Just about any time you work with an application in which you are creating, editing, or otherwise modifying some kind of content, you’ll be producing and saving your work as files. For example, when you type up a report in a word processor, the report is saved as an individual file, which you can then reopen in the application to continue working on it. Or if you’re editing a video you shot of a grade school recital, you’re saving that video project as a file too. This video explains the importance of understanding the basic concepts involved in opening and saving files.
- [Voiceover] Just about any time you work with an application in which you are creating, editing, or otherwise modifying some kind of content, you'll be producing and saving your work as a file. For example, when you type up a report in a word processor, the report is saved as an individual file, which you can then reopen in the application to continue working on. If you're editing a video you shot of a grade school recital, you're saving that video project as a file too. So, it's important to understand the basic concepts involved in opening and saving files. For this example, I'm going to open the built-in application called Notepad, by going to the Start menu, to All Apps, scrolling down to Windows Accessories, and here, I'll find Notepad.
When I open it, a new blank document has been created for me to type in. Now, in some programs, to create a new document or other project file, you have to choose File, New, but I already have one open, so I'll just work with it. I'll just type a few words here. Now, anytime you're actively working on a document or project, it's a good practice to save your file periodically so you don't lose your work, should the electricity go out or your computer crash. To save what I've written so far, I'll choose File, Save. Because this is a brand new document and I haven't saved it before, I'm prompted to name this file and choose a place on my PC to save it.
So, here in the File Name field, I'll click right after that asterisk, delete it, and I'll just call this Short Story. I can see that my desktop has already been selected as the location to save this. If I wanted to save it someplace else, I could just navigate through my computer, using the quick access areas over here. I'm also going to make sure to leave the .txt at the end of my file name. That txt is called a file extension. The purpose of including a file extension in the name of your file is to identify what kind of file this is. So, if it needs to be opened by someone else, their computer has a better chance of knowing which application to use to open it.
So, plain text files are .txt, Microsoft Word files are .doc, Adobe Photoshop files are .psd, and so on. For the most part, your PC will be able to open files with hidden or missing extensions, with the right application, but if you have to share this file with someone running a Mac or another computer, their computer might not know which application to use. So, I always leave the extension as part of the file name and I suggest you do too. So, having named the file and chosen the location, again, my desktop, I'll choose Save. Now you can see it sitting there on my desktop.
Now I'm going to close Notepad. Now if I want to reopen the file, the fastest way to do so in this instance is to double click it, since it's in plain view right here on my desktop. Now, if Notepad is already open and I want to open a different document that I've previously worked on, I would choose File, Open, which allows me to browse for my file, wherever it is on my computer. I'll just cancel that for now. Many applications also have a file open recent command, which gives you a list of your most recently opened documents, so you have quick access to them. Notepad, being a very basic text editor, doesn't have this option, but there is a slightly more powerful built-in word processor called WordPad, which I can also find by going to All Apps, and Windows Accessories.
Here's WordPad. So, you can see I have two applications open right now. I have Notepad open in the background and WordPad is open here in the front. WordPad's file menu looks a little different than Notepad's, but you get the same options. You can see we have New, Open, Save, and so on. Notice my recent documents automatically appear here in this pane on the right. If I wanted to, I could select either of these to open them from right here. You'll find that most other applications also offer the ability to open recently used documents and files. Those are the basic things you should understand about opening and saving files.
What I've shown you here applies to almost every application out there. You will find some applications that save your files or data automatically and don't even offer a Save command so you can do it yourself, but those are much more rare, and you should still get into the habit of saving your files regularly while working on them.
Interested in Mac computers? Check out Garrick's companion course, Computer Literacy for Mac.
- What is a computer?
- Purchasing a laptop vs. desktop
- Understanding files and folders
- Opening and saving files
- Working with software
- Setting up printers and Bluetooth devices
- Connecting to networks to go online
- Setting up email
- Receiving and sending email
- Searching the web