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Home > Jan's CompLit 101 > Working with Windows > Files & Folders > Files: Text - Edit & Print
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Jan's Working with Windows:

    Files: Text - Edit & Print

We all make mistakes, change our minds, or get a better idea later. You can expect to make changes in your documents on a regular basis. When you edit, you might add new text, remove text, or change or move existing text. For now we won't consider images.

Notepad is somewhat unfriendly about your mistakes. The Undo command will only work for that last action that you did. Clicking somewhere can count as and action! Smiley: Sad

Once your document is "perfect", you will want to save it. Here is where you can use what you learned about names to create a file name that tells you what the document is. Well, truthfully, you won't have a choice in the exercise below, but when you are working on your own, you can be creative.

Printing your document is not always quite as simple as just clicking a button. There are a lot of choices hiding in the background.

In a classroom or network situation, you may need to know some tricks about the local printer to have a happy printing session. Ask your instructor or network administrator.

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Text- Edit & Print

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn: to open an existing document with the Open dialog
to view file properties
to edit a document
     add text
     delete text
     replace text
     move text
     to use Undo
to save changes to existing document
to print a document
to close an application with Task Manager
to open an existing document from Explorer
to rename a file

Start with: Icon: Class disk, Notepad closed.

Open Document: Open Dialog

Start with Desktop , Icon: Class disk,  Notepad closed

  1. Open Notepad:
    Menu: Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad  
    Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: Start Screen: Type notepad and when the Notepad app is selected in the search results, press the ENTER key.
  2. From the menu bar select  File  >  Open... 

    The Open dialog box appears, which looks a lot like the Save As dialog.

    Dialog: Open - doc 1.txt (Win8)

    Icon: WinXPWinXP: Use the Up button and/or the drop box folder tree if you need to switch to a different drive in the display.
  3. If necessary, open folders until the file doc 1.txt that you created in the previous lesson is displayed in the Contents area.
    (Hint: It is in the win project2 folder on your Class disk.)
  4. Select the file doc 1.txt.
    Its name appears in the "File name" text box at the bottom of the dialog box.
  5. Dialog: Properties - doc 1.txt (Vista)Right click Right click on doc 1.txt in the dialog pane (not in the text box) and choose  Properties  from the context menu.

    TipWhat program opens the file: The Properties dialog shows what program will open the file by default and allows you to change that! If you click the Change... button, you can change the default to a different program. From the Properties dialog you cannot pick a different program to use just this once.

    The illustration shows that on this computer the program EditPad Pro will open this document when you double-click a TXT type file.

    Right Click Menu: on text document in Open dialog (Win8) TipUsing Open With...: To open this file with a different program this time but not always, you can go another route. When you right click on a file name, choose Open With... instead of Properties... Click on the program you want to use. Windows will list some programs that can open that type of file. The list may not be complete!

    The command Choose default Program... opens a new dialog that lets you pick a program. You will see a check box for whether or not you want all files of this type to open with the program that you choose. If you do not check the box, Windows will not remember your choice the next time you try to open this file. The default program will open it. There is no way to always open a particular file with one program and to always open other files of that type with a different program.

  6. Left click Click on the Cancel button to close the Properties box.  
  7. Left click Click on the Open button.
    The file opens in Notepad. TaDa!

     Notepad with doc 1.txt displayed (WinXP) Notepad with doc 1.txt displayed (Vista)

    Notepad in WinXP, Vista, Win7, Win8/Win8.1

Edit: Add Text

  1. Move the cursor to the end of the second line and press the ENTER key to get a new line.

    Icon: TroubleProblem: Typing is overwriting your text
    Overtyping is turned on.
    Solution: Press the INSERT key on the keyboard to toggle from overtyping to inserting.

  2. Type:  I can edit and delete this that I wrote in Notepad. 

    Icon: TroubleProblem: Typing is wider than the window
    Notepad may not wrap text to the window automatically. It can be important for some kinds of files to not wrap the text.
    Solution: From the menu select  Format  >  Word Wrap 
    Notepad will wrap your sentences so you won't have to scroll horizontally to read everything. Notepad will remember this choice.

Edit: Erase Text

  1. Move the cursor to the end of the second line: I wrote it in Notepad
  2. Drag to the beginning of the line to highlight the entire line.

    Icon: TroubleProblem: Extra lines are selected
    Dragging at a bit of an angle can select other lines.
    Solution: Click off the selection to deselect and try again.

  3. Press the DELETE key.
    The line vanishes.
    If a blank line remains, press DELETE again.
  4. Press the down arrow key until the cursor is on the line with the time and date.
  5. Press the HOME key to move the cursor to the far left end of the line.
  6. Press the DELETE key enough times to erase the time but not the date.

Edit: Replace Text

  1. Use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the end of the word "that" in the second line.
  2. Backspace enough times to erase the words "this" and "that".
  3. Type the word  what  in their place.

Edit: Move Text

Notepad is a very simple text editor. In more advanced applications you can drag selected text to a new location. In Notepad you must cut and paste to move things around.

  1. Menu: Edit (Win8)Select the first line of text by dragging to highlight it.
  2. Select from the menu bar  Edit  >  Cut .

    Keyboard tip Notice the key combos listed in the menu. CTRL + X will cut.

  3. Left click Click at the beginning of the line with your name to move the cursor there.
  4. Select from the menu bar  Edit  >  Paste . The text is moved.

    Keyboard tip The key combo CTRL + V will paste.

  5. Press the ENTER key twice to move your name down two lines.

Save an Existing Document

  1. Icon: Class disk From the menu bar select  File  >  Save .
    The file is saved without displaying the Save As dialog box because the file has already has a name and location since it was saved once before.

Print Document

(You may need special instructions from your teacher or network administrator about using a networked printer)

  1. Dialog: Page Setup (Vista)From the menu bar select  File  >  Page Setup... .

    Many applications remember the page settings from the previous printing job. You must always check the page setup to see what the computer is going to do with your document!


    Notepad doc1.txtNotepad doesn't have a Print Preview window where you could actually see what the page will look like. Smiley: Sad The Preview you see in the Page Setup dialog box is not of your actual document.

    TipPrint Preview: Most applications these days do have a print preview window. Use it!! The cause of some of the most wasteful printing errors is failure to look at the preview before pressing the Print button!!

  2. In the Header text box, after the characters that are already there, type 2 spaces and then your name.
  3. Left click Click the OK button.
  4. Dialog: Print (Win7)From the menu bar select  File  >  Print... .
    The Print dialog appears. Select the printer you want to use from the list.

    You may have several to choose from. If the printer you want is not on the list, click on Find Printer and then on the icon for your computer to see what printers are available.

  5.  Print icon Choose a printer and check the other settings in the dialog. You want to print 1 copy of the whole (very short!) document. Then click the Print button. Your document will be printed.

    Icon: WarningWhere's that printer? Be sure you know where you document is going to print! In a computer lab or other network situation, the printer may not be near your computer. There may be several printers in the room. The default printer could even be in another room!! A network at a large school or office can have dozens of shared printers. Some of those might be in other buildings or even other cities!

    So be careful. In these lessons, your name will be on the page!! Don't embarrass yourself.

Close with Task Manager

Sometimes your programs will get stuck and fail to respond to your commands and keystrokes. How can you close the program in this case? The Task Manager is your friend when all else fails!

  1. Screen with shortcut to Task Manager (Win8)Start Task Manager (Vista)(Be careful on this one!) Hold down the CTRL and ALT keys and press the DELETE key - just once.
    There may be a brief wait and then the Task Manager appears, or else a set of choices which include Task Manger, as shown at the right.

    If necessary, click on the link Task Manager.
    Your list of tasks may be different from the illustrations!

    Task Manager in WinXP Dialog: Task Manager (Vista)

    The Task Manager has several tabs. The Applications tab shows what applications are currently running. The Processes tab shows a lot of strangely named things that go on in the background. You will not usually want to deal with Processes.

    Task Manager (Win8)Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: The Processes tab has an expandable list of programs with the processes that they use. More useful actually than the way previous versions handled this, but just a bit confusing!

  2. If necessary, click the tab that shows the list of currently running programs.
  3. Select doc 1.txt - Notepad on the list of active programs
  4. Left click Click on the End Task button.
    If you have unsaved changes, you will see a message box asking if you want to save the document first. Click on Save if you want to save the changes. Otherwise click on Don't Save.

    Notepad closes.

    Icon: Tip Unresponsive programs: Sometimes after a few seconds you will see a dialog that reports that the task you tried to close is not responding. You should chose to wait if you think the task might actually finish doing something like saving a large document. Or, if the program was already frozen (not responding) and that's why you opened Task Manager, you can chose to terminate the task anyway.

    Sometimes the problem is not really with the frozen program but with some other program or background process that is in the way. You may need sharp detective skills may to figure out the true cause. A couple of common causes are backup programs looking for files to back up or performing a backup, antimalware programs doing scans, and cloud storage programs, like DropBox, Google Drive, and Sky Drive, uploading and downloading new or changed files. These run in the background but can eat up enough of the computer's resources to make it slow to respond to your commands. Pausing such programs can temporarily release those resources.

    Warning Key combo to reboot: Using CTRL + ALT+ DELETE twice quickly will reboot the computer. You will lose all unsaved data!

    This combination of CTRL + ALT + DELETE is sometimes called the three finger salute. It is pronounced as "control alt delete". This key combo was used before Win95 to reboot the computer, especially when programs crashed (refused to work any more).

    Sometimes ending the program is not enough to get your computer working happily again. You may have to shut down the computer and restart it to recover from a bad lock-up or crash. Happily, this does not happen as often with current versions as it did with earlier versions of Windows.

  5. Close the Task Manager window by clicking the Close button on the Title bar.

Open Document from Folder Tree

Start with Desktop , Icon: Class disk,  Notepad closed

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window that shows the folder tree.
  2. Select your removable drive from the folder tree, that is, the drive to which you just saved the Notepad document.
  3. Double Click Double-click to open the folder my docs.
  4. Double Click Double-click to open the folder win project2.
  5. Double Click Double-click in the right pane on the file doc 1.txt.
    Notepad should open with this file displayed in the window.

    TipThis only works if the extension txt is associated with the program Notepad, as it will be by default. Some other program will open if txt has been associated with it instead. Did you see one in the Properties dialog earlier?

  6. Close the program that just opened.


  1. In the window, rename the file doc 1.txt to  docone.tex  (Type this exactly!)
  2. Left click Click off the name to unselect it.

    Warning box: You get a warning box that explains that changing an extension may be a bad idea. Apparently Windows does not recognize the extension tex as a text file extension, even though it looks quite reasonable.

    Rename confirmation dialog (WinXP) Warning: If you change a file name extension, the file may become unusable. (Vista)

  3. Left click Click the No button and then press the ESC key.
    The file name returns to the original.
  4. Close the Explorer window.