Writing at Work: A Guide to Better Writing in Administration, Business and Management

By Robert Barrass | Go to book overview

Appendix 3

Computer appreciation

Using your computer

People who cannot touch-type are handicapped when using a computer keyboard. Many hand-write at least the first draft of anything other than a very short composition so that they can work fast enough to allow their thoughts and their written words to flow. Then they spend more time than should be necessary word-processing later drafts.

So if you cannot touch type you are advised to learn, preferably before using a computer for word processing. You could learn from a book that includes basic instructions and graded exercises, or attend a class on keyboard skills, or buy a computer program that provides on-screen instruction. With regular and frequent practice, you should soon be typing faster than you can write.


Word processing

With a personal computer containing appropriate software you can produce pages of text, including tables and illustrations, with a print quality similar to that of a book. However, you are advised not to justify right-hand margins, and not to use bold, italics or underlining to emphasise words in the text of a document (except that italic print is used for the words either and or if it is necessary to emphasise an important distinction). Capitals, bold print and italics can be used for different grades of headings (see page 104), and most headings should be given a line to themselves - for emphasis - so there is no need to underline them. Italics, or underlining, can also be used for words that in a hand-written composition should be underlined (see page 115).

If some users think of a word processor as a tool that eliminates the need for thinking and planning before writing, and for care in writing, because it is easy to correct and revise their work later, they are wrong. A computer has a memory but no intelligence. It is a tool that can make writing easier, but the writer still has to do the thinking at each stage in composition.

-185-

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Writing at Work: A Guide to Better Writing in Administration, Business and Management
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Writing at Work 1
  • 2 - Do It This Way 8
  • 3 - Write a Better Letter 28
  • 4 - On Form 50
  • 5 - Say It with Words 57
  • 6 - Say It Without Flowers 69
  • 7 - Say It Without Words 81
  • 8 - Something to Report 99
  • 9 - Helping Your Readers 122
  • 10 - Finding and Using Information 133
  • 11 - Just a Minute 144
  • 12 - Talking at Work 151
  • Appendix 1 172
  • Appendix 2 180
  • Appendix 3 185
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 194
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