Basic Clues for Finding Things on the Computer Screen

Have you ever wondered how people find things on their computer so quickly? Read on for basic clues for finding things on the computer screen!

This post will show you where to look on the screen to find the navigation tools you need. We will not focus on any particular application, instead showing some general rules for layout.

There are some areas that commonly hold information for initiating activities:

Edges – of the screen and of the window

Full screen – if the window is in full screen mode, some items might be hidden on the edges

Three dots or three lines – these icons generally indicate more choices

A box with an arrow pointing out the top – this is generally where you will see choices for sharing your document or page

Very top of screen may have a menu bar – this changes based on the application you are running

Top of window may have a separate menu bar – this is specific to the active window

A Website may have one or more menu bars inside the web page

Clues on Windows Desktop

1. This is the top edge of the window. In this case, a Chrome window. These items are controlled by the application.

2. This is the menu for the SDM Foundation home page. This is controlled by the web page designer.

3. The bottom edge of the computer screen, or sometimes the side edge, is the dock which contains application icons, document icons and location icons, such as downloads or the trash.

Clues on Macintosh Desktop

1. This is the menu bar at the top of the window. The Apple Menu is always visible. The first word is the name of the active program, and the rest of the words depend on that application.

2. The right side of the menu bar shows applications that will be unique to this computer. What you have listed here will depend on the programs you use and want listed here.

3. This is the top edge of the window. In this case, a Safari window. These items are controlled by the application.

4. The overlapping boxes allows you to make your window smaller so that you can see other windows below this one.

5. This is the menu for the SDM Foundation home page. This is controlled by the web page designer.

6. The bottom edge of the computer screen, or sometimes the side edge, is the dock which contains application icons, document icons and location icons, such as downloads or the trash.

These illustrations show some of the important places to look on a screen when you are trying to find where to click to initiate an action. Not everything is along these edges, but many of the things you are looking for will be located in one of these places.

If you would like some help with this process, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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