Word Processing: Definition of a Character

I teach CIT (computer information technology) to everyone grades Kindergarten to adults. One thing I can’t emphasize enough when teaching word processing is the basic principle that EVERYTHING is a character. I use Microsoft Word in the classroom, but if you don’t have access to it, you can download Open Office for FREE from OpenOffice.org. This word processing program similar features.

What is a Character

The computer sees EVERYTHING you type as a character. Not just the letters, numbers, and what YOU think of as characters. Spaces you create with the space bar, the tabs you create with the tab key, and the new line characters you create with the enter key are all characters.  People (kids and adults alike) get so frustrated over formatting issues. Ninety percent of those frustrations can be alleviated by understanding this concept.

Microsoft word and Open Office both have a feature you can toggle on and off called “Show/Hide ¶”. You can find the “Show/Hide” toggle on the home ribbon (ribbon definition post coming soon). The button has the paragraph symbol (¶) on it.

Illustration 1: Circled in red on the Microsoft Word window above is the Hide/Show toggle.
Open Source
Illustration 2: The Hide/Show toggle is circled in red on the Open Source window above.

The “Hide/Show” toggle not only shows you the paragraph symbols in your document. It also shows you a dot for each space created with the space bar, and a tab character (tab ) where every there is white space created with the tab key.

It is imperative that you only use the space bar to create a space in between words. The tab key should be used to create indents or to align columns of text, and the page break to start a new page. I will create a video tutorial to demonstrate all of this as soon as I have time and will put a link to it in this post when I do. If you have any questions on this subject, please feel free to post them below, or email me at amy@amylsutton.com.

Accountability: Finding a Coach to Help You Stay On Track

Everyone should have at least ONE accountability coach

Me and my ONE of my accountability coaches.I can tell that my oldest daughter is going to help keep me accountable through this whole blogging experience. She may not live close enough to be my official “ADHD accountability coach”, but she has already sent me a text message once saying “It’s been 5 days. Post something.”

Accountability is crucial to the successes of someone struggling with ADD/ADHD. There is nothing that can help most people more than to have an accountability “coach”. Maybe even several coaches. Unfortunately for me, not only did I not know that ADHD was my issue until I was well into my 30’s, but once I  did become aware of it, I felt like I had to figure out how to deal with it on my own.

As time goes by, I am finally getting the fact that I need couches to hold me accountable. This is not an easy task because we are all busy. But I have started asking several different people to help me in certain areas of my life.

Different coaches for different corners of your life

At work, it’s the person I report to. She is not only my “boss” but she is also a wonderful friend. I recently sat down and talked to her about my struggles and how they affect me at work. Although i do manage to fulfill my responsibilities, it is far from easy. I know she will help where she can.

As I mentioned before, my amazing daughter (pictured with me above) is helping me keep on top of my online life. She is on her social media a lot anyway, so she is the perfect coach for this area of my life.

I have recently found the courage to ask my husband to help me stay on top of the things I need to get done at home. Most of you who are married probably understand how difficult this was.

It sometimes makes me frustrated when I think about the fact that I am unable to stay focused on my own. I feel like it is a lack of self-discipline on my part. Sometimes that actually is the case. More often, however, it is a matter of not being able to focus, or becoming overwhelmed with the enormity of the tasks at hand and not knowing where to start. Praise God for these people in my life that are willing to help where they are able.


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