Help menus are funny things. They are frequently the most complicated menu in a program, yet they are probably the first menu that a new user is likely to need to use. Because they are complicated, most new users donít use the help menu. Either they canít figure out how to use it, or they get intimidated by it. Thatís why classes like this are necessary. But if you can learn how to use the Help Menu, you can teach yourself a lot more than what you can learn in any beginnerís class.
Fortunately, as the computer software industry has advanced and matured, theyíve gradually improved the Help menuís functionality. Today, the Help menu is usually relatively simple to use.
The Help menu only has two sections in Microsoft Paint, which helps eliminate some of the complexity. And, really, only one of these is of any real interest to us. "About Paint" just tells you about the copyright and licensing informationÖ so itís not particularly "helpful."
"Help Topics" on the other hand, is the where the real show begins. Just click on "Help Topics" to launch the Help Window for Paint.
The Help Topics Window can be displayed side by side with the regular Paint window so that you can refer to it while youíre doing your work. As you can see, the Help Window is divided into two "window panes" or "frames." The frame on the left side is your Help Topics index; the right frame is where the actual Help information is displayed when you open up one of the Topics and click the Display button. The Help Topics list can be searched in three different ways: through the Table of Contents, through the Index, or through Searching. Iíll leave it up to you to decide which method you prefer, but I think that the Index method is probably the most useful.
The Help Window works a lot like a web page. If youíre already familiar with using Netscape Navigator here at the library, you should find it easy to navigate the Help Window. Just find the topic you need information about in the Topics list, click on it, and then click the Display button. The help pages related to your topic will then be displayed in the right-side frame. Click on one to get to the information. If you click on the wrong one, or donít find the information you want, just click on the Back button (at the top of the Help Window) to go back a step and go into one of the other help pages, or do another search.
Chances are, most any question you may have about using Paint can be answered through this Help Window. You can even print out pages from the Help menu and keep them for later reference. To do this, just click on the Options button at the top of the Help window, and select the Print command.
One thing I should caution you about is the "Web Help" option. Donít bother with this one. Some Microsoft products offer additional technical support through this command, but Paint is such a simple program that this wasnít necessary. So you wonít find anything through Web Help; youíll just waste your time looking.
Even if you think you know everything, you might be surprised to learn even more on some aspect of using Paint by browsing the Help Topics. The more you do this, the more familiar youíll be, and the more self-sufficient youíll become. Before too long, you might become knowledgeable enough to teach this class yourself!
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