When I'm at work: Using a computer - Learner's workbook
Using a computer
- 1. Input devices
- 2. Processing devices
- 3. Output devices
- What is a computer system
- What is hardware and software?
- Using a keyboard
- Using a mouse
- Getting started
A computer changes or processes information into a form that is easier to use and understand. Processing means changing the information which you enter into the computer into something you can use.
Processing devices are the 'brains' of a computer system. They are often called CPUs, which stands for Central Processing Units, and they are stored in metal boxes (like the picture). The button to turn on your computer is located on the CPU.
Output devices are tools or equipment that help you to see and use the processed information.
A computer system has the parts that make your computer work. A basic system will include:
- central processing unit (CPU) – this processes information and sends messages to all other areas of the computer system
- monitor – this is the screen that you use to look at your information
- keyboard – consists of a number of keys with letters, numbers and different symbols on them. You enter information into your computer system by selecting and touching the keys
- mouse – this is the pointer that you can use as well as your keyboard to tell your computer what you want it to do
- printer – this is used to print out the information that you put into the computer and has been processed by the computer. This could be copies of letters, reports and messages you have received by email, or information you have looked at on the internet that you would like a copy of.
You may add other types of equipment to your computer system so that it can do extra things. These could include digital cameras, microphones or scanners.
There are two parts of a computer system that are needed so your computer will work – they are called hardware and software.
Hardware is anything that you can touch.
Examples of hardware could be the:
Can you touch all of your pieces of hardware for your computer?
- Screen (or monitor)
Software is what is inside your computer that allows you use it to do different tasks. Software makes your computer work so you can see everything on the screen. A computer cannot work without software.
Some of the software packages that you might use include:
|Type of software||What it does|
|Microsoft Word®||Allows you to type up a document, such as a letter.|
|Microsoft Excel®||Allows you to type in figures, use formulas and create charts.|
|Microsoft PowerPoint®||Allows you to create presentations for meetings, etc.|
There are 104 keys on a keyboard. Most are letters and numbers but others help you to move around the screen. Some keys you will use a lot, and there are others that you will use less often, or might never use at all. A list of the keys you are likely to use, with an explanation of what they do, is included below.
You use your right hand little finger to press it. Press ENTER only when you want to start a new paragraph, or to go to the next line.
This key is used when you want to go back to the beginning of the line you are working on.
This key will take you to the end of the line you are working on.
The four arrows in a group under the HOME and END keys are the CURSOR KEYS. Using these will move your cursor ' | ' on the screen one letter or number at a time in the direction of the arrow.
There are two SHIFT keys, one on the left and one on the right of the main keyboard. Using these will make a letter appear as a capital. This is also known as upper case. The SHIFT key is also used if you want to type any of the symbols at the top of each number, for example, if you hold down the SHIFT key and at the same time type '5' the '%' symbol will appear.
The CAPS LOCK key is found on the left of the keyboard. If this is pressed once, all letters will appear as capitals, or upper case. You can do this with the SHIFT key as well. It is better to use this key if you want to type more than one capital letter in a row. Press this once more to turn it off.
This will delete information to the right of the cursor.
This key is allows you to move back to information you have already typed in. It lets you erase letters or numbers to the left of the cursor.
This key lets you move up a page at a time.
This key lets you move down a page at a time.
Can you find the following keys on your keyboard?
- Page Up
- Page Down
The mouse has a right and left button. It may also have a wheel button in the middle. By rolling your finger over the centre wheel you can move (this is called scroll) up and down pages and you can also use the wheel to zoom in on certain things on the page in some software packages.
You can use a mouse pad or mouse mat with your mouse for easier use. A mouse pad can be any hard surface area but one that is built for a computer system usually works a lot better.
There are quite a few words that you will need to learn that explain what to do with your mouse buttons. You use the mouse buttons to tell your computer what to do. These are called commands.
|Left mouse button command||How to do it|
|Point||Move the mouse to make the pointer or arrow move on the screen.|
|Click||When the pointer is where you want it click the left mouse button and release.|
|Click and drag||This lets you move things around the screen.
|Double click||Click the left mouse button twice very quickly. This takes practise to get it right. Once you do, you will be able to tell the computer what to do more easily.|
|Right mouse button command||How to do it|
|Click||When you have the pointer where you want it on the screen, click the right mouse button and take your finger off the button. A menu box like the one shown here will be on the screen so you can choose different things.|
Tips for using the mouse
- Don't hold the mouse tightly. It is easier to control the mouse if you hold it gently.
- There is no need to take your hand off the mouse between movements.
- Don't lift the mouse up.
- Look at the picture of the hand holding a mouse, and try to copy it.
- Put your right hand on the mouse gently, making sure that your index (pointing) finger is on the left mouse button. Most of the mouse should sit under the palm of your hand.
- By holding the mouse and moving it around the mouse pad (or your desk if you don't have a mouse pad) you will see that the pointer will move around the screen.
Ask your trainer or supervisor to demonstrate how to turn the computer on. In some workplaces workers need 'log-ins' and 'passwords' to access the computer.
One of the best ways to get used to using a mouse is to practise. To do this you will need to turn your computer on so that it shows the desktop screen.
Dragging means to move something on the screen.
Try dragging on the Recycle Bin symbol (also called an icon) on your screen and move it to the right hand side of the screen.
- Point your mouse at the icon.
- Then hold the left hand mouse button down.
- Move the mouse across your mouse pad. Notice how the icon moves across the screen at the same time.
Now try dragging other icons to move them where you like on the screen.
This means clicking the left mouse button twice (very quickly).
With your mouse point to the Recycle Bin and double click. This will open the Recycle Bin program.
In the top right hand side of the screen there are three buttons. Click with the left side of your mouse once. This will close the Recycle Bin.
Click on the Start button . The Start button lets you open the programs on your computer.
Move your mouse pointer over the words All Programs. A list of programs will appear to the right.
- Move your mouse pointer over the word Accessories. Another list of programs will appear to the right. Find the Calculator.
- Move your mouse pointer over the word Calculator and with the left side of your mouse click once. You should have a picture of the calculator on the screen.
- Click the left side of your mouse on the following buttons on the screen:
5 + 8 + 3 + 2 + 1 =
- Did you get 19 to appear as the answer in the white box at the top?
- Now try these calculations:
5 * 5 * 2 =
10 + 6 + 10 + 4 – 20 =
50 / 5
Note that on the calculator the symbol * is the same as X or multiplication, and the symbol / is the same as divide.
Now we are going to check that you understand what has been covered so far in this section. Read the terms and descriptions below. After you find the right description that matches each term draw an arrow between them.
You can check your answers against the ones listed on the next page.
Tick the areas from this topic that you have successfully completed.