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Microsoft Word, Wordpad, Notepad, Google Docs

Google Docs (formerly Writely)

Google's free online word processing program is named Google Docs (it was originally called Writely).

At first I wondered why would anyone need a free word processor when Windows comes with one called Wordpad, not to mention the fact that many PC users also have MSWord.

Well, one answer is collaboration. If two or more people need to work on a given document, they can all access it without needing an in-house network (assuming each participant has an Internet connection). The document remains on Google's server, and is only downloaded if and when any of the collaborators decides to do so.

Wordpad — Windows' Built-in No-Frills Word Processor

Speaking of Wordpad, some folks prefer it to MSWord or WordPerfect simply because it's a smaller, less complicated program. However, it does have some notable limitations, such as no built-in spell-checker.

Notepad — Handy Program for Brief Notes

Another text editor that comes with Windows is Notepad, a plain text program that only displays one size of black type on a white background. The default font is rather ugly, but you can choose another by clicking Format>Font. Notepad is handy for entering quick notes that don't need special formatting.

"ReadMe" files are usually written in Notepad, and, despite its simplicity, it is often used for creating HTML Web pages. To launch Wordpad or Notepad, click Start>All Programs>Accessories, and choose your program. If you use the programs frequently, you can create a Desktop Shortcut by right-clicking the Wordpad or Notepad icon and choosing Send To>Desktop (Create Shortcut).

Back to Google Docs, it can save files in DOC, RTF, and PDF formats, with PDF being compatible with Acrobat Reader. Files can also be saved as HTML documents, but I'd recommend using a dedicated HTML-editing program.

A number of other utilities can be found under Start>All Programst>Accessories, such as an On-Screen Calculator and Paint (the Windows no-frills image-editor and painting program).

For Those Who Prefer Typing to Mousing...

You can go to Start>Run, type in a program's name, and press Enter to activate it.

For instance, pressing your keyboard's Windows key (with the flag icon) will bring up the Start Menu, whereupon pressing R will display the Run box. Type in notepad and press Enter to launch the program. You can bring up the Calculator by typing calc or MSWord by typing winword.

This kind of keyboarding fixed a reader's problem recently when he said his mouse had stopped working. He replaced it with another mouse, but the problem remained. I suggested trying System Restore.

So he pressed his Windows key, used his keyboard Down Arrow to reach All Programs, pressed Enter, and continued using the Arrow keys to reach Accessories>System Tools>System Restore. He then pressed Enter, and set a Restore Date, along with pressing N when prompted to go to the Next screen. The Left Arrow key let him choose a previous date on the Restore Calendar, and voila — his mouse came back to life.

Pressing Alt+F4 will exit any program, and subsequent Alt+F4 clicks will take you through an orderly shut-down of the computer.

The text on this page was created with a
Google Chromebook
(purchased at
and edited with Google Drive & Google Docs.

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