Before you can run a QBasic program or write programs of your own, you must load QBasic. This is no different from having to load a word processor before writing a documentexcept with QBasic, you'll never feel obligated to write a letter to weird Uncle Henry. QBasic actually includes its own word-processing program, which you will use to write your programs. To load QBasic, go to your QBasic directory and double-click the QBasic application file. When you do, click the OK button on the little window that appears, and you'll see the screen in Figure 3.1.
Figure 3.1 QBasic when it first appears.
The welcome dialog box enables you to look at QBasic's Survival Guide (a brief help screen) by pressing Enter or by clicking the "Press Enter to see the Survival Guide" text line with your mouse. To get rid of the dialog box and get started with QBasic, press your keyboard's Esc key or use your mouse to click on the "Press ESC to clear this dialog box" text line.
When you close the welcome dialog box, you'll see QBasic's main window, as shown in Figure 3.2.
Figure 3.2 QBasic's main window.
QBasic's main window comprises several smaller windows and a menu, each labeled in Figure 3.2 and listed here:
Menu bar You can access QBasic's various commands from here.
Edit window You type and view your programs in this window.
Immediate command window Any programming commands that you type in this window are performed immediately by the computer rather than being added to your program. You'll learn about immediate commands in Chapter 5, "Computer-Style Arithmetic." However, you might as well know now that commands like "Bring me Michelle Pfeiffer" don't work worth a darn.
Status window The status window shows the keys you can press to access certain commands and gives a quick description of any highlighted menu command. It also shows the line and column position of the text cursor.
Now that you know how the QBasic main screen is set up, let's take a closer look at this powerful programming environment.