Mind Genius Download

University of Stirling staff and students can download a full version of Mind Genius 6 (Windows only – sorry Mac users).

Mind Genius  – allows users to organise ideas and quickly generate keywords by converting them to a mind map layout.  This enables the user to build up written material, by adding notes and additional ideas and link them together.  With Mind Genius you can easily design clear structures for pieces of written work and help to avoid blank page syndrome.   

When you download Mind Genius it will act as a trial version valid for 30 days. The University of Stirling licence code will then need to be entered to carry out “Activation” of the software by using your University of Stirling email address while online (other email addresses will not work with this licence code).

Download link:


The licence code can be obtained from the Disability Service or from Information Services.








Windows 10 – Start menu

Continuing our look at Windows 10 we’re moving on to the Start Menu. After its hiatus in Windows 8 it’s made a much demanded return in Windows 10.

Before even opening the Start menu you will notice that the search bar introduced to the Start menu in Windows 7 has moved to sit in the toolbar permanently. Move your focus here and it opens a window ready to display your search results, either from the web or your computer. This is the home of Cortana, your virtual assistant, Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Siri. There’s a lot to say about Cortana so we’ll get to know her in a separate blog post.

Moving away from the search box and selecting the Windows icon on the toolbar opens a familiar looking window but with some differences.

A list of All Programs has been replaced by All apps. Selecting this provides a list of all the programs installed on your computer, in alphabetical order. We also have the option to open File Explorer, Settings and Power options. It’s a less cluttered Start menu and easier to navigate as a result. You can pin and unpin items to your heart’s content! Though if you’re anything like me, to find anything, you already default to the search bar in Windows 7 and Windows 10 builds on that idea.

Then to the right of the menu we have live tiles. The idea of a live tile will be familiar to anyone who has worked with Windows 8. These tiles relate to a program on your computer and can display relevant information for that day. Think calendar, email or the weather. These tiles can be swapped, moved, resized or removed entirely. Just right click on the relevant tile to make your choices. Live tiles are great for people who want information in bitesize pieces or like the easily accessible prompt.


So some potential there to make the Start menu work better for you. Check back for more on Cortana (Let me know in the comments if you’re a Halo fan!)


Office 2013 – Changing your theme

Office 2013 is coming to the University of Stirling for staff and lab computers. Cue echoes of ‘Where’s that button gone?’ and ‘Why have they changed that?’ around the campus. Don’t panic – we’re here to help. And we’ve already been asked one question several times.

How do I change my Office 2013 theme?

Office 2013 comes with a stylish new look but all these softer colour schemes and pretty patterns can mean less contrast and a spot of eye strain.

Here’s a couple of things to try that might help.

In any Office application open the File menu and select Options. Under the General tab you will find two drop down menus labelled Office Background and Office Theme.

Office background changes the patterns in the menu bar. Select No Background to be clutter free.

Office Theme makes the biggest change. Here you can choose from White, Light Grey and Dark Grey for the Office background. I say the biggest change…I’m afraid it doesn’t give the high contrast you might be looking for but choosing the Dark Grey does help a little, especially in the menus.

Need more contrast? You will have to change the colour scheme for Windows as a whole. On your keyboard press Alt + Shift + Print Screen to switch to the Windows High Contrast scheme. Use the same keystroke to turn it off again. Give it a go – you might like it!

Still not what you’re looking for? Contact the Disability Service and we’ll try to help.

Disability Service labstats now available

Good news! You can now look up the availability of the Disability Service computer labs.

The information is available at the usual link http://labstats.stir.ac.uk/lab.html

It will also be displayed on the plasma screens acround campus.

Please note that these labs are only available for Disability Service users. Please contact us if you have any queries.


In other labs news:

The labs 2A79 and 2A81 are going to be refurbished week beginning 24th August 2015 starting with 2A81. Please check the labstats link above for availability. We apologise for any inconvience this might cause. We will keep you updated on progress.

Windows 10 – Beware!

29th July 2015 is the official release date for Windows 10. For Windows 8.1 users this upgrade is currently free and will be made available in stages from this date. You will be notified that it’s available for your computer by a Windows icon in the system tray.


The update will not automatically install and we are advising that you do not choose to install it manually.

A number of assistive technology developers have warned that their software will not work with Windows 10.

Windows 8.1 will continue to run on your computer without the update.


If you have any questions or would like some more information please contact the Disability Service. Or check www.assistivetech.wordpress.stir.ac.uk for updates and reviews of the latest Windows 10 news and what it means for assistive technology at the University of Stirling.

ZoomText v.10

The ZoomText Magnifier and Reader license available to staff and students on the network has been updated to version 10.

The new features are:

Web Finder has been expanded to allow you to search for words or phrases throughout an entire webpage to find topics of interest. When you’ve found a topic of interest you can have Web Finder start reading from that location. Web Finder can also find and execute links and controls allowing you to seamlessly navigate between web pages.

The new ZoomText Camera feature allows you to use a webcam to magnify printed items and other objects right on your computer screen.

The new Background Reader allows you to listen to documents, webpages, email or any text while you simultaneously perform other tasks.

The new ZoomText Recorder allows you to turn text from documents, webpages, email or other sources into audio recordings that you can listen to on your computer or transfer to your mobile device for listening to on the go.

The new “Read from Pointer” command lets you instantly start AppReader at the word under the mouse pointer.

ZoomText now provides smooth text magnification (xFont) and reading of web pages in IE9.


Let us know if you try any of the new features and what you think of them in the comments below.

Think the features might be helpful but don’t have the software? ZoomText is available for all staff and students on the network. Please contact the Disability Service for more information.

Kurzweil 3000 taskbar

Need read back for an inaccessible PDF, webpage or document?

Try the Kurzweil 3000 taskbar. This handy tool allows you to drag and drop text quickly and easily to the toolbar for instant audible feedback.

To access right click on your toolbar, highlight Toolbars and select Kurzweil Taskbar.

Highlight the text to be read and drag to the edit box.

Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Kurzweil 3000 is available for everyone on the university’s network. Contact the Disability Service for more information.

MindGenius v.6

MindGenius has been upgraded and version 6 is now available for staff and students.

Here’s what’s new:

  • An automatically created Word Cloud enables users to gauge the emerging themes.
  • Integration with a range of cloud storage providers allows users to save and open files in Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive directly from MindGenius,
  • The Map Explorer gets a new ‘Pan’ mode enabling users to scroll to any area of a large map.
  • In-place editing, replaces the ‘Add Branch’ dialog.
  • Total Cost and Quantity calculations can be added to selected branches within the map.

See the MindGenius website for more information.

Need help getting the new version? Please contact the Information Centre.

Scottish voices

If you use read back software such as Kurzweil 3000 and TextHelp Read&Write on the university’s network you can now select Stuart or Heather for a Scottish accent.

In Kurzweil 3000:

Select from the Reading voice drop down menu.


Select Tools, Options, Reading and Speaker drop down menu.

In TextHelp Read&Write:

Speech options, Select a voice drop down menu.

Not listed? Use the Search button and check the Stuart and Heather boxes.


Give them a go and let us know what you think in the comments below.