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IT for beginners: Word processing on a Windows PC

By Yann, published on 02/09/2019 We Love Prof - AU > Academia > Information Technology > The most suitable text processing on Windows?

Whether you have a computer running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 10, or older versions of the Windows operating systems. You are going to need word processing software. It may or may not be something that you use all the time but one thing is for sure we all have to write a letter at some point in our lives. IT for beginners starts to get confusing when you see all of the things on offer for your PC, and you don’t even know how to use it yet. Worst once you get your software, it looks so complicated that you don’t know how to use it.

If you have a new windows Pc your trial of Microsoft maybe be running out and you might be wondering if you should pay to keep it or find new options. Or perhaps you just want a change if your software isn’t living up to your hopes. No matter what your reasoning, I know 2 things; the first is that there is an arsenal of software out there and one of them will suit your needs, the second that today we are going to explore the word processing options that you have available to you as a windows user.

What Is A Word Processor?

Word processing software is a piece of software that is installed on your PC and allows you to create text documents. Like letters, forms, your ideas, or any pages of written text. You can write short notes like a shopping list, or you can write longer documents like books.

Documents will be completed very quickly and look great. The benefits of using a word processor are endless. Photo Source: Unsplash

Benefits Of Using A Word Processor

The benefits of using a word processor are endless, but one of the primary reasons to use one is speed. Everything will be completed very quickly and look great. You may think that you write faster than you type, but like all things skills take time. With practice, you will develop and reap the benefits of saving time.

In the meantime you can still gain the following benefits:

  1. You will no longer struggle to read your handwriting and nor will anyone else.
  2. Your document will look clear and professional.
  3. You will be able to print it out or share it online.
  4. You will be able to save the file and have it forever.
  5. You will gain a new and valuable skill.
  6. You will gain confidence using new software.
  7. You will have a tool that can help you to write a letter or a book.
  8. You will be able to read the file on your phone
  9. You can add images into the text to create a magazine like documents
  10. You can format, edit, add colour, add new styles and use templates

How To Use Word Processing Software

Although it may seem challenging to think about having to learn PC basics and new software. Word processing software is surprisingly easy to use, and without much knowledge or experience, you can succeed in creating a document. Here are the steps

  1. Open the software: you can do this is a few ways, one way is to press the windows button (the button that has a wave-like a pattern on the bottom left of your keyboard). Then type the name of your software, your computer will search for the software and present it to you.
    • TIP: if you use the plan to use the software often when it has opened, and you see the icon in the taskbar at the very bottom of your screen. ‘Right’ click the icon and you will see the option to ‘Pin this program to your taskbar’. Click it, and it will sit there within easy reach for when you nee it in future.
  2. Getting started: Once the software is open, you will see a blank white screen and at the top of the screen a menu. (some software may present you with a welcome screen or an options screen, select ‘blank document’ to get started). You do not need to touch the menu at all to create a successful document.
  3. Create the document: This is the easiest part just type.
  4. Saving the document: This is the only time that you have to use the menu. Go to file, save as and then name your document, select the location where you would like to save it.

Voila, you are an IT beginner and you have already created your first document, I think you will agree that the hardest part was thinking about what to write not working out how to use the software.

Your document will look clear and professional. You will no longer struggle to read your handwriting and nor will anyone else. Photo Source: Unsplash

Word Processing Software Options For Windows Users

You will be happy to know that because you have a windows PC  that your software options and writing capabilities are endless. This is because Windows is the most widespread operating system in the computer world. Almost all software that is specialist software for Mac or Linux computers will be optimised to work with your windows PC. Let’s take a look at the options available and what they do.

Microsoft (MS) Word (Part Of The MS Office Software)

Microsoft office is made by the same company that made your Operating system (the brain of the computer). Because of that, you will often find that a trial version of MS office has been uploaded to your PC (Basic version). This is useful if you want to try the software or if you like MS word. If you don’t like the software; however, this can be called bloatware and can be uninstalled should you wish to use other software in its place.

MS Word is the software that all other software have used for inspiration. It is a really great software, and proof of this is that companies around the world use this software as their office standard. Knowing a bit about it can really help you not just at home but professionally also.

Note: Word is also usable under Mac OS, the Apple operating system.

Word is bundled with MS Office application, the newest version of which is a cloud offering Office 365 and they also have office 2019, 2016, and earlier versions too. The most common applications in the MS office bundle are:

  1. Microsoft Excel, to make a spreadsheet and series of calculations,
  2. Microsoft PowerPoint, which allows you to create visual presentations with formatting,
  3. OneNote, a note-taking program that brings together the power of word processing, note-taking, internet interaction and integrations, presentation, and much more. (Used to be free software with the 2016 version of MS office, It is free but only as an app unless you have local software.)
  4. Microsoft Publisher, to prepare documents for the mail merge.
  5. Outlook, an email tool that lets you keep all of your emails in one place.
  6. Onedrive is your cloud that comes with the software to save files and access from any device connected to the internet. (you can get this free with a Microsoft email account)
  7. Skype, is a VOIP provider that lets you make calls over the internet. (you can get this free separately)

Almost all software will work with your windows PC You will be happy to know that because you have a windows PC  that your software options and writing capabilities are endless. Photo Source: Unsplash

What Other Solutions Exist?

Although it may seem like MS word is the winner, keep reading because there is some equally amazing software available and many of them come with a price tag of Free. Unlike MS Ofice suite of applications. There are hundreds of solution out there’s a few of the best are:

Google Docs

Free Cloud Software

Google Docs is a great option to do your word processing for free if you are often on the internet. The bonus of this is that you don’t have to remember to save your work as it is being done every second automatically so if you often lose work because you forget to save. Then this could be a perfect option for you. It has all of the mod cons of an intermediate level word processing software and is perfect for almost all levels of user and purposes.

To use Google docs you just need a Gmail account. To find the webpage just ‘google’ Google Docs and sign in with your account. You will then be able to choose between word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Another bonus is that you don’t even need your laptop to view, edit or create documents all you need is an internet connection. (Price tag: Free)

WPS Office, Libre Office And Open Office

Free Software

These are three open source software solutions which all offer free office suites. WPS Office is the one most like MS word, then libre office and finally Open Office. One of the most downloaded software alternatives is LibreOffice. It’s a simple-to-use software that provides almost the same functionality as Word, whether writing an official letter or preparing a complex report.

To download a free word processor, just go to the official website and install it from your desktop, just by opening the application. Simple as hello!

The Future Of Word Processors

If you think this is it for word processors, you’re mistaken. Word processing software has to keep up with the ever-changing technological trends and advancements and must incorporate these into its modern IT packages. For instance, with Amazon and Google offering smart technology with voice-activated controls, other software has to reflect these new perks in order to satisfy the customer and give them what they want (nay, what they expect) from their resources!

If you thought word processors were pretty boring, just you wait!

But what more can a word processor really do? Or should the question be, what more could we really want it to do?

Yeah, giving out orders to our smart speakers is fun and actually really useful if you have hands full, but normally these devices are used on an impulsive basis. Like, for example: “Alexa, play X from TuneIn”, “Alexa, what time is it please?” or “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” All of these are thoughts that occur in the moment and not pre-planned.

However, when we type up a document, we are usually setting about completing a previously thought out task or piece of work. Therefore, why might we need this extra technology which has really only been created as a cool feature, rather than something that is necessary to professional or social life?

Also, what about if we consider the fact that everyone has their own needs when it comes to software, hence why people choose among the different word processors available to them?

The site Tedium reports that:

“The ambitious, Github-famous text editing tool Quill is designed to consider the process of text editing from this perspective. Rather than treating word processing as a single monolithic beast, it’s an open-source project—hack it however you need it, thanks. Author and lead maintainer Jason Chen, who helped start the project while at SalesForce, suggests the strategy is intended to allow companies and end users that rely on the platform to create something that more specifically suits their needs. […]

[Their] strategy, [author and lead maintainer] says, reflects a reframing of the place of word processing in the modern day. He argues that word processors generally haven’t kept up with the interactivity of the internet (stuff like embeds, you know the deal); simultaneously, though, we have what Chen characterized as a “diminishing need for their strengths.”

So this particular piece of software relies on being flexible to its end-user in order to stand out from the crowd. But even this flexibility can be debatable because everyone works in a different way! Perhaps the future of word processing is that we will eventually be able to design our own bespoke word processing software that works in the way we want and need it to?!

What To Do If Your Software Is Running Slow?

Unfortunately for you, if your laptop or PC are running generally very slow or are old, then it may be time for an upgrade. However, if it’s only your word processor that is being slow or jolting, or there is no good reason for your system to be running slowly, then it may be worth checking a few troubleshooting solutions first.

For instance, you might like to check how full your hard disk is and delete any unwanted files. You’ll find that it is pictures or media files that take up the most memory, causing your system to perform slower. Be sure to check if your device has a virus, or if your security software is actually slowing down your computer. Quite often, the scans that run in the background can interfere with the speed at which your system responds.

Alternatively, if you aren’t confident troubleshooting your Windows software yourself or seeking answers to your problems using online guides, then you can take your device to a repair centre where they can run a general clean up or offer advice on any other work your system might need.

What To Do When Typing In Microsoft Word Is Slow?

A large percentage of Windows users probably use Microsoft applications in the first instance, including MS Word for their word processing needs. But even this market leader in the information technology industry can have its problems…

A problem that many report, as we’ve previously mentioned, is slow typing (i.e. having to wait for the software to catch up and seeing words appear long after they’ve been typed – not great when you’re flowing with ideas and need to get them down on ‘paper’ ASAP!). But this issue is not always caused by the same root problem, which makes it hard for Microsoft to target the problem for each and every user.

You could be missing a very important service pack that affects the use of software programs like Microsoft Word and others from the suite, or you could have a corrupt application.

Here are a few tips on how to resolve problems with your word processor.

  1. Give your laptop or PC a good clean up, i.e. delete all documents that you don’t need anymore, clear out your trash folder/recycle bin, transfer any large files to an external hard disk drive, and run a virus check to scan for any corruption.
  2. Install the newest service pack from Windows for your version of Microsoft Office. To clarify, these are software updates that Windows create and distribute on a regular basis in order to help prevent any old bugs or performance issues. You can usually find the most recent service pack by visiting the Windows Download Center from your system and clicking on the “Service Packs” option.
  3. Ensure that your computer is receiving automatic security updates. In doing so, this will guarantee that your Office software is always as up-to-date as can be. To do this, go to your PC’s Control Panel, open the Security Center and make sure that the “Automatic Updates” option is set to “On.”
  4. Reinstall Microsoft Word. One fairly time-consuming thing that might need to be doe to rectify any performance issues with Word is to uninstall and reinstall the application – but it will be worth it if it fixes your problem! Your typing may be slow because the current version of Microsoft Word you are running is corrupted or faulty. Pick a time when you don’t need to urgently use the application and go to the Control Panel and select the “Add or Remove Programs” option. A new window will pop up, so scroll down until you find the Microsoft Office version you are currently running and click the “Change” button. You should be able to simply follow the reinstallation instructions displayed. Alternatively, if you have the relevant version of Word, you can directly reinstall the software by opening Word and selecting “Detect and Repair…” in the Help menu. Remember, you’ll need your Microsoft Office CD and key code to reinstall your program.
  5. Delete any “.dot” or “.doc” files from your hard drive. Files named like this are temporary files stored by Word and can cause the software to run slowly.

Fun Fact About Microsoft Word

To prove once and for all that your word processor is nothing short of brilliant, you can fall in love with Microsoft Word and everything it does all over again by rediscovering its features as if it was the first time thanks to the song and parody of Limp Bizkit’s ‘Rollin”, called ‘Scrollin”!

Website The FuMP reports:

“If you had mad skills in Microsoft Word, you’d brag about them too. This parody of a Limp Bizkit song — I know, I know; but we put our own slant on the music that we think you’ll find more palatable — is written from the perspective of an office Word superstar. Fun Fact: all four members of the band contribute vocal elements to this song.” Possible Oscar (Artist)

This tune was released back in 2011 but you can still find it by searching for it on YouTube!

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