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Self-taught course

Provided by: University Information Services - Digital Literacy Skills


This course is self taught (Materials may be loaned out).

Bookings cannot be made on this course (Course is not taking bookings).

More information about UIS self-taught courses.

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Introduction to Personal Computers Using Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 2013

Self-taught course


Introduction to Personal Computers - Using Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 2013 is designed for users who are keen to extend their understanding of how to use computers. The skills acquired are sufficient to use the software to perform tasks including starting applications, creating folders, copying and moving files, and personalising Windows.

Target audience

Anyone who is new to Windows 8.1 and Office 2013.


Introduction to Personal Computers - Using Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 2013 assumes little or no knowledge of the software.

Topics covered

Healthy Computing

  • Work Health And Safety
  • Performing A Computer Risk Assessment
  • Good Posture At The Workstation
  • A Good Working Environment
  • Rests And Exercises
  • Specifications And Standards
  • Influenza In The Workplace
  • Social Problems Of Computer Addiction


  • Information Technology And Computers
  • Types Of Computers
  • Types Of Personal Computers
  • How Computers Are Used
  • Computer Performance

Computer Hardware

  • The Main Parts Of A Personal Computer
  • The Central Processing Unit
  • Computer Speed
  • Computer RAM
  • Computer ROM
  • External Hardware Components
  • Computer Peripherals
  • Keyboards
  • Other Input Devices
  • Output Devices
  • Input And Output Devices
  • Storage Devices
  • Connecting Hardware And Peripherals
  • Internal Hardware Devices


  • Types Of Software
  • Software Versions
  • Operating System Software
  • Application Software
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Systems Development

Starting Off With Windows 8.1

  • Turning On The Computer
  • Signing In To Windows
  • The Desktop
  • The Start Screen
  • The Apps View
  • The Taskbar
  • The App Switcher
  • App Bars
  • The Charms Bar
  • Windows Store Apps
  • Displaying Key User Interface Elements
  • Putting Your Computer To Sleep
  • Shutting Down Your Computer

Working With Windows Apps

  • Displaying The Start Screen
  • Starting Windows Apps From The Start Screen
  • Starting Windows Apps From The Apps View
  • Displaying The Desktop
  • Switching Between Open Apps
  • Arranging Apps Side-By-Side
  • Closing Windows Store Apps
  • Installing A Windows Store App
  • Uninstalling A Windows Store App
  • Using Gestures On Touch Screens

Looking at Desktop Windows

  • Starting Desktop Programs
  • The Anatomy Of A Desktop Window
  • Expanding And Minimising The Ribbon
  • Using The Ribbon
  • Accessing The Backstage View
  • Minimising And Maximising A Window
  • Resizing A Window Using A Mouse
  • Moving A Window On The Desktop
  • Switching Between Open Programs
  • Snapping Two Desktop Programs Side-By-Side
  • Shaking Down Windows
  • Scrolling In A Window
  • Closing Desktop Programs
  • Other Ways To Open Desktop Programs

Data Storage on Your Computer

  • Understanding Data Storage In Windows
  • Understanding File Explorer
  • Opening File Explorer
  • Viewing Storage Devices Using File Explorer
  • Viewing Network Connections
  • Understanding USB Flash Drives

Working With Folders

  • Understanding Folder Hierarchy
  • Navigating The Folder Hierarchy
  • Understanding Personal Folders
  • Accessing Your Personal Folders
  • Creating A New Folder
  • Copying A Folder
  • Moving A Folder
  • Renaming A Folder
  • Deleting A Folder
  • Viewing The Hierarchy Path
  • Changing Folder Views

Working With Files

  • Understanding Files
  • Creating A Simple File
  • Exploring Files In Windows
  • Copying A File
  • Renaming A File
  • Selecting Files
  • Copying Multiple Files
  • Replacing Files
  • Moving Files
  • Copying Files To A USB Flash Drive
  • Setting Files As Read-Only
  • Deleting Files
  • Deleting Folders With Files
  • Common File Types

Word Processing

  • Understanding Word Processing
  • Starting Word From The Desktop
  • Understanding The Start Screen
  • Creating A New Blank Document
  • Typing Text
  • Saving A New Document On Your Computer
  • Typing Numbers
  • Inserting A Date
  • Checking Spelling And Grammar
  • Making Basic Changes
  • Saving An Existing Document
  • Printing A Document
  • Safely Closing A Document


  • How Spreadsheets Work
  • The Characteristics Of A Spreadsheet
  • Starting Excel From The Desktop
  • Understanding Workbooks
  • Using The Blank Workbook Template
  • Typing Text
  • Saving A New Workbook On Your Computer
  • Typing Numbers
  • Typing Dates
  • Typing Formulas
  • Easy Formulas
  • Checking The Spelling
  • Making Basic Changes
  • Easy Formatting
  • Printing A Worksheet
  • Charting Your Data
  • Safely Closing A Workbook

About the Internet

  • The Internet And The World Wide Web
  • How The Internet Began
  • Connection Requirements
  • Understanding Web Browsers
  • Understanding Search Engines
  • Understanding Web Addresses
  • Key Terms And Internet Jargon
  • Cookies And Caches

Internet Explorer Basics

  • Desktop Versus Start Screen App
  • Starting Internet Explorer From The Desktop
  • The Internet Explorer Screen
  • Displaying Screen Elements
  • Using The Command Bar
  • Going To A Specific URL
  • Controlling The Browser Window Size
  • Activating A Hyperlink
  • Activating An Image Link
  • Hiding And Displaying The Images On A Web Page
  • Understanding The New Tab Page
  • Adding New Tabbed Pages
  • Working With Tabbed Pages
  • Closing Pages
  • Zooming
  • Using The Back And Forward Tools
  • The Browsing History
  • Using Compatibility View
  • Stopping And Refreshing Pages
  • Closing Internet Explorer

Searching the Web

  • Understanding How To Search Effectively
  • Using The Address Bar To Search
  • Adding Search Providers
  • Using A Different Search Provider
  • Setting Your Default Search Provider
  • Removing Search Providers
  • Searching Based On A Keyword
  • Searching Based On A Phrase
  • Combining Selection Criteria
  • Finding Information On A Page

Using Email

  • Starting Outlook From The Desktop
  • Common Outlook 2013 Screen Elements
  • The Mail Screen
  • Composing An Email Message
  • Creating A New Message
  • Sending The Message
  • Understanding The Inbox
  • Retrieving Email
  • Opening An Outlook Data File
  • Reading Messages
  • Deleting Messages

At the completion of this course you should be able to:

  • understand some of the wider implications of working with computers
  • understand many of the general concepts of computing such as hardware, software, types of computers and the like
  • explain the various hardware components of the computer
  • understand the various types of software
  • work with the basic components of the Windows 8.1 interface
  • work with Windows Store apps
  • work with desktop windows
  • understand data storage and navigate your computer's drives, folders and files
  • navigate the folder hierarchy and work with folders
  • manage files on your computer
  • understand the history of word procesing and the types of documents that can be word-processed
  • understand some of the key underlying concepts of spreadsheets
  • understand some of the theoretical aspects of the internet
  • use Internet Explorer to access the internet, search for and locate information
  • understand and conduct effective searches of the internet
  • create and work with emails in Outlook

Watsonia workbook with 180 topics. Files for the exercises are provided on a CD or can be downloaded here

System requirements

Windows 8.1 with Microsoft Office 2013.


Approximately 15 hours


Booking / availability