DR. K's WRITING MANUAL

CHAPTER 2: Macintosh Basics

 
 
Due to the nature of the programs discussed and the fact that the Department of Biology and Chemistry makes use of only Macintosh computers, all discussions in it will center around this type of computer. However, identical or similar programs are also becoming available for the "IBM" type of computer. If you are familiar with IBM-type computers for word processing you can use them for later use with the programs mentioned in this handbook.
If you wish to do this it is imperative that you save a copy of your paper as a "Macintosh Word" document so that it can easily be read by these programs. See your owner's manual or professor for information on how to do this.
 
A. Terminology
 
Apple: At the far left of all Mac menus is a solid apple icon (). Opening this menu item will give you access to whatever programs and options have been permanently installed on that "Start-up" menu.
Clicking: Once the cursor is on the item you are interested in you can "click" it by pushing down on the mouse button. Some programs are set to respond to one click while others respond to two quick clicks.
Command key: On the Mac keyboard the large key with the outline of an apple ()and a square with a circle at each corner is the "Command" key. By holding it down while hitting another key operations can be performed without having to use the mouse and menu. Any operation that can be so activated will have the sequence of keys used to activate it to the right of the menu command.
Disks: In order to save your material on something that you will be able to keep and transfer from computer to computer, you will need to purchase your own 3.5" disks. These standard disks can be either for Macintosh or IBM as you will "format" them for whatever computer you are using. When a "blank" or "unformatted" disk is inserted into the Macintosh computer a message will come up saying that this disk is unreadable or unformatted. "Click" on the "Initialize" button and the computer will remind you that doing so will erase all information on the disk. At this time it will allow you to title the disk by typing in a short name for the disk. Clicking on the "Format" disk will, through a several minute process, allow the computer to set up the disk so it will be readable by all Macintosh computers.
Dragging: Sometimes an action can be done by "dragging" an item in some fashion. To do this you simply put the cursor where you want it, click and hold the mouse button, without releasing it, and move the cursor to where you now want it. When it is where you want it, letting the button go completes the action.
Finder: To the far right of all Mac menus is an icon representing whatever program you are working on. Opening this menu item will give you access to any "open" program you are running and to the "Finder" which is the basic screen from which you can activate other programs, open or eject disks, etc.
Folder: Folders are the folder-shaped icons that Macs use to store material in. A folder is usually created for a specific program or category of material and will contain numerous items or documents.
Hard disks: All modern computers have a hard disk which is an internal storage area containing the programs loaded on the computer. You can also create your own "folder" on the hard disk to store material. However, if you are using an APU computer you should do this only temporarily as our computers are periodically purged of all extraneous material and anyone else using that computer can gain access to your material. When you are ready to stop for the day, transfer everything from your folder on the hard disk to your own disk and "trash" the folder.
Menus: Across the top of all Mac programs is a menu bar consisting of words, "icons" or pictures, or both. By clicking on an icon an action will occur. By clicking and holding on a word a list of options under that file word will appear. By holding the mouse button and sliding the cursor down the list of options a particular option can be selected. Releasing the button activates that option.
Mouse: Except for entering words or data, which requires the use of the keyboard, virtually all other commands and operations can be executed using only the "mouse". This device is capable of being moved on a small track ball in order to move the "cursor", which is the arrow, hand or bar appearing on the screen. On the mouse is a button that can be used to select items once the cursor is on that item.
Multitasking: Most modern computers are capable of running several programs at the same time. On the Mac you can switch between the programs in several ways. One method is to use the "finder" icon in the upper right which will show you all the programs you currently have in use. By selecting one of these you will switch to that program. Another method works if you can visibly see a portion of that program on the screen. If you can you can move to that program by simply clicking on that "window". By resizing the windows of each program, you can arrange it so that sections of all the programs are visible to facilitate this movement between programs.
Trash: On most Mac screens, on the lower right, will be a trash can. By dragging an item off a disk or the hard drive, from an individual document to an entire folder, and into the trash, the material is removed from the disk or hard drive. However, to "permanently" remove it you must then go to the "Special" menu item and select "Empty Trash". If you drag a disk into the trash it will eject it, assuming you are not using any material from the disk at that time.
Window: Any open square on the screen. At the top left is a tiny square that, when clicked, will close the window. At the bottom right is a tiny square that, when clicked and dragged will allow you to resize the window. Along the right side are "scroll bars" that will allow you to move through the document by either clicking on the top or bottom arrows or by dragging on the box in the scroll bar.
 
B. Basic Operation:
 
The majority of Mac computers today turn on by hitting a key in the upper right hand corner of the keyboard that has triangle on it. If there is no such key, check with someone familiar with that particular computer. If the computer monitor does not come on when the computer turns on, the monitor will have to be turned on also.
Once the computer has completed its start-up cycle, you will see several icons and or windows on the screen. as seen in figure 1. There will be an icon for the hard disk, for the trash and, if a disk is in the drive, for the disk. Most applications will be found by double clicking on the hard drive icon to open the hard drive window. Folders will appear that will usually hold the application programs that you will be using. To open one of these simply double click on the folder than double click on the icon of the application program.
When you wish to end using a program, be sure you have saved the final version of your document and make at least one back-up on another disk. Then go under "File" and select "Quit". When you are returned to the main screen, select "Shut Down" under "Special" and to turn off the computer. Be sure that the monitor is turned off, also.
Note: All Mac programs offer fairly good built in helps through the use of "Help" under the "Window" menu. Once in the "Help" program you simply type in or click on the area you need help with and it provides assistance.