Wagging the Dog: Secret Macro/Replace Tricks and Tips In Alternate Format Production

Presented at 10:30am in Standley II lab on Monday, November 18, 2019.



  • Susan Kelmer, Alternate Format Production Program Manager, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Robert Beach, Assistive Technology Specialist, Kansas City Kansas Community College

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 5-6-hr
  • Format: Lab
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


We will cover an array of secret time-saving tips and tricks to using "quick-convert" OCR, and Macros and Find-and-Replace functions in Microsoft Word. This is an intermediate-level lab for those who want to take their Word-editing skills to the next level.


Robert and Susan have more than 30 years of alternate format production work experience between them, and they've learned a thing or two. Using shortcuts, automated tools, and specific and effective methods for cutting out the clutter can turn what would normally be an overwhelming project into something much more manageable. Even in the education industry, "time is money," and saving time and hassle in the production of alternate word files should be our goal. We will cover some quick conversion techniques and helpers using Abbyy Finereader and Omnipage, then will walk you through some useful find and replace functions, and teach you how to use macros to apply some automation to your production process. These are tools anyone can use to create better documents, in a shorter time. You will receive an electronic version of our speaker's notes and demonstration files, as well as "cheat sheets" for all of the techniques we will be covering during the lab.


  1. Using the right OCR tools to get the best text result.
  2. Using find and replace in Word to quickly fix repetitive problems.
  3. Creating well-crafted macros to automate formatting and editing.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Susan Kelmer

Ms. Kelmer has been working with alternate format and accessible technology for more than 20 years in a higher education environment. Currently she works at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Alternate Format Production and Access Center, where alternate format materials for students with print disabilities are produced. She also consults with other departments on campus and other campuses about alternate format and how to produce materials effectively. She has presented at multiple AHG conferences in the last 20 years.

Robert Beach

Robert has been the Assistive Technology Specialist at Kansas City Kansas Community College since January of 1994. He is a member of AHEAD and ATHEN. He currently serves on the ATHEN Executive Board as a Member at Large Representative and on the Advisory Council for the Assistive Technology for Kansans Project. He has presented several sessions at previous Accessing Higher Ground conferences as well as other regional and national conferences.