NHS Designs
Basic Computer Skills Windows XP

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7. Arranging windows on your screen

Moving a window
Switching between windows
Minimize
Restore Down
Closing windows
Resizing windows
Getting back to the desktop

 

Moving a window

Windows allow people to arrange information on the screen in a useful way. One way you can change your view is to move a window to another place.

You may have already moved a window in the last exercise. Let's try it again.

drag and drop

Moving a window requires clicking in the middle of its blue top bar, called the title bar, keeping your mouse button down, and moving the mouse somewhere else. Then release the mouse button to "drop" the window in place. This is ability to move something using the mouse is called drag-and-drop.

 

Exercise

  1. Move both of your windows around on the screen a few times.
  2. Move the windows so that you can see part of each of them.

 

Switching between windows

If several windows are open on your screen, you can move one to the front by clicking on it. You can avoid clicking on something specific inside the window by click in the middle of its title bar.

Exercise

  1. Click on the window in the back to bring it to the front.
  2. Click on the window that is now in the back to bring it to the front.

 

Minimize

You can also change your view of windows with Minimize, Maximize and Restore Down.

Let's start by hovering over the buttons in the upper-right corner of a window. To hover is to put your mouse cursor on top of something without clicking on it. After about a second, a small yellow box with text will pop up. This is called a tool tip and it gives you something's name.

Exercise

  1. Hover your mouse over the left-most button in the top-right corner of one of your open windows.
  2. Take note of what it says.
  3. Hover your mouse over each of the other two buttons and take note of what they say.

Minimize tool tip

minimizeTo minimize a window is to drop it out of view without closing it. It is still visible as a button on the taskbar.

Exercise

  1. Minimize each of the open windows on your screen.
  2. Reopen each window using the taskbar.

 

Maximize

Windows can either take up the entire screen or only part of it.

maximizeIf a window is taking up only part of the screen, you can make it fill the screen by maximizing it. The maximize button is the button in the middle of the three buttons.

Exercise

  1. Maximize one of the open windows on your screen.
  2. Take a look at the middle button again.
  3. Hover your mouse over the middle button. What does the tool tip say?

Restore Down tool tip

 

Restore Down

Restore DownYou may have noticed that the image on the middle button has changed from a single square to two overlapping squares.

The opposite of Maximize is Restore Down. Restore Down takes a window from full-screen back to a window taking up only part of the screen.

Exercise

Click the Restore Down button for the window you maximized.

 

Closing windows

close window buttonWe've seen how to close windows before, in session four. The close window button will close the window and remove it from the task bar.

Exercise

  1. Close both of the windows on your screen.
  2. Reopen My Documents and Adobe Creative Suite CS3.
  3. Open Photoshop CS3.
  4. Restore Down the Photoshop window.

 

Resizing windows

When a window is restored down (not taking up the full screen), you can resize it. Just click and drag from the bottom-right corner of the window.

resize window

Exercise

  1. Resize the Photoshop window. Make it smaller and then make it larger.
  2. Try this with one of the other windows.
  3. Resize and move each window so that you can see each completely on your screen.

 

Getting back to the desktop

Sometimes you need to access the icons on the desktop and there are a bunch of windows in the way. There are a couple of methods to see the desktop again.

Move windows

Typically, the icons you need are on the left-hand side of the screen. If you have all windows restored down, you can move them to the right and see your icons on the left.

Minimize windows

If your windows are large or full-screen and you don't want to move, restore down or resize them, hide them. Just minimize each of your windows until you can see the desktop.

Keyboard shortcut

If you have a Microsoft keyboard, there is a Start key in the bottom row. The Start key opens the Start menu. To hide all the windows and get straight to the desktop from anywhere, hold down the Start key and then press the D key.

start key

Exercise

  1. Access the desktop by moving or minimizing your windows.
  2. Open your windows back up by using the task bar.
  3. Access the desktop using the start key+D.

 

 

Next: 8. Contextual menus

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