ORCA — guide

Understanding What Is | Imagining What Can Be

Basic Usage

This page is designed for Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows XP.

You can return to select another browser here: ORCA Help.

This document describes the most common tasks you're likely to perform on ORCA. It shows, screen by screen, how to log on to your shared workspace and how to read, upload, and edit documents there.


Logon screen for ORCA Before you access your shared folder, you'll be required to logon to your ORCA account.

NOTE: Your ORCA user name might match your UW NetID, but the password does not match. Use the password Shane Fricks sent you via e-mail.

For Internet Explorer users, ORCA requires authentication at every turn, so you might consider saving your password. This carries risks, so only do so on a computer you control.

Why worry about it?
If you save your password on a computer others can use, they could open the site at a later date. Anything they might do there would be attributed to your identity.
Because you might share a computer with others at home, consider protecting your account there with a password, too, and configuring your screen saver to return to the welcome screen, so as to limit the mischief an inquisitive toddler or teen could create in your absence.

You might find it useful to open your shared site in a second window. Then, you can switch between this guide and the real site with Alt-Tab.

You might also wish to add ORCA to your favorites for future reference.

Open Shared Documents

ORCA Home Page Once you've logged on, you'll see ORCA's home page.

Click "Shared Documents" to get started.

ORCAs list of documents You'll then see all documents which have been uploaded.

Click the name of a document to select it and feed its contents to Word for reading.

Accept ActiveX installation

Information Bar message You might need to install some activeX controls the first time you use ORCA.

Internet Explorer will alert you through the Information Bar that the site is trying to augment your computer with new bits of code.

Information Bar Click the yellow bar near the top of your browser window to open your menu of options.

ActiveX menu Then choose to Run the ActiveX Control. This will download the code to your computer.

Run dialog window Finally, choose to run the code you just downloaded. This will configure your computer to work with new features offered by ORCA.

Read / Update a document in Word

Reading Layout message Word will now open the document, displaying it in the Reading Layout.

You can prevent this window from showing up again by clicking "Don't show this message again".

(If you'd prefer a different layout, such as "Normal" or "Print Layout", you can select it through "View" on Word's main menu.)

Shared Workspace pane The Shared Workspace taskpane will automatically open, showing information about other members of your shared site.

If you'd rather not see this pane every time you open a document, click "Options" (at the bottom of the pane) and uncheck the first checkbox on the resulting menu.

When you have finished reading the document, exit Word. If you've made unintended changes to a colleague's text while reading, those changes only exist on your computer. When you exit Word, simply answer "No" when asked if you want to save.

Update a document

Save As dialog If you are revising your own text, or collaborating on a document, edit normally. When you exit Word, you'll be prompted to save the file. Answer "Yes".

You'll then see a 2nd "Save As" window (shown at right). Click "Save" to accept the original file name and upload your changes.

Create and Upload a New Document

Create a file in Microsoft Word as you normally would. Save it under a unique name (one not already used on the shared site).

If you prefer to use another editor, such as Word Perfect or Open Office, use "File", "Save As" to save a copy of your document as File Type: MS Word 97/2000/2002/2003 or Rich Text Format (RTF).

Once your document is ready, upload it to ORCA's Shared Documents.

Steps to Upload Your File

Upload the document Return to the Shared Documents page on ORCA. Click "Upload Document" from the menu that runs along the top of the screen.

Upload field You'll be taken to the "Upload Document" page.

Click the "Browse" button to open a view of your computer.

Find Your File

Select file from list Navigate to the folder that contains your document.

In this example, the browser expects to find files on the Desktop, and our "sample" file exists in My Documents.

Select file from list When you locate the file, double click its name to prepare for uploading.

Start the Upload

Save and close Click "Save and Close" to initiate the upload.

Once the upload is complete, you'll be taken back to the Shared Documents page where your newly-uploaded file should appear.

NOTE: ORCA mimics many features you may be familiar with on your computer. However, it's a web application. Retrieving or saving files to ORCA might be more leisurely than you expect — especially if you connect to the internet through a dial-up modem. Be sure each page has completed loading before you attempt to move from one operation to another.

From here on out, you can simply edit your document through the interface ORCA provides. Internet Explorer will manage retrieving and saving it appropriately.

If you prefer to keep a local copy, for editing off-line or as security against mishaps, you can open the file with Word and use "File, Save As" to store a copy on your computer.

To Cancel Uploading

Abort upload

If you decide against uploading, click "Go Back to Document Library" to abandon the process and return to the shared documents.

Clicking the "Back" button of your browser, or tapping ALT-LeftArrow will return to the document library, too.

Additional Help

ORCA offers a host of useful features to aid on-line collaboration. Working in Orca outlines a few of them, showing how to:

  • add ORCA to your trusted sites
  • change your document's name or title
  • check documents out and in
  • manage alerts about document changes
  • retrieve earlier versions of documents
  • participate in discussions