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Getting Started with Microsoft Word


In this first section, we'll take things slowly and introduce you to the basics of word processing. It can be rather daunting when you're just starting out, and you feel you're never going to get the hang of things. This is a very common experience for beginners, so don't worry about it. After a while you'll be zipping around Microsoft Word like a pro!

Ok then, let's take a first step on the journey - launching Word.

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left hand corner of your computer screen.
  2. The Start button should be clicked once with the left mouse button.
  3. When the menu pops up, move your mouse up to Programs or All Programms.
  4. A sub menu will appear showing you all the software you have on your machine. Locate Microsoft Word
  5. Then click once with your left hand mouse button. Microsoft Word will start up

If you added a shortcut to your Desktop, then double click your shortcut to launch Microsoft Word. (Double clicking, if you are a complete beginner, means two fast clicks with the left hand mouse button.) But regardless of how you start Word, you should now be looking at a screen that looks something like the one the following page:

Click here to see the Word 2000 screen

The first thing to notice is the big white area dominating the screen. This is your page. Think of it as a blank piece of paper just waiting to be written on. Except, this is Word Processing, so you don't write on your blank piece of paper - you type on it.

The most important thing on the big white area is that short vertical line at the top. Yours will probably be blinking on and off. The line is called a cursor (or caret) and this blinking is normal behaviour for a cursor.

The cursor is where all the action takes place. Try touching one or two of the letter keys on your computer keyboard and watch what happens. You should see the vertical line, the cursor, move to the right. Your letters will appear to the left of the cursor. In other words, when you tap a letter on your keyboard, the letter will appear where the cursor is. The cursor will move across, ready for the next thing you type.

Let's get a bit of practice. Before we do, though, have you got a rather large, animated paper clip on your screen? If you have, then what you're looking at is the office assistant. You can switch him on and off. To switch the paper clip off, do the following:

  1. Click on the paper clip with your right hand mouse button
  2. From the menu that pops up, click the word "Hide" with your left mouse button
  3. The paper clip should disappear


Now that you've gotten rid of the paper clip, we can get some practice.

Create your first Letter-->

<--Back to the Word Contents Page

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