Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Windows XP screen uses a graphical user interface ( GUI , pronounced “gooey”),
which displays icons that represent items stored on your computer, such as programs and
files. Icons are pictures of familiar objects, such as file folders and documents. Windows XP
gets its name from the rectangular work areas, called “windows,” that appear on your
screen as you work (although no other windows should be open right now). You will learn
more about windows later in this tutorial.
Touring the Windows XP Desktop
In Windows terminology, the area displayed on your screen when Windows XP starts rep-
resents a desktop —a workspace for projects and the tools that you need to manipulate
your projects. When you first start a computer, it uses default settings, those preset by the
operating system. The default desktop you see after you first install Windows XP, for exam-
ple, displays an image of green hills and clouds in a blue sky. However, Microsoft
designed Windows XP so that you can easily change the appearance of the desktop. You
can, for example, change images or add patterns and text to the desktop background.
Interacting with the Desktop
To interact with the objects on your desktop, you use a pointing device . Pointing devices
come in many shapes and sizes. The most common one is called a mouse , so this book
uses that term. If you are using a different pointing device, such as a trackball, substitute
that device whenever you see the term “mouse.” Some pointing devices are designed to
ensure that your hand won’t suffer fatigue while using them. Some are attached directly to
your computer via a cable, whereas others work like a TV remote control and allow you
to access your computer without being right next to it.
You use a pointing device to move the mouse pointer over objects on the desktop, or to
point to them. The pointer is usually shaped like an arrow , although it changes shape
depending on the pointer’s location on the screen and what tasks you are performing. As
you move the mouse on a surface, such as a mouse pad, the pointer on the screen moves
in a corresponding direction.
When you point to certain objects, such as the objects on the taskbar, a “tip” appears
in a yellow box. These tips are called ScreenTips , and they tell you the purpose or func-
tion of the object to which you are pointing.
To view ScreenTips:
1. Use the mouse to point to the Start button on the taskbar. After a few seconds, you see the
ScreenTip “Click here to begin,” as shown in Figure 3.
2. Point to the time displayed at the right end of the taskbar. A ScreenTip for today’s date (or
the date to which your computer’s time clock is set) appears.