CS101 - Introduction to Computing - Lecture Handout 14

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Word Processing

Focus of the last lecture was on Application SW

Application SW are programs that interact directly with the user for the performance of a certain type of work
That work generally falls into one of the following usage areas

Today’s Lecture

First among the four lectures that we plan to have on productivity software, a subcategory of application software
This first lecture will be on word processing
We’ll learn about what we mean by word processing and also desktop publishing
We’ll discuss the usage of various functions provided by common word processors

Word Processing

The art and science of converting written information into a form that looks pleasing when printed
One of the most popular activities on the PC

Word Processor

The tool used to perform word processing
Long time ago, a word processor was a HW/SW combination used solely for performing the word processing task. It looked like a computer terminal or a PC, but could do only one task – word processing
Today, the term “word processor” generally means the SW used on a computer to perform the task of word processing

Uses of Word Processors

Write a letter
Address labels
Research paper or report
And thousands of other tasks

Common Features

Type, cut, copy, paste, move text
Automatic line-breaks
Change font type, face, size, color
Change number of columns
Adjust margins and line, word, letter spacing
Have running headers, footers, page nos.
Insert tables, charts, graphics, drawings

Evolution of WP’s

Manual & electric typewriters (1930-1960)
Were page oriented
Type face/size was changed by replacing the typing ball
Typewriters with magnetic storage (1960’s)
IBM added storage capability using magnetic tape

Line editors on computers(1960's)
Stand alone word processors (1960's-1970's)
cost: $15,000 to 20,000
Current WP programs on uCs (1980's onwards)

Types: WYSIWYG-based & Markup-based

All early WP’s and some of the modern ones as well are markup-based: similar to HTML
Generally are harder to learn, but may provide better control and smaller file size Example: LaTeX
Most current PC-based WP’s belong to the WYSIWYG category
Easy to get started due to the WIMP interface
Example: MS Word, Corel WordPerfect, Sun Star

Desktop Publishing (DTP)

A combination of word processing and graphic design. Used to develop elegant documents
In the olden times, DTP was used for designing magazines, newspapers & other professional-looking items
These days, because of the low cost of DTP SW, it is being used for less-demanding and ordinary tasks as well
The original Macintosh PC started the era of DTP or “Personal Publishing” in 1984

DTP –vs– WP

The difference between the two is diminishing with time
Most WP’s now include many tools that, not long ago, were found only in DTP SW
Generally, DTP SW is a bit more difficult to use for us common computer users, whereas WP SW is quite user-friendly
DTP SW generally provides finer control over the design/layout of a document

DTP: Requirements

High-end PC with a large-screen monitor
Laser printer
Adobe PageMaker
Corel Ventura
MS Publisher

Word Processors for the Web

Most common WP’s and DTP packages now have the Web development ability
They also include features like auto-recognition of eMail addresses and URL’s
However, specialized SW just for developing Web pages and sites is also available
Examples: DreamWeaver, FrontPage

The right font face & size for normal text

If text is too small, it becomes hard to read
Too large, wastage of space is the result. Plus the reader has to turn more pages than necessary
Either way, the reader gets annoyed
For general WP, 10-12 point size works well
Most users, either use the Times New Roman or Arial/Helvetica type face

Bold, Italic, Underlined Text

Bold – fat
Italic – slanted (Why the name italic?)
All used to emphasize a certain segment of text

Please do not over-do them
Their over-use makes it very difficult for the reader
And please, use one at a time: Text that is no only bold but also italic & underlined looks +ively awful

Select, Cut, Copy, Drag, Paste

Just select and cut or copy or drag
Can also paste after a cut or a copy
Just think about the pain that people suffered before the advent of the modern WP’s
Movement of a single sentence from one page to another would have required re-doing all the pages in between

Spelling & Grammar

Grammar checkers are not very helpful yet, but still useful and are improving with time Warning: Spell checkers are not all that smart! Use them with care.
Disadvantage: My spelling ability is deteriorating day-by-day because of over-reliance on WP spell-checkers. I am having great difficulty in writing even short-ish hand-written notes without spelling errors


My favorite tool
Helps you find synonyms and, sometimes, antonyms as well


Tables are sometimes useful for presenting info in an ordered fashion
Most WP’s provide extensive table construction & manipulation features

Graphics & Drawings

You can insert graphics that are made using other apps into a WP document
Several WP’s have a built-in drawing tool, which can be used for adding simple diagrams (e.g. a flow chart, a simple street map) into a WP document

The Best Feature: Undo

Allows you to recover from your mistakes
Allows you to experiment without risk

Document View Mode

Most WP’s provide several ways of viewing a document
I normally work in and recommend what is known as the “Print Layout” view mode In this view, the WP works in a true WYSIWYG mode

Print-Preview & Printing

Make sure to preview your document before printing it
Do this to make sure about the”look” of the document before it is printed
Most people these days either use inkjet printers or laser printers
Color inkjet printers cost less but are slower
B&W laser printers cost around twice as much, but are faster and generally have finer resolution
Color laser printers are expensive


Table of contents
TOC can be automatically generated
Page nos. in the TOC get readjusted automatically
Can be automatically generated
Page nos. in the index get readjusted automatically
Application of predefined styles
Change style; text changes automatically throughout the doc
Headers & Footers
Page numbers
Spelling error auto-highlight

Getting On-Screen Help

All WP’s generally have some form of built-in help mechanism
To me, it seems like that many of those help-systems are designed to be “not-veryhelpful”: they make finding answers to simple questions quite difficult
Nevertheless, do try them when you are searching for answers

Let’s try to use MS Word for creating a CV

(Remember the TOC)

Today’s Lecture was the …

First among the four lectures that we plan to have on productivity software, a subcategory of application software
This first lecture was on word processing
We learnt about what we mean by word processing and also desktop publishing
We also discussed the usage of various functions provided by common word processors

Focus of the Next Lecture: Algorithms

To become familiar with the concept of algorithms
What they are?
What is there use?
To become able to write algorithms for simple problems