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Learn how to write on a computer

This page has an area for you to write in. Learning the basic principles of writing here will also let you write in wordprocessors, emails, forms from browsers and in other applications.

Move the screen pointer ( cursor) into the writing area by moving your mouse. Notice that it changes shape as it moves into the writing area. Click the left button of your mouse whilst the pointer is in the writing area. In the top left of the writing area there should now be a flicking vertical black line. This is the insertion point that shows you where the letters will appear when you start typing.

Type the following text into the writing area. When you come to a problem, read what I say later to see if it includes the solution to the problem.

Writing Area

Words typed onto a computer behave differently than words written on paper because when the words get to the end of a line they start on the next line without being asked. This is called word wrap. The end of a line made this way is called a "soft return".

To make a line finish before it gets to the end, press one of the ENTER keys. They are on the right hand side of the keyboard. On the far right is one marked "enter". On the right of the main block of keys there is a large key with a bent arrow. This is also an ENTER key. A line end that is made by the ENTER key is called a "hard return".

You can move the cursor across your text by using the mouse.

If you use a coloured link to another page, you may have lost what you wrote when you return. Before going any further, therefore, I want you to store a copy of your writing on the clipboard. Then you will be able to paste it back into the writing area if it goes away.

To copy to the clipboard, first put the pointer at the start of your writing and click the mouse.

Your keyboard has two keys with a large upward pointing arrow. These are called Shift keys. Hold down one of the whilst you move to the end of your writing. Click there and the text should be highlighted by a blue background.

Release the Shift key. Now press a key marked Control and the key C at the same time. This should have copied what you wrote. To find out if it has, move to the second writing area. Click your mouse inside the area, so that the insertion point appears. Now press a key marked Control and the key V at the same time. The text you wrote should appear in the second writing area.

Second Writing Area
You can use this Second Writing Area to alter (edit) what you have written. Move the cursor to the top left hand corner to begin doing so. We will give what you have written a title, and see how lower case and UPPER CASE letters are written.

In the top left hand corner, press ENTER twice to make a space to write your name. Then move the cursor back to the top left hand corner of the screen again. Before you write, press the key marked Caps Lock. Now type your name and it should appear on the screen in capital letters.

Press the space bar (bottom of the keyboard) four times. The cursor moves on four spaces.

Now press the Caps Lock again and type this title: using a wordprocessor. This types in lower case letters.

Now you can delete and replace parts of what you have written. Take the cursor back beneath the u of using. Press the key marked Delete to remove the u. The key below Caps Lock, with an upwards pointing arrow, is one of the Shift keys. Press it with one finger and at the same time press the letter u. U is typed in capitals, but if you let go of the shift key and type it again it is in lower case. Try typing a few letters with the Caps Lock and Shift until you are sure of the difference. Notice the Caps Lock light on the right of your keyboard.

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