Tag Archives: tutorials

Creating and Using Google Forms

This tutorial was written by Digital Studio Student Assistant, Jonathan Joint. Learn more about Jonathan and our other student assistants here.

Google Forms is an essential tool for college students, teachers, and faculty members alike. And for the student leaders who are very much involved in extracurricular activities that may require things like conducting surveys, registration sheets, Google Forms is a great fit.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create your own forms from scratch as well as how to use some of the Google templates as your foundation. On top of showing you how to add questions to it, I will also share some tips that will really enhance your forms– including ways to add photos and videos from a number of options.

How To Get Started

Using Google Forms is free with an existing Google account. And if you don’t currently have a Google account, you can sign up for one for free. But if you have an existing Google Account, simply click hereOtherwise, once you’ve signed up, you can access the Forms by first going to the “Drive” icon as magnified to get yourself started.

Creating/Editing Forms

Now that you are all set with all the initial set-up, you can jump to the fun stuff and begin to create and design your personalized google form. From this page, you want to click on “New” to begin a new project– then hover over “More” and then you will see the icon for “Google Forms” as one of the options, if not your first option. Refer to the images below.

Your PC or laptop will automatically open up a new browser for you with a templated format titled “Untitled Forms.” First and foremost, begin with adding a title to your form so that people will know exactly what this document is for. Google even gives you the option to add a quick description right below the title space in case you want to add a brief description that is going to personalize your form even more.

Another great plus about Google Forms is that you do not have to continually save your progress, as changes are saved automatically.

On this page you will also notice a gray shaded rectangle rectangle to the right of “Digital Lab Studio” (This is the question box) which gives you the options of choosing the form of answers you will be accepting. So much control!–I know right. So then you would then edit yours with your question, and if you have a short answer like I do, you would then move on to the next question you would like to be answered.

To add subsequent questions, you would simply hit the plus sign to the right, which will then create a brand new question box. Keep in mind that you can choose many different question forms and thus bundling a good of them. In the event that you accidentally create a new question box, you can delete it by clicking on the trash can icon at the bottom of the screen. Another great feature is the option to mark a question as a “required” question. This means that the person responding to the survey for example will not be able to submit the survey unless they answer that question.

Attaching Images and Videos

Adding an image or video can be done from the exact same taskbar to the right of the forms as illustrated below. This feature plays a huge role in giving you more creative freedom in creating your Google Form. As you will see, your options for videos or images are infinite because you are able to access videos from Youtube and search for images using the Google Search engine.

Choosing a Theme and Design

Now that you have the important details of your Google Forms done, things are easier from this point on. Now as a default, Google Forms gives you a purple background which you may or may not like. But again, the good news is that you have a plethora of options. You could also decide whether you just want to change the summer or choose an entirely new theme with the sub-option of uploading your own theme. As you can see, there is plenty of room for creativity using Google Forms.

Choosing a Google Template

Lastly, I will capitalize on my promise of teaching you how to start your process by exercising your option of choosing from one of Google’s storage of templates. Now the quickest way for you to do this is by clicking here. You’re welcome. But if you’d like to know how to work your way through this, here’s how: Go to this “Drive” page (as illustrated below), and follow the initial steps as you would when you are creating a new form. But now you have one extra step– simply hover around the little arrow to the right, which gives you the option of starting with a new form or template.

Once there, you will initially only see four options to choose from, but don’t worry, there are plenty more. Simply click the arrow at the top right by “Template Gallery” and all of the different options will be opened up to you. Now all you have to do is choose on the most suitable one for you and click it. And you can start editing the template to make it your own.

Good luck! And thank you for choosing my blog post!

Making a Podcast with Audacity

This tutorial was written by Sarah DeLorme, Associate Digital Scholarship Librarian.

The Digital Studio gets a lot of queries from our patrons regarding audio editing. There are so many great programs to choose from, it can be sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start. Audacity is a professional quality open source audio editor. It is intuitive to use and can easily be used to put together a great podcast.

Setting up

Before you even open the Audacity software, it is important to set yourself up for success in your recording. Audacity will let you connect to an external microphone, or the built in microphone at your workstation. Whichever recording device you choose, be sure to record in a quiet indoor space where you will not be interrupted. (A great place to record is the Sound Room in the Digital Studio. You can even reserve it online!) It also helps to work from a script, so that you can practice and pace yourself as you go along.


When you open Audacity, you will see this blank workspace.

Use the dropdown menus to select your recording device and your recording mode (you can choose either mono or stereo- mono is recommended for podcasts).

Click on the top numbered bar to check the input levels of your microphone. Try to keep at least a foot of space between yourself and the microphone, and speak clearly and at a moderate volume. The ideal range is a fully green bar. Avoid orange and red levels- that means you are too close or too loud!

Press the red circle button to begin your recording. (Helpful hint: leave a few seconds of empty noise at the start of the recording to sample during the noise reduction process later.) As you record, a waveform will appear on the track. Try to keep your waveform at a relatively similar level throughout, so that the volume is not fluctuating. Avoid very small waveforms which might be too soft to hear, as well as very large waveforms which might be so loud you get feedback.

Noise Reduction

Using the select tool (⌶) click and drag to highlight an empty noise portion of your recording. If you left a few seconds of silence before you started recording, use that! Otherwise, try to find a pause in the recording.

On the top menu, select effect> Noise Reduction> Get noise profile.

Next, use Command + A (CTRL+A on Windows) to select the entire track. It will look like this:

Navigate back to the noise reduction panel (Effect>Noise Reduction) and select “OK”. You will notice that your waveform will smooth out as the effect erases some of the background noise.

Creating a Second Track

Go to Tracks>Add new> Mono track. Remember, the new track will begin recording wherever the playhead is. Drag the playhead to the end of the first recording to make a seamless transition, like this:

You can move the clip around the track by selecting the “timeshift” tool (which looks like a double-headed arrow), clicking the clip, and dragging it to the desired position. You can also reorder the tracks by clicking and holding in the blank space of the left hand track menu and dragging up or down.

Deleting portions of your recording

Use the select tool to highlight the part of the recording you want to delete. (Helpful hint: use the zoom tool (🔍) to magnify the waveform and zero in on the word or phrase you wish to remove) Press the “Delete” button to remove the selected recording.

Importing and Exporting

Most podcasts have some catchy into music, and Audacity makes it easy to import a music file.  Go to File>import>audio and select the desired track. This will import the entire song. Trim the track to desired length by highlighting the extra music and pressing the delete button. To fade out, highlight the clip and go to Effects>Fade out. You will see the waveform change into a cone shape as the music tapers off.

NOTE: If you are using music in your podcast, it is very important to make sure you are not infringing on the artist’s copyright. If you are unsure about whether or not you can use a clip, ask a librarian- they can help!

To export your project as a final sound file, navigate to File>export> and select your preferred file type.

NOTE: To export an .mp3, Audacity will require you to download an additional file from their website. This is an mp3 encoding library. The prompt will provide you with a link to the download, as well as instructions. (This site is also full of tips and tutorials if you need further assistance with Audacity.)

Once your project is exported, you can open it in any program that plays audio files. However, it will be compressed, so you cannot go back and edit it. To preserve the tracks so that you can go back and edit them, you will need to save your project.

Saving your Project

Select File> Save  Project. This will save your project as an .aup file, preserving your track information so that you can open it up again later to edit it. You will only be able to open an .aup file in Audacity. This can be edited from any computer, as long as Audacity is installed.

NOTE:When you save your project, it will generate a project file (yourtitle.AUP) and a project folder (yourtitle_data).

Be sure to save both of these to your Google Drive, flash drive, or wherever you are saving your project. The folder contains your assets, and the .aup file contains the blueprint for your project. You will need both to reopen your project successfully!

If you need further assistance with your podcast, you can always contact the Digital Studio staff at digitalstudio@bc.edu


Music Notation with Finale

This tutorial was written by Digital Studio Student Assistant, Nick Sucre. Learn more about Nick and our other student assistants here.

Finale is a very effective and intuitive way to notate music digitally. This program is very user friendly yet has a huge array of tools and options that fulfill almost every demand necessary for music notation. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to create a straightforward music notation sheet. (This tutorial is done on PC but the process on Mac is identical)

Creating a New Document

Once you open Finale, a menu will appear with a series of options, and to begin we will click on Set-Up Wizard (Alternatively, if the menu does not show up, you can open the menu by pushing Ctrl + N).

The next screen that pops up will ask you to select an ensemble. Keep Create New Ensemble highlighted and click Next.

Next you will select the instruments you want for your document. For this example we will select from Keyboards > Piano and click on Add.

Hit Next and fill out the document information prompted.

Next, you can select your Meter, Tempo, Key Signature, and Pickup measure. Select Finish and the document will generate.

Writing Music

Now that we have the document we can begin to write. Before writing, we must make sure that our computer is on the right key settings. Go to Simple > Simple Entry Options…. > Edit Keyboard Shortcuts. On the bottom half of the window that appears check that the Keyboard Shortcut Set is on Laptop Shortcut Table. Then hit return to go back to the main sheet.

Now we are ready to write. Hover your mouse over the interval you wish. You can change the length of the note by pushing the numbers above the keyboard, with 5 being the quarter note, 4 being an eighth note, 6 being a half note, etc. press enter to input the note. The pitches of the next notes can be changed with the down and up arrows.

You can add flats and sharps with the – and =, respectively.

Adding Expressions and Articulations

To add embellishments of any kind to the music, simply refer to the toolbar, specifically the Expressions Tool and Articulations Tool.

You can shift the symbols around to different numbers to access articulations of your choice quicker.

Using the Music Playback Tool

The Playback Tool on Finale allows you to hear your written music and plays the music back to you exactly as written on the sheet, using digital instruments.

The Playback Region option gives you some options as to where the music begins to play. It is really your preference where you want it to start (default is first measure). I personally use Leftmost Measure as it makes it easier to listen to specific parts of music rather than having to listen to the entire piece every time. Click OK and then click the Play button. Finale will load the instrument sounds and play the music.

Finale is very easy to get used to and is welcoming to newcomers of digital notation, but also has a vast array of options and preferences that allow you to make the most advance sheet music. I encourage you to try out the different tools and mess around with preferences that work best for you. The method highlighted in this Tutorial is just one of the million ways to use this program, so make yourself comfortable. Happy Notating!

Enhancing an Image in Photoshop

This tutorial was written by Digital Studio Student Assistant, Kimberly Glover. Learn more about Kim and our other student assistants here.

First select an image of your choice.

After downloading your image, open the Photoshop software, click File and select Open to insert your image.

Photo of Asante Paramount Chief – Ghana

To brighten the image, click the Image => Adjustments => Vibrance. Make sure the preview icon is selected, it enables you to view changes to your work. In order to add more vibrance to the image, select Image => Adjustments => Photo =>Filter. Choose the filter of your choice.

Next, select Filter => Sharpen edges to give the image an HD effect. For more dimension, select the entire image, then click Select Modify => Feather.

These simple techniques can be used to edit everyday photos or accent professional headshots. Enjoy!


Intro to Excel Functions

This tutorial was written by Digital Studio Student Assistant, Nicholas Park. Learn more about Nicholas and our other student assistants here.

Excel is extremely useful for a variety of different functions and purposes: organizing or analyzing data, creating tables and graphs, and much more. With Excel, you can access, review, and edit spreadsheets for personal as well as professional use. There are wide variety of different functions, tools, and gimmicks that come with the application. Some of the most basic of these functions, that this tutorial will explore, can help make time-consuming tasks simpler and easier.

There are a variety of different formulas you can input to complete specific tasks. Some of the few, easy ones this tutorial will give explore are: =SUM, =AVERAGE, and writing your own functions or equations.

The SUM and AVERAGE functions are used by typing in “=SUM” or “=AVERAGE” then highlighting the specific cells of interest that you would like to SUM up or take the AVERAGE of. The SUM function, note, will add the numbers in the cells; therefore if you wish to subtract, mark the number you desire to subtract as a negative number with the “-” symbol (I.e. -50). The function will do the rest. The AVERAGE function will take the average of the highlighted cells in a similar fashion to the SUM function.

Some things to familiarize yourself with are the “:” symbol, which serves as the range operator. It describes the range between the two cells you are selecting. For example B5:B15, would describe the cells between 5 and 15, inclusive, in the B column. If you were to pair this range with say, =SUM(), then the result would be the sum of all numbers in B5:B15 [=SUM(B5:B15)].

Commas allow you to combine multiple references into a single reference. For example, =SUM(B5:B15,D5:D15), would take the sum of B5:B15, in addition to, D5:D15. Simple enough right?

Before we continue, there are several things to remember. Excel follows general mathematical rules for calculations, which is Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, and Addition and Subtraction, or the acronym PEMDAS. Using parentheses allows you to change that calculation order. When writing your respective formulas, remember “plus” is “+”, “minus” is “-”, “divide” is “/”, amd “multiply” is “*”. By using parentheses, you can alter the order in which these calculations are done. Some other things to keep in mind are that exponents are introduced with the “^” symbol (For example, 3^3 = 27) and “%” represents “percents”. When writing your formulas, keep in mind you can use numbers and/or cell references in order to complete your calculations. For example, B1-54.312=, would result in the value that exists in B1 subtracted by 54.312. ((B1*3)/16) =, would take the order of PEMDAS and multiply the value of B1 by 3, and then divide it by 16, giving you the desired calculation.

Formulas can be dragged across different cells if you click the bottom right corner of the cell with the equation, and drag to highlight the desired cells with the respective calculations. If you’re using a specific range of cells, the calculations will shift accordingly as well. To better explain this, examine the image below:


As you can see, the cells involved (B3 and C3), are calculated in D3. However, when the equation is dragged down the respective cells, you can use the formula for B4, B5, and B6, multiplied by their respective “C” column counterpart for the total cost. These formulas are not limited to just multiplication, so be creative!

In the event in which you want to edit an existing formula, click the cell you wish to edit. Then proceed to double-click the cell to view the formula bar and edit the formula from directly within the cell. Color coordinated highlights will help you keep track of your targeted and edited cells. If you make a mistake, you can press the Esc button to avoid making any undesired changes.

Keep practicing, and test other functions as well. Good luck!

Creating a Blog in WordPress

This tutorial was written by Digital Studio Student Assistant, Michael Zschokke. Learn more about Michael and our other student assistants here.

WordPress is an easy-to-use content management system. You can use it to write stories, upload pictures, monitor site traffic, and many other features. In this tutorial, I will walk you through the basic tools to create your first blog post.

Step 1: Create a new site.

After navigating to http://wordpress.com, click “Start with a blog.” Choose a name for your blog.

Click “Select” to create your site. WordPress will take you to your new blog!

Step 2: Customize your blog.

Use the sidebar to customize your blog. This menu allows you to change the title, color, background, fonts, and various other functions. For this tutorial, we will change the colors. Select “Colors & Background” on the sidebar.

I chose a pale tan for my background color, but there are several options available. You can also pick your own color, which is done by setting the red/blue/yellow balance and contrast.

Step 3: Create a post.

Click “start a new post.” Title your post, and type the content below. WordPress allows you to alter the font and format like any word processor.

Clicking “Add” on the left side of the menu allows you to add a picture or video to the post.


Step 4: Finalize your post.

When you are ready to publish your post, select a category into which the post will be sorted. This allows visitors to easily browse your posts. I will place “George Washington” under the category of “Presidents.”


You should also select a “Featured Image” for your post. This will be image that is placed at the top of the post and shown when the post is shared via social media or email.



Step 5: Publish your post.

After you are satisfied with your post and its settings, click “Publish” in the top right corner the web page. Congratulations! You just created your first blog post!