t tapped into the Articulate community you’ve definitely been missing out!

I used Tom’s Flip Card template for a course  on signs & barricades.  I loved the original version but it’s not exactly appropriate for our audience of power plant employees, so I changed the background and added a more industrial feel to it. So without further ado….here it is.  Thanks Tom!

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