No, Mom, it’s not what you think. 🙂
I really think I’ve happened upon the best kept secret on the internet. Not just free PECs but free PEC-making software. How much? Free, nill, zero, nada!!!! And it’s a quality program, I mean really nice. It’s user-friendly too. http://www.pictoselector.eu/ was my introduction to PECs, and I wanted to share the site with you. I’ve been enjoying www.mrsriley.com lately, and I’m finding it’s ideal to use both programs. They each have their strengths. I’m no good at making spreadsheets, but I’ll try to show you a comparison.
Cost – $5 per month
Images: A nice library of pictures as well as symbols that are similar to the much acclaimed Boardmaker PCS. In addition, members have the option to not only use their own images, but to also make them available to the other users.
Online/Offline: This is an online service.
Ease of use: This is an extremely easy to use and easy to understand program. It has an attractive presentation and a very well put together indexing system of past files and cards for each user.
Sharing Capabilities: There is a huge, I mean HUGE collection of picture cards and files put together by the users of www.mrsriley.com. When a file is made, a choice is given whether to make it public or private. If you make it public, it is available to all the other users. So a membership entitles you to join the community of users and use everyone else’s public files. If you have the software to create PDFs, you can use it to turn mrsriley.com files into a PDF and then use them any way you want. It is not a built-in capability, but it may be in the future.
Customer Service: Good communication and support on an ongoing basis.
Images: A huge selection of mostly icon-type symbols. They are more institutional in nature, but there are a lot of goodies. There is also the capability to pull in your own images. A fun bonus is an option to create a character image in the program and customize the hair and other facial and body features.
Online/offline: Offline – so it runs fast, but it does take up some space on your hard drive. Updated frequently.
Ease of Use: For my purposes, it is very easy to use. In looking at the recent updates, I’m getting the feeling it has capabilities beyond what I am using it for, but I’m going to have to put some effort into learning just what they are. The presentation is plain – basically black and white until you start pulling in color images. Very functional.
Sharing Capabilities: There is a feature in Pictoselecctor that makes creating PDFs very easy, which you can then attach to emails, blog posts, etc. I would love to use my blog has a format to share files so we could create our own online community, but I’ll have to work out some logistics first. If you have some PDFs you’d like to share, let me know in the comment box, and I’ll see what I can do.
Customer Support: Actually, I’m not quite sure on this one. I emailed the gentleman who created Pictoselector to thank him for what the program has done for my family, and he emailed a very gracious response quickly. Honestly, I’ve found this program so easy to use for my purposes, that I have not needed any customer support.
It amazes me that neither one of these programs is all over the net. They are such a fantastic alternative to the high-dollar PECs creators that are out of reach for some of us. So, I’ll be continuing to mention them, and you’ll find their credits on some of my work. If you use either of these programs, let us know what you like and what you don’t.