Archive for 'Beginners'

Don’t “eyeball” documents or webpages for words you’re looking for.  Save yourself time and do a keyword search.

Find Keywords in a Microsoft Office Document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

  1. Home Ribbon > Find & Select (right side of Home tab) > Find.  OR  CTRL + F is the keyboard way to start a Find.
  2. Type the word you’re searching for.
  3. Click on [Find All] for a list of each instance of the word or phrase in your list.
  4. Press [Esc] or click [Close] to clear the dialog box.

Searching a document will check all pages of the document.

 On a website, use the keyboard:   CTRL + F 

Even on a banking website, you can use CTRL +F to search for a check number.

Do you like learning the shortcuts?  Our Microsoft Word Shortcuts “Cheat Sheet” is now available. Click here to learn more.

What is a Blog?

What is blogging?




Do you subscribe to any blogs?  The word “blog” comes from the term “Web Log.”  You can think of it as an online journal or magazine.  The articles are known as “posts.” 

You may have read blogs without realizing it.  If you search for a topic online and find an article about the topic you searched for – it may have been a blog post.  You can find blogs on about any topic you can think of. You can subscribe to receive all the latest posts.  More on subscribing below.

According to Technorati™ Media, there are 5 types of bloggers:  (From Technorati™ Media “State of the Blogosphere 2011.”, an annual study.)

1) Hobbyist: 60% of the respondents to this survey are Hobbyists, saying they “blog for fun” and do not report any income. Half of hobbyists prefer to express their “personal musings” when blogging. 60% indicate they spend less than three hours a week blogging, yet half of hobbyists respond individually to comments from readers. Because 72% blog to speak their minds, their main success metric is personal satisfaction (61%).

2-3) Professional Part- and Full-Timers: 18% of the total group. They are independent bloggers who either use blogging as a way to supplement their income, or consider it their full-time job. Most of these professional bloggers don’t consider blogging their primary source of income. This group primarily blogs about personal musings and technology

4) Corporate: Corporate bloggers make up 8% of the blogosphere. They blog as part of their full-time job or blog full-time for a company or organization they work for. These bloggers primarily talk about technology and business in their blogs. 70% blog to share expertise, 61% to gain professional recognition, and 52% to attract new clients. They have found that blogging has given them greater visibility in their industry (64%) and company (63%). 63% of corporate bloggers use their number of unique visitors to measure success.

5) Entrepreneurs: 13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs, or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% of these bloggers blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology. 76% blog to share expertise; 70% blog to gain professional recognition; and 68% to attract new clients for their business

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As a computer trainer, I work with people at all levels when it comes to computer skills.  Whether I am working one-to-one, or in a classroom situation, I ask questions about a student’s experience and goals to help me create a custom training plan.

I also make “quiet” observations that help me quickly assess how well-trained (or not) people are. It is not a judgment of how smart someone is, simply a tool to give me a starting point related to helping my clients.  

Co-workers or others may be more judgmental about some of the same indicators I use. That gave me the idea to write a post about it. See if any of these apply to you:

  1. You have no idea which operating system you’re using on your own personal computer.
  2. You do not know the difference between right click and left click, or have trouble moving your pointer when you reach the edge of the mouse pad.
  3. You turn off your computer by simply pressing the power button.
  4. You do not know the difference between “Windows” and “Office.”
  5. When using the internet, you do not know the difference between the address bar and the search bar.
  6. You do not know what it means to minimize or maximize a window.
  7. You think you must close your current program in order to open something else.
  8. You use your email program as your permanent storage place for files and pictures you’ve received by email.
  9. You are unaware that you can scroll down on a website to see more of the page.
  10. You are clueless when asked to go to your documents or pictures folder.

I know many of my readers are NOT this basic – and may even be giggling at some of these. If you’re not giggling – if you’re tired of being a “computer dummy,”  give us a call to schedule training.

I’ll provide the answers to these in future posts. Stay tuned!

Everyone makes data entry errors. You need to correct errors quickly so you can move on with completing your work. In Excel, here are some ways to do that.

If the error just occurred:

1. [ESC] key on the keyboard. If you are still typing and have not hit [Enter] yet, press [ESC]. This cancels what you’ve begun to type in to a cell, but have not confirmed yet. (If you have already hit [Enter], see instructions below).
2. Click the Red X on the formula bar. This is the same thing as pressing [ESC]. The red X will not be available if you have already entered the data. This is only if you are still typing in the cell.
3. UNDO: If your error is recent, you can Undo. To undo:
Keyboard method – CTRL Z; (This one works in almost all programs)
Toolbar method – Undo Button (Left-facing blue arrow)
Menu method = EDIT > UNDO

If the error has already been entered, you have 2 options:

1. Click on the cell and simply re-type the correct entry. You do not have to press delete first, though that would work as well. The correction can be re-typed in the cell or on the formula bar.
2. Delete: Highlight the cells to delete data from, press [DELETE] on your keyboard.

Remember – UNDO is your best friend!

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Cut/Copy and Paste are computing essentials, giving you the ability to edit quickly and easily. Because it is such a basic yet important skill, many of you already know the drill. However, many of my readers are still learning the basics, so this is for those of you unsure of your Cut/Copy/Paste skills.

Difference between Cut versus Copy

CUT and paste removes text or objects from the original location to move it elsewhere.
COPY and paste leaves the original in place while you copy it to another location.

There are 5 Methods for Cut/Copy/Paste. We’ll use Microsoft Word 2007 as our program example here, but the keyboard and right-click methods can be used in any program.

1. Keyboard
2. Right-Click
3. Ribbon (toolbar)
4 “Drag ‘N Drop”
5. Quick Access Toolbar can be customized to include Cut/Copy/Paste. (Next to Office Button in upper-left corner of screen, must be customized first)

4 out of the 5 COPY or CUT actions happen in four steps. What varies is the command method.

1. Highlight the text you are copying or moving.
2. Activate COPY or CUT command
3. Place cursor where you want to place the text.
4. Issue PASTE command.

Here are the specifics for each method. Try them to see which one you prefer. Remember to highlight the text first.

1. Keyboard Method: CTRL + C to copy; CTRL + X to cut; CTRL + V to Paste

2. Right-click method: Right-click > Copy or Cut; Right-click > Paste

3. Ribbon Method – on left side of the Home Ribbon
Click Copy button or Cut button (scissors). Click at your destination, then click Paste button (clipboard button at far left of Home Ribbon).

4. Drag-and-drop: Highlight text to copy or move. To move: Point at the highlighted text, use the mouse to “drag” the highlighted area to your destination.
To copy: Hold CTRL key down while you drag

5. Quick Access Toolbar Method
Copy and Paste commands must be added to the toolbar first by clicking on the customize drop-down arrow

Some examples of places to use Cut/Copy/Paste: Email, Internet, Windows, Excel, Photo editing… and much more!

Like knowing the shortcuts?  Our Microsoft Word Shortcuts “Cheat Sheet” is now available. Click here  for more information.

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Any Microsoft product that starts with the word “Windows” is referring to the Microsoft operating system (OS).  The Operating System is the software that makes the computer work.  It is also the “interface” between we humans – and the machine!  Without the operating system, the computer would not work.  Other operating systems (not Windows) include Mac, and Linux.

 Windows 7 is the most current Microsoft OS, and there are several versions, including Home, Business, and Ultimate. If you need a computer for business purposes, the Professional version is recommended.   

 Home Edition is not a “managed” OS, meaning it’s not typically managed by technology professionals. The Professional edition has more tools for a business in an IT-managed environment. Vista Professional is a business- and power-user oriented superset of Home Edition and includes features that may be too complex for the typical home user. One difference is security, which is vastly simplified in Home Edition.

What is Office?

Microsoft Office refers to a bundle of Microsoft computer programs used widely in business, including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint.  Not all computers come with Microsoft Office – it must be purchased and installed.  What these programs do:

  • Word – Word processing – letters, memos, reports.
  • Excel – Spreadsheets – financial data, simple data base, number crunching.
  • Outlook – Email, calendar, contacts, and organizational program.
  • PowerPoint – Presentation software – for creating overhead projection presentations, slideshows, or handouts.

By what I often hear from people or see posted online, Microsoft Word seems to be the most hated of the Microsoft Office programs, and I think I know why. In many cases, it boils down to a lack of, or poor training.  Not that Word is perfect – no program is.  But let’s take a look at the big picture.

Word is a word processor, with features designed around formatting words on a page organized in to sentences, paragraphs, pages, and sections. So it’s used for reports, letters, memos, books, handouts, invitations, flyers, and more.  It’s all about text editing.

Because text editing occurs in almost any other program you use, including email and internet, much of what you learn carries over to everything you do on the computer. So Word is a great place to start with your training. You even learn to use the keyboard more effectively.

I’ve noticed that Word haters who never got training (or inadequate training) don’t understand that Word has four levels of formatting. Even when I started my training career, I never saw it taught this way, but after a few years of using and teaching Word myself – it occurred to me that understanding this concept tends to clear up a lot of confusion.

Word’s four levels of formatting:

Character formatting
This is usually the level that people with minimal training “get”.  The problem is there’s an assumption that everything else works the same way. This is why they may have trouble formatting their document.

Character formats apply at the text character level – letter-by-letter.  Examples :  fonts, font size, font color, bold, italics, underline. You select the text and apply the format.

Microsoft Word Character Formats

Microsoft Word Character Formats





Paragraph formatting
Paragraph formatting applies to whole paragraphs.  Paragraph formatting is key – so it is important to understand how Word recognizes a paragraph (I’ll get to that later).  Examples of paragraph formatting include

Indents, line spacing, paragraph spacing, alignment, bullets and numbering, tabs, and heading controls.

If applying to a single paragraph, you click ANYWHERE in the paragraph to apply the paragraph format.  If applying to multiple paragraphs, you must select all of the paragraphs.

Understanding this level of formatting is HUGE.  For example, you can create any type of indent to as many paragraphs as you like when you learn how to use the ruler to work with paragraphs. Many other intermediate to advanced features that help you automate your document depend on well-defined paragraphs and text relationships.  Examples:  Styles, Table of Contents, Outlines.

Page/section/document formatting
Applies to whole pages, sections, or the entire document.. Sections can be defined in order to have multiple page layouts that would normally apply to the entire document.

Examples of page/section/document formatting:  margins, page orientation, headers and footers, page numbering, page borders, columns.

These formats will automatically apply to the entire document unless you define sections (covered in intermediate or advanced Word). When you have sections, you apply formats to sections through the appropriate dialog box (depending on the format you are applying).

 Object formatting
Objects are things you insert to your document that “float” on the page. Objects have their own formatting dialog box, which you can access by double-clicking on the object.

Examples of objects:  pictures, clipart, text boxes, arrows, AutoShapes, WordArt.

Examples of object formatting:  line or no line (around edge), color, shadow effects, size.

How Does Word Know What a Paragraph Is? 

Any place in the document you press [ENTER].

 Each time you press the [Enter] key on the keyboard, a non-printing paragraph character like this: ¶  is entered on your document, marking all text between there and the previous paragraph mark as a paragraph. In a future post, I will talk about non-printing characters.

 There is a lot more to learn about Microsoft Word, but I hope this information makes your Word learning experience go a little easier!

Our 2-sided, laminated Word Shortcuts “Cheat Sheet” is a handy card you can keep by your computer as a quick reference for shortcuts in Word.  Click the following link to order your copy:

Melissa Guzzetta
The Computer Tutor
Computer Training and more 




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Where should you start when you want to learn Microsoft Office?

As I mentioned in an earlier post to beginners, having clear goals is the best place to start. You should also make sure you have basic Windows skills, which includes knowing how to navigate your computer, adjust settings and preferences, get to the internet, create folders, open programs, and manipulate windows.

 Microsoft Office includes a group of programs for tasking. The core programs include:

Word – Word processing, for creating letters, memos, reports, and book writing.
Excel – For creating spreadsheets, tracking data, mailing lists and other simple data lists, and graphs.
PowerPoint-For creating and displaying presentations, flyers, and handouts. You can also create computer photo albums.
Outlook-For email, calendar, contacts, and task lists.

Other programs may be included, depending on which version of Microsoft Office you have.

In general, the best place to start is with Microsoft Word, since so much of what you learn will carry over to all other programs, as well as on the internet. Many of the tips and tricks you learn in Micosoft Word will also help improve your productivity (make you speedy) and keyboarding.

From there, evaluate what you need. For example, if you are job hunting, watch for what the job posts are asking for.  Outlook is often a good next step, since Outlook is the #1 email and schedule program used by businesses.

Excel is a versatile and popular program, and many jobs require at least a basic knowledge of Excel.  PowerPoint may not be required in many jobs, but it’s one of the easier and fun programs to learn.  In an upcoming post I’ll describe and compare learning Word versus learning PowerPoint.  Stay tuned!

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At Computer Tutor we have a passion for helping people use their computer to get stuff done, to keep in touch with people, and to learn or be entertained. Even for beginners.

Start by identifying your goals. Be more specific than “I need to
learn how to use a computer.” I hear this a lot, and my next question is always “why?” Are you trying to get a job? Is some one telling you to get computer training? Do you want to be able to email family and friends? Shop online? Sell on eBay? Run a business? Maybe you just need to feel less frustrated when using your computer.

Here is what we suggest:

1. Have specific training goals.
2. Use your time wisely by focusing on those immediate goals.
3. Take it a day at a time – and practice practice practice!

You could spend years learning about computers, but you don’t have
to. It is an ongoing process, and you only need to know what you need to know. I have been teaching Windows, Email, Microsoft Office, and QuickBooks for many years, and I am still learning new stuff every day myself.

So don’t stress if it seems like a lot to learn – have fun!

If you are in Southern California and would like personalized training, click on the link on the right side of this page to the Computer Tutor Schedule of Classes.

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