Updated: 30 Nov 2017
VISITview comes up with a Big Red Pointer being shown on the screen.
You move this pointer by positioning your mouse pointer to a different
location in the window and clicking it. When you do this, a message
is sent to the VISITview server which then tells the software for all
the students to move the Big Red Pointer. Therefore, you will see
a slight time delay in actually repositioning the pointer after you click
your mouse button.
If you want to practice using these controls while reading this page, you can
click here to open (in a different window) a sample lesson you
can experiment with.
Bernard Meisner (NWS Southern Region SSD) has put together a printable (so you
can tape it on your monitor!) VISITview Controls Quick Reference
as a PowerPoint PPT file that shows the most common
mouse and keyboard options. You can
download it here
. He suggests printing as a
"handout", 2 to a page (hence there are two in the ppt file) in order to get the size right.
[You can get a lower-quality, quick preview by
-- but be sure to get the original PPT
Here's a summary of all the keystrokes and mouse-related buttons:
Mouse click left button - move the Big Red Pointer to that position for
Mouse right click and holding SHIFT button - move the Big Red Pointer to that
position, but point toward the NE instead of default.
ALT+1, ALT+2,...,ALT+8 - rotate Big Red Pointer to one of 8 angles. This will
remain until another ALT+digit is done. Use Shift+1, etc. on
the newer, HTML5-based client
ALT+0 (zero) - toggle the Big Red Pointer "persistent" mode. When "on", a unique pointer
symbol is drawn, and the pointer will not move off its position when you annotate (draw
lines, boxes, etc). This mode remains between pages, as well.
Mouse click right button - show the controls if they were hidden (also
ALT+M on the keyboard).
Drawing lines and figures.
- mouse drag means hold the mouse button down (usually the left one) and move
the mouse pointer around.
- if while drawing any of these figures,
you tap the ESC key while still holding the mouse button down, the
process will be stopped and nothing will be sent when you then release
the mouse button.
Controls for older, Java applet client:
Mouse drag with left button depressed - draw a free-hand line on the screen; when
you release the button, the line will be drawn on everyone's screen
Mouse drag with right button depressed - draw a free-hand line on the screen; when
you release the button, an arrow head will be appended and the line will
be drawn on everyone's screen
Mouse drag with left button depressed and holding CTRL
key will draw a straight line on the screen
Mouse drag with right button depressed and holding CTRL
key will draw a straight line on the screen; when you release the
button, an arrow head will be appened and the line will be drawn
on everyone's screen.
Mouse drag with left button depressed and holding both CTRL and SHIFT
keys will draw a rectangle on the screen. The rectangle will
appear on everyone's screen when you release the mouse button.
Mouse drag with right button depressed and holding both CTRL and SHIFT
keys will draw a circle on the screen, which expands from the
initial point outward as you drag the pointer away from the
center. The circle will appear on everyone's screen when you
release the mouse button.
Mouse drag with left button depressed and holding SHIFT key will "roam"
around in a portal; when you release the button, the Pointer will be moved
to that position on eveyone's screen. This is has effect other than
pointer repositioning if portals are not being used
Controls for newer, web browser HTML5 client:
Drawing mode is set using a dropdown widget in the Graphics section,
as shown in the image below.
Select a mode and drag the mouse.
ALT+Z - zoom the window by one factor so as to leave the Big Red Pointer
is the same location on the screen (may be done repeatedly)
ALT+R - unzoom the window
ALT+C - open a "chat window"
that allows site-to-site communications by
ALT+T - to make a text string on the screen. Move the text
by moving the pointer; pick a different color if you like. Type in the
phrase (you may use the backspace key to erase. Hit
Enter or click the right mouse button to send the text to everyone.
Or press ESC to abandon this. To change the font size (default is 12),
begin your annotation string with a valid font size in square brackets.
For example, " Test String" will put the words "Test String" on
the screen with a 16pt font size.
ALT+O - open a "phrase window"
that allows the instructor to
pick pre-defined phrases, and then goes in to ALT+T mode using
the selected phrase.
ALT+M - show the controls if they were hidden (also
ALT+L - bring up an independent "page list window"
on it; clicking on a page in this list loades the page.
ALT+S - bring up an independent "status window"
which shows the status of all users in this group. This is only available to the Master
session, and should be used only by the one instructor during a
session. More details about the Status Window content are here.
ALT+B - turn the viewing screen into a blackboard. All
annotation capabilities remain the same. ALT+B again will
restore the previous page display. (There is also a bb
key on the control panel for this.)
ALT+? - bring up a Help Window with all this info on it.
Press any keyboard key to remove the Help Window.
Animation and frame selection controls
Below the image/viewing window, you'll find that the VISITview controls
are arranged in three groups. From right to left, the first group
(common to both
is used to control what
frame is being viewed on this page of the lesson, and how it is being shown.
Please note that these controls affect everyone in the
session! In the example shown, note that the word "Fade" is diminished
in intensity. This means that for the page of the lesson being viewed,
fading is not available.
The second set of controls is used for annotation (free-hand line drawing),
to toggle the Blackboard on and off, and to launch the
browser (when the instructor has linked a web page to this page
of the lesson).
In order to draw, first select the color you want, and
then drag the mouse (that is, move the mouse pointer
while holding the left button down). As you drag the mouse around,
a line will be drawn in the color of your choice. As soon as you
release the mouse button, the line is transmitted to
You will notice that when you let go of the mouse button, the line you've
been drawing is erased briefly -- this is the time it takes to send the
message to the server and have it resent back to you (and everyone else).
You may draw a rectangle by simultaneously dragging the mouse
while pressing both the Shift and Ctrl keys at the same time.
You may draw a straight line by simultaneously dragging the mouse
while pressing Ctrl key at the same time.
To erase the last line drawn, click "Last" button. To
erase all the annotations on this page (drawing and text,
click "Erase All" button.
If you want to use the blackboard to draw on, just click
the "bb" button.
Page selection and enhancements
The final set of controls are available only to the master
session. They control, literally, what page you're on in the lesson.
In place of this set of controls, the students will see the label
of the current page.
The top choice menu allows you to randomly select a page to show. Note:
after you select a page to show from the list presented, you must
click on the Selected button in order to activate the loading of
the associated images on the students' workstations. The Next
and Prev buttons allow you to just step ahead or go back to the
adjacent pages in the lesson.
The Stat button will give you an indication of the status of
the last load command sent to all the students. In the Applet Status Line
(at the bottom of the screen), a message will appear that looks something
Status of load: OK -- OK OK -- OK -- OK
This indicates that of the 8 people connected for this session (including
yourself), 3 have not yet finished loading the page you just went to.
You should view this especially when using the remote mode, where
some or all of the students are getting their images (pages) over the Internet.
The bottom choice box is for enhancements. If you've included
the "enhance" tag in the HTML and supplied a text file with the enhancements
in it, their names will appear here. You may select any enhancement
from the choice list -- as soon as you do, the enhancement will be applied
to the image(s) on this page.
If you are an instructor you may also use the ALT+S
command to pop up the
ViewStatus window that contains information about the state of
each participant in the lesson: their machine name, the amount
of time (in seconds) since they were last heard from, and the
amount of time (in milliseconds) it took to load the last page.
Finally, if the instructor has included overlays
lesson, one or more checkboxes will appear in the control panel
for those pages:
To toggle the overlay on and off, just click the checkbox.
Return to VISITview home page.