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Using Digital Pictures as Symbols in CIP2

Communicate: In Print 2 is a symbol-supported desktop publishing program made by Widgit Software External Link .

This tutorial will take you through the process of importing your own images into Communicate: In Print. This allows chosen clipart or digital photographs to appear over words in the place of a symbol.

Why Bother?

Symbols can be used for motivation, to improve understanding or provide communication. Using custom symbols can help in all these uses. As an example imagine a communication grid that lists friends and family members. Although there are specific symbols for words like Sister, Mother, Neighbour, Friend etc. it can be far more motivating to use real images of these people. Also a pupil is likely to have many friends and it would be impossible to differentiate between one and another if the pupil could not read text as they would all use the same symbol.

Brian SymbolDaisy symbolBig Dave symbolJames symbolMum symbolHalitosis symbol

Taking Good Photographs for Symbol Use

Follow this link for some tips on how to take a good photograph and prepare it to be used as a symbol.

Importing Your Images

As mentioned in my review of Communicate: In Print, the method that Widgit have provided for importing images into CIP2 is frustratingly slow. The following alternative method will allow you to get your work done much faster and lessens the desire to shout at your computer.

"My Best Friend Is Hilary" with symbol support

"My best friend is Helen" with symbols

An example sentence

Here is an example sentence that includes a person's name. Widgit's latest symbol set does improve a little on the use of the 'Friend' symbol by automatically selecting it when you type a person's name, choosing the gender of that symbol and adding the first letter of the name above their head.

Although this does improve things a little it would still be impossible to differentiate between two friends who share the first letter of their name. Plus as mentioned a few digital images here and there can be very motivating.

My Pictures folder

Locating your images

Use Windows Explorer to locate the image that you are after. It is much easier and much faster to use than CIP2's built-in image browser.

Usually your images will be stored in your 'My Pictures' folder available on the Windows XP Start Menu. If your images are on a memory card or flash drive go to My Computer and locate them from there.

Ensure that you are browsing your pictures with thumbnails showing. Select Thumbnails from the View menu to enable this if necessary.

Dragging from My Pictures to CIP2

Importing an image

The easiest way to import a picture is the drag-and-drop method.

In Communicate: In Print draw a box and type into this a sentence that includes the word you want to associate with the new symbol.

Return to your My Pictures folder (or wherever you are storing the image).

Ensure that your file browser is not maximised (doesn't fill the entire screen). If it is then you will not be able to drag and drop into CIP2. If necessary press the Restore button (next to the close button). You may also need to resize and move your file browser window around on the screen to reveal the sentence you added to Communicate: In Print.

Once you are ready pick up the 'source' image and drag it on to the symbol in your sentence. Let go of the mouse button when you are directly over the symbol you want to change. You should see that the image updates immediately.

Symbol options for Kathy

Symbol Preferences Box

When you next type a sentence containing the word to which you have added this symbol, you should see your new image appear in the Symbol Preferences Box on the right of the screen.

This is the box that contains all the possible symbols associated with the word you have just typed.

Simply click on the symbol that you want to appear and CIP2 will continue to use this symbol into you tell it otherwise.

Export To Wordlist Dialog

Saving your changes

As with Writing With Symbols your new symbol will only work with the current session and will have disappeared by the time you next use the program.

If you want the new symbol to be a permanent addition to the program's library then you will need to save this change to your Wordlist.

Select Save Wordlist Changes from the Wordlist menu.

The Export to Wordlist dialog will pop up.

Select which wordlist you want to save the graphic into. Ensure that you want each item listed under 'Words to export' added to the wordlist by deleting any that are not required.

Click Done and your changes will be permanent.