Computer Skills 101: Online Resource Guide

Since the release of the very first computer, computer use has become extremely widespread. As technology advances, knowing how to use a computer properly is becoming more and more important. Tasks that used to be done with a pencil and paper are now done in a fraction of the time using a computer. Many employers now require employees to have basic computer skills to keep up with the demands of their businesses. Learning how to use a computer can enhance a person’s professional life and make it easier to perform work-related tasks.

Keyboarding

Typing is one of the most important computer skills a student or worker can have. Typing a document completely eliminates the need to struggle with writing in pen or pencil and generally can be accomplished more quickly than hand writing. Typed documents are also easier to read and look more professional than documents written by hand. In fields such as medicine and law, typing a document can even help avoid serious mistakes that can cost people their hard-earned money or worse. Knowing how to type gives students an edge in the classroom and improves a job applicant’s chances of getting hired. Even those who do not currently have keyboarding skills can learn how to type properly. Free typing tests allow users to determine their current skill level and set goals for improvement. Learning how to type can even be fun, especially with the many typing games available online. With a lot of effort and dedication, even the slowest typist can improve his or her keyboarding skills.

  • Keyboarding: More Than Just Typing: This article discusses when students should begin learning how to type and discusses some successful teaching techniques.
  • Typing Tips: Super Typing Wizard offers five tips for typing.
  • Terrific Typing Tips: This site offers tips for better typing and includes a printable keyboard to help students practice their typing if a computer keyboard is not available.
  • Speed Typing Test: This site offers a short typing test, several tips for improving typing skills, and recommendations for typing resources.
  • Typing Tips from Bristol Schools: This resource is ideal for students who are learning how to type. It includes several tips and a graphic that shows proper typing posture and form.
  • Dance Mat Typing: This game helps students improve their typing skills for free.
  • Intermediate Exercises: This resource offers several exercises for intermediate typists.
  • Advanced Typing Tests: These tests are designed for advanced students, as they include letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.
  • QWERTY Tutorial: This site offers a typing tutorial using a standard QWERTY keyboard.

Internet Use

According to the CIA World Fact Book, more than 1 billion people use the Internet. Businesses now rely on the Internet for making sales and finding new customers, and employees must know how to use the Internet to order supplies and find information. Students need to know how to use the Internet to complete their coursework and find information for term papers and assignments. Communicating with others is much easier and less expensive with e-mail. Some of the most popular free e-mail providers include G-mail, Yahoo! Mail, and Windows Live Hotmail. Several software programs, most notably Microsoft Outlook, allow users to download their mail and organize it easily. Learning how to use e-mail can reduce long-distance telephone expenses and help users avoid the delays associated with mailing documents.

Internet browsers are the tools used to access the Internet and find information. Some of the most popular browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. Safari is the browser used by Macintosh/Apple computer users. People can customize their browsers by downloading and installing add-ons that perform specific functions. One of the add-ons available for the Firefox browser, for example, blocks advertisements from Internet pages. This makes the user’s browsing experience more pleasant.

Computer users should also learn how to use search engines properly. Search engines use automated tools to find written content and index it in their databases. When someone types a query into a search engine, the search engine looks through its database and displays the most relevant information. If someone types “list of European cities,” for example, the search engine might display content from travel agencies and travel guides. Being able to use a search engine makes it easier to find academic information or information needed for success in the workplace.

Computer Applications

A variety of software programs make it easy to harness the capabilities of a home or office computer. The Microsoft Office suite of programs is one of the most popular productivity bundles. Included in the suite is Microsoft Word, which allows users to type and format documents. This full-featured program also allows users to insert pictures, create headers and footers, change the size and color of text, make text bold or italicized, and perform many other formatting functions. This software is ideal for organizing information in a logical way. Also included is Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program that makes calculations based on user input. The program can perform simple calculations, such as adding numbers, but it can also perform complicated calculations using thousands of pieces of data.

Microsoft Access is a database program included in the Microsoft Office Suite that allows users to organize and manipulate data. Once a user creates data records in this program, Access can create detailed reports based on queries. This type of program is ideal for simple applications such as creating labels, but it is also useful for complex data manipulation tasks. Another popular program in the suite is Microsoft PowerPoint which makes it easier to share information with large groups of people. This presentation software allows users to create slides that contain text, pictures, charts, diagrams, and other information. Using a projector, a presenter can display these slides to an audience. PowerPoint also makes it possible to include sound effects or visual effects in a presentation.

  • Word Tips for Beginners: This article offers tips for beginning Microsoft Word users.
  • Excel Tips for Beginners: This article is written for beginning Microsoft Excel users. It includes several tips for using Excel efficiently.
  • MS Word Tips and Tricks: This site offers several tips and tricks for making it easier to use Microsoft Word for word processing.
  • Spreadsheet Tutorial: This tutorial shows users the parts of a spreadsheet and explains the benefits of using a computer to work with spreadsheets.
  • Word Processing Ideas: This resource offers several tips for those who want to learn word processing with Microsoft Word or another software program.
  • PowerPoint Presentations: This resource explains what PowerPoint is and walks users through an activity designed to help people learn how to use the program.
  • Effective Presentations (PDF): This resource discusses the proper formatting of PowerPoint slides.
  • MS Access Tips: This guide offers several tips for using MS Access to its full advantage.
  • What is Microsoft Access: This resource explains how a relational database works and how it can be used.