Computer Glossary 2
Address : Websites need an address
so that your browser knows how to locate them among the millions of other
sites on the Internet. So It's important to type them out exactly as they're
Autocorrect: A feature in Microsoft Word that corrects common errors
as you type. If, for example, you type"The cat adn the dog are playing",
"adn" will be changed to "and". Word comes with a long list of common typing
errors, and you can also add your own.
AutoSum : A handy command that allows you to quickly add up a column
or a row of figures in Excel.
Backup : A second safe copy of a file, letter or data. Always keep
a backup of important work.
Backup device : Any disk, tape, or other storage device where copies
of files are stored for security.
Bitmap : A type of graphic image made up of pixels (or tiny dots).
Differs from other image formats in terms of image quality and colours.
Bookmark : Word or picture 'marked' so you can lump to it by name
from within a bookmark list. Also used by browsers to mark frequently visited
Borders : Lines of varying thickness that can be placed round pictures,
test and soon.
Browser : The program that lets you view web pages on the Internet.
The two most popular are Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
Amazingly, both are free.
Brush tool : Used for 'painting' on the screen. Some act like marker
pens while others have a spray can effect.
CD-ROM : Similar to an audio CD disc but containing computer data.
Most software programs now come on CD-ROM, including Windows 95 Itself.
Cells : Spreadsheets are divided into cells and each cell has a unique
name to help you navigate around. For example. the first cell is called A1
because it occupies the first row of the first column.
Checkbox : A small square box which, when clicked on, displays a
cross or tick to show that an option has been selected.
Clone : Freehand copying from one part of an image to another. Two
brushes maintain a fixed distance between each other as you move the mouse
- one to copy from; the other, to.
Control Panel : This is where many of Windows' settings can be viewed.
Here you will find icons for most functions including printers, modems, and
Cutting and pasting : Just like it sounds: cutting part of your image
or document and putting it somewhere else in the same or another image or
Data table : In the context of a spreadsheet, it's a table that appears
next to a chart and contains the raw figures that the chart is based on.
Desktop : In Windows 95, desktop defines what you see on your screen
when Windows first starts up.
Dialog box : Box for input from the user. Usually to set options,
choose a name for saving files. etc.
Digitised signature : You can digitise your signature (or any other
graphic item) using a scanner. The digital image can then be included when
you print or fax your documents.
Dots per inch (dpi): The way
resolution of scanned and printed
images is measured as well as those displayed on a monitor. These pictures
are made up of tiny dots. The more dots there are per inch, the better the
DOS : Stands for Disk Operating System. The standard operating system
before the dawn of Windows. DOS manages how files are stored on your PC.
It is controlled through typed commands.
Download : To obtain a file from a website, usually by clicking a
word or icon on the web page.
Drive bay : A blanked-off space on a PC, originally designed for extra
floppy disk drives. Drive bay 5 now accept other devices, such as backup
Dropper tool : Used to set the foreground or background colour of
the current drawing tool by simply clicking on part of an image.
Encryption : Files that cannot be read,
except with a special decryption program.
Favourites : The Favourites folder is used by Internet Explorer to
mark frequently visited websites.
Fill bucket : Also known as Flood Fill. Automatically fills an area
bounded by an outline or an area with another colour or texture.
Flow text : A way of linking text boxes so that text flows automatically
from one text box to another.
Font : A collection of characters with predefined styles and sizes
- such as Courier or Helvetica.
Footer : A special area at the bottom of a text document - type something
in here and it will appear on every page. Formatted Floppy disks need to
be formatted for a specific operating system, for example, an Apple Macintosh
or a Windows PC.
Formulae : You use formulae to tell a spreadsheet what to do. For
example, =SUM(B13,B16) tells the program to add the contents of cells B13
to B16 together.
Full backup : This will back up every file you've marked regardless
of whether it's been changed since the last time you backed it up.
Gigabyte (Gb) : A measurement of storage space.
Equal to a thousand megabytes.
Graphics card : The part of a PC that controls the screen's image.
Windows 95 only needs a 2D card, but many new games require a 3D graphics
card as well.
Grid : Useful for lining up different parts of a complex document
containing text boxes, pictures and soon.
Handles : These are small black boxes which appear around the outline
of an object in Windows - like a chart or a drawing - to show that It's currently
selected and that you can edit, move it and soon.
Hard disk : A high-capacity storage device that a PC uses for programs
and data, measured in gigabytes. Information
held on a hard disk Is safe when the power is withdrawn.
Header : A special area at the top of a text document .Type something
in here and it will appear on every page.
Hyperlink : If you click on one of these you'll jump electronically
from the web page you're looking at, to the one that the link 'points' to.
Typically, links appear on web pages as blue
text, but any object on a page can be a link. When the cursor
passes over a link it changes from an arrow to a pointing hand.
Icon : A small picture displayed on-screen to identify a command
or file. Many word processors use an icon of a magnifying glass on a button
to indicate that it will start a search function. In Windows, each application
you install has its own icon and its data files often use the same icon.
IDE channels : The sockets on the motherboard where you plug in devices
like CD- ROM and hard disk drives.
Image-editing Software : Examples are Paintshop Pro and Adobe PhotoShop.
Useful for removing redeye and creases from photos.
Incremental backup : This form of backup will only store those files
that have actually been changed since the last time you backed them up.
Internet : An international network that links thousands of computers,
using telephone and cable links. Users connect to server computers, which
are like a local phone exchange. You use a modem
to connect to the server from home and so access the entire network.
Lasso : In an image-editing package this allows you to trace around
(select) an irregular shape in order to cut it out, move it, or modify it.
Launch : To start up any program, such as Microsoft Word or Excel,
by clicking on its icon or selecting it from the Windows Start menu.
LCD : Liquid
Crystal Displays. Used by manufacturers in notebook computers, and for
making desktop monitors.
Legend : Not a dodgy film with Tom Cruise, but a small box that explains
what the different coloured parts of a chart are supposed to represent.
LPT 1 : Old-fashioned name for the connector at the back of a PC
where the printer cable plugs in. Also called a parallel port.
Magic wand : Automatically selects an area of similar colour or tone
in an image-editing package.
Megabyte (Mb) : A measure of storage space. 1Mb roughly translates
to a million characters of text, or 180,000 words.
Magnifying glass tool : Used for enlarging defined areas of an image
Memory (RAM) : Random Access Memory: the computer's temporary storage
area, measured in megabytes (Mb). Anything written to memory will be lost
when the power is switched off. The more you have the faster the computer
is, consider 32Mb minimum.
Mic in : Soundcards have different sockets at the back so you know
what plugs in where. The mic in socket is for the microphone.
Modem : This can either be an external box or
a card inside your PC - either way, one end is connected to the PC and the
other end to a telephone socket. You will need a modem if you want to get
onto the internet, send email or faxes, and soon.
Motherboard : The main circuit board in your computer. It's usually
varnished green to protect the tiny connections and has the main components
and connectors soldered to it.
MS Paint : A program for drawing and image editing Included with
Windows 95. Click on Start, Programs, Accessories, and Paint.
Multiple dialling locations : This allows you to select a separate
set of phone numbers and other settings. for dialling from the office, from
home, and so on.
Notebook : Small portable PC which usually has an LCD screen and
is roughly the size of an A4 notepad.
Parallel interlink cable : Usually used to connect a PC to a printer,
but can also be used to link two PCs. Parallel cables allow data to be swapped
between computers at a higher speed than serial cables.
Pixels : The smallest point in an image. Image resolution is measured
in the number of pixels or dots vertically and horizontally.
Resolution : The quality of a printed or
scanned image. It's measured in dots per inch
(dpi) - the more the better.
Scale Changing : the size of a picture to make it fit the space better.
Don't do it too much, though, or you'll distort the image.
Scroll : When a list of items - filenames, fonts, etc - is too long
to display in a window you can scroll up or down the list by clicking on
the window's scrollbar (also called the vertical scrollbar).
Search engine : An online service which takes the strain out of surfing
the web by asking you for key words and then providing a list of websites
that contain your chosen words - "Mel Gibson" say, or "Formula One". Clicking
on the listed websites will take you to the relevant web page.
Search query : The text given to a search engine which forms your
search on the web. Can be one word or a coded string of words.
Selection modifier : Function for adding to or subtracting from a
selected area of an image within an image-editing package.
Slider : For setting values in a dialog box. Left-click on the slider
and drag with the mouse.
Softening : If cloning isn't subtle enough, the Softening brush will
smooth out joins or hard edges within an image-editing package.
Spreadsheet : A kind of super-calculator useful for analysing any
collection of figures - from a family budget to a car loan.
Startup screen : Also referred to as a splash screen. Usually containing
the software manufacturer's logo, this image gives you something to look
at while the program loads.
Sub-head : In a text document these are smaller than a headline,
but larger than ordinary text, sub-heads break up long stretches of text
and help readers navigate more easily.
Tab : Windows dialog boxes often have little 'tabs' at the top of
them. They behave like buttons and clicking on one will bring up a different
list of choices, settings or options.
Text and picture boxes : In desktop publishing software these are
empty frames designed to hold either words or pictures - you can't, for example,
add test to a page until there's a text box to receive it.
Tonal values : The lightness and darkness within an image (disregarding
Toolbar : A window that contains a range of icons that allows you
to access different tools.
WAVs : This is a format that Windows sound files are commonly stored
in. They will play back on any Windows multimedia PC and can be recognised
by their suffix, WAV. A WAVE or WAV file is a standard method of storing
an analog signal in
digital form in Windows.
Wizard : Term for an automated feature, in Windows or any application,
that guides you step-by- step through some complex process, such as taxing.
Windows 95 The old version of Windows software, now updated as Windows 98.
Windows uses icons to represent files and devices.
Windows events : The actions that Windows actually performs - this
could be anything from maximising and minimising windows to emptying the
wastebasket. You can link sounds to all of these Windows events so they play
along with the function.
Worksheet : Excel itself is a spreadsheet, but the individual screens
of rows and columns that you work with are called worksheets.
World wide web : Within the Internet there are thousands of pages
of formatted text and graphics that provide a user-friendly face to the
Zip drive : A high-capacity disk drive designed by lomega, capable
of storing 100Mb or 250Mb of information.
Zipping : Process of compressing a file so it takes up less space
using one of the many Zip programs such as WinZip and PKZip.
Zoom : In image-editing software it's often necessary to enlarge
the picture so that you can see what you're doing more easily, and that's
where the zoom tool comes in handy.