Now that we have seen what some software can do, let’s explore some other capabilities shared by most programs that can make make our lives much, much easier. One major advantage of using computers over writing longhand or using a typewriter is the fact that, in a digital environment, almost everything can be arranged, rearranged, sized, resized, moved, and removed with relative ease. These 5 commands are really all the basic techniques that a user needs to manipulate data like a pro. Though they are different, the “cut” and “copy” commands are similar in that each allows data to be temporarily written to memory, so that it can be rewritten to a different document, or to a different location in the same document. The “paste” command is used to re-insert the cut or copied data into its new location. The “Undo” command allows a user to essentially erase or “undo” their previous actions, one step at a time, and “redo” allows those actions to be recreated automatically, one step at a time. The easiest way to learn these commands is by using them, so let’s take another look at our constitution document document and do some experimenting.
Since we have seen how to change data, let’s take a look at how some storage options that will allow us to save, organize, transport, and remove our information. Again, even a basic grasp of these six commands will have you handling data like a pro!
Important files can be saved to your computer, or to an external device, by using the “Save As” and “Save” commands. The first time one of these commands is selected, a box will appear onscreen prompting you to either choose the given name for the file, or to give the file a name. In addition to this, you can also specify the location where you want to store the file. To show you what I mean, click on the File menu in the upper left hand corner of the Microsoft Word Window, and then click on Save As. You will notice that the current name of the document “United States Constitution.doc” appears in the file name field. For right now, click on “OK,” and the file will be saved to its current location. Now, open the File menu again, go to “Save As” again, but this time I want you to give the file the name “New Constitution.” This is done by hitting the backspace key to clear out the current file name, then simply typing “New Constitution” into the file name field. Once you have done that, I want you to click on the “desktop” icon, and then click on okay. At this point, if you close Microsoft Word by clicking on the “X” in the upper right hand corner of the Microsoft Word window, you will notice that the “old” United States Constitution file is still available to you, as is a new file named “New Constitution.” This happens because saving a file “AS” another name in effect copies the file to the new name,along with any changes made to the document before you saved it, while leaving the old file available to you. Saving a file under a new name is a great way to edit an existing document while leaving your original document unchanged in case you are unhappy with your edits.
Now that we have the two files saved to the desktop, I want you to right click on any blue area of the desktop, scroll down to “New,” and then left click on “Folder.” This will create a new folder on your desktop. You can name the new folder by typing in the highlighted box under the folder icon. We will call this new folder “edits.”
Before the GUI was developed, moving files around on a computer was a messy project involving command prompts, dos commands, and patience. Once Windows became available, however, computer files and folders became visible and much easier to work with. This is true largely because files can be “dragged and dropped” in a GUI environment far faster than anyone could ever have copied them from one spot to another in “the old days.” To illustrate how to drag and drop, we are going to move our 2 constitution documents into the folder named “edits.” Dragging is done by clicking down on the file icon with the left mouse button, without releasing the left button. Once you do this, move the mouse around and you will notice that the file moves along with you. Once you have the file moving, dropping becomes a simple matter of moving the file over the desired location, in this case the “edits” folder, and releasing the left button. To prove that the file has been moved to this location, double click on the new folder to topen it, and you will see the icon for the “United States Constitution” document inside. If you double click this icon, the document will open just as it did when it was saved to the desktop. Creating is a great way to organize information, while keeping your desktop uncluttered.
Files that you need to be portable for whatever reason can be saved to storage media such as CD’s, DVD’s, and floppy discs. Also, if you find that you like having an “offsite” backup for your data, or if you frequently need to take information with you, you can save files to a “flash” or “thumb” drive. As mentioned in the beginning of this class, these devices can hold a truly impressive amount of information, are relatively secure (provided you don’t lose the drive,) and can be attached to a lanyard or a keychain. In fact, Swiss Army Knife even makes a pocket knife with a flash drive built into it! Anyway, now that you know how to drag and drop, saving a file to any of these devices or types of media is easy. Unfortunately, we don’t have any spare flash drives so just watch what I do. The first step is to attach your external device to your computer by plugging it into any available port. In this case, I need to find an available USB port on the computer. USB ports are little slots, and their design only allows devices to be plugged in one way, so if you ever feel resistance when loading a USB device, DON’T FORCE the device into the slot! Just turn the device over, and it should slide in easily. Now that the flash drive is plugged in I need to single-click to single click on the word “Start” in the lower-left hand window of the monitor screen, then selecting the “My Computer” icon form the right side of the start menu.
The “My Computer” menu will give you a picture of all of the drives, folders, etc available on your computer. Since the manufacturer of this flash drive is Lexar, I know that the my flash drive is letter “X” Now that I have identified the drive, I can drag my folder over to the lexar icon and simply drop the edits folder inside. This will save the contents of the edits folder to my flash drive. If you want leave a copy of the folder on my desktop, you can right click on the edits folder, select copy, then click on the lexar icon once to highlight it, right click once to bring up our menu, and select paste. This will place a copy of the file in the edit folder on the flash drive, and leave the “original” copy on your desktop
Now that the folder is copied onto my flash drive, I have to eject that drive from the computer. On the screen is a picture of the icon I need to click on to do this properly. Once I place the mouse over this icon I will see the message “Safely Remove USB Mass Storage Device From Your System.” Once I have clicked on the icon, I need to click on “unplug USB device,” and once it is safe to eject the flash drive, I will see a message stating “It is now safe to remove the USB device from your system.” After that message appears, I can pull the drive out of its slot, and my constitution files are now available for me to work on anywhere I choose!
Over the last hour and a half we have learned how to bold, italicize, underline, cut, copy, paste, undo, redo, save, save as, and drag and drop files. After that much work, the only thing left to do is get rid of our data. As you may have guessed, there is more than one way to do this: First, you can right click on the file or folder you want to remove, scroll down to “delete,” and left click. This will send this file or folder to the recycle bin. The second method is to…you guessed it, drag the file to the recycle bin and drop it inside. Go ahead and do that with our “edits” folder as practice. Once you have done this, you can double click on the recycle bin to open it, click on the file menu and select “empty trash” to remove your data, or you can right click on the recycle bin, scroll down and click on “empty recycle bin.” Either method accomplishes the same thing! JUST REMEMBER THAT ONCE THE RECYCLE BIN IS EMPTIED, YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT BE ABLE TO GET YOUR DATA BACK!!!!! What happens if you throw something away by accident? As long as you haven’t emptied your recycle bin, just double click on the recycle bin to open it, scroll through the items inside until you find the document you need to retrieve, right click on the document’s icon, and select “restore.” This will place the item back in its original location.
The last thing to do is either shutdown or logoff your computer. Shutting your computer down means that you are turning it off, while logging off means that you are signing out of your user account. As a practical matter, shutting down saves power, but forces you to wait for your computer to reboot when you power it on again, while logging off is just a matter of waiting for your user account to reload, which is always faster. If multiple users share the same computer and you aren’t worried about leaving your computer on, then logging out is probably the most considerate thing to do…but if you don’t want to leave your computer running, go ahead and shut down. F there are no questions, go ahead and open the Start menu in the lower left hand corner of the monitor, and select “Shut down.” If there are questions, don’t select anything, and I will answer your questions now.
Computer Basics Darren Jeffery Thousand Oaks Library Library Information Systems Department