Best way to optimize binders for Mobile devices

Recently we received a support question from a college professor who wanted to “meet students where they are” and was asking how to best optimize her binders for viewing on mobile devices. We thought this would be a great post to share with you.

Viewing binders with our mobile app vs mobile browser:

Anyone can view a binder without needing to sign up for a LiveBinders account, however, you need an account if you are having your viewers viewing your binder from our App.

So unless you want your viewers to also create binders, we recommend letting them view your binder through the browser on their mobile device instead of using our App. They can then save that link to their device’s home screen to easily return to it when needed. The binder will always update with the latest content every time they click on it from their device. To access your binder from their device, you can email them the link to your binder or host it on your website.

The other option is to create a QR code for your binder  (available in your LiveBinders editor. See  “Content>QR Code” button options), and they can scan it and have it saved in their QR code app. 

FYI – If you are making the binder private, be sure to create a private access key so they can view the binder. 

Hiding tabs for more viewing space:

When viewing a binder on a phone the tabs will always appear to the left – regardless of how you set it – so that there is more viewing space for the content. However, you can create more space by clicking the arrow icon located to the right of the first tab that will give your viewers the option to hide or display the tabs on the left. Be sure to let them know when you share your binder.

Launching content full screen:

Any content that you link or upload to a binder tab can always be viewed outside of the binder – your audience just needs to click on the URL provided at the top of the tab so they can view it full screen. We recommend launching the file full screen for the best viewing experience.

Tab layout recommendations:

You can choose a text layout option that lets you write content next to the resource that you are adding to your binder.  When viewing on a phone device, the appearance will be vertically displayed rather than side by side.

If you choose text/media, the main body text will appear before the media file that you add or upload.

If you select media/text the media file will appear before the text content.

For a better viewing experience on the phone, we recommend adding any text in its own tab and any supporting material that you upload as subtabs so they can be viewed full screen.

Uploading Word Doc or PDFs:

When viewing files in a binder from a laptop we usually recommend clicking on the URL provided at the top of the tab page so that the file opens full screen. iOS and Android will treat each one differently.

iOS – Will give you the option to “view” or “download” a Word or PDF file. We recommend “view” unless they specifically have an App that can run both files.

Android – for either Microsoft or PDFs the file will download and will give the viewer the choice to pick an App to view the file in.

Hopefully these tips are useful for you.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us to help you at support @ livebinders.

Data Threat Dashboards at Your Fingertips

Keeping live data where you can easily find it.

Image with the left half of the screen having a royal blue background with white font that reads: Data Threat Dashboard: Using Binders as a Portal. In grey text it reads LiveBinders Organize Success Podcast. On the right have of the image at the top right it has text that reads Special Guest below that an picture of a man with parted grey hair and glasses. Underneath the picture is the text John Dahlgren Butte College CAD Instructor. Underneath that text is a picture of a binder with a cover image of a purple pixelated lock. The text underneath that reads Data Threat Dashboard Information

In the very early days of COVID, I had initially been following stories through NHK-TV on my television. Once it became clear that COVID was spreading rapidly, I didn’t know where to get trusted information about how the virus was spreading. Then, I discovered a binder created by John Dahlgren, an instructor at Buttle College and an avid user of LiveBinders. John had put COVID resources into a public binder called COVID-19 Dashboard Information that included the John’s Hopkins live data feed dashboard. It was the first binder I opened every day for 6 months watching the numbers grow by the 1000s. It became so useful for me that I added the website dashboard to one of my own go-to binders so that I could have one binder opened with all of my applications in one place.

I also loved being able to manage all of my applications from a central location – kind of like a gateway portal to my web applications, like Google, Slack, Canvas, etc. This way I didn’t have to keep all my browser tabs open all the time, taxing my computer. The online binder acts as an easy and affordable way to quickly create a dashboard for accessing my go-to applications everyday.

Since that time John has created another useful dashboard binder called the Data Threat Dashboard Information that I also became interested in using. It is on cyber security data threats across the globe. When Ukraine was attacked by Russia in February 2022, I was curious to see if any data threat activity had increased and where it was directed. In this binder, I could get a quick summary just by viewing the dynamic visual effects. I found it so fascinating that I invited John to join me in a podcast to explain what each of the dashboards are telling us, and I am excited to share this information with you.

Please listen to our podcast or view the episode on our Youtube channel. Transcripts, podcast and YouTube URLs are available in our Podcast binder. And feel free to open his Data Thread Dashboard binder to follow along.

Best File Format for Viewing Files in a Binder.

A frequent support question we’ve been getting these last couple of weeks has to do with why some uploaded files do not display in a binder.  We thought it might be a useful post to share with other users who might be uploading documents to their binders for the first time.

Usually, the file type that they are asking about are Microsoft office files like Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Although you can upload any file type into your binder, the ones that are browser friendly will be viewable from inside your binder tab.  When they don’t, it is usually because the file type still requires the desktop application to run that file.

So for example, if you are uploading Word documents, those file types require Microsoft Word to open the file. In those cases, your viewers need to download the file, and then open it in the Word application.  

When you upload a desktop dependent file type like Word into your binder, we create a thumbnail with instructions to your viewer to click on the hyperlink under the thumbnail to trigger the file to download. This is similar to what they would do in a typical web page. The thumbnail looks like a Word icon as shown in the example above.

Use PDF files for a better reading experience:

To make your document viewable in the binder, you can export those Microsoft files as PDFs. They display in the binder tab because Adobe made it easier for browsers to open their file for you. Below is an example of a PDF that is viewable from inside a binder tab.

Learn how to export to a PDF:

If you would like to learn how to export your Microsoft documents, Microsoft provides an easy way to export to a PDF. 

While you are in your Microsoft file, go to the File Menu in your document and choose “Export” towards the bottom of the side-menu screen. A new window will open and you can click on “Create PDF.”

We provide screenshots and instructions of how to export to PDF in our Help Guide Binder.

If you love using 3-ring binders in your workspace and would like to use something similar to organize your online, digital content, feel free to try a free binder at livebinders.com.

Student-to-Adult Transitions-A 21st Century Guide for Parents and Teens

Lisa Washington has created a online binder with invaluable resources to help teachers, parents and students prepare for life after high school.

Graphic showing the LiveBinders binder icon surrounded by a large image of earphones.  The text LiveBinders appears on the left side and vertically placed by the headset.  Beneath the earphones is the text Organize Success Podcast. To the right of the earphones is the text Special Guest with a picture of Lisa Washington underneath it and her name Lisa Washington Arkansas Transition Consultant Southwest Arkansas below her picture.  Underneath that text is a picture of her binder icon with a graphic cover that says Student Portfolio Manual. There is text underneath the graphic that says AR Transition Portfolio Manual 06132022.
Click image to launch new podcast episode, and access to Lisa’s Student-to-Adult Transitions binder

It’s not often that I get the chance to learn first hand about the types of projects our users are working on every day, so I was fortunate to have an opportunity to engage with Lisa Washington regarding her Arkansas Transition Portfolio Manual LiveBinder.

Lisa is a student-to-adult transition consultant for the Arkansas Transition Services team at Dawson Education Service Cooperative.  Lisa and her team train teachers and consultants to help prepare parents and their high school students with special needs to transition to life as adults.

Lisa’s goal was to organize all the material into an online binder so that parents and students could access the resources outside of the school environment, and long after they graduate.

While working with Lisa, I soon discovered that although her resources target students with IEPs or 504s, they are also relevant for any high school parent and student. For this reason, I invited Lisa to share her project with us. As a mother of young adult daughters, the realization that I no longer have access to my daughters private information was eye-opening, and I believe this information would be beneficial to all parents of high school students. 

In addition to the invaluable resources Lisa provides, I also candidly share the epiphany I had working with Lisa as she tried to organize her resources into an online binder for 3 different stakeholders – teachers, parents and students.  Anyone who curates material for an audience will appreciate the challenges we faced and the realization we had when we saw that working with a simple outline can help address a major issue of going digital.

Our podcast co-host Linda Houle joins me as we have Lisa lead us through the 5 areas of preparation that a student needs to go through to start their #adulting journey.

To access the podcast link, Lisa’s binder, and the podcast transcript, please click this link.  From there, you will be able to download her resources and/or launch her website forms directly from her binder.

New Update: Adding the Option for Multi-Factor Authentication.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What did we do?

We recently released an update to our site that gives you the option to log into your LiveBinders account using Two-Factor authentication, also known as Multi-Factor Authentication or “MFA.” This is a secure way to prevent any uninvited hackers into your LiveBinders account.

You can enable this MFA option from your My Profile page after you log into your account. NOTE: If you are already using Google Single Sign-on to log in, which has it’s own MFA, you do not need to enable our MFA. But, if you decide to switch, you will need to first create a password in your LiveBinders account, and then you can enable your MFA.

Why Use an Authenticator App.

Did you know that hackers can redirect your text messages or gain access to your phone carrier and then access your text messages? Using text messages as a means to receive your two-factor login code is less secure than an authenticator app because it is easier for hackers to gain access to your text messages online, than it is to physically access your phone.

With an authenticator app, a code is temporarily generated that you get through the App and it expires within a certain time period.

How to Enable your MFA

  1. Install the Google Authenticator App on your phone. Go to your App store on your phone and search for “Google Authenticator.” Make sure it is created by Google, LLC.
  2. Log into your LiveBinders account and go to your “My Profile” page.
  3. Scroll down to Multi-Factor Authentication section and click on “Set Up” button.
  4. Scan the QR Code with your Authenticator App and type in the Code that is generated into the empty box.
  5. Click “Continue” It will give you a success message letting you know that the next time you log in, you will need to use your Authentic.

To see screenshots and more, please go to our Help Guide binder.

Automatic Logout Implemented

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We’ve been continually improving the security for our LiveBinders platform, and one recent addition we’ve implemented is to automatically log you out of your LiveBinders account after 8 hours of inactivity. This may have come as a bit of a surprise to our long-time customers who have been accustomed to always being logged in when they are ready to access their account.

As always, if you are going to be away from your computer or will be accessing your computer at home, please make sure to log out of your account or close the browser window you are logged into.

MedZed: LiveBinders and Virtual Training

On our recent podcast we featured LiveBinders’ curators Dana Yousef and Esther Benons from MedZed, a telehealth company that works with high risk patients in their homes. Their nurses and physicians work both virtually and in person with their patients. Their use of LiveBinders within their Microsoft Teams portal has made training easier for everyone. In this highlight clip from the podcast, Esther shares her insight about how they meet the training requirements of different staff members in a post-COVID workplace using LiveBinders.

Introducing Base Tabs!

Main Sub and Base tabsWe are very pleased to be introducing what is, by far, the most requested LiveBinders’ feature – an additional level of tabs that we are calling base tabs!

This is a feature that is available only to our subscribers, so this may be a good time to upgrade. Educators can get a subscription for as little as $14.95 a year.

To find out more about how this feature works, please check out our newly updated help page.

Thank you to everyone who requested this feature. It took us a while to implement, but your emails and tweets were great encouragement!

Add Multiple Uploaded Files to a Binder

You can now add multiple uploaded files to a binder at the same time.  This should make it much faster to build binders with files from your local PC or school network.

DashboardTo use this new feature, go to your “My Binders” page and click on “My Uploaded Files” in the dashboard on the left.

You can upload your files there and then use the check boxes on the left to check all the files that you want to add to a binder.

Once you have selected the files that you want in a binder, click “Add to Binder” above the file list.

Checking off binders

You will see a “LiveBinder It” interface pop up with a list of your selected file names.  You can add the files to main tabs or subtabs by clicking on the appropriate selection and then clicking “Add to Binder.”

LiveBinder It interface

Thank you to those of you who requested this feature!

A Sneak Peak at Our New Editor

We love how LiveBinders has grown.  All the feature requests you have sent our way have made LiveBinders a much better product.  With all these new features, we still want to keep LiveBinders as simple as possible, so we recently redesigned the editor to make it easier use.

This release will go live Sunday May 5; here are some highlights:

  • New editor layout
  • Simple Dropbox integration
  • Easy QR code insertion  into your binder
  • PDF files in the binder will no longer be displayed on top of the edit window
  • File uploads can now be done as links in a text layout

There are screenshots below.  If you are going to be teaching a class on LiveBinders soon, please let us know by sending email to feedback@livebinders.com – we can give you early access so that you can adjust your training materials.

Restore a Binder and Binder Cover Changes

We have two recent changes at LiveBinders.  The first is a way to recover your binder if you delete it by accident, and the second is an update to how to create binder covers.

Recover a Deleted Binder

Trash Can IconTo undelete a binder, just look for the trashcan icon in your Dashboard to the left of your “My Binders” page.  Click on that icon and it will take you to a list of binders that you deleted in the last 30 days.  Please note that those binders will be permanently deleted after 30 days.

If you click on the “Undelete” link for the binder that you wish to restore, the binder will be placed back on your “My Binders” shelf.  Please note that binders are restored as “private” binders.  If you want the binder to be “public”, you will need to go back into the binder in Edit mode and change the access.

Changes to Binder CoversBinder Icon

Thumbshots.com was a service we had used to create default images for your binder cover from website links in your binder.  But Thumbshots.com only worked with the top-level domain, so the cover often didn’t look like the link that was in the binder.  We have stopped using Thumbshots, so you will now see a blank binder cover in its place.

You can create a graphical binder cover using one of these methods:

  1. Go to our Flickr search tool under “Insert Media” and search for a creative commons image.  When you find one that you want, click on it to insert it in your current tab.  Then go to “Binder Properties” and click on the “Update Binder Cover” button.
  2. If you use an embedded YouTube video from our YouTube search tool under “Insert Media” you can use the thumbnail of the video as your binder cover as well.  Just insert the video in the tab, then go to “Binder Properties” and click on the “Update Binder Cover” button.
  3. You can create your own binder cover from an uploaded .jpg or .gif file.  Please make sure you have copyright authorization before uploading any file to LiveBinders.  Upload the file to a tab, then go to “Binder Properties” and click on the “Update Binder Cover” button.  The images can be any size, but work best if they are square.  Also, if you are a subscriber, make sure the image is uploaded as a “public” file.

We are working on many more exciting features at LiveBinders, but just wanted to let you know about these two housekeeping items!

Search Within a Binder

We have a new feature in LiveBinders that you may notice right away when you open a binder.  On the top bar is the ability to search within a binder.

Search field and results

This feature currently only searches tab names,.  We will eventually add the ability to search other content within the binder, but this should be enough to get you started.

This feature currently only works in “Play” mode and not in “Edit” or “Present” modes.

Thanks so much to everyone who requested this feature!  We really appreciate your feedback.