name='keywords'/> March 2012 | COMPUTER BASICS FOR HUMAN RESOURCES PROFESSIONALS Best Blogger Tips

Since computer terminology can often be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to understanding the world of personal computers,I've tried to make things a bit easier by defining new terms at the beginning of the chapter in they first appear

Friday, 16 March 2012


The keyboard is one of the most important components of a personal computer because it is the primary device through which a person communicates with a computer. The keyboard attaches to the system with a coiled cable. On many machines this cable stretches about six feet, which permits the keyboard to be positioned wherever it will be the most functional or comfortable, even on a person’s lap. Many manufacturers build two forms of feedback into keyboards: tactile and audio. Tactile feedback occurs when you press a key and feel the slight pressure that builds up and then releases, indicating that the keystroke has registered and the character or command has been sent to the computer. As this happens, the audio feedback, a soft click like the click of a typewriter key, is heard. This feedback helps make the keyboard easier to use when a person is reading from notes while entering data.
IBM and many IBM compatibles feature keyboards with 83 keys that access 256 characters. You don’t always see every character displayed on the keys themselves, but they are there, stored in 11w l.OM. For example, if you looked at the letter ‘I” on the keyboard, you would only see it displayed in uppercase. It will also lowercase, of course, but it can also display the symbol “L,” which denotes England’s currency.
The keyboard as seen in Figure 33 has a standard typewriter layout in the middle, a numeric keypad to the right (which doubles as a set of cursor-control keys), and 10 special function keys to the left
 FIGURE 33. Standard Keyboard Layout.
One important point: There is no way a person can damage the computer by using the wrong keys: As discussed in Chapter One, many people are afraid that if they touch the wrong key something terrible will happen. This simply isn’t so. A person may not get the results he or she was expecting, but striking a wrong key will not hurt the system itself.

Function keys
There are usually 10 special function keys (see Figure 34), which are found either on the left-hand side of the keyboard, or across the top of it. These have programmable functions that change with the software program. For example, in a word processing package they might govern how a page of text appears on a screen depending on the software package, these can have different uses.

Note:  Not all keys will be used with all programs. Check the reference manuals provided with your software to be sure.

Important Usage Keys:

Enter Key                         Tells the computer to process the      
                                                                                                                      Information YOU have been working on

                                                                   ESCAPE                                 Performs different functions, but

                                                                                                              Usually allows you to exit a program.

                                                           TAB                                  Moves cursor eight spaces at once   

                                       CONTROL                       Used in connection with other 

                                                                                                                keys to modify their           

                                                ALTERNATE                         Used with other keys.     

                                                SHIFT                  Enters upper case letters and 

                                                                                                   top ‘symbol’ of dual character keys.  

                                     BACK SPACE          Moves cursor back one space, and                  
                                                                                                erases each character it passes.

                                                 CAPS LOCK                Locks in upper case characters.

                      SPACE BAR                 Locks in upper case characters

The numeric keys are really dual purpose keys that allow you to either enter numeric data or to perform special uses. The “Numlock” key serves as a ‘toggle switch)” that allows you to change the keypads function.
Note: not all keys will be used with all programs. Check the reference materials provided with your software to be sure.

(Known as formatting), or the movement of text within a document. In another program, they can perform a completely different set of comman4s. In BASIC they can compress commands that are 15 characters long into one kçy. Instructions for the function keys are usually found at the front of the software programs manual. Many products also include templates that fit over these keys for easy reference.
Numeric keypad
The numeric, calculator-like keypad on the right side of the keyboard performs two functions:
1. It can serve as a calculator.
2. It controls the movements of, the cursor.
These functions are controlled by the “num lock” key, which acts like a toggle switch. Press it once and the numeric keypad can be used to enter numbers. Press it again and the same set keys control the cursor. The cursor can be moved up, down, left, right, to the top of the screen, or to the end of a file. Two cursor-control keys, labeled “Pg Up” and “Pg Dn,” work with word processing and other programs to view previous succeeding sections of a document. Other keys provide the ability In delete or inwii characters into an existing body of text.
Control key combinations
‘The control key is used in combination with other keys to perform
a variety of functions:

Combination Keys                                                                             Results
Ctrl + Scroll lock                                                           Causes a break in the program.
Ctrl + Num Lock                                                           Causes a pause in the program.
Ctrl + Alt + Del                                                               Causes a system reset (a warm boot).
Ctrl + left arrow                                                            Causes the cursor to move back one word.
Ctrl + right arrow                                                          Causes the cursor to move forward one word. 
Ctrl + PrtS                                                                      Sends output to both the screen and printer                           
                                                                                        Simultaneously. This is called a print echo, or a screen
                                                                                        dump. This is a good way of making a copy of one 
                                                                                         Particular screen without printing anything e1se.
Ctrl + End                                                                      Erases the screen beginning with the current cursor
                                                                                       Position to the end of the line.
Ctrl + PgDn                                                                 Erases the screen from the current cursor position to the
                                                                                                 End of the screen.
Ctrl + Home                                                                  Clears (blanks) the screen and sends the cursor to the
                                                                                               home position.

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