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Step-By-Step Tutorial: Windows Basics for the First Time User

Part 3a Ė Highlighting
By Patricia Ouellette

A lot of new users and the elderly have difficulty with highlighting text. Whether it is a menu item, a word, or a paragraph; it can cause some people a lot of grief. Highlighting will allow you to do many things. It is how we communicate with our computer what we want it to do with a specific word, phrase, paragraph or graphic.

For example, if we ask another person to move a box from "A" to "B," we can just speak the request and point to visibly show what we are talking about. We canít do that with a computer, so highlighting is how we visibly point to the command or request that we want the computer to do the next.

Here are some simple tips to help. You may find these instructions a little confusing when reading them, but try them out and you will find it is really very simple and not confusing at all.

Regulation Highlighting:
  1. With a single click of the mouse place the cursor at the beginning or the end of the section you wish to highlight.
  2. Without moving the mouse, hold down your left mouse button and slide the cursor over the text you wish to highlight. You will notice the text being covered by a coloured highlight (the default is blue for the highlight).
  3. Release the left mouse button at the end of the desired text.
  4. Now you can cut, copy or replace the text. Be sure that you donít click the left mouse button again or the highlight will disappear before you get to do what you wish to do. Clicking the right mouse button will give you a menu of options such as cut, copy, paste, font, paragraph, bullets and numbers, hyperlink etc.
Shortcut Highlighting:

If you have a problem with highlighting in the regular fashion, try this Ė
  1. With a single click place the cursor at the beginning of the desired text you wish to highlight.
  2. Hold down your shift key on the keyboard
  3. Now single left click at the end of what you wish to highlight.
  4. You will notice that the entire section is now highlighted. Be sure that you donít click the left mouse button again or the highlight will disappear before you get to do what you wish to do. Clicking the right mouse button will give you a menu of options such as cut, copy, paste, font, paragraph, bullets and numbers, hyperlink etc.
Another Use for Highlighting:

In Windows Explorer we can move entire directories, files and folders from one place to another. We can select any file or folder we wish and place it on a floppy. A lot of people move one file or folder at a time, but it is possible to move more than one.

This technique can be used to move or store files and folders onto a floppy or to relocate them on your hard drive. It can also be used to transfer photos from a digital camera to your hard drive.

Please note that you will need to have your mouse cursor on the highlighted text or objects when you select the command (cut, copy, paste etc) or the highlight may disappear and you will need to start highlighting again.

Selecting a List of Files:
  1. Single click on the first file in the right side panel of Windows Explorer. This will highlight the file.
  2. Without clicking your mouse in the panel, scroll down to the last file you require.
  3. Hold down the shift key on your keyboard and single left mouse click on the last file in the list you need.
  4. You will notice a continuous list of files is now highlighted. You can now cut, copy or drag that list to whatever destination you wish to place them.
Selecting Intermittent File from One Folder or Directory:
  1. Hold down your CTRL key on your keyboard
  2. Single left mouse click on each file you wish to highlight
  3. You will notice that only the files you clicked on will be highlighted. You can now cut, copy or drag that list to whatever destination you wish to place them.
Highlighting is an important technique in communicating with your computer. It does take practice, but itís worth the effort Ė so give it a go.
Davy Ritchie is a 59 year old grandfather from Scotland who enjoys family, writing and church linked activities. He is presently arranging a short missions trip to the Philippines in October 2005. You can send "sympathy notes" to Davy via the Letters page of this magazine.
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