File Processing


File Fundamentals



In the computer world, a file is a series of bits that can be stored in the computer memory so it can be opened or viewed when needed. At the low level of computer use, this can be a long or difficult process. Fortunately, Microsoft Word makes this a significantly easy task. The common operations you can perform on a file consist of creating, opening, copying, moving, and deleting one or more of them.

Practical Learning: Introducing Files

  1. Start Microsoft Word
  2. Type Whatever and press Enter

Saving a File

There are various types of files you can use in Microsoft Word. Some files will be supplied to you and some others you will be the initiator. To be a author of a file, you must start creating it and then, at one time or another, save it. Creating a brand new file mostly consists of populating it with a content. In the next few lessons and for the rest of our lessons, we will learn different techniques of populating a document.

After or while creating a document, you can store it to the drive of your computer or your network. If you store it and then close Microsoft Word, you can re-open the document another time and continue working without restarting from the beginning. Storing a document to a drive is also referred to as saving it.

There are various means you can use to save a file. The easiest technique consists of clicking File -> Save from the main menu. You can also click the Save button on the Standard toolbar to perform the same action. If you do this and if the document was previously saved, it would appear as if nothing happened. Behind the scenes, the document would be saved quietly. If the document was not previously saved, the action would display the Save As dialog box.

When saving a file, there are two main pieces of information you must provide: the location and the name.

Practical Learning: Introducing Saving a File

  • To start saving the file, on the Standard toolbar, click the Save button and notice that, because this is the first time the file is being saved, the Save As dialog box comes up

The Path to a File

The location of a file, also called a path, is compared to the address of a house: it lets you know where a person lives (like the location of a file, the address of a house doesn't tell you who or what is in the house; it only gives you an address). The location of a file starts with a drive. The most common drive on a Microsoft Windows computer is called C:. This is also the default hard drive. In some cases, you may also have a drive named A: which would represent the floppy drive. Notice that both drives are represented with letters. In the same way, other letters may represent different types of drives for a CD drive, a DVD, a jump drive, or a partition. When you work on a computer, it is important to know what drive(s) exist(s) on it and what letter(s) it(they) use.

Besides a lettered drive, if you work in a networking environment, you can also use a drive on a connected computer. That is, you can use a storage area on another computer as long as you have access to it. Instead of a letter, the name of a network drive may start with \\.

Although you can save a file directly to a drive, you usually use a folder. A folder can be compared to a house: it is a container for files. Unlike a house, a folder can contain other folders. There are two categories of files you will use: those are already created and those you can create. By default, when you acquire a computer or if you install the operating system, various folders are created and you can use some of them to save your files. One of the folders that exist on a Microsoft Windows computer is called My Documents. You can save your documents there. If you work in a networking environment, the management (or IT department) may have created a folder that you can use to save your documents. You too can create folders in which to save your files. You can do this either on the drive or inside of an existing folder.

Not all drives can be written to. For example, you cannot save a file to a CD ROM or to a DVD ROM. The drive must allow it. Also, if you work in a corporate office, you may not be allowed to save anything just anywhere. You will be directed as to what to do.

Practical Learning: Specifying the Path to a File

  1. If the My Documents folder displays in the Save In combo box, file. If not, click the arrow of the Save In combo box and select My Documents. If you don't see My Documents, select the C: drive.
    To create a new folder, on the toolbar of the Save As dialog box, click the Create New Folder button
  2. Type Business Processes and press Enter to display the new folder in the Save In combo box. If the new folder is not in the Save In combo box, double-click it to display it there

The Name of a File

When saving a file, you must provide a name for it. The name allows you and the operating system to identify it. If you work in a new document and decide to save it, Microsoft Windows uses the first line of text to make it the name of the file. You can accept this name or you can specify one of your choice.

Before Microsoft Windows 95, the length of a name was limited to 8 characters. The new rules assume that you are using Microsoft Windows 95 or later:

  • The name of a file can be a combination of any alphabetic letter and digits
  • The name of a file can contain some other non-alphanumeric characters except the following characters < > : " / \ |
  • Avoid starting the name of a file with $
  • Avoid starting or ending the name of a file with an empty space
  • The name of a file should not be one of the following (that is, don't use one of the following words as the (sole) name of a file): CON, PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, and LPT9
  • Don't consider that two names of files that use the exact same characters and positions but different cases are different. Based on this, consider that NAME, Name, and name represent the same name. The Microsoft Windows considers Unicode (in 2 bytes) for the characters that make up a name. This means that it represents mere (in English) and mère (in French) as two different words. However, for the rules of this lesson, we consider that Mere and mere are the same although the operating system represents them differently

The name of a file consists of all of its characters from left to right and its length. Inside of a folder, you cannot have two files of the exact same name. In some cases, and we will let you know when, the name of a file can consist of its full path and its name.

Practical Learning: Naming a File

  • Change the string in the File Name to Draft Proposal

The Extension of a File

Since the earlier versions of the operating system, Microsoft Windows uses some techniques to identify or archive its contents. When it comes to documents, Microsoft Windows recommends that each files ends with one or a group of characters to categorize a file. This character or group of characters is called the extension of the file. To specify the extension of a file, at its ends, which is the right side of the file for US English, type period ".", followed by the character or the group of characteristics.

In most cases, probably following the traditions of before Windows 95, most file extensions are made of three letters. Examples are txt, rtf, htm, or php. In some other cases, some extensions have only two characters. Examples are pl or cs. Nowadays, it's not unusual to have an extension made of more than three characters.

Microsoft Word documents use the doc file extension. When using the Save As dialog box, by default, Microsoft Word selects the doc extension as can be seen with the Word Document (*.doc) string in the Save As Type combo box:

To specify the extension of a document, you can click the arrow of the Save As Type combo box and select one of the options.

Practical Learning: Accepting the Default Extension

  • On the Save As dialog box, click Save

File Operations


Opening a File 

Opening a file consists of displaying the contents of an already existing document. Some of these documents will be provided to you. Some others you may have created. Before opening a file, you must first locate it from its location.

To open a file, if you are working in Microsoft Word, on the main menu, you can click File -> Open... Alternatively, you can click the Open button on the Standard toolbar. The shortcut to this action is Ctrl+O. Any of these actions would display the Open dialog box. Once in it, to locate the file, you can click the arrow of the Look In combo box. From its parent folder, you can click the name of the file and click Open.

Another technique you can use to open a Microsoft Word document consists of clicking or double-clicking its file. In Windows Explorer, My Computer, My Documents or another folder, if you see the icon that represents Microsoft Word documents, you can double-click it. In some other environments such as the Internet, if you click a link that leads to a Microsoft Word, the document would be opened.


Practical Learning: Opening a File

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the Open button
  2. Locate the Microsoft Word Exercises folder and select the Fonts Characteristics file
  3. Click Open

Copying a File 

Copying a file consists of having the same file at more than one location. This means that you can copy a file from one folder and add it to another folder. There are different ways you can perform this operation.

If you are working in Microsoft Word on an open document, to copy it to a different folder, on the main menu, click File -> Save As... The shortcut is F12.

The most classic technique of copying a file consists of using a window that displays them. Examples of such windows are Windows Explorer, My Computer, or My Documents. Once in such a window, locate the folder that contains the file and display its contents. Right-click the desired file and click Copy. Then, locate the target folder. Right-click it and click Paste.


Practical Learning: Saving a File to a Different Path

  1. To save the file to another location, press F12
  2. In the Save As dialog box, click My Documents in the left section of the dialog box. If you don't My Documents, click the arrow of the Save In combo box, locate and select My Documents to display it in the Save In combo box
  3. Change the name of the file to Types of Fonts and click Save

File Processing Options


File Properties

A property is a piece of information that describes something or gives you some type of detail. This is also applied to a text file such as a Microsoft Word document. To provide information about its file, each Microsoft Word document can provide some properties through a special dialog box. To display it, on the main menu of Microsoft Word, you can click File -> Properties.

In the Properties dialog box, you can change some pieces of information while some others are made for viewing only.


Practical Learning: Using Punctuation

  1. To see the properties of the file, on the main menu, click File -> Properties...
  2. In the Properties dialog box, if necessary, click the General property page, and check the information provided such as the size and location of the file
  3. Click the Summary property page
  4. Click the other tabs to check their contents
  5. After using the Properties, click OK

Microsoft Word and HTML

So far, we have saved documents only in the Microsoft Word classic type. To broaden its capabilities, the application supports many other types of files. Although primarily made for right text-based documents, Microsoft Word is equipped to also handle HTML and (ASCII) text files.

To save a file in HTML format or to convert a Microsoft Word document into HTML, on the main menu, you can click File -> Save As... or File -> Save As Web Page... If the document was not saved previously, you can also click File -> Save from the main menu. Any of these actions would open the Save As dialog box. If you had selected Save As Web Page, you can simply enter the desired name of the file, select or specify its path, and click Save. If you had selected Save As, to make it an HTML file, select Web Page from the Save As Type combo box, specify the name, select the path, and click Save.


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