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Let's talk now about the word 'desktop'. This word already came up once at the beginning of this course, but in reference to the type of computer you may be using, as in laptop or desktop. But that's not the only use of the word desktop when it comes to computer terminology. Another meaning of desktop refers to what we are seeing onscreen right now, this vast empty blue area. Now, the desktop in reality is just another folder on your computer. It just happens to be the folder you see most often, and is always open unless it's completely covered by another window. But if you can see even just a tiny portion of your desktop on you screen, you can drag files out of other folder on to the desktop to move them there.
The desktop can really be a very convenient place to store commonly used files, or even recently downloaded files. For example, I am going to open up a program called TextEdit, which comes on every Mac, and it's found in the Applications folder. I am going to choose Go > Applications from the Finder here, and I'll scroll through and find TextEdit. I'll double-click it to open it. Now, we will be getting into opening and using applications in a later chapter, but for now I just need to run an application to demonstrate how to use the desktop. I am just going to close this Finder window. So, in this blank document, I am going to type "To do," and we'll type "Groceries," "Laundry," and "Car Wash." So, I'll start putting together a to-do list, and I'll probably continue adding to it throughout the next few days.
So I want to make sure it's in a convenient place. I am going to choose File > Save, and this dialog box opens up prompting to name my file and choose the location where to save it. Now, if your dialog box looks like this, you might want to expand it by clicking the little triangle button here. So, the first thing, I am going to name this file To Do up here in the Save As field. So, you can see one of the places I can save is my desktop, which I'll select, and now I'll click Save. Notice that a file called To Do immediately appears on my desktop.
This is the file I just saved. So, if I close this list in TextEdit, I can open it again by double-clicking its icon, and there it is. So, that's a quick example of using the desktop to keep a file. Now, as I previously said, the desktop is really just another folder in your Home folder. In fact, if I open my Home folder, which I stored in my Dock in the previous movie, I'll see that one of the folders in here is called desktop and if I open it up, sure enough, there is To Do list. So, again, if I had this closed, went to my Home folder, into Desktop, and chose To Do, the file opens up. And I'll just close that again.
Now, the desktop is a very convenient place to store files you frequently use, but many people use it as sort of a dumping ground for all kinds of files they have accumulated, and they rarely go through and clean it up. But having a cluttered computer desktop is lot like when your real desk is cluttered. It can be very difficult to find things and work efficiently. When it comes to your computer's desktop, having tons of files on it really can slow down your computer's performance. So, it's a good idea to occasionally look through all the files on your desktop and figure out if you still need to keep them there, or if you can move them into one of your other folders in your Home folder, or even if you can just throw them in your Finder's trash can, which we'll look at in a later chapter.
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