All posts by Marc

Accessibility Stocking Fillers

Do you want to find out how to make your content accessible for everyone?

In our latest 3Ps we covered a range of accessibility tools and tips to ensure that we can quickly and easily make new and existing materials accessible to everyone.

In the session we covered three topics:

  • How to use styles, colours, alt text to create accessible content.
  • Tools available to students and staff so make content accessible and support the
  • Some of the frustrations staff and students might experience and how to overcome them.

If you weren’t able to attend the session you can have a go and test your accessibility knowledge with the Accessibility Checking Activities.


Microsoft Office

The Microsoft Office Accessibility Center is a great place to look for handy guides on producing accessible Office documents with out of the box accessible templates. Microsoft Office is available for free to all staff and students and has some great Microsoft Accessibility Features built in.

Adobe Acrobat PDFs

Staff and Students have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro from University Machines. Acrobat has a built in PDF Accessibility Checker which can automatically fix issues with your PDFs and also advise you on why certain elements aren’t accessible.

Video Captions

The session focused mainly of text and images but if you’d like to find out more about creating accessible audio and video content you check out our blog post on creating captions.

On Campus

For disabled users accessing IT services on campus we offer specialist software and hardware available to staff and students via our Easy Access Accessibility Service.

Printable Checklists

Download and print copies of our A4 checklists for Word, Powerpoint, PDFs and Blackboard and keep them with you for quick reference.

What support is available?

The Student Health and Wellbeing Service provides information, advice and guidance on a wide range of student support issues, helping students to maximise their potential whilst at university.

If you have any queries about creating accessible content get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to offer advice and guidance – contact

Error: ‘OMBEA Response is being blocked…’


When presenting you get the error message: “OMBEA Response is being blocked and cannot work properly. Please ensure that Microsoft PowerPoint and OMBEA Response have full privileges. If the problem persists please contact OMBEA support.”


We currently have a workaround that we recommend you carry out prior to presenting if your Ombea slides already contain session data from an earlier presentation.

If the error prompt appears the steps below will remedy the problem:

  1. Go to Clear Results and clear the Session History. OMBEA will loop through each slide clearing the data until it finds a corrupt slide.
  2. When the error message comes up, dismiss it and then look through the presentation to find the first slide that has not been reset. This is the corrupt slide.
  3. Delete the chart on this slide alone but do not replace it yet.
  4. Loop back to the first step and repeat just in case there is another corrupt slide in the presentation.
  5. Once you’ve managed to clear the entire session with no error messages, go to the Properties and add the charts back in but only to the slides you had to delete them from. These slides can be identified by ‘No Chart’ in the Chart Type setting.

We appreciate this is by no means ideal, especially during a lecture, but we will be applying a fix over the Easter break to all campus PCs. If you have administrative rights to your machine you can download the latest version here:

NUTELA 3Ps: Collaborate and Conquer with Office 365 Groups

Do you need to organise and work with a team on a project? Office 365 Groups is a collaborative tool, enabling you to work collectively when writing documents, creating spreadsheets, working on project plans and scheduling meetings.

The benefits of using Groups in Office 365

Members of a created group will have access to a shared:

  • Inbox for group conversations.
  • Calendar that all members can see and contribute to.
  • 1TB Files Library in OneDrive to store, share, and collaborate on documents, workbooks, presentations, or just about any kind of file.
  • OneNote notebook to gather ideas, collaborate and store research/meeting notes.

Accessing Groups in Office 365

  1. Sign in to your Office 365 account with your username in the format and your university password. E.g. or
  2. In the list on the left you should see an expandable section called ‘Groups’ with options to ‘Discover’ or ‘Create’ Groups.

Using Groups in Office 365

Create a group in: Outlook on the web | Outlook 2016

Join a group in: Outlook on the web | Outlook 2016

Have a group conversation in: Outlook on the web | Outlook 2016

Schedule a meeting on a group calendar in: Outlook on the web | Outlook 2016

Share group files in: Outlook on the web | Outlook 2016

Things to consider

Time Sensitive Group Projects:Consider creating a  Microsoft Team for your group. This further enhances group collaboration by offering instant messaging on desktop and mobile in addition to the ability to schedule video meetings and screen sharing.

Audience:  Groups/teams can be made public or private and you can invite members outside of the University to a group or team.

Group/Team Name:  Searchable to all staff and students within the University so please take care when naming your group.

Spring Cleaning: Leave the Office as you found it by deleting your inactive groups.

Make it Private and add a Description:  Add a description to your private group as this will help prevent unwanted joining requests from staff and students.

Group Members Visibility:  Staff and students can see who is a member of a group, even if it is private.

Additional Resources

Office 365 at Newcastle University

Introducing Office 365 Groups

Learn more about Office 365 Groups

Training: Unite your team with Groups

Frequently-asked questions (FAQs) and further ‘How-To’ documentation