A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
New Mac For Christmas? Printable Guide For New Mac Users December 27th, 2000
I have visions of all the shiny, new Mac's sitting under Christmas trees, just waiting to be set up and used. In honor of all the first-time Mac users that will be learning how to compute for the first time, I have gone back to a number of previous columns and selected some basic skills that might serve as a guide for those new users.
How To Print
To print something from your computer first make sure the item you want to print is the open item. To tell if you have the item open move your cursor somewhere on your desktop screen where there is nothing but the background. Click once and the item you are working with will "gray out". Move your cursor back to the item you want to print and click somewhere within the window. The window will become active again as indicated by the "gray out" disappearing. There are two basic ways to print. The first is to use your Menubar. The Menubar is usually found at the top of your screen and it is the doorway to all sorts of options. To use the Menubar to print, place your cursor on the word File and hold it down. A menu will appear with several options, one of which is Print. Still holding down the mouse button, drag the cursor down to the word Print and release. A window will open containing several options. These options will vary with different operating systems, but one option will be Print. Click on the word Print and, if your printer is properly connected, the item will print.
Note the Apple icon on the far left. That is the Apple Menu. You open it just as you do any other item on the Menubar by placing your cursor on it and holding down the mouse button.
For those more comfortable with using the keyboard instead of the mouse, you can print by holding down the Apple key (that's the one with the funny looking pretzel or cloverleaf symbol, and is sometimes referred to as the Command Key) and the P key at the same time. The same print options window will open as noted above.
Identifying Components of Your Desktop
It helps to know what things are called when using your computer. Awhile back I made three guides with important things labeled. If you click on each link and it will open in normal size on your screen. Then you can print each one for easy reference. Whenever you see something in that is blue and underlined you can assume it is a link. By that I mean you can click on the underlined words and instantly go to whatever the words link to. In this case each one is linked to a different picture. By linking to an item I am making it readily available to anyone who is interested in seeing it, but I am not causing the reader to wait an inordinate amount of time for a download.
Every computer must have an operating system to run other programs. The operating system performs basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers. You will often see it in print as Mac OS 7, OS 9, or Mac OS X, etc. Anyone trying to help you with your computer will usually ask what operating system you are using.
Representation of what your Operating System does.
To Determine What Operating System You Are Using
Go to the application menu in the upper right hand corner of the screen and choose 'Finder' (note that the Application menu may appear as only an icon). You can also click somewhere on your desktop in a blank spot that does not have an icon or other window.
Go to the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
Choose "About This Computer"
A window will pop open (see sample below) and you can read all the specs pertaining to your machine.
Example of an "About This Computer Window"
How To Cut, Copy, and Paste
The option to cut, copy, and paste within or without a document is one of the great joys of using a computer. This is especially appreciated by anyone who ever typed any kind of formal document on a typewriter. Here is a basic guide on how to do it.
First - Highlight material by
holding down the mouse button and dragging the cursor over the material (parts of a document)
or choose Select All from the Edit pull down menu (whole document)
Then - Grab material by
choose Copy or Cut from the Edit pull down menu
or hold down the Apple key and either the C (for copy) or X (for cut) key at the same time
Then - Save material in new spot by placing the cursor in the new location and clicking once and then
choose Paste from the Edit pull down menu
or hold down the Apple key and the V (for paste) key at the same time
The word modem is an acronym for Modulator Demodulator. It is simply a device that converts data from digital computer signals to analog signals that can be sent over a phone line. This is called demodulation. You must have a modem to get on the Internet. Most newer Mac's have built-in modems.
The trash can is just what it says. It allows you to throw away something that you no longer want on your computer. To put something in the trash can place the cursor on the icon. Hold down the mouse button and drag the icon to the trash. Release the button and the item is discarded. If you make a mistake and trash something you still need, you can retrieve it if you have not emptied the trash can. (A trash can will be emptied when you select Special from the Menubar and then choose empty trash). To retrieve something from the trash, double click on the trash can icon. The trash window will open. Select the item you want to retrieve and place the cursor on the icon. Hold down the mouse button and drag the item back to your desk top where you will be able to access it once again.
Make A New Folder
You have the option of creating as many folders as you wish. To create a new folder click somewhere on your desktop where there is nothing but background. The Menubar will change and you can choose the File pull down menu. The first option under File is New Folder. Move the cursor to New Folder and release the mouse button. A new folder will instantly appear on your desktop. To name the folder click once on the name below the folder, wait a second or two, and the color will change. Type in the new name and click again somewhere on your desktop. The folder will be renamed.
Computing With Bifocals Index
This column has an index that will help you find basic directions for doing things on your Mac. If you will click on this link it will take you directly to the index.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.