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writing a letter on your computer.

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Writing a letter on your PC is something that many of us will need to do from time to time. Not often, maybe, but occasionally.

In the guide we're going to format our letter.

Which means selecting text. Moving text around the page into particular areas, to create the letter's layout.

Although I've chosen to layout a letter in this guide, the skills that you'll learn can be applied to any number of documents that require a certain format.

This guide follows on nicely from the previous page How to Select Multiple Files/Folders.

Writing a letter or any type of document will usually require the use of a type of program called a word processor. And your computer has one built into it.

Wordpad.

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    writing a letter. getting started.

    The way in which we'll tackle this, is to construct the letter first. Just get all the words onto the page.

    Then we can work on the layout, moving stuff around and changing the fonts and sizes.

    Here's the finished letter with a breakdown of the various parts.

    At the top of the letter, we've got an address that is over on the far right hand side of the page.

    The first paragraph is written in a different font to the rest of the letter

    The second paragraph is both bold & underlined.

    Below that there's a sentence in Italics.

    Then there's another sentence that is written larger than the rest of the letter.

    There's another sentence that's written in a different font (script).

    And finally, we've got a couple of bullet points.

    this is what we're aiming for.

    choose a font size for your letter.

    It's best, if you can, to decide on which font size (the size of the letters) you want to use for your document before you start.

    This is because, if you change the font size later, it can dramatically affect your lay out.

    Normally I'd recommend using either 14, 16 or 18. Whichever looks best to you.

    But just for this exercise, we're going to make everything big. Simply so that we can easily see what we're doing and how the changes we make, actually work.

    Open Wordpad.

    Click the small arrow head, next to the Font Size Box.

    A long list of numbers will open.

    These are your font sizes.

    As I said above, normally you'd want to use something between 14 & 18.

    But for this exercise, left click 24.

    choose font size 24.

    the double spacing issue.

    Whenever your typing out a letter or any other sort of document, this problem will drive you insane.

    When your typing, and you want to start a new line, you'd normally press the Enter/Return key on your keyboard. OK.

    But that creates a bit of a problem. Double spacing.

    We'll type out the address and you'll see what I mean. It'll go something like this.

    123 Any Street

    Press Enter/Return to start a new line

    Some Town

    Enter/Return

    West County

    Enter/return

    ABC 123

    single & double spacing.

    All word processors do this. Every time you hit the Enter/Return key on the keyboard to start a new line, the computer assumes your starting a new paragraph.

    What we need is a way to tell the machine that we want a new line, not a new paragraph.

    We'll start again, so press CTRL and the letter A to select all the text, then press Delete.

    Type the first line of the address, 123 Any Street.

    Now hold down the SHIFT key, then press Enter/Return.

    Type the second line of the address -

    Some Town - SHIFT / Enter

    West County - SHIFT / Enter

    ABC 123.

    Done it.

    the address, single spaced.

    By holding down SHIFT and then pressing Enter/Return, we're telling the computer to start a new line, not a new paragraph.

    This way, we get a single space between the lines of the address.

    how to stop double spacing.

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    copy & paste the text.

    That's the address type out.

    I know it's on the left hand side of the page at the moment, we'll shove it over later.

    But now we want to get the main body of the letter.

    To do that, we're not going to type it out, we're going to Copy & Paste it.

    Move your pointer onto the text in the box opposite.

    As your pointer moves over the text, you'll see it changes from an arrow to a single vertical line.

    Move you pointer to the very beginning of the text, just at the capital letter D of Dear.

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    For instance, this section of the text should be bold & underlined, to make it really stand out.
    This entire sentence will be written in Italics.
    I'm writing this letter to demonstrate how we can work with text on a computer. Selecting the text and then moving or changing it to suit our needs.
    We'll change the size of this text, make it larger than the rest, so that it really stands out.
    And finally...

    With the pointer as a vertical line.

    Hold down the left mouse button, and then drag your mouse over the text.

    Move from top left to bottom right.

    As you do so, you'll see the text becoming highlighted.

    The text is being selected.

    selecting the text.

    When you've selected all the text, release the left mouse button.

    Now right click on the selected text, and on the menu that appears, left click COPY.

    That's how you copy text from a page.

    copy the selected text.

    Now go back to Wordpad.

    The text we copied will be pasted in, starting from wherever the cursor is.

    So you may need to press Enter/Return to start a new paragraph.

    Then right click on the page, and left click on PASTE.

    text pasted into place.

    Copy & Pasting text is a great time saver, especially, if like me, your a slow typer.

    How to copy & paste text.

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    how to move the address over to the right hand side of the page.

    Now we've got most of the components of the letter in place.

    We still need to add the bullet points at the bottom, but we'll type them in later.

    Now though, it's time to start formatting our letter. To start laying it out.

    We'll start at the top of the page, with that address. It needs to go across the page onto the right hand side.

    Hmmm....

    The entire address forms a single paragraph.

    So we can use the paragraph properties box to shove the address over.

    It's a bit trial and error to get it just right.

    But it's really easy to do, and you can have as many tries as you like.

    let's move it.

    We're pushing it from the left, to the right hand side of the page.

    Think of using your left hand to brush it across the page.

    shove it to the right.

    Think of the address as a solid block. A block of text. And we're going to force that block of text over to the right hand side of the page.

    The first thing to do is to select all of the address.

    But only the address.

    Hold down the left mouse button at the start of the address, and then drag your mouse over the rest.

    select just the address.

    With the address selected, left click the paragraph dialogue button.

    the paragraph dialogue button.

    The button can be a little hard to spot, so here's a close up of it.

    paragraph dialogue button close up.

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    centimetres or inches?

    When the Paragraph Dialogue box opens, the first thing your going to need to do, is to take note of which measurement scale your using.

    You could be working in Centimetres or Inches.

    Look at the top box, the one labelled LEFT.

    That's the one we're going to be using.

    Is it in Centimetres or Inches for you.

    It's Centimetres for me.

    You'll follow the guide for whichever scale your using.

    centimetres or inches?

    We need to guess how far over to the right the address paragraph needs to go.

    In the top box, the one labelled LEFT,

    If your in Centimetres enter 8 and click OK.

    If your in Inches enter 3 and click OK.

    paragraph dialogue box.

    When you've clicked the OK button, DON'T MAKE ANY MORE CLICKS.

    Just click the OK button and that's it.

    You'll see the address jump across the page to the right hand side.

    And because you didn't make another click, it has stayed selected, it's still highlighted.

    the address moves, but stays selected.

    Now that's pretty good, but I think it could go a little more.

    So with the address STILL selected, left click the Paragraph button again.

    We're going to nudge it over a bit more.

    If your in Centimetres, enter 8.8.

    If your in Inches, enter 3.5.

    just right.

    So that's how you get any paragraph to move across the page to the right hand side.

    Whether your writing a letter or any other document.

    As I said, it's a little trial & error, you nudge it across, nudge some more, maybe bring it back a little.

    But you'll get there.

    moving the address across the page.

    move an entire paragraph.

    This is something that happens a lot when your typing a letter or creating a document.

    As you read through what you've written, you realise that a particular sentence or paragraph is in the wrong place.

    Maybe it needs to be moved higher up the page or lower down.

    Either way, it's easy to do, without having to retype it.

    The next thing we need to do is to move this paragraph.

    It's in completely the wrong place.

    It needs to be moved up the page, so that it follows on from "Dear Sir/Madam".

    this paragraph is in the wrong place.

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    In your Wordpad document, select the paragraph

    "I'm writing this letter to demonstrate how we can work with text on a computer. Selecting the text and then moving or changing it to suit our needs".

    select the paragraph.

    We want the paragraph to MOVE. We don't want to Copy it. We want to Move it.

    So right click on the selected text, and on the menu that opens, left click CUT.

    We have to CUT the paragraph because we want it to move position.

    CUT the paragraph.

    When you click CUT, the entire paragraph will disappear from the page.

    the paragraph disappears.

    We already know that when we Paste in the paragraph, it'll appear wherever the cursor is.

    So to position the cursor, left click at the end of

    "Dear Sir/Madam,"

    Then press the Enter key on your keyboard to start a new paragraph.

    start a new paragraph.

    To Paste the paragraph in, hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard, then press the letter V.

    The text will appear and you can release the keys.

    CTRL + V.

    We're getting there.

    Slow but sure.

    Move a sentence or paragraph.

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    changing the font style when writing a letter.

    Now that we've got the first paragraph into place, we'll change the font.

    You can change the font style for a single letter, a word, a sentence or an entire paragraph.

    Select all the text in the first paragraph.

    select the first paragraph.

    With the text selected, we'll need to choose a suitable font.

    Click the small arrowhead next to the font options menu.

    You'll see a long list of available font styles.

    The one I chose is a hand written type of font.

    It's called SEGOE SCRIPT.

    You may have to scroll down to find it.

    You could obviously choose anyone that you fancied, it's up to you.

    Try a few out

    change the font.

    You can obviously go with any of these fonts that you fancy.

    Go ahead and try a few out.

    Just select the text, click the arrowhead and make your choice.

    changing fonts.

    make text bold,undelined or italic.

    To make a word, sentence or an entire paragraph stand out, you can make it Bold, or Underline it, or make it Italic, or any combination of the 3.

    Select the paragraph -

    "For instance, this section of the text should be bold & underlined, to make it really stand out".

    Then click the Bold & the Underline buttons.

    B is for Bold
    I is for Italics
    U is for Underline.

    make it bold & underlined.

    Select the line

    "This entire sentence will be written in Italics".

    Then click the Italics button.

    make it italic.

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    change the font size of a single paragraph

    You can change the font size of a single word, sentence or paragraph. You can make it larger or smaller than the rest of the text, depending on your needs.

    Select the paragraph -

    "We'll change the size of this text, make it larger than the rest, so that it really stands out".

    Then click the arrowhead next to the font size box.

    You can choose any of the sizes shown, larger or smaller than current font size.

    We'll go big.

    Click on 28.

    go big. choose 28.

    how to add bullet points when writing a letter.

    Bullet points can often help you to set out steps or arguments in a simple to follow, logical table.

    They can be added just about anywhere on the page.

    To add the bullet points into our letter, start a new paragraph underneath

    "And finally".

    cursor position.

    Click the arrowhead next to the bullet point button.

    bullet point button.

    It can be quite difficult to find these buttons, so here's a close up of the bullet point button.

    Click the small arrowhead to see all the options.

    bullet point button close up.

    You can choose from 6 different styles for bullet points.

    In our example, I went with simple numbers, so for now, click the numbers bullet points.

    choose a bullet point style.

    At the position of your cursor, you'll see the number 1 appear (or whichever bullet point style you chose).

    You can now type the first line -

    "I think it would be a good idea".

    At the end of the line, press Enter/Return to start the next bullet point.

    A number 2 will appear.

    Type the second bullet point and then do the third one.

    first bullet point.

    Do have a go at this.

    I know this guide is a little long.

    We've covered so much here. It really wasn't supposed to be this big.

    But once you get started, you just keep thinking of 1 more thing to show.

    adding the bullet points.

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    fancy a little challenge?

    At the very start of this guide, we set the overall font size to be 24 so that we could easily see what we're doing.

    No-one wants to be squinting at a computer screen.

    But 24 is very large for a normal document, and especially for our letter.

    So here's the challenge.

    Set the font size to 14. Sounds easy, right?

    In the original example I showed you at the very top of this page, the font size I used was 14.

    And you gotta say, it does look pretty good.

    this is what we're aiming for.

    But we've been working on a letter that has a font size of 24. A bit big?

    Press CTRL and the letter A on your keyboard to select all the text.

    Then click the arrowhead in the Font Size box and select 14.

    CTRL + A to select all the text

    When you select font size 14, all the text on the page will reduce in size, obviously.

    But because of that, the address is now out of place.

    It needs to be shoved over a bit more.

    Also, the paragraph that should be in a larger font size, well, it isn't.

    Can you do it?

    can you sort it out?

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    letter done.

    Did you manage to lay out our letter properly? Great.

    "ET write home".

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