Computer Basics for New Users

Computer Basics for New Users

Computer basics are important in today’s technology driven world, we often forget there are people who haven’t sat in front of a computer. This can be for a variety of reasons, but they need a few simple tips to help get them up and running.

Step One – Embrace the Mouse and Keyboard

Getting back to computer basics is important. You will find that the mouse and the keyboard in front of a person might seem overwhelming at first. We aren’t naturally inclined to have one hand operating a mouse while the other continues to use the keyboard. Just take the mouse in your hand (either right or left, depending on your dominate hand) then move it around.

Notice that the direction you move the mouse, the cursor on the screen moves in that same direction. When you left click on something, it will perform an action. If you click on a window, it will select that window. If you click on a link, it will follow that link for you. In turn, a right click will bring up a list of options. Those can be explored at a later time. For now, you just need to understand these basics.

Now, your keyboard is essentially a typewriter without the ribbon to deal with and paper that doesn’t line up properly. You also don’t have to worry about having a dozen things on your mind only to run out of paper at the most inopportune time. The main difference between the keyboard and typewriter is the additional function keys. Aside from the standard keys, you’ll want to know that the window icon at the lower right side on most keyboards brings up the start menu.

The home key will bring you to the top of the page and you can “Page Up” or scroll a section at a time up, “Page Down” or scroll a section down at a time with these keys. The delete key is self-explanatory and can be used to delete text that is highlighted in a word processor. This key might seem intimidating, but it will not delete anything it has not been programmed to delete.

Step Two – Embracing the Operating System

The computer you are reading this on has an operating system in place. This system allows the computer to do specific tasks when you type them in. A majority of computers in office settings and the home will likely use the Windows system. Some may use Linux or a Mac system.

In order to succeed with the operating system, you need to learn how to do a few simple things. One is clicking on the start menu icon and finding a program. Open a program and wait for it to load. Once it has fully loaded, click the X icon on the upper right hand side of the screen to close it.

Next, click on the start menu icon again. Click on “Search” and choose a file name to look for on your computer. If it is a word document, open it and then click file and save to master that skill. In the start menu, you will also find the options to shut down and restart your computer.

Step Three – The Word Processor

Many of the word processors you encounter will be relatively the same. You’ll want to open the program on your computer and type anything into the space. Then click on file, and save. You can then close the program.

Now, open the word processor program. This time, click on file and then open. You’ll be presented with a list of files. Take a moment to select the one that you just saved. As you work on your document, a few shortcuts will help to make typing easier for you.

  • CTRL + B will bold text
  • CTRL + I will italicize your text
  • CTRL + U will underline the text you are writing

There are more commands and those can be explored at a later time. Right now, we are simply focusing on the basics of learning.

Step Four – Exploring the Internet

Your computer gives you access to a vast world called the internet. Here, you’ll have access to documents, websites, and files from around the world. Don’t let that overwhelm you though. The first thing to remember is that there are ways for people to see what you do online.

Before you search for anything, or attempt to do something online, remember that someone else can find out about it. Once something is on the internet, it won’t simply go away with the delete key.

In order to explore the internet, you’ll need to use a web browser. This is the software the computer uses to transcribe and communicate with the websites you visit. The most commonly used browsers are Chrome, FireFox, and Safari. Your system may have one or all three of these on them. The right browser ultimately comes down to your own personal preference.

Browsing the internet requires searching, opening a website, using links, and understanding what to do and not to do. That alone is another topic that needs to be covered. However, once you have a basic understanding of these items, we can move on to additional tips, tricks, and techniques you’ll need to master the art of using your computer.

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash
Domenico Loia