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IT For Beginners: Which Text Processing Software Works For Apple PCs?

By Yann, published on 01/05/2019 We Love Prof - IN > Academia > Information Technology > What Do You Need For Word Processing On A Mac Computer

“Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed will revolutionize the way we learn.” Steve Jobs

IT for beginners is exciting because technology is revolutionary and so easy to learn. This is a great time to start to learn about computers and whether the novice reads about computer programs in blogs like this or takes a journey to follow a step by step guide. Computers have the best entry level on the planet, which is that no experience is required to start. All you need is a device or PC and the willingness to try and learn.

A fundamental mistake that a newbie tends to make is thinking that they can do something wrong when navigating their new device. Notice that I didn’t say that the mistake was pressing the wrong key on the keyboard. Yes, there is a way to do things, but the truth is that the basic computer techniques needed to get what you need to be done require only that you have a willingness to open your mind to some basic principles. After that its all play time, in which you have to be patient, relaxed and just enjoy your learning experience.

Before you know it you will be learning how to code. In this article, we will highlight some of those basic principles with the key things that you need to know to start word processing on your Mac computer.

TextEdit and Pages are installed on your Mac Some Word Processing Software Comes Free With Mac Computers. Photo Source: Unsplash

What You Need For Processing Words On A Mac

As with any device, Windows or Macintosh, you need a few basic things to start typing copy.

First of all, you need a comfortable seat to sit in and complete your work. Are you sitting comfortably? If so, let’s proceed!

Secondly, you will need a decent size screen for your purpose. If you are only doing very minimal work at your desk, then a smaller screen may not bother you. However, if you are a writer by trade, you may wish to invest in something more substantial. An iMac is a perfect option for people who plan to make good use of the Mac software on a regular basis. Even better, is if you plan to use it for design work or similar thanks to its large display.

For people who spend much of their time copying data or working with at least two tabs open, additional screens can be purchased to plug into your device allowing you to spread your workload across two screens. It sounds confusing but it becomes second nature once you get used to scrolling between the pair of displays!

Next up, you got it, is a keyboard. It is all very well using the keyboard on your iPad, but if you are writing long pieces of copy then an external keyboard might suit your needs a bit better. Some users prefer the idea of using a large, external keyboard even if they are working with a Macbook, and will often place their laptop on a stand or pile of books and then type on their separate keyboard – this works for some, but not for all, much like choosing between using the in-built mousepad or plugging in a separate cursor.

If you have a Bluetooth keyboard for Mac, remember to switch it on and check if those batteries need changing! The last thing you want is to sit down to work and find that your keyboard has run out of battery.

The rest is up to you and your imagination!

Why Use Word Processors?

Word processing is one of the many things that you can use your computer for. Whether for business or personal use, Word processing software is used for multi-purpose outputs such as creating documents, writing notes, typing up reports, and writing letters. It is essential software for any basic PC set up, even if you don’t plan to use it, one day you may need to type a document so it will always come in handy.
Benefits Of Using A Word Processor

Have you ever poured coffee all over your beautiful handwritten notes? Well on a PC your document will be stored on your hard drive (the computer memory), and you will be able to open it again and again. If you happen to spill coffee over your PC however, it will be 50/50 as to if your files can be recovered so be careful with drinks around your electronics.

  1. Not only can you store your documents on your hard drive but you can also save them online.
  2. You can at the touch of a button upload your document and send it to anyone in the world who has an internet connection. Or you can print it and post it to anyone
  3. No more struggling to read your handwriting or for other people to struggle either. Fonts are clean and clear for everyone to read easily.
  4. You can edit, update, change, modify your documents without making a mess all over the paper.
  5. Typing on your PC is faster than writing by hand when you are getting started it may take you some time to find your flow, but once you get more confident you will speed up.
  6. You don’t have to use a handheld dictionary, your word processing software has a built-in dictionary, and it can correct all of your writing for you.
  7. You can insert forms, images, links, your can format beautifully, and you can even add colour.

Word Processing Software That Comes Free With Mac Computers

TextEdit

This is Macs basic word processing offering, at first glance, it may seem a bit limited especially if you are used to Microsoft word or other mainstream software. But before you run out and spend all of your money on an upgrade. Let take a look at what TextEdit can and cannot do.

TextEdit has a few great features, It is possible to create simple documents and to format them, you can open and format documents that were created within other pieces of software, you can create and edit HTML (a computer language), you can draw and write over images.

When you open the software, you come to a blank screen which gives a simple menu. Within the menu you will be able to choose from:

  • Paragraph and line formatting,
  • Font selection
  • font size,
  • Font colour,
  • Classic formatting (bold, italic, underline),
  • Layout formatting (left, right, centred),

The simplicity of the software is great for IT beginners as it will allow you to focus on actually creating your document and not worrying about where to find things in the menu. TextEdit is suitable for people who are just getting to grips with word processing and digital file creation technology.

Bear in mind that once you get confident enough on this software, you might outgrow it. But if your requirements remain basic, then you may be happy to stay with the software. However do not expect updates or special add-ons, the software is designed to be this way. Certainly practical if you want to make a simple list, write a quick letter or note down your thoughts.

Word processing and digital file creation technology. The simplicity of the software is great for IT beginners as it will allow you to focus. Photo Source: Unsplash

Pages

This is a popular word processing software that comes as part of the iWork suite of software. It is the Mac version of Mircosoft Word, however, unlike Word, it is free and comes as part of the registered freeware, or it can be downloaded from the iStore. It has a menu for you to create and format and a blank page for you to start writing on. Let’s take a look at what Pages can do.
This powerful software is ideal for note-taking, but also sharing and collaborative work. Pages have several features, such as:

  • A text editor with automatic spell checker,
  • An infinitely changeable font (with over 300 fonts),
  • Pre-set page styles for your titles and subheading and more
  • A tool for formatting data and paragraphs.
  • Synchronise your documents with your colleagues and friends,
  • You can open and edit Microsoft word files.
  • Convert files when downloading to a PC,
  • Compress your files and send them to your Apple TV,
  • Annotate shared documents with feedback for yourself and other users.
  • Easy to save to your iCloud account and distribute

Also, it is possible to read a Pages file on all Mac devices including iPad and iPhone, and on some, you may even be able to continue editing.

Another bonus is that keyboard shortcuts work on both Pages and Word, so no need to change your habits if you are used to windows software.
Pages are suitable for everyone novice to advanced user, and you can use as few or as many of the features as you choose to. The main advantage of Pages is that it is designed to help you to increase your productivity through sharing and collaborative work. It is intuitive and packed with tons of features, the Pages software remains essential for anyone who uses a mac and needs to create high-quality documents.

Other Word Processing Software Available For Mac Computers

Like all computers, Macs have a whole suite of choices available for people who want the perfect software for their pcs. While there are some limitations when compared to the windows offering. Many companies do now offer software that works with Mac computers.
Some of the best and more popular alternative text applications for Mac are below:

  1. Microsoft office is now compatible with Mac computers, make sure that you buy the MAC version of the software. Windows is a good option for people who are used to using Microsoft products and don’t want to learn to use new software. This is not free software, but they do have several offerings which could be of interest to you.
  2. Open Office (or Apache Office Suite), provides the software called ‘writer’ for you to create your documents. This is software which runs from your PC, but as it is open source, it is 100% free and comes with all of the features of expensive software like MS word. The benefit of this software is that is will be regularly updated and have new features added as it is an open source product.

Software that works with Mac computers. Another bonus is that keyboard shortcuts work on both Mac and Microsoft. Photo Source: Unsplash

How To Get Started On Your Chosen Software?

Once you have chosen the software that you want to use with your Mac PC. You can follow these basic steps to open a new file, type something and save it.

  1. Open your software: you can do this by going to the dock and clicking the icon or using the finder to search for the software.
  2. Once open you will see a blank page click on it and start typing.
  3. When you have finished press save or Cmd+S
  4. Choose where to save your document, the desktop can be a good place until you get to grips with your PC.
  5. Close the software.

Easier than you thought right? I know computers tend to seem much more complicated than they actually are. One great thing, however, is that no matter which software you choose, they all have similar functionality. A menu and a page to write, the selections may be in a different place between one software and another. But once you have learnt to use one piece of software, you will eventually be able to use them all. What are you waiting for? Open whatever software you have on your mac right now and start practising. Happy writing!

Common Tabs In macOS And What They’re Used For

Within Word for Mac, there are various features and tabs that can help you do very useful things. Below are a few examples of some of the main tabs:

Home

The Home key is the principal, default tab and from here you can format and align text and numbers.

Insert

The Insert tab enables you to insert tables, pictures, shapes, and charts into your document.

Draw

With Draw, you can be creative and use the freehand drawing tools.

Design

Design is all about the look of your page; use this to select a theme, adjust paragraph spacing, add a watermark or pick pager borders.

Layout

This one is quite self-explanatory and allows you set margins, choose your desire orientation, and size of page.

References

By selecting this tab, you can add a table of content, insert footnotes, and put in cross-references.

Mailings

Mailings is there to help you create mailing labels or a document that you can send to people straight from the Word software.

Review

Review is useful if you want to check the spelling of your copy and use comments and notes for others to see. and review.

View

Select a view such as Print Layout, set the page zoom level, and access the Learning Tools.

How To Use Shortcuts With An Apple Device?

As we’ve mentioned at the top of this page, many users like to use an external keyboard to help them work more efficiently.

Note: When you see a +, this means that the commands need to be pressed down together, whereas commands seperated by commas mean that you have to press and release the keys in a particular order.

Below are some frequently used shortcuts in Word for Mac.

Undo the last action COMMAND + Z or Control + Z

Copy selected text or graphics to the Clipboard COMMAND + C or Control + C

Paste the Clipboard contents COMMAND + V or Control + V

Go to the next window COMMAND + Grave accent ( ` )

Go to the previous window COMMAND + Shift + `

Change letters to uppercase, lowercase, or mixed case Shift + F3

Find or Find and Replace Control+F for Find; places the focus in the Search box Control+H for Find and Replace

Print a document COMMAND + P or Control + P

Close the window COMMAND + F4

Look up selected text on the Internet COMMAND + Shift + L

You can find more shortcuts for Mac users by visiting Microsoft.com.

Microsoft 365 For Mac Vs For Windows

People often say that you are either a Mac person or a Windows person, and we’re guessing that you are a Mac user judging by your choice of reading topic. However, did you know that in some ways Mac users are missing out on some of the features that Windows users get? Although this isn’t likely to change how you feel about your chosen operating system and software, we would like to make you aware of the main differences between Microsoft Word for Windows and for Mac.

There fewer apps in Office 365 for Mac

The basic apps that feature across both of the above platforms, from Microsoft Office, are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Meanwhile, with a Office 365 Home edition subscription on a PC, you will get these apps PLUS the following:

  • Outlook
  • Publisher
  • Access – is a relational database application that works well with MS Excel
  • Visio (with Windows 10)
  • Project (with Windows 10)

However, with your Office 365 for Mac Home Edition, you get only the following five apps:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • OneNote

There is, in fact, no facility for Publisher in the Office 365 package for Mac Suite.

This just goes to show that you are not getting all that you could from Microsoft if you choose to buy a Mac subscription.

Furthermore, something that might be a turn-off for people working in the translation business, for instance, is that there is no support for languages that are written from right to left such as Arabic and Hebrew.

That said, Mac users believe that the experience is way better than that provided by a Windows machine.

The Mac User Experience

MacWorld states that “The operating system on a PC or Mac is a fundamental part of the user experience. How we interact with our computers can result in harmonious atmospheres around our households and workplaces, or the anguished cries of souls that have seen too much suffering to believe there is any good left in the world. Windows 8 was something of a car-crash in terms of design and customer satisfaction. Thankfully Windows 10 has turned out to be a good OS, but there’s still a long way to go. […]

With macOS Catalina Apple has also made significant upgrades to the media side of things, replacing the aged iTunes with new Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps.

There’s also the Mac App Store, which grants you access to a world of additional apps that you can install on your Mac. Plus, any fear that Macs aren’t compatible with your favourite Microsoft apps are unfounded; you can run mainstays like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on a Mac.”

What’s more, Macs are said to be much safer, with their systems being stronger against threats than other, vulnerable Windows devices. Plus, there are so many different Windows models to choose from – it’s a minefield! With Mac, you get a limited choice but each model comes with its reputation of excellence and makes resolving any issues much easier because there are many others out there using the same one.

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