NCH Software KeyBlaze Typing Tutor

NCH Software KeyBlaze Typing Tutor
NCH Software
KeyBlaze Typing Tutor
This user guide has been created for use with
KeyBlaze Typing Tutor Version 2.xx
©NCH Software
Technical Support
If you have difficulties using KeyBlaze Typing Tutor please read the applicable topic before
requesting support. If your problem is not covered in this user guide please view the up-to-date
KeyBlaze Typing Tutor Online Technical Support at
www.nchsoftware.com/typingtutor/support.html
.
If that does not solve your problem, you can contact us using the technical support contacts
listed on that page.
Software Suggestions
If you have any suggestions for improvements to KeyBlaze Typing Tutor, or suggestions for
other related software that you might need, please post it on our Suggestions page at
www.nch.com.au/suggestions/index.html
.
Many of our software projects have been undertaken after suggestions from users like you.
You get a free upgrade if we follow your suggestion.
KeyBlaze Typing Tutor
Contents
Overview.........................................................................................................................................
Getting Started................................................................................................................................
Health and Safety...........................................................................................................................
Basics of Touch-Typing..................................................................................................................
Goal WPM ......................................................................................................................................
Dialog Menu....................................................................................................................................
Certificates......................................................................................................................................
Main Window..................................................................................................................................
User Management..........................................................................................................................
Lessons ..........................................................................................................................................
Practice ..........................................................................................................................................
Speed Test .....................................................................................................................................
Custom Exercises...........................................................................................................................
Results ...........................................................................................................................................
Games............................................................................................................................................
Reports...........................................................................................................................................
Shortcut Keys Reference................................................................................................................
Software License Terms.................................................................................................................
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Options
General...........................................................................................................................................
Sounds...........................................................................................................................................
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Screen References
Print Preview...................................................................................................................................
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1
Overview
KeyBlaze is a software program design for teaching users how to touch type and speed type.
Through the use of lessons, practice tests, and practice drills, typists will quickly develop or
improve their typing skills. The progressive lessons work well for beginners, while custom
testing and reporting will help more advanced users and testing centers.
Features
Typing lessons for Home keys, Neighbor keys, Case and more
Practice exercise categories include Revision, Drills, Prose and Poems
Test typing skills
Add your own custom typing exercises
Colored guide for next key on keyboard
Finger guide shows appropriate finger to use for the key
Automated lesson and test progression
Multiple user support
Quick and easy operation
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System Requirements
Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, or XP. 32 or 64 bit.
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Getting Started
KeyBlaze Typing Tutor takes you through a series of lessons, practice exercises and tests
designed to increase your typing speed and accuracy. The course flow is automatic - you will
be guided through the course by a navigation dialog. You may at any time, however, manually
select an lesson by clicking the Keyboard toolbar button or selecting from the lesson menu.
When you complete a manually selected lesson, your lessons will be resumed at the point in
the course where you left off.
While the typing lessons can be attempted in any order, for best results it is recommended that
you complete them in the order as presented. In general, use these steps:
1.
Read about health and safety to avoid fatigue, discomfort and injury.
2.
Read the overview of touch-typing basics to learn about how to touch-type.
3.
Work through the lessons to learn where all the keys are positioned and which fingers are
used for each.
4.
Every so often use a practice exercise to build up your typing speed by doing drills that
focus on particular weaknesses, or by practicing whole paragraphs of text.
5.
Occasionally take a speed test to find out your typing speed during a fixed-time test.
KeyBlaze Startup Wizard
The KeyBlaze Startup Wizard guides you through a simple configuration of KeyBlaze.
When the program first starts, the wizard assumes you are a first time user and will do the
following:
1.
You will be asked to select a User Mode from the drop menu. This will help KeyBlaze
prominently display the types of exercises appropriate to your level.
2. You are asked if you would like to take an initial typing speed test.
You can select "Yes, let's test my speed." KeyBlaze will take you to an initial typing
skill evaluation.
Or, you can select "No thanks. Take me straight to the lessons." KeyBlaze will then
initiate the typing course.
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3.
If you elected to take a skill test, the wizard will reappear so you can adjust your Goal
WPM. You can adjust the spinner control to the WPM value you want as your goal WPM.
The default value is 10% higher than you scored on the initial skill test.
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Health and Safety
Long periods of working at a computer can cause fatigue, discomfort or injury. An incorrectly
set up work environment, bad posture, or an incorrect typing method can contribute to these
problems.
Please observe the following points when typing: Ergonomics and posture
Your seat should have good back support - lean slightly back into your chair, not
forwards over the keyboard. Your feet should rest flat on the floor or on a foot-rest.
You should sit about an arms-length away from your monitor. The top of your monitor
should be at or slightly below the height of your eyes and directly in front of you. You
shouldn't have to tilt or rotate your head to look at it.
Your keyboard should be at or slightly below the height of your elbows, and shouldn't
be tilted towards you. You shouldn't have to tilt or rotate your wrists to reach the keys.
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Frequent rests
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Take frequent breaks. Do some stretches or take a walk to exercise your arms and
legs, and look at some distant scenery out a window to exercise your eye muscles.
Basics of Touch-Typing
When not reaching for another key, your fingers and thumbs should rest on their home keys as
in the figure below.
A - Left pinky
S - Left ring finger
D - Left middle finger
F - Left index finger
J - Right index finger
K - Right middle finger
L - Right ring finger
; - Right pinky
Space - Left and right thumbs
Your fingers should be curved and your hands should be floating slightly above the keyboard.
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To type other keys, try to move only the required finger or fingers. Use the colored zones
below as a guide to what keys each finger should push. Try not to lift your hands away from
the keyboard as fingers that aren't being used should stay in contact with their home keys. The
spacebar should be pressed by the thumb of the opposite hand used to type the last character
of the current word.
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Follow the lessons in order to familiarize yourself with the layout of the keyboard, a few keys at
a time. Try to memorize the positions of the keys as they're introduced, and use the
on-screen prompts
to guide your fingers to them. Get into the habit of tapping the keys without looking at
the keyboard or your fingers.
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Once you can accurately tap the keys, start building up your speed. Remember that results are
measured from both speed and accuracy though, so don't concentrate on one at the expense
of the other.
Tips
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Most keyboards have a small raised or indented dot on the F and J keys. Learn to use
these to quickly locate the home keys without looking at the keyboard.
Stay relaxed, as tensing in the arms, wrists, or fingers can cause fatigue and slow you
down.
Tap keys lightly, as excessive force can also cause fatigue and slow you down.
Goal WPM
Type in or use the spinner control to enter the WPM (words per minute) goal that you would
like to achieve.
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Dialog Menu
The dialog menu is the means for you to select what you would like to do after a lesson is
completed. You will see a display of the results of the lesson just completed plus controls to
either proceed to the next lesson or repeat the last one. Here you may skip the next lesson.
You will not be prompted again to complete skipped lessons. You can choose to complete a
skipped exercise at any time from the Keyboard or Numpad lesson dialogs.
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Certificates
Upon successful completion of the KeyBlaze typing course, you will be presented with the
opportunity to print a certificate that displays your achievement. To successfully complete the
course, you must earn a Bronze award or better in at least one lesson per section. If the end of
the course is reached and there are still sections in which no award has been won, you will be
taken to the first lesson in the first section that has not been completed. As soon as all sections
are completed, the award will be presented.
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Main Window
Tabbed Toolbar
Lessons
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Intro - Read about the basics of touch-typing.
Lessons - Select a lesson .
Start - Start the next lesson.
Pause/Resume - During a lesson, practice exercise or speed test, click this
button to pause the timer and to temporarily clear the screen. To resume the
lesson, exercise or test, click this button again.
Stop - Stop the currently running exercise.
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Practice
You can do practice exercises or practice taking dictation from available sound
recordings which are downloaded on demand.
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Practice - Select a practice exercise from a list of prose, poetry, drills, revision
exercises, professional exercises, or load a custom exercise. You can also select
audio dictations or custom dictations to practice with.
Select Dictation - Select a dictation from a list of those available on the NCH
website.
Start - Start playback of the selected dictation sound file.
Pause / resume - Pause or continue playing the selected dictation sound file.
Stop - Stop playback of the selected dictation sound file.
Compare - You may compare what you have typed with the transcription of the
sound file. You will be asked if you wish to do a comparison when the sound file
stops playing, and the compare button will be active as long as there is a
selected dictation and whenever the sound file is not playing.
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Games
KeyBlaze will incorporate games which are designed to increase speed and
accuracy as they are developed.
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Key Blizzard - Type the words as they fall from the top of the screen
Thirty Seconds to Type - Type the words as fast as you can
Typing Hero - Type the letter that appears exactly when the letter crosses the
line
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Tests
You can take speed tests of a chosen duration with KeyBlaze
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Speed Test - Click to take a speed test . You will select the duration, and choose
a random or custom speed test.
Results - Displays statistics about exercises and tests taken. In the toolbar, click the
Goal WPM button to change your words-per-minute goal. Click the High Scores button
to view your high scores from keyboard tests and numeric keypad tests. Click the Reset
Results to clear all statistics.
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Reports - Manage progress reports.
Add User - Add an additional user to KeyBlaze, with their own results and lesson
progressions.
Remove User - Remove any user you no longer want on KeyBlaze.
Help - Open the user manual for KeyBlaze.
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Source text
The text of the current exercise is displayed here. The next character to be typed is
highlighted by a focus rectangle. Words that have been typed incorrectly are highlighted in
red and corrected words are highlighted in green.
Typed text
Any text that you type is displayed here. Words that have been typed incorrectly are
highlighted in red.
Keyboard display
The location of the key for the next character in the exercise is highlighted here.
"Ghost" hands are superimposed over the keyboard which show the proper finger to use.
When beginning an Overview lesson, an animation will play showing you what keys the
lesson teaches until you begin typing.
Timers
When taking a speed test , the time bar represents visually how much time remains until the
test finishes.
If Show Timer is selected in the General tab of the Options dialog, a digital clock will be
displayed to the left of the keyboard. The clock will show remaining time for speed tests,
and elapsed time for all other exercises.
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User Management
In the Results tab you can select the current user from the current user pull down field. You
can change the type of the current user by using the user type pull down.
It is possible to add new users by using the Add User button on the toolbar. This will open a
dialog prompting you to type a user name and select an age. You can only add users which do
not currently exist already.
You can delete users using the Remove User button on the toolbar. This will remove the user
and all results associated with that user. If the user removed is currently the active user,
another user will be selected as the active user.
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Lessons
Clicking the Lessons button in the Lessons tab of the toolbar (or selecting Lessons->Select
Lesson) will bring up the Lessons selection dialog.
Use the lessons to learn the layout of the keyboard progressively, along with which fingers
should be used to hit which keys.
When a lesson is selected, the lesson's description appears in the description area. When you
have selected a lesson, click "Start" to begin.
When the lesson is complete, the results will be displayed in the task dialog at the completion
of the exercise.
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Practice
Clicking the Practice button in the Practice tab of the toolbar (or selecting Practice->Select
Practice)will bring up the Practice Exercises window, where you can practice words and
characters that have given you trouble, random words or characters, or pieces of prose and
poetry.
Alternatively, you can bring up a list of your custom designed practice exercises by selecting
Practice->Select Practice Text...
Revision
Use the "Problem words" exercise to practice words that you've had trouble with in the past.
The source text is generated from words that were mistyped in previously attempted
exercises.
Use the "Problem characters" exercise to practice words containing characters that are
troublesome for you.
These exercises are not available unless mistakes have been made in one or more of the
other exercises.
Drills
Use these exercises to increase your response time to unfamiliar texts. The source texts
are generated from random collections of words, letters and / or numbers.
Prose / Poetry
Use these exercises to practice typing natural English texts.
Professional
Select a professional exercise to practice typing emails, letters, reports and transcriptions.
Custom
If you have imported custom exercises (see the Custom Exercises section of this manual
for more info), you can select them here to practice typing.
Dictation You may practice taking dictation against a prerecorded sound file.
Select the "Practice" tab and click the "Select Dictation" toolbar button.
Choose from the list of available dictations in the dialog. If the sound file has not already
been downloaded, KeyBlaze will attempt to download it from the NCH website.
Click "Start" - this will start the playback of the sound file.
You may start typing at any time - there is no time limit and results are not tracked for
dictations.
You will be asked whether you wish to compare your typing with a text transcription when
the recording finishes, and whether you want to keep displaying the prompt dialog..
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When you stop the dictation, you may also choose to do a comparison by clicking the
"Compare" toolbar button.
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Speed Test
To take a speed test, click the Test tab in the toolbar and click the Tests button or select
Tests->Start Speed Test.
You can calculate your typing speed over a fixed duration. You can either pull down the list to
select a standard duration or enter a custom duration between 1 and 59 minutes.
Select the duration and click "Start". The source text will be selected either randomly or from a
list of imported tests.
When the test is complete, the results will be displayed in the task dialog.
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Custom Exercises
You can import custom exercises by clicking the Import button on the Exercise tab toolbar.
This opens the Import Custom Exercise dialog.
Select type of exercise to import
You may choose to import practice exercises, speed tests, or dictations.
Use the browse button to locate the file you wish to import, then enter a title and
description of the exercise if prompted.
Click the "Import" button once you have chosen a file and provided the information
needed.
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Depending on the exercise type, you will need to enter a combination of title, description
and category.
NOTE: custom practice and speed test files must be standard text files (.txt) - no .docs,
etc. Custom dictations must be in mp3 format.
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Results
After each lesson, practice drill, or test, results will be displayed in the task dialog about your
typing statistics, including duration, net WPM, the number of errors and number of corrections
made.
In addition, results reports are saved in the folder you specified in options with the following
statistics: Date
The date the exercise was completed.
Duration
The number of seconds taken to complete the exercise.
Words typed
For the purposes of calculating typing speeds, every five characters typed are counted as
one word.
Gross words per minute (Gross WPM)
Equals the number of typed words divided by the number of minutes taken to complete the
exercise.
Gross keystrokes per hour (Gross KPH for keypad exercises)
Equals gross words per minute times 300.
Corrections made
The number of times the backspace key was used.
Incorrect words
The number of words with mistyped characters.
Net words per minute (Net WPM)
Equals the gross WPM minus one point for every mistake.
Net keystrokes per hour (Net KPH for keypad exercises)
Equals net words per minute times 300.
Best words per minute (Best WPM)
The best WPM to date.
Best keystrokes per hour (Best KPH)
The best KPH to date.
Best accuracy
Equals the number of corrections made divided by the number of characters typed. The
number of errors is not used because, if a correction is made, it is not counted as an error.
Award
Awards are given based on both speed and accuracy. To receive an award, you must have
at least 84% accuracy. Speed and accuracy are equally important in determining which
award you will receive. A sound will be played if you receive an award. Play Award Sounds
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is selected in Options ~ Sounds.
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In the results tab, you can see:
Your WPM Goal, Best WPM / KPH and Best Accuracy.
Your high scores for keyboard and numeric keypad tests
Progress reports from lessons
Line graphs of the results of lessons, tests, and games.
The titles of the previous exercise and the next exercise in the course.
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Games
KeyBlaze includes games to help typist use, develop, and engage with their typing skills in a
fun way. The games can be found by clicking the Games tab.
Key Blizzard
Key Blizzard is a game where the user must type the keys that are shown on the screen
before they reach the bottom.
Instructions
Type the keys that fall from the top of the screen before they reach the bottom.
Hit the Spacebar to use a screen bomb. A screen bomb clears the screen of all keys
and gives you points.
Different colored keys will sometimes appear. Type these keys for bonus effects.
If you make a mistake or a snowflake hits the bottom, you will lose health! The game is
over when you run out of health.
Press the Esc key at any time to pause the game and return to the menu. Click Resume
to return to the game in progress.
Click End on the menu to stop the game and record your current score.
Good luck!
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30 Seconds to Type
In 30 Seconds to Type, the user must type the words that appear in the center area as fast
as they can, before the timer runs out.
Instructions
Type as many words as you can before the timer runs out.
Type complete groups of 12 words with the same amount of letters to earn a time-bonus.
If you type an incorrect character, you will be shown a new word to type. Only words
that are typed correctly are counted toward the number of words you need to type
before you earn a time-bonus.
When you run out of time, the game is over. However, you may have advanced to the
next level of play. When you select to play again, the letter-count of your words will be
higher.
Press the Esc key at any time to pause the game and return to the menu. Click Resume
to return to the game in progress.
Click End on the menu to stop the game and record your current score.
Have fun!
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Typing Hero
In Typing Hero, the user must type the letter that appear exactly when the letter cross the
line place in the bottom.
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Instructions
Type the letter exactly when it cross the line, and you will get additional time bonus.
Based on typing precision, you will be awarded with points. For eg: if you type the
character while passing the line will be awarded Excellent and will get 25 points.
If you type the letter after it cross the line, the time bonus will be reduced and "Missed"
status will be displayed.
When you run out of time, the game is over and result will be displayed.
Press the Esc key at any time to pause the game and return to the menu. Click Resume
to return to the game in progress.
Click End on the menu to stop the game and record your current score.
Have fun!
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Reports
View a list of performance reports by selecting Reports from the Results tab toolbar or the
KeyBlaze menu.
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Each saved performance report is listed with its creation date and time.
You may open a report by selecting one and clicking the "Open" button. This will launch
the program associated with the report file's type. You may also double click a report to
open it.
Click the "Rename" button if you would like to change the report file's name. You can
also click a highlighted report a second time to rename the report.
The "Delete" button will delete the selected report.
Shortcut Keys Reference
Ctrl+B
Crtl+D
Ctrl+Shift+R
Ctrl+K
Ctrl+P
Ctrl+T
Ctrl+Shift+W
Ctrl+Shift+C
Ctrl+Shift+I
Ctrl+O
Ctrl+R
F4
F9
Alt+S
Alt+C
F10
Alt+F4
F1
Open "Basics of typing" page
Show timer
Reset results
Select keyboard lesson
Select practice test
Take a speed test
Clear problem words
Clear problem characters
Import custom exercises
Options
View reports
Stop Exercise/Dictation
Start Exercise/Dictation
Select Dictation
Compare Dictation
Pause Exercise/Dictation
Quit application
Open help documentation
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Software License Terms
1.
The copyrights in this software and any visual or audio work distributed with the software
belong to NCH Software and others listed in the about box. All rights are reserved.
Installation of this software and any software bundled with or installed-on-demand from this
software is licensed only in accordance with these terms.
2.
By installing, using or distributing this software you, on your own behalf and on behalf of
your employer or principal, agree to be bound by these terms. If you do not agree to any of
these terms, you may not use, copy, transmit, distribute, nor install this software - return it
to the place of purchase within 14 days to receive a full refund.
3.
This software, and all accompanying files, data and materials, are distributed "as is" and
with no warranties of any kind, whether express or implied except as required by law. If you
intend to rely on this software for critical purposes you must test it fully prior to using it,
install redundant systems and assume any risk.
4.
We will not be liable for any loss arising out of the use of this software including, but not
limited to, any special, incidental or consequential loss. Your entire remedy against us for
all claims is limited to receiving a full refund for the amount you paid for the software.
5.
You may not use this software in any circumstances where there is any risk that failure of
this software might result in a physical injury or loss of life. You agree to indemnify us from
any claims relating to such unauthorized use.
6.
You may copy or distribute the installation file of this software in its complete unaltered
form but you may not, under any circumstances, distribute any software registration code
for any of our programs without written permission. In the event that you do distribute a
software registration code, you will be liable to pay the full purchase price for each location
where the unauthorized use occurs.
7.
Use of statistics collected by the software is subject to the NCH Software Privacy
Statement which allows automatic anonymized collection of usage statistics in limited
circumstances.
8.
The contract arising out of this agreement is governed by the laws and courts of the
Australian Capital Territory.
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Options - General
The General tab of the Options dialog allows you to set your preferences for how the interface
looks, and paper printing size, where reports are saved, and font size.
Options
Force backspace after mistakes
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Enabled: When an incorrect key is typed, typing cannot proceed until the mistake has
been corrected.
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Disabled: Typing can continue as usual after making a mistake.
Accept two spaces between sentences
Enabled: KeyBlaze will allow you to type two spaces after a period.
Disabled: Only one space after a period will be allowed.
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Show timers
Enabled: KeyBlaze will display the digital clock and in the case of speed tests, the
progress bar.
Disabled: Clock and progress bar will not be shown.
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Display an animation of keys before Overview lessons
Enabled: Before beginning an overview, an animation will loop showing the keys the
lesson is introducing. When you type a key, the animation will stop and the lesson
begins.
Disabled: No animations are displayed before lessons
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Printing
Use A4 paper (default is Letter)
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Enabled: When a certificate is awarded, it will be printed on A4 paper if desired.
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Disabled: Standard letter size paper will be used.
Reports
Set the default location where progress reports will be stored.
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Font Size
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Use the up and down arrows to select a font size that will be used for the displayed text.
A sample will be displayed in the edit box to the right of the arrow buttons and the main
text displays will accommodate the font size.
Options - Sounds
Sound Assignments
You can configure what sounds are played when awards are received and when mistakes are
made in the Sounds page of the Options dialog. A list of events is displayed with the currently
assigned sound and default sound for each.
Assign a sound by selecting from the dropdown list in the "Assigned Sound" column for
the selected event.
You can preview a sound by selecting a sound for an event and pressing the "Preview
Selected Sound" button.
You can reset all assigned sounds to their defaults by pressing the "Reset to Defaults"
button.
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Play Award Sounds
Select this option to have KeyBlaze play sounds when awards are received.
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Play Error Sounds
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Select this option to have KeyBlaze play sounds when mistakes are made.
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Screen References - Print Preview
The Preview window displays each page of the document as it will be printed by the printer.
Print (if available)
You can print the document by clicking the Print button.
This will open the printer selection and settings dialog where you can select which pages of the
document to print.
Previous and Next
Use the Previous and Next buttons to view each page of the document when there is more
than one page to print.
Close
The Close button closes the window.
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