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Computer Terminology


  • Programs (also known as "software") where you can create and edit files, such as documents and presentations.  They are also the programs the you surf the web through, watch movies, and listen to music.  There are many different types of applications.


  • To select an object by pressing the mouse button when the cursor is on the menu option, icon or hypertext link you want to select.


  • To make a window go away.  Closing and quitting are different.  When you close a window you do not exit out of the program you are in, the application remains running.


  • Your computer or application no longer works.  You loose all the work you've done since the last time you saved when this happens (save often!).


  • To remove an item from a file, or to remove a file from a disk.


  • Files you create and edit.


  • Where information (data) is stored.

Double Click 

  • To press the mouse button twice in rapid succession without moving the mouse between clicks in order to open a file, folder, or application.


  • To transfer data from one computer to another.


  • To move an object on the screen, such as a window or file, by holding down the mouse.


  • To make a change to existing data.


  • A small picture on screen that represents a document, program, folder or link.

Icon View 

  • Allows you to see icons of folders and files as icons (or pictures) with little information. 


  • The layout of an application window.  How you view and operate the application. 

Hard Drive 

  • A large capacity storage device made of multiple disks.

List View 

  • Shows the files in order, often by name, and information about them.

Megabytes (Mb) 

  • A measurement for the size of a file.  It is the amount of disk space it will take up.  Mega = million so Mb is 1,000,000 bytes.


  • A list of options and commands to choose from.


  • Pointing device that allows you to tell the computer what to do.

Operating System (OS) 

  • System software that allows your computer to work.

Pointer (AKA Cursor, Arrow, Mouse) 

  • The name of the arrow (or other shape) that tracks across the screen as you move the mouse (or other pointing device) around.

Right click 

  • To press the right button on the mouse. (On a Mac you hold down the Control key and then click to get the same effect.)


  • Tells the computer to create a file on disk that has the information you've put into the document (usually typing).

Save As 

  • Gives the file a name and/or store the file in a certain place.

Scroll bar 

  • Allows you to move around through a window.

Shut down 

  • To quit all applications and turn off the computer.

Software  (Same as Applications)

  • Files on disk that contain instructions for the computer.

System files 

  • A file in the computer system that allows it to start and run.


  • Place where you put files and folders that you want to delete or get rid of.


  • How the screen shows you what you are working on.  In windows we can see what is in a folder, a document you are working on, a movie you are watching, or the website you are researching.