Software Basics Guide
Software refers to a collection of computer programs, data and applications that instruct a computer (a piece of hardware) on what to do and how to do it. Software can include everything from word processors to video games to Internet browsers (like the program you are using to view this webpage). Understanding software can help you get more out of your computer.
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) public computers offer Microsoft Office, a popular software suite that is used extensively at home and in the workplace. It features Microsoft Word (a word processor, which is used for creating text documents like letters or essays), Microsoft Excel (a spreadsheet application, used for entering, organizing and calculating data) and Microsoft PowerPoint (a presentation software for creating slideshows).
Microsoft Office and OpenOffice are both examples of desktop applications, or software that is installed onto a computer. "Cloud computing" has given rise to software that is stored on external servers and made accessible through a web browser and an Internet connection. An example of this type of software is Google Docs, which is available to anyone with a free Google account.
At the Library
BPL offers classes on various software applications, ranging from Microsoft Office to Google Docs. Look for a class on a specific software at a BPL location near you.
Handouts and Guides
View BPL's introduction to Operating Systems (PDF).
View BPL's introduction to Word Processing Software (PDF).
View BPL's introduction to Online File Storage (PDF).
Recommended Online Resources
Microsoft Office (GCFLearnFree.org): Online tutorials covering specific versions of Microsoft Office (Office 2010, Office 2007) and its suite of desktop applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access).
Google Docs 101 (GCFLearnFree.org): Online lessons for how to use the Google Docs suite of free (with a Google account) web-based software.
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