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A word processor is a software application for creating documents ranging from letters, to reports, to flyers, to brochures, basically any sort of document that involves a lot of text and even images. The most popular word processor is Microsoft Word available as part of the Microsoft Office Suite of applications for both PCs and Macs. There are other Word processing programs out there like Corel WordPerfect, which you also might have heard of, and Apple has a word processor called Pages for the Mac. The Notepad application that you might have seen me using throughout this course is also a basic free and fairly capable word processor that comes included with Windows which you can find by going to the Start menu, clicking All Programs > Accessories, and here you will find Notepad.
This is also where you will find the more powerful but also freely included word processor WordPad. So while there are many different word processors out there, each with its own unique set of features, word processors generally have more in common with each other than they have differences. So let's take a look at the basics of writing in a word processor. For this example, I am going to use Microsoft Word, but pretty much everything I am going to show you here applies to other Word processors as well. In almost all cases to create a new document, you would go to the File menu, where you would choose something like New or New Blank Document.
In this version of Word, Word 2007 for Windows, Microsoft made a slightly controversial decision to abandon the concept of the menu bar, which it and other applications have always used. Instead you have a series of tabs and buttons, but you'll still be able to find most of the items that used to appear under the File menu by clicking the Office icon button. So here you can see selections of New, Open, Save, Save As, most of the things you would find under the File menu. Now basic word processors, clicking New would generally just opens a new blank document. In more advanced Word processors like Word, you will find clicking New gives you several options including using starter templates for various types of documents and projects.
For example, I can click Installed Templates and see all kinds of different starter documents I could work from. But I'll just close this because I already have a blank document open and that's all I need for this example. So in this blank document I just have my flashing cursor indicating I can start typing, so I'll just type a couple of words here. To go down to the next line, I just press Enter or Return on my keyboard. This is called a paragraph break. Notice it put some space between the first line and the next line of text.
Not all word processors do this automatically though and you may have to go into your settings and locate the options for adding space before or after paragraphs. Ideally, that's how you should add space between paragraphs, not by pressing Return twice, which in some cases adds too much space between paragraphs. I will just press Backspace to go back to that previous line. Let's type a little bit more, and now I'll press Return again to enter in another paragraph break. Now, I realize that traditional typewriters haven't been used very much for years now, but many people are still taking traditional typing classes and in those classes they often teach you that you should do things like press the Spacebar twice at the end of sentences.
Now in the days of typewriters, where all the letters and characters were of equal width, that made sense because you wanted a little bit of extra space before the next sentence begin. But all word processors already add a little space after the punctuation at the end of a sentence. So it's unnecessary to add that space yourself. So when I had this period here, I only press a space one time. If I press it a second time, it almost looks like too much space there. I am going to delete that. If you're in the habit of tapping the Spacebar twice after sentences, try to break yourself of that habit if you want to follow basic word processing rules.
Another good habit to get into is to save your document right away and then continue to save it periodically as you write. Here in Word I can click the Save button. In other word processors you will choose File > Save As, or in Word I can also click the Office button and click Save from here as well. I'll just save this to my Desktop and I will leave the default name here, Apartment Rental Rules, and click Save. Now some word processors including Microsoft Word have an AutoSave feature that will save your document every ten minutes or so, just in case your system goes down or there is an electrical outage.
But you can do a lot of writing in ten minutes. So I suggest getting in the habit of saving anytime you type a decently sized chunk of text that you wouldn't want to type again, or anytime you make a significant change to your document. If I hover my mouse over the Save button here, notice the keyboard command for saving is Ctrl+S. I've gone into the habit of pressing Ctrl+S with my left-hand anytime I finish typing a long paragraph or other large chunk of text. It just takes a split second to save your file and it can save you the agony of having to rewrite your document should you experience a crash or power outage.
So that's about the extent of what I wanted to cover in this movie on entering text into word processors. Coming up next, we'll take a look at how to format the text you've typed.
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