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Practical Computing



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This is the 3rd edition with a publication date of 1/11/2012.

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  • Practical Computing
    Practical Computing
  • Practical Computing
    Practical Computing


Practical Computinghas been crafted to address the unique challenges novices face in mastering PCs. It combines user-friendly design, creative multimedia tools, and a focus on useful skills that readers can apply immediately, either at home or in the workplace.

Author Biography

Lynn Hogan has taught computer literacy and microcomputer applications classes at Calhoun Community College for 25 years.  For the past 18 years, she has served as chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems.  She received Calhoun’s outstanding instructor award in 2006, and currently teaches computer literacy for senior adults and web design courses. Having developed the first online computer course at Calhoun, she continues to work with the distance education program.  She received an M.B.A. from the University of North Alabama and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.


She resides in Alabama with her husband and two daughters.  Much of her free time is spent traveling to cutting horse shows and dressage shows, watching her daughters compete.  In addition to working with horses, she enjoys cooking, reading, and family travel.


Amy Rutledge is a Special Instructor of Management Information Systems at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She coordinates academic programs in Microsoft Office applications and introductory Management Information Systems courses for the School of Business Administration. She is the Faculty Advisor for the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Student Chapter at Oakland University. Before joining Oakland University as an Instructor, Amy spent several years working for a music distribution company and automotive manufacturer in various corporate roles including IT Project Management. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration specializing in Management Information Systems, and a B.A. in French Modern Language and Literature. She holds an M.B.A from Oakland University.  She resides in Michigan with her husband, Dan.

Table of Contents

Practical Computing 3rd Edition 


Chapter 1

Understanding Computer Applications

Computer Fundamentals

Computer Applications

IN-DEPTH - Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics

Computer Careers

A LOOK BACK - General History of the Digital Computer

Computer Types

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Supercomputer Applications

Software (general terminology and discussion of basics)

Application Software

Productivity Software

Word Processing




IN-DEPTH - Microsoft Office 2010 (Computing on the Go)

Entertainment and Multimedia Software

Image Editing Software

Educational and Reference Software

Gaming Software

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Input, Processing, Output, and Storage (a computer system defined)

Using and Acquiring Software

Web-based Software

Shareware and Freeware

IN-DEPTH - Download Software or Purchase CD?

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Computer Memory (RAM) and Computer Storage (CD, Hard disk, Flash memory)

Installing and Uninstalling Software

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Identifying Available Memory and Storage Space

IN-DEPTH - Uninstalling vs. Deleting

System Software

Operating System

Microsoft Windows


Mac OS

A LOOK BACK - The Evolution of Microsoft Windows

Utility Software

File Compression Utiliites

System Maintenance Utilities

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Performing and Scheduling System Maintenance (Defragmenting, Error Checking, Task Scheduler)

System Diagnostics

System Backup

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Using the Windows Action Center


Chapter 2

Understanding the Operating System and File Management

Operating System Basics


Hardware Management

Software Coordination

Memory Management


Windows 7 Desktop

Icons and Gadgets

A LOOK BACK - The Development of MS-DOS and the First Microcomputers


Start Menu

Customizing the Taskbar

Notification Area

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Working with the Desktop and Taskbar

Windows Management

Opening, Closing, Maximizing, and Restoring Windows

Resizing and Moving Windows

Working with Multiple Windows

Aero Peek

Windows Snap

Arranging Windows

IN-DEPTH - Windows Upgrade and Windows Update

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Managing Windows

Customizing a Computer System

Changing the Background and Screen Saver

Understanding Screen Resolution

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Selecting a Microcomputer

Managing Peripherals

Working with User Accounts

IN-DEPTH - The Contributions of Apple, Inc.

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Customizing the Desktop

Managing Files and Folders

System Folders and Windows Explorer

Creating Folders


IN-DEPTH - Tips for Creating a Workable Folder Structure

Saving Files to Folders

Selecting Multiple Files and Folders

IN-DEPTH - Moving Folders From One Location to Another

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Creating Folders and Files

Windows Search

Search From the Start Menu

Search From Windows Explorer

IN-DEPTH - Using Wildcards When Searching

Windows Help

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Searching and Using Windows Help

A LOOK BACK - The History of Digital Computers


Chapter 3

Navigating the Internet

Understanding the Internet

Internet Applications






Browser Security

A LOOK BACK - The Evolution of the World Wide Web

Connecting to the Internet


IN-DEPTH - Free Internet Connection

Home Computer Wireless Connection

Connecting with a SmartPhone

IN-DEPTH - Tips for Using Public WIFI

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Surfing the Web

Searching the Internet

Search Engines

IN-DEPTH - BING and Google

Search Techniques

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Creating a Web Page

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Searching the Web

Downloading From the Internet

Why and How to Download

Safeguards When Downloading

IN-DEPTH - Downloading vs. Uploading

Societal Issues of the Internet

Consumer Security

Inappropriate Web Sites

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Exploring Sites Promoting Internet Security and Appropriate Web Protocol


Chapter 4

Working with PowerPoint

Understanding PowerPoint

Identifying an Audience

Beginning and Opening a PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint Views

Navigating a Presentation in Slide Show

Saving a Presentation

Modifying a Presentation

Editing Slides

Managing Slides

Working with Themes

Changing Slide Layout

Previewing and Printing a Presentation

Including Headers and Footers

Modifying Print Properties

Inserting Objects

Adding ClipArt and Pictures

Creating Charts

Working with Tables

Exploring SmartArt

Including Shapes and Text Boxes

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Creating a PowerPoint Presentation and Adding Objects

Adding Multimedia

Working with Music

Including Videos

Editing Multimedia

Broadcasting a Slide Show

Adding Transitions and Animation

Creating a Photo Album

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Including Multimedia in a PowerPoint Presentation


Chapter 5

Working with Word

Understanding Word

Beginning and Opening a Word Document

Word Views

Navigating a Document

Saving a Document

Modifying a Document

Selecting Text

Character Formatting

Paragraph Formatting

Document Formatting

Setting Tabs

Checking Spelling and Grammar

Finding and Replacing Text

Cutting, Copying and Pasting

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Creating and Editing a Word Document

Working with Word Options

Previewing and Printing a Document

Including Headers and Footers

Modifying Print Properties

Inserting Objects

Adding ClipArt and Pictures

Including WordArt

Adding Tables

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Working with Word Objects


Chapter 6

Working with Excel

Understanding Excel

Beginning and Opening an Excel Workbook

Excel Views

Navigating a Worksheet

Saving a Workbook

Modifying a Worksheet

Editing Cell Contents

Including Formulas

Adjusting Alignment

Changing Row Height and Column Width

Copying and Moving Cell Contents

Absolute and Relative Referencing

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Creating and Editing a Workbook

Working with Multiple Worksheets

Renaming, Moving, and Delete Worksheets

Creating Linking Formulas

Working with Functions

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Working with Functions and Multiple Worksheets


Chapter 7

Understanding Networking and Computer Security

Networking Basics

Peer-to-Peer Networks

Client/server Networks

Creating a Home Computer Network

Wired and Wireless Networks

Home Networking Equipment

Securing a Home Computer Network


Home Computer Security


IN-DEPTH - Virus symptoms


Spyware and Malware

IN-DEPTH - Cookies


IN-DEPTH - Prevention of Identity Theft

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Testing a Computer's Vulnerability

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Denial of Service (DoS) Attack

Windows 7 and Internet Explorer Security Features

Windows Firewall

Windows Defender

User Account Control

Action Center

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Exploring Windows 7 Security

Windows Update

IE Security and Privacy Settings

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Backing up Computer Data

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Adjusting Internet Explorer Security Settings


Chapter 8

Exploring Online Communication and Cloud Computing

Online Communication


IN-DEPTH - Online Etiquette


Social Networking

IN-DEPTH - Staying Safe Online


IN-DEPTH - Using Twitter to Market a Business

Text Message

Instant Message

IN-DEPTH - Wikipedia


RSS Feed


A LOOK BACK - The History of E-Mail


IN-DEPTH - News Feeds

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Communicating Online

Cloud Computing

IN-DEPTH - Companies Involved in Cloud Computing

Document Sharing and Online Productivity Software

Web Apps and Skydrive


Google Apps


Social Bookmarking

Photo Sharing

IN-DEPTH - Photo Sites

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Sharing Files, Documents, and Photos


Chapter 9

Exploring Digital Entertainment and Multimedia Applications

A Definition of Digital

Digital Photography

Digital Camera Specifications

IN-DEPTH - Photo Sharing Sites

Transferring Pictures to a Computer

Sharing Digital Pictures


Editing Digital Pictures

IN-DEPTH - Image Editing Software

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Using Windows Photo Gallery

Digital Video

Recording Video

IN-DEPTH - Video Editing in Microsoft Office 2010

Transferring Video to a Computer

Uploading Video to YouTube

Editing Video

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT - Capturing YouTube Video

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Using Windows MovieMaker


Downloading Music

IN-DEPTH - Legal Considerations When Downloading Multimedia

Using Portable Music Players

HANDS-ON ACTIVITY - Including Music and Video in PowerPoint

Business Applications

Video Conferencing

Broadcasting PowerPoint


Learning Platforms





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