Word processing/Terminology

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Left aligned text or tabs are straight on the left and ragged on the right

Centre aligned text or tabs are centred between margins or under a tab

Right aligned text or tabs are straight on the right and ragged on the left

Justified text is straight on both the left and right margins

Decimal tabs are aligned at the decimal point:


Automatic page break

See Page break

Caps Lock

Is on the left of your keyboard. It is used when you want to type all letters in CAPITAL LETTERS – also known as UPPER CASE. A light will appear on your keyboard when caps lock is on. Touch the Caps Lock key to turn it on and touch it again to turn it off.

Cursor/Insertion Point

Is used to indicate where you are on the screen. Usually the cursor is a blinking vertical bar (showing where you can key in or select text) or an arrow (used to select things).


A predefined setting. You can accept the default option settings that come with Word, or you can change them to suit you, e.g. the default line spacing is 1.15 line spacing for Word 2007 BUT single line spacing for Word 2003, the default left and right margins are 3.17 cm

Dialog Box

Is a list of options that appear after you have clicked on a Tab, or group, or button, e.g. if you click on the SAVE AS button, a dialog box will appear asking where you want to save your file and what you want to call it etc.


A word processing file. It could be a letter, a memorandum, advertisement etc.

Double Click

Gently click on the left mouse button twice about as quickly as you would say ‘click click’ (relax as you do this so that the mouse does not move between clicks.


Work in Draft for keying, editing and formatting text. Draft shows text formatting but simplifies the layout of the page so that you can key and edit quickly. In draft view, page boundaries, headers and footers, backgrounds, drawing objects and pictures do not appear.


An area to store files or programs. A drive is indicated by the use of a colon (:) There are 3 drives you need to know about

  • A: floppy disk drive (not found on most modern laptops)
  • C: hard disk drive (inside your system unit)
  • D: CDROM drive


Make changes to your text, e.g. move, copy, delete, insert text etc.


A document. It could be a letter, a budget, a newsletter etc.

File Extension

There are 2 parts to a filename. The first part is known as the filename and the second part (after the full stop) is called the extension. When you save a file you do not type in the extension – the program will automatically put it in for you.


You can divide your drive up into folders. Folders are used to hold files and allow you to manage your files and directories so you can find files easily.


Make changes to your document, e.g. make text bold, italics, indented, change margins etc.

Function Keys

Located at the top of your keyboard and are labeled F1, F2, and F3 etc. They are programmed to do special things, e.g. bring up help.

Horizontal Ruler

Appears at the top of the window. It is used for setting tabs and indents.

Initial Caps

The first letter of each word has a capital letter, e.g. Today Is Monday!

Insertion Point/Cursor

Is used to indicate where you are on the screen. Usually the insertion point is a blinking vertical bar (showing where you can key in or select text) or an arrow (used to select things).


A portrait document has the short edge of the paper at the top while a landscape document has the long edge of the paper at the top.

Manual Page Break

See Page break


Page margins are the blank space around the edges of the page. In general you insert text and graphics in the printable area inside the margins. However, you can position some items in the margins – for example, headers, footers and page numbers.


Enlarge the window to fill the desktop.


Reduce the window to a button on the taskbar.

Non-printing Symbols (Show/Hide)

Formatting marks such as tab characters, paragraph marks, and hidden text , which can be shown on screen but do not print.


When Overtype is on, you replace existing text as you type.

Page Break

The point at which one page ends and another begins. When you fill a page with text or graphics, Word inserts an “automatic” (or soft) page break and starts a new page. To force a page break at a specific location, you can insert a “manual” (or hard) page break.


See Landscape

Print Layout View

Work in this view to see how text, graphics and other elements will be positioned on the printed page. This view is useful for editing headers and footers, for adjusting margins and for working with columns and drawing objects.

Print Preview

Print preview gives you the opportunity to see how your document will look before you print it.


A horizontal ruler appears at the top of your window and a vertical ruler appears on the left hand side of your window.

Screen tips

Notes that appear on the screen to provide information about a button. You can show or hide Screen Tips at any time.


Sometimes you cannot see your entire file and you need to scroll up or down the screen. Scrolling is like moving a sheet of paper up or down so that you can see more of it. You can use the scroll arrows, or the scroll bars on the right and bottom of your window.

Selection Bar

The selection bar is on the left side of your page. Move your mouse to the left of the page and watch it change from an insertion point (like a capital l) to a pointer. When it is a pointer on the left side of the page, you are in the selection bar.

Status Bar

Is a display line at the bottom of your window. It displays different information depending on the program you are using and what you are doing. With word processing it gives current document page number, section number, total number of pages, cursor position line position.


Tab Stops

A position you set for placing and aligning text on a page. Word has five kinds of tab stops – left, centre, right, decimal and bar tabs.

Tab Type Button

The tab type button is on the left of the ruler. Click on the Tab Type button to change tab alignment to right align, centre align etc.



A tabulation is made up of rows and columns and is used to organise and present information. It is created by setting tabs.

Task Bar

The task bar is located at the bottom of the screen. It contains the Start Button which you can use to quickly start a program or to search for a file. It is also the fastest way to get Help. When you open a program, document or window a button appears on the taskbar.

Vertical Ruler

A horizontal ruler appears at the top of the window and a vertical ruler appears on the left hand side of the window.


You DO NOT press the Wp-enterkey.png key at the end of each line as the cursor will automatically move from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Press the Wp-enterkey.png key to create a new paragraph.


You can ‘zoom in’ to get a close-up view of your document or ‘zoom out’ to see more of the page at a reduced size. The ‘zoom’ control is on the Status bar or when in Print Preview you can zoom in or out by pressing the left mouse button when positioned over the document.