Creating a File

What We'll Learn

  1. Work on files safely in your own "play" area
  2. How to create and delete files and folders

Keeping You Out of Trouble

There are many thousands of files on your computer that are used to run Windows.  If you were to delete or move these files, your computer may no longer function. That is why Windows sets up a special area on the Disk Drive for you to work in.  Since this area only contains your own files, you can't get into any trouble accidentally changing critical system files.
  • In Windows XP your "play" area is found under My Documents. It includes folders inside it for My Pictures, My Music, My Videos and looks similar to the picture below:
  • In Windows 7, the arrangement is a bit different.  Documents, Pictures, Videos are all folders stored at the same level in your User Area.
These areas are setup for you to create files, organize your information freely without worrying about messing up the files used to run the computer itself.

Exercise 1 - Accessing Your Document Folder

Use these steps to access your own area for saving and organizing files:
In Windows XP:
  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click My Documents 
In Windows 7:
  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click Documents

Exercise 2 - Create a Folder

Now that we know how to access our work area, we can create files or folders.  Let's start by creating two folders:
  1. <Right-Mouse-Click> on a blank area in the main File Explorer window.
  2. Choose New from the menu
  3. Choose Folder from the submenu. Notice that a New Folder icon appears.
  4. Type Folder 1 to rename the folder, since the default name is already selected and will be automatically replaced.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 to create a second folder named Folder 2
  6. Practice opening the folder and then going back up a level in File Explorer

The Importance of Names

It is important to give your files meaningful names so you can easily find and organize them later. In addition to the name you give the file, it will also be given a last name. The last name of a file (technically called a file extension) tells Windows what kind of file it is and helps Windows figure out what program to use to open the file.

Often the last name of the file will not be easily visible. This setting is used to make sure you don't accidentally change the last name of a file. When you click on a file, you can see the last name (or file extension) by checking the Details on the bottom left side of File Explorer. Here are some common file extensions or last names:
  • txt - Text file
  • avi - Movie
  • jpg - Photograph or picture
  • bmp - Picture
  • doc - Microsoft Word Document
  • xls - Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet
  • pdf - Document
  • exe - Program
  • dll - Progam

Exercise 3 - Create a File

A folder is just an empty container.  Now we want to put in a file.  Let's create a file using the following steps:
  1. Click Start
  2. Depending on your version of Windows:
    • Windows XP - Click All Programs, then Accessories, then Paint.
    • Windows 7 or Vista - start typing the word paint, click Paint as soon as it appears in the menu above.
  3. Take some time to explore the Paint program, and create a work of art.  The file you are working on is in RAM, on your workbench. If we want to keep it, we need to Save it to the Hard Disk
  4. Click File - Save (XP) or the Save Icon (W7) to start the save process.
  5. Click My Documents (XP) or Documents (W7) in the navigation window
  6. <Double-Click> Folder 1 to open the folder you created
  7. Give your file a name by typing in the File Name box
  8. Click the Save button to save your file, essentially creating a new file.
  9. Close Paint
  10. Use File Explorer to find your new file
  11. Click on the file to select it.  The details for the file will be shown at the bottom of File Explorer
    • Note the file extension, the file size
  12. <Double-Click> the file to open it and work on it further.