Picture Dictionary Help


  1. Getting Started
  2. Settings
  3. Content
    3.1. Word Entries
    3.2. List Group Entries

Getting Started

Once you have been notified that your Picture Dictionary is registered, when you log in, it will appear in the My Projects pane of the Dictionary page. Start with the Settings menu, then move to the Content tab for entering your dictionary entries.


Here you can control the look and feel of the Picture Dictionary activity (called a “project” by the Picture Dictionary software).

1. Navigation bar.

The Navigation displays your current location within the template's hierarchy. The second row of this bar allows you to edit your dictionary's Content and Settings, as well as view the Preview and Public versions of the dictionary as you students will see it.

2. Project Name.

Make the name of your project as short as possible, memorable, and pertinent. This is the name that distinguishes your project from all others and appears in the “My projects” window just after you log into Picture Dictionary.

3. Content Location.

This setting tells Picture Dictionary where you have placed the images and audio for your project. Media files are uploaded to a web server as they are for any website. This entry will be a URL that references that location, such as http://www.myschool.edu/myfolder/dictionary

4. The Default Language Used in Browse/Index.

This radio button gives you the option of having your content viewable by a short definition in the target language. For this feature to be available to you, your System Administrator must have specified a default language and an English translation option when setting up your Picture Dictionary project.

5. Show.

In a student's view of a Picture Dictionary, side navigation bar can display several possible options for accessing the dictionary.

  • “Browse Page” allows the student to browse by the categories, or lists, you have created (including simply in alphabetical order). List groups appear in the main menu, and the lists belonging to each list group appear alphabetically in the main content area.
  • “Index Page” sorts word entries according to list groups. Under each list group, the list names will be rendered alphabetically in the main content area. In addition, the lists are alphabetically delineated by a header with the respective word entries shown below. At that point, the student can click on any word entry to take them to the word page.
  • “Transliteration” gives the student the ability to sort the dictionary by transliteration, in alphabetical order. This only works if the you as the author have provided transliterations for your individual word entries.
  • “Show links to quizzes” displays quiz links in the list headers on any Index page. (The “Index Page” box must be clicked for quiz links to be shown.) Students will have the option of being quizzed on 10 items generated randomly from the list or on a quiz of all the items given in a randomly chosen order.

6. Transliteration Label.

If you teach a language with a non-alphabetic writing system such as Chinese, the only way Picture Dictionary can display your data “alphabetically” is through transliteration. In order for your data to display correctly, check this check box and provide a transliteration for each entry.

7. Home Page Image.

Specify the file name of an image you want to appear on the home page of your Picture Dictionary. The image must be at the location specified in the “Content Location” setting, though you may specify a subfolder, such as: images/HomePagePhoto.jpg. A good image size should be around 500 pixels wide by 350 pixels high, which is approximately 7" x 5" at 72 pixels per inch.

8. Header.

The header that appears at the top of every Picture Dictionary page consists of two images, one for the left-hand side and one for the right hand side (see examples near the bottom of the settings page). In order to provide a consistent color across the header, the background color for these two pictures should match the theme that you choose in “Project Style.”

  • The “Height” field indicates (in pixels) the height of your header, which should be exactly the same as the height of your background images.
  • As with the Home Page Image, header images fields should contain filenames of files found in your specified “Content Location.”
  • You may also include a background image in the header. Again, it is advisable that the dominant color in this image match that of the theme.

9. Menu Background Image (Tiled).

You can achieve additional customization of the look of your picture dictionary by specifying the filename of a background image to the menu on the left-hand side of the page. This image file must be in your Content Location. However, be very careful not to choose an image that will obscure the words of the menu. If you choose either “Blue, Black, White” or “Pale Blue” themes, your image should have a dark, consistent background because the words in the menus of those themes are light-colored. “Ocean” and “Pale Green” have dark words in their menus, so lighter images with a consistent background will work better. Remember the cardinal rule in graphic design: less is more.

10. Customize word page.

Many of the settings in the “Customize word page” pane are self-explanatory, but the pedagogical implications of certain choices should be understood before making them. For example, in the “Default Setting” section, showing “no label” vs. “Word” vs. “Translation” on the initial load presupposes differing beliefs about vocabulary learning. Choosing “no label” here means the picture dictionary designer probably wants students to identify the correct vocabulary item in their heads based on the image they see in the prompt, which they will confirm by clicking on the “target language” button. If the word itself loads initially, that means the teacher expects students to be either learning the vocabulary for the first time or reviewing it (with the attendant audio and visual support that picture dictionary affords). Choosing “translation” means that students will first see the word in translation (i.e., in English), though another option would be for you to input L2 definitions into the “translation” field when creating your word entries, meaning you could expect students to make an educated guess of what the word is based on their reading ability.

Default image (if no image specified). This image will appear if no image is specified for a word, affording yet another opportunity to provide a consistent look to a dictionary. If there is no image furnished for a word and there is no default image included here, then the word with the various buttons of your project will tend to be lost in a lot of white space. As with all other images, care must be taken that the filename provide here matches exactly the name of the image file in your Content Location.

Labels (leave blank for default “Sentence”).

Word entries in the dictionary include pre-defined fields such as translation and audio. However, they can also include other items that you specify, such as sample sentences. Textareas #1 and #2 are user-defined fields, meaning you can use them for whatever information is appropriate for your dictionary and define corresponding labels. If you leave these fields blank, the default value is “Sentence.” However, you may wish to change this to the words for “Sample Sentence” written in the L2, or use this area for something else such as a citation or additional example.

Hide fields in word page.

By default, students will see buttons to display the content of the “Word” field, the “Pronunciation” field, and others. However, you can choose to hide various components of word entries from your students. You might do this if you are entering new information in your dictionary but are not ready to publish it, or you may wish to scaffold a less-overwhelming learning environment for students and then gradually pull it away from them by hiding these options.

11. About this project.

You are free to put anything in this pane, but some suggestions might be to give a brief overview of what you think the outcome of the Picture Dictionary should be, for whom, and when, where, and why.

12. Credits (will show underneath Home Page image).

All language instructors need to lead by example, and one of the things we want our students to learn is proper documentation and citation skills. This pane gives you the chance to thank any supporters of the project (moral, financial, or otherwise), as well as to acknowledge everything you did not create yourself and for which you can cite the source.

13. Project Style.

Picture Dictionary has six themes or color schemes to choose from. The color of the header you choose should match the background of the left-hand and right-hand header images, and if you use a background image for the menu, note that the color of the font on that section must contrast sharply with it in order for the menu to be visible.


Word Entries

View Word Entries displays the entire catalog of your picture dictionary. This is where you go for editing, deleting, and associating specific words to specific lists. It is also where you go to hide a word that is currently visible or to make a hidden word visible. If you have no word entries in your dictionary, use Add New Word Entries to create them. To find a specific word, you can page through the list by clicking the page numbers at the top, sort the list, or search by Word (“w”) or Translation (“t”).
  • “Now visible” indicates that students can view this word entry in the dictionary. Click “Now visible” to hide the entry; the link changes to “Now hidden.”
  • The “Edit” button allows you to change the content you provided when you first created a particular word entry (see Add New Word Entries, below).
  • “Delete” eliminates the entry from the database. When you click on this button, it warns you that a deletion means eliminating all data within an entry and gives you a chance to confirm that you want to delete before proceeding.
  • “Lists” allows you to associate the word entry to a particular list group. For example, you may have a part of your flashcards dedicated to medical vocabulary. One list group might be for gastro-intestinal medicine, another might be for urology, while a third might be for cardiovascular medicine, etc. Or you may have lists based on parts of speech. See below for a more complete explanation of Lists.
Add New Word Entries displays the page where you will enter most of the data for your dictionary project.
  • For “Word/Expression,” you simply put in the word or expression you would like to include. If the word has a gender, you might want to specify that after the word and in parentheses, e.g., “tavolo (m.)” This is a required field.
  • In the “Translation” field, you would put the English translation of the word, or, if you prefer, a definition of the word in the L2. This is a required field.
  • If you want students to hear the pronunciation of the word, in the “Word audio file” field, you put the name of the audio file associated with this word entry. As with other file names, this file must be in the Content Location you specified in the Settings menu.
  • If you want students to have a very deliberate pronunciation of the word, in the “Slow word audio file,” you can specify the name of a “slowed down version” of the audio file associated with this word entry.
  • In the “Sentence” field, the author might want to give an example of the word in an authentic context. Note that the label for this field and the next one can be modified in the Settings menu.
  • The “Sentence (Translation)” field is intended to be the place where the author would put a possible translation of the sentence used in the “Sentence” field.
  • In the “sentence audio file” field, specify the name of the audio file associated with the sentence.
  • In the “(Slow) Sentence audio file” field, specify the audio file associated with a sample sentence spoken more slowly.
  • In the “Transliteration” field, put the transliteration of the word entry. You can also allow users to browse by transliteration (see “Show” pane in the “Settings” section of online help). Transliteration is also a useful tool for sorting and displaying labels “alphabetically” (see the “For Symbolic Languages” pane in the “Settings” section of online help).
  • In the “Thumbnail” file, the author can insert a thumbnail image that is associated with the word. The thumbnail image will appear when the browse function is selected in the main menu.
  • Use the “Media file” field for inserting an image or video into the word page. Picture Dictionary actually allows the author to insert images as well as QuickTime and RealMedia files (both QuickTime and RealMedia support video formats). Note as well that the file type must match the format of the file you chose: .gif and .jpg go with Image; .mov goes with QuickTime; .ram is for RealMedia.
  • If you have created any Listgroups and lists, you can associate the new word entry to any or all of those using the pulldown menus below the Media Type field. If you have not created any list groups with lists, nothing will appear in this location.
  • When you have completed entry of all the data, click “Add.” Clicking “Reset” would erase what you have typed so far on this page if you wanted to start over.
Search Word Entries leads you to a search engine for the Picture Dictionary that allows you to search by word or by translation. You can also display the entire catalog of words, words not associated with a category or list group, words without sentences, words without images, and words without translation. The “Search (HTML)” and “Search (Excel)” options allow your finds to be presented either as a web page or in an Excel spreadsheet document.

List Group Entries

You divide the words in your dictionary into categories by creating list groups such as “Themes,” “Parts of Speech,” or “Chapters.” Each list group contains multiple lists. For example, the “Themes” list group might contain such lists as “Animals,” “Clothing,” or “Food”; or, the “Chapters” list group might contain lists called “Chapter 1,” “Chapter 2,” and so on. Individual words are then put on lists. (Words can not be put directly into list groups, only onto lists.) Since each word entry can be associated with multiple lists, you can create an activity that students can approach from more than one perspective-browsing through all the nouns, taking a self-quiz on all the words in Chapter 1, reviewing all the food words, etc. Before you can put words on a list, you must first create list groups and the lists that belong to them.

Creating List Groups.

If you have no list groups in your dictionary, click the Add button to create one. (You can create additional list groups later by clicking on View List Group Entries.) The “New list group” pane contains two fields, “List Group Name” and “Number of columns (for index),” as well as a checkbox called “Show in Word Page.” Remember that a list group name will describe a collection of lists of words; it is usually plural (Themes, Parts of Speech, Chapters, etc.). You can also specify here the number of columns in which students will see lists displayed when viewing the dictionary. Clicking “Show in Word Page” means that the List Group to which this particular word is assigned will be listed at the bottom of the menu of buttons in the word page. Clicking “Add” creates the list group.

Editing List Groups and Creating Lists.

  • “Now visible” indicates that students can view this word entry in the dictionary. Click “Now visible” to hide the entry; the link changes to “Now hidden.”
  • “Edit” allows you to edit the properties of your list group
  • “Delete” allows you to delete a list group
  • “Lists” is where you create the lists that your list group will contain Clicking on “Lists” allows you to view, edit or create new lists in a manner similar to that of maintaining list groups. List entries contain four fields:
    • List Name - This might be a technical or descriptive name for your use in authoring the dictionary
    • List Caption - This is the name students use to navigate lists; it might be a more pedagogically accessible name or a target-language translation of the list name.
    • List URL - This might be a realia page that illustrates the semantic nature of the list, or gives a longer grammatical explanation for the part of speech, a set of exercises that is built on the vocabulary list, any outside web resource, like an online dictionary. This page will be contained in a pop-up window when the students clicks on the appropriate hyperlink, whether in the Browse or Index pages, or on the individual word page.
    • List URL Caption - The List URL Caption might be a brief name for a specific web page for this List URL. The List URL Caption will be found in a header in the index or browse sections for the list group. If this field is left blank, there will still be a link to the List URL provided in the previous field, but that will be followed by a somewhat unhelpful “[?]” rather than a meaningful word for the link.

Putting Words on Lists

Once you have created a list, there are two ways to put words onto it. The first method is to choose a list when adding (or editing) an individual word entry; you might do this if you want to associate words with lists as you go along while entering words into your dictionary.

The second method is to use the “Build Word Lists” feature, which is a faster method if you want to go back and put words on lists after you have already created the word entries. To access the “Build Word Lists” feature, click on “View List Group” entries from the “Content” menu, followed by the “Lists” link for the desired list group and the “Words” link next to the appropriate list name.

The left-hand column shows the current list group and list, followed by the words that comprise the selected list. If you wish, you can use the drop-down menus to change to another list group or list.

To add words to the list, you must find them on the right-hand side of the page. You can find words by sorting them (alphabetically or by date added) or by page. To add words on the right to the list on the left, click on a word (you can control-click or shift-click to select multiple words), and click “Add.” You can remove words from the list on the left by selecting them and clicking “Rem.”

Note that there is no submit button for the Build Word List page. Changes are made as soon as you click “Add” or “Rem.”


© 2005 Yale University Center for Language Study. All rights reserved.
~ Certifying Authority: Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl