Virtual School.

Information Technology. Lesson 1.


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IT in context

Projects and extension


Here are the Word Processing Skills covered by this series of lessons. Each skill is followed by a brief task. The next few lessons will offer more tasks to test your skills.

First read the text below then either print it out or copy and paste it to a new page in your word processor. Then do the tasks described in italics.

ENTER text
This is usually done via the keyboard. Each key inserts a letter into the text [h]. Pressing SHIFT gives the capital letter [H]. Pressing CAPS LOCK makes all the letters capitals [LIKE THIS].
Write "Hi! My name's Bill"[or put your name].
Make sure you use the SHIFT key for the H ! M and B

The RETURN key moves to a new paragraph. It is not necessary to use RETURN at the end of every line because text normally "wraps around" when it reaches the right hand margin.
Press the return key after your piece of writing to get a new line and write "I'm writing this on a computer because I'm learning how to use all the main applications and information sources including the World Wide Web."

The TAB key moves the cursor in regular intervals. A word processor is usually pre-set with tabs at regular intervals so you can jump up to ten spaces by pressing TAB or set your own number of spaces by dragging the TAB symbol along a ruler above the text. If you want text to move to the right use TAB. DON'T use the space bar! It will cause problems later!

Move your cursor to the beginning of your piece of writing - before "Hi". Write "Dear Sir," then a RETURN. Now use the TAB key, perhaps several times, to move to a place to the right of the Dear Sir (and a line below) so you can write a letter. Write "I'm delighted to be able to apply for the job of secretary at your company. I look forward to visiting you at your central office." Add a RETURN.

LOAD text
Text from a file which you've already saved will appear if you LOAD it. Text can also be added to your file from another file - so you can use someone else's work for example.

SAVE text
It is essential to SAVE your text to a disk if you want to use it again. If you switch off the computer without saving to disk you will lose it all.
Now's the time to save your work. Make a directory called "My IT course" and SAVE your word processed file to that directory. Ask your teacher or parent if you don't understand this.

SELECT a section of text
To move, change or delete a piece of text you must first SELECT it, usually HIGHLIGHTING it by holding down the mouse and dragging it across the text. The computer will then act upon the piece of text you have SELECTED.
To SELECT a word you may only have to double click your cursor over it. To select an object in a Draw program click on it once. Change its shape by click-dragging in the "hooks" which usually appear at the edges of the object.

Select the sentence "Hi! My name's Bill"[or put your name]. Press the DELETE button. It should disappear. If there's a blank line stil remaining press the DELETE key once more.

INSERT words
To INSERT words just move your cursor to the point where you want to add and start typing.
Place your cursor after the words "secretary at your company" and write "I am very skilled in word processing."

INSERT paragraph
To INSERT a paragraph just move your cursor to the point where you want to add and start typing. Or LOAD or PASTE text from elsewhere at that point.

SELECT the word or phrase, COPY it to the computer's memory, position the cursor at the new point then PASTE it in. This is useful for copying long words or phrases which are tedious to type out. The poorer your keyboarding skills the more you will use COPY and PASTE.

Select the phrase "the job of secretary at your company" and SELECT it then COPY it. Now click your cursor after the words "central office" and PASTE in the words you have copied. If you find this difficult, look at the Edit menu in your word processor and follow the sequence SELECT - EDIT/COPY - Insert cursor - EDIT/PASTE.

DELETE words
To DELETE words or letters, place the cursor to the right of the chosen word and press the DELETE key (usually the key with an arrow pointing to the left [<-]). Or, for large areas of text, SELECT the area then press DELETE.

Place the cursor the right of the word "the" which you have just pasted in. Press DELETE once to delete the "t" and INSERT "T" by typing on the keyboard.

DELETE paragraph
Select the paragraph then press DELETE. The paragraph disappears. You may be able to UNDO this by choosing from the Edit menu.

Select the paragraph which start "I'm writing this..." and ends "...World Wide Web." DELETE it with the DELETE key (or you may have to choose "DELETE" or "DELETE BLOCK" from the Edit menu

SELECT the word, CUT it - which makes it disappear from the screen but holds it in the computer's memory,- position the cursor at the new point then PASTE it in. This is useful for moving long words or phrases around text. It is ideal for drafting and editing. The poorer your keyboarding skills the more you will use cut and paste.
SELECT the words "at your central office"; CUT them (use the Edit menu) then place the cursor at the end of your text (after the second reference to "company) and PASTE in "at your central office" plus a full stop.

Sometimes an old file would be useful but some words or names need changing. Use SEARCH to find the word or phrase and REPLACE to put in your new words.

Find SEARCH AND REPLACE in your word processor (try Edit or Tools menus). SEARCH for "company" and REPLACE with "business." The words should automatically replace.

CHANGE margins
Writing letters or newspaper reports may need a different width of page. This can be done by changing the margins. Usually this is done by dragging a marker to left or right. Text will wrap round to fit in the space.
Find the margin markers, which may be small triangles on the ruler above the text and below the menu bar. Move them to suitable places. You may have to SELECT some text first to show how margins change.

ALIGN text
The text you are reading now is ALIGNED on the left but ragged on the right. Text which is straight along both sides is called JUSTIFIED. Text which balances down the middle is called CENTRED.
SELECT a paragraph and ALIGN it to right, centred and justified then back to left.

An alternative to aligning text is to use a TAB key. A block of text like an address will have the last letter of each line lined up by using ALIGN RIGHT but the first letter of each line lined up by using TAB.

If you need to emphasise some text - make it stand out - you can write it bold or italic. Select the text you want to emphasise then use menus to choose bold or italic.
SELECT the word "secretary" in your text and make it BOLD.

At the end of these exercises your text should look something like this:

Dear Sir,
I'm delighted to be able to apply for the job of secretary at your company. I am very skilled at word processing. I look forward to visiting you. The job of secretary at your company at your central office....

If your text is different, look at the tasks above again, see where you may have made a mistake and try again.


you should now change the text by selecting, inserting, cutting and pasting until you have written what you want to write.

Move on to Lesson 2