1. The Ctrl key
helps you give the computer commands in combination with other keys (such as Ctrl+P to print a document in many programs).
2. The Taskbar
is the row at the bottom of the Windows screen where all currently open applications or files are listed. It is used to select a file or application that is already opened or to put an application in the foreground.
3. To put an application in the foreground
just click on the icon of the application in the taskbar. Another way to put an application in the foreground when more than one is in use is to hold the ALT button and then click TAB on your keyboard to see all the open applications; you will need to hold the ALT button and continue pressing TAB to go through each application until you come to the one you want to use.
means to be running or working in two or more applications at the same time. You can be more productive by multitasking. For instance, you can download files from the Internet while managing your files or word processing. In order to switch between the applications you can use the Taskbar, clicking on the icon of the application you want to have in the foreground.
A shortcut creates a button or icon which typically stays on the desktop and when clicked, quickly allows you to start a program or open a file without having to go to its permanent location on your computer.
To create a shortcut, open the Windows Explorer or go to the Start menu, select the file or program you want to create a shortcut for, place the cursor on the icon for the file, then right-click and select Create Shortcut from the menu that pops up. The shortcut file will be created. After that, you drag the shortcut file to the desktop and whenever you click on it, it will open the application or document related to the shortcut.
6. Standard Toolbar
Toolbars are rows of buttons and boxes. When you click on a button or box, an application opens or a task is performed. Toolbars normally appear at the top of an application's window. The Standard Toolbar shown in the image below is from Windows Explorer; the standard toolbars in other applications may have buttons that allow youto open a new document, save, print, and spell check.
7. The Formatting Toolbar
is used to format a text using alignments, font type, font size, bold, italic, and lists. It is provided in most applications. The image below shows the Formatting Toolbar from Netscape Composer.
is used when:
- It is the first time you are saving a file.
- You want to keep saving a existing file in different moments that you are working on it.
- It is the end of a working period.
Note that clicking Save will replace whatever file you were working on.
Go to File menu and select Save or use the combination keys CTRL+S.
9. Save As
is used when you want to save a file with a different name to create backups of a file in the creation process. In that way, you can have different versions of the same document and can return to a previous stage.
Go to File menu and select Save As or use the combination keys CTRL+SHIFT+S.
10. New Folder
To create a New Folder, which means a new directory (a place where documents from the same subject are stored), go to the File menu, then New and select Folder from the drop down menu in My Computer or in My Documents. To create a New Folder on the Desktop, right-click the Desktop and select New.
11. Copy/Move Files
To copy and move a file or folder, use Windows Explorer. To open the Explorer application, click the Start button and select Programs and Windows Explorer (some computer have Explorer under Programs/Accessories). Copy or move a file using Menu command:
- Select the disk drive that contains the file by clicking twice on it.
- Click on the folder where the file is located
- Select the file by clicking on it.
- Go to Edit menu, select Copy (if you want to retain a copy of the file in the original place) or Cut (if you want to move the file).
- Navigate to the new location where you want to paste the file.
- Go to Edit menu, select Paste.
The same procedure can be used if you want to copy or move an entire folder.
12. Drag and Drop
To Drag hold the mouse button down while you move the mouse. It is mostly used to move files around in Windows Explorer or in some other applications. Drop is the release of the button, after finishing dragging the mouse. Here is an example of dragging and dropping a file from the hard drive to the floppy drive in Windows Explorer:
- Select the file, hold down the left mouse button and drag it in the direction of the floppy drive on the left side.
- After the floppy drive highlights you can release the mouse button; the file will be dropped and copied there.
13. File Extensions
A file extension is the three letters of a file name after the dot. It is created by the application when you save a file. It is the way operation systems identify which application to use to open a file. Windows often doesn't list them when you are searching for a file, but they are there. Examples are: .txt, .doc, .exe, .html, .jpg, .gif, .wav.
However, sometimes you will want to save a file with different extensions. In order to do that, select Save As in the File menu. The Save As box will open. Choose from the drop-down menu next to Save As Type the type you want to save. The extension of the type will be created for you by the application.
Some file extensions:
- Graphic files: .bmp, .gif, .tif, .jpg
- Word document: .doc
- Program file: .exe
- Webpages files: .htm, .html
- Unformatted text: .txt
- Excel spreadsheet file: .xls
- Compressed file: .zip
- Rich Formatted Text: .rtf
- Sound file: .wav
- Acrobat Reader file: .pdf
There are many more basic skills I could list but I can only list 13 here. I'm going to teach a course in the Fall called
One-Half Step Beyond the Basics (for Windows users)
I'm beginning to work up a syllabus. If you have any Basics to offer, I'd love it if you'd offer them in the comments. Thanks!
See other Thursday Thirteen participants here.