This Unit is about the introduction to Word Processing.

Word processing is the art of creating, saving, editing, formatting and printing text and graphic documents using electronic word processors.

Examples of word processors include: Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, Lotus WordPro, Apple Pages, OpenOffice.org Writer, etc.

NB: Text editors are simple word processors that are generally used to type without any special formatting.

Text editors are mainly used to create small notes, memos and programs. Examples of common text editors are: Notepad, Notepad++, Gedit etc.


Word processors are mostly used for writing letters, reports, projects, books, essays, memos, resumes (CVs) etc.


Typeface A typeface is the shape of the characters. Some common typefaces are Times New Roman, Arial, and Tahoma.

Line Spacing refers to the amount of vertical white space between two lines of text, from baseline to baseline. Line spacing is measured in points.

Text Alignment refers to the way lines of text are arranged relative to the edges of a block of text. There are four types of alignment: left, centre, right, and justify. Justification is the process of aligning text in a document to both the left and right margins at the same time. Justified text may have extra spaces between letters within words, so that paragraphs appear as a block with an even right-margin ending.

Indent: An indent is the amount of white space set in between the margin and the beginning of text. Examples of indents include the first line indent, hanging indent and right indent.

Formatting Text Formatting text is the process of changing the appearance of text in a document. Formatting text involves using commands like bold, italics, underlining, changing font colour, etc.

Editing text: This refers to the process of making changes to the content of an existing document. Editing text involves commands like cut and paste, overtype, undo, insert, and delete.

Copy – To place selected text on the clipboard, without removing it from its current location.

Cut – To remove selected text from its current position and place it on the clipboard.

Copy and paste duplicated text, while Cut and paste moves text to a new location.

The clipboard The Clipboard is an area of memory in which you can store copied or cut text, graphics or any other items temporarily before being pasted into other locations.

The paste special feature helps to avoid pasting text with all its formatting. The paste special feature provides more control over what to paste.

HeaderThe header refers to text that appears in the top margin of all pages in a document.

Footer – The footer refers to text that appears in the bottom margin of all pages in a document.

Ruler – You can use the ruler to set the indent, margin and tab markers. Avoid using the space bar to align text!

Tabs Stops – tab stops are places where text can be made to line up. You can set a tab stop by clicking on the ruler bar at the desired position.

Hard Copy – A copy of a document printed out on physical paper.

Soft Copy – A copy of a document that is stored on a disk or other computer storage device.

Overtype Mode – Also called overwrite mode, causes any characters you type to replace (“overtype”) the characters at the cursor. You can switch between overtype mode and insert mode by pressing the insert key.

Paragraph – The text between one paragraph break and the next. A paragraph break is inserted by pressing Enter key.

Save – To write the document’s current state from RAM to a storage device.

Proofreading is the process of reviewing a document to ensure the accuracy of its content. Proof reading tools include spelling and grammar check (F7), thesaurus, etc.



Word Wrap: this feature automatically sends a word that does not fit within the margin settings onto the next line, without the user pressing Enter key.

Find: allows the user to locate all occurrences of a particular character, word or phrase.

Replace: allows the user to substitute existing characters, words or phrases with the new ones.

Spell checker: allows the user to check spellings of the whole document at one time or to check and even correct the spelling of individual words as they are typed (Autocorrect)

Grammar checker: this reports grammatical errors, usually by a wavy green line, and suggests ways to correct them.

Thesaurus: suggests alternative words with the same meaning (synonyms) for use in the document.

Mail Merge: This is feature used to create similar letters to be sent to several people. The names and addresses of each person can be merged with one single main document.

Automatic page numbering: numbers the pages automatically in a document

Tables: allow users to organise information into rows and columns.

Multi-columns: arranges text into two or more columns that look similar to newspaper or magazine

Drop cap – Formats the first letter in paragraph to be dropped across two or more lines.

Clip art: , refers to pre-made images about various subjects used to illustrate concepts in documents.

Templates: establish the initial document layouts and formats for various document types.

Printing: allows a user to obtain a hard copy of a document from the printer.

Word Count: Establishes the number of words, characters, paragraphs, etc. in a document.

Headers and Footers: Used to insert text in the top and bottom margin through the document.

Footnotes and Endnotes are used as references that provide additional information about a word or phrase within a document.

Insert and Delete allows a user to add and remove portions of  text while editing document


Title bar—indicates the task currently running. On the right hand side of the title are the minimize, restore/minimize and close buttons

Menu bar—provides the user with a group of commands that are used to manipulate the document

Tool bars—consist of sets of command buttons for quick execution of frequently used groups of commands.

Document window—this is the working area where the document is created

Status bar—Displays information that the user may need to know such as the current position of the insertion point, progress, edit mode, etc.



  1. Word processors can save softcopies for future use while with a type writer; a document has to be fully retyped if needed again.
  2. During typing with a word processor, it is possible to undo a mistake, while any error made with a type writer is immediately impacted on the printout.
  3. A type writer prints one character at a time while a word processor prints many pages at a time.
  4. There is a variety of quick text formatting features such as bold, italic, underline, colour, etc. in a word processor whereas there are limited formatting options with a typewriter.
  5. A word processor provides grammar and spell check options whereas a typewriter cannot help in spell checking.
  6. It is easier to insert graphics and drawings in a word processor yet it is not easy to draw with a type writer.
  7. A word processor allows the user to type continuously without pressing the enter key at the end of each line (word wrap) whereas the user needs to advance the lever of a typewriter manually, at the end of every line.
  8. It is very simple to align text in a document to Left, Centre, Right or Justified whereas with a type writer, one has to manually align the text, which is very difficult.
  9. A word processor has edit features such as Copy and Paste in which repeatedly occurring text in a document can be copied to and pasted from the clipboard whereas a type writer has no clipboard.
  10. A word processor can work on many pages at a go by inserting pages numbers, footers, headers, watermarks, etc. whereas a type writer works on one page at a time.
  11. A word processor can insert drawings word arts and pictures whereas with a type writer, drawings and pictures can only be drawn by a hand on the stencil.
  12. With A word processor, you can use mail merge feature to create a set of documents, such as a letter that is sent to many customers, by only creating one main document and inserting different fields for the customers’ details whereas with a type writer, you have to type the each document separately.
  13. A type writer requires a lot of strength to strike a key so as to have a strong impact on the stencil in order to get a reasonably visible printout whereas a computer keyboard has easy-to-press buttons which don’t require too much strength during typing.
  14. A type writer makes a lot of noise during its operation as compared to a word processor which is relatively quiet.
  15. A word processor has a lot of symbols such as Greek, Arabic, Latin, and Hebrew alphabet character sets whereas a type writer can only add the English alphabet and commonly used symbols that are currently calibrated on the typewriter.
  16. A Word processor can add preformatted elements (templates) by selecting from a gallery of professional templates e.g. cover pages, resumes, etc. whereas with a type writer it is up to the typist to know the layout and professional look of document types.



  1. Word processors cannot be used without Electricity.
  2. Word processors Use is Expensive due to the cost of computers.
  3. They have led to Unemployment of typists because one person using a word processor can do a lot of work in a short time, which would be done by many using type writers.
  4. Many people are Computer illiterate, and cannot use the program.
  5. Computers have Viruses, which lead to loss of data in soft copies.
  6. Using word processors on light emitting computer monitors for long leads to eye disorders, which isn’t the case with type writers
  7. Word processors require purchase of hard ware like printers in order to obtain hard copies yet with typewriters, whatever is typed is permanent and instantly available as a hard copy: there is no delay for printing or risk of unintended file deletion.
    NB: It is this tangible writing experience free from computer meltdowns or deletions that is saving the typewriter from extinction.


Ctrl- ] or [ Increase/ Reduce Font

Ctrl  – Soft hyphen –

Ctrl  = Subscript

Ctrl-0 Paragraph Space Above (add/delete 12 pt.)

Ctrl-1 Line-spacing 1

Ctrl-2 Line-spacing 2

Ctrl-5 Line-spacing 1.5

Ctrl-A Select All

Ctrl-Alt-1 Heading Level 1

Ctrl-Alt-2 Heading Level 2

Ctrl-Alt-3 Heading Level 3

Ctrl-Alt-C ©

Ctrl-Alt-E Endnote

Ctrl-Alt-F Footnote

Ctrl-Alt-I Print Preview

Ctrl-Alt-K AutoFormat

Ctrl-Alt-M Insert Comment

Ctrl-Alt-N View—Normal

Ctrl-Alt-O View—Outline

Ctrl-Alt-P View—Page

Ctrl-Alt-R ®

Ctrl-Alt-S Split a window


Ctrl-Alt-U Table—remove border lines

Ctrl-Alt-Y Repeat Find

Ctrl-Alt-Z Go Back (3 max)

Ctrl-B Bold

Ctrl-C Copy

Ctrl-click Select Sentence

Ctrl-D Font Dialog

Ctrl-drag Drawing—draw from center

Ctrl-E Align—Center

Ctrl-Enter Break—page

Ctrl-F Find

Ctrl-F10 Maximize window

Ctrl-F4 Close

Ctrl-F5 Document window—restore

Ctrl-F7 Document window—move

Ctrl-F8 Document window—size

Ctrl-G GoTo

Ctrl-H Replace

Ctrl-I Italics

Ctrl-J Justify—Full

Ctrl-K Hyperlink

Ctrl-L Align—Left

Ctrl-M Indent—increase

Ctrl-N New document

Ctrl-O Open a document

Ctrl-P Print

Ctrl-Q Remove Paragraph formats

Ctrl-R Align—Right

Ctrl-S Save

Ctrl-Shift- >or <Font next/ previous size

Ctrl-Shift  –Hard hyphen

Ctrl-Shift  = Superscript

Ctrl-Shift-8 Nonprinting characters on/off

Ctrl-Shift-A  All Caps

Ctrl-Shift-C Copy formatting

Ctrl-Shift-D Double Underline

Ctrl-Shift-Enter Break column

Ctrl-Shift-F Font Face

Ctrl-Shift-K Small Caps

Ctrl-Shift-L List Bullet Style

Ctrl-Shift-M Indent decrease

Ctrl-Shift-N Normal Style

Ctrl-Shift-T Hanging indent decrease

Ctrl-Shift-Tab Dialog box previous tabbed section

Ctrl-Shift-V Paste formatting

Ctrl-Shift-W Underline words only

Ctrl-spacebar Remove Character formats

Ctrl-T Hanging Indent—increase

Ctrl-Tab Dialog box next tabbed section

Ctrl-U Underline

Ctrl-Up/Down GoTo Next/Previous Paragraph

Ctrl-V Paste

Ctrl-W Close

Ctrl-X Cut

Ctrl-Y Repeat/Redo

Ctrl-Z Undo

F1 Help

F10 Menu Bar

F12 Save As

F7 Spelling and Grammar check

F8 Selection extended

F9 Update selected field

Shift-drag Drawing—constrain shape to symmetrical

Shift-drag Graphic—crop

Shift-Enter Line break

Alt Drag Vertical Selection

Shift-F10 Shortcut Menu

Shift-F3 Case change (capitalization)

Shift-F7 Thesaurus

Shift-F8 Selection reduced


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