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Technology Tip of the Month

August, 1997: Getting Students Started with Word-Processing

from Rosa Steinbrecher and Deborah Healey

The beginning of each term brings new students to the English Language Institute at Oregon State University. While more and more have had some contact with computers before, many need help getting started. Here's the approach we take. Feel free to reproduce what's useful for you on these pages, as long as you cite Rosa Steinbrecher and this URL:

Word-Processing Workshop Topics

Our handouts and overheads are customized to what students see on the desktop at the ELI and to the machines we use. Below is a sample of one of the handouts students take away with them.

Turning on the Computer

Power keyLook for the special key at the top of the keyboard.
Press this key to turn on the computer.

Moving the Mouse

Sometimes you will see an arrowarrowMove the mouse a little bit. Sometimes you will see an arrow.

Sometimes you will see an I-beam.


Formatting Your Diskette

You need to do this only one time, the first time you use a new diskette.
  1. Put your thumb on the label. Put your disk into the disk drive.

  2. Choose Two-sided.

  3. Click on Erase.

  4. Type your name when it asks for a name.

  5. Click on OK.

Practice Typing

Opening Word (a word-processor program)

Look for the Word icon on the second page of the Programs&Documents folder. [Note: we use At Ease, which puts buttons on the screen for the programs we want students to use.]

Use the mouse to click on the Word icon. This opens MS Word.

Now you see a big, empty white space on the screen. This is where you write.

It's your "paper." Notice that it doesn't have a name yet -- it's Untitled1.


Type the paragraph below. Don't press RETURN at the end of each line, just at the end of the paragraph. Press the TAB key at the beginning of the paragraph.


Now look at the ruler at the top of your screen. It should look like this:
Word 5 ruler  bar
To double-space, you need to start by telling the computer what you want to double-space. Click anywhere on your paragraph.

Now single-click on the double-space symbol: Dbl-space (It's the one on the right side.) Watch your paragraph change!


When you're ready, pull down the File menu to Save. Where it says, "Save current document as" you type

Then press the Save button.

The paragraph is saved on your disk now. Make sure you SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN! If you type more, just pull down the File menu to Save again.

Checking Your Spelling

After you type something, always Check Spelling.

Pull down the Tools menu to Spelling...

Your teacher will give you more instructions in class.


Before you print, make sure you Check Your Spelling!

Read what you wrote again and fix any mistakes.

Then, pull down the File menu to Print.

Click on the Print button. It may take a few minutes if many people are printing.

Quitting Word

When you are finished, pull down the File menu to Quit.

If you did not save your work, the computer will ask you if you want to save it. Click on Save.

Shutting Down the Computer

When you are ready to leave, pull down the File menu to Quit to leave Word first.

Then you can pull down the Special menu to Shut Down.

This will eject your disk. Put your disk away and you're finished.

See Other tech tips

If you have questions, comments, or for more information, contact Deborah Healey, dhealey AT uoregon DOT edu
Rosa has moved on to bigger and better things on the East Coast!
Last updated 26 June, 2009