5 Basic Computer Skills For Beginners  

Computers are incredibly powerful tools. They can also be rather intimidating if you lack experience using a modern system. For decades, computers were more niche devices, used in office settings. If you grew up without a computer and had no use for such a device in your line of work, you might not have ever found the need, or want, to use a computer.

However, it is now more important than ever to understand how to use a computer. With most basic communication methods now done via a computer and Internet connection, the world is at your fingertips. That is, as long as you have a general understanding of how to use a computer.

It is the basic understanding that can prove a challenge for millions of Americans around the country. If you haven’t used a computer before (or, at the very least, a computer within the last several years), you might not know where to begin, and without some instructions, the computer can remain elusive and intimidating.

Thankfully, your local Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona provides free and easy computer classes for adults. These classes will educate you in basic computer skills, which will go a long way in not only assisting you if you need it for a resume, or if you simply want to have a computer at home to email friends, connect with relatives or video chat with the grandkids.

To get you started, here are five basic computer skills for beginners you will learn by signing up for one of the free courses provided by Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona.

Computer Basics

Laying a strong foundation will give you the knowledge to begin working inside various applications, not to mention access the Internet. If you haven’t used a computer in several years, you might feel a little out of touch with how a computer operating system works.

While these operating systems have a glossy new look, you’ll quickly discover many of the basics are all the same. With a computer basics course, you’ll learn how to use the operating system to find programs, how to open the programs, interact with the applications and close the programs out when you’re done. This includes how to access the Internet using an Internet browser as well as how to access one of the Microsoft Office programs.

Many individuals who have limited experience using a computer want to know how to access the Internet. Whether it is to create an email account or connect with friends through social media platforms, all of this knowledge is available once computer basics are understood.

Using Microsoft Office

The Microsoft Office suite of applications is used in just about every industry around the world. This is because the applications are straightforward and powerful, all at the same time. Many of these programs are easy to use and yet can perform a variety of tasks. Several of the most known Microsoft Office applications include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Word is a word processor application that allows you to type and create text documents. Whether you want to type and print the shopping list out, or you have an idea for the world’s next great novel and all you’ve been missing is computer skills, Microsoft Word is the application you will most likely want to know how to use.

Excel is a spreadsheet application. It is a powerful tool that is used by businesses and accountants spanning the globe. It can be helpful if you want to track your spending, make notes on investments, or perhaps you are a collector and you want to stay on top of what you own and what you’re missing within your collection.

PowerPoint is a slideshow presentation application. It is another powerful business tool that you might not use in your daily life, but if you’re interested in getting back into the workforce you’ll want to know how to use it.


If you don’t have an email account, you’ve likely run into several problems in recent years. Much like a telephone number, when trying to make a purchase or sign up for a subscription, you are going to be asked for an email account. Understanding how to create an email, check your email, and send out emails is a basic computer skill that will make your life much easier.

Once you know how to sign up for a free email account, you will be able to sign up for the different services you’ve been avoiding. With the basic skills taught through Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona’s Career Center courses, you’ll not only learn the basics of creating your email, logging in, reading emails, and sending the electronic mail, but you’ll also learn how to avoid spam messages and what to look out for in order to avoid some of the different scams out there.

Social Media

It isn’t always easy to visit family and friends. You never know when you might need to stay at home for an extended period of time. Thankfully, social media makes it easy to keep in touch. Facebook is a social media platform that allows you to share images, send messages, and easily communicate with your friends and family. With a little help, you’ll be able to create your own free accounts, upload images and view the posts of everyone you follow through your account.

Video Chat

These last few years have been difficult for everyone. If you were like many people, you might not have been able to leave the house and visit family during the holidays. With some basic computer skills, you’ll at least be able to connect with family through a video chat. Video chat combines making a phone call with seeing a person.

There are many ways you can video chat with your loved ones. One way is through one of the social media accounts you created! There are several ways you can go about doing such a video chat, and with some basic computer skills, you will learn about these different methods and how you can better stay connected with loved ones.

Sign Up Today!

Whether you have some general understanding of how to use a computer, or you haven’t the foggiest clue, that is alright, as your local Goodwill is here to help. From learning how to use the Internet to utilizing the power of Microsoft Office, giving you basic computer skills will allow you to better take advantage of modern technology.

With these skills, you’ll have the confidence to power on a computer, access your email, create a document, and avoid being taken advantage of online. And once you have these skills, you’ll be able to build upon what you’ve learned, if you want to. All you need to do is get the ball rolling with your computer education, and the best way to do this is to sign up for one of the free computer courses provided to you by Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona.

So whether you sign up for a class through the website, or you stop by a local store for help with the signup, a friendly Goodwill staff member is here to help! No matter what your computer skill level is, there’s always something to learn.

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.

*Daily deals are valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott, and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details. Dollar Day pricing adjustment goes into effect on Jan. 5, 2023.

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