Category Archives: Tech Tips

Tech Tip: Designate an alternative host in Zoom

By: Ryan Johnson

When scheduling a meeting, the host can designate another Licensed user on the same account to be the alternative host. The alternative host can start the meeting on the host’s behalf. When you designate an alternative host, that user or departmental account will receive an email notifying them that they’ve been added as an alternative host, with a link to start the meeting or webinar.

 Alternative host vs. Co-host

Alternative host is a more powerful role than cohost.

Alternative hosts can be designated in advance, whereas cohosts must be assigned during the meeting.

Alternative hosts have full host privileges until the host account joins the meeting and automatically becomes the host.

Co-hosts have some additional privileges in a meeting beyond a participant, but they don’t have full host powers. A co-host cannot start breakout rooms or end the meeting, for example.

How to Designate an Alternative Host

Zoom screen shot for tech tip

Tech Tip: Using recent files on your Mac

By: Ryan Johnson

This tip is for those of you who use the Recents item in the Finder sidebar to keep track of your files.

tech tip screenshot

Recents is not a real location on your Mac. The Finder creates and updates it dynamically. In essence, this is just a collection of shortcuts to files you have recently used.

What you should remember is, whatever you do to the item in Finder’s Recents is actually applied to the original file.  If you rename a recents file, it will rename the original file. If you delete a recents file, it will delete the original.

Tech Tip: Keeping your home computer safe

By: Ryan Johnson

home office photo

One of the questions I get asked the most is how to keep our home computers safe, especially if we are using them more during the current covid-19 pandemic.

Note: The information below is NOT for Library owned computers, just your personal computers

  • The first thing you can do is to make sure your windows computer is set to automatically update windows. This will also keep your Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel) up-to-date as well.

Here is an article on how to check to see if Windows Updates are turned on with simple step-by-step instructions:

  • The next thing you should do is making sure you have a virus protection software running.

Penn State is also asking that users who have installed Symantec from on any personal computers uninstall it as well by 8/22/20. On Windows 10 computers, the built-in Windows Defender is the recommended replacement for Symantec. Windows Defender. There are several free anti-virus options available for personal Macs as well. Please visit for more information

The good thing is Microsoft Defender should be set to run automatically.  You can verify this but doing the following

Turn Windows Security real-time protection on or off

  • Select the Startbutton, then select Settings  Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.
  • In the current version of Windows 10: Under Virus & threat protection settings, select Manage settings, and then switch the Real-time protection setting to Onor Off.
  • In previous versions of Windows 10: Select Virus & threat protection settings, and then switch the Real-time protection setting to Onor Off.

Tech Tip: Guidelines for computer equipment provided to employees

By: Ryan Johnson

computer equipment photo

Library Strategic Technologies has added a new webpage that details the computer equipment provided to employees.  This document gives more complete details about the options available during our unique work from home situations during Fall 2020.  Please submit a Service Now ticket to request any changes or to inform us that you are taking equipment home.

Guidelines for Computer Equipment Provided to Employee

Tech Tip: Embed media with the Share tab in Kaltura

By: Ryan Johnson

Along with uploading and managing media, Penn State’s MediaSpace also allows users to share media files by embedding them in web pages, blogs, or social media. Embedding content means adding to the source code of your page, and making that content a part of your web page. For example, a video page on YouTube has the video embedded within the HTML code of the page itself so it displays correctly to the public.

Embed a Video Using the Share Tab

There are two types of embed codes in Kaltura; Embed (secure) and Standard Embed (not as secure). By default, Embed codes in Kaltura are secure. Secure embed codes enforce the permissions on that piece of media that are defined in MediaSpace.

With Standard Embed codes, the entire Internet has access to the content, regardless of its set status (Private, Unlisted, Published).

NOTE: The Embed (secure) option is not available for Channel Playlists and Playlists in Kaltura. This means that anyone can access a Playlist’s content once embedded.

To embed content:

  1. Navigate to MediaSpace and log in to WebAccess with your credentials.
  2. Locate the media file you wish to embed and click on its thumbnail or its title.
  3. Click the Share tab below the media file.
  4. Click the Embed tab, or the Standard Embed tab if you have permission.

"This is my uniform" screenshot

  1. (Optional) Select the checkboxes for Start & End Time to select a clip rather than the entire video.
  2. (Optional) If your media file has an uploaded transcript you want attached to the embedded file, select the lower radio button or Embed with transcript option under Player Skin.

If you have an transcript but don’t want it attached to your media file, then leave the top radio button (Embed – no transcript option) selected.

"This is my Uniform" screenshot for Tech Tip

  1. Select which Player Size (screen) you want your media to play in: 640×640 (large), 560×590 (medium), 320×460 (small). The default size is 560×590.
  2. Select the option for Responsive sizing. This lets the video fit the size of various device screens while maintaining its ratio.
  3. Select the entire block of code shown in the field and copy it to your clipboard. This text contains the HTML code needed to embed your media file.
  4. Paste the copied code in the appropriate area of your webpage, blog or social media post.

NOTE: Do not modify the code. Modifying the code may cause the file to display incorrectly or not at all.

Tech Tip: Create strong passwords

By: Ryan Johnson

Using strong passwords is one of the most important ways to keep personal and Penn State information secure. While it might seem daunting to create a password without using easy-to-remember information, relying on a series of words and using memory techniques can help you remember even the most complex passwords.

The following guidelines can help you create strong passwords:

  • Choose a phrase that’s unique and familiar just to you.
  • Make new passwords different from your other passwords.
  • Don’t use words found in the dictionary or personal information like dates, names, and addresses.
  • Combine the first part of each word in a phrase, mixing at least 15 numbers, characters, and letters.
  • For example, “I love to play badminton” could become ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n.


Here are some things to avoid when creating passwords:

  • Your name, family names, initials
  • Significant dates/numbers
  • Pets
  • Birthdays
  • Hometown
  • Scholl name/mascot

Tech Tip: How to delay or schedule sending mail in Outlook on the web

By: Ryan Johnson

A feature previously only available in Outlook desktop client (PC only) is now available on the web version of outlook.

  1. After composing your message, select the dropdown menu next to the Send button.

2. Select Send later:

'send later' screenshot

3. Select the date and time you’d like the email to be delivered and click Send.

Outlook for Windows

  1. In the message, click the Options tab.
  2. In the More Options group, click Delay Delivery.
  3. Under Delivery options, check the box for Do not deliver before, and select a date and time.
  4. After you click Send, the message remains in the Outbox folder until the delivery time.

Tech Tip: How can I suppress Teams notifications when I’m in a meeting?

By: Ryan Johnson
"teams status" Teams screenshot

At its core, Teams is a collaboration platform that relies on people communicating, but sometimes you may want to hide notifications from popping up while in a meeting or when you’re presenting.  Instead of having to close Microsoft Teams or change your default notifications settings, there is an even easier way to temporarily suppress notifications.

  1. Click on your user silhouette located at the top right of Microsoft Teams.
  2. Click on your current communication
  3. Select Do not disturb.

Tech Tip: Adding a link to Teams in your email signature

By: Ryan Johnson

Note: These instructions are written for the Microsoft Outlook website (  You can add a link to Teams in any email client, but the steps may be slightly different.

  1. Log into your Microsoft Outlook Mail
  2. Click on the Settings icon at the top right (it looks like a gear)
  3. Click on View All Outlook Settings at the bottom of the window outlook settings screenshot
  4. Click on Compose and Reply
  5. In the window pane to the right, within the Email Signature, type the following text at the top: Using Microsoft Teams? Click here to chat with me on Microsoft Teams
  6. Highlight Microsoft Teams? and click on the Insert Hyperlink icon
  7. For the Web Address use and then click Ok
  8. Highlight here and click on the Insert Hyperlink icon again
  9. For the “Web Address” use and then click “Ok” (NOTE: change the ‘’ to be your PSU email address)
  10. Click Save at the top right of the window.
  11. If done correctly, you will now have a line in your email signature that looks like the example below.

Outlook thumbnail screenshot

Tech Tip: Turn on live subtitles and captions in PowerPoint from Office 365

By: Ryan Johnson

Do you want to make your presentations better understood by everyone in the room? Some of your students may be a native speaker in another language or have difficulty hearing when you have a soft-spoken guest. Live Captions and Subtitles in PowerPoint can provide captions for your presentation in the same language you are speaking or translate it into another language in real-time!

How to turn on Live Captions & Subtitles:

  1. Open PowerPoint Presentation in PowerPoint on Office 365
  2. Navigate to the Slide Show menu.
  3. Select the Always Use Subtitles option.

Always use Subtitles screenshot

4. Choose where you would like the Subtitles to appear.

4.	Choose where you would like the Subtitles to appear.

5. After selecting the location of the Subtitles, navigate to the Spoken Language options.
6. Select the Spoken Language from the menu of options.
7. Next, choose the Subtitle Language for the translation.

5.	 After selecting the location of the Subtitles, navigate to the Spoken Language options. 6.	Select the Spoken Language from the menu of options. 7.	Next, choose the Subtitle Language for the translation.

8. After selecting the Subtitle Language, test your presentation to make sure your microphone  is working. Start the slideshow and begin speaking.

Tech Tip: Restart your computer weekly

By: Ryan Johnson

restart computer screenshot

Something I tell all new hires ­– and try to remind all employees when I can – is to restart your machine on a weekly basis.  My general rule is to restart my machine when I’m done working for the week so I have a “fresh” machine when I log in on Monday.

Some of the benefits of restarting your machine include:

  1. Flushes RAM – RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is your computer’s main type of memory. It’s also known as volatile memory because it is constantly in flux. RAM handles short-term tasks and data. Therefore, when you restart your computer, you flush out all the random, unimportant, and temporary data bogging down your device.
  2. Speeds up Performance – Reboots are known to keep computers running quickly. By flushing the RAM, your computer can run a lot faster without all those temporary files piled onto your PC’s memory.
  3. Stops Memory Leaks – These occur when a program doesn’t close properly. Many programs borrow your computer’s RAM while open then return it when you close the program out. However, outdated, overused or glitch programs may end up forgetting to return that memory, resulting in memory leaks. Rebooting can help prevent memory leaks from occurring.
  4. Fixes Internet Connection – Sometimes computers lose their connection to the Internet and will need to be reset. The first plan of action is to restart your computer. Restarting will reset the connection.  However, please note that if restarting your computer doesn’t solve your connectivity issues, you may have to reboot your router or require further servicing.
  5. Bug Fixes – Computers that go without reboots for extended periods are prone to an assortment of irksome bugs and glitches. These annoyances include programs running at a slower pace than usual, unexpected system freeze-ups. Rebooting your computer will prevent the systems’ processors from becoming overloaded and provide them with ample time to recharge.
  6. Saves Time – Rebooting your computer is one of the quickest ways you can fix an error with your machine. By following our guide for when to restart, you can avoid sacrificing time out of your work day. You will also be saving time that could be potentially wasted on future device sluggishness or potential bugs.


Other Recommendations

  • Lock your computer every time you step away from your desk (for security reasons).
  • Sign out every time you are done working for the day. (Remember to save all your files before you do this).
  • Do not turn your computer off (It will allow your computer to get software updates and patches while you’re away).

Tech Tip: View Analytics in Zoom Recordings

By: Ryan Johnson

You can view analytics for a cloud recording that you have shared in Zoom.
To begin, sign in at and open the recordings tab.

View Analytics in Zoom Recordings

Use the drop-down menus at the top to specific a date range, then click Search
Select the recording you want to view analytics for and click on Recording Analytics.

Zoom alalytics screenshot

Click one of the tabs to view a summary or filter data by view/downloads.
You will see these metrics for the recording:

  • Views: The number of times that someone viewed the recording page. This metric does not track the number of times the recording was played. Also, this metric does not count unique page views. In other words, if someone reloads the page, it will count as another view.
  • Downloads: The number of times that someone clicked Download in the cloud recording page. This metric does not track the number of times that the download was completed. In other words, if the user clicked Download but didn’t finish downloading, it still counts toward this metric.

Tech Tip: Pop out a chat in Teams

By: Ryan Johnson

You can instantly pop out your one-on-one or group chat into a separate window. Then, resize, reposition, or close the window as you wish. It’s a great way to get a lot done when you’re in a meeting or in a call.  FYI: You can pop out multiple conversations, but not the same chat twice.

Note: The Pop out chat feature is currently available in the desktop app for Windows and Mac only. It is not yet supported for Teams on the web or mobile. 

You have got a few options to pop out a chat in Teams. Take a look at these different methods.

From the chat list

Select Chat on the left side of Teams to open the chat list. Find the name of the chat you want. Then, select More options  > Pop out chat . Or, just double-click the chat name and you’ll see a new pop out chat window.

Teams chat screen shot

By hovering over a chat

When you hover over one of your chats, you’ll see Pop out chat  . Choose that option and a new pop out chat window will open.
Teams chat screenshot for tech tip

From the chat itself

Go to the top right corner of the chat and select Pop out chat.

Teams screenshot for tech tip

From a profile picture

Double-click the profile picture of the person you want to have a conversation with and you’re in a new window!

Tech Tip: Microsoft quarantine notification

By: Ryan JohnsonMicrosoft quarantine screenshot for tech tip

When Office 365 quarantines a message or file sent to a Penn State user it should generate an email that looks like the image above.

This message is usually legitimate. If you do not recognize the sender mentioned in the message it is very likely that the contents referred to are malicious and should not be opened.

If you recognize the sender and when you hover over a link in the message if it does not resolve to or a subdomain of please do not click the link and forward the message as an attachment to

Tech Tip: Kaltura – Ordering machine captions for media in Kaltura MediaSpace

By: Ryan Johnson

Kaltura caption screen shot

Kaltura is a “Media Management and Streaming Platform” used to stream video and audio supported at Penn State. You can go to the Penn State Kaltura page to access the service.

Captions for audio or video media make your media more accessible.

In Kaltura, you can order captions through an automated process built into Kaltura Mediaspace.

To learn how to order captions step-by-step, please visit the new staff site page:

Tech Tip: Outlook training

By: Ryan Johnson

Please join me for Getting Started with OneDrive training this Wednesday, May 6, at 10 a.m.

During this session, I will discuss current backup options, including what the current status of Box, Google Drive (part of GSuite) and OneDrive. I will also review the basics of OneDrive and how to get started and using it.

All training(s) will occur in my zoom room at or by entering the meeting ID of 8148674095.

The session will be recorded and shared after the session for all of those who can’t attend live.

Tech Tip: Using the Push to Talk feature in Zoom

By: Ryan Johnson

The Push to Talk feature allows you to remain muted throughout your Zoom meeting and hold down the spacebar when you want to be unmuted and talk.

Enabling Push to Talk

In the Zoom Desktop Client, click your profile picture then click Settings.

Push to Talk screenshot for tech talk

Click the Audio tab.

Push to Talk screen shot 2 for tech tip

Check the option Press and hold SPACE key to temporarily unmute yourself.

Push to Talk screen shot 3 for tech tip

  • This setting is now enabled. You can close the settings.

Using Push to Talk

When you are in a Zoom meeting and you are muted, hold the spacebar when you want to talk and the Zoom window is in focus. Your screen will show a message indicating that you are temporarily unmuted and the microphone will appear green when you talk.

Note: You will not be able to unmute yourself with push to talk if the host has prevented participants from unmuting.

Tech Tip: How to setup Teams notifications for a channel

By default, notifications for Microsoft Teams channels are not turned on.  If you want to make sure you are getting notifications for channels you care about, follow the instructions below:

Choose your channel notifications

tech tip: Teams nitification screenshot

Go to a channel that shows in your teams list and select More options > Channel notifications.

From there, you can choose what activity you get notifications for, and where they show up.

tech tip: Teams nitification screenshot

By default, channel mentions are turned off and all new posts will only show in Activity. To learn more about Teams notifications, please see the following Microsoft page.