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Exchanging Data Between Programs

When a block of text is selected, you can copy or cut it to a special holding area called the Clipboard. Then, you can reposition the insertion point and paste that selection back into the document in the new location.

Copying or Moving a Selected Block of Text

  1. Select the text you want to copy or move.

  2. Choose Edit, Cut to move it or Edit, Copy to copy it.

  3. Reposition the insertion point by clicking where you want it. You can open a different data file and a different program at this point if you want the selection to be placed there.

  4. Choose Edit, Paste.

In most programs, you can use the following shortcut keys and toolbar buttons for the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands:

  • Ctrl+X for Cut

  • Ctrl+C for Copy

  • Ctrl+V for Paste

In many programs, you also can right-click a selection and choose Cut, Copy, or Paste from the shortcut menu.

Microsoft Office 2000 programs (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and so on) come with a more advanced Clipboard that can store multiple selections at once. If you cut or copy multiple times without having pasted, instead of the previous selection disappearing, it remains on the Clipboard, and a Clipboard toolbar appears so you can choose which of the stored selections to paste. Figure 3.9 shows the Clipboard toolbar from Microsoft Word 2000.

Figure 3.9 Microsoft Office 2000 programs have a Clipboard that can store multiple selections for copying and moving.

  1. Double-click a clip to paste it.

Saving Your Work

Unless you save your work, the data that you enter in a program (typing text, drawing a picture, and so on) is lost when you exit from that program. If you want to keep something that you have created, you must save it.

When you save your work, you can choose where to store the saved file. Some people always store all their data files in the C:\My Documents folder; other people like to create new folders for each project they work on. It's up to you. Just make sure you remember where you stored the file so you can open it later when you want to work with it again.

Toolbar Shortcut

Many programs have a Save button on the toolbar that opens the Save As dialog box (if the file has not yet been saved) or saves the changes made to the file (if it has already been saved before).

In some programs, you also have a choice of formats in which to save the file. For example, in some word processing programs, you can save the file in that program's regular format or in the format of any of several other popular word processing programs. That way, you can exchange files with someone who does not use the same word processor as you do.

Saving a File

  1. Choose File, Save. The Save As dialog box appears. Figure 3.10 shows the one for WordPad; the one you see might be slightly different.

  2. (Optional) To change the save location (the default is probably C:\My Documents), do the following:

    • Open the Save in drop-down list and choose the drive where you want to save. A list of all the folders on that drive appears.

    • Double-click the folder in which you want to save.

    • Double-click through additional levels of folders, if needed, until the name of the folder in which you want to save appears in the Save in box.

  3. (Optional) To change the file format for the saved file, open the Save as type drop-down list and choose a different format.

  4. Type the filename you want in the File name text box.

  5. Click Save.

Figure 3.10 Save your work in the Save or Save As dialog box. (The exact name depends on the program.)

  1. Choose a location.
  2. Type a name.
  3. Select a file type to save as.
  4. Toolbar

You might have noticed in Figure 3.10 that the Save As dialog box has its own mini-toolbar with several buttons. You can find out what these buttons do by pointing at them to make a ScreenTip appear. Here are two that are extremely useful:

  • Up One Level takes you up one level of folders. For example, if you are currently in C:\My Documents\Archive, it will take you to C:\My Documents.

  • New Folder creates a new folder in whatever folder is currently displayed, so you can create organizational systems on-the-fly.

File Naming Rules

Most Windows-based programs support long filenames, which means the names can be up to 256 characters and can include spaces. Filenames cannot include any of these symbols: forward slash (/), backslash (\), greater than sign (>), less than sign (<), asterisk (*), question mark (?), quotation mark ("), pipe symbol (|), colon (:), or semicolon (;).

Some programs (mostly older ones) require you to stick to old DOS-style filenames, which can have no more than eight letters and cannot include spaces. Such programs will let you know if the name you have chosen is unusable.

Opening Files

Saving a file enables you to open it again later when you want to edit or print it. For example, you might save a draft of your report and close it, and then open it later for more revisions.

Toolbar Shortcut

Many programs have an Open button on the Standard toolbar that opens the Open dialog box.

Opening a File in WordPad

  1. Choose File, Open. The Open dialog box appears. The one for WordPad appears in Figure 3.11.

  2. If the saved file is in a folder other than My Documents, navigate to that folder the same way you did in the preceding steps when you saved.

  3. Click the saved file on the list of files that appears.

  4. Click Open.

The Open dialog box has the same set of toolbar buttons as the Save As dialog box in WordPad, and you can use them the same way.

Figure 3.11 Open files from the Open dialog box in a program.

  1. Choose where to look for stored files.
  2. Select the file.

Help with Dialog Boxes

Many of the more complicated dialog boxes in such programs have What's This? Help buttons, as pointed out in Figure 3.12. You can click that button and then click one of the dialog box's controls to find out what it does.

Some programs have fancier Save As and Open dialog boxes with more toolbar buttons and other controls. For example, Figure 3.12 shows the Open dialog box for Microsoft Word 2000. In dialog boxes such as this, you can stick to the basic controls that you just learned about, or you can explore the various buttons and options on your own.

Figure 3.12 A more complex version of an Open dialog box, from Microsoft Word.

  1. What's This? Help button

Print Button

Many programs have a Print button on the toolbar. Clicking it prints a single copy of the default print range (in most cases, that's the entire file).

Some programs also allow you to have more than one file open at once. In programs that do, you can switch between them by selecting the file from the Window menu, which lists the open files.

Printing Your Work

Most people want a hard copy of their work to show to others. You might have just created a fabulous advertisement for your garage sale, for example, or an important report for your business. Almost every Windows program that enables you to create something also enables you to print it.

Printing Your Work

  1. Open the file containing your work.

  2. Choose File, Print. At this point, one of two things happens, depending on the program. Either:

    • The file prints immediately on your default printer

    • or

    • A Print dialog box opens, in which you can set print options (which is the case with almost all other programs).

  3. If a Print dialog box appears, specify the number of copies, the page range, the desired printer, and any other options the box offers. Figure 3.13 shows one for WordPad, for example.

  4. Click the Print (or OK) button to close the dialog box and print your work.

Figure 3.13 This Print dialog box is typical of most Windows programs.

  1. Set the number of copies.
  2. Set the page range.
  3. Choose a printer, if you have more than one.

Switching Among Running Programs

One of Windows Millennium's best features is its capability to multitask—to run more than one program at a time. You can have lots of programs running at once, each in its own window. That means you can work on your report for work and then jump over to the Internet to check your stock portfolio without closing the report. Then, you can read some email, format a disk, and come back to the business report just as you left it.

As you learned in Chapter 1, each open window has its own rectangular button on the taskbar. You can switch to any of your open windows by clicking its button there. That's the easiest way to switch among windows.

Why Exit?

Exiting a program when you are finished with it keeps the onscreen clutter to a minimum. It also can make your other running programs run faster and better. That's because each running program consumes system resources (that is, memory), and the more programs that are running, the fewer spare system resources are available to go around.

The average computer can easily run five or six average programs at once without any noticeable slowdown, but you will probably want to exit a program when you are finished working with it, just to keep your taskbar and desktop tidy.

An alternate method also exists for switching: Alt+Tab. This method is great for people who prefer keyboard steps to mouse use, and it also enables you to switch to a window that does not appear on the taskbar even though it is open. (Those are rare, but they do exist. Windows dialog boxes are the worst offenders here.)

Switching Among Windows with Alt+Tab

  1. Hold down the Alt key.

  2. Press and release the Tab key, but do not release Alt. A bar showing icons for all the open windows appears (see Figure 3.14).

  3. Press the Tab key to select the icon you want on the bar. Each time you press Tab, the selector (the outline) moves one icon to the right.

  4. When the icon you want is selected, release the Alt key. That window appears.

Figure 3.14 This panel appears when you press Alt+Tab.

  1. Selected icon
  2. Name of the window

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