1998 Conference Proceedings

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Jana Birch
Computerade Products
2346 Wales Drive
Cardiff, CA 92007-1510
Voice/Message/Fax: (760) 942-3343
Internet: jbirch@cts.com 

It is now easier and faster than ever to make color communication boards in three different grid sizes. Our all new Communication Board Builder for Windows 95 is now available through the Mayer-Johnson Company. This new program streamlines the process of making color communication board printouts for use by persons with non-verbal or low-verbal abilities. It utilizes the full library of over 3,000 Mayer-Johnson Pictures Communication Symbols.


The grid is automatically created so you do not have to design the layout before creating your board. The layout of your communication board can be customized to three different grid sizes of 1 inch, 1.25 inch, or 2 inch squares. Printouts will fill an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. Larger paper communication boards can be created by pasting together more than one page. The number of rows and columns is determined by the board layout selected. The smaller grid sizes will of course hold more symbols. Two different line widths and two different font sizes (10 point and 14 point) can be selected. Changes to the layout can be made at anytime during the process of creating a board. This makes it possible to create one board and print it in different sizes.


The program begins with a clear board. You can place symbols on it in one of two ways. Using the library buttons, you can visually search the library by categories and sub-categories. You can see up to 20 symbols at a time and use the vertical scroll bar to see more symbols within a sub-category. If you know the name or partial name of the symbol you are looking for, you can click on the Find button and type in the name or part of the name. You can also press F4 to see an alphabetical list of available symbol names.

The search for symbols is almost instantaneous. If there are multiple symbols possible, click on the Other button or press F5 to display the alternatives for that name.

Edit Symbol

Symbol names can be changed after the symbols are placed on the board, if you wish to customize the name above the symbol. Symbols can be cut, copied, pasted, deleted, or inserted between other symbols. There is also a feature to allow words to be displayed as text only.


Function buttons allow you to Clear, Print, Load, or Save communication boards to your own folders and file names. In this way you can categorize and save any boards you create to reload another time and modify content or size as needed.


Communication boards can be automatically translated from a primary to a secondary language. The original primary language is English. At this time, the secondary language available is Spanish, however other languages may be available in the future. It is also possible to reverse primary and secondary languages. Communication boards are created and symbols searched for using the primary language. Visual search (browsing) is made easy because all symbols are alphabetical within their sub-categories based upon the primary language used.

Auto Advance

Symbols are arranged on the communication board using the auto advance feature. Boards may be designed with the auto advance working in either vertical or horizontal mode. The auto advance is disabled when you modify a symbol or search for alternate symbols with the same name. Auto advance can be enabled again by clicking on the Find button.


As you enter new symbols on a communication board the current square you are working on is highlighted in red. The highlighting color can be modified to suit different visual preferences. The library symbols are bordered in purple to make the library distinctive from the board you are working on. The program automatically swaps the display from communication board to library and back again as you browse the library and select symbols.

The number of symbols displayed at any one time depends upon the symbol size you are using and the size of your monitor. You can use the vertical scroll bar to view additional symbols.

Custom Pictures

Additional pictures and even photos can be added to the library. The picture symbol to be added must be created or converted to the standard Windows bit-map format (*.bmp). You can use PaintShop Pro which is widely available as a trial version via the Internet, or a similar program, to create the picture file. Then use the Windows Explorer to copy the picture file or drag the icon for it into the directory, UserPics.

Communication Board Builder for Windows 95 is available from the Mayer-Johnson Company, P. O. Box 1579, Solana Beach, CA 92075, telephone (619) 550-0084.

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