Beginning Word-Processing Skills

Most writing you do for college will need to be typed, and often submitted electronically.  Mastering the basics of word-processing tools will make this process much more comfortable to do.

The most popular word-processing program is Microsoft Word, part of the Microsoft Office Suite.  Most college computer labs have this program available, and you can often purchase it for a reduced rate through your college bookstore.

Some classes will explicitly require you to use Microsoft Word for your classwork.  Otherwise, you’re free to use whatever program you wish.  Apple’s Pages and Google’s Google Docs, are two other widely-used examples.

The videos in this section use Microsoft Word 2016. If you use a different word-processing program (or a different version of Word), the specific tools might appear in different places, but you’ll still be able to perform the same activities.

Getting to Know Word

Let’s start by reviewing the program as a whole, and what it’s capable of.

Creating and Opening Documents

Now, let’s look at getting started with a new document file.

Saving and Sharing

The ever-important “Save” feature is going to be your new best friend in college.

Text Basics

Cutting, copying, pasting, and deleting are all reviewed here.  “Find and replace” is a tool that will be handy for revising documents, especially.

Formatting Text

Making your document look attractive is one of the most fun parts of using a word processor.  This video demonstrates quick ways to change your text’s appearance.

Page Layout

Your professor may have specific instructions for how she wants you to format the documents you write for her class.  If that’s the case, review how to change layout and formatting settings here.


Finally, we end with the ever-important step of getting a hard copy of your work.