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The Best Book?

I am often asked to recommend books for learning how to use computers, smartphones, software programs, and for navigating social media.

I wish I had a specific recommendation. The fact is that when I want to learn a computer-related skill — from a simple question to a new operating system — I don’t look it up in a book, I look it up on the internet.

Helpful books do exist — and I encourage you to find one that works for you if that is how you best learn.

But before you invest in a book, try to find the answer(s) on the internet.

 Here are some helpful tips:

  • Start your search by typing the name of the program and, if applicable, the version of your program: type “Word 2010” and then your inquiry. Without the program and version, your search results might not apply to you.
  • Answers can come in the form of text, screen shots (pictures of screens), or even videos. Some videos can be extremely helpful, others .. not so much.
  • If you find the perfect set of instructions, print them so you can follow them on paper while you follow them on the screen.
  • Create a folder on your Bookmark (or Favorites) list to save your computer help pages for future reference.
  • If you click on a link and a “chat” screen pops into your computer asking if you want free help, move on. It might not turn out to be free after all. And never let anyone assume control of your screen, even just to demonstrate something.

In addition to free search results, professionally presented and comprehensive subscription-based video tutorial programs are available. These plans are best of you need to learn one program in depth or if you are curious about, well, everything!

Happy learning!