Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lesson 3a: Basic Skills - New Documents

Creating a New Document

The basic function of a Word Processor is to create a blank sheet of virtual paper for you to use to create documents. All 3 of the word processors we will be looking at do this in similar ways.

Google - From the main screen of the Google Docs & Spreadsheets application, you can click on the "New" menu to choose whether to create a new Document, Spreadsheet, or Folder.

The new document will open in a new browser window (or tab, depending on your browser preferences) and will be ready for you to start using immediately. A fairly new feature of the Google Docs & Spreadsheets application is the ability to create folders for your documents. Google has always allowed tagging and starring documents, but now you can both tag and file them into folders, just like you would on your personal computer.

You can also organize your documents and spreadsheets several different ways - those created by you, those that are starred for importance, items in folders, items by type and those that are shared with others.

Word - There are several ways to create a new document in Word. The easiest is to click on the new document icon (the black sheet of paper on the toolbar), but the most flexible is to go to the menu bar, click on the "File" menu and choose the "New" menu option.
This brings up the new file sidebar to the right of your screen. From here you can create a blank document, documents in other formats (XML, HTML, etc) and documents from templates, something that Google can't do right now.

Open Office -

To create a new document in Open Office, the procedure is nearly identical to the way you will do it in Word, but without the sidebar. Instead, the new document options appear as a fly-out menu when you hover over the "New" menu item. Again, you can create several documents in different formats, but with OO you can also create new spreadsheets, presentations, drawings or databases from this application as well.

Lesson 2c: Word Processing Basics - Interface part 3

Now that you are familiar with the way Google Docs does the basic tasks of Word Processing (set fonts, set formatting, save/print documents, etc.), we'll go over the way to do those things in both Microsoft Word and in Open Office.

MS Word 2003

Word's interface (from the 2003 version, the 2007 version will look quite a bit different) is the standard among desktop word processing programs. Most will look something like what you see in the image above. You will notice that there are quite a few more options available via the desktop word processors than there are via the online applications - but most people don't ever use 90% of the features a program like MS Word offers.
The basics are the same. There is a file menu, which allows you to open, save (in multiple formats) and print your documents. There is an Edit menu which contains the copy/cut/paste commands and the find/replace commands that are on the File menu in Google Docs. The View menu gives you multiple ways to view your documents and has no equivalent in Google Docs. The Insert menu is similar to Google's Insert menu, though. You can insert pictures, comments, symbols and many other items - up to and including whole documents - via this menu. The Format menu contains the features that Google puts in its Edit menu (font and paragraph controls, plus more). The rest of the menu items (Tools, Table, Window & Help) offer other options that can - for the most part - be found in File and Edit menus on Google Docs.
The toolbars below the menu bar contain graphical representations of the most commonly used features (as of Word 2003 - your most commonly used features) from the menu bar. Every feature available in Word is in the menu bar, the most common ones, though, are also represented in the toolbars below.

Open Office 2.2

As you can see, Open Office has the same menubar that Word has, and each menu item does essentially the same things. The toolbars below the menu items are just slightly different - some of the icons look a bit different than the ones in the Word toolbars, but they do the exact same things.