Using programs and managing files


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Programs and files

a close up of hands typing on a laptop

What's coming up

When you use your computer to browse the internet, send emails, edit photos or write documents, you use software called programs.

The documents or images you create with a program are called files. You can organise your files by putting them in a folder and giving them a clear name.

In this activity, you will find out about opening and closing a program and creating files and folders.

Start activity

Keep track of files

Today, we're going to follow a lady called Sue as she saves some files on her computer.

Sue recently bought a digital camera and she's already taken lots of photos. She wants to save them to her computer and there are a few she wants to edit.

a computer icon for a camera
a file search box on a Windows 10 computer

One of Sue's friends tried to do the same thing, but she couldn't find where the photos were saved on the computer.

Sue hopes she won't have the same problem.

a large magnifying glass search symbol on a computer screen
Sue creates a folder called Letters so she can find her letters easily

What should Sue do?

Sue decides to create different folders for all her files and label them so she can find things easily.

When she saves a file, she needs to think about how she'll find it again. So she might have one folder for photos, one for letters and so on. It will make it much easier for her to find what she's looking for.

Sue does some filing

Sue wants to create a folder called Photos on her computer for her photographs. Let's walk through the steps needed to create and name a new folder.

The Windows icon

First, Sue selects the Windows icon on the desktop.

The Windows icon is in the bottom left of the screen and looks like a circle or square with a flag in it.

a close up of the Windows icon on a desktop computer screen

The Documents icon

Next, Sue clicks on the Documents icon from the menu of icons that has popped up.

The Documents icon looks like the outline of a page with the top right corner turned down.

a close up of the Documents icon on a desktop computer screen
a close up of the Windows menu options with the Documents folder highlighted

The Documents option

Sue decides that she'd like to store the photos with her other documents, so she selects the Documents option from the list that appears in the Documents panel.

Creating a new folder

To keep photos in one place, and make them easier to find them later, Sue wants to create a separate area for them inside the Documents folder.

To do this, she selects the New folder option.

a close up of the Windows New folder icon on a desktop computer screen
a close up of the Windows folder named Photos

Naming the folder

Finally, Sue names the new folder Photos, which will help her remember what's in it.

Opening a program

Let’s practise opening a program together.

On the next slide is a practise that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right hand side of the screen.

Opening a program

Opening a program

This is a video exercise that allows learners to practise opening a program on a computer.

This exercise has no sound track.

To successfully complete the exercise, you need to search for the program 'Word' on a desktop computer and then open the applicaton once it has been found.

This exercise is used to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment. If a mistake is made, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

a blue arrow on an icon or folder indicates you can open it quickly by double clicking

What is a shortcut?

There is another way to open a program. If you look at the desktop on your computer, you may see some shortcut icons. You can use these to open programs quickly.

Shortcut icons often have a small, blue arrow in the bottom left-hand corner. To open a program, you double click on the icon quickly using the left button on your mouse.

Saving your file

Now that Sue has started typing her letter, she will want to save the document. In the next slide, we take a look at how Sue saves her file. Press the 'Continue' button and then watch the video.

Renaming files

Sometimes you may want to rename a file or folder.

To do this, use your mouse to move the cursor over the folder and then press the right button on your mouse. Now select the Rename option on the menu with the left button on your mouse. This will highlight the folder name.

Press the Backspace button on your keyboard to delete the old name and type the new name in its place.

Finally, press the Enter key to finish the process.

a file ready to be renamed

Well done!

You’ve now come to the end of the Programs and files activity.

In this activity, you found out that you can use a shortcut icon to open a program, and close a program by clicking the cross in the top right-hand corner of the window. Also, saving your documents or files inside appropriately named folders means they are easy to find when you need them.

In the next activity, Computer safety, you'll learn about how to sit correctly when using your computer, and some common hazards to avoid.

a close up of a menu with the save option highlighted