Tag Archives: word

100 ways to use a VLE – #58 Uploading a Word Document

Now before you read this blog post go and read this one. Update: Alas the blog post has been deleted…

Uploaded documents consistently create more workload. So why is it that staff are encouraged to waste their time by uploading documents and then, at a later point, are expected to invest even more time into re-learning processes for doing roughly the same thing only more efficiently? Promoting the uploading of documents as a basic skill really drives me nuts! There, I’ve said it. And I am not going to apologise for doing so. Technology should save people time and not create even more work. And it is far harder to unlearn bad habits than it is to learn good habits in the first place!

Also check out the comments.

There is a very valid argument against uploading Word documents to the VLE. It does make much more sense if you need to add text to a course that you add it direct to the VLE. This makes sense from the learner’s perspective, they don’t need to have Word, they don’t need to download and open the file. If a Word document contains links this can cause issues to the learner.

From a practitioner’s perspective it also makes sense, much easier to update text that’s already on the VLE, then find the original Word document, or download another copy from the VLE, upload and then ensure that the links back on the VLE now work okay.

So to summarise it actually makes much more sense to enter text direct onto the VLE than upload a Word document. It’s better for learners and better for practitioners.


What is logical and rational isn’t necessarily always the best way forward for some practitioners, or benefits the learners.

I agree we should use text where text can be entered, however very few practitioners come to the VLE with a blank canvas of resources, they would have already made an investment (hopefully) in using the computer to use Word to create documents for assignments, handouts and briefings. In an ideal world it would be great that these were added to the VLE as text, however in an unideal world if uploaded to the VLE quickly and easily, for the practitioner they can see that their resources are now available to the learners, whilst for the learners they can now access those resources at a time and place to suit them. They will see the benefits of using the VLE, hopefully they will. Of course if does make sense to avoid this step if possible, but it’s not always possible. At this point, the training on in the future just using text and not Word documents should take place, hopefully avoiding some of the problems noted in the linked blog post.


Sometimes using a Word document actually can make much more sense then using plain text.



Sometimes there are features in Word (such as hotspots) that require the use of Word to use them effectively. Uploading an image or text to the VLE wouldn’t work, and not all practitioners have the skills to necessarily repurpose an interactive Word document using a tool such as Flash.

Sometimes you want learners to manipulate a Word document and again it makes sense to start from the Word document rather than a copy and paste. Learners working together on a collaborative document for example may prefer using Word, even over such tools as Google Docs or a wiki which make more technical sense. Using technology is not always about making the right technical choice, sometimes an emotional choice or preference can work for some learners.

At the end of the day it makes much more sense for practitioners to use plain text on the VLE rather than a Word document. It is more accessible, it is easier (in some respects), it is much much easier to update later or next year and of course remember not everyone has Word.

Photo source.

Please do not send 17MB Word attachments…

As per usual when I am out of the office for a while I get the usual “Your mailbox is over its size limit” as I do send and receive a large amount of e-mail (even more so when I am out of the office as it is my main form of communication).

Please do not send 17MB Word attachments…

Now it’s very difficult to archive from a remote location, so I do go through and trim a few e-mails and download and then delete large attachments.

However was very surprised to see literally one day after doing this he “Your mailbox is over its size limit” message again, I checked I hadn’t received any new BIG e-mails for a while, so I thought I know I suspect that an all staff e-mail with a large attachment had been sent round.

And boy was I right!

Somone (who shall remain nameless as this is a public blog) had sent for sending to all staff an e-mail with a single Word document as an attachment.

This Word document was a single page document, with some pictures on it.

This Word document in terms of file size was large, nay huge, nay really really BIG!

It was 17MB, that’s right seventeen MB!

17MB for a single page document!

Obviously the person who had created the document had taken some photographs with a digital camera and inserted them into the word document, resized them so they fit on the page, but not resized them in terms of file size!

17MB for a single page document!

Now with other a thousand staff, that means the mail server was choked with 20GB from a single e-mail!

I suspect I was not the only one who received the “Your mailbox is over its size limit” e-mail this weekend and I suspect that there will be a lot of people who will be very annoyed and will just delete the Word document without opening or downloading it.

Really that file should have never been sent, posted as a link perhaps (but would you download a 17MB Word document).

I did go ahead and print it as a PDF and got it down to 300KB without trying which is still large, but so much better than 17MB.

Maybe next time a simple text e-mail would have sufficed.


Found a useful shortcut, if you are using Word and want to repeat your last action then pressing F4 will make this happen.

I have been writing some guides and needed to resize the screenshots, I was doing this for each one, but now, do one, click the next, press F4, click the next, press F4 and so on.

Saving time with this one.