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digital information technologies, information technology, word processors


A word processing application is the software program that lets you create new digital documents and open and update existing digital documents. Google Docs and Microsoft Word (part of Office 365) are the most popular word processors. If the document was created by Microsoft Word, it will have an extension of either .doc (older versions) or .docx (newer versions). Since Word documents are so ubiquitous, most productivity applications are able to open documents created in Word. You can also change document formats for example by uploading a Word document to Google Docs and downloading a Google Docs file as a .docx document.

When you think of a document with information on it, you generally imagine long lines of text, separated by paragraphs. Any simple text editor, like Notepad, could create that. However, there are times you want your document to be attractive with colors, line spacing, special fonts, hyperlinks, and references. For business documents, you may like to have the document reviewed by your peers before you send it out. You may want to do a spell check, fix awkward grammatical errors, and improve the vocabulary in the document. If your colleagues review and make changes to your document, you want to track the changes and comments and be able to compare different versions to make the collaborative work more manageable.

If you are building a pamphlet for your garage sale on paper, you may have to spend a lot of time drawing lines, creating images, adding captions, and highlighting and underlining text. However, if you have a word processor, you might be able to use a preexisting template, saving a ton of time and energy while also creating a more attention-grabbing pamphlet. Templates can also help you to not miss any of the important elements such as time and place of the sale.

If the document is especially long, say you are writing a novel or a thesis using a word processor, you can number your pages, add header and footer information, and have chapter headings. An automatically created table of contents in the beginning of the document will enable readers to jump easily between chapters. When you are ready to print your document, you might want to adjust the layout, orientation, and margin size. The print-preview feature of your word processor will allow you to see how the printed sheets will look before you begin printing, hopefully saving printer ink and paper.

The two most popular word processing software applications in the market are Word from Microsoft and Docs from Google. Microsoft Word, a paid software program, is found in most offices. On the other hand, Google Docs is free and browser based. If you have Gmail, you already have access to Google Docs.

In this chapter, we will introduce you to the core capabilities of word processors. We encourage you to explore these and other more sophisticated capabilities of word processors as you complete your school and college assignments.

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