Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Highlighting – Copying – Pasting – Cutting – Resizing Windows

Some of the very basic skills one has to master to work with computers. Unlike typewriters, while writing on computers, if you make a mistake, you can easily erase it (by backspacing) or cut it to remove it. You can also cut a word or line or sentence or paragraph, or a whole page and paste it elsewhere if needed. If you have to repeat a character or word or sentence or whatever, you type it only once, copy it, and then paste it as many times as you want, wherever you want.  More fun, and things get done faster.

Highlighting: To make the computer understand which part of your document you want to copy or cut, you have to highlight it. Highlighting can be done in many different ways. Sometimes you can click on an object (such as an icon) to highlight it. For short text, the most common method is to bring your cursor to the point where you want the highlighting to begin, then press and hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor across the word or sentence or whatever, then release the mouse button where you want the highlighting to end. When highlighted, the writing becomes white on a dark background. To take the highlighting off, click once anywhere on the page.

There are many shortcuts available to highlight large portions of text.  One I use often is to click at the point where you want the highlighting to begin. Now hold down the Shift key and click at the point where you want the highlighting to end. Everything in between will be highlighted immediately.

Copying: Once something is highlighted, it can most easily be copied by holding down the “Control” (Ctrl) key, then tapping the “C” key once. The process is called pressing the “Control” and “C” keys or Ctrl+C. If you highlight an entire document, you can copy it in a fraction of a second with this procedure.

Pasting: Once something is cut or copied, pasting it in any place is easy. Just bring your cursor to the point where you want the cut or copied thing to be pasted, hold down the “Control” (Ctrl) key, then tap the “V” key once. The object will magically appear at the desired position. This is called Ctrl+V key combination.

Cutting: Now, let us assume you want to remove the highlighted text. On the menu bar at the top of the page, look for the word Edit and click on it once. In the resulting drop-down menu, look for the word “Cut” and click on it once. Voila, the highlighted text is gone. The text gets copied to a place called Clipboard. Remember, only the last thing cut or copied remains on the clipboard. The previous thing automatically gets deleted when a new thing is cut or copied.

A quick way to cut something that has already been highlighted is by holding down the “Ctrl” (Control) key, and while holding down the “Ctrl” key, tapping once on the “X” key.  The highlighted object (text or image) will vanish from the screen.

The most commonly used keyboard shortcuts.

Copy Ctrl+C
Cut Ctrl+X
Paste Ctrl+V
Select All Ctrl+A
Undo Ctrl+Z
Redo Ctrl+Y

Resizing Windows: This is a fun thing to do. And this can be done in various ways. But the question is, why do you need to resize windows at all?  A lot of the time, we need to work with two or more programs at the same time. Each program opens in its window, and if all windows are full-size, one will completely cover the other.

Resizing windows is easy and can be done in many ways. If you have a window opened to its full size, it will cover the entire desktop, known as a maximized window. Look at the upper right corner of the window. There are three little buttons there. The innermost button looks like a minus (-) sign. Click on it. The window will shrink to a button and go into the taskbar (the bar at the bottom of your windows screen). The program is still open, but the window has been minimized. Click on that minimized window (button). It will blow up and cover the entire desktop again (maximized). Look again at the upper right corner of the window. The middle button looks like two overlapping squares. Click on it. The maximized window will become smaller (restored to its normal size), and the middle button will turn into one little square in its upper right corner. Click on it. The window will be maximized again, and the middle button on its upper right corner will become two overlapping squares again, meaning you can restore the window to its normal size by clicking on it. The three outermost buttons on the window’s upper right corner look like an X. Click on it. The window disappears completely, meaning the program is now closed. This is the easiest way of closing an open program.

Look at a normal size window that fills about half the desktop. This may not always be the right size to work with, especially when you have two, three, or more programs opened on your desktop simultaneously. It is easy to resize any window to any size with your mouse. Bring your mouse pointer to any of the four edges of the window. It will change into a double-ended arrow, as shown in the screenshot below. Now press down and hold your left mouse button, and either push in or pull out to make the window smaller or bigger. When you get the side of the window to the desired location, let the mouse button go. This way, you can resize all four sides of the window. If you place your mouse pointer in any of the four corners of a window, the pointer will become a two-headed arrow diagonal to the window. Now push in or pull out. The two adjacent sides of the window will shrink or expand simultaneously.

Want to change the position of a window on the desktop without changing its size? No problem. Click on the window’s title bar (usually blue), hold the left mouse button, and drag the window anywhere on the desktop. When you reach the desired location, let the mouse button go.

When you have more than one window on the desktop, only one can be active (meaning you can work with it) at a time. The active one is always on top, and its title bar is bright (usually blue). The ones behind it will have their title bars dimmed (grey). Just click anywhere on it once. It will jump to the top, and its title bar will shine brightly (usually blue). Now you can work with it.

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