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Introduction > The Very Basics

The Very Basics

To use this book, and indeed to use a computer, you need to know a few basics. This book assumes that you're familiar with a few terms and concepts:

  • Clicking. This book gives you three kinds of instructions that require you to use your computer's mouse or trackpad. To click means to point the arrow cursor at something on the screen and then—without moving the cursor at all—to press and release the clicker button on the mouse (or laptop trackpad). To double-click, of course, means to click twice in rapid succession, again without moving the cursor at all. And to drag means to move the cursor while pressing the button.

    When you're told to -click something on the Mac, or Ctrl+click something on a PC, you click while pressing the or Ctrl key (both of which are near the Space bar).

  • Menus. The menus are the words at the top of your screen or window: File, Edit, and so on. Click one to make a list of commands appear, as though they're written on a window shade you've just pulled down.

  • Keyboard shortcuts. If you're typing along in a burst of creative energy, it's sometimes disruptive to have to take your hand off the keyboard, grab the mouse, and then use a menu (for example, to use the Bold command). That's why many experienced computer mavens prefer to trigger menu commands by pressing certain combinations on the keyboard. For example, in most word processors, you can press -B (Mac) or Ctrl+B (Windows) to produce a boldface word. When you read an instruction like "press -B," start by pressing the key; while it's down, type the letter B, and then release both keys.

  • Operating-system basics. This book assumes that you know how to open a program, surf the Web, and download files. You should know how to use the Start menu (Windows) and the Dock or menu (Macintosh), as well as the Control Panel (Windows), Control Panels (Mac OS 9), or System Preferences (Mac OS X).


If you're lost on these topics, there are Missing Manual titles that cover Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and Mac OS X. But enough sales pressure.

If you've mastered this much information, you have all the technical background you need to enjoy iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual.

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