write a letter on your computer.

With the advent of E-Mail, writing letters probably isn't the first thing most of us are going to want to do on a computer.

But formatting a letter is the perfect introduction to using a word processor.

In this guide, we'll be manipulating text around the page to layout the letter.

The skills we'll need can be used on any type of text document that you may want to create.

Home » Free Computer Course. » How to Write a Letter on a PC

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.

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

this is what we're aiming for.

choose a font size for your letter (document).

When your working on a document that's going to be printed out, 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 layout.

Normally I'd recommend using either 14, 16 or 18. Whichever looks best to you. Size 14 is easily readable when printed out, while size 18 looks a little large to my eyes.

But just for this exercise, we're going to make everything big. It'll just make things easier to do while writing the letter.

To get started, open Wordpad.

Click the START button, then type

wordpad

Click Wordpad (App) at the top of the list.

When Wordpad has opened, we'll set the base font size.

Click the small arrowhead, 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.

Double spacing is an issue that you'll definitely run into using virtually any word processor. And it'll 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. And it's a problem when we come to write the address portion of our letter.

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

Press Enter/Return

West County

Press Enter/return

ABC 123

single & double spacing.

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.

To stop double spacing, type the first line of the address, 123 Any Street.

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

Now you can type the second line of the address - Some Town

And to start the next line hold down Shift again, then press Enter.

Type the next line - West County

Hold down Shift and press Enter.

Type - 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.

Advertisement.

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, way too much like hard work. We're going to Copy & Paste it.

Here's the main part of the letter we're trying to write.

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 your 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.

Select all the text.

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.

Much quicker and easier than typing the letter out.

text pasted into place.

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

copy and paste the text.

Advertisement.

how to move the address across the page of the letter.

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

paragraph dialogue button close up.

Advertisement.

paragraph dialogue - centimetres or inches?

When the Paragraph Dialogue box opens, the first thing you're 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 you're in Centimetres enter 8 and click OK.

If you're 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.

We want the address to stay highlighted, to stay selected. We haven't finished with it yet.

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 you're in Centimetres, enter 8.8.

If you're 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 you're 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.

Advertisement.

move a paragraph up or down the page.

This is something that happens a lot when you're writing any sort of document, including letters.

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.

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.

Advertisement.

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.

But you can see our letter is taking shape.

moving a sentence or paragraph.

changing the font style.

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 handwritten type of font.

It's called SEGOE SCRIPT.

You may have to scroll down to find it.

change the font.

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

Try a few out

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 the font style.

Advertisement.

make text bold, underlined 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.

change the font size.

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 the current font size.

We'll go big.

Click on 28.

go big. choose 28.

adding bullet points to a letter (document).

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.
bullet point button close up.

Advertisement.

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 bullet points.

fancy a challenge?

We've put this letter together using a large font size that probably wouldn't look good printed out.

We used such a large font to make it easier to see what we're doing and easier to select the text.

So can you set the font size to say 14 and then layout the letter again.

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?

Advertisement.

tick blue

that's a tough one.

In creating this letter we've used most of the techniques that you'll need to create most types of documents.

Up next is How to Download.

at home computer extra guides.

how do you send large files or folders over the internet?

Just occasionally, you might need to send a particularly large file, or maybe a folder, to someone else, over the Internet.

Too big to be attached to an Email, so how can you do it?