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7
C H A P T E R
7
313 ISTech Chapt 07.3pp
Software
Syllabus outcomes
5.1.1
5.2.2
Selects and justifies the application of appropriate software
programs to a range of tasks.
Designs, produces and evaluates appropriate solutions to a
range of challenging problems.
Overview
This chapter will develop your knowledge of software. It examines
the two main types of software: system software and application
software. You will also learn about interface design and the
graphical user interface (GUI).
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7.1 System software
User
Application
software
Operating
system
Hardware
Figure 7.1
The role of the
operating system
Operating systems
can be likened to
the conductor of
an orchestra
because they
control the entire
resources of the
computer system.
144
Software is the detailed instructions used to direct the hardware to
perform a particular task. It controls the processing and movement
of data within a computer system. A computer needs software to
tell it what to do and it needs hardware to carry out the actual
work. There are two main types of software known as system
software and application software.
System software manages all the operations needed to run the
computer. It affects the way the user interacts with a computer.
System software carries out a range of functions, such as starting up
the computer, loading the application software, storing files and
sending data to the printer. It includes the operating system and
utility software.
Operating system
The operating system (OS) is the software that supervises and
controls the hardware (see Figure 7.1). It is usually stored on a hard
disk. Most of the time the operating system is working in the
background. As you use an application it interacts with the
operating system. For example, to print a document you select the
print command of the application and a message is passed to the
operating system, which performs the task. The most common
operating systems are Windows, Linux, UNIX and the Macintosh
operating system.
The operating system starts automatically when the computer is
turned on. Starting up the computer and the operating system is
called booting the system. A ROM chip that contains the BIOS
(basic input output system) executes a power-on self test (POST) to
make sure hardware is connected and operating correctly. After the
POST is completed successfully, the BIOS loads the operating
system. The operating system runs continuously whenever the
computer is on.
The operating system performs a variety of tasks:
• Scheduling hardware operations: The CPU is required to perform
many different tasks. However, it can only work on one task at a
time. The operating system determines when the CPU will
perform each task. A common way of allocating CPU time is
called time slicing. A time slice is a fixed amount of CPU time.
With this technique, each task in turn receives a time slice. The
operating system also directs the CPU to switch between
different tasks to take advantage of idle time on one task.
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•
•
•
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Memory management: The operating system controls how the
CPU relates to memory. It must ensure data is efficiently accessed
and not overwritten. This involves dividing the available
memory between different tasks and swapping data between
memory and secondary storage. Data that has been read into
memory from an input device or is waiting to be sent to an
output device is stored in an area of memory called a buffer.
The operating system assigns the location of buffers in memory
and manages the data that is stored in them. Virtual memory
is a technique used by the operating system to increase the
amount of memory. It uses spare hard disk space to supplement
available RAM. Virtual memory is slower than RAM.
Controlling peripheral devices: The operating system provides
the communication with all input, output and storage devices.
It uses specific software for each type of peripheral device. This
specific software is referred to as a device driver or driver. For
example, a mouse driver is the software that tells the computer
how to receive data from a mouse. Printers are relatively slow
devices compared to other peripheral devices. To increase
printer efficiency the operating system uses a technique called
spooling. Spooling transfers the data to a printer buffer and
queues it until it can be printed.
File management: The
operating system organises
and keeps track of files. A file
is a collection of data that is
recognised by a file name. It
can be work you create on the
computer, a data file or an
application. File names consist
of unique names followed by a
period (.) and file name
extension. The file name
extension indicates the type of
information stored in the file.
Files are stored and organised
into folders or directories. A
folder can hold both files and
additional folders. The
contents of a folder are
displayed in a window. The
Figure 7.2 File management is part of the operating
system software
window shows the properties
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of each file, such as the file name, size, type, or date modified. It
is possible to create new files, delete files, open files, close files,
rename files and copy/move files (see Figure 7.2).
• System settings: The operating system is used to change the
computer’s settings. For example, the control panel allows you
to change a computer’s theme, desktop background, screen
saver, screen resolution, time and communication settings. For
security the operating system may provide each user with a
name and password. It is possible to change the way users log
on and off.
There are different types of operating systems. Single-tasking allows
only one task to be performed at one time. Palm OS is used on a
Palm handheld computer and it is a single-task operating system.
Multitasking allows several applications to work at the same time.
Windows and Mac OS are multitasking operating systems. In
addition to single and multitasking, operating systems are classified
as single-user and multi-user. A multi-user operating system allows
many different users to access the computer’s resources at the same
time. UNIX is an example of a multi-user operating system.
Utility software
Utility software performs routine tasks to support the operation of
the computer system. Most operating systems contain utilities to
assist in the management of the system. However, users often purchase
more powerful utility software (see Figure 7.3). Some common
examples of utility software include:
Figure 7.3 Norton SystemWorks is a specialist utility program
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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
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file compression to reduce the size of a file—it allows the user
to store more data and makes data transmission faster
diagnostic tools to compile technical information about a
computer’s hardware and software
disk scanner to detect and correct problems on a disk and
search for and remove unwanted files
disk defragmenter to reorganise files and unused space on a
computer’s hard disk—allows data and programs to be accessed
faster
un-installer to remove an application and any associated entries
in the system files
device drivers to provide communication with a peripheral
device—provided with the peripheral device or can be
downloaded from the Internet
backup utility to copy selected files or the entire hard drive onto
another disk
anti-virus program to prevent, detect and remove viruses.
Exercise 7.1
1
2
3
4
Explain the difference between:
a a file and a folder
b single-tasking and multitasking
c a disk scanner and a disk defragmenter.
Copy and complete the following sentences:
a System software manages all the _______ needed to run the
computer.
b A _______ is a fixed amount of CPU time.
c A file is a collection of data that is recognised by a _______.
d _______ performs routine tasks to support the operation of the
computer system.
True or false?
a BIOS executes a POST to make sure the hardware is connected
and operating correctly.
b Spooling is the specific software for each type of peripheral
device.
c UNIX is an example of a single-user operating system.
d Most operating systems do not contain utility software.
a What is an operating system?
b List four tasks performed by the operating system.
c How does the operating system manage memory?
d List some of the tasks that can be performed by file management.
e What utility is used to remove an application and any
associated entries in the system files?
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Development
5
6
ICT 7.1
New versions of utility software are constantly being developed.
Investigate the latest utility software. Create a presentation to
outline the features of the current utilities. Will these features be
included in the next version of the operating system? Give reasons
for your answer.
The Internet allows computers using different operating systems to
view the same document. How is this possible? Do research into
HTML. Write a report that summaries your investigation. Illustrate
your answer using examples of HTML code.
7.2 Application software
Application software is a program used for a specific task. It allows the
computer to achieve the task for which it was bought. Application
software consists of software packages and custom software.
Software packages
A software package is a complete and documented set of programs
supplied to several users. Software packages can be bought to cover
nearly all requirements. They include word processing, desktop
publishing, spreadsheets, database management systems, paint
programs, draw programs, web browsers, video editing software,
animation software, presentation software and authoring software.
A brief description of these applications was given in Chapter 1.
Software packages usually include printed documentation with
instructions for installing the software. Installing software transfers
files to the hard disk to enable the software to work. Most software
packages contain onscreen tutorials, onscreen reference material and
Figure 7.4 Tutorials are often provided in software packages
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help files (see Figure 7.4). It is also common for software companies
to supplement and update their help files with online help from
their website. This requires the user to register their software
package with the software company using the product code.
Most software packages have new versions being developed. These
versions contain new features and any errors (or bugs) in the previous
version have been repaired. The version of the software package is often
recognised by the year, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver MX2004. It
is also common for a new version to be given a new number, such as ‘6’
in Internet Explorer 6. Minor changes to the software package may be
shown using tenths, such as Lotus Approach 9.5.
When you purchase a new version you are upgrading your
application software. It is important when upgrading or
purchasing new software to check that your hardware and
operating system are compatible. The latest versions of the
software often place greater demands on the hardware and
operating system. Upgrading your software may require an
upgrade in your hardware and operating system. Compatibility
requirements are usually specified on the software package and
should be checked before the application is bought.
Office suites contain several applications. Microsoft Office comes
in different versions for different users (see Figure 7.5). It includes
the core applications of Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint
and Outlook. The cost of an office suite is less than the total price
of each application. Integrated software contains several applications
Wallyware
is application
software collected
by the user to
boast about having
it, though it may
never be used.
Figure 7.5 Microsoft Office bundles word processing, database and other
applications together
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that work together as a stand-alone product. For example,
Microsoft Works includes word processing, database, spreadsheet
and graphics. Each application is not as powerful as a separate
application. However, it is cheaper than buying an office suite and
meets the needs of many users. Both office suites and integrated
software allow data to be easily moved between applications.
Custom software
Tutorial
150
Even though software packages are very flexible they cannot be
used for some specific tasks. Custom software is written for a
customer and is not for several users. Some custom software is
developed for a single customer or client. It is written to fit the
exact requirements of the problem and is labour intensive. For
these reasons custom software is very expensive. Custom software is
written by a programmer using a programming language.
Programming languages are a set of codes and rules that enable
the computer to operate in a desired way. They are divided into two
groups: low-level languages and high-level languages.
• Low-level languages are the lowest level of computer languages
and depend on the hardware of the computer system. They
process calculations much faster than high-level languages.
Low-level languages include machine language and assembly
language.
• High-level languages use English-like codes where each
statement corresponds to several lines of machine code. It does
not depend on the hardware of the computer system, so the
programs are portable. Since high-level languages are closer to
English, programs are easier to write and often shorter in length
than programs in low-level languages.
Programmers write software using high-level languages. There are
many high-level languages available such as BASIC, Java, Pascal, C,
COBOL, FORTRAN, APL, PROLOG, Ada and Logo. Each is
designed for a particular purpose. Today most programmers use
Visual BASIC, C++ or Java.
• Visual BASIC—developed by Microsoft to allow users to create
Windows applications. It is an object-oriented language that
allows users to create the interface using objects, set the
properties for those objects and write instructions for the
interface using BASIC programming language.
• C++—based on the original C programming language for the
UNIX operating system. It is an object-oriented language.
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However, it does not contain visual objects found in Visual
BASIC. Many commercial applications are written using C++.
Java—developed by Sun Microsystems to create small
applications is an object-oriented language that excels at
producing web-based applets that work on different platforms.
Java is similar to C++.
Hardware requirements
A computer system is made up of hardware and software that work
together, processing data to achieve a purpose. The relationship
between hardware and software is important. Software depends on
a particular hardware configuration to work effectively. It is written
and tested using a certain processor, memory and peripherals. This
is often described as the system requirements for the software. All
software companies are required to clearly state the system
requirements of their products.
Application software is available to complete many different
tasks. Each task may require different data types and levels of
processing. This affects the hardware requirements of the system.
For example, authoring software that combines text, graphics,
animation, video and audio will place greater hardware demands
on the system than a word processor that only processes text. The
system requirements for application software are frequently
changing as new and more powerful versions of the software are
developed. The system requirements may also include specific
peripheral devices. For example, it is suggested for authoring
software that the system includes a DVD burner to create a DVD.
Project: Clean Up Australia
The student representative council (SRC) has decided to submit a
proposal to the school executive to encourage students and their
families to be involved in clean up Australia day. A team from Year 9
was appointed by the SRC to complete the project. The problem was
solved using the four stages in project development.
•
Define and analyse the problem: The solution required an effective
method to encourage participation in the event, proposed venues,
dates and times, and a presentation to the school executive. A
project plan was written and some initial ideas investigated.
Teachers and students were interviewed to gather their views.
•
Design possible solutions: Two possible solutions were examined in
a feasibility study. The team recommended a promotional
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campaign to start at the end of February. Prototypes for advertising
in the school newsletter and the local newspaper were developed.
A storyboard for a multimedia presentation was constructed. The
multimedia presentation will be used to motivate students to be
involved in the event. The school executive approved the solution.
•
Produce the solution: Venues, dates and times were determined.
Advertisements and a multimedia presentation were constructed.
The promotion of the event started two weeks before the event.
The multimedia presentation was presented to the school at a
formal assembly.
•
Evaluate the solution: There was a significant increase in the
number of people involved in clean up Australia day. The project
promoted the school and increased the awareness of
environmental issues. The school executive was very positive in its
evaluation of the project.
Tasks
1
Design an advertisement for clean up Australia day for your local
community.
2
Create a storyboard for a multimedia presentation for your local
community.
Exercise 7.2
1
2
3
152
True or false?
a Microsoft Works is an example of a software package.
b High-level languages process calculations faster than low-level
languages.
c A software package is usually more expensive than custom
software.
d The system requirements may include specific peripheral devices.
What am I?
a A complete and documented set of programs supplied to
several users.
b The process of transferring files to the hard disk to enable the
software to work.
c A bundle of software that contains several applications.
d Programming language that excels at producing web-based
applets that work on different platforms.
Copy and complete the following by replacing the letter in brackets
with a suitable term:
Users (a) their software when they purchase a new version.
However, it is important to check software and hardware (b) before
purchasing the software. The (c) versions of the software often
place greater demands on the (d).
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a
b
c
d
e
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List the onscreen support provided by most software packages.
Why do users upgrade their software?
What is custom software?
Explain the difference between a low-level language and
a high-level language.
What are the system requirements for the software?
Development
5
6
‘People should not have to upgrade their hardware after a few
years to use the latest software version.’ Discuss this statement.
Your answer should contain examples of application software
currently being updated.
System requirements are frequently changing as new and more
powerful versions of the software are developed. Do research into
the system requirements for the popular application software.
Construct a table to summarise your results.
ICT 7.2
7.3 Interface design
The user interface is the way the user interacts with the software.
The function of the user interface is to provide a means of
communication between the user and the computer. There are two
common types of user interfaces: the character-based (or command
line) user interface and the graphical user interface (GUI).
Character-based user interface
The character-based user interface requires the user to give
instructions using only characters. The user types the characters
using a keyboard. The first widely used operating system was the
OS/360 system and it used a character-based interface. The OS/360
system was developed in 1964 for all computers in IBM’s
System/360 family. MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system) uses
a character-based interface. It was very popular and became the
industry standard for IBM-compatible computers in the 1980s
(see Figure 7.6).
Character-based interfaces are still being used. UNIX
(pronounced ‘you-nicks’) is a multi-user operating system that was
developed by AT&T Bell Laboratories. It enables the timesharing of
a host computer (usually a mainframe) with several other
computers at the same time. The character-based UNIX interface is
similar to MS-DOS although the commands are different. It is still
widely used on Internet servers. However, there are variations of
UNIX that provide a graphical user interface. Character-based user
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Figure 7.6 MS-DOS command prompt
interfaces are also commonly used on devices with a limited
amount of memory and options for the user. For example, some
mobile phones and microwave ovens use a character-based user
interface.
Graphical user interface
The graphical user interface (GUI, pronounced ‘gooey’) allows the
user to give instructions using a mouse, and clicking on icons and
menus. A GUI provides an easy-to-use and consistent interface for
a range of applications. Microsoft Windows (or Windows) is the
most popular GUI (see Figure 7.7). Some of the main features of a
GUI are:
• Window—everything done on the computer appears within a
rectangular frame called a window. The user can open several
windows at the same time and work on different programs. Each
window can be closed, resized, moved, minimised or maximised.
Figure 7.7 The Windows desktop
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•
Icon—a small picture that represents a program, file, folder or
shortcut. Text describing the icon appears when the user points
at the icon. Double-clicking the icon will open the file.
• Menu—an onscreen list of available commands and tools. To open
a menu, click on the menu name. A pull-down menu will be
displayed. A command is then chosen by clicking on its name.
• Dialog box—a secondary window that contains buttons and
various kinds of options through which you can carry out a
particular command or task.
• Desktop—the onscreen work area on which windows, icons,
menus and dialog boxes appear. It is like the physical desktop
we use in day-to-day work.
• Recycle or trash bin—a special folder to store deleted files. To
delete a file drag the file to the recycle bin or right-click the file
and press delete.
GUI was first used by the Xerox Corporation in the 1970s.
However, it was not until the Apple Macintosh in 1984 that the
GUI became popular. Microsoft Windows introduced the GUI to
IBM compatible computers in 1985. Both Mac OS and Windows
have added new features to their GUI to make them easier to use.
Even though there are differences many users can easily switch
between operating systems.
Linux (pronounced ‘Linn-uks’) operating system is freely
distributed and supported. It was developed by Linus Torvalds
using a scaled down version of UNIX. A GUI is provided for Linux
using a shell called KDE. Linux is an example of open source
software. Programmers from around the world have worked on
Linux and improved the product. Linux is used on personal
computers, web servers, film workstations and even scientific
supercomputers.
GUIs offer several clear advantages over character-based user
interfaces. Applications developed for a GUI have the same
consistent appearance as the operating system. The features
described above make it easier for people to understand and learn
commands compared to a character-based interface. The GUIs are
also more forgiving. Most dialog boxes have a ‘Cancel’ button and
the ‘Undo’ command allows users to reverse the last action.
However, there are disadvantages with GUIs. They require faster
processors, more memory, more disk space, higher quality screens
and more complex software.
7 Software
In 1977 the Xerox
Star computer
introduced the
GUI. However, the
system was too
expensive and too
slow. Users liked
the power and the
ease of operation,
but they needed
better performance.
The machine was
not a success in
the marketplace.
A GUI is also
referred to as a
WIMP environment
—Window, Icon,
Mouse and Pulldown menu.
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Exercise 7.3
1
2
3
4
What am I?
a A small picture that represents a program, file, folder or shortcut.
b A special folder to store deleted files.
c An onscreen list of available commands and tools.
d The first widely used operating system.
Copy and complete the following by replacing the letter in brackets
with a suitable term:
The GUI gives instructions using a (a), and clicking on icons and (b).
In 1984 the Apple (c) made the GUI popular. Today a GUI provides a
consistent (d) for a range of applications.
Unjumble these words:
a srue faircntee
b nuxli
c dlogia xbo
a What is a character-based user interface?
b What is the significance of MS-DOS?
c Describe UNIX.
d List the main features of a GUI.
e What is Linux?
f Outline the advantages of a GUI over a character-based user
interface.
Development
5
6
156
The rapid growth of Linux is challenging the dominance of
Windows. Do research into Linux. Write a summary of your
investigation. What is your opinion of open source software?
Would you be willing to volunteer your time to write software for
free? Give reasons for your answer.
Operating systems in the future may be very different from those
we use today. Do research into natural language interfaces. Outline
some of the advantages and disadvantages of natural language
interfaces.
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7.4 Features of a GUI
Application software written for a GUI must follow a strict set of
guidelines that control how the application looks and how standard
operations are performed. Some of the features in these guidelines
are described below.
Functionality
A window is used to display the contents of files, folders and
programs. More than one window can be opened at the same time
(see Figure 7.8). Each window is stacked on top of each other. The
active window is the highlighted window and all commands are
performed on the active window. The title bar is the horizontal bar
at the top of the window. The left side of the title bar contains the
name of the file. Special buttons in the top-right corner of the title
bar are used to rearrange windows:
Figure 7.8 The Mac OS
•
•
•
•
minimise ()—reduces the window to a button on the taskbar;
click the button to reopen the window
maximise ()—increases the window so that it can be viewed
using the entire screen
restore ()—returns the window to its previous size after it has
been maximised
close ()—closes a window or exits a program.
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Windows that have not been maximised can be resized and moved
on the screen:
• resize—point to the border of the window until it turns into a
double-headed arrow, then drag the borders to the required size
• move—drag the title bar to its new position.
Opening (running or launching) an application starts the
application. Applications must be installed before they are opened.
Installing adds the program files to the hard disk so that the
application will work correctly. Exiting an application quits the
program. The operating system will display a dialog box for the
user to save any work that has been changed.
Navigation
Menus are an onscreen list of available commands and tools. The
menu bar is a horizontal bar located below the title bar. To open a
menu, click the menu name. A menu will either drop down or pop
up on the screen. The user then clicks the desired menu option.
Some menu options may be confusing:
• light grey options are unavailable—the user needs to perform
another task before selecting this option
• options with an arrow () open to a submenu—pointing to
the arrow opens the submenu
• options marked (or •) indicate the current active option—
clicking this option turns it off
• options followed by dots (…) open with a dialog box that
requires further information.
Scrolling is the method of moving within a window if the contents
do not fit the window. The document can be scrolled up, down or
sideways using the scroll bars. Scroll bars are located at the bottom
and side of the window. Pressing the scroll bars provides the user
with a scroll tip. It may show the current page or any information
to help the user move through the document.
Dialog boxes are message boxes requesting further information
(see Figure 7.9). Information is entered using:
• tab—appears at the top of the page when there are two or more
pages of options
• text box—type in text such as the number of pages to be printed
• option button (or radio button)—selects one option from a group
• check box—click to turn an option on or off; more than one
option can be selected from a group
• list box—presents the user with two or more options that are
viewed using a scroll bar
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•
•
•
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drop-down list—only
one item is visible and
the rest hidden; click
the arrow to the right
of the box to display
all items
spin box—text box
that has controls to
change the settings
by set amounts
slider—drag up, down
or from side to side to
increase or decrease
the setting
command buttons—
Figure 7.9
OK to confirm
selection and Cancel to quit.
A dialog box provides options for the user
Consistency of elements
The following commands are consistent in all applications
developed for a GUI:
• A new document is needed to start work in an application. It is
selected from the File menu, the New Blank button from the
standard toolbar or by pressing Ctrl+N or Command+N. A
dialog box appears displaying the templates and wizards
available for that application.
• Opening a document retrieves a previously saved document. It is
selected from the File menu, the Open button from the standard
toolbar or by pressing Ctrl+O or Command+O. A dialog box
appears allowing the user to select a file from a particular disk
and folder.
• Closing a document removes the active file but keeps the
application running. It is selected from the File menu or the
Close button at the top-right of the title bar. To close all open
documents, press ‘shift’ and click ‘Close All’ on the File menu.
• Mistakes are easily corrected using the ‘Undo’ and ‘Redo’
commands from the standard toolbar or Edit menu. The undo
or restore command reverses the last action such as changing a
font style. If you decide that you want the change after all, select
the redo or undelete command.
• Cut and paste moves a block of text or graphic to another place
in the same document or to another document. To cut a block
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•
•
•
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of text, select the Cut command from the Edit menu, the Cut
button from the standard toolbar or by pressing Ctrl+X or
Command+X. After the selected text has been cut it is necessary
to move the cursor to the new location where the text is to be
inserted or pasted. To paste a block of text, select the Paste
command from the Edit menu, the Paste button from the standard
toolbar or by pressing Ctrl+V or Command+V.
Copy and paste copies a block of text or graphic to another place
in the same document or to another document. To copy a block
of text, select the Copy command from the Edit menu, the Copy
button from the standard toolbar or by pressing Ctrl+C or
Command+C. This command copies the block of text into the
clipboard but does not remove it from the document as the Cut
command does. The text is then pasted into a new position
using the Paste command.
Drag and drop is an easy way to move or copy a block of text or
graphic a short distance using the mouse. To move a block of
text using drag and drop editing, point to the selected text and
hold down the mouse button. Drag the text to the new location
and release the mouse button.
Printing a document transfers a copy of it onto a piece of paper.
This is called a hard copy or a printout. To print a document,
select the Print command from the File menu, the Print button
from the standard toolbar or press Ctrl+P or Command+P. The
application must recognise the printer otherwise an error
message will result.
Finding text locates specified characters, words or phrases in a
document. This is a useful feature if you have a long document.
To find text, select the Find or Search command from the Edit
menu or press Ctrl+F or Command+F.
• Saving a document stores the document
permanently onto a
secondary storage
device such as a
hard disk. Saving a
document is selected
from the Save
command from
the File menu, the
Save button from
the standard toolbar
or by pressing Ctrl+S or
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Command+S. The Save command is used to update a file that
has previously been saved. It stores the active file with its
current file name, location and file format.
Exercise 7.4
1
2
3
4
Copy and complete the following sentences:
a A _______ is used to display the contents of files, folders and
programs.
b Applications must be _______ before they can be opened.
c _______ moves a block of text or graphic to another place in the
same document or to another document.
d Opening a document retrieves a previously _______ document.
True or false?
a Restore increases the window so that it can be viewed using
the entire screen.
b Options with an arrow () indicate the current active option.
c The option button selects one option from a group.
d The save command is used to update a file that has previously
been saved.
What am I?
a Text box that has controls to change the settings by
predetermined amounts.
b Appears at the top of a dialog box when there are two or more
pages of options.
c Commands used to easily correct mistakes.
d Easy way to move or copy a block of text or graphic a short
distance using the mouse.
a List four special buttons located in the top-right corner of the
title bar.
b How do you use a menu to select a command?
c What is scrolling?
d How do you close a document but keep the application
running?
e List three ways you can print a document.
Development
5
6
Examine the navigation features of a GUI in three different
applications. Demonstrate your proficiency in using menus, scrolling
and dialog boxes. Outline the similarities and differences in the
navigation features of these applications.
Investigate the consistency of elements in the applications developed
for your GUI. Construct a table that summarises the uniformity in
completing the same task in a different application. The table should
contain more than one way of completing the task.
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Part A: Multiple choice questions
Select the alternative (a), (b), (c) or (d) that best answers each question.
1 Which of the following is not
performed by the operating system?
a Loading the application software
b Sending data to a printer
c Storing files
d Entering characters and creating
documents
2 What do you call starting up the
computer and the operating system?
a Booting the system
b System start
c Spooling the system
d Power-On Self Test (POST)
3 How would you describe a driver?
a Compiles the technical
information about a computer’s
hardware and software
b Provides communication with a
peripheral device
c Accelerates the speed of the CPU
d Reorganises files and unused space
on a computer’s hard disk
4 Which of the following statements is
incorrect?
a When you purchase a new version
of software you are upgrading
your application software
b The cost of an office suite is more
than the total price of each
application
c All software companies are
required to clearly state the
system requirements of their
products
d Most software packages contain
onscreen tutorials, onscreen
reference material and help files
162
5 How would you describe custom
software?
a A complete and documented set
of programs supplied to several
users
b A set of codes and rules that
enable the computer to operate in
a desired way
c The software that supervises and
controls the hardware
d Written for one customer and not
mass-produced for several users
6 Which of the following operating
systems is a character-based user
interface?
a UNIX
b Windows
c Linux
d Mac OS
7 How would you describe an onscreen
list of available commands and tools?
a Window
b Icon
c Menu
d Dialog box
8 Which of the following is not an
advantage of a GUI over a characterbased user interface?
a GUIs require a faster processor
and more memory
b Applications developed for a GUI
have the same consistent
appearance
c GUIs make it easier to understand
and learn the commands
d GUIs are more forgiving and allow
the user to reverse their last action
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9 What is it called when information is
entered into a dialog box that
involves turning on or off an option?
a Command button
b Radio button
c Option button
d Check box
10 What are the commands used to
move or copy a block of text or
graphic a short distance using the
mouse?
a Undo and Redo
b Drag and Drop
c Cut and Paste
d Copy and Paste
Part B: Matching the term
For each of the following statements (1 to 10), select from the list of terms (a to j)
the one that most closely fits the statement.
Statements
1 Software that manages all the
operations needed to run the
computer.
6 Software written for one customer
that is not mass-produced for several
users.
2 Software that performs routine tasks
to support the operation of the
computer system.
7 It gives instructions using a mouse
and clicking on icons and menus.
3 Software that supervises and
controls the hardware.
4 A complete and documented set of
programs supplied to several users.
8 It is used to display the contents of
files, folders and programs in a GUI.
9 An onscreen list of available
commands and tools.
5 Software used for a specific task.
10 The way the user interacts with the
software.
Terms
a Application software
b Custom software
c GUI
d Menu
e Operating system
f
g
h
i
j
Software package
System software
User interface
Utility software
Window
Part C: Extended response questions
Write at least one paragraph for each of the following:
1 The operating system often works in
the background. You use the
application software and it interacts
with the operating system. Describe
some of the tasks performed by the
operating system when you are using
an application.
2 The routine tasks performed by the
utility software should be part of the
operating system. We should not
need to purchase utility software. Do
you agree with these statements?
Use examples to explain your answer.
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3 Software packages are becoming more
flexible and often contain a
programming language to meet the
exact requirements of the user. List
some software packages that contain a
programming language. Is it necessary
for users to become programmers?
Give reasons for your answer.
5 Some people prefer to use a
character-based user interface over a
GUI. Outline some of the reasons for
their choice.
6 Briefly describe some of features and
elements that are consistent in all
applications developed for a GUI.
4 Describe six features of a GUI that
you consider to be the most
important.
e Tester
Project: Application software
Investigate one piece of application software. Write a software evaluation and
demonstrate this application to the class. The software evaluation should contain:
name and version of the software, history of product, software developer, system
requirements, cost, ease of use, quality of documentation, Internet support and
major uses. Students are expected to research their application and summarise
their results. The software evaluation should contain relevant graphics and follow
good design principles.
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