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Learning the Software

It's a rule in my life. Every time I need to start using a new piece of technology, whether it's a computer program or something more mechanical, I always postpone learning how to use it until I'm faced with a big project and a tight deadline.

Don't be like me. Figure out how to use your computer and all its programs before school starts. Make some fake academic papers and save them just to see if you can get the computer to do what you want.
  • Those "For Dummies" books aren't bad—just don't get put off by the dummies part. If you can get to a bookstore or order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you can find good help there.
  • There's a LOT of good help available on the Internet, and the more specific your question, the more likely you are to get a good answer. (I recently found what I needed by searching for "Apple Pages hide sidebar.")
  • Here is a link to our course computer help directory. I set up the help files for the specific word processors so they are printable cheat sheets.

A word of caution

Software companies, especially Microsoft, love to change things around. Frequently. They don't often delete tools, but they love to put them in different places or change names. So …
  1. When you search for help on the Internet, be really specific. Use search terms like "Word Office 365 sort list."
  2. If you find a link to instructions that are more than a year old, be aware that the appearance of the software might have changed totally since it was written.
  3. Try the "Help" button within the program.
  4. The keyboard shortcuts (for example, Ctrl + P for printing on Windows equipment) don't usually change, so if you can learn those for the tasks you need, you are ahead of the game.


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