Computer Classes

These applications have been retired or updated to new versions on HCPL computers, and classes in the old version are no longer being taught. These files are offered for self-instruction only.

Computer Basics: Working with Windows XP (version retired in March 2015, current version Windows 7)

Computer Basics: File Management XP (version retired in March 2015, current version Windows 7)

Microsoft Word 2007 (version retired in March 2015, current version Word 2013)

Microsoft Excel 2007 (version retired in March 2015, current version Word 2013)

Microsoft Publisher 2007 (version retired in March 2015, current version Publisher 2013)

Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 (version retired in March 2015, current version Publisher 2013)

Websites for Beginning Users

Are you new to using a mouse, or to using Windows? Here's a great website that can help you to develop and practice your skills.


Palm Beach County Library has an excellent tutorial on using a mouse and other basic skills. The topics covered include moving a mouse and clicking, radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down menus, scrolling, scroll-bar menus, pop-up windows, forms, copying and pasting text.

If you're at the library, you can ask a staff member to help get you started.

If you're outside the library or on your own, try this:

  • Look on the screen for the mouse pointer, a little arrow that moves when you move the mouse.
  • Move the mouse pointer over the word "Mousercise" until you see a hand.
  • Click the left mouse button one time.


You clicked a graphic link.

Now click on this butrfly to return to the previous page.



You clicked on a text link.

Now, click on this text link to return to the previous page.

Internet Basics: Getting Started on the Web

NOTE: All screenshots featured in this class are from the Google Chrome internet browser.

I. About the Internet

A. What is the Internet or Web?


  • Internet—a network made up of computers all over the world, connected electronically by telephone lines, fiber-optic cables, and other links. It is a "network of networks." Note that no single organization owns or controls the Internet.
  • Wi-Fi—allows computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area.
  • Web or World Wide Web—the part of the Internet that uses text, images, sound and video. It is huge and growing every day.

For more about the history of the web, refer to or

B. What can I do on the Internet?

  • Search for and access information.
  • Use email.
  • Participate in social networking.
  • Read/create blogs.

C. What information can I find on the web?

Countless subjects and topics can be found on the web, but not everything on the Internet is true. Always remember that anyone can publish something on the web: information may not be accurate and sites may be offensive to some. Not everything is free and always look for a “secure site” notification when your order something on the Internet.

D. Web Browsers

A web browser is a software program that allows you to see and read the information on the World Wide Web. Some popular examples of a web browser are:

    Google Chrome Google Chrome—This is the browser used most by library staff, because it is faster, more secure, and more user friendly than some other internet browsers available.

    Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox—Another internet browser that is user friendly and includes some security features; but it does require a lot of memory to operate efficiently, which may limit the computer’s ability to do multiple tasks simultaneously.

    Microsoft Internet Explorer Microsoft Internet Explorer—Before Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, there was Internet Explorer. The first of its kind, it allowed people to browse the internet, listen to music, shop online, etc., and it still does; however, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are faster, more user friendly, and more secure than Internet Explorer.

E. Internet Service Providers

An Internet Service Provider (or ISP) is the company you pay to gain access to the Internet through your computer. They will give you a browser to use. Some common ISPs are Comcast, Verizon, AOL, and NetZero.

F. Home Page

A home page can be one of two things:

  • The introductory or first page of a Web site.
  • The page set to load when opening your internet browser. You can customize this to whatever page you choose.

G. Address Bar

The address bar is a text box in a web browser displaying the address of the web page that is currently being viewed.

address bar

II. Navigation

A. Scrolling

Scrolling allows you to move up and down and side to side on a webpage. You may use the mouse or the arrow keys on the keyboard.

  • Identify your horizontal and vertical scroll bars and briefly practice scrolling.

B. Links

Links allow you a way to move from one site and/or page to another site and/or page. There are two types of links:

Text links are parts of the web page text that are generally in a different color, and often underlined. The mouse pointer will turn into a hand when it moves over a link.

  • Place your mouse pointer over this text link.
  • When you see the hand, click once.

Graphic links are graphics or pictures that will also show a hand when the mouse pointer moves over them.

  • Place your mouse pointer over this graphic link:This is a graphic link.
  • When you see the hand, click once.

C. Back/Forward buttons

back and forward buttons

The back and forward buttons allow you to move backward and forward between sites you have already visited.

  • Click on the Back button, and then the Forward button to return here.

D. Home button

home button

The home button takes you to the page that is set to load when first opening the browser. On library computers, the home button is set to the library home page.

E. Refresh button

refresh button

Pages can sometimes take too long to load or get stuck. When this happens, you can click on the stop button to end the search. This is sometimes needed during peak times of usage.

III. Web Addresses

Each web site has a unique address, just like we have a unique Social Security number. This allows us to locate a site quickly. This address is also called a URL (Universal or Uniform Resource Locator). Example:

A. Parts of a URL

1 2 3   5
https:// www. henricolibrary .org /events
  1. Protocolhttp:// stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol; https:// stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s not really important to know what those mean, but most web site addresses start with one or the other.
  2. Host namewww stands for world wide web. It is the name of the specific computer you are contacting.
  3. Domain name—The main part of the address (ex: or is the specific web site name. Often it is the name of the company or organization, or some variation of it.
  4. Top-level domain—The last part of the domain name often indicates the type of organization that runs the site. Below are some common examples of address endings that are used today:
    • .com – commercial organization
    • .gov – US government agency
    • .mil – US military
    • .edu – educational institution
    • .org – nonprofit organization
    • .net – network provider
    • .uk, .ca, .fr, etc. – sites based in other countries (United Kingdom, Canada, France, etc.)
  5. Directories—Slashes after the main address represent subsections or specific pages within the web site. Example: will take you to the Featured Events listings on the library's site.

B. How to type in a web address and connect to a site

You have to type the address exactly, paying attention to upper and lower cases, slashes and dots. Most browsers will put the http:// in for you. Some may even put in the www for you.

Let’s practice.

  • First, open a new tab. Then click in the address box and begin typing a website address from the table below.
  • Nike amazon

  • When you are finished, please return to this class web page.

IV. Bookmarks

A bookmark is a saved shortcut that directs your browser to a specific webpage. It stores the title and web address of the corresponding page. Saving bookmarks allows you to easily access your favorite locations on the Web.

To bookmark a website, do the following:

  • In Google Chrome, find the star symbol at the right end of the address bar and click on it.
  • bookmark star

  • After you’ve clicked on the star symbol, a small box will appear. Here you can edit the name of the bookmark. When you are finished, click “Done”.
  • adding a bookmark

  • The website will be added to the Bookmarks bar, which is located under the address bar in your Internet browser. You can now click on that shortcut instead of typing in the entire web address.
  • bookmarks bar

V. Search Engines

Search engines are programs that search databases of web documents matching key words supplied by the user.
Several examples of search engines include Google, Bing,, and Yahoo.

  • Click on this link:
  • In the text box, type "boxer dog" (include the quotes), then either press the Enter key or click on the Google Search button.
  • A list of sites will appear. Notice the total number of results (or hits) that were found.
  • Click on one of the listed sites.

There are numerous other search engines available. Here are links to some others:

VI. Time to Play

Pick from the following topics and search for websites related to that topic:

Recipes White Pages Travel
Sports Shopping Weather

VII. Evaluation of Web Resources

Remember, anyone can publish on the web. It is important to evaluate the information you find. What should you look for?

  • Look at the name of the organization associated with the URL. Example: a site done by the American Heart Association is probably reliable.
  • Look for a date. This lets you know when the page was last updated.
  • A tilde (~) symbol in a long address usually represents an individual's own web site.

VIII. Error/Security Messages

Here are some of the most common reasons for an error or security message. These can come from several different things, which include:

  • When typing in an address, a typo could have been made.
  • The computer you are trying to contact may be temporarily busy or down.
  • The address may be out-of-date or incorrect. Web addresses can and often do change.

Sometimes there is no way to know precisely what is causing the error message. Clicking on the back button will get you out of the error message in most cases.

For more information about error messages, refer to: -- Definitions of Error Messages

IX. Internet Safety

Stay safe…

  • Create stronger passwords. Create passwords that are unique and hard to guess, and don’t share them with others.
  • Don’t expose personal information. Be aware of how much of your personal or financial data you might be sharing with strangers on social networking sites, through e-mail, and on special-interest sites.
  • Always log out properly. When using a public computer, be sure to log out of any accounts that you may have had open (email, banking, etc.). Remember, simply closing your browser (clicking the red ‘x’) does not mean that you are logged out!
  • Don’t fall for e-mail scams. Online criminals may use e-mail to get your personal information and steal your identity. Or an e-mail might entice you to click a link that takes you to a bogus site or downloads malware (malicious software) to your computer.
  • Know who you’re doing business with. It’s quick and easy to create a Web site that looks legit, but not all Web sites are.
  • Be cautious with e-mail attachments. Attached files may contain malware, which can damage your computer — or it may install code that can track your activities
  • Install security software. Make sure the computer has security software on it and also check that the auto-update feature is enabled to ensure your computer has the latest security.
  • Look for the padlock. When shopping or banking online, always look for the padlock icon in your Internet browser as well as https:// before the rest of the web address, this lets you know that the website is secure.
  • address bar

For more internet safety tips, visit the National Crime Prevention Council website.

X. Printing Web Pages

It is always a good idea at home or in the library to use the Print Preview option before printing. Some websites have a framed format, which affects printing, not always allowing you to print what was intended.

sam Printing from a library computer in Google Chrome:

  • Click on the menu icon menu icon, then select Print from the drop down menu.
  • A Print Manager window appears, like the one at the right.
  • The window lets you know how much your printing will cost.
  • Click on the "Print Now" button.
  • Another Print Manager window appears stating your document has been printed successfully.
  • Click "OK".

Printing from a non-library computer in Google Chrome:

  • Click on the following link:
  • In order to print, click on the menu icon menu icon, then select Print from the drop down menu.
  • Notice the number of pages that would print, and also using the arrow keys look through what would print.
  • Many websites offer a "printer friendly" link to avoid printing unintended materials. To see an example, visit and choose any article. Find the "printer" link and click on it.
  • Click on the Close button to return to the Internet. 

XI. Further Questions

The best way to continue learning how to use the Web is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Some online sources for continued learning:

  • Learn the Net: An Internet Guide and Tutorial—A tutorial in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
  • Walt Howe's Internet Learning Center—An on-line training center that covers many aspects of the Internet including the history of the Internet and World Wide Web, definitions of Internet terms, resources and tools for using the Web, and links to more training sources.
  • Internet 101—An introduction to the Internet that's easy to use and very informative. It includes sections on safe surfing, email, viruses and how to search.

Revised 1/11/18

Computer Classes

We offer various hands-on computer classes for adults and teens 14 years or older.

Class schedules

Our online Events Calendar lists classes currently scheduled for all libraries. You can also download a printable schedule of Computer/Digital Media Lab classes scheduled for January – April 2018.


All classes require registration using a valid Henrico Library card. Registration begins one month before each class. To find a class and register, visit our online Events Calendar, click the class of your choice, and click VIEW MORE for registration instructions. You may also contact any library location to register for classes.

Class descriptions and files

All classes for Microsoft products use Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 7, which are available on our public computers. Class materials for previous software versions may be found in our Archive for self-instruction.

Description of classesClass Handouts (PDF)Class files
Computer Basics: Keyboard & Mouse Keyboard and Mouse handout Mouse training
Parts of a keyboard
Computer Basics: Working with Windows Working with Windows handout
Computer Basics: File Management for Windows File Management handout Spinach salad
Tomato soup
Internet: Getting Started Internet: Getting Started (web page)
MS Word 2013 Word handout Sample Resume
MS Excel 2013 Excel handout Class file
MS Publisher 2013 Publisher handout
MS PowerPoint 2013 PowerPoint handout Sample presentation
Sample video
Introduction to Facebook Facebook handout
Introduction to Twitter Twitter handout



Websites for Beginners

Keyboard & Mouse

Prerequisite: None
Objectives: If you know little or nothing about computers, this is the place to start.

Computer Basics: Working with Windows

Prerequisite: Knowledge of the keyboard and mouse.
Objectives: Learn about Microsoft Office software and its functions; become familiar with the basic commands in Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer software programs.

Computer Basics: File Management

Prerequisite: Keyboard & Mouse and Working with Windows or comparable knowledge.
Objectives: Don’t know what to do with all those computer files? We’ll help you get organized.

Internet: Getting Started

Prerequisite: Keyboard & Mouse or comparable knowledge of the keyboard and mouse.
Objectives: Learn your way around the Web with a hands-on guided tour.

MS Word 2013

Prerequisite: Keyboard & Mouse or comparable knowledge of using the keyboard and mouse.
Objectives: Learn how to use the basic features of Microsoft Word.

MS Excel 2013

Prerequisite: Word I or comparable knowledge of Word and use of the keyboard and mouse.
Objectives: Learn the basic features of Microsoft Excel.

MS Publisher 2013

Prerequisite: Word I or equivalent knowledge of basic Word and the use of the keyboard and mouse.
Objectives: See what Microsoft Publisher has to offer and learn how to create flyers and brochures with text, borders, and graphics.

MS PowerPoint 2013

Prerequisite: Word I or equivalent knowledge of basic Word and the use of the keyboard and mouse.
Objectives: See what Microsoft PowerPoint has to offer and learn how to create slideshows with text, graphics, and animation.

Introduction to Facebook

Prerequisite: A working email address that can be accessed from the library; Knowledge of the keyboard and mouse; Basic knowledge of the Internet.
Objectives: Learn Facebook basics and how to create a Facebook account.

Introduction to Twitter

Prerequisite: A working email address that can be accessed from the library; Knowledge of the keyboard and mouse; Basic knowledge of the Internet.
Objectives: Learn how to set up an account and get started using Twitter.