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For Seniors: How to Use Microsoft Windows Accessories

Windows 7 includes a few programs called accessories, such as the clock and Paint. You can start any accessory from the Start menu. If the program already appears on the Start menu (it will after you run it once), just click the program name. If the program name doesn’t appear on the Start menu, simply type enough of the program name to make it appear and then click it.

You can also find most of these programs by choosing Start→All Programs→Accessories, where you see all the accessories.

Get the time and weather with desktop gadgets

Gadgets display bits of information on the desktop. Your desktop may already show one or more gadgets from Windows 7 or from the computer manufacturer. To see all the available gadgets, right-click the desktop and click Gadgets. The Desktop Gadget Gallery appears.

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You’ll probably use the Clock and Weather gadgets the most. Hover your mouse over the clock, and you see a toolbar.

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You can change the way the clock looks and works by clicking the Options tool. The Options dialog box for the Clock gadget opens.

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You can check the weather with the Weather gadget. Double-click the Weather gadget in the Desktop Gadget Gallery to display it on the desktop. If you have an Internet connection, this gadget gets weather information through the Internet. Windows 7 guesses your location based on your Internet connection.

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Use the Windows 7 Calculator

To use the Windows 7 Calculator accessory, click the Start button, type calc, and click Calculator in the search results. The Calculator appears on your desktop.

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To perform a simple calculation, use the keyboard to type the first number or click the number buttons with the mouse; type or click the appropriate math-symbol button; enter the second number; then press the Enter key or click the equal-sign button to see the results.

Capture the computer screen with the Windows Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool captures all or part of the computer display screen as a picture. You can save the picture and attach it to an e-mail or paste the picture into a document. Click the Start button, type snip, and click the Snipping Tool from the search results. The screen fades slightly, and the Snipping Tool toolbar appears.

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Click and drag over the area of the screen you want to capture as a picture and then release the left mouse button. The result of the capture appears in the Snipping Tool editor.

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Draw with Paint in Windows 7

To use Microsoft Paint — an accessory that provides virtual pens and brushes to create art — click the Start button, type paint, and click Paint in the search results. The Paint window opens. You draw on the canvas by simply clicking and dragging your mouse or using the brushes.

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Talk to Sound Recorder in Windows 7

If your computer has a microphone, you can record audio notes or reminders to yourself with the Sound Recorder accessory,. To open this accessory, click the Start button, type sound, and click Sound Recorder in the search results. Sound Recorder opens. To start recording, click the Start Recording button, face the computer, and talk. To stop recording, click the Stop Recording button.

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Take Sticky Notes with Windows 7

To use Sticky Notes — an accessory that puts yellow notes directly on your computer’s desktop — click the Start button, type sticky, and click Sticky Notes in the search results. Sticky Notes opens. Start typing. Your text appears where the cursor is on the note. Sticky Notes doesn’t have a Save command, so your notes are saved automatically.

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The next time you start Windows 7, you may not see any of your notes. Start Sticky Notes to display your existing notes.

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