General features of Symbol for Windows programs
The Symbol for Windows series consists of a number of modules. You can see an overview in the picture below. If you would like to know more about a specific module, click in the menu on the left. If you are interested in an explanation of the features that are the same for all or most of the Symbol for Windows modules, read the text below the picture.
The handling of symbols within the Symbol for Windows programs
Each program from the Symbol for Windows series works with all available Symbol for Windows databases. These databases can be consulted in two ways: through the symbol selection dialogue and through the vocabularies.
One list of concepts and category structure for all programs
Each symbol, picture or photograph is linked to a unique concept (a meaning) in the list of concepts. The concepts on that list are sorted in categories. The same list of concepts and category structure are used in all programs, in the symbol selection dialogue. It is possible to put sounds, videos and other representations of concepts into a Symbol for Windows database, but that topic is beyond the scope of this website. For more information please contact us.
Finding Symbols in a vocabulary
In all Symbol for Windows programs where symbol selection is one of the main tools, it is possible to use a Vocabulary. This feature is particularly suitable for scanning users, but it also facilitates the work of creating materials. A vocabulary is a window with a grid in which symbols, pictures and text are placed.
With the mouse you can drag symbols from the Vocabulary into (for example) a communication chart. The cells in a Vocabulary can also contain commands the Document Maker or the Personal Communicator can execute. If, for example, you select a green cell, like in the screenshot above, hidden pages are opened. So the green cell acts like a directory. The Vocabularies that come with the software give access to one database. The symbols in it are arranged according to the Symbol for Windows category structure. However, with the Vocabulary Maker it is also possible to make your own Vocabularies, with a completely different structure and contents. You can also mix symbols from different databases, according to the preferences of the user. The layout, contents and commands of cells can be adjusted in the Document Maker and the Personal Communicator, too.
Finding symbols in a dialogue
Besides selecting symbols through a vocabulary, you can select symbols in all programs through the symbol selection dialogue. This dialogue gives mouse and keyboard users access to all available databases.
Symbols can be looked up in the list of concepts in the middle or in the category structure on the left. The names of concepts and categories are the same for all databases. In the top right corner you can choose a symbol database. There is a search button to find a (part of a) word in the list of concepts. With the language button you can switch to another language, for example French or German. Synonyms are symbols in one database which are linked to the same concept. For example, if there are two pictures that mean "house", both are linked to the concept "house", in stead of adding two different entries in the conceptlist. With two small buttons (with the image of a walking person on it) you can view the synonymous symbols one by one.
Some symbol users can't use mouse and keyboard. Therefore the Symbol for Windows programs that are meant for end users can be controlled by scanning, control with the use of one or two switches. These switches can be anything from a single hand-controlled switch, to foot- or headswitches or even eye-control! The switches are used to control the program and to select symbols with the vocabulary.Read more about alternative input.
High quality graphics
The Symbol for Windows software scales all symbols and imported pictures to fit a field or cell. The symbols will always retain the highest possible quality. This makes them look good on screen and on paper.
Converting symbols to black and white
If you do not wish to use colours, you can have the symbols be rendered (or just printed or exported) in black and white. This is not possible with bitmaps, like photographs. Converting to black and white gives you the possibility to colour the pictures yourself and it heightens contrast if you do not have a colour monitor.