believe that experience is the best teacher, for example, I could spend hours
explaining what it is like to drive a car. I could tell how it is different
steering a car when it is driven at five miles per hour versus 60 mph. then I could explain
how you need to think in reserve when you back up. I could do that, or I could
tell you that the only way to learn to drive is through actual experience,
supervised of course.
sitting in front of your computer keyboard, you are not in on danger of driving
into a tree or running over pedestrians, so it is safe to plunge right in on
When I tell
people this, a frequent response is that they ought to go buy a book. A large
number of these people are surprised to learn their computer comes out of the
box with the equivalents of an instruction book consisting of many hundreds of
The key to
this incredible library is to press the F1 key. “The Help Key” [F1] is the de
facto standard method of accessing the help system in most computer programs.
Whenever you have a question or you get lost, the quickest and easiest way to
get help is to press F1.
program on your computer and press F1 to start the general online help system.
If nothing happens, click on File then Help. Sometimes, the Help menu will
point you to a help file located on the company website. It is rare to
encounter programs that do not include this feature in some form or another.
Once the help system is invoked, a table of contents usually pops up with a provision
pressing F1 does not take you to the general help system, because many programs
include “context-sensitive help.” When you press F1, the computer will display
a help topic most closely related to whatever you were in the process of doing
when you pressed the help key. In other words, if you were in the process of
trying to print and you press F1, you are most likely to get a help screen with
a list of help topics related to how to print. This context-sensitive help is
not really intended to be accessible for reading as a whole. Each topic is
supposed to describe in detail only one situation, or a single feature of the
help is sometimes implemented by using tool tips or a “help-start pointer”.
Tool tips are small balloons (information windows) which appear when you hover
the mouse over an object without clocking on any mouse buttons. The balloon
encloses the briefest description of the help topic. A help start pointer is
found on the “Help” pull down window and, when clicked on, changes the mouse
pointer shape to a question mark. In most Microsoft applications, clicking on
the “Help” menu then clocking on “What is this?” activates this feature. In
Microsoft Word, move the question mark shaped mouse pointer over the little
icon that resembles a blank sheet of paper and clock there. The help system
then answers with: “New blank document… create a new blank file.”
It is often
not necessary to buy a book to study, because so many programs come with this type
of help system already installed. Some of the help systems do have a [Print]
button, but be warned the manual could
be hundreds of pages long!