How To Take a Screenshot

Part of the “How To …” Series

What is a screenshot?

It is a picture of your computer screen. An exact replica of what you can see on your monitor right now.  As if you had pointed a camera at your screen.

Why take a screenshot

There are many reasons to take a screenshot. One that you may come across is if you are trying to explain an error message, or other oddity, on your PC. Rather than muddling your way through unfamiliar language (“I’ve got this sort of box, that says something about cookies”, “It’s a yellow thing with a blue bit on it. Near the top!”), you can take a screenshot, and send that to the person helping you! They will be able to see exactly what is going on!

Other reasons include giving a designer examples of things you find on the web (e.g. if you are wanting your own webpage, or find some jewellery you like, or a house you would like to buy).

Maybe you play games, and want to record your High Score!

How Do I Take a Screenshot?

First, have your screen ready, with whatever you want to “shoot” visible. Remember that the Screenshot will be exactly what you can see on screen!

Now, look on your keyboard. To the right, above the Arrow Keys, will be a set of keys. One of these will say “Print Screen”, or it may be abbreviated to “Prt Scr”. (The key may also have “SysReq” on it. Ignore this. It is a Programmer’s tool that you will not need.)

Print Screen
Print Screen Key

All keyboards are a little different, so don’t worry if your key is a in a slightly different place, or marked slightly differently.

Press this key once.

You will not notice anything happen, but the computer will have taken a snapshot of your screen. A Screenshot!


Multiple Windows
More than one Window open

If you have multiple windows open, and are only interested in the contents of one of them, you can either Maximise that window to fill the screen, or you can hold the ALT key (bottom left of keyboard) while you tap PrtScr (“ALT-PrtScr”). This will only put the contents of the Window that has Focus into the clipboard.

Now What?

Paint on the Search menu
“Paint” on the Search menu

The computer has taken a Screenshot, but it is stored in its short-term memory (“Clipboard”).

You will want to move it into a more permanent form.

The usual way of doing this is to open a Picture Editor, and Paste the Screenshot into it.

Windows 10 includes the “Paint” program (or App) for just such occasions!

Click on your “Search Bar”, or hold the Windows Key and press “S”. Type “Paint” without the quotation marks!). A Menu should appear, with Paint at the top. Click there. The Paint program (or App) will open!


In the top left, you should see the Paste button. This will take whatever is on the Clipboard, and place it in the Picture.

You should now see a copy of your screen replicated inside Paint! It may be a good idea to Zoom out (from the View Ribbon) a couple of times to see it better.

You can now Save the Image, or if you are feeling confident, you can edit it first.

Saving the Image

Save Options
Save Options

Above the Paste Button is the File Menu. Click this, and choose “Save”. You will be presented with some options.

Navigate to the place you wish to save the picture (Click on “Pictures”, on the left). Then click where it says “Untitled”, delete this title, and type your own title (e.g. “Screenshot1”).

It is worth checking what File Type you are saving as. There are many types of Image file!

For most purposes, you will want to use .jpg (pronounced “Jay-Peg”), as this preserves detail, while keeping the File size lower. Click “Save as Type …” and choose .jpg from the list.

Then Click SAVE!

You now have a Screenshot saved into your Pictures Folder!

This is the exact procedure I have used to make the Pictures in this Blog. I have done some minor editing, so that only the relevant parts are shown, but apart from that, exactly the same!

What to do with the Screenshot

Obviously, this depends on why you have taken the screenshot!

  • A picture of your High Score on a game can just be kept for posterity, and shown off when your friends visit!
  • An error message can be attached to an email, or posted in a Facebook Message.
  • Designs can be sent to Designers.

The main thing is that you now have the screenshot!


Why not send me some of your screenshots!

Or let me know what problems you had when trying to!

You’ve Got Mail!

We have all heard of email. Most of us use it frequently.

But how many of us understand how it works?

Email – The Basics

Email Symbol

Email (or E-mail, short for Electronic Mail) is a particular way of sending messages across the internet, and has changed quite a lot since Ray Tomlinson sent his first message in 1971.

As a User, you don’t really need to know the ins and outs of SMTP, POP3, IMAP, but we will touch on how they affect your email experience.

Firstly, though, a quick explanation of an email address:

  • “admin” is the user-name. You can use your name, nickname, or anything, really, to identify you. Here, I have used “admin”, as it is collected by the Domain Administrator (me!)
  • “@”. This symbol (called “the ‘at’ symbol”, to rhyme with “hat”) denotes to the computer that the text is an email address.
  • “” – this is the Domain that my email is run from.

All email to a particular Domain is sent to the appropriate Host (the people who run the Domain), who sort it by User-Name, and store it in that user’s Mail Box.

You must have set up an Email Account with that Domain, and secured it with a Password, so that no-one else can collect mail sent to you!

e.g. Bob has the email address. Any email sent with this address is first sent to Google (who run gmail), and they will store it in the Mail Box for the User “bob”.

(Due to the immense number of people who use email, it is unlikely you will be able to register “bob” at any Domain. You must find a more Unique Identifier, which is why a lot of email addresses have seemingly random numbers on the end! “” is a different user than “”.)

When you “check your email”, you send a request (including your User Name and Password) to the Domain (including your User Name, and password), asking if there is anything in your Mail Box. The Domain will then send you anything they have stored there.

If you were to think of it as similar to Physical Mail (colloquially called “Snail Mail”, due to it’s delay in delivery compared to Email!), you would send a letter to “bob@Leicester, UK”. This will be sent to the Leicester, UK, Post Office, who store it until Bob comes along to collect it. Luckily, your computer can check with the “Post Office”(Domain) rapidly, without you ever having to leave your house!

Registering an Email Account

To use email, you must register an Account with a Domain.

For most people, there are two main ways to do this:

  1. Use the Account that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) provides for you (e.g. BT Internet, AoL, PlusNet etc)
  2. Sign up with a 3rd Party Email Provider such as Hotmail (now Outlook) or Gmail (by Google).
Hotmail Logo
The Original Hotmail!

Personally, I recommend the second option, as it avoids any problems if you choose to change ISP. If you move from, say, BT to PlusNet, BT will shut down your “<name>” email account, and you will have to open a new account elsewhere. You will then have to inform all of your Contacts (friends, utility companies, Websites that you registered with e.g. Facebook) etc that you have changed email address (similar to having to tell everyone of your new address and phone number when you move house!).

With a 3rd Party (Hotmail/Gmail/etc) account, you can keep your address, as it is not linked to your ISP!

One other way is to set up your own Domain, and register email addresses through it, but that is more advanced.

How Do I Get My Email?

Now that you have registered an Account, you will need a way of Sending and Receiving email via that account. There are two main ways to do this:

  • Outlook Express
    Outlook Express

    Webmail – Most email providers (ISP and 3rd party) provide a web page that you can visit with your Web Browser. Once you have signed in, you can access your Mail Box. (Go to the Post Office, and look through your deposit box).

  • Email Client Program – This phrase is probably new to you, but you might have heard of “Windows Live Mail”, “Outlook/Outlook Express” and “Thunderbird”. These are programs on your computer dedicated to Email. They will need to be set up with the details of your email address, password, and Domain Settings (although these are a lot more automated these days).

Email Clients tend to offer more functions than Webmail, and being on your computer, you get more control over how things work.

A Bit Of Technical Jargon

Email Clients can use two different ways to collect and send emails.

  1. A Post Box
    A Post Box

    POP3 – “Post Office Protocol, version 3”. If you collect email using this, your Email Client requests email from the Domain, which sends you it. The email is then stored on your PC, and usually deleted from the Domain Mail Box (you have picked up your letter from the Post Office. They no longer have it).

  2. IMAP – “Internet Message Access Protocol”. When you request your email, the Domain sends you a copy. Your Email Client stays in touch with the Domain, and informs them of any changes you make (deleting, making a new folder to store it in, etc). In this way, the email is kept centralised on the Domain. This is useful for when the email is checked from multiple devices (e.g. your PC and Phone both checking the same account), or when you replace your PC, as the Emails are all still on the Domain Server ready to be connected to!

IMAP is becoming a lot more prevalent these days, as internet connection speeds are faster and it is easier for the Email Client to constantly keep in touch with the Domain, updating and checking regularly.

So, now you know how email works, why not send some!

You can contact me here:

Working with Multiple Programs

As mentioned before, the Windows Desktop (your main screen, when you first switch on your computer) is an analogy for your physical desk. And like your physical desk, you can have more than one item on it at a time!

You may have your diary (Calendar), a typewriter (Microsoft Word), a telephone (Facebook Messenger), and a pack of cards (Microsoft Solitaire Collection) all on the desk. You don’t pack them all away (Close Program) as you swap between them.

In Windows, there are several tools to help you organise your Desktop to keep track of the open Programs.

Firstly, we shall look at the “Minimise” and “Maximise”/”Restore” Buttons. At the top right-hand side of any open window there will be the the familiar “X”, used to close the window. Next to that are two other symbols.

Three Little Symbols
Three Little Symbols

As we know, the “X” is used to Close the window. The “Dash” is use to “Minimise” the window, and the “Squares” to “Maximise” or “Restore”. What do we mean by that?


When you “Minimise” a window, the program will stay open, but it is removed from the Screen, and tucked away (“Minimised”) onto the Task Bar. When a program is Open, it’s Icon will appear on the Task Bar, with a blue “underline”, as illustrated here:

Multiple Open Programs
Multiple Open Programs

You can re-view the program by clicking on it’s Task Bar Icon.

You can also Preview any Minimised programs by hovering over their Task Bar Icon:Previewing My Chrome Browser Previewing My Chrome Browser

The "File Explorer" Icon
The “File Explorer” Icon

Why not try this! You are currently using an Internet Browser (probably Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome). Go to the bottom of the screen (Task Bar) and click the File Explorer Icon. It will open an Explorer Window. Depending in how your PC is set, it may fill the screen (Maximised) or only take up a part of the screen (Restored).

Click the “Dash” in the top right of the Explorer Window, and it will disappear (hopefully with no puff of smoke!). You should see that its Icon has the blue “underline” to show that it is still Open. Click it to bring it back (Restore)!

Now try Minimising your Browser. Click the “Dash”.  BYE!

Hello again! Notice how this page is still open! If you had Closed your browser, and then re-opened it, you would have been presented with your Home Page. But by Minimising, and then Restoring, this page stayed open, as you did not Close the program!


Now let’s take a look at the “Squares” (“Maximise/Restore”) button. In the top right hand side of your window you will see the Three Little Buttons:  Dash, Squares and X.

If you click the Squares, it will change the window between Maximised (filling all of the Screen) and Restored (filling part of the Screen).

Re-Sizing Arrow
Re-Sizing Arrow

When the window is Restored, you can alter the size and shape of it. This is done by “grabbing” the edges and “dragging” them. Click your Squares until the Browser window is Restored, and then move your mouse to the edge, until you get a double-headed arrow Symbol. While you have this symbol visible, you can hold down your mouse button, and move the edge of the window! This works on the sides, and also on the top/bottom!

A 'Restored' File Explorer Window
A ‘Restored’ File Explorer Window

It can be a little tricky to grab the window just right, so practice this! You will find a size that works for you!

So we now know how to Minimises, Maximise and Restore, but how does this help with Multiple Programs?

Well, like your Physical Desk, you can work on two (or more) things at once! You can be typing a letter, while having your Diary open to check dates. You can be browsing the internet, and have a game of cards as well. Or you can read a Tutorial Blog while having a File Explorer Window open to try the techniques!

Moving between Programs

If we have two programs open, and wish to move between them (for example, a Tutorial Blog open in your Web Browser, and File Explorer to see/organise your files), we get our old friend “Tim Toady” to help us!

TIMTOWTDI: There Is More Than One Way To Do It!

From what we have just learnt, we can see (Teacher Talk for “I’m going to have to explain it, aren’t I?”) that you can Minimise one Program, and Maximise the other, using the Dash (top right), and the Blue-Underlined Icons on the Task Bar. Feel free to try this.

A short-cut is to skip the Minimising part, and just click the Task Bar Icons!

If we think of “Minimising” as “Pushing to the back of the Desk” (still open and active, but not in our direct Working Area i.e. not visible), and clicking the Task Bar Icon as “putting in our Direct Working Area, then skipping the Minimise is equivalent to having two Notebooks (one with Internet, one with File Explorer), and swapping which is on top. The other one is still open on the page you left it at.

So, now we can switch back and forth between open programs!

Another way , our friend Tim Toady tells us, is to have two windows both Restored, rather than Maximised.

Two Programs open!
Two Programs open!

Here we see my File Explorer (viewing my Documents Folder), and my Web Browser (viewing my “Edit Blog” page!).

You can re-size the windows by grabbing the edges and dragging them, and you can change their position by dragging (clicking, holding the mouse-button down while you move the mouse) the Top Bar of the window.

You can now click in each of the windows to “activate” it i.e. make it the Working Area. You can see that the above windows overlap, and if one is clicked, it “comes to the front”. Similar to the aforementioned notebooks, putting one on top of the other, so we can write in it.

NOTE: This “activating” of windows, and having one at the front, to work on is called “Focus”. To bring one to the front is to “Give it Focus”, and we can ask “Which window has Focus?”

So, as an exercise, (You may want to write down these steps, as we will be closing the web browser!), let us test our new multi-tasking skills!

  1. Close all of your programs, and return to the Desktop. (Check the Task Bar for Underlined Icons – these are still open! Make sure they are closed!)
  2. Open your Web Browser (usually Microsoft Edge, or Google Chrome), and navigate back to this blog ( ).
  3. Minimise your Web Browser.
  4. Open File Explorer, and Restore it, so that it only fills part of the screen.
  5. Maximise Web Browser (Click on its underlined Icon, where you Minimised it to), and then Restore it so that it does not fill the whole screen.
  6. In your Web Browser, navigate to the File Explorer posts, and try out some Cut/Copy/Paste exercises. You will have to move between Web Browser (to read the posts) and File Explorer (to move your Files).
  7. Let me know how you got on, using the Comment Form below!

Now try it with both windows Maximised, switching between them with the Icons on the Task Bar.

Find the ways that work for you! None of the options are better than others, just a different way of doing the same thing!

Do you prefer working with Restored windows, so you can see what is going on on in other parts of the screen, or is Maximised your preference?

It doesn’t have to be Browser and Explorer! You can have a photo, and an art program (such as Paint) to sketch a copy of the photo. Or read a book in an ebook reader, while taking notes in Notepad, or Word (or both! You are not limited to two programs!)

Back To Basics

In the Beginning Was The Desktop

Congratulations on your purchase of a shiny new Windows 10 Computer!

You have carefully taken it from its box, stripped off all of the protective layers, and placed it carefully upon your table.

Extension cables have been sourced, with multi-plug power-strips.

Numerous plugs are checked and connected. The monitor is adjusted to the perfect height and viewing-angle.

A nervous hand reaches out, finger poised by the Main Power Button …

Let There Be Windows!

What seems like a lifetime later, the computer is finally ready to use, and probably gives a display something like this:

Windows Desktop
Your version probably does not have the red Text all over it!

Whether you are new to computers, or have upgraded from a previous version of Windows, it is probably worthwhile having a quick review of what we can see here.

The main area is called The Desktop, an analogy for a desk, as seen in many a 20th-Century office. This is your route to your Tools, Documents, Programs (and Apps!), and generally where you work.

On the Desktop will be a number of small images. These area called Icons, and are usually links to Programs (or Apps!).

The large section to the bottom left is the “Start Menu“, which can be viewed/hidden using the Start Button (sometimes called the

The Start Button
The Start Button

Windows Button, or Flag).

Above the Start Button, from the top, we also have:

  • Account Details
  • File Explorer
  • Settings
  • Power

We will discuss the others later, but it may interest you to know that the Power button is where you click to switch the computer off.

Across the base of the screen is a black bar. This is known as the Task Bar, and contains a selection of Icons to launch Programs, along with links to Programs that are already running (if any).

To the very right-hand side of the task Bar is the Notification Area. This contains links to certain System Processes and Background Activities, along with a Digital Clock and at the very end, the Notifications Icon.

Now What?

So now that we know what all of these things are called, what do we do with them?

Well, it depends what you want to do!

I know that sounds like a bit of a non-answer, but you can do so much with a modern PC that it is difficult to know where to start …

OK, you’ll want to access the Information Superhighway. Getting there is easy.

Microsoft Edge Icon
Microsoft Edge Icon

See that blue “e” at the bottom of the screen (the Icon on the Task Bar), that is Microsoft Edge, an Internet Browser. You may have heard of Internet Explorer, well this is the replacement. Click there, and you will open Edge.

It will probably default to viewing the MSN webpage. This is a perfectly good page, but can be altered if you prefer to begin your browsing elsewhere (e.g., or your email page).

A Web Page ( open in MS Edge
A Web Page ( open in MS Edge

As you can see, there are several distinct areas here.

Everything above the red dotted line is “Browser Tools”.

Everything under it is the Web Page.

Firstly, we have the Address Bar, where you can type the address (the “htttp”,” www”, “.com”  bit)of a webpage you wish to visit.

The Settings button will bring up a menu of different Tools.

Tabs“, are where we can have multiple pages open, and choose which one we are viewing.

We’ll stick with just getting to the page you want, and leave Settings and Tabs for later.

If you know the address of the Web page you require, you click in the Address bar (You can press the F6 key at the top middle of your keyboard), delete anything that is there, and type the address. (e.g. TIP: You can usually leave out the https://www. part, and just type  or 

Press ENTER and the Browser will look for the page, and display it to you!

If you do not know the exact address, you will need to go to a Search Engine page! Notable Search Engines include:

  • Google (
  • Bing by Microsoft (
  • Yahoo (
  • DuckDuckGo Anonymous Search (

On the Search Engine page will be a Search Bar. Enter your search terms here. e.g. “Car Hire”, or “Where can I sell my gold”, or “My PC is broken, is there a PC Wizard near me”. Press the Search Button (sometimes a Magnifying Glass, and a list of results will be displayed.

So, that should give you something to play with for a while!
Remember: Be careful on the internet!

What were your first stumbling-blocks with your new PC? Did you get any instructions, or take a course? What was the best advice you received?

The Inevitable Back-Up Post!

Data-Loss is Unforgivable

Make your backups
Be like this guy!

Over the years, I have seen so many people lose data.

Wedding photos, baby pictures, invoices, tax and payroll data, love letters, and schoolwork.

I lost all of my University work (luckily after I had finished!), along with quite a lot of notes and pictures I had made.

Never again! Not on my watch!

There are so many simple ways to back up your data, that I have started using the phrase “If it isn’t backed up, it isn’t important data“.

So, to avoid the Wizard’s wrath, what can you do?

Commercial Solutions

Norton backup, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Micrososft OneDrive, PC World Knowhow Cloud. There are many.

Most are perfectly good enough, and this article is not a review of Cloud Services.

Local Storage

You have probably heard of USB Memory Sticks and External Hard Disk Drives.

These are Local, as they are in the same building as your PC (as opposed to across the street (Off-Site) or on some other side of the Internet (Remote).

They are connected to your PC via a USB plug. Sometimes with a cable, sometimes not. Windows doesn’t really care. It is on the USB Socket.

So, if you could nip and get one. It may be in your sock drawer, or under the sofa, or possibly still at the shop. Memory Sticks are  not expensive (~£20. 32 or 64GB), although the significantly-larger-capacity External hard Disks are a touch pricier (£50-£100 and more. 500GB+)

Go get one. I can wait. I have plenty of work to be doing.

Pac Man
New High Score!

Oh, hi. You’re back! OK, lets get this data backed up!

Doing the BackUp, Just Like We’ve Learnt

  1. Plug in your Storage Device (USB Stick or External Hard Disk)
  2. You may get a notification from Windows that you have done this. For my method, we ignore this.

    The "File Explorer" Icon
    The “File Explorer” Icon
  3. Open File Explorer, and check that your Device has been recognised. You should have an entry in the Navigation Pane. If you do  not see it, click on “This PC” to view all of your Drives. It may be labelled “USB Drive (E:)” or may have the manufacturer’s name.
  4. Once we are happy that we know where the drive is, we then need to Copy all of our Files to it.
  5. While you are in “This PC”, you should have a list of your Default Folders at the top of the page. Select Documents. Choose to Copy it (Note, we do not have the usual Ribbon here, so you will have to use right-click > Copy, or CTRL-C).
  6. Now that the Documents Folder is on the Clipboard, select your Storage device, and Paste (right-click > Paste, or CTRL-V).
  7. A Progress Window will appear to show how the Computer is getting along with Copying it. This will either be very brief, or quite a long time (My folder can take an hour or more, but it is HUGE! Yours is likely to be done in a minute or two). When done, the Window will disappear.
  8. Confirm that the Data has been Copied, by going into your Storage Device, checking that a Documents folder exists, and then looking inside that to see that your data is there.
  9. Go back to “This PC” and repeat for any other Folders you may wish. Usually this will include “Pictures”, and also Music and Videos, if you have anything in these folders.

    Safe Eject Icon
    Always Safe Eject!
  10. When this is finished, DO NOT UNPLUG YOUR DRIVE YET! Always use the Safe Eject command! Click on the Safe Eject icon, at the bottom right of the screen, by the Digital Clock (This is called the “Notification Area”, by the way). You will get a menu, and you can click on “Eject <name of your device>”. Once you get the Confirmation message, you may safely unplug your device.


Now, that looks like quite a task, but I shall summarise it briefly:

  1. Plug in Device
  2. Open File Explorer
  3. Navigate to “This PC”
  4. Confirm that device is detected.
  5. Select Documents folder. Copy/Paste to Device.
  6. Repeat for other Folders.
  7. Confirm Data transfer.
  8. Safe Eject device.
  9. Unplug Device

You may now put your device away somewhere safe and secure.

You are Backed Up!

For now …

Presumably, you will, at some point, take more photos, write more letters, save more interesting stuff from the internet etc.

Every now and then (the more often, the better), update your BackUp by following through the exact same procedure we have just done.

PLEASE let me know if you have any problems following this.

Or let me know what back up solutions you have used, for good or ill.


As a break from learning about Computers, here are some pictures of penguins:

More Penguins
More Penguins
More Penguins
A Penguin
A Penguin

These Humboldt Penguins were seen at the wonderful Twycross Zoo on a family day out. I thoroughly recommend a visit!

Classed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, Twycross is not only a Tourist attraction, but a conservation reserve, helping to preserve endangered species, and repopulate them into the wild as appropriate.

A Closer Look at the View Ribbon

“But my screen doesn’t look like that!”

Everyone’s computer will be set a little differently, and with everyone having different Files and Folders, you can expect your screen to look slightly different from the examples given here, and from your friends’ and neighbours’ screens.

Firstly, as so wisely instructed by the late, great Douglas Adams:

Don’t Panic!

Look for the similarities, rather than the differences. You should have the main features available.

As we are focusing on Appearance, it would be well to be able to see the View Ribbon. Most PCs will have this set by default, but if not, there are two ways to show it.

  1. CTRL-F1. (We learnt previously about holding the Control key, and tapping another key. This Command uses the “Function One” key, labelled “F1”, the very top row of your keyboard).
  2. “Expand the Ribbon” button. As shown here, the small ‘arrow’ at the top right of your Window will show or hide the Ribbon.
The Show/Hide Ribbon button
Show or Hide the Ribbon using this button!

Now we can see our Ribbon, let us take a closer look at the Tools available on it.

Click on the “View” tab, to show the viewing tools.

The "View" tab
The “View” tab

Notice that the Ribbon is split into sections. Each section has its name beneath it. See from the above image that the “Panes” and “Layout” sections are visible. (You should also have other sections.)

Each section has a group of tools that perform similar functions. Let us take a look:


The File Explorer window is split into several sections, as we have seen. The Ribbon and Location Bar at the top, and below that, the Navigation Pane and the Main Section.

As you can see from the Ribbon, there are other “Panes” available. Click on each of them to view or hide them.

Navigation Pane

We have briefly looked at this. It provides shortcuts to move between different Folders. It will usually have your Default Folders (Documents, Pictures, Music, etc), and a set of “Recently used” Folders.

Preview Pane

When this Pane is visible, it will appear on the right-hand side of your screen.

If you select a File (by clicking once on it), the computer will attempt to show you a Preview of the File.

If you have the Layout set to “Medium Icons” or larger, then the Icons will also show this preview. The Preview Pane is more useful when you have Layout set to Details, or List.

Not all Files are capable of showing a Preview, and the Preview Pane will inform you if you have selected such a File.

Details pane

This Pane will appear instead of the Preview Pane, at the right of the screen.

When you select a File, this Pane will display some extra information about the File, including when it was last modified, how much space it takes up, and more, depending upon what type of file it is.

This information is similar to that shown when using the Details Layout, so is more useful if you are using the Icons Layouts.

All of these Panes may be Hidden, by clicking their Button on the Ribbon, if you prefer less “clutter” on your screen.

I very rarely show the Preview or Details Panes, but you may find them useful.


The Layout section
The Layout section

In this section, we can control how we view the Icons in the main section.

Hover over each of the choices, and the icons will show that style. They will revert back if you move away, or you can set them to the style you prefer by Clicking the style you like.

Large Icons” and “Extra-large Icons” can be useful if your folder contains a lot of Images, as you will be shown a Preview without having to open each file individually to see what it contains.

Details” will show you some extra information about each file.

List” is good for fitting a lot of Files and Folders on the screen at once.

Have a practice at changing between these styles, and choose one that you like.

Personally, I move between Large Icons and Details, depending on which Files I am working with, but you should use the style you are happiest with.

“Details” Style.
“List” style
Extra-Large Icons!
Extra-Large Icons!

Current View

The “Current View” tools can be used to change the order that your Files and Folders are displayed in.

Sort By

This tool, as its name suggests, will allow you to sort your Files in a variety of ways. Clicking the button will show a menu of options, including Date, Name, Type and more.

The "Sort By" Menu
The “Sort By” Menu

By Default, Items are arranged by Name, with Folders being shown first, and then Files. You can change this to arrange in other orders, and as you can see from the Menu, in Ascending or Descending order (so that you can have “Newest First”, or “Oldest First”, for example).

Group By

This tool allows us not just to order our Files, but to split them into groups, making it easier to differentiate between them.

The best way to explain this is to show you an example:

Files Grouped by Type
Files Grouped by Type

As you can see, all of the .pdf files are now together, and all of the .bmp files are next to each other, separated into “Groups”.

This, like Sort By, can be done by Name, Date, Type, etc.

This can  be a very useful tool if you are organising your files. e.g. You can Group By Date to put all photos taken on a certain date together, and Shift-Click them (remember how we hold SHIFT, click the first file we want, then keeping SHIFT held, click the last file, to select all of these files), to Cut and Paste into their own folder.

(The other tools on this section are not needed at the moment, and we shall not be discussing them)

Show/Hide section

These tools will alter the way some things are displayed.

Item Check Boxes

If this is switched on, then hovering over an item will reveal its Check Box. Clicking this box will Select that item.

This can be useful for selecting Multiple items, rather than CTRL- or SHIFT- clicking.

Some "Checked" items
Some “Checked” items

These items may then be Cut or Copied, as previously discussed.

File Name Extensions


File Name Extensions tell you what Type each file is.

For example, I have three files associated with a 3d modelling project, all with the same name! The previews are very similar.

With the Extensions viewable, I can easily see which is the Project File (.skp), which is the BackUp file (.skb), and which is a snapshot of the project (.jpg, an Image file).

Files, with Extensions showing!
Files, with Extensions showing!

Hidden Items

Some files are marked as “Hidden”. Usually these are System Files, that you would not want to change, move or delete. By making sure that this box is NOT ticked, you will not be able to see or affect these files.

There are circumstances where these files will want to be available, but I would recommend that you keep them Hidden.

Hide Selected Items

You can choose to mark Files as Hidden, and they will not be displayed unless you Tick the previously mentioned “Show Hidden Items” box.

I Strongly recommend that you do NOT do this.

There is very little reason, outside of System Diagnosis and Repair that you would want to do this.


A long, complicated list of Advanced Options.

Probably best to ignore.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

You can now adjust your Display to the way you like!

Have a try with some of the Layouts and Groups (notice the “Group By > None” option, to remove the groupings!)

Don’t worry if you get it wrong. These tools do not actually change any Data, just the way the items are shown to you. It can all be changed back easily.

Do you like List View, or Large Icons? Do you use the Preview Pane?

Why not let me know how you prefer your Screen Display.


A quick rundown of the terms we have used, along with some Commands

  • File – Where your Data resides. Similar to a piece of paper.
  • Folder – A Container for Files and sub-folders. Think of those manilla folders you find in offices.
  • Sub-Folders – Folders that are inside another folder.
  • Items – Files and/or Folders.
  • Ribbon – the bar at the top of the screen that contains your Tools.
  • Navigation Pane – the left-hand section of the Window.
  • Location Bar – section below the Ribbon that displays where in the folder structure you are.
  • File Explorer – the program that displays your files and folders.
  • Clipboard – a Temporary Storage Area use by the Computer when you Cut or Copy an item


  • Cut – to remove an item from its location and place it on the Clipboard.
  • Copy – to make a copy of an item onto the Clipboard.
  • Paste – to place whatever is on the Clipboard into the current location

Control Keys

(Hold the CTRL key, and tap the listed key)

  • CTRL-A – Select All
  • CTRL-X – Cut
  • CTRL-C – Copy
  • CTRL-V – Paste

File Types

Some of the more common File Types:

  • .bmp – “BitMap”. A Picture file
  • .doc, .docx – “Document”. Microsoft Word file. Usually containing text.
  • .gif – Picture File. Sometimes animated.
  • .jpg – picture File. The usual format for photographs.
  • .pdf – “Portable Document Format”. Used by Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • .rtf – “Rich Text Format”. More advanced than .txt, but more limited than .doc/.docx
  • .txt – “Text”. Very simple text files.
  • .xls – Spreadsheet. Used for performing calculations.


All Together Now! (Part Four)

Moving Multiple Files At Once

In my previous Articles, we learnt how to View and Move Files.

We have mastered the View Ribbon, and gained familiarity with the Cut/Copy/Paste commands (using either the Ribbon, the right-click menu, or the CTRL keys).

Cut Copy Paste
Cut Copy Paste


The first way of moving Multiple Files is to move the Folder they are in.

If the Files you wish to move are all in one folder, you can Cut (or Copy) that Folder (the same as you would a File), move to the desired location, and Paste it there.

For example we may have a Pictures folder that looks a little like this:

Pictures Folder
Pictures Folder

And we realise that “Selfies” are all “Photos of Me”, and would like to move them all.

As before, when working with Files, we can select the Selfies folder (single click to highlight it) and then choose “Cut”.

Remember that we can Cut using one of the three methods:

  • Click “Cut” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click the File and left-click “Cut” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “X” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-X”. We remember “X = Cut” as it looks a little bit like a pair of scissors!)

Now that the Selfies folder is on the Clipboard (this is the special area of Computer Memory where Cut/Copy items are held), we can go to the desired location (“Photos of Me”) and Paste it in using one of our methods:

  • Click “Paste” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click an area in the folder and left-click “Paste” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “V” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-V”)

Our structure should now look like this:

Selfies of Me!
Selfies of Me!

Tip: When pasting into Folders, we can save a little time and a few clicks. Rather than go into the destination Folder, and Paste, we can Paste directly onto the Folder Icon. This takes a little practice, but can be worth learning.

Select the item (File or Folder) to move. Use the Cut function.

Select the Destination Folder, but only single-click, to highlight it. Now Paste (using any of the three Methods. If right-clicking, make sure to right-click ON the destination folder).

Selecting Multiple Objects

We will not always have our files nicely organised in Folders like this (hence the need to learn how to organise them!)

There are several ways to select a Set of files. Once we have Selected them, we can Cut/Copy, and then Paste, as before.

All the Files

Select All
Select All

If you wish to Select All of the files in a folder, you use the Select All Command. And again, TIMTOWTDI! Remember our friend Tim Toady? There Is More Than One Way To Do It! You may start to see a pattern to the different methods:

  • Click the “Select All” button on the Home Ribbon
  • Hold the CTRL key, and tap A (For “All”).

You should notice that all Items (Files and Folders) become Selected. You may now Cut or Copy them, before moving to the Destination Folder to Paste.

Continuous Files

If the Items you wish to move are all together in the list (e.g. photos that were all taken on the same date, or files that begin with the same letter), then they can be Selected as a Set.

Use the View Ribbon > “Sort By” to arrange the items.

Click on the first item that you want from the List, to highlight it.

Hold Down the SHIFT Key on your keyboard. (This may have an Upward Pointing Arrow on it).


While still holding down Shift, click the last item that you require from the list.

Release the Shift Key.

You should notice that all of the required Items are now highlighted!

Selecting all of my Fashion Pictures!
Selecting all of my Fashion Pictures!

Now that the required Items are highlighted, you can Cut or Copy them, find the Destination, and Paste them.

All Over The Place

If you want to select a few items, that are not together in the list, then you can Control-Click!

What do we mean by that?

Holding down the CTRL Key, click on each of the Items. When you have them all, release the CTRL key.

This can take a while to master, but is worth knowing.

TIP: You can CTRL-Click after using Select All, or Shift-Click! For example, if I only wanted the Fashion pictures with Single people in, I could Shift-Click (reminder: Hold SHIFT, click the first one. Continuing to hold SHIFT, click the last one, then release SHIFT). Now that they are highlighted, you can CTRL-Click (hold down CTRL, click on item, then release CTRL) to de-select the picture with a Couple in it!

I suggest you practice some of this. Select multiple Items, and try cut/copy/pasting them around. Re-read these articles, and try to become familiar with the different methods, to see which you prefer.

None of the methods are better than the others. Remember, Tim Toady! (There Is More Than One Way To Do It!)

Green Cross Code man
I won’t be there when you Cut/Copy/Paste – CTRL-X Man!

As I am always telling my customers, the “Best” way to do it is the way that YOU are happiest with!

If you like The Ribbon, use it. Or if you prefer CTRL-X/C/V, use those. Right-clicking more your thing? Go for it!

I think that will do for now!

And remember: Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you are still struggling, leave a Comment, and I shall endeavour to find you a solution!

I Like To Move It, Move It! (Part Three)

Files, that is.

Organise, Organise, Organise!

Now that we have learnt how to see our Files and Folders, we need to do something with them.

This Article does not concern itself with the contents of your Files and Folders, merely where they are, how to find them, and in this section, how to move them around.

When I started learning about computers, back in the days when mobile phones were so big that we had to carry them around on Stegosaurus, I didn’t understand why we needed to Organise our Files into Folders. “There are not that many files! I can remember them all!”

Ah, the naivety of youth!

Modern digital cameras can take hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs per day. If we just put all of these in our Pictures Folder, we would have a hard time finding the ones we wanted, even with the Viewing Tools we have just learnt!

Let us take a look at how we can organise them!

A Fistful of Files

The "File Explorer" Icon
The “File Explorer” Icon

Open your File Explorer, and move to to your Pictures Folder.

If your Folder is anything like mine, you will have a long list of files, of all varieties, scattered across the screen!

My Pictures Folder
My Pictures Folder

If you click on this image of my Pictures folder, you will be able to see that I have many, many Pictures, of various types. I have “selfies”, snaps of Xmas presents, silly jokes, some notes for my 3d design work, and more! All piled together in one place!It is like having a shoe-box, with all of my photographs just thrown in! This will not do!

We need to decide how to Organise our Files.

NOTE: I will be introducing several new concepts here, and they may be slightly different than methods you already know. The important thing to remember is T.I.M.T.O.W.T.D.I!  Pronounced “Tim Toady”, this is an acronym for “There Is More Than One Way To Do It”. This originated in a branch of Computer Programming, but applies to a lot of Computer Skills.

If we look at our files, we can hopefully find some that are related. In my Folder, I can have several “selfies”. Pictures that I took of myself. We shall put these together in their own Folder!

On the Home Ribbon, there is the New Folder button. This will, as the name suggests, create a New Folder! This New Folder will have the default Name of “New Folder”, but we shall rename it.

Folder ready for renaming
Blue Highlights

When the New Folder is first created, its title will be highlighted in blue. This indicates that you can type a new name for it. I shall call mine “Selfies”, and press “Enter” to finalise the Renaming.. If you have clicked away (for example to take another look at this Article, and the Name is no longer highlighted, do not worry! Click on the Folder and then press the “Rename” Button on the Home Ribbon)

Selfies Folder
Selfies Folder

Now we can start putting the Files in the Folder! If we Sort By Date (View Ribbon > Sort By > Date), the New Folder (no matter its new name) should be at the top of our list of Files and Folders. Find the first File you would like to put in this Folder, and click it once, to highlight it.

TIMTOWTDI! You can either:

  • Click “Copy” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click the File and left-click “Copy” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “C” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-C”)
Control Key option
Control Key option

I shall mainly be referring to the Ribbon, but you may use any of these methods. They are all exactly the same. In fact, if you hover your mouse over the “Copy” button on the Ribbon, it will show a Tool-Tip (little pop-up box) that tells you the Control Key for this function!

Important! What we have done by selecting “Copy” is to tell the computer that we would like to Copy the File. We have NOT actually done anything with the File yet! The Computer has made a Copy of the File into it’s Short-Term Memory (called the “Clipboard”).

Now, we tell the Computer what to do with the Clipboard. Go into your Selfies Folder, and similar to Copy, we now “Paste”:

  • Click “Paste” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click a blank area in the Destination Folder and left-click “Paste” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “V” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-V”)

You should see the File that you “Copied” appear in your Folder.

ASIDE: Why CTRL-V? Because it is right next to C (for Copy)! As you grow in experience and familiarity, you will be able hold the CTRL key with your little finger, and tap C to Copy, then move to the desired location, and CTRL-V (“Paste”) the File. Having these functions next to each other on the keyboard is easier then having to move your hand around too much!

Cut, Copy and Paste
Cut, Copy and Paste

Now we return to the Pictures Folder (You can use the Back or Up arrows on the Location bar, or the Navigation Pane. TIMTOWTDI!). You will see that your original File is still there! Didn’t we just put it on the Selfies Folder? No, we put a Copy there!

If we wish to Move the File, then we use Cut (CTRL-X) rather than Copy, and then Paste.

I shall explain that in detail:

  • Copy: (Home > Ribbon > Copy, or CTRL-C, or right-click “Copy”). Makes a Copy onto the Clipboard. Leaves the original File intact.
  • Cut: (Home > Ribbon > Cut, or CTRL-X, or right-click “Cut”). Makes a Copy onto the Clipboard. When you activate the Clipboard (to Paste), deletes the original File.
  • Paste:(Home > Ribbon Paste, or CTRL-V, or right-click “Paste”). Places whatever is on the Clipboard into the current location.

You can now Organise your other Files, using these tools!

Practice moving between your Folders, and Copying and Pasting Files around. Also Cut some, and Paste them into a new Folder. Create New Folders, rename them, and put some files in them (using Cut/Copy/Paste!).

When you are confident that you can move a File from one folder to another (either leaving the original where it was, or removing it), we can continue to our next Article:

Moving More Than One File At Once …