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Introduction to using a computer
Definition of a computer, this is an electronic device that is made up of input devices
such as the keyboard and is used to capture data and instructions, with the help of sets of
instructions it will be able to produce results or output through devices such as printers or

1. Classes of computers

Computers can be classified as follows:

• Supercomputers
• Mainframe computers
• Minicomputers
• Microcomputers, commonly called PCs

1.1 A supercomputer is used to process very large amounts of data very quickly. They
are particularly useful for occasions where high volumes of calculations need to
be performed, for example in meteorological or astronomical applications.

1.2 A mainframe computer system uses a powerful central computer, linked by cable
or telecommunications to terminals. A mainframe has many times more
processing power than a PC and offers extensive data storage facilities.

Mainframes are used by organisations such as banks that have very large volumes
of processing to perform and have special security needs. Many organizations
have now replaced their old mainframes with networked ‘client server systems of
mid-range computers and PCs because this approach is thought to be the cheaper
and offer more flexibility

1.3 A minicomputer is a computer whose size, speed and capabilities lie somewhere
between those of a mainframe and a PC. The term was originally used before PCs
were developed, to describe computers which were cheaper but less well-
equipped than mainframe computers. With the advent of PCs and of mainframes
that are much smaller than in the past, the definition of a minicomputer has
become rather vague. There is really no definition which distinguishes adequately
between a PC and a minicomputer.
1.4 PCs are now the norm for small to medium-sized business computing and for
home computing, and most larger businesses now use them for day-to-day needs
such as word processing. Often they are linked together in a network to enable
sharing of information between users.


1.5 The original portable computers were heavy, weighing around five kilograms, and
could only be run from the mains electricity supply line. Subsequent
developments allow true portability.

a) A laptop or notebook is powered either from electricity supply or using a

rechargeable battery and can include all the features and functionality of
desktop PCs.

b) The palmtop or handheld is increasingly compatible with true PCs. Devices

range from basic models which are little more than electronic organizers to
relatively powerful processors running ‘cut-down’ versions of Windows and
Microsoft Office, and including communications features.

1.6 Many computers have been designed to achieve faster computational speeds,
using different architectures.

1.7 Maths co-processor and Graphics co-processor. Most processors may include
specialized and faster processors (a maths co-processor/graphics co-processor)
can be used for applications requiring high-speed mathematical or graphics
computations. Such applications could be spreadsheet calculations or complex
computer-aided design (CAD) work. The maths co-processor supports the main
processor by performing the required calculations more rapidly than the main
processor. In the same way, the graphics co-processor is designed to perform
graphical functions, such as the construction and maintenance of images much
faster than the main processor. The co-processors are under the control of the
main processor.

1.8 Pipeline machines. In the pipeline machine architecture each stage in the fetch-
executive cycle is handled by a separate machine hardware unit. The first unit
fetches an instruction from memory. At any one time there may be four or five
instructions within the processor each at different stages of execution in different

1.9 Array processor. In the array processor there is one control unit but multiple
ALUs, which are able to work in parallel with one another. They are particularly
suited to applications in which sets of values require the same operation to be
performed on each value, e.g., converting every value in a table to a percentage of
the total.

2. Functions of the information processing cycle

2.1 Data happens to be raw facts and figures that are meaningless until when
processed, for example meter readings collected for a water company, hours
worked by employees in a factory, in a banking system, bank charges,
commission etc.

2.2 Information is data that has been processed into something meaningful or raw
data that has been transformed into processed data. Examples of information
based on the above data are; water bills, a pay slip and a bank statement.

2.3 In information processing a logical data file is a collection of records with similar
characteristics. Examples of data files include the sales ledger, purchases ledger

2.4 A record in a file consists of data relating to one logically definable unit of
business information. A collection of similar records makes up a file. For
example, the records for a sales ledger file consists of customer reference number,
balance owing and credit limit field

2.5 Records in files consist of fields of information, for example, a customers record
on the sales ledger file will include name, address, balance owing.

2.6 Records on a file should contain one key field. This is an item of data within the
record by which it can be uniquely identified, for example man number, account
number, NRC number and examination number

2.7 Files are conveniently classified into transaction files, and master files

2.8 A transaction file contains latest activities of a business, and it’s the one that is
used to update the master file. Once updating has taken place the file is discarded.
In batch systems, transactions can be bundled up manually or kept in an electronic
form but would only be used on a certain date to update the electronic master file.
Transaction files are at times called by different names such as, changes file,
movements file and amendments files

2.9 A master file is a semi permanent file that is periodically updated by a transaction
file in order for it to show its current status, for example a payroll master file and
customers master file. The updating times vary depending on the application, say
weekly, fortnightly or monthly. In the case of the cinema, this will happen
immediately a transaction occurs.

2.10 Reference file, is also known as standing data file or table file. This contains data
that is “permanent” in nature because it usually changes after along periods of
time such as a year, for example tax table, price list and tariff tables. This file is
usually referred to when a transaction file is updating a master file.

2.11 Sort file, these are temporal files that are used as an intermediary during file

2.12 Both manual and computer information processing can be divided into two broad
types; namely batch and real time processing. Batch processing are becoming less
common, periodically if the process concerned have an impact on customers.

2.13 Batch processing system, this is a system where data is collected, accumulated for
a certain interval period of time such as weekly or month, and then these
transactions are captured as a unit in order to update the master file. Examples of
systems that use batch are payroll, water billing, and final accounts preparation
and examination results production. Because data is not input as soon as it is
received the system will not always be up-to-date.

2.14 Real time processing occurs when data is collected and captured right away so
that the results of the processing are known right away. This type of processing is
commonly used in banks, cinema system and student registration.

2.15 Online processing involves transactions being input and processed immediately,
in ‘real time’. On-line refers to a machine which is under the direct control of the
main processor for that system. The term ‘on-line’ is also used to describe an
active Internet connection.

2.16 On-line, real-time processing is appropriate when immediate processing is

required and the delay implicit in batch processing would not be acceptable

2.17 On-line systems are practically the norm in modern business. Examples include
the following

a) As a sale is made in a department store or a supermarket, the barcode on the

merchandise is scanned on the Point-of-sale-systems/ terminal that is directly
connected to a central machine in the supermarket or at head office in order to
facilitate on-line real time processing.

b) In banking and credit card systems whereby customer details are often
maintained in a real-time environment. There can be immediate access to
customer balances, credit position etc and authorization for withdrawals

c) Travel agents, airlines and theatre ticket agencies all use real-time systems.
Once a hotel room, plane seat or theatre seat is booked up everybody on the

system must know about it immediately so that they do not sell the same
holiday or seat to two or more different customers.

3. Hardware components and their functions

3.1 A computer is made up of four components, namely:

a) Input devices to facilitate data capture

b) Output devices to produce the processed data
c) The central processing unit or processor
d) External storage device or backing store

The processor

3.2 The processor is the brain of the computer. The processor may be defined as
follows; it’s the nerve centre of the entire computer system as it is in charge of all
the operations of the machine. It is divided into three elements namely:

• Arithmetic and logic unit

• Control unit
• Main store or memory

3.3 The processing unit may have all its elements – arithmetic and logic unit, control
unit, and the input/ output interface on a single “chip”. A chip is a small piece of
silicon upon which is etched an integrated circuit, on an extremely small scale

3.4 The chip is mounted on a carrier unit which in turn is ‘plugged’ onto a circuit
board – called the motherboard – with other chips, each with their own functions.

3.5 The most common chips are those made by Intel Company. Each generation of
Intel CPU chip has been able to perform operations in fewer clock cycles than the
previous generation, and therefore works more quickly.

3.6 Microprocessor. A microprocessor is a component of the computer’s central

processing unit (CPU) and contains circuitry for controlling the entire computer
system, for performing arithmetic and logic operations, for controlling input and
output and also memory circuitry. Usually, the microprocessor circuitry is
contained on a single silicon chip. The microprocessor interprets and executes all
the instructions in the computer system.

3.7 All chips containing circuitry that controls the computer and also the computer
memory chips are found on the system board. The motherboard, also called the
main board, is a circuit board whose task is to link all the other chips of the

computer. Any expansion boards that should be installed in the computer are
fitted into expansion slots which hold the boards in place. The slots also give the
boards an electronic link to the motherboard

3.8 A chip is a small piece of silicon material which contains microcircuit elements.
An integrated circuit (IC) is combination of circuit elements that are
interconnected and placed on a small chip of silicon. The IC chip is then mounted
on to a carrier unit that is itself plugged on a circuit board with other chips.
Although put together on one circuit board, each IC chip performs its own

MHz and clock speed

3.9 The processor receives program instructions and sends signals to peripheral
devices. The signals are co-ordinated by a clock which sends out a “pulse’ – a sort
of tick-tock sequence called a cycle – at regular intervals

3.10 The number of cycles produced per second is usually in MegaHertz (MHz) or
GigaHertz (GHz)

• 1 MHz = one million cycles per second

• 1 GHz = one billion cycles per second

A typical modern business PC might run on 2 GHz.


3.11 The computers memory is also known as main store or internal store. The
memory will hold the following.

• Program instructions
• The input data that will be processed next
• The data that is ready for output to an output device

Memory address

3.12 Memory address. Memory address refers to storage locations that are found in
memory. Each computer memory has several memory locations which are used
to store data. Since the data needs to be retrieved at a later time so that it can be
processed, a way of finding it uniquely and quickly is needed. For this reason,
each memory location is allocated an identification number by which the memory
location is uniquely identified. This identification number is the address of the
memory location. This concept can be compared to that of our postal addresses.

Core store

3.13 Core store is the type of main memory that was used in computers in the early
days of computing. The core itself was a small ring of iron. A wire passed
through the core. Current should be passed in this wire in such a way that the
core was magnetized, either north or south. To represent data, for example, a core
magnetized to be North Pole would be holding a one (1) and the core magnetized
as South Pole would be holding a zero (0). An extra wire was made to go through
the core. This wire was meant to sense the magnetism of the core and so read the
stored values from the core

Bits and bytes

3.14 Each individual storage element in the computers memory consists of a simple
circuit which can be switched on or off. These two states can be conveniently
expressed by the numbers 1 and 0 respectively

3.15 Each 1 or 0 is a bit. Bits are grouped together in groups of eight to form bytes. A
byte may be used to represent a character, for example a letter, a number or
another symbol

3.16 Business PCs now make use of 2 bit processors. But simply, this means that data
travels around from one place to another in groups of 16 or 32 bits, and so modern
PCs operate considerably faster than the original old 8 bit models

3.17 The processing capacity of a computer is in part dictated by the capacity of its
memory. Capacity is calculated in kilobytes (1 kilobyte = 210 (1,024) bytes and
megabytes (1 megabyte = 220 bytes) and gigabytes (230). These are abbreviated to
Kb, Mb and Gb.


3.18 Random Access Memory is memory that is directly available to the processing
unit. It holds the data and programs in current use. RAM in microcomputers is
‘volatile’ which means that the contents of the memory are erased when the
computers power is switched off.

3.19 RAM on a typical business PC is likely to have a capacity of 1 Gigabyte. The size
of the RAM is extremely important. A computer with 1 GHz clock speed and 512
megabytes of RAM will not be as efficient as a 2 GHz PC with 1 Gigabyte of

3.20 Most of the computer’s immediate access storage (IAS) is RAM (Random Access
Memory). RAM holds the data, information and instructions that the computer
needs in performing particular tasks. During the execution of any program
(instructions), that particular program or part of it has to reside in the RAM
memory. The data which the program is supposed to manipulate and transform
into information is also stored in the RAM memory during processing. The
information and also the intermediate results of processing will also be kept in the
RAM before they are finally stored on disk, displayed on screen or printed. A
part of the operating system is also stored in RAM during the time the computer is
in operation. When your computer reads information from a disk, it stores that
information in RAM. In other words, RAM is that storage (memory) which holds
all data and instructions that the computer needs to carry out its current work. A
disadvantage of RAM is that it is temporary storage and when you turn the
computer off all the contents of RAM is lost (unless you have saved the contents
to an external, permanent storage medium). For this reason, RAM is referred to
as being volatile storage.


3.21 The cache is a small capacity but extremely fast part of the memory which saves a
second copy of the pieces of data most recently read from or written to main
memory. When the cache is full, older entries are flushed to make room for new

Mostly, cache memory is used to hold data such as variables of executing

programs and also the parts of a program code that may be required too often for
execution. The main purpose of the cache memory is to bridge the speed
imbalance between the processor and the main memory. The data or program
parts that will be required next in the processing cycle are fetched well in advance
from the main memory and placed in the cache for the processor to find them
quickly. In this way, data and program parts are swapped back and forth between
the main memory and cache memory. Although expensive, the use of cache
memory improves the performance of the computer tremendously because access
to cache memory is much faster than to main memory.


3.22 Read Only Memory is a memory chip into which fixed data is written
permanently at the time of its manufacture. When you turn on a PC you may see a
reference to BIOS (Basic Input/ Output System). This is part of the ROM chip

containing all the programs needed to control the keyboard, screen, disk and so

3.23 Read Only Memory (ROM) makes a smaller part of your computer’s immediate
access storage (IAS). ROM storage is permanent. As such, ROM holds that kind
of data and instructions that the computer needs regardless of the task it performs.
The computer’s basic instructions that tell a microprocessor chip how to perform
its functional operations are stored in ROM. Since ROM storage is permanent, its
contents are also not lost even when power is switched off. Consequently, you
can not alter the contents of ROM in any way other than destroying the ROM
chip. ROM is therefore non-volatile. Since ROM holds the basic instructions
that the computer needs in order for it to operate, it is important that ROM is non-
volatile and its contents are non-alterable. This is a vital safeguard to keep your
computer operating properly.

3.24 ROM has got other variations. These are the PROM, EPROM and the EEPROM.
PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory) is a type of memory which can be
programmed only once. PROMs are bought without programs (empty). They are
programmed by the user special equipment but once they are programmed, the
contents cannot be changed. PROMs can only be programmed once. Of course,
users would require chips that can be erased and reprogrammed. This demand led
to the development of erasable PROMs. The erasable programmable read-only
memory (EPROM) is usually not programmed by the manufacturer. Once they
are programmed, EPROMs require ultra-violet light and some special equipment
in order for their contents to be erased. This is a vital safeguard against accidental
erasure. An EEPROM is an electrically erasable PROM.

Vitual memory

3.25 Virtual memory is a technique employed to enable computers to run very large
programs in relatively smaller main memories. Using this technique, the large
program that is to be run is split into smaller parts called pages. In this way, only
the smaller part of the program (page) which is currently executing will be loaded
into the main memory, while the rest of the program is on some direct access
secondary storage (e.g., disk). When the next part of the program is needed for
execution, it will be loaded into memory and it will overwrite the previous part
and continue being executed. This technique gives the impression that the main
memory is very large, when in actual fact it is small. Hence he term virtual
memory. Virtual memory makes efficient use of the main memory.

3.26 The notable differences between the main memory and backing storage are shown

Topic Main memory Backing storage

1 Speed Main memory provides Data on backing storage devices are
higher access speeds than electromechanical, its access at lower
backing storage because its speeds than that of the main memory
part and parcel of the CPU
2 Volatility Main memory is volatile; it Backing storage provides permanent
can not be stored for ever. storage and data stored can stay there
It loses its contents when for many years to come even if
power is switched off power is withdrawn.
3 Capacity They have smaller Backing storage has larger storage
capacities since it’s not capacity than memory. Any extra
possible to predict in data or programs will be held in the
advance how much space backing storage, it would be costly to
will be needed to store all build very large memories.
the data that will be
processed by a particular
computer in its life time.
4 Representation In memory data is On backing storage data is
represented as 0s and 1s. 1 represented by the presence of small
represents the fact that magnets and their polarity. Backing
current is flowing in a storage are magnetic, a plastic paper
particular circuit while 0 or metal platter coated with magnetic
represents the case that no substances that can easily be
current is flowing in the magnetized


Classes of software associated with information systems

The most popular computer operating system, particularly for PCs is Microsoft Windows.

An operating system is executive software that provides the bridge between applications
software and the hardware. It facilitates communication between the user and the
computer and automatic loading of programs into RAM in order to provide a continuous
flow of operations

• Initial set-up of the computer, when it is switched on

• Communication between the user and hardware
• Calling up of files from storage into memory
• File management

The most popular computer operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Linux and UNIX.

Microsoft Windows includes the following features.

i) A desktop from which everything in the system branches out. Disk drives,
folders(directories), applications and files can all be placed on the desktop

ii) A taskbar which includes a start button and buttons representing every open

iii) Long file names are supported (up to 256 characters)

iv) There is a Recycle Bin for easy deletion and recovery of files

v) Easy integration with widely used networking software is possible

vi) Multitasking is available, allowing more than one program to be active at one

vii) The Microsoft Internet Explorer browser is included to facilitate Internet


viii) User-friendly, user interface enhancements include easier navigation, such as

single-click launching of applications, icon highlighting, forward buttons, and
an easy to customize Start Menu

ix) Web integration, there are a variety of features designed to enhance Internet
access and use of Internet facilities and technologies and integrate them with
the users system

x) Reliability

• Windows can be set up to regularly test the users hard disk, system files,
and configuration information to increase the system reliability, and in
many cases fix problems automatically
• Enhanced backup and restore functions

xi) Graphics. Windows has graphics and video capabilities and support for
games hardware such as joysticks, it supports digital video disks (DVD)

xii) More manageable for businesses, tools such as Dr. Watson and System
Information utility make it easier for IT support staff to diagnose and correct

a) Windows has graphics and video capabilities and support for games
hardware such as joysticks. It supports digital video disks (DVD)

User Interface characteristics

i) GUI, this stands for Graphical User Interface. GUIs were designed to make
computers more user-friendly. A GUI involves the use of two design ideas and
two operating methods which can be remembered by the abbreviations WIMP
(Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pull-down menu. Most dialogue between the user
and software that uses WIMP features is conducted through the mouse and on-
screen images rather than typed text.

ii) The desktop, in Microsoft Windows, the initial screen is called the desktop. The
desktop screen typically contains icons that provide easy access to a range of
software programs. Programs may be started from the desktop using either an
icon or shortcut or by navigating through the menus that branch out from the
START button. Each active program or activity is launched in a separate window

iii) Task bar, as with many Microsoft Windows operations, there is more than one
way to switch between open applications. The popular method of switching
between applications is to simply click on the icon of the relevant open
application displayed on the Windows Taskbar. The Taskbar usually shows at the
bottom of the screen, although some systems are set-up to ‘hide’ the Taskbar

iv) Title bar, it’s shown in a strip at the top of the window. It comprises the default
menu items which when selected pulls down another menu that pertains to that

particular choice. The main menu items are File, Edit, View, Insert etc. This is
sometimes called a title.

v) Recycle bin, this is a folder or directory that keeps all files that are deleted from
the hard disk or fixed disk. Logically the files are deemed to have been deleted
but physically they are usually still on the disk. When the user selects an option
called empty the recycle bin that’s when the bin is emptied and the files are no
longer accessible

Directory or folder

This is a sub division of a disk. Users can create a folder or a directory so that files that
pertain to a common subject are stored in there for easy reference or location. Folders
such as My Pictures, My Documents etc are typical examples.


Future of Information Technology

In this unit we shall discuss some of the most significant developments in

communications, and the impact these developments have had on the way organisations

Technological advances in society has had the following effects on society and

a) The type of products or services that are made and sold. For example,
consumer markets have seen the emergence of home computers, compact discs
and satellite dishes for receiving satellite TV; industrial markets have seen the
emergence of custom-built microchips, robots and local area networks for office
information systems.

b) The way in which products are made. There is continuing trend towards the use
of modern labour-saving production equipment, such as robots. The
manufacturing environment is undergoing rapid changes with the growth of
advanced manufacturing technology. These are changes in both apparatus and

c) The way in which services are provided. High-street banks encourage

customers to use ’hole-in-the-wall’ cash dispensers, or telephone or PC banking.
Most large shops now use computerised Point of Sale terminals as cash desks.
Many organisations are starting to use e-commerce: selling products and services
over the Internet.

d) The way in which employees are identified. Database systems make it much
easier to analyse the market place.

e) The way in which employees are mobilized. Computerisation encourages

delayering of organisational hierarchies, and greater workforce empowerment and
skills. Using technology frequently requires changes in working methods. This is
a change in organisation.

f) Homeworking. Advances in communications technology have, for some tasks

reduced the need for the actual presence of an individual in the office. This leads
to cost savings on office space, if homeworkers are freelance, then the
organisation avoids the need to pay them when there is insufficient work, when
they are sick, or on holiday etc

g) The paperless office. There might be less paper in the office (but not necessarily
so) with more data-processing done by keyboard. Data handling is likely to shift
from the traditional movement of paper to the storing of data electronically.

h) Routine processing, the processing of routine data can be done in bigger

volumes, at greater speed and with greater accuracy than with non-automated,
manual systems.

i) Customer service, office automation, in some organisations results in better

customer service. When an organisation receives large numbers of telephone
enquiries from customers, the staffs who take the calls should be able to provide a
prompt and helpful service if they have on-line access to the organisation’s data

j) Organisation structure, the structure might change. PC networks give local

office managers a means of setting up a good local management information
system and localized data processing while retaining access to centrally held
databases and programs. Office automation can therefore encourage a tendency
towards decentralization of authority within an organisation

On the other hand, such systems help head office to keep in touch with what is
going on in local offices.

k) Management information, the nature and quality of management information

will change.
• Managers are likely to have access to more information. The range of reports
are likely to be wider and their content more comprehensive
• Planning activities should be more thorough, with the use of models such as
spreadsheets for budgeting and sensitivity analysis
• Information for control should be more readily available
• Decision making by managers can be helped by decision support systems

l) EDI, is a form of computer-to-computer data interchange. Instead of sending each

other reams of paper in the form of invoices, statements and so on, details of
inter-company transactions are sent via telecommunication links, avoiding the
need for output and paper at the sending end, and for re-keying of data at the
receiving end.

The way accounts personnel deal with invoices would affect the way they work in
an organisation. Instead of sending each other transactions in the form of invoices
and statements, details of inter-company transactions are sent via telecoms links
avoiding the need for output and paper at the sending end.

m) Video conferencing, this is the use of computer and communications technology

to conduct meetings. Video conferencing has become increasingly common as the
Internet and webcams have brought the service to desktop PCs at reasonable cost.

n) The Internet, the introduction of the Internet has allowed workers to search for
information as well as use email facilities in communicating with customers at a
faster and efficient rate. Attachments can be emailed.

o) Voice messaging systems, these systems answer and route telephone calls.
Typically, when a call is answered a recorded message tells the caller to dial the
extension required, or to hold if they want to speak to the operator. Sometimes
other options are offered, such as press 2 if you want to know about X service and
3 if you want to know about Y.

p) Computer bulletin boards, this consists of a central mailbox or area on a

computer server where people can deposit messages for everyone to see and in
turn read what other people have left in the system. They are appropriate for a
team of individuals at different locations to compare notes and keep track of
progress on a project.

Types of storage devices
Hard disk

Disks offer direct access to data. A modern business PC invariably has an internal hard
disk. At the time of writing the average new PC has a hard disk size of around 40

Features of hard disk/ fixed disk

• Recording surfaces are made of metal platters and coated with magnetisable
• The metal platters are piled together on a spindle and so forming a disk pack.
The pack can be sealed in a case to protect recording surfaces against dust and
other damage
• The metal platters are not flexible since they are made of metal
• Tracks can be placed closer together leading to higher storage capacities
• Each track on each disk surface has its own read/ write head. Read/write/
heads are fixed
• The outer-most surfaces of the disk pack are usually meant for protecting the
disk and are not used for recording.

Floppy disks

The floppy disk provides a cost-effective means of on-line storage for small amounts of
information. A 3½ disk can hold up to 1.44 Mb of data.

Features of Floppy disks

• Usually the disk surfaces are made of plastic material that is coated with
magetisable material
• The recording surfaces are divided into concentric circles which are further sub-
divided into sectors
• The disks are covered in a jacket for protection. A small opening is left to alow
the read/write heads access to the data on disk
• There is one read/write head for each disk surface
• Read/ write heads are movable
• Data is read or written by rotating the disk past read/write heads, which can write
data from the CPU onto disk, or can read data the disk for input to the CPU
• Floppy disks exist mainly as 3.5”.

ZIP disk

A Zip disk is a different type of removable disk, with much larger capacity (100 Mb) that
requires a special ZIP drive. A Zip disk is suitable for back-ups or for moving files
between computers. Files are zipped so that they are compressed into a logically smaller
file. Some users ‘Zip’ the contents of multiple file attachments into one Zip file to send
via e-mail (some e-mail programmes do this automatically). To open the Zipped files,
you must first unzip (extract) the zip file using software such as WinZip or PKZip. The
extracted files will then show their file extensions, and may be opened using the
appropriate software.

Features of Zip disk

• It’s a different type of a removable disk

• Has much lager storage capacity than floppy’s, about 100Mb
• It requires a special zip drive when used
• It is suitable for back-up storage or for moving files between computers

Flash disks

This has been a recent breakthrough in ICT regarding the storage of large volume data
onto a stick that can be slotted into a USB port

Features of Flash sticks/ disks

• They are portable

• They are enclosed in protective casings
• Contain high storage capacity, for example 256Mb, 512Mb, 1GB, 2GB etc
• It is suitable for back-up storage or for moving files between computers
• Are slotted into a USB port when used

CD-ROM (Compact Disc – Read Only Memory)

• A CD-ROM can store 650 megabytes of data

• The speed of a CD-ROM drive is relevant to how fast data can be retrieved: an
eight speed drive is quicker than a four speed drive
• CD recorders are now available for general business use with blank CDs (CD-R)
and rewritable disks (CD-RW) are now available

DVD (Digital Versatile Disc)

• The CD format has started to be superseded by DVD. DVD development was

encouraged by the advent of multimedia files with video graphics and sound –
requiring greater disk capacity

• DVD technology can store almost 5 gigabytes of data on one disk. Access speeds
are improved as is sound and video quality. Many commentators believe DVD
will not only replace CD ROMs, but also VHS cassettes, audio CDs and laser
discs and sound – requiring greater disk capacity.

Input devices

Input devices are hardware components that facilitate the capture of data into the
computer systems through standard input ports. These ports can either be serial or USB.

A keyboard is derived from a standard keyboard; it’s used for the manual capture of data
into the computer system

i) The advantages of using a keyboard for the input of data.

• The person keying in the data can be in a remote location, away from
the computer itself. Data can be transmitted via a communications link
• The person keying in the data can check for keying errors on-screen.
• Keyboard input is convenient for small volumes of data when the time
taken up by data input is relatively short.

ii) The disadvantages of a keyboard for data capture

• It is unsuitable for large volumes of transaction data. Keying data

manually takes time, so is not appropriate in some situations.
• Keyboard input is likely to be error-prone
• There might be security problems. Keyboard input may be overlooked,
and there is the risk that unauthorised people could access a terminal or PC

Originally a workstation was a computer used by one person, particularly for graphics
and design applications, and was used primarily in engineering. It had a fast and powerful
central processor, a high resolution monitor, and a large memory. This enabled complex
designs to be easily manipulated. Similarly it meant a terminal with limited processing
power that was connected to a mainframe computer and used by a user in a remote place
for purposes of keyboard-console data capture.

These characteristics, however, are no longer unique to workstations. High performance

personal computers can offer very similar services; so the distribution is a historical one.

The term ‘workstation’ is often used to describe a person’s desk, chair and computer-
their immediate working environment.

In most cases Electronic Point of Sale systems (EPOS) take advantage of bar codes.

Data can be recorded in binary on documents, paper or plastic, using a code of alternating
lines and spaces. A special reading device might have a wand and by passing the wand
over the lines, the data stored in the bar codes can be extracted and used for input to a
computer. These bar codes which are normally contained on the packets or wrappers of
goods are commonly used in supermarkets and other shops,

When a customer buys some bar coded items and takes them to the checkout to pay, the
shop assistant will use a bar code reader (such as a wand or laser scanner), which is
capable of sensing the bar coded data and transmitting it to the central computer in the
shop. The computer then provides the price of the item being purchased (from the price
on the price file) and this is then output to the cashier’s check-out point. The total cost of
all the purchases is similarly calculated, and the customer sees what he or she must pay
on a small display screen, and receives a printed receipt for the goods purchased. Bar
codes are often used in electronic point of sale devices. In this case the data relating to
the transaction would be captured by the device and recorded on sales file or stock file as
it occurred. Hence data is captured at the source, that is, where the data is generated (the
point of sale).

Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) means that at the point of sale,
when the customer has brought up his goods to the checkout and the electronic point of
sale has calculated how much the customer has to pay for the transaction, no cash will be
handled physically. Instead, all the cash involved will be handled electronically. This
may require the shop or store to have a computer system that is linked to the customer’s

When the amount to be paid by the customer is shown on the screen, the customer inserts
his bank card into a machine that will identify his account number and other details. The
computer at the shop will then inquire (electronically) from the bank’s account of the
customer as to whether the customer has enough money in his bank account to be able to
pay for the goods. If the money in the account is enough then the customer’s account
will be debited by the amount required to purchase the goods. The shop’s account will be
credited by the same amount that the goods bought by the customer cost.

In this way the goods will be bought without any hard cash being handled. All the cash
that is required has been transferred to the right accounts electronically. All this occurred
at the point where the goods were being sold (point of sale) as such this is called
Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS).

At the time the shop’s computer inquired about the availability of funds in the customer’s
account from the bank’s computer, the transaction would have been stopped if the
customer did not have enough money in his account to pay for the goods. No transfer of
funds would have taken place and the customer would not have been allowed to carry the
goods. Instead the goods would have been returned to the shelves of the shop.

To avoid such inconveniences, banks do issue credit cards to their trusted customers. The
credit card contains identification details and necessary bank details of the holder. With
this card, the customer can pay for goods and services on credit. When making payment
the credit card will be passed in a card reader that will extract the identification
information from it and record it on computer storage. The amount to be paid will be
extracted from the card in the same way. The store or shop can then send such data to the
bank, where the funds will be transferred from the customer’s account to the shop
account. Some credit cards are so smart that they can be used like electronic wallets.
These are called smart cards.

The following are the advantages

(i) Stationery is saved. The paper and ink that was to be used for printing the price
tags would be saved. The money that was to be used for such stationery can then
be used for other ventures that will help to boost business.

(ii) Reduction on labour force with a consequent saving of money. The pricing of
items individually would attract a large manual labour force. This labour force
would need to be paid money. With the use of bar codes such a large labour force
wouldn’t be needed. This would be a saving for the store on funds that could then
be channeled back into business.

(iii) Quick service to customers. When a new consignment of goods comes to the
store then the consignment would wait until the individual items have been stuck
with price tags before customers could buy these items. This might lead to
dissatisfaction of customers who in turn might decide to go to another store where
services are offered quickly. With the use of bar codes, as long as the total
number of items is known, the items can straight away go to the shelves and
customers can buy as soon as the items come.

(iv) Price changes are catered for. In countries where prices are continually
adjusted due to inflation, this could lead to enormous loss of stationery needed to
print new price tags. This would also mean employing extra casual labour to cope
up with the job of re-pricing the individual commodities. The end result is that
the store will spend a lot of money on stationery and on this extra labour force.

Mark sensing. Mark sensing is a method used for data input into computer systems.
This method utilizes pre-printed forms or cards normally for selecting choices in
appropriate boxes on the forms. The selection is made by marking the choice with a line
or a cross using a pencil or pen. When the choices have been marked, the form is then
fed into a reading device. The reading device will then sense the boxes which have a

mark on them and then translate these into machine codes. These codes, in form of
electrical signals, are then sent to the computer for evaluation.

This method of input is called mark sensing because only the marks in the boxes are
sensed. It does not matter what character is in the box, but only the mark matters. This is
the type of system currently used for marking the Grade VII (Seven) examinations.
Candidates mark their answers with a pencil on the answer sheets. The answer sheets are
then fed into a scanner that senses the marks in the appropriate boxes and sends the
appropriate signals to the computer which then evaluates the answer. Mark sensing
documents are an example of turn-around documents.

It is clear that at Grade VII level, children are still at such an academic level that they
cannot write essays in good and readable handwriting. Therefore, the answer sheets of
the Grade VIIs are really appropriate for their level. Reading an essay written by a Grade
VII candidate under examination conditions might be quite difficult. Besides the largest
number of candidates at any examination level is at Grade VII. So it would be very taxing
to have human beings mark their examinations. As far as the current technology stands,
mark sensing is the most appropriate method for marking these exams.

Optical Character Recognition. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a method

used for data input into computer systems. This method utilizes pre-printed forms or
cards. The user types in the characters in particular positions on the form. The characters
need to be in a particular format or style. Such formats are normally used, for example,
in big universities where new students are required to fill in their details on pre-printed
forms. These forms are then fed directly into a computer peripheral (e.g. OCR reader)
which then extracts the details of the students and sends them to the computer for
processing or for storage into a database. As can be seen from this example, these
methods of input reduce the involvement of the human being in the process of data
preparation and input. By so doing, errors are greatly reduced. OCR documents are an
example of turn-around documents.

If such computer readable forms like the OCR forms given to university students at
registration were not used, it would mean that the student would type his details on to a
form (not computer readable), and then a data preparation operator would extract the
details from the form into the computer. In this way, there are too many people involved
in the data preparation process. Clearly, there will be multiple errors. So the OCR forms
help in reducing errors in the data capture process.

The function of an optical character reader is to recognize characters encoded on OCR

forms. Optical Character Readers (OCR) use optical sensing methods to recognize
characters, which are normally written in stylized form. OCR can recognize characters
that are printed by a computer’s printer. They can also recognize characters that are
block hand written. Optical Character Readers are therefore used for the preparation of

data for input to the computer. Data prepared by Optical Character Readers can be
entered on-line to the computer or saved on storage media for off-line data entry later.

Advantages of OCR

(a) Computers can produce pre-printed OCR documents which can later be read by
computers (turn-around documents). This is cheaper since no special equipment
is involved.
(b) Data preparation errors are eliminated.
(c) OCR documents are visible records.
(d) A considerable range of OCR document size is catered for.
(e) OCR equipment can be on-line to the computer (but often data is written to
magnetic tape off-line for faster computer input, especially to mainframe).
(f) Source data entry can be automated.
(g) OCR contains data that can be read by human beings and so enabling visual
inspection of data.
(h) OCR has wide applicability

Disadvantages of OCR

a) OCR document must be treated with care so that characters still remain readable.
b) Special measures are required to replace spoilt or lost OCR documents.
c) OCR equipment can be expensive
d) Print quality may be crucial since unclear documents may distort the data

Advantages of MICR

a) The data can be read by human beings and so enabling visual inspection of
b) MICR documents are relatively easy to sort.
c) MICR documents make forgery difficult

Disadvantages of MICR

a) Printing MICR documents requires special equipment

b) The quality of print is important and the amount of ink in a character is critical.
c) MICR has a limited character set in E13B

d) MICR is not fully automatic as the amount of the cheque (in the case of banking) or
other data, must be added manually.

Turn-around document. A turn around document is a document that is initially

produced by a computer (printed by a computer’s printer). The document is then sent out
to customers to record data on it through the inclusion of marks or characters on special
places of the document. Such a document is then returned to the computer and is then
input to the computer using an Optical Character Reader (OCR) or an Optical Mark
Reader (OMR). The Grade VII examination answer sheets used in Zambia currently
provide a good example of turn-around documents using OMR.

Computer terminal
For each branch, each employee signs on (logs on) to the computer every morning when
reporting for work. The computer takes note of the time that the employee logs on.
When he/she knocks off, he/she logs off. Once again the computer takes note of the log-
off time and calculates the total number of hours each particular employee worked for the
day. This process is done locally and every day at each branch for the whole week. The
details are kept on file by the local computer in every branch. At the end of each week,
the hours each employee worked for each day in the week are added up together by the
local computer and sent to the central computer at headquarters. At the central computer,
all employee details from all the branches are consolidated into one file which then used
as the input file for the payroll system.

This means that each branch should have a log on computer (terminal) and that the date
and time on this computer can only be changed by the system administrator who has a
super password. This will ensure that employees do not manipulate the time and date any
how. Further, this solution requires that the main office headquarters be networked with
each of the branches.

Since human beings easily make errors, this system should be set up in such a way that
the employee does not actually type in the time of logging in or logging off. Instead, the
employee just types, for example the user name and the words log on when signing on
and again user name and the words log off when signing off. The computer will
automatically record the times when the employee logs on and off.

Output devices

These hardware devices produce processed data or information in printed form or in


Printers are devices that produce printed images on paper. The image to be produced by
the printer is received in form of signals from the controlling device, usually, the central
processing unit. In the case of impact printers these signals activate print elements which
are pressed against the paper through the printer ribbon, to produce the required image.
Non-impact printers, on the other hand, do not require any impact on paper. The ink-jet
printer for instance, simply injects some ink onto the paper to produce the required

Using the bus system, the electronic components of the CPU exchange all their signals in
parallel. Peripheral devices like the printer are connected to the computer through ports.
Some ports are parallel, that means, all the 8 bits that make up a character, for example,
are sent at once from the CPU to the parallel port. On the other hand, other ports are
serial, that means, the 8 bits that make up a character, for example, are sent one after the
other from the CPU to the serial port. A printer that is connected to a parallel port and
hence receives its data from the CPU in parallel is a parallel printer. A printer that is
connected to a serial port and hence receives its data from the CPU in a serial manner, is
a serial printer. Parallel printers are faster than serial printers.

Advantages of non-impact printers

(a) Since they are not electromechanical, non-impact printers are generally much
faster than impact printers and they also print quietly.
(b) Non-impact printers offer a wide variety of type faces.
(c) Non-impact printers offer high and good quality resolutions (print images).
(d) Since they have fewer moving parts, non-impact printers are more reliable.

Disadvantages of non-impact printers

a) Non-impact printers may be expensive (although prices are slowly coming down due
to technological advancements).
b) Due to lack of impact on paper, non-impact printers can not produce carbon copies
(multi-part output).
c) Some non-impact printers may require special printing paper which might be
expensive to acquire.

Advantages of impact printers
a) Impact printers offer the advantage of producing carbon copies (multi-part output).
b) Impact printers are cheaper.
c) Impact printers may not require special printing paper but just ordinary paper.

Disadvantages of impact printers

a) Due to the fact that they are electromechanical, impact printers may be slow in
b) Impact printers may not offer the high resolution (good quality print) offered by non-
impact printers.
c) Owing to the many moving parts (electromechanical), impact printers may not be as
reliable as non-impact printers.

Visual display terminals are well suited for applications that involve inquiry and response
without the need for permanent hard-copy records being stored. The terminals are also
well suited for use as graphic display devices in applications that use graphics, e.g.,
computer aided design (CAD).

Types of Printers

Dot matrix printer. A dot matrix printer has a head containing a series of pins or
needles held up in form of a matrix. Some dot matrix printers have print heads with a
matrix of 9x9, 9x7 or 7x5 pins. To have a character printed, the pins that are required to
form the character are pushed forward out of the matrix slightly and then pressed against
the print ribbon, which also presses against the paper. Thus an impact has to be made on
the paper making this printer an impact printer. The characters appear as consisting of
small dots. Each character will depend on a particular combination of pins. Some dot
matrix printers are line printers while others are character printers. Matrix printers are
relatively cheap although they are slowly becoming outdated. Figure 6 shows a 7x5
matrix print-head whose pins are ready to print the capital letter A.



Dot matrix print head to print the letter A

An ancillary machine is a machine that is off-line and is not in any way controlled by the
computer, yet it plays quite a role in the overall work done by the data processing
department. Such machines include the guillotine and the shredder, among others.

Plotter. Although certain printers are now available that can produce good quality
drawings, plotters are still very suitable for computer aided design (CAD) jobs since they
are designed specifically to handle sophisticated graphical output. A plotter produces
high quality drawn, rather than printed output. Plotters work on a co-ordinate principle,
whereby drawing movements are executed by pen. All movements are under software
control. There are two types of plotters, the drum plotter and the flatbed plotter. A drum
plotter plots on paper that is fixed to a drum. While the drum revolves back and forth, a
bar suspended above the drum and containing a drawing pen moves from side to side and
so plotting the drawing. On the other hand, the paper on a flatbed plotter is stationary so
that only the pen moves up and down the paper, thus plotting the drawing. While the
flatbed plotter can plot larger drawings, the drum plotter can plot longer drawings
because it uses continuous paper.

The flatbed plotter, due to the wider sizes of paper it is capable of taking, would be more
suitable for producing the computer aided design (CAD) drawing on an A3 paper in our

Plotters may be operated on-line. If operated off-line, the drawings may be saved on to a
tape. The tape will then be mounted on an off-line drive that will read instructions from
the tape and then drive the plotter to draw the required work. Specialized devices can
also be used that enable designs to be etched and so form master plates for creating
manufactured goods.

Due to the ever advancing technology, the distinction between plotters and printers is
becoming more and more blurred. There now exists low cost, high resolution laser

printers which are capable of processing the quality output needed for computer aided
design (CAD) applications.

A laser printer does not make an impact on the print paper, hence it is a single-part output
device. Therefore, a laser printer would be unsuitable for this sort of job. Also computer
output on microform (COM) could be used for the archive of pay slips details to enhance
transparency and save storage space.


Using the Internet & E-mail facilities

The Internet is the name given to the technology that allows any autonomous computers
within a building or outside the country with a telecommunications link to send, receive
and access information from any other suitably equipped computer via Internet Service

Internet Service Providers, these are organizations that allow several autonomous
computers to be connected to them as part of the Internet, for example in Zambia there is
Zamtel, Zamnet, Coppernet and Microlink. Clients have to initially pay for the
connection fees and then monthly charges based on 40 hours per week access and an
extra charge for hours above 40 hours.

ISPs provide the following services:

• Connecting users to the International network

• Developing websites on behalf of clients
• Web hosting, that is storing information on behalf of clients for other Internet users to
• Allows clients to have e-mail addresses on the ISPs machine

An extranet is an intranet that is accessible to authorized outsiders, using a valid

username and password. Private intranets that are extended to users outside the company
are called extranets. For example, authorized buyers could link to a portion of a
company’s intranet from the public Internet to obtain information about the cost and
features of its products. The company can use firewalls to ensure that access to its
internal data is limited, and remains secure; and to authenticate users, making sure that
only those who are authorised to access the site can be identified.

Extranets are especially useful for linking organizations with customers or business
partners. They are often used for providing product-availability, pricing and shipment
data and electronic data interchange (EDI), or for collaborating with other companies on
joint development or training efforts.

An Intranet is like a mini version of the Internet. Organisation members use networked
computers to access information held on a server. The user interface is a browser that is
similar to those used on the Internet. The intranet offers access to information on a wide
variety of topics, and often includes access to the Internet

i) Users access the Internet through interface programs called browsers. The
most popular and best known is Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and

Netscape Navigator. Browser software packages provide facility to store
Internet addresses so that users can access frequently-visited sites without
having to go through long search process. Thus in business use, workers who
regularly need up-to-date information, say, on stock market movements, or
new government legislation, or the activities of a competitor, can simply click
on the appropriate entry in a personal ‘favorites directory and be taken straight
to the relevant site.

Searching the net is done using a search engine. Popular search engines
include Google, Lycos, AskJeeves, WebCrawler, Yahoo! and AllTheWeb.
These guide users to destinations throughout the web: the user simply types in
a word or phrase.

ii) The problems that are brought about by the introduction of the Internet in an
accounting department are:

• Since the Internet has too much information it leaves much to be desired
because the quality of the information the accounts people will be
producing will be compromised
• Speed is a major issue. Data only downloads onto the user’s PC at the
speed of the slowest telecommunications link – downloading data can be a
painful slow procedure especially if there are deadlines to be met
• The Internet has so much information and entertainment available such
that employers worry that their staff will spend too much time browsing
through non-work related sites, this does happen and it affects the
company’s productivity
• Connecting an information system to the Internet exposes the system to
numerous security issues such as hackers, eaves droppers and spam mail.
• Pornographic materials can be accessed by accounting staff, by so doing
cases of sexual harassments at work places may increase
• Job searches, since some organizations advertise on the Internet,
employees will spend and waste a lot of valuable company time searching
for better jobs on the net
• The organization accounting information is venerable to Internet viruses
during downloads of attachments from emails.
• Spy ware, when accounting staff visit unauthorized sites, the site visited
will store the computers address, and then send a program to the server so
that it can copy important information which will be sent back to that site
that was earlier visited. This program is called spy ware.

iii) Computer users may know the precise address of an Internet site that is to be
visited, perhaps because you have seen or heard it on TV or radio or read it in a
newspaper or magazine. Typically the format is something like

The address is called a URL or Uniform Resource Locator as Uniform

Resource Location

8 Application packages
Microsoft Word

ord is currently the world’s leading word processing application. According to

the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, word processing is “the
creation, input, editing, and production of documents and texts by means of computer
systems.” In other words, if you have used a computer to write essays, research papers,
lab reports, letters, or even your résumé, you have used word processing.

Many people have learned the bare necessities for using Word without any outside
training. However, there are many benefits to becoming more familiar with Word,
whether for school, for business, or for fun. Word’s features make it easy to organize
complex documents containing vast amounts of textual and visual information into
an application type material. PowerPoint and Access, is easier to learn once one
knows Word because their interfaces are highly similar to the Word interface. This
manual aims to provide people of any experience level with clear, detailed
instruction in the fundamental aspects of Word, as well as in many of its lesser-
known but highly useful capabilities.

It is by far the most widely used computer application. It allows the user to key in text
and to manipulate the text until it is exactly as required before printing. The text can be
stored for later re-use. Word Processing is of significant value to an organisation where
the typing requirement consists of a high volume of work such as quotations, estimates,
minutes or standard letters where much of the document remains unchanged or can be
constructed from standard paragraphs.

Some advantages of Word processing include:

1. The ability to make corrections to a document without the need to re-key the
entire document.

2. The facility to store standard paragraphs on disk for later use.

3. Documents need never have another spelling error! Spellcheckers are provided
for several languages as well as built-in-thesaurus for improving writing style.

4. Professional letters can be easily and quickly generated for mailshots.

5. Presentation of written material is greatly enhanced by the use of special fonts,

character sizes and graphics as well as underlining, boldfacing and italics.

The word wrap facility

In MS-Word, when a line is filled with text, the cursor automatically moves to the start of
the next line. This means that there is no need to press Enter at the end of each line.

There are three cases where Enter is used:

1. To insert a blank line.

2. When you reach the end of a paragraph.

3. When you are typing short lines.

The Shift Key

To enter a capital letter, hold Shift down with one finger while the letter to be entered is
typed. Release Shift.

Starting MS-Word

There are two ways of staring MS-Word


Click the Start button, and select Programs / Microsoft Word.

Click Microsoft Word

Or and preferably, from the desktop menu

Double Click on the WORD Icon, pointed to below:

MS-Word screen is then started.

The following screen will appear. In some cases, the Tip of The Day is displayed.

Menu Bar

Standard Tool

Formatting Tool




The MS Word work environment

The Word Start Up screen is made up as follows:

1. The Title Bar displays the Application name and the current document name

2. The menu Bar displays the main Menu Options

3. The Standard Toolbar provides shortcut icons from frequently used tasks

4. The Formatting Toolbar provides shortcut icons for formatting text

5. The Ruler Bar provides icons for indenting text and setting tabs

6. The Document Window where you type your text

7. The view Selector provides icons to view the document in different ways

8. The Status Bar displays the current page number, cursor position, current time and
keyboard status

Using the mouse

The mouse is a hand-held device which is used for pointing to and selecting text in the
document. It is important that you understand the difference between the mouse pointer
and the insertion point

Mouse Pointer: An icon that moves as you move the mouse. The
shape of the mouse depends on its location. For example, it appears as an outline
arrow when you are selecting commands from a menu, and hourglass ( ) when
Word is processing a command, and an I-beam (I) when you are entering text.

Insertion Point: An icon that shows where you are currently positioned on the page.
The insertion point is always a blinking vertical bar <|> and works in the same way as a
cursor in a text based environment.

Positioning the insertion point

Using the mouse point to the required location

Click the Left Mouse Button to position the insertion point

Scrolling through a document

Scrolling means moving through the document window to bring different parts (i.e.
pages) of the document into view. It does not move the I-beam.

At the far right side of the screen you will see the vertical scroll bar with two arrows
inside it. At the bottom of the screen you will see the horizontal scroll bar.


1. Scroll one line up or down: Click the up or down scroll arrows on the vertical
scroll bar.

2. Scroll left or right: Click on the left or right scroll arrow on the horizontal scroll

3. Scroll a percentage of the document length: Drag the scroll box.

4. Scroll a percentage of the document length: Drag the scroll box up or down the
scroll bar.

Some scroll bars are horizontal, e.g.

Moving the insertion point

To move the insertion point:

1. A word right: Ctrl Right Arrow

2. A word left: Ctrl Left Arrow

3. Beginning of Document: Ctrl Home

4. End of Document: Ctrl End

5. Paragraph Up/Down: Ctrl Up Arrow/Down Arrow

6. Beginning of a line: Home

7. End of a line: End

8. Previous Page: Ctrl Page Up

9. Next Page: Ctrl Page Down

10. Go to a particular page: Ctrl G or F5 (Go to key) type page

No and click Go To

Using the Menu

The Word Menu Option can be activated in two ways:

a) Using the Mouse

Point to the Menu option, Click the Left mouse button to display the menu

Point and click on the required command

b) Using the keyboard

Hold down ALT and press the underlined letter of the required menu option

Press the underlined letter of the required command

If the command is followed by an ellipses (three dots) this indicates that a further list of
options will be displayed. An arrow indicates further options available.

Typical menus are:

1. File menu:

2. Edit Menu

3. View Menu:

4. Insert Menu

5. Format Menu:

6. Tools Menu:

7. Table Menu:

Two other menu commands are available, the Window Menu and Help Menu commands.
These will be accessed in the same way, click the menu and a pull down menu appears.

For example a Print Dialog box will

Using a Dialog Box

A Dialog box is a window that displays all the available options for a selected command.
A dialog box usually has an OK and Cancel button

For example a print dialog Box will look as follows:

The box may or may not have other tabs which can be activated by clicking them.

Activating a Shortcut Menu

The Shortcut menu is an abbreviated version of the main Menu where the most frequently
used commands are combined on one menu option. Shortcut menus are context sensitive
and contain commands related to the item you are currently working with

To activate the Shortcut Menu click the Right mouse button or press [Shift + F10]

A typical Shortcut menu as the one below appears:

Working with the Toolbar

MS-Word provides a Standard toolbar with icons to represent frequently used tasks. To
invoke a task, point the required icon and click the Left mouse button

To display more information about the toolbar icon point to the icon. The name of the
icon appears on the screen, and additional information about the function of the icon
appears in the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen.

To display additional Toolbars

1. Point to the Toolbar area of the screen

2. Click the Right mouse button once

3. Point and Click the Toolbar you want to activate


Creating a document

Each time you load MS-Word you will be presented with a new document. The window
title bar will be documented as Document 1. At this point you are ready to start typing
your document.

Saving a document

As Document 1 is not a legitimate name for the document, the first time you save the
document you need to give it a name with SAVE AS command.

1. Choose Save As from the File Menu

2. Enter the filename in the File Name box. Unless you select or type another
directory, the document will be saved in the current directory.

3. Click on OK

The document stays on the screen after you save it so you can continue working on it.
Notice the title bar now displays the new document name.

Note: A typical and good filename can consist of up to 8 characters. MS-Word however
can take long file names. It will assign a further three character extension
of DOC to all data files and DOT to all template files. The filename and
extension are separated by a full stop and should only contain characters
A-Z or 0-9. Even spaces are now allowed unlike in earlier versions. MS-
Word does not distinguish between UPPER and lower case characters in a
e.g. filename.doc

Saving an existing document

If the document has already been saved, but you want to update the disk with any
changes which may have been made, you use the Save command.

1. Choose the Save command from the File Menu.

By using the above command, the dialog box will not be displayed.

Each time a document is saved, the on-screen information replaces the previously saved
document on disk.

Alternatively you can use the Save Icon on the toolbar.

Closing a document

This option is used when you are finished working on your document, have saved it and
want to remove it from your screen and create a new file.

1. Choose Close from the File Menu

If you try to close a document without first saving all the changes, the system will prompt
you that you have not saved the changes and give you the option now to save them.

2. Click Yes to save changes, No to discard changes, or Cancel to cancel the


Opening an existing document

1. Choose the Open command from the File Menu, or click the File Open Icon on
the Standard Toolbar

2. Ensure that correct drive and directory is currently selected. (If not, point to the
required drive name (e.g. A: drive in the Open dialog, then the directory name and

3. Locate the required file, you may have to use the vertical scroll bar on the right of
the list box

4. Click on the require file, and click OK

Note: When you open a file, MS-Word will always create an new window for the
selected file, this means that several file windows can be open

Creating a new file

1. Choose New from the File Menu

2. Click on the required template and click OK

3. Choose the File New Icon from the Standard Toolbar

Word for Windows will open a new window for the document and assign the new
sequential document number to the window. If there are other documents open, they will
not be lost. MS-Word can hold up to 9 Document Windows.

Selecting text

Selecting text is a process of highlighting text that needs to be worked with. In Word for
windows you must always select text before applying any changes to it.

Text can be selected with a mouse or with the Shift and arrow keys

To select by dragging the mouse:

1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of the text to be selected

2. Click and hold the left mouse button, drag the mouse over the required text

3. Release the left mouse button

To cancel a selection, click the left mouse button

Quick ways of selecting text

Selection Method Effect

Double Click Selects the current word
Ctrl Click Selects the current sentence
With the pointer in the Selects the current paragraph. (The selection bar is
selection bar Double-Click the white space to the left of the left margin
With the pointer in the Selects the whole document
selection bar Ctrl Click

Selecting text with the keyboard

Selection Method Effect

Shift Right Arrow Selects the next character
Ctrl Shift Right Arrow Selects the current word
Ctrl Shift Down Arrow Selects the current paragraph
Ctrl 5 (numeric keypad) Selects entire document

Applying text enhancements

Text attributes are enhancements such as Bold, Underline, Italics, SMALL CAPS etc.

Using the formatting toolbar to apply enhancements

The Formatting Toolbar is displayed on screen each time you load MS-Word. This
Toolbar is designed to make formatting features more accessible when using a mouse.

1. Point and click on the Icon on the Formatting bar i.e.

B for bold
I for italics
U for underline

2. Type the text

3. Point and click on the Icon on the Formatting bar to turn it off

Applying the enhancement to existing text

1. Select the text you wish to apply the enhancement to

2. Point and click on the enhancement on the Formatting bar

Note: Many enhancements can be applied to the text once it is selected, just point and
click on the required enhancement.

Applying the enhancement using the menu

Enhancements can be applied using the Menu Bar also. Select the text in the usual
manner and when selected move the Pointer to the Menu bar and click on FORMAT.
Next, click on FONT. Make sure that the FONT Sheet Tab is chosen. Click on the
various enhancements you require and then click on OK. Using this method you will be
able to apply a large amount of enhancements including Bold, Underline, Italics, Small
Capitals, Strikethrough, Subscript, Superscript, Fonts, Point Sizes and Color.

Removing enhancements

If you wish to de-select any of these functions simply go through the same procedure one

Text alignment refers to the positioning of the text between the left and right margins.
Again, alignment selections can be made from the Formatting toolbar or the Format

Aligning text from the formatting toolbar

The following icons are displayed on the Formatting Toolbar

This text is Centre Aligned

This text is Left Aligned
This text is Right Aligned

1. Point and click on the icon representing he required alignment

2. Type the text and press <Enter>

3. Point and click the <Left align> icon to turn off the alignment and return to the
left margin

Changing the alignment of existing text

1. Select the text you wish to change

2. Point and click the icon representing the required alignment

Applying the alignment using the menu

Text alignment can be applied using the Menu Bar also. Select the text in the usual
manner and when selected move the Pointer to the Menu bar and click on FORMAT.
Next click on PARAGRAPH. Make sure that the INDENTS AND SPACING Sheet
Tab is chosen. Click on the ALIGNMENT and choose the required alignment and then
click on OK.

Font Attributes


A font is made up of three elements i.e.

Typeface (Times, Roman, Helvetica, Courier)

Weight (Bold, Italic)
Size (10 point, 12 point, 8 point)

The fonts you have available for working with will be controlled by the version of
Windows and the type of printer you have currently selected.

Font Examples:

This is an example of Times New Roman

This is an example of CG Times
This is an example of Courier
This is an example of Arial
This is an example of Lucida Handwriting

Font sizes:

This is size 12
This is size 14
This is size 16
This is size 18
This size 20
This is size 24
Selecting a font using the toolbar

1. Point to the Font box in the Formatting Toolbar

2. Click on the Down Arrow (to the right of the Box)
3. Scroll through the available fonts using the vertical scroll bar, click on the
required font
4. Point and click on the Down arrow in the Font Size Box on the Formatting
5. Click on the required Font Size for the current font

Note: Font selections can also be made from the Font option in the Format Menu

Printing a document on screen

1. Choose PRINT from the File Menu

2. The Print dialog box will be displayed

3. At the top of the dialog box the current printer is displayed, if you wish to change
this click on Printer

4. In the Page Range section you can specify which part of the document you wish
to print.

5. In the Copies section you can specify the number of copies for printing

6. Once all the selections have been made, Click OK to print

The printer icon on the toolbar can also be selected for printing text

Printing from the toolbar

Point to the Printer Icon and click, the default print selections will be used for the printed

Print Preview

It is always a good idea to view a document before you print it.

Choose Print Preview for the File Menu

Click the Print Preview Icon on the Standard Toolbar

The Print Preview screen will appear showing you the page on which your cursor is
located. The mouse pointer will now take the shape of a magnifying glass with a little +
sign in it. Click once with the left mouse button and a magnified view of the page will
appear on your screen. If you click once again you will zoom out to a full page view

You will only see one page in Print Preview. With the Multiple Pages button you can see
up to six pages at one time. When you click on the Multiple Pages button a menu will
appear. Click on the second page and this will display two pages of the document.

When you click on the Print button you will send the document to the Printer. The
Printing message box will appear. You can stop the printing by clicking on the Cancel

Button. You must wait until the Printing message box disappears before you can
continue printing.

Click on Close Print Preview. You will return to the Normal View screen.

Multiple pages can also be view by clicking the multiple pages icon of the Print Preview
toolbars. The appearance of the multiple pages can be selected from the given option. Up
to six pages can be viewed at once and the result may appear as follows:

Inserting text

1. Move the insertion point to where the text is to be inserted.

2. Type the text to be inserted. Word for Windows is automatically in insert mode,
which means that wherever you place your I-Beam and type the new text will be
inserted within the existing text without typing over anything.

Deleting Text

Text can be deleted using the following selections

Type of deletion Keystroke

Character before the insertion point Backspace
Character after the insertion point Delete
Word before the insertion point Ctrl Backspace
Word after the insertion point Ctrl Delete

Note: Larger amounts of text can be deleted using the selection process
1. Select (highlight) the text to be deleted
2. Press Delete

Overwriting existing text

1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of the text to be overwritten

2. Press INSERT (the OVR flag will be displayed in the Status Bar)

3. Type the new text

4. Press INSERT to turn off overwrite mode

You can also overtype text by first highlighting the text you wish to overwrite and just
type the new text. Word for Windows will automatically delete the old text and insert the
new text.

To restore deleted text

1. Choose Undo from the Edit Menu or press the Undo Icon on the Toolbar.

Note: The Undo command from the Standard Toolbar stores the last One Hundred
commands and any of those commands can be undone by choosing the
command from the list box. However because several changes in
sequence often depend on preceding changes, you cannot select an
individual action without undoing all the actions that appear above it in the


MS-Word has pre-set tabs at every .5" between the left and right margin. The default
tabs can be changed or individual tabs may be set.

Tab alignments

The following is a sample of the different tab alignment options available in Word for

Left Tab Center Tab Right Tab

Text Aligns Left Text Centred at tab stop 175
Left Centre 123,789

Note: When you set an individual tab in MS-Word, all the default tabs up to that point
are cleared.

Setting tabs using the ruler

You can use your mouse to set tabs directly on the Ruler.

1. Point and Click on the required tab type on the extreme left of the ruler (L). (If
you click on this symbol it will change to different symbols representing the
different kinds of Tabs)

2. Point and Click on the required position in the Ruler area where you wish to set
the tab

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each tab you want to set

Setting tabs using the menu

1. Choose Tabs for the Format Menu

2. In the Tabs Stop Position Box enter the Tab position as a numeric value

3. Choose the Alignment option you require

4. Click on the SET button which will now enter this position on the Ruler Line.

5. After entering all the Tabs you click on the OK BUTTON.

Clearing tabs with the mouse

1. Point to the Tab icon that you wish to clear

2. Click and drag the icon into the document area of the window

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each tab to be cleared

Clearing tabs with the menu

1. Choose Tabs from the Format Menu

2. To clear all of the current tabs point and click on the Clear All button

3. To clear individual tabs point and click on the tab you wish to clear

4. Click on Clear

5. Click OK when done

Repositioning tabs after the text has been typed

1. Select the text which is currently being controlled by the tab settings.

2. Point to the Ruler area of the screen

3. Click and drag the tab stops around until you are happy with the layout of the text.

Note: It is very important to select all of the text being effect by the existing tabs
otherwise you may just change the text position of just a line in the group
of lines of text.

Indenting text

There are two type of indentation which can be applied to text

(1) Full Left Indent:- Where all of the text in the paragraph is indented from the
left margin.

This is an example of a full left indent because all of the text in this
paragraph is indented by .5"

(2) Hanging Indent:- Where the first line of text in the paragraph remains at the
left margin and the rest of the text in the paragraph is indented.

a) This is an example of a hanging indent where the first line of text starts at the
left margin (the letter a) and the rest of the text is indented by .5" Hanging
indents are usually associated with paragraph numbering

Creating a left indent using the menu

1. Choose Paragraph from the Format Menu

Make sure the Indents and Spacing Tab Sheet is displayed.

2. Type in the numeric value in the Left Indentation box.

3. Click on OK.

Creating a left indent using the ruler

1. Click the paragraph indent marker to the required position on the ruler line.

The paragraph indent marker is the little square under the triangles on the ruler
line. Both the bottom and the top triangles should move when you drag the
square. If only one triangle moves, it means the mouse pointer dragged a triangle
instead of the square.

Creating a left indent using the quick function keys

1. Position the insertion point where you want to create the indented paragraph

2. Press CTRL + M

3. Type the text for the paragraph

4. Press CTRL + SHIFT + M to turn off the left indent

Creating a hanging indent using the menu

1. Choose Paragraph from the Format Menu.

Make sure the Indents and Spacing Tab Sheet is displayed.

2. Click on the down arrow underneath the heading Special and click on Hanging.

3. Type in the numeric value in the By box

4. Click on IL.

Creating a hanging indent using the ruler

1. Click the bottom triangle and drag it to the required position on the ruler line.

Creating a hanging indent using the quick function keys

1. Position the insertion point where you want to create the hanging indent

2. Press CTRL + T (Notice that the bottom triangle on the ruler line moves in).

3. Type the first piece of text at the left margin (usually a paragraph number)

4. Press TAB

5. Type the remainder of the text for the paragraph. When you press Enter you will
be taken back to the left margin to type in your next point.

6. Repeat the above steps for the remainder of the points and paragraphs.

7. Press CTRL + SHIFT + T to turn off a hanging indent.

Copy text

Note: The Clipboard is a temporary storage area for text which is being copied or
moved. When you use Copy or Cut, the selected text will replace
anything currently in the Clipboard, and will remain there until something
else is copied or cut

The copy text command enables you to repeat selected text within the document or paste
it in another document.

1. Select the text you wish to copy

2. Click on the Copy Icon to copy the selected text to the Clipboard

3. Position the insertion point where you wish to copy the text to

4. Click on the Paste Icon to paste the text at the new location


The cut command enables you to move text from one location to another within a
document or to another document. However, it is not advisable to move text from one
document to another, text should always be copied between documents.

1. Select the text to be cut

2. Click on the Cut Icon to cut the selected text to the clipboard

3. Position the insertion point where the text is to be pasted

4. Click on the Paste icon to paste the text at the new location

Cut and Paste are available in the Edit Menu.

Using drag & drop

Drag & Drop enables you to move and copy text using mouse actions.

Using Drag & Drop to Move

1. Select the text you wish to move

2. With the mouse, point into the selected text

3. Click and drag the mouse to the new location for the text (you should see an
rectangular symbol attached to the mouse pointer)

4. Release the mouse at the required location, the selected text should now be moved
to the mouse pointer location.

Note: To copy text using Drag & Drop, at step 3 above hold down the Ctrl key.
before Clicking and Dragging the mouse

Coping text between documents

1. Open the document you want to copy the text from

2. Open the document you want to copy the text to

3. Choose the Window menu option

4. Click on the document you are copying from in the list of open documents

5. Select the text to be copied and Click on the Copy Icon

6. Choose the Window menu option

7. Click n the document you are copying to in the list of open documents

8. Position the insertion point where you want the copied text

9. Click on the Paste Icon to paste the copied text

10. Close down any unused documents


MS-Word allows you to search within a document for any combination of characters. It
also allows you to replace this word with another word. It allows you to decide whether
the replace should be carried out automatically or by pausing for confirmation at each
potential replacement to allow the user to confirm whether it should be replaced or not.


1. Position the insertion point at the top of the document

2. Choose FIND from the Edit Menu

3. Type the text you wish to find in the Find What Text box

4. Click Find Next

5. To repeat the Find click Find Next


1. Position the insertion point at the top of the document.

2. Choose REPLACE FOR THE Edit Menu

3. Type the text to be replaced in the Find What box

4. Type the replacement text in the Replace With box

5. Choose Find Next

6. Choose Replace - By choosing this option Word for Windows asks for
confirmation before replacing each occurrence of the text.

Choose Replace All - By choosing this option Word for Windows automatically
replaces all occurrences of the text.



The Word for Windows Speller checks through the document for miss-spelt words.
Word for Windows will consider any word which it does not have in its dictionary to be a
miss-spelt word. It will also check for double words.

Words can be added to the Word for Windows dictionary

1. Choose Spelling from the Tools Menu or choose the Speller Icon from the

2. Word for Windows will start spell checking the document, if it finds a miss-spelt
word the Spelling dialog box will appear

3. If Word for Windows suggests the correct spelling for the word, click on the
correct word and click on Change All

4. To add a new word to the dictionary click on Add

5. To ignore every occurrence of a word click on Ignore All

6. To cancel the spell check click on Cancel

Using autocorrect

AutoCorrect is another way of capturing frequently used text or it can be used to pre-
empt typing mistakes that occur regularly. If you are in a habit of typing teh instead of
the you can store teh to be replaced with the in AutoCorrect, this means that every time
you type the followed by a space Word will automatically replace it with the. You
should used AutoText if you do not want text to be replaced automatically.

Creating an autocorrect entry

1. Choose AutoCorrect from the Tools Menu

2. Type the incorrect entry in the Replace Box

3. In the With box, type the entry itself

4. Choose Add

5. Choose Close

Activating autocorrect

The AutoCorrect option is activated each time you type and AutoCorrect Entry Name
followed by a space or a punctuation mark.

Inserting a hard page break

A page break can be inserted manually if you wish to end one page and begin another.
The page break is represented by a dotted line across the document window with the
description Page Break centred

1. Press <Ctrl + Enter> to break a page

Converting upper/lower case

1. Select the text you wish to convert

2. Press <Shift + F3> to convert the selected text

Note: Shift F3 is a toggle key and will rotate between Upper / Lower and Combination
case each time you use it.

Line spacing

The default line spacing is single, to change the line spacing make one of the following

Selection Effect
Ctrl + 1 Single line spacing
Ctrl + 2 Double line spacing
Ctrl + 5 Line and a half spacing

1. Position the insertion point where you want to change the line spacing

2. Press <Ctrl + 2> for double spacing or <Ctrl + 5> for 1.5 spacing

Changing existing text

If the text has already been typed, first select the text and repeat step 2 above

Note: You can have different line spacing in different parts of the document, if the text
has already been typed, just select the section and apply the new line
spacing, or select the line spacing before you start typing, and change it
when ever you require to do so.

Changing the margins

1. Choose Page Setup from the File Menu

2. The Page Setup dialog box will be displayed

3. To change the Left or Right Margins, point and click or relevant margin box and
type the new margin setting in inches

4. To change Top or Bottom Margins, point and click on the relevant margin box
and type the new margin setting in inches

5. If you want the new margin setting to be the default setting for every document
you create, point and click on Default


Headers and footers

A Header is text that is repeated at the top of every page in a document.

A Footer is text that is repeated at the bottom of every page in a document.

Adding a header to a document

1. Choose Header/Footer from the View Menu

2. Choose Header and Click OK

3. The Insertion point is then positioned in the Header Window

4. Type the <Header Text? Using the <TAB> key to centre or right align the header

5. Click on Close when finished.

Adding a footer to a document

1. Choose Header/Footer from the View Menu

2. Choose Footer and Click OK

3. The Insertion point is then positioned in the Footer Window

4. Type the <Footer Text> using the <TAB> key to centre or right align the footer

5. Click on Close when finished.

Automatic Page Numbering, Date and Time of Printing can be applied to Headers and
Footers by clicking on the relevant Icon on the Header/Footer Toolbar.


The tables features enables you to work with columnar text, applying line drawing and
creating a word wrap effect within each column of the table.

With Tables you can arrange columns of numbers and text in a document without using
tabs. Tables also provide a convenient way to present text in side-by-side paragraphs.

Tables allows you to perform calculations in the same manner as a spreadsheet.

Creating a table

1. Choose Insert Table from the Table Menu

2. Specify the number of columns in the Number of Columns box

3. Specify the number of rows in the Number of Rows box

4. Click OK to create a table with columns of even width.

A gridlike structure will appear on the screen. This grid structure will not print -
Borders and Gridlines must be added if you want the grid to print.

5. You can also create a Table by clicking on the Table Icon on the Toolbar and
highlighting the number of columns and rows you require.

Entering information in a table

Use the mouse to lace the Cursor in a cell and start typing. Move from cell to cell using
the TAB and Up/Down/Left/Right Arrow Keys.

* To jump back a cell within the table press Shift and Tab.

If you press the Return key in table you will add an extra line to the row you are in. If
you do this in error use the Backspace key to remove it.

You will notice that all inserted text and numbers in the table will automatically be left
aligned. You will often need to right Align numbers.

Selecting the table

Highlight the entire table by:

1. Using the left button on the mouse and dragging (in the same manner as you
would highlight a paragraph of text).

2. Bringing the mouse to the top grid like of the first column until the mouse pointer
resembles and down pointing arrow, then click to select the entire column and
drag to highlight the rest of the table.

Setting tabs within the table

1. Select the Column you want the tabs to take effect in.

2. Set the tabs in the usual manner.

3. To use the actual tab feature within a Table press CTRL and TAB.

By pressing TAB you will move from cell to cell by pressing CTRL and TAB you
will stay within the cell and just move to the Tab position. However if the first
tab within the cell is a Decimal Tab and you press Tab to move into this cell the
cursor will position itself at the Decimal Tab location.

Changing the column widths

1. Point and click anywhere inside the table area

Notice that the Ruler changes when the cursor is within the Table indicating the
different column boundaries (Small grid buttons).

2. Point to the Button icon in the Ruler area which represent the current column

3. Click and drag the Button icon to increase or decrease the width of the required

Adding borders to the table

1. Select the table

2. Choose Borders & Shading from the Format Menu

3. Point and Click on the Grid option which will insert the default outline on you
table and internal gridlines.

4. You can choose from a selection of Line Styles for the border by clicking on the
down arrow under Line Style and choose a style of line.

5. When finished click on OK.

Shading cells in a table

1. Select the cells you wish to apply the shading to

2. Choose Borders & shading from the Format Menu

3. Choose Shading

4. Specify the depth of shading required in the Shading box

5. Click OK

Borders and Shading can also be applied to the Table using the order Icon on the Toolbar
and immediately a new button bar appears at the top of your screen.

Merging cells in a table

Merge cells combines the contents of adjacent cells into one single cell. This command
is available only when you select two or more cells in a row. You can only merge cells

1. Select the Cells you wish to merge

2. Choose Merge Cells from the Table Menu

Word automatically inserts a return to increase the size of the row, you may deleted this
return by pressing the delete or backspace key.

Inserting a column in the table

1. Select the column to the right of where the new column is to be inserted

2. Choose Insert Columns from the Table Menu

Deleting a column in the table

1. Select the column you wish to delete

2. Choose Delete Columns from the Table Menu

Inserting a row at the end of the table

1. Position the insertion point in the last cell of the table

2. Press <Tab> to add a new row to the table

Inserting a row in the table

1. Select the Row where you wish to insert the extra row.

2. Choose Insert Rows from the Table Menu

Deleting a row in the table

1. Select the row you wish to delete

2. Choose delete Rows from the Table Menu

3. Click OK.

Note: All of the Font, Enhancements and Alignment features covered in earlier sections
can be used when working with tables.

Calculating numeric data in a table

Word Table feature can be used as a mini-spreadsheet to carry out calculations. You can
quickly add numbers in a row or column, you can add, subtract, multiply, divide and
average numbers. You can calculate percentages and find the minimum and maximum
value for a range of cells.
The following keys may be used when calculating.

+ Addition
/ Division
- Subtraction
* Multiplication

as with Microsoft Excel, cells are referred to as A1, A23 B1, B2 and so on, with the letter
representing a column and the number representing a row.


Insert the numeric values into the table

1. Position the insertion point where the result of the calculation should be placed

2. Choose Table from the menu bar and then choose Formula

3. To sum the cells above on to the right accept the prompt in the dialog box and
choose OK

Changing the numeric format

1. From within the Formula option in Tables choose Number Format.

2. Click on the down arrow to display the various selections available.

3. Click on the required format and choose IL.

Paste function

Paste Function lists the functions e.g. Average, Min, Max, Count etc. you can use to
calculate numbers. If you select a function from this list it automatically appears in the
formula box.

Microsoft Excel

Excel is a spreadsheet program that organizes and keeps track of data, which can be used
to create charts, worksheets, and databases. Excel is frequently used for its ability to
perform mathematical calculations with large volumes of data. It also produces graphs
and charts with ease. This manual aims to help people of any experience level become
familiar with working in Excel and to provide direction in employing some of
Excel’s more sophisticated features.

To open Excel from the UM computer labs, click on the Start button in the lower-left
corner of the screen and select PROGRAMS > MS OFFICE > MICROSOFT EXCEL.
You should see a screen that looks similar to this:

The Excel Environment

At the top of the window is a blue bar called the title bar. The title bar contains the
name of the application, Microsoft Excel, and the name of the workbook you are
working in, which Excel automatically calls Book1 until you name it otherwise. A
workbook is the file in which you work and store your data. The title bar also contains
the minimize button, the maximize/restore button, and the close button.

The largest portion of the screen is taken up by a view of the worksheet area.
Worksheets are used to list and analyze data. At the bottom left of the screen are
worksheet tabs that indicate the active worksheet. By default, new workbooks contain

At the bottom and right of the screen are scrollbars, which can be used to view parts
of the worksheet that are off screen.

Along the left and top of the worksheet area are row headings and column headings.
Rows are denoted by numbers and columns are denoted by letters.

The thick black rectangle indicates the selected cell. A cell is the intersection of a
row and a column. The selected cell’s reference, A1, appears in the name box. The
cell reference is composed of the column letter followed by the row number.

To the right of the name box is the formula bar, which is where text and formulas
are entered and edited for each cell.

Below the title bar is the menu bar, containing lists of commands you use to give Excel

The standard toolbar resides below the menu bar, and contains buttons with images
that correspond to some frequently-used menu commands.

The formatting toolbar is usually located below or next to the standard toolbar. It
contains buttons that correspond to several commands for formatting cells.

Managing Workbooks

The most effective menu for managing your workbooks is the FILE menu,
under which you will find the following useful commands:
NEW – asks what type of new workbook you want to create
OPEN – brings up a dialog box so you can select an already-existing
workbook to work with CLOSE – closes the workbook you are currently working in
SAVE – saves current workbook under the name it has already been
given SAVE AS – brings up a dialog box so you can
enter a name and location for the workbook PAGE
SETUP – allows you to adjust page settings, margins,
the header and footer, titles, and other print options
PRINT AREA – sets the selected cells as the only area
to be printed PRINT PREVIEW – displays the
workbook as it will appear on paper PRINT – brings up
a dialog box asking which printer to send workbook to
EXIT – closes all workbooks and exits Excel
Although there are additional options under the FILE
menu, the ones discussed in this manual are those which
you will probably find yourself using the most.

Toolbars may be moved by clicking on their “handles” (located in their uppermost left
corner) and dragging them to other locations. If a toolbar is in its own window, it can
be relocated by clicking and dragging its title bar.

If the workbook has not been saved before, Excel automatically brings up the Save As
dialog box.

Entering Data

Cells can contain text, numerical values, formulas, or functions. To enter data into a cell,
select the cell by clicking on it, and begin typing. The text will appear in the formula bar.
When the entry is complete, press Enter. If the text does not fit in the cell, it will overlap
if the adjacent cells are empty. If the adjacent cells are not empty, part of the entry
remains covered, and the complete entry must be viewed from the formula bar. This can
be resolved by resizing the column width (see Cell Manipulation below). Text is
automatically left aligned, whereas numerical values are right aligned.

The EDIT menu contains commands that you may find helpful when changing
information in cells. UNDO – reverses your last command or deletes typing REPEAT –
repeats your last command, if possible CUT – removes selected text and temporarily
saves it on the clipboard COPY – places a copy of selected text on the clipboard PASTE
– inserts contents of clipboard at insertion point PASTE SPECIAL – pastes the contents
of clipboard in format you specify FILL – see AutoFill, below CLEAR – removes the
specified data without placing it on the clipboard DELETE – removes selected data
DELETE SHEET – removes entire spreadsheet from the workbook MOVE OR COPY
SHEET – moves/copies an entire spreadsheet within a workbook FIND – searches for
text/formatting you specify REPLACE – finds and replaces specified text/formatting

AutoFill: Excel can use initial values in a few cells to create a logical list of entries, like
numbers following a pattern, words (such as the days of the week), or alpha-numeric
entries. For example, if you wanted to create a list of even numbers, enter “2” in one cell,
“4” in the next cell, then select both cells. Click on the lower right-hand corner of the
selection rectangle. The pointer will become a black cross. Drag for as long as you want
your list. Excel will fill in the data it assumes you want.

Another feature that may be helpful when working with data is Sort. Cells can have their
values specifically sorted by selecting the group of cells to sort then choosing DATA >

SORT. This feature can be used to put lists into alphabetical, chronological, or numerical

Modifying Workbooks

Excel allows you to alter the sizes and locations of rows, columns, and cells in a
spreadsheet. You can also add, remove, and reorganize worksheets in your
workbook to create an accommodating workbook.

Cell Manipulation

• Adding/Removing: A cell may be added or removed by using:

o The mouse by right-clicking on the desired cell then choosing:
. Insert: An additional cell, row or column will be added before
the corresponding selection. If a cell is inserted an additional
options will appear asking in which direction to shift the
existing cells.
. Delete: The selected cell, column or row will be removed along
with all values and formulas existing in it.
o The INSERT menu option and choosing Cells/Rows/Columns: An
additional cell, row or column will be added before the corresponding
selection. If a cell is inserted an additional options will appear asking
in which direction to shift the existing cells.
• Merging: Two or more adjacent cells may be merged by selecting the desired
cells then clicking the Merge and Center button on the formatting toolbar.
• Resizing: A cell may be resized by adjusting the width of the column or the
height of the row using:
o The mouse to left-click on the appropriate divider in the row or column
label and then dragging it to the desired size.
o The FORMAT menu option and choosing:
.S ize: A manual setting for the desired height or width.
. AutoFit: An automatic adjustment to fit the largest item
in the selected row or column.

• Freeze Pane/Split Screen: Creates a portion of the worksheet that remains on the
screen while the rest of the worksheet scrolls. This is useful when you have a
long list and want to simultaneously view the headings and the values that are

toward the end of the list. To use Freeze Pane/Split Screen select the desired row,
column or cell(s) and then choose WINDOW > FREEZE PANE or WINDOW >
SPLIT. The difference between Freeze Pane and Split Screen is that Freeze Pane
keeps all the data in one window whereas Split Screen creates smaller separate
windows for each split data.

Worksheet Manipulation

Renaming: A worksheet may be renamed by:

o Right-clicking on the desired worksheet tab and selecting Rename, or
o Double-clicking on the worksheet name and typing in a new one.

Adding: Additional worksheets may be added by:

o Choosing INSERT > WORKSHEET, or
o Right-clicking on the worksheet tabs and selecting Insert.

Removing: A worksheet may be removed by:

o Choosing EDIT > DELETE SHEET, or
o Right-clicking on the worksheet tabs and selecting Delete.

Reorganizing: The order in which the worksheets are arranged can be changed by:
o Left-clicking on the desired worksheet tab and dragging it to the new
location in the worksheet order, or
o Right-clicking on the worksheet tab and selecting Move or Copy…,
then choose a location

Copying: A worksheet may be copied by:

o Choosing EDIT > MOVE OR COPY SHEET and checking “Create a
copy” in the dialog box
o Right-clicking the worksheet tab, selecting Move or Copy…, and
checking “Create a copy”

Formatting Cells

The appearance of cells can be formatted to create an attractive workbook. Cells may be
formatted using various pre-defined options that Excel provides. To format cells, first
select the desired cells, then either:
• right-click on the selection and choose Format Cells… or
• choose FORMAT > CELLS from the menu bar.
The Format Cells dialog box contains options Excel provides for cell formatting are:
• Number: displays numerical values in a specific format using symbols, decimal
places or other commonly used formats.
• Alignment: controls the vertical and horizontal positioning of the text, as well as
the way text appears in cells
• Font: controls the font sizes, colors and styles cell(s).
• Borders: controls if borders will exist around the selected cell(s) and how the
borders will be displayed.
• Patterns: controls the background colors or for giving a background pattern to the
selected cell(s).

The formatting toolbar provides an easy way to apply some of the same formatting:

Font Size
BoldItalicsUnderline Left AlignCenter Align Right Align Merge and Center

Currency Style
Percent StyleComma Style Increase DecimalDecrease DecimalDecrease IndentIncrease IndentBorders

Fill Color

Font Color


A formula can be used to calculate a value for a specific cell based on the values of any
other number of cells. All formulas begin with the equal sign (=). Formulas appear in the
formula bar, but their results are displayed in the cell. Formulas often refer to other cells.
For example, if the formula =A1+A2+A3 were entered into cell A4, then the value “16”
would be displayed in A4.

Cell References

A reference identifies a cell or a

range of cells on a worksheet, for
use in a formula. Excel refers to
columns with letters and to rows
with numbers. To refer to a cell,
enter the column letter followed
by the row number. For example,
D5 refers to the cell at the
intersection of column D and
row 5.

To refer to a range of cells, enter the reference for the cell in the upper-left corner of the
range, a colon (:), and then the reference to the cell in the lower-right corner of the range.
In the diagram, the selected range can be referred to as B3:D5. When copying and pasting
cell references, it is helpful to recognize the difference between relative and absolute
references. If you were to paste the formula =A1+A2+A3 into cell B4, the formula would
be pasted as =B1+B2+B3 because the cell references are relative, meaning Excel changes
the cell references depending on their location. Because the formula was pasted in
column B, Excel changed the A’s in the formula to B’s.

The dollar sign ($) is used to indicate absolute references. The formula =$A$1+$A$2+
$A$3 would return the same value as =A1+A2+A3. The difference is that it could be
pasted anywhere in the worksheet and it would still be pasted as =$A$1+$A$2+$A$3,
because the dollar signs indicate that the row and column references are absolute – they
will not be changed by Excel.

To enter cell references in a formula, you can type them in manually or click on the cells
you want in the formula. That is, type an equals sign, then click on a cell and Excel will
enter the cell reference into the formula. You can even refer to cells in other worksheets
and other workbooks this way.

When creating formulas keep in mind:
• Excel performs the operations from left to right according to the order of operator
• Use parentheses to control the order of operations by grouping operations you want
performed first.
• You may use arithmetic and logic operators from the “Calculation operators in
formulas” handout.


Functions are predefined formulas. The SUM function could be used to return the same
value as the formula =A1+A2+A3 by entering =SUM(A1,A2,A3). An abbreviated way
would be to use a range. So,
=SUM(A1:A3) would also return “16” in the cell that the function was entered into.
Excel already has a wide variety of functions. See if one of those will accomplish your
task before creating

your own formula. Choose INSERT > FUNCTION or click the function button on
the standard toolbar, and select the function you want to use. Excel will then ask you to
fill in information that you want used in its calculations. You can either enter cell
references or click on the cells you want to use, or type in additional information

Here is a list of some common functions that you may find useful: AVERAGE displays
the arithmetic mean of the cells referred to in parentheses. COUNT displays the number
of numerical values in the cells referred to in parentheses. COUNTA displays the number
of non-empty cells among those referred to in parentheses. MAX displays the highest
value among the cells referred to in parentheses. MIN displays the lowest value among
the cells referred to in parentheses. RAND displays a random value that is at least zero
but less than 1. ROUND displays the value in cell D7 rounded to the number of decimal
places after the comma in the parentheses (4). SUM displays the sum of the values in the
cells referred to in parentheses. TODAY displays the current date.

Remember that functions, like formulas, must begin with an equals sign (=) and must
be followed by parentheses, even if no reference is required between the parentheses
(as in the RAND and TODAY functions). If you enter a function without a preceding
equals sign, Excel treats it as text and will not perform any calculations.

There are hundreds of other functions in Excel which may help you accomplish your
purpose, but if all else fails, you can just create your own formula from scratch.

Microsoft Excel 2000 Manual

Chart Wizard

A graphical depiction of a worksheet can be created using the Chart Wizard. To use the
chart wizard choose INSERT > CHART or left-click on the Chart Wizard button on the

Menu Item Option Description

Step 1 of 4 “Chart Type”
Chart Type Select which type of chart to use
Chart Sub-Type Select variations of the Chart Type
Custom Types Select from more Chart types
View Sample Used to preview Chart Type using values from the selected cells
Next > Move on to the next step
Step 2 of 4 “Chart Source Data”
< Back Go back to the previous step
Data Range Specify or modify the source of the data in the chart
Series in: Rows Use selected cells for series in rows
Columns Use selected cells for series in columns
Add Add another row or column of values to the chart
Remove Remove the selected series from the chart
Name Enter the name to use for the series
Category (X) axis labels: Enter a label to use for each value in the X-axis
Next > Go to the next step
Step 3 of 4 “Chart Options”
< Back Go back to the previous step
Titles, Axes, Gridlines, Add titles, labels, choose whether gridlines, legends, labels, data
Legend, Data Labels, table should appear
Data Table
Next > Go to the next step
Step 4 of 4 “Chart Location”
< Back Go back to the previous step
Place chart:

As a new sheet: As Place the chart into an its own separate sheet Place the chart into the
object in: selected sheet
Finish Inserts chart


• Inserting: An image may be imported into a spreadsheet for display. Choose

INSERT > PICTURE > CLIP ART – to select a picture from clip art gallery > FROM
FILE – to select a picture saved on your computer
> AUTOSHAPES – to bring up the AutoShapes
toolbar and insert shapes which can contain text
> ORGANIZATION CHART – to chart an
organizational hierarchy
> WORDART – to create text effects using the
WordArt toolbar on words you enter.

• Resizing: Once an image is inserted into a spreadsheet it may be resized by:

o Left-clicking on the border of the image and dragging it to change the size.
o Right-clicking on the image and selecting Format Picture.
• Floating: When an image is inserted into a spreadsheet it “floats” above the data
instead of occupying a cell. To move the image simply click on it then drag it
• Format Picture: Format Picture provides a few simple options for editing the
appearance of an inserted image.
o Colors and Lines allow you to change the picture’s
fill color and the appearance of borders
o Size alters the size and angle of the picture
o Picture crops picture and alters brightness/contrast
o Protection locks picture from being altered if the
spreadsheet is protected (see Tools)
o Properties controls how the position is changed
o Web displays alternative text while picture loads

Headers and Footers

To add headers and footers (information that repeats at the top and bottom of every page),
choose the Header/Footer tab. You can select a preset one or customize your own. When
customizing your own headers and footers, text can be positioned on the left, center, and
right of the page. Some of the fields you can insert include page number, date, time,


There are a few options under the TOOLS menu which you may find
useful under certain circumstances. They include:
• Protection: Restricts others from changing values and formulas of selected cell(s)
or spreadsheet.

• Goal Seek: Determines what value a cell must be changed to in order to produce
a desired result in another cell. For example, if you spend $50 per week, your
Excel chart indicates that you will spend $300 before you go home for the
semester. If you only have $250 available for spending, you can use Goal Seek to
figure out how much you should spend per week before going into debt. It turns
out you need to spend $42 per week rather than $50.

• Scenarios: Allows you to change the values of several cells and save the results
as a scenario within the same workbook. Excel will ask you to enter the new
values for the changing cells. You can view other scenarios by selecting one and
clicking Show.
Microsoft Access

• The Open dialogue box appears

• In the Open dialogue box, under File Name, type the location of your PFM
Microsoft Access tables. In order to find the location of your Access tables, go to
the PFM Main Menu, click on the User Settings button and then the Paths tab.
Write down your Database location. The Access tables are located on the root of
the PFM data directory, something like this:
0 \\ntserver\apps\pfmdata\access\pfm97.mdb. Call PFM (610-668-1655) if you
1 have trouble finding your Access tables.
• The Microsoft Access database contains Tables, Queries, Forms, Reports,
Macros, and Modules. You will be using Tables, Queries, and Reports.

IMPORTANT: All the data in the PFM Tables is LIVE data.

It comes from and is directly linked to PFM. DO NOT MAKE

These are the standard data tables contained in PFM. ANY CHANGE TO THE DATA IN THE TABLES.
Double-click the table name to open it.

• AirplaneInfo=Aircraft database

Tables tab
• Airport2=Airport database
• AirportInfo=Primary airport database info
• Authorizers=Record keeping auth per leg
• ChargeAcctInfo=Pax database
• CrewData=Record keeping: crew per leg
• CrewRatings=Ratings from crew database
• Crewsched=Crew from scheduling
• Dispatch=Scheduling module
• FBO=Airport database
• Flightlog=Record keeping, front page, mostly
• Flitelog2=More record keeping
• Hotel=Airport database/hotels
• paxData=Pax data from record keeping (per leg)
• PaxInfo=Pax database
• PaxSched=Pax from scheduling
• Pilot=Crew database
• XtraPax=More pax database
• XtraPax2=Even more pax database
• Tables. The table is the basic data container in Microsoft Access. All data
contained in the PFM Access Interface is contained in tables. Each table contains
information from a specific section of PFM, such as FlightLog. However, as
PFM has grown, we have created additional tables to accommodate the extra data.
Thus you will see not only a FlightLog table, but also Flitelog2. Even so, each
table contains unique data, with no overlap between tables. It will most likely be
necessary to consult with PFM about which table contains the information you are
looking for until you get more familiar with the table structure.
• Fields. A field is a category of information such as tail number, trip number, or
date. Please note that the field names are generic and refer to specific parts of the
internal PFM code. Sometimes, you will find field names that are confusing,
however, you can usually determine what the field represents by just looking at
the data in that field. If you need further assistance, please call PFM.
• Record. A record is the set of fields for a specific item. Thus, reading from left to
right across the first record will tell you that the aircraft number is 3 (the PFM
physical aircraft number), the PFM pointer is 8 (the internal number PFM tracks
unique records by), the tail number is N46MW, the trip number is 8 (the eighth
flight log of the year, for that aircraft), the date is 1/14/2000 which is the first
month (1), fourteenth day (14), etc. In order to see all the data contained in the
record, use the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen.

Field caption

Total number
of records
Selected record
Queries: Creating Queries Using a Single Table
Queries are created by combining fields in single or multiple tables and then filtering
(or limiting) the output in order to
achieve the desired results.

• The first step is to decide what information you want to see. Next, you determine
what table or tables that data are stored in. In some instances, only a single table
will be necessary for the query. When two or more tables are necessary, the tables
must be related. The only requirement for relating two tables in a query is that they
share unique common data in fields with the same data type and size. In other
words, a Tail number would not be considered as unique data because you might
have reused the same tail number when you purchased a new aircraft. However, in
PFM the physical aircraft number is unique because as you enter a new aircraft
into PFM, the system assigns it a new physical aircraft number and that number is
never reused by a different aircraft. Refer to page 12 for a table of unique fields.

You have been asked to determine:

How many times each aircraft
has flown to a city pair over a
date range.

• On the Queries tab, click the New button.

The New Query dialog box appears. Double-click Design view.
New query dialog box
• A New Query window and the Show Table dialog box appear. The Show Table
box contains a list of all the PFM Access tables. Double-click Flightlog then
close the Show Table dialogue box.
• The Flightlog table (list of fields) is added to the table pane (top of the screen) of
the query window.
• In the Flightlog table, double-click the
0 Tail# field. The Tail # field is added to the QBE (query by example) grid.
• Double-click the ORG field and the DES field. (You will have to scroll down in
the Flightlog table to locate these fields.) As you double-click each field, it is
added to the QBE grid.
• Double-click the TRP# field. This field is necessary in order to have the query
display a count of each unique city pair. Otherwise, the query would show that
151AE went from DAL to BDL, but not how many times.
• Double-click the Date field to add it to the QBE grid.
• These are all the data fields you need for your query. Now we need to fine-tune
the query to display exactly what you want to see.
• The TRP# field has to be told that it has to actually COUNT the number of unique
city pairs, not just display the TRP# for each pair.
• Go to View and double-click on Totals. The Totals line is added to the QBE grid.
• Click in the Totals line, under TRP# (it probably says Group By). You will get a
drop-down box. Select Count by single-clicking.
• The final part of the query is to establish the required Date Parameters. (See p.14
for a discussion of Parameters.)
• Click in the Totals line, under the Date field. From the drop-down box, select
Where. (As in “Where the desired date is between this year/month/day and that
← • In the Criteria line, type the following exactly: Between [start date] And
[end date].
Your query design is now complete.
• To run your query, click the ! on
the toolbar.


query a start date. Type in the desired Start date using mm/dd/yyyy format. Then click
the OK button.
• You will be prompted to type in
• You will now be prompted to enter the desired end date. Proceed as above and
click OK.
• Your query will now run. Depending on the size of the date range you have
chosen (and thus the amount of data Access has to sort through) your query make
take a few minutes to run.

The completed query

Your query will appear in Datasheet view, similar to a table, except that the Title Bar
says Select Query.
• The records are displayed in the order in which they were entered into the table.
• In order to sort by Tail Number, put the cursor Tail Number field and click the
AZ button on the toolbar.
• In order to sort by Origin or Destination, follow the same procedure.
• In order to sort by the most frequently visited city pair, put the cursor in the Trip#
field and click the ZA button on the toolbar.
• Save your query by clicking File/Save and typing in the desired name for the
query, City-Pairs.

Reports are based on queries. The query contains only the details you want to show in
the report and the resulting report loads faster.
• Select the Reports tab, then click the New button. The New Report dialog box
will be displayed. Double-click Report Wizard. The Report Wizard starts and the
first step appears.
• In the Tables/Queries combo box, click the down arrow. Then, select Query:
• The field names in the CityPairs query appear in the Available Fields list.
• Click the right double arrow to move all four fields into the Selected Fields list.
• Click the Next button.
• The second Report Wizard step appears.
• The CityPairs report will be grouped by Tail number. This makes the Tail
number display only once, with the corresponding City Pairs grouped under it.
Otherwise, the Tail number would be repeated for each city pair displayed on the
• Double-click Tail number to move it into the Grouping box at the right.
• Click Next.
• The third Report Wizard step appears. In this step, you’re setting the sorting
protocol for the list: you will sort alphabetically by Origin. In box 1, click the
down arrow.
• Click ORG.
• The sort button next to ORG shows an ascending icon (A-Z) because that’s the
default sort order. If you click the button, the sort order is set to descending (Z-A).
• Click the Next button
• The fourth Report Wizard appears and shows the report layout. The default
layout (stepped and portrait) is good for this report.
• Click the Next button.
• The fifth Report Wizard appears and gives you six styles to choose from.
• Click to display the various layout styles. Then click to select the one you like and
click the Next button.
• The sixth Report Wizard step asks you for a name for your report. It is best to
rename it CityPairs Report so that it has a name which differentiates it from the
query “CityPairs.”
• Click Finish
• The Wizard creates your report. See page 11 for the finished report.
• You may want to Modify the Layout of the report.
• Choose Modify the Reports Design
• Then click Finish.
• The report is displayed in Layout view.
• In order to add an additional label to the reports title, for instance a printed date
range, click the Aa button.
• Then move your mouse to where you want the new label and click and drag to
draw a box.
• You can then type the desired information into the box, i.e., Jan 1, 2000March 1,
• When you are satisfied with the layout of your report, click the Datasheet view
• You will be prompted to specify the Start date, as we set up in the Query.
• Type in the Start date using mm/dd/yyyy format.
• Click the OK button.
• Type in the End date using mm/dd/yyyy format.
• Click the OK button.
• The finished report will be displayed. Click File/print to get a printed copy of the
PFM Access Tables and Unique Field Identifiers

Table Name Location of Data Unique Field

AirplaneInfo Aircraft Database ACNumber
AirportInfo Airport Database Air ident
Airport2 Airport Database Airport ID
Authorizors Record Keeping Auth Tab YR+AC#+PFMprt+Authpos
Charge AcctInfo Pax Database Rec ID
CrewData Recordkeeping YR+AC#+Ptr+POS
CrewRatings Crew Database Crew_Number+Aircraft_Type
Crewsched Crew from Scheduling Pilot+Date+Aircraft
Dispatch Scheduling Module Aircraft+Phystrpdate+Thisleg
FBO Aircraft Database FBOID
Flightlog Record Keeping Yr+AC#+PFMptr
Flitelog2 Record Keeping Yr+AC#+PFMptr
Hotel Airport database/Hotels Unique_ID
PaxData Record Keeping Yr+AC#+Ptr+POS
PaxInfo Passenger Database PFMAcct
PaxSched Passengers in Scheduling Tripdate+Leg+Index+Aircraft
Pilot Crew Database Crew#
XtraPax Passenger Database Acct
XtraPax2 Passenger Database Acct+Company

A unique Field Identifier, also known as a Primary Key, is the field that uniquely
identifies each record.
• Sometimes, there is only one Unique Field Identifier. An example of this would
be the PaxInfo table which stores the passenger database information. The only
Primary Key needed for this table is the PFM Account number (the PFM “S”
code.) As each “S” Code is used only once for each passenger in PFM, that is all
that is necessary to identify a passenger in the passenger database.
• HOWEVER, in the PaxSched table, which contains the data from the Scheduling
module, you need to use four Primary Keys to identify a unique record: Aircraft,
Tripdate, Leg, and Index. Aircraft is the physical aircraft number, Tripdate
represents the date of the trip, Leg is the leg number for that day, and Index is the
PFM S-code for the passenger. These four data fields will uniquely tell Access
that Mr. Smith (S-code SEQFQ) flew on aircraft #4 (N123CF), on November 10,
2000, leg #3.
Adding Criteria to a Query

A criteria is a rule or filter that tells Access which records you want to see. (See the table
on p. 15 for more information on criteria.) For example, you can set a criteria in your
query to display only records from specific destination airport identifiers. This would
answer the question: “How many times did we fly into Philadelphia (PHL) and Wings
airport (N67) over a specified date range.

• On the Queries Tab, single click the CityPairs query to select it.
• Click the Design button.

The CityPairs query opens in design view. You’ll set the criteria for Philadelphia (PHL)
and Wings (N67) in the DES (destination) field.
• In the Criteria row of the DES column, type PHL or N67.
• Click in a different cell. When you click in a different cell, the criteria you type is
surrounded by quotation marks.
"PHL" Or "N67"
• On the Toolbar click the View button
• The query switches to Datasheet view.
• Enter the Start and End dates as prompted, then click OK
• The records for N67 and PHL are displayed in the query datasheet. You can sort
the DES field by clicking in it and then clicking the AZ button from the toolbar.
The records will be sorted, with N67 displayed first.
• Close the query by clicking the X at the top right of the screen and save the query
when prompted.

Setting Parameters

It’s great to be able to set criteria to get specific records you want, but each time you
change your criteria, you have to open the query in Design view and set new criteria.
If you change criteria often (for example, if you want to see a new date range each time
or a specific tail number) you can set up Parameters which asks you for the criteria each
time you run the query.

Using parameters is a more “user-friendly” way of displaying the desired information

rather than redesigning the query in Design view. You already have seen an example of
parameters when we inserted a date field in the City-Pairs query on pp. 5-6. We will set
up a parameter that allows you to select the desired tail number for the query.
• Open the CityPairs query in Design view.
• In the Criteria cell in the Tail# column, type

[What tail number do you want?]

Be sure that you type the square brackets.

• Now every time you run the query, a dialog box will ask you which tail number
you want, as well as the date range you want.
• On the toolbar, click the View button or the!
• In the Enter Parameter Value box, enter the desired dates and then the tail number
and click OK. The query will run and return the records you want.
• Click the X to close the query and save your changes when prompted.
Table of Common Criteria used by Queries

Criteria Location Purpose Example

And Criteria: Records having one Using the Hotel Database, create a query finding all records containing
characteristic AND BOTH the words Courtyard and Marriott. Like "*COURTYARD*"
another characteristic And Like "*MARRIOTT*"
The word Like means that Courtyard and Marriott are only a part of the
text in the record. The * before and after Courtyard and Marriott means
that there might be more text before or after Courtyard and Marriott.
(Note: Access 97 is case sensitive, while Access 2000 is not.)
Records having one
Or Criteria: Find only records containing PHL or N67 (as in the example on p. 12).
acteristic OR another "PHL" Or "N67"
Not Criteria: Records that DO NOT Finds all records WITHOUT the words Courtyard and Marriott. Not
have a specified like “*COURTYARD*” and not like “*MARRIOTT*” See And,
characteristic above.
& Field: Concatenates fields. Using the Hotel Database, create a query which concatenates the fields
(Concatenate: To join Address, City, and Zip into one field, labeled Location, with the correct
together two or more punctuation.
or lists to form one big Location: [address] & ", " & [city] & " " & [zip]Location: is the
one. new name of the concatenated field.
Definition courtesy of [address] is the name of the first field to be concatenated. (Note the [ ] (Free indicates that this word is a field name.) [city] is the name of the
Online Dictionary of second field to be concatenated. [zip] is the name of the last field to be
Com-puting.ORG.) concatenated. (Note: the field names must match EXACTLY the way
Check it out!! the field names are spelled,
including punctuation and spaces, if any, however, they are not case-
& joins the fields. ", " " " The quotes enclose the punctuation:
comma+space in the first instance, space (only) in the second.

Like Criteria Records having the

criteria as part of the Find all records that start with the letter A. Like "A*" Find all records
field. that end with LTON
Like "*ILTON"
Find all records that start with the letters C-F
Like "[C-F]*" Find all records that contain the letter sequence

Between.. Criteria Records having a value Find all records with Zip Codes between 11434 and 22202
And between the two values Between "11434" And "22202"
you specify.
Is Null Criteria Records having no entry Find all records without an address.
in the field Is Null

Records having an entry

Is Not Criteria Find all records with an address
Null the field. Is Not Null

= Criteria Equal to
Find all Zip Codes equal to 61701 ="61701"
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Part II

9 Principles and the process of

Communication is a particularly human attribute that is responsible for the special

mutuality that exists among human beings. However, if taken for granted,
communication can disrupt the tranquillity being experienced. The accountant
communication is more that the human attribute, it is more of the blood life for the
business enterprise. Taking it that the organisation involves commercial, technical,
security, accounting, financial and management activities, the accountant’s role in the
enterprise would be bizarre with poor understanding of communication.

Learning Outcomes/Objectives

By the end of this unit, we should be able to:

i) Identify the major aspects of communication

ii) Apply the various modes (medium) of communication available;

iii) Define our intended audiences and Route our communication correctly so as
to get the best results;

iv) Evaluate proactively the potential barriers to a particular communication event

with a view of taming them before they strike.

Element1. The Nature and Purpose of Communication

1. What Is Communication – a Definition?

Many people who rightly avoid getting entangled in intellectual disputes

prefer describing communication to defining it. This is because an attempt
to define communication ends in a description of it.

Those who feel communication is something definable usually fall short of

recognising it as a two way process by claiming that it ‘… is the
transmission of …’ while others say it ‘… is the transmission or exchange
of …’ thereby purporting that ‘transmission’ means the same as
‘exchange,’ which is not exactly the case.
The process approach which this module adopts gives freedom to explore
communication as a way of doing something rather than a something.
However, we will acknowledge that communication is the process of
exchanging information, ideas feelings, emotions, beliefs, values and other
human possessions between two parties. As a definition this is clearly in
adequate because it leaves out various elements that exchange complete.
That is why in order to discuss communication more comprehensive, we
will proceed by describing what the process entails.

2. Ingredients for Communication

In order for communication to take place, the following ought to be


Figure 11.1

feelings etc

Channels Medium


Participants Purpose

a) Participants Roles and Functions

There should at least be two parties one playing the role of sender and
the other that of audience. Their respective functions are in Table 11.1
Table 11.1

Sender Audience
• Feels • Recognises the
the need to communicate self as the target audience for the particular
• Collects • Receives the
or gathers information message
• Compos • Interprets the
es the massage message
• Identifie • Acknowledges
s and defines the audience receipt of message
• Chooses • Accepts/rejects
the medium and channels message
• Transmi
ts the message
• Monitor
s impact of the message

b) Information/feelings/ideas etc

These are what kick start the communication. Usually one who has
special information, feelings, ideas, or emotions would like to share
them with another person or people, thereby giving the need to engage
in communication.

Information may be described by:

i. Subject:

 Organisational: - concerning the whole

organisation e.g. the conditions of service;

 Technical/Operational: - concerning
performance of a particular task, e.g. salary scale for working
out salaries

 Personal: - concerning an individual

employee, e.g. letter of promotion for an employee.

ii. Security

 Confidential: - that with restricted

circulation. It may be organisational, or technical or personal;

 Non confidential: - that which every

employee and client may need to know;
iii. Time frame

 Current: - that which is fresh and relates

to the present;
 Semi current:- information referring to
the immediate past and may be relevant over a period including
the immediate future.
 Archival/non current.- no longer of
immediate use but providing part of the organisation’s
history/legacy. It helps explain some policy

Note that any piece of information can meet all the criteria. For example
organisational information can be confidential, or open as well as current
or semi current or non current.

c) Purpose

There are many reasons people engage in communication for. Look

around you and think of any one of the many instances you have had
to initiate communication. What was the motive for that? Most likely
what you may have wanted to fulfil would fit into the following range:

i) To share information, thereby reduce the

information/knowledge gap that existed between you and your
audience whether real or perceived – the informative purpose;

ii) To get the other person/people to do something for you

– the instructional or persuasive purpose;

iii) To create the sense of being appreciated as a close ally

or member of the family, thus the integrative role. This is
responsible for creating unity, harmony and social stability;

iv) To see to it that the other person is contributing

correctly to activities hence the regulatory or control function of

d) Medium and Channels

Quite often, the two terms are used so loosely that they begin to appear
interchangeable. However, in this module we wish to maintain a
distinction in what they are and what role they play in communication.
Medium will be taken to refer to the method used in a given
communication event while, Channel will refer to the route the
message will follow to get to the ultimate audience. Details are given
below, under Element 1.4 and 1.5, respectively.

3. The Context of Communication

Communication takes place in a setting which is characterised by a host of

factors. The various factors will determine the direction as well as
outcome of the communication. Whereas the ingredients of
communication (Element 1.2) form part of the context, two others which
we label a types and levels of communication will be considered here.

a) Types of Communication

Focus is on the number of people in the audience, opportunity for

audience to share stage with sender, contact methods. These influence
communication in their own way. The types in this regard are:

i) Intrapersonal Communication:

This is the internal thought process where the two parties involved
in the communication event are both within the same person. The
two are the conscious and sub conscious segments of a person’s
brain. Its main characteristics are:

 Takes place twenty four hours a day –

deliberate thoughts as found in planning or involuntary in the
subconscious when the individual entertains ideas some of
which are out of this world. However, in the subconscious
everything is possible. Look at how many times you have
found yourself attending meetings with high profile
personalities in your dreams;

 May be in writing, e.g. diary entries,

work plans; or vocal as in people talking to themselves or
‘thinking aloud’, or physical seen when people stop in mid step
when they remember something which compels them to change
direction, etc

 Much as the type manifests itself in

written, vocal or physical ways, other people have no access to
the ideas, feelings or whatever is going on in the
communicator’s mind;

 The quality of intrapersonal

communication is seen through the quality of pronouncements
or utterances and decisions made, actions taken, and
interpersonal relations achieved. To reveal these the individual
comes out of himself and begins to interact with others.

ii) Interpersonal Communication (also called Dyadic


The individual comes out of the inner self to interact with the
people around. In this situation, the sender and audience:

 Deal with each other on a one on one basis;

 Are in direct contact with each other;

 Share the stage equally ie each is able to talk as much as the


 Both are able to seek or provide clarification;

 Find it easy to negotiate meaning, i.e. they can bargain to arrive

at a shared interpretation;

 Reach out to each other orally or in writing, etc

Interpersonal communication is directly responsible for

interpersonal relationships that people create, uphold and enjoy.

iii) Small Group Communication

 One person is addressing a small group at a time;

 May be orally (as in committee meetings) or in writing (as in

office memos);

 Enables people to make collective resolutions on matters of

corporate or technical nature;

 Some members of the small group audience may begin to hide

behind other members;

 Decisions from small group communication are more of

majority based (and may suffer politics of group interaction),

iv) Public Communication

 One person addressing a crowd;

 There is direct contact between sender and audience;

 May be oral as at rallies and other public addresses, or in

writing as in standard letters or circulars;

 In the oral set up, audience participation is restricted to vocal

and/or physical through applause/jeering;

 In such cases, the speaker is faced with the challenge to read

the mood or atmosphere closely so that he/she adjusts the
message or tone accordingly;

 In the written set up, individuals in the audience are not

necessarily required to respond let alone reply;

 Chances of providing and seeking clarification on the part of

the sender and audience, respectively is are extremely slim;

 It is therefore quite risky to make mistakes in this type of


v) Mass Communication

 The individual deals with a perceived

but unconfirmed audience, i.e.;

 The sender has an idea of who the

message is meant for but cannot ensure that only those or all
who qualify for the message receive it;

 The participants are separated in space

and /or time, as;

 The contact is through the media – print

or electronic;

 The sender has no idea who the real

audience of the message are and therefore cannot tell
immediately how the message is received;

 It is extremely dangerous to make

mistakes as the media such as newspapers, radio and television
have potential to reach out to many more people than the
intended audience;

 Feedback is usually delayed and can be


The need to understand types of communication lies in the

need for the message to be as neutral as possible the wider the
audience because negotiating meaning becomes more
challenging with the increasing number of the audience.

b) Levels of Communication

The focus under this is the relationship between participants and the
message on the one hand and that between the participants themselves.
Of course it is in the business context determined by the degree of
formality. The options include:

i) Formal Communication

This is the level where:

 Interaction is officious and

conventional (procedural);

 The outcome is binding and


 Produces record of the interaction;

 May be slow in getting things done

due to procedure;

 May be oral as in meetings and

mostly in all written forms in the office;

 Common in upward channels of

communication where appointment has to be made with the
superior by the subordinate and reveals marks of etiquette.
ii) Informal Communication

Here, the interaction is:

 Less officious hence less procedural as it

takes place in a relaxed environment;

 Usually takes place anywhere any time;

 Gets things done faster as protocol is set


 A sign of healthy staff relationships and

is therefore encouraged in most organisations;

 Common in downward channels where

superiors encourage subordinates to feel free with them as well
a in team action groups;

 Usually the starting point for many

business contracts a people discuss more freely with mutual
trust for each other in a casual atmosphere;

 Formalised to materialise into binding

contracts by producing records of agreements entered into
under informal settings;

iii) The Grape Vine

The grape vine is a complex phenomenon with more potential for

destruction yet with a positive side. For a better appreciation of
the grape vine let us discuss it in terms of its characteristics,
consequences, causes and ways of managing it:

Table 11.2 Profile of the Grape Vine

Characteristics Consequences/Effects Causes Managing the GV

 ♦ constrai ♦ poo 
illegally accessed ns relationships r flow of Smooth flow of
information ♦ consum information information
 es a lot of production ♦ too 
usually incomplete time many confidentials Improve interpersonal
information ♦ spoils ♦ poo relations
 quality of work r processing of 
unqualified audience ♦ creates information Mind your own business
 instability ♦ curi 
information treated ♦ misguid osity & interest in Discourage rumour
as special (classified mongers by promising
or privileged) es concentration life around us to confirm with subject
 ♦ desi 
spiced when retold re to be at centre of Think of the negative
 things effect of the grape vine
spreads very fast ♦ before indulging in it

roots of not easy to

NB Rumour mongering is of human nature and cannot be eradicated

completely without inflicting fatal results on humanity. However,
instead of being negative it can be converted to the advantage of
management intelligence whereby employees’ feelings on a proposed
change can be accessed through the speedy grapevine.

4. Medium

As seen above, medium refers to the method used to communicate in the

particular event. The various options of medium are in figure 11.2 below.
However, choice of medium depends on a number of factors such as the
nature of the message and audience. However, each one of the options is
given more detailed coverage in latter Units.

Figure 11.2


Oral Written Non Verbal Visual

Communication Communication Communication Communication

5. Channels

As highlighted earlier, the term Channels of communication here is used

to denote direction the communication takes. The direction or route is
based on the relationship that exists between the sender and the audience
as follows
a) Internal Channels

This is the direction taken when communication is among

workmates. Usual internal channels may be summarized as
Table 11.3


 To request
Upwards Superiors  Seek permission
 Report, etc
Vertical  To instruct
Downwards Subordinates  Consult
 Persuade, etc
 To consult
Horizontal Lateral Colleagues  To advise
 Update, etc
Colleagues to superiors  To request
Upwards (one’s seniors who are  Seek permission
not in the direct line of  Report, etc
Diagonal command)
Colleagues to  To instruct
Downwards subordinates (one’s  Consult
juniors who are not  Persuade, etc
accountable to him)

6. Purpose

Element 2 Communication Skills

Communication skills are basically those skills which enhance/promote

effective and efficient communication. To achieve efficient and effective
communication, one needs to have both grounding in theoretical knowledge
and the technical application i.e. the actual practice. Before we look at
communication as a skills based process let us look at skills as competence on
the one hand, and skill as performance on the other.

1. Skill as Competence

Competence is associated with the knowledge on a subject that enables

one to understand it (subject) in detail and hence be able to do it well.
Infant the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines competence as
“the ability to do something well.”
2. Skill as Performance

Performance looks at the process of doing something. It may be taken to

the application or implementation of a particular skill or skills to achieve
desired or predetermined goal.

3. Communication as a Skill Based Process

As a process, communication demands both competence and performance.

Performance is perhaps the most demanded of the two since one is
expected, in fact required to communicate flawlessly. However, for us to
communicate flawlessly, we need to possess an average level of
understanding communication.

Element 3 Communication Process and Strategies

1. Key Stages in the Communication Cycle

The communication process comprises clear stages which when followed

well would ensure smooth communication. Various models have been
advanced by different people all of whom, however, share the basic two
way nature of communication. One such model that is most satisfactory is
presented by Elizabeth Kenrick et al in their book Longman Guide to
Examinations: Business Communication. The model captures the
essential elements of the complete communication cycle (Figure 11.3).


Medium Channel



Figure 11.3 might spark controversy especially that it attempts to separate concepts that
have all along been taken to be one and the same. Two sets of such are presented here.
However, the distinction between medium and channel has been clarified in earlier
sections. What might be the difference between reaction or response, reply and
feedback, if any? May be there is no distinction as all refer to ways the audience
acknowledge having received the message. It is more a question of at what stage does
each one of them come in and what form it takes. Let us consider this scenario:

Your colleague in one corner of

your open plan office calls your There was complete communication in this short
name out and asks you to pass episode. However, of the three ways of
over to him the tax index table. acknowledging receipt of message, one clearly
Without pausing in your work took place whereas the one was totally absent and
or looking up you tell him that the other was implied. Study the table below and
is fine. However, five minutes try to identify the three – reaction/response, reply
pass and your colleague walks and feedback.
over to pick up the tax index

Table 11.4
Acknowledgement Explanation
The physical or vocal action confirming that the
Response/reaction message has been heard and understood. One never
really thinks about this as it is reflex. It is not planned.
This is the planned answer you give to someone who
speaks or writes to you. This might mean what you
really feel or may be for public relations only i.e. to
Reply maintain good or bad relations without really hurting
or deliberately hurting feelings of the other person.
This is what the audience declare in the answer they
This is the acknowledgement which reflects whether
the purpose of the message has been accepted hence
followed/acted upon or it has been rejected and
Feedback therefore ignored. This means then that feedback will
always be there because it can be positive (accepted
and worked on) or negative (rejected and ignored).
Also, it is for the sender to look out for the feedback
rather than for the audience to declare it.

Element 4 Barriers to Effective Communication

1. What is a Communication Barrier?

A barrier of communication may be defined as

anything that disrupts smooth communication.
It is the scapegoat or excuse for uncompleted
work or misunderstandings.

2. Nature of Barriers of Communication

Consider the several occasions when communication breakdown has been

the excuse for failure to have certain things done, or having wrong things
happening. Can you build up an exhaustive list of causes of the
communication breakdown?
Figure 11.5
Inexhaustible list

Barriers of
Barrier in one
Vary from
situation not
situation to
necessarily a
barrier in another

3. Handling Barriers (Barrier Analysis)

Given that Figure 11.5 is true, attempting to list down standard barriers of
communication is not only unnecessary but can also be a fruitless effort.
It will therefore be more beneficial to work out more profitable
approaches which receive universal application and are practical. One
such approach is the three factor analysis encompassing People, the
Environment and the Message itself – the PEM model of analysing causes
of communication breakdown.

a) People

In many ways, communication breakdown is as a result of the

human factor. Notwithstanding psychological interpretation of
personality, we can look at some specific aspects of the human
being with a direct influence on the success of communication.
Have you thought about MASK?

Aspect Influences
Moods are a very temporary state of the mind. They
turn on and off. A good atmosphere can be instantly
spoilt by a silly remark from one of the participants in
Moods the communication. Moods are closely associated
with the self concept. They tend to distort an
individual’s perception of things either in the extreme
positive or negative sense to make one blind to the
truth or seriousness of the issue at hand.
Attitudes are sustained moods ie moods which have
an established pattern thereby becoming more regular
as a feature of one’s state of mind. Attitudes develop
Attitudes from recurrent experience and like moods can make
one blind to the true meaning of what is going on.
Examples of attitudes include prejudice, stereotype,
jealousy, envy, to mention a few.
Skills relate to the ability to do something.
Communication is about competence and
performance. The sender needs the ability to design a
message suitable to the well defined audience, choose
Skills the right medium and channels, transmit correctly and
accurately assess the impact of the message so as to
make relevant follow-ups. The audience on the other
hand needs skill in interpreting, acknowledging and
applying the received message, as well as seeking or
providing appropriate clarification when necessary.
Knowledge of the subject matter relates to correctness
and accuracy of the material in the message. The
audience is usually trusting of the sender and will take
Knowledge what is said for the truth. Poor knowledge on the part
of the sender will usually mislead the audience
resulting in wrong things being done or the right
things not being done.

b) The Environment

The environment works on the people’s moods to either turn them

on or off. Such aspects of the environment as physical noise,
technical noise, furniture, lighting, air conditioning and distance
(both proximity and proxemics), have potential to spoil the
communication process if not supportive or conducive.

c) Message

Once released, the message becomes an entity of its own quality

independent of the sender. In order for the audience to interpret it
correctly the message must be:

i) Clear i.e. neither ambiguous nor vague

ii) Complete: - providing information to answer the Who,
What, When, Where, Why and How questions;
iii) Concise – despite being so complete, the message should
be as brief and to the point as possible. People have a tendency
to see supporting information like examples more easily than
the actual point thereby swaying the direction or focus of the
communication elsewhere;
iv) Concrete – being specific of quantities, time, values, etc.
For example, instead of “The meeting will be in the morning”,
better say “The meeting is at 10.00 hours”.
v) Courteous – the audience need to be taken into
consideration in terms of their capabilities, interests,
dignity/pride, etc. Anything that might injure the feelings of
the audience would lead to the message being ignored or taken
differently. Things like information overload or indeed
inadequacy will overburden them or dilute their interpretation
capacity, respectively. Even when one has made a mistake,
correcting such a person positively would inspire them into
feeling grateful that you corrected the mistake what people
would mean by “…telling your friend to go hell in such a way
that he looks forward to the trip”.
vi) Correct – the Audience are always willing to believe what
one stands up to tell them such that if what they are told is not
correct, they will all be misled. One should therefore strive to
verify facts before passing them on to the audience.

Element 5 Steps to Effective Communication

1. Benefits of Effective Communication

Benefits which accrue to the individual and organisation with good

communication practices are many. The table below highlights some
of the benefits arising from effective communication:

Benefits to the Individual Benefits to the Organisation

 Improved knowledge  Customer satisfaction
levels  Increased sales
 Improved performance  Higher turn over
 Healthy interpersonal  Good will from customers
relations  Good public image
  Improved business

2. Proactive Approach to Barrier Analysis

The proactive approach to the barriers of communication is perhaps

the most practical way of keeping the causes of communication
breakdown under control. The cornerstone for this approach lies in the
individual’s attitude toward what ever they undertake to do, which will
oscillate between the serious and the casual.
The casual attitude encourages one to take everything lightly to such
an extent that no serious thought on what might lead to communication
breakdown will be considered. This is usually associated with the
liaises fair management style in which “fate is left to take care of
itself”. Usually this is more of a reactive approach.

On the other hand, the serious attitude towards work takes deliberate
measures to ensure that every situation is previewed closely even
critically so that all likely sources of trouble are identified and
corrective action taken. In this way one does not wait for
communication to break down first before taking action. Thus, by
being proactive through evaluating a coming communication event for
likely sources of breakdown, we achieve efficiency and effectiveness.

3. The KISS and PASS Models

i) KISS refers to Keep It Short and Simple. Effectively

this principle requires the communicator to keep his message
within reasonable length determined by necessity of detail
presented. Although people are always willing to listen to a
speaker or read whatever is sent to them, the length of the message
could have less inspiring effects.

Similarly, a message that is too complicated to comprehend will be

resented by the audience. To avoid being to complex, one should
adopt a language that is ordinary, common and familiar to the
audience. A text which needs a dictionary to be understood will
certainly be unpopular. Refer to the following section for more on
suitable language.

ii) PASS

For communication to be successful and effective, serious

consideration of the purpose, audience, structure and style of the
communication must be made:

i) Purpose: What is the communication meant to

achieve – is it to inform, advice, request, soothe, hurt, or what?
All effort and detail will be directed towards achieving the set
purpose which acts as the motive for the communication. The
sender must therefore be clear of the purpose so as to be

ii) Audience: Who is the intended audience of the

message? The various methods of analysing the target
audience of the communication should be applied so that one
can achieve the six Cs discussed above. The audience may be:

♦ Internal – the middle set in figure 11.6 (also refer

to Element 1.5 above);

♦ External – as clients to the organisation being

suppliers or consumers of the goods or services the
organisation offers or those who monitor quality or

Figure 11.6 Full spectrum of Audience in terms of relationship with sender









♦ The audience may also be considered in other terms

such as:

 Age:- children, teenagers, adults, elderly

 Size: – how many (one, two, small group
or crowd)
 Gender composition:- male/female
 Professional levels
 Social standing
 Personal or corporate

iii) Structure: a suitable form or design must be adopted

to most effectively and efficiently deliver the message. This is
in line with the level, purpose and audience of the
communication. When dealing with a corporate client, for
example, a letter would be used to document formal
arrangement. The sender must therefore think about the safest
way to present their material to ensure effectiveness. We shall
deal with the various structures in succeeding sections.

iv) Style: the language employed will vary from situation

to situation and from individual to individual. However, style
in this case refers to the use of language. The sender has to
find a language that is made of words which meet the
PADCAP profile:

Figure 11.7


Popular Appropriate


Active Dignified

Active Colourful

4. The 10 Commandments Model

Another model towards effective communication is that looking at the

sender’s attitude in the whole communication event. The sender’s
attitude must be that which emphasizes the “you” rather than the “I”.
In this regard he sender must:

i) Seek to clarify his/her idea before communicating;

ii) Examine the true purpose of each communication;

iii) Consider the total physical environmental and human

setting whenever communicating;

iv) Be aware, while communicating, of overtones as well

as the basic content of the message;

v) Take the opportunity, when it arises, to convey

something of help or value to the recipient;

vi) Follow up the communications;

vii) Be sure actions support the communications;

viii) Seek to not only to be understood, but to understand;

ix) Be a good listener.

Element 6 Electronic Communication

1. Focus

Our main focus in the area of electronic media is to explore the various
options of transmission available to communication beside the
conventional face to face and paper based options. These are the
options pertaining to oral and written communication, respectively.
This is the communication between people who are separated in time
and/or space.

2. Options for Oral

Electronic oral communication centres on the use of the phone system

which has experienced great improvement over time. People in for
away locations from one another are able to converse just like in face
to face settings. Distance has been compromised.

Major developments in the phone system have brought about:

a) The telephone
The Switchboard allows several offices (extensions) to be
connected to the same line in the building or premises. Thus
people do not have to leave their offices to talk to their colleagues.
The switchboard itself has improved from the Private Manual Box
Exchange (PMBX) to the Private Automatic Box Exchange

i) The PMBX

 The switchboard operator routes all calls – incoming

or internal from extension to extension;
 Only one conversation is allowed to take place at a

ii) The PABX

 Operator deals with incoming calls only;

 Extensions automatically connect one another;
 Many conversations are allowed to take place at the
same time;
 Operator can alert or even interrupt extension
engaged in conversation when an incoming call comes.

b) The Intelligent Handset

The telephone handset has been further developed to include

facilities such as:

i) Answering:

 phone can be programmed to provide information

that might be helpful the caller when the person being
called is not in the office;
 the caller is not totally frustrated at not finding the
person being called.

ii) Voice Recording:

 Allows the caller who does not find the person being
called to leave a message on the hand set;
 Allows the person being called to access the message
left by the caller, which could have otherwise been

c) The Radio
The radio is popular among security personnel. However, it is a
loud speaking facility which allows other people to hear the full

d) The codeless phone

This allows one to converse with customers within a radius of say

fifty metres from the desk where the receiver is. It means then that
one does not have to be in the office to talk on the phone as long as
he/she is within the premises.

The codeless is common and popular in plants or warehouses

where the supervisor is expected to be different work points all the

e) Pagers

This facility was (and might still be) commonly used by people on
call. These are people whose services are required twenty four
hours, like doctors, site engineers. It is an alarm system which
prompts the person that they are needed and should either quickly
get to the office/site or to the nearest phone to obtain full details of
the emergency.

f) The Cell (mobile) Phone

The mobile phone has replaced the paging machines as well as the
telephone in many instances. Among other advantages:

 Allows all round access (twenty four hour and anywhere);

 Allows full conversation;
 Provides for voice message when out of coverage area or
the phone is switched off.

The main challenges of oral electronic communication in addition to

those of oral communication in general (see Unit 12) centre on:

a) Associated costs:- procuring and maintaining the electronic

devices, time based billing ie the longer you take on the phone, the
more you pay
b) Distance:- being separated from the audience, the sender may not
really present the “right” message in the little time he/she has on
the phone.

3. Options for Written

Electronic communication in writing evolves around two major

concepts – soft copy and hard copy. The hard copy is a print out of the
soft copy.

a) The computer and the mobile phone.

List down some of the advantages of using the computer and the
mobile phone in written electronic communication.

Did you include the following in your list?

 The sender has the opportunity to view and edit his

message before transmitting it;

 The same message can be transmitted in a fraction of a


 The same message can be transmitted to a number of

recipients at the same time at the click of a button;

 The message can be stored and retrieved easily.

b) The Fax Machine:

The fax is one of the developments of the telephone. It allows

transmission of any form of paper based information to anywhere
in an instant.
10 Oral communication

Oral communication is perhaps the commonest medium of communication ever known.

It is illiterate – one does not need to go to school in order to be able to use oral
communication; it is usually option one before written; it can be formal; is usually
informal; is face to face or on the phone; applies under all types – intrapersonal,
interpersonal, public and mass. Oral communication depends on the two major skills –
Listening and Speaking. The various circumstances under which oral communication
takes place will be explored in this Unit. However, people in offices turn out to be more
productive when they spend more time interacting orally than we do in writing:

Oral communication is the life blood of our personal and business lives. We do it so
naturally and frequently that there is a danger in taking it for granted. (Shirley Taylor

It is for this reason that this unit focuses primarily on the two key skills (listening and
speaking) and their attendant challenges.


Element 1 Effective Listening Skills

We should perhaps begin with listening skills because they are receptive –
they enhance our chances of accessing more knowledge, experience and
wisdom. After all we are expected to receive more information from other
people than we give out – consider the myth of two ears as compared to only
one mouth!

In fact it is held that people at work spend about 80% of their time
communicating and approximately 60% of this time is spent listening to
what others say.

1. Circumstances and Value of Effective Listening

a) Oral Communication Events

In most cases the situations challenging us to listen effectively are

brief yet with long lasting implications. The oral communication
events usually fit into the picture in figure 12.1. The listed
characteristics pause various challenges on the listener, hence the
need for us to look at the specific barriers affecting effective

Listening is active, whereas hearing is passive.

b) Effective Listening, among other things:

i) Produces better relationships and better
understanding among parties communicating;
ii) Provides information i.e. elevates levels of
knowledge in people;
iii) Stimulates new ideas
iv) Motivates others to improve their listening

c) Poor Listening results in:

i) misunderstandings, especially if the
message is to be relayed or conveyed to others;
ii) individuals missing appointments or
failing to grasp salient issues in a conversation;
iii) fatal outcomes, in emergencies, and can
undermine the whole essence or development of a business or
Figure 12.1




Starting point for

more formal Live


2. Key barriers of Effective Listening

Table 12.1
Key Barrier Nature of the Barrier
There is a discrepancy between the human capacity to listen as compared to the
a) Human capacity for speaking. Speech is slower than listening perhaps because it is
Capacity more physical. Due to this the listener’s mind has the tendency to wander away
from the listening event, during which he/she might miss some critical points;

Since most listening events are live, chances of distracters like noise, third
b) Distracters parties (other human beings), objects and events, are high thereby pausing
threats to the successfulness of the oral communication. This is a particularly
difficult barrier especially that the eyes and ears are so stubborn when they see
or hear what they are not supposed to, drawing them away is practically
impossible. However, remember that distracters compete four your attention;

As seen somewhere above, the tendency to emphasise examples or other

c) Distinguishing main supporting information at the expense of the main point is high. The listener is
points from therefore tempted to neglect the main issue at times because the example given
supporting detail is easier to understand.
d) Retention Common because:
i) We receive (hear) a lot of information
at any given time;
ii) Because we are rarely attach practical
application and relevance what we receive.
iii) When we fail to back up our listening
with record of what we received

3. Achieving effective listening

a) Involves

i) Active listening which requires

understanding of the message and the ability to make effective
judgments on what has been said;

ii) Listening to what is actually said, not what

you would you like to hear or what you expect to hear.

b) Is characterised by:

i) Positive body language

ii) Attentive body pose

iii) Summarising during various stages of a

conservation to ensure all parties share the same meaning.

c) May be classified into

i) Attentive listening – for important or

highly relevant information.
ii) Empathetic listening – to adjust oneself to
the speakers levels is feelings, emotions and attitude.

iii) Casual listening – for pleasure where we

may respond in a light hearted manner using figurative
expressions as a mean of enjoying the language used.

d) A good listener

i) Listens to facts and remembers key words.

ii) Listens for feelings, interprets the

speaker’s point of view, observes his non verbal
communications and listens to what is not said (filling in)

iii) Does not allow own emotions and

prejudices to determine value of what is being said.

iv) May paraphrase speaker’s message to

confirm correct interpretation.

v) Is willing to listen;

vi) Has a genuine and positive interest.

vii) An active listener has the positive attitude.

viii) Is prepared for the event. When one does

not put himself in the right frame of mind listening will fail;

ix) Does not interrupt the speaker any how

i.e. allow the speaker to finish saying what they have to say
before coming in with questions or other contributions

x) Familiarises him/her with the subject of

discussion. This is particularly important because when you
are familiar with the topic it will be easy to follow the speaker
through his/her message.

xi) Keeps the speaker in sight so that you

receive both the verbal and nonverbal message – the nonverbal
comes through body language which the listener must access.
(It is not possible to establish and keep eye contact because the
speaker’s gaze sweeps through the entire audience not just the
one listener;
xii) Distinguishes main points from supporting
detail because not all that is said weighs the same. Some detail
is to make the main point clearer;

xiii) Does not allow your existing knowledge

about the subject or the speaker interfere with your listening.
Previous or old knowledge can influence your interpretation of
the message;

xiv) Seeks clarification when appropriate i.e.

the speaker may use the pause as signal for questions, or may
directly invite the questions;

xv) Makes note of salient points.

Element 2 Effective Questioning Skills

1. Circumstances and Value of Efficient Questions

Questions are a way of seeking information from other people. This

means that there is an information gap in one that hey would like to fill

The information sought through questions may be for use in specific

situations such as performing a particular task or decision making on a
particular matter,

Questions may be asked as one off or in a scheduled manner as during

an interview. At times they may be asked as part of a casual

2. Possible interpretation of Well Meant Questions

Questions may not always be understood in the same manner. Quite

often the question can be misinterpreted by the audience, depending on
the circumstances. For example, one would consider some question as
being sarcasm. The real problem is in fact the defensive stance
adopted by the people being asked. To a large extent, past experience,
timing the questions and relationships between the participants in the
communication as well as the message or topic of enquiry. At times
questions are posed as a way of suggesting something.

3. Types of Questions
Two major approaches can be applied in analysing or classifying
Table 12.2

Class 1 Class 2
a) Closed Questions – direct, a) Identification Questions – help name the
Yes/No answer questions or one word point of enquiry e.g. “What is the formula do
answer questions, e.g. “Where do you you use to work out personal tax?” or “Who is
live?” or “Do you know how to work in responsible for Accounts Payable?”
Microsoft Excel?”
b) Open Ended – have no b) Location Questions – these place the item
specific answer, let alone a short one. of enquiry in time and /or space, e.g.
They leave it to the respondent to give out i) In space “Where are the invoices
whatever detail they may have, e.g. kept? “or
“How can we protect client ii) In time “When do we do the
information?” banking?”
c) Leading questions – drive the c) Justification Questions – providing
respondent in some direction so that they reasons for the point of enquiry, e.g. “Why are
may confirm the assumption or our expenses in excess of the revenue?”
hypothesis, e.g. “You are the one
working on the MD’s case, aren’t you?”
d) Follow up questions – used to d) Outlining Questions – help provide
elicit information from reluctant or appearance or design or composition of the
uncooperative respondents. They point of enquiry, e.g. “How do you go about
normally take a slightly different creating the customer data base?”
direction from the one adopted at the
e) Loaded questions – seeking
more detail than a single item of enquiry,
asking about many things within one

We will revisit the topic in 12.6 (Interviewing as a communication tool) below.

Element 3 Note making/Note Taking

1. The Difference between Note Making and Note Taking

Is there a real distinction between note making and note taking? Many
writers on the subject seem to use the two interchangeably. Others
suggest that Note making is when you jot down brief notes from a
written source while they associate note taking with oral sources.
However, here we want to take the two a step further by looking at
what the terms Not Making and Note Taking allude to:

a) Note Making

 Making notes from whatever the source

(written or oral)
 Constructing something new from the
original source – may be shorter than the source but usually
containing all key information from the source.

b) Note Taking

 Writing down notes that have been given as in dictation, or

copying down a text that has been given for the purpose.

In this text we shall use Note Making to denote the activity that makes
the effective listener retain the core of the message received whether
from an oral source or a written one.

2. Barriers to Efficient Note Making

Note making especially from an oral source is hampered by two major

problems – speech speed visa vis Writing Speed and Interpretation.

a) Speed Discrepancy

This is the discrepancy between the speed at which the speaker

speaks and the pace at which notes may be written. Writing is
more physically involving than speaking and is therefore naturally
slower. Besides, to come up with good notes one has to think and
judge as well as write in such a way that he/she is not left far
behind by the speaker.

b) Interpretation

Interpretation refers to making the right decision on meaning from

the received text. Not everything uttered is the substance of the
message. The listener (as well as reader in making notes from
written sources) only retains what contributes to the message and
not everything.

3. Improving Note Making

4. a) Overcoming the Speech Speed/Writing Speed Variance

i) Thinking ahead of the speaker: - predict what the speaker is

likely to cover in the next part of the presentation. This is
possible when the listener is familiar with the topic of
ii) Develop a “Short hand”: - by short hand we mean a form
of compressed writing where the outcome notes are shorter
than the original text. This entails:

 Using abbreviations – writing short forms of words

so as to avoid worrying about correct spelling, which can
really slow you;

 Using acronyms – shortening long titles into word

sounding expressions made up of key letters or sound
segments of the full title, such as ZICA, ZAMIM, NIPA,
UNESCO. Note that these are different from abbreviated
forms like GRZ for the Government of the Republic of
Zambia, WHO for the World Health Organisation which
are not pronounced as single words;

 Using symbols – using some form of graphics to

reflect meaning units i.e. relationships between various
words to give an idea;

 Using bullet points – writing short forms of main

points/ideas without using full sentences. Full sentences
will slow you down as you worry about correct grammar;

 Using numbered outlines – presenting the text by

way of using numbered and headed sections and bulleted
points. This is what you do when you write an essay plan
or report outline.

♦ Abbreviations and symbols can be personal or standard. Personal are those
that only you the user would understand while standard ones are those with
universal meaning, such as scientific and mathematical symbols
♦ Outlines require accurate interpretation.

iii) Overcoming Interpretation

The solution to accurate interpretation lies in understanding

patterns of scientific thought! Thought comprises components
which can be scientifically analysed, such that if the listener is
able to recognise segments, accurate meaning would be
discerned. The components are:
Table 12.3

Component Basic Part Explanation

1. Information Structure – equated ♦ naming part e.g. “Jesus” ♦ identifies the subject of
to the sentence the shortest of which the idea
is made up of two words e.g. “Jesus ♦ says something about
♦ telling part e.g. “wept”
the subject
♦ Theme statement also ♦ An assertion or claim
2. Point Development – similar to called the Topic Sentence which provokes question of
the paragraph in written completeness – who, what,
communication ♦ Supporting Detail where, when, why, How?
♦ Details which provide
answers to the questions
raised in the theme
♦ Title ♦ A very brief statement
that throws light on what
the text/message is all
about (the subject). It
must provide very smooth
continuity to “I am talking
about ….” It provides a
smooth opening of the text
3. Textual Organisation – the way a ♦ Gives the speaker’s or
message is organised, whether
♦ Introduction
writer’s purpose of the
spoken or written communication, may refer
to any previous
communication on the
matter, and it will indicate
the scope of coverage for
this text/indicates what the
text will cover or include.
All in all, the introduction
brings the audience to the
same level as the
♦ Details/body ♦ Takes the audience
through the contents step
by step, developing each
point as completely as
possible in line with “point
development as above;
♦ Reviews the contents
♦ Conclusion of the text by highlighting
the key issues raised in the
text, in a more matter of
fact way thereby
confirming or rejecting the
applicability/correctness or
accuracy of the ideas
covered. It may advise on
the way forward or “What
next?” or advise on how
best the ideas given can be
applied or be of benefit to
the audience. Ultimately,
it provides a smooth end to
the text.


It should be noted that paying attention to the opening part will allow the audience
to apply prediction and outline formats.

Element 4 Effective Public Presentations and Speaking

There are many occasions that demand of the accounting person to make
public presentations to different audiences – internal and/or external.
Public presentations and speaking are therefore an integral part of the
accountant’s job. Whatever the occasion(s), public presentations are about
speaking skills.

1. Circumstances/the Context of Public Presentations

Elements of the context of public presentation events may be described

in terms of the following:

(see Unit

Venue (see Fig 11.6
Unit 11.5 )


Time Occasion


The first two elements of the context in the diagram have been
adequately explained in the parts of this text highlighted. The others
are given in table 12 below.
Table 12.4

Element of Context Explanation

What is the setting of the event – briefing, reporting,
a) business meeting, consultative meeting, product launch, etc?
Occasion This helps set the mood/atmosphere to follow.
b) Theme provides a point of focus for the event. At least each
Theme/focus event/occasion has a point of focus if not theme. This is
usually in line with the purpose and helps maintain
Two aspects of time will apply in the circumstances of public
c) i) Duration of the presentation or talk
Time ii) Period of the day
Both aspects are significant to the presenter as they have
some influence on his/her performance. Duration guides in
length/amount of information of the presentation while
period of the day holds some explanation to audience
d) Where the presentation takes place will influence the
Venue performance, mood and attitude of both the audience and the
2. Challenges of Public Speaking
All occasions requiring one to speak to others as individuals or
representative groups present the speaker with a number of challenges
arising from the whole context of the event. The key challenges arise

a) Audience input – this is usually restricted to physical and/or

vocal (nonverbal behaviour) the larger the group one is addressing.
In fact number itself becomes a challenge because one has to touch
everyone in the group with his/her special message;

b) Interpreting non verbal signals – since audience input is

limited to nonverbal performance, interpreting the signals may not
be that simple. The non verbal signals to watch out for relate to:

i) Voice – various aspects of the voice would signal

different messages. Such vocal variety as pitch (volume),
tone, intonation, and accent as well as silence (absence of
voice) all emphasise something whenever they occur.

ii) Appearance – one’s looks can be interpreted to

mean different things. The physical build, wardrobe (dress
and make up) and grooming (tidiness, hair styles, the step,
mannerisms, etc) suggest something about the audience
which you must pay attention to. Primarily, it reveals a lot
about the nature of your audience.

iii) Body Language – touch (hand shakes, pats, hugs),

facial expressions, gesture (hand, arm movements, etc),
posture, pacing up and down, etc all constitute body
language that the speaker must observe closely. These come
from deep down and would reflect one’s true feelings,
emotions, towards something, such that if followed, they
would enable the speaker to adjust his performance so as to
address the concerns reflecting through the body language.

iv) Space – the use of space also signals something of

the person’s moods, attitudes, and feelings towards what is
being said or the speaker. Being too close suggests
friendliness while keeping a distance may suggest some

c) Holding the audience – this is perhaps the most delicate

challenge facing the speaker. The audience want both your verbal
and nonverbal messages, i.e. both what you say and how you say it
matters to your audience.
i) Content of your presentation is what might draw your
audience to you initially. The way this is organised will hold
them further;

ii) Articulation will contribute to audience satisfaction and

keeping them will be more guaranteed. Your voice coupled
with fluency and command of the language – pronunciation,
stress, rhythm and pace, clarity, etc will help keep your

iii) Strategy – your approach to the whole presentation

would probably be the pivot for holding your audience. This
relates to presentation variation and audience interface ie what
goes with your spoken word and how much do you involve
your audience?

3. Dealing with the Challenges

A good speaker is one who makes listening easy for his/her audience.
To successfully deal with the various challenges:

a) Plan your presentation

i) Set your objective(s) clear – what is the desired

ii) Research your subject, audience and venue thoroughly;
iii) Identify the key points in your presentation;
iv) Arrange your points into a desired sequence so as to
achieve impact;
v) Decide and design suitable audio and/or visual aids to
vi) Prepare the presentation outline as reading word for
word may not only be unnecessary but boring for your
audience also;
vii) Rehearse your presentation so as to master the major

b) Face your audience

i) Arrive early and take note of the arrangements and

identify items/objects that you may use to your advantage;

ii) Mount your presentation aids if any and test them to

ensure they are in perfect operating order;
iii) Give your self enough physical space to manoeuvre
and move about if you will deliver your presentation from a
standing position;

iv) Be yourself – take a position that allows your audience

to see you and you them;

v) Keep your audience under your gaze as this shows how

confident you are and how much interest in them you have,
otherwise you might lose them once they realise you are not
watching them;

c) Make your presentation

i) Speak with confidence

ii) Use a tone, pace and voice level that are suitable for
the subject, purpose, audience and venue;

iii) Stick to your plan:

 Give a powerful opening where you gain audience

attention; establish credibility, state your purpose and steer
up audience interest in you and your presentation;
 Ensure each point you give contains a statement of
fact, supporting material and a logical ending;
 Ensure smooth transition between points;
 End with a memorable pronouncement after
reviewing of key ideas or arguments and linking these to
your opening purpose. You may even call audience to
 Use a language befitting of the event – the

d) Engage your audience

There are various ways of engaging your audience so that they can
be part of the presentation:

i) Keep them in your gaze as a sign of interest in them

ii) Invite them to supply examples from their own


iii) Pause rhetorical questions which keep them thinking

iv) Use your vocal variety effectively

e) Use your presentation aids effectively

Introduce your audio visual aids appropriately where they are

relevant and enhance understanding.

Your presentation is meant to be understood by
the audience the first time!

Element 5 Preparing for Meetings, Seminars, Conferences and Interviews

Meetings, Seminars, conferences and interviews are some of the special

activities that the accounting technician may be required to organise, for the
employer and employees. A good understanding of each one of the events
will assist in appreciating the necessary steps towards their arrangement.

1. Meetings

a) Definition

Let us consider a meeting as “a formal conversation”. In this

definition both the words ‘formal’ and ‘conversation’ provide the
basis of the special nature of meetings in the business organization.

b) Characteristics

A meeting is characterized by the 5 Ps

Figure 12.2

Roles and
Powers Functions


Various meeting
documents Procedures

i) Purpose: what is the main function of the meeting?

ii) People: what are the roles and functions of the

people attending a meeting – Chairman/chairperson; Secretary
or Member (hence conversation, at least three people). The
personality of the people attending the meeting will determine
the flow of business of the meeting. However, the
Chairman/person is generally responsible for maintaining order
and discipline in the meeting;

iii) Procedures: rules and practices governing the

structure and conduct of the meeting. These determine the
formality of the conversation. Procedures vary from meeting
to meeting and the Chairman/person ensures that they are
enforced during the meeting;

iv) Papers: these are the documents which are

associated with meetings such as the Notice, Agenda, Minutes
and other reports or correspondence that pertain to the business
of the meeting;

v) Powers: what can the meeting do or how far can it

go in implementing/enforcing its resolutions? Some meetings
have the capacity to direct implementation of resolutions while
others are just a recommending forum;
c) Organisation

Organisation of meetings can be considered in three stages –

before, during, and after the meeting. Organising meetings is
usually the duty of the Secretary in conjunction with the
Chairman/person. Some of the specific things expected of the
Secretary in preparation for (before) a meeting include:

i. Determining the specific purpose of the proposed

meeting which may be to:

 Instruct (command meeting)

 Advise (advisory meeting)
 Brainstorm – generating ideas or solutions to a
problem (brainstorming meeting)
 Consult (consultative meeting)
 Corporate plan (planning meeting)
 Negotiate (negotiation meeting)
 Club members’ meeting (general meeting),
 Provide dialogue between members
 Monitoring and evaluating performance
 Making policy and other decisions, etc.

ii. Determining the people to attend the meeting and

inviting them;

Determining who is to attend the meeting is quite important in

organising meetings. Are these going to be workmates
(internal), clients (outsiders), combination of workmates and
outsiders, regular members (e.g. of a committee) or proxies and
guests or a combination? Is it Board members or

Method of invitation will depend on who the people to attend

the meeting are.

 Workmates memorandum or
display notice (poster)

 Clients letter or card

Depending on the nature of the meeting, notice should be

adequate in line with the organisation’s standing orders or at
least one week for committee meetings, at least two months for
general meetings.
The less formal meetings and calendared meetings, however,
notice may take other forms such as word of mouth by phone
or in person, informal notes like the complimentary slip.

The notice must clearly indicate:

 The type of meeting – Annual general meeting,

Ordinary meeting, Standing committee meeting, occasional
advisory committee meeting, or ad hoc meeting;
 People involved (whose meeting);
 Venue, time and date of the meeting;
 Focus of the meeting (may refer to the agenda);
 Any additional information deemed necessary.

iii. Preparing the venue;

Preparation of the venue depends on type of meeting, how

many people are to attend the meeting, size of the room,
presentation aids and anticipated duration of the meeting.
Preparations will include:

 Seating arrangement;
 Positioning of presentation aids;
 Taking attendance;
 Refreshments if any;

iv. Budgeting for the meeting

Every meeting should go with a budget which provides for

refreshments, stationery, and any other expenses that may be
necessary from situation to situation.

d) Roles and Functions

Fill in the table below by writing down at least three functions of

each of the three roles you may play in a meeting:
Table 12.5

Chairman/person Secretary Member

2. Seminar and Conference

Seminars and Conferences are skills and knowledge sharing and

a) Role
imparting of the organiser
occasions where people of a trade or occupation meet
experts who present papers on various aspects of their areas of
The organiser needsThey
trade/specialisation. to carry
mayout a number ofastasks:
be considered training sessions.

(a) Role of the organiser

i) Planning: identifying all requirements for the seminar such

as stationery, presentation aids, catering, transport, secretarial
services, equipment, funding/budget, etc:

ii) Identifying and inviting participants

iii) Identifying and inviting resource persons or speakers;

iv) Choosing the venue;

v) Designing a programme indicating day, time, event/topic,

discussion/event leader or speaker for the whole duration of the

vi) Prepare certificates of attendance to be issued to all the

participants at the end of the conference or seminar;

vii) Ensuring that the programme is followed as closely as

possible all the duration of the event.

The organiser must always ensure that the programme is followed

and that there are enough people to assist in the running up and
down during the seminar/conference so that there is nothing

b) Follow up activities

i) Evaluation: - the
seminar/conference will need to be evaluated by the

ii) Draw an action plan from the

resolutions made;
iii) Prepare reports and other
documents on which people might base their next actions;

iv) Monitor implementation of

the action plan tasks, etc.

3. Interview

a) Nature of an interview

The interview can be defined as “a structured conversation”, ie it is

oral. The major function of an interview is to gather information
from people by talking to them. The information thus collected
may be used to direct decision making and guide actions. Details
of the areas of application of interviews are in Element 6 below.
However, its key characteristics are summarised in table 12. 6:

Table 12.6
Characteristic Explanation
♦ Interviewer  Seeks information by asking specific
 Knows exactly what information is
 Stirs the interview in a particular direction
to elicit the information being sought
♦ Interviewee  Provides information to the
 Does not know the exact
information sought in advance
 Feels intimidated because the
direction of the interview is determined by the
♦ Stru  Arrangement and flow of
cture questions from beginning to the end;
 Opens with establishing rapport,
explaining purpose
 Beginning with friendly low key
questions building into sequence of increasingly
more specific questions ending up with
invitation to the interviewee to ask any questions;
 The structure of the interview will
vary according to the specific purpose(s)
♦ Bala  Who does how much talking
nce depends on the purpose of the interview but it is
important to allocate adequate time for each
participant to air their views.
♦ Atm  The character of the room –
osphere arrangement of furniture and props;
 Number and even ender of people
 Appearance of the interviewee
All contribute to the atmosphere of the interview
♦ Proc The purpose will determine the way in which the
interview is conducted:
 Standardised – following a
predictable sequence of questions based on a

 Individualised – interviewer uses
wide range of questions designed to lead to an in
depth exploration of the problem;
 Stress – interviewer deliberately
aggressive and unpredictable in order to test

b) Role of the organiser

The organiser of interviews operates on the two stage process:

i) Preparation:

 Identify the particular objectives;

 Gather and organise relevant information thus being
conversant with the subject area of the interview;
 Gather and consider information about the person to
be interviewed so as to help develop general lines of
 Arrange and set the venue i.e. notification, reception
arrangements and establishing an environment that will be
supportive of the objectives;
 Run through what you as the interviewer are going
to say;
 Determine type of interview – one on one or panel?

ii) Conduct

Conduct the interview as a four part event on the WASP


 Welcome: put the interviewee at ease, explain the

purpose of the interview, explain any special restrictions
and/or privileges;
 Ask: use questions prepared in advance based on the
objectives of the interview and circumstances of the
 Supply: provide full and honest responses to
interviewee’s questions – back up assertions with examples
and be reasonably concise (interviewer should only do 20 –
30% talking;
 Parting: end the interaction on a positive note –
summarise the conclusions and identify when, what and
how any action arising from the interview will be

c) Follow up activities

i) Prepare the report on the

proceedings during the interview;

ii) Write appropriate

correspondence to formally communicate specific
recommendations arising from the interviews.

Element 6 Interviewing as a Communication tool

Interviews play a very important role in the business organisation. It is the

most effective interactive method of collecting information from different
quarters of the organisations. In the process of collecting information, the
interviewer creates confidence in the interviewee by demonstrating how
important he/she holds the interviewee by talking to them. In this regard,
interviews create the sense of unity and recognition among the staff.

Specific areas where interviews play a significant role are:

1. Selection

These are the interviews on whose basis job applicants are hired. The
way applicants (and hence new employees) feel about the organisation
will be influenced by the way their selection interviews are conducted.

The interviewer’s main goals are to determine the applicant’s suitability

for the job, to give him the correct picture of the job as well as to create
and maintain the good will of the organisation. He will therefore include
the following topics:

a) Work experience, emphasising jobs recently held;

b) Educational background, including both formal and

informal training.
c) Outside interests, especially those that might affect the
individual’s job performance.

d) Physical characteristics, if such factors are important for

the job

The seven point interview plan is a useful guide to conducting selection

interviews. The interviewers explore the applicant’s key areas as they
would each contribute in one way or the other to accurate assessment of
the candidate:

Figure 12.3 The DISCGAP Interview Plan

One’s personality,
availability &
Activities on
How does the
which one spends
applicant look
his free time as a
physically, in
way of recreation
relation to the job

Attainments Seven point Special Aptitudes

The applicant’s Interview Plan Any special skills
certificated of significance to
qualification – the job that the
both academic & applicant might
professional have

General Circumstances
Intelligence The applicant’s
How domestic (family)
knowledgeable and responsibilities –
sharp is the these suggest one’s
applicant? commitment

2. Orientation

To acquaint new employees with their jobs and with the range of duties
involved. It also looks at the organisation so that the new employee may
fit into the new environment well.

The interview if well conducted will provide the new employee with a
desire to learn and be a good member of the organisation.

3. Performance Appraisal

Conducted on the employee by the employee’s immediate supervisor to

measure the employee’s performance of the job.

The interview is strongly evaluative in nature and may provide merit to

pay awards of the employee. It identifies employee’s achievements
during the period under review, failures which might have been
experienced, their causes and possible remedies. In the process, the
interview identifies the employee’s potential, training and development
needs, job- person mismatch, etc.

The performance appraisal interview should be conducted periodically

so that it serves as a powerful instrument for monitoring performance
standards and creating the organisation culture.

However, both appraiser and appraisee need to be adequately briefed on

the exercise. The interview has come as a good replacement for the
Annual Confidential Report Forms that used to be filled with little input
from the employee.

4. Disciplinary

The interview is conducted when an employee has errored in his conduct

or his performance to the extent that they require disciplinary action.

The interview seeks to establish what offence was committed, the

circumstances under which it was committed, whether or not it could
have been avoided, the costs of repairing the damage, and perhaps the
most suitable disciplinary action to be handed down.

The interview allows the employee the opportunity to objectively look at

his case with his superiors.

5. Grievance

This interview is conducted ideally by the employee’s supervisor who

recognises the existence of a grievance in his subordinate.

During the interview, the complaint is identified, causes highlighted and

remedies explored.

6. Counselling

This interview is corrected in nature and may be conducted by a panel or

individual interested with the behavioural aspect of the personnel (a
councillor). It is often conducted when recurrent deviant conduct is
detected in an employee.

The interview seeks to identify, among other things, the unbecoming

deviant conduct, what cause it, its effects and why it becomes necessary
to change.
7. Exit

This interview is conducted whenever an employee leaves employment

due to dismissal or resignation. It may be conducted by the employee’s
immediate supervisor or one responsible for the human resource of the

a) Dismissal: explain backgrounds of dismissal and assure employee

that the dismissal is in the interest of both the employee and the
organization and that it is not the end of the world.

b) Resignation: determine reasons for the resignation and give

encouragement to employee in their new endeavours.

Whatever the case, the interview sets out to establish improvements in the
job on order to maximise staff retention.
11 Written communication

Written communication may take many forms. It occupies a very special position in the
organisation due to the several characteristics visa vis oral communication.

It often works as a confirmation or endorsement of oral commitments, it has a

permanency and contractual status, as evidence of previous transaction/agreement,
provides a history of an activity and provides back up proof. Written texts make
information easily available to an unlimited audience as it can be reproduced.

Written communication allows us time to plan our message or indeed study the message
closely to make out the desired interpretation.

Once written down, words are themselves pinned down, selected, representative,
deliberate, permanent and important in their own right.


By the end of the unit, we should be able to

a) Plan the written communication effectively;

b) Choose the appropriate form of written communication in the

given situation;

c) Send precise texts closely edited and proof read.

Element 1 Types of Written Communication

Written communication in offices can be discussed in terms of informal and

formal levels. There are many instances when writing in the office can be
1. Informal written communication

Table 13.1 below summarises the common types of written communication:

Table 13.1

Level Type Explanation/example

 Diary Entries
 Work plans
Intrapersonal  “Things to do”
 Prompters, etc
Interpersonal  Informal notes e.g. on
complimentary slip
 “While you were away”
messages etc

2. Formal written communication

Unit 11.6 above outlines major characteristics of formal

communication. However, all written communication in offices (even
that which we have described as informal) should be treated with some
degree of formality i.e.

a) Structure should be in accordance to the type of document


b) The language should meet the PADCAP model

c) There should be no short forms like can’t, don’t, won’t or

abbreviations, except acronyms (ZICA, ZAMIM, UNZA, NIPA)
and abbreviations like GRZ, UNDP, EU, etc.

d) It should be free of colloquialisms such as false starts,

slang, etc.

Element 2 Drafting Methods and Techniques

1. Planning the Formal Writing

a) The formal written message requires serious planning


 It will be the official stand on an issue;

 It will be the basis for action
 It will remain on record for ever
 It will be circulated to many and
 It will always remain the same such that
 Its contents will be interpreted in the same way all
the time.
b) The planning should look at PASS
Table 13.2

Focus Content
i)  What
Purpose exactly is the purpose of the current effort – is it to
advise, to inform, to regulate/control/correct, to
instruct/request/persuade, or what?
 Understan
d or define the problem/subject in order to identify the
purpose easily
ii)  Who are
Audience you addressing yourself to – is it the end
user/implementer or channel, is it someone within the
organisation or a client, is it one or more people, etc?
iii)  What is
Structure the best format to use on the subject – a memo, letter,
report, or what?
 Organise
the material you have on the subject logically so that
it may serve the purpose.
iv)  Being
Style formal, the formal message lacks the direct non verbal
message. However, through your language, non
verbal undertones, tone, attitudes, emotions and other
non verbal elements will surface so as to give your
message its full meaning.

2. Sources of and Collecting Information

Table 13.3

Category Source Characteristics Methods of collection

Primary People  Always there ♦ Interviews
 Stay in organisation ♦ Questionnaires
limited ♦ Observation
 Can change statements ♦ Focus groups or
e.g. can deny having said panel discussion groups
anything (e.g. committees)
 Limited memory ♦ Experimentation.
 Affected by emotion,
attitudes and other
personality aspects
Secondary Files  Storage place for ♦ Desk or library study
various documents e.g.
invoices, quotations, orders,
memos, letters, reports,
minutes of meetings, etc
 An invaluable history
of operations and
 Permanent since
 Vulnerable to physical
 Demands systematic
Books  Permanent record of ♦ Desk or library study
transactions e.g. books of
prime entry
 Permanent source of
theories, standards, etc e.g.
text books and manuals

3. Note Making

As seen above note making is necessary at all stages and levels of

one’s work. The skills explored will apply here, too.

Expand notes However, considering that the notes are jotted in a short hand, chances
within 24 are that the abbreviations, symbols and other graphical methods will
hours of
writing them be confusing to notes maker if they are not revised or revisited within
a short period after writing them. This short period would be within
24 hours of writing the notes.

4. Verifying and Validating Information

In view of the fact that people see things differently, it is likely that the
information gathered whether from primary or secondary sources may
not be the only perspective on the topic of interest.

It is therefore important that the gathered information is verified

through double checking facts with other related views and validated
to determine the truth of it.

5. Organising the material:

The collected information, in line with the analysis should be ordered
into a sequence that makes sense and gives a smooth or logical flow.
Most of this information will make the body of the text but will help
make the introduction and point to areas further which needs research/

a) The Introduction

This entails writing the document following the appropriate

format/ layout. The introduction should clearly state the purpose,
background and scope of coverage.

b) The Details

This section is designed to explain the purpose tying it up with the

background to the points under scope. Each point will be
developed in full so as to reveal the essence of writing.

c) The Conclusion

The conclusion highlights of the key outstanding issues thus

confirming the official position (at least according to the writer).
Expected action or the way forward or recommendations or
suggestions will float there. This will create a smooth ending to
the piece.

6. Drafting

Drafting entails developing the ideas into the complete message

according to the document to be produced. The major tasks here

a) Expanding the ideas into Complete Words full and

well structured sentences well coordinated, coherent texts,

b) Choosing the Correct Format – memo, letter, report

and other minutes

7. Proof Reading and Editing

a) Proofreading involves ensuring that the draft document is

free of error of expression and those of coverage. When an error
free document is sent, the audience will not spend valuable time
correcting it. Areas like spelling, grammar and meaning are sorted
out to achieve rhetorical effectiveness through choice of words that
are precise, appropriate, dignified, colourful, active, and popular
(in common usage) i.e. the PADCAP model of diction.

b) Editing ensures that the report is:

i) Complete i.e. covers all areas of concern with appropriate

detail (answering the 5 Ws and 1 H);

ii) Coherent i.e. all parts are held together in harmony;

iii) Thoroughly researched and contains no unverified or

invalidated information.

8. Organisational Models

Writing may be organised according to how you anticipate the

audience to react to the message. The audience may react either
favourably or unfavourably, hence the direct or the indirect approach
to organising the text, respectively.

Table 13.4

Direct Approach Indirect Approach

Applicable when: Applicable when:

 You expect the audience to consider the  You expect the audience to react
message favourably or in a neutral way; unfavourably /negatively to your message, or
 The information is considered easily  You feel the information is somewhat
understandable. complicated and may not be easily grasped.

Open with the main idea, or best news, followed by Open with some relevant pleasant, neutral, or reader
all necessary explanatory details in one or several beneficial statement (a buffer) before introducing
paragraphs as the situation might dictate. the main idea which is unpleasant.

The ending is with an appropriate friendly The explanation which precedes the main point is
paragraph. intended to arouse interest and show the
inevitability of the negative point.
It is also called the Deductive approach.
The ending should be equally well calculated so as
This is common when you are offering the audience to appeal to the sympathy of the audience and win
some relief or something of direct, if not immediate acceptance.
benefit to the audience.
Bad news and persuasive messages use this
approach. Words and tone used should be that
which will influence the audience into the desired
Element 3 Reports and Report Writing (containing 13.3, 4 & 5 of Syllabus)

1. Background

a) Definition

Consider the two views below:

Organised, factual and objective A communication of information and
information brought by a person who advice from someone who has collected
has experiences or accumulated it to a and studied the facts to someone who
person or persons who need it, want it or needs to be informed …. (Kenrick,
are entitled to it. (Weisman 1996:138) 1997:93)

Both views, though by different people agree that a report must have
information, which contains facts that has to be passed from one person to
another or others. This information is acquired and analysed (studied) and
presented in a systematic way.

The foregoing is true of reports at any level in the organisation.

b) User Expectations

The report is always written for someone else who ought to have
some use for it. The user is confident that what the writer will give
is useful and correct. The common expectations include:
Table 13.5
Expectation Details
 Monitoring information in circulation
i) Inf  Disseminating received information among team
ormational members
 Being the contact person on behalf of the team
(spokesman or spokesperson)
ii) Inte  Being figurehead
rpersonal  Being leader
 Acting as the liaison/contact with outside world
iii) Dec  Entrepreneurial
isional  Resource management
 Negotiation
 Conflict handling

2. Types of Reports

a) Form Based Reports

Quite often, information is passed on by way of filling in forms.

Form based reports are an appropriate way of submitting reports on
i) High frequency operations like receiving cash, making
payments by cheque, etc

ii) One off complex happenings, like accidents;

The idea is to come up with a standard way of seeking and

receiving information from those reporting. Forms also make
reporting and interpreting reports easy.

Information for form based reports may be collected by:

i) Direct questions: - e.g. what is your name?

ii) Instructions: - e.g. Write your name

iii) Labels: - e.g. Name.

Ways of seeking/guidelines for supplying and cues for interpreting

information i.e. Questions, Instructions and Labels do reflect the
type of audience/people who are expected to supply the
information. For example young respondents would be more
comfortable with questions rather than labels while the semi
literates would find both questions and instructions friendlier than

However, when designing forms, ensure that enough space for

providing answers is provided and that the purpose of the form is
clearly defined. Also, ensure that no other form exists for the same

No two or more forms

should exist for the same

b) Narrative Reports
These are the reports that the one reporting designs in line with the
nature of the task and the material at hand. They generally fall into
two categories
Table 13.6

Informal Report Formal Report

 Based on a simple and single  Based on a long and complex matter
subject  The writer uses extensive
 Relies on the writer as the main investigation/data collection methods –
source of information using interviews, questionnaires, observations,
observation and secondary data experiments, discussion groups/panels and/or
collection methods desk study
 Intended to be read in one sitting  Is much longer and not intended to be read
i.e. short in one sitting
 May take memo or letter format  Presented in outline form with numbered
 May be slightly longer than the and headed sections
memo or letter  Can be read in parts according to the
 Methods of collecting data for section the reader is interested in at any given
the report may be used as the main time
indicator that the required report is  May take the short formal (schematic)
the informal one. format or the long (book format)
 Usually the report following an
investigative assignment.

3. The Process of Writing the Report

Like all formal writing, report writing can be better done when certain
steps are followed judiciously. The key steps are those in the
preparatory stage since planning is the key to effectiveness.

a) Interpreting the situation

This involves understanding the environment surrounding the

report, such as:

i) Guidelines calling for the report;

ii) Instructions outlining the extent and limitations – scope of


iii) The information needed:

 Primary/Secondary;
 Organisational, Technical (operational), Personal,
 Confidential, Non confidential;
 Current, semi current, archival.

iv) User expectations – the various users expect information for

various purposes and at various levels. Of the users, we may
consider management interest in the submitted reports in line with
their role in the running of the organisation:

NB A good job here results in well designed “Terms of References” or

“Introduction” to the report

b) Sourcing and Collecting information

This involves:

i) Identifying and classifying sources of information into:

 Primary – people; events

 Secondary – records (files and books)

ii) Develop tools and instruments for collecting the needed data as:

 Primary – interviews, questionnaires, focus/discussion

groups, experiments and observations (participating);
 Desk/library study

iii) Apply the data collection tools and instruments on the identified
sources relying on skills in:

 Reading
 Listening and
 Note making

c) Data Analysis

This entails processing the collected raw information into meaning units
and manageable clusters. This can be achieved through:

i) Classification: grouping information according to some


ii) Comparison: establishing similarities between sets of

information gathered;

iii) Contrast: highlighting key variations or differences

between sets of information collected;
iv) Implication/import: establishing long term implications
of the indicators in the collected data to form a basis for proactive
steps to avert disaster;

v) Cause – effect relationships: establish the causality of

certain things on the others;

vi) Taxonomy and other relationships in the information –

how can the information be further broken down to its lowest
meaningful clusters?

vii) Action orientation, etc – put those findings which

inspire action on their own so that they may be easy to test.

d) Organising the Information

The collected information, in line with the analysis should be ordered into
a sequence that makes sense and gives a smooth or logical flow. Most of
this information will make the body of the report but will help design the
introduction and point to areas for further research/investigation.

Bearing in mind the purpose of your communication, you may organise

your test using the Direct or indirect approach.

e) Drafting the Report

This entails writing the report following the appropriate format/layout.

The points will be expanded and presented in full form consistent with the
three phase design of the Introduction – stating the purpose, background
and scope of coverage; facts/details – information processed and analysed
as collected from the source independent of the writer’s opinion;
Conclusion – highlights of the key or outstanding issues contained on the
facts as well as the writer’s opinion/judgement on issues thereby
confirming or refuting claims inherent in the information collected from
the respective sources. The way forward or recommendations or
suggestions are floated here.

It is advisable to pass on the draft to someone else to help identify

shortcomings of the report. If no one is available, the writer should put it
away for some time before beginning to proofread and edit it for the
purpose of achieving objectivity.

f) Proofreading and Editing

You must read your draft objectively from the view point of your intended
audience. Make sure that the text meets all the principles of good writing
in content as well as the mechanics of writing.

Read paragraph by paragraph to ensure continuity of ideas and check

every sentence, word, figure and punctuation mark to ensure the smooth
flow and presentation of the message.

You may consider passing on your draft to colleagues for an independent

opinion on content and mechanics.

g) The Camera Ready Copy

Effective proofreading and editing produces the camera ready copy which
can be circulated or disseminated as may be appropriate – to a live
audience or using a covering minute (memo) to relevant offices.

4. Layout of the Report

Information in a well laid out report will fall under the following sections

a) Heading/title

This gives the gist of the report high lighting the focus of reporting.

b) Introduction

i) Terms of Reference

Outlining the essence of the report – who asked for it & how? what did
he/she say must be done & when? Whether recommendations were
asked for or not, etc

ii) Procedures

Indicating what methods were used to collect information and why.

The procedures will also reflect what kind of information was
collected from which source using what methods.

c) Facts/findings

This presents the information which was sourced. The information may
be grouped under separate categories. The writer of the report should not
bring out his/her opinion on the information presented here. It must be
raw information as it was collected but processed and analysed
d) Conclusion

i) Conclusions

Passes judgement on whether the information gathered is true or false,

right or wrong and so on. This is where the report writer’s opinion on
the information comes out.

ii) Recommendations

Presents any suggestions as to how the situation can be improved

upon. This section inspires action and would be considered central in
the discussion of the report.

NB The informal report may use the section headings while the short formal
(schematic) report must use the five italicised section headings numbered
1 – 5, respectively.

On the other hand the long report which assumes the book format will
have additional sections or parts: the title page, table of contents,
executive summary/abstract, table of contents, list of tables/pictures etc,
chapters 1, 2, …, appendices, etc

Element 4 Office Correspondence

1. Major Characteristics of The Memorandum and the Letter

Table 13.7

The Memo The Letter

 For internal use only,  Used in all external correspondence;
 Less formal yet formal in its own right  May be used internally on personal matters
 Sent in any direction within the like promotion, transfer, discipline, etc;
organisation, i.e. up, down, horizontal, diagonal  Written between the client and the Chief
(refer to channels of communication) Executive (e.g. Managing Director, Permanent
 Can thus be written by any employee at Secretary etc) or the proxy (official
any level within the organisation representative);
 Can be sent to an individual or group or all  Written between the employee and the
staff Human Resources Manager or the proxy;
 Used on non personal information i.e. for  Very formal written communication;
organisational and/or technical information  Serves a variety of functions in the various
 Always sent to a third party areas of business (see below);
 Serves a wide and flexible range of  May be but rarely sent to third person
purposes – to report, inform, alert/caution, a except in disputes;
covering minute, etc  Usually sent to individuals but can be sent
to several recipients as a standard (circular)
 Most organisations use headed paper for
2. Parts and Layout of the Memo and the Letter

a) The Memo

Plate 13.1 (Insert authentic memo, eg from ZICA)

i. Parts of the memo explained

Table 13.8

a) Indicates which organisation the memo is internal to.
Name of the organisation: - Some sources propose that this part can be left out but it is
important. However, a number of organisations use
specially designed memo headed paper

b) 
Document identity: - Reminds the users that this document is for internal
circulation only

c) 
Destination: - Shows the title/designation not so much the name of the
recipient of the memo since the memo is on non personal

d) 
Origin: - Shows the title/designation of the author of the memo;

e) 
Reference: - The filing code top facilitate record keeping in the
organisation. May not always be used;
f) 
Date: - Shows the date on which the memo was written. Important as
it helps determine how current the information is;

g) Gives the title of the message. This needs not be flagged
Subject line: - off/signalled by the word “subject” as the practice used to
be n the past.

h) This is the substance of the memo which falls into three parts
Message: - not necessarily paragraphs, i.e. introduction, details (body)
and the conclusion.

i) Shows the signature and name of the author. Note that the
Signature block: - title is already reflected under origin. The signature is
important in order to declare authenticity of the document
otherwise anyone in the organisation can purport to write
in the name of someone else.

Shows all the third parties to whom the memo has been
Circulation checklist: -
copied to. It is important for everyone who receives a
memo to know who else has received a copy of the same

Indicates something has been sent along with this memo.
Enclosure indication: -
Details of the enclosures will be contained in the message

b) The Letter

Plate 13.2 (Insert authentic letter, eg from ZICA)

ii. Parts of the Letter explained
Table 13.9

i)  The sender’s
Letterhead contact details including the name (and logo) of the
organisation, postal contact, physical contact, electronic
(phone numbers, email addresses, websites, etc). note that
the sender’s name and/or title should not appear at this point

 Filing code as
ii) in the memo. However, there is provision for “Your ref ….”
Reference (the recipient’s filing code) & “Our ref ….” (the sender’s
filing code);

iii)  Shows how

Date current the letter is. Should be written in full, eg 21 June

iv)  The recipient’s

Inside Address name/title and the applicable contact details. This is what
appears on the envelope;
v)  Draws reader’s
Salutation attention to the fact that the message is about to begin. It
also reflects a friendly relationship or at least some good
Subject Line  Gives the title
of the message. It is more easily constructed by completing
the expression: “I am writing regarding . . . .” What comes
after regarding and smoothly completes the statement will
make a very good subject line. We should note that a good
heading is brief and throws light to the contents/purpose of
the letter..

vii)  The details on

Message the heading opening with the introduction, then the details
and ending with the prayer – an earnest appeal by the sender
for action from the recipient;
Complementary Close  Signals the end
of the message. It reflects good relations with the recipient
or good will and wishes. It matches with the salutation – no
salutation, no complimentary close;
Signature Block  Contains the
signature, name and designation of the author. There is no
designation if one is not writing in an official position;

x)  Where
Circulation checklist applicable it reflects details of third parties to whom a copy
of the same letter has been sent;

xi)  Where the

Enclosure indication letter is a covering minute – introducing another document,
say a report, another letter, quotation, invoice, cheque, etc,
this par indicates that there is some enclosure to the letter.

c) Special Notes on the Letter

i) Influences some parts have on others

The opening line of the Inside Address determines the form the
Salutation takes. This in turn influences the complementary close.
Table 13.10

Inside Address Salutation Complementary When applicable

1. by Name e.g.
Dr L Musonda  When the contact
Zambia Institute of Management Dear Dr Musonda person is known,
PO Box 31735 especially in inter
Lusaka organisational
OR  correspondence
Ms E Chilwalo OR Yours sincerely
Zambia Institute of Management
PO Box 31735

Dear Ms Chilwalo
2.  Dear sir
by Title When the gender
OR  Yours of the contact
The Director faithfully person is not
Zambia Institute of Management  Dear known (external)
PO Box 31735 Madam or as appropriate
Lusaka when the gender of
(Dear sir/madam is the contact is
not only unnecessary known (internal)
but cumbersome and
by Organisation  Dear Messrs When no contact
ZAMIM  Yours person is known
Zambia Institute of Management faithfully whether by title or
PO Box 31735 Or name
 Dear Mmes

ii) Extensions of some parts

Some parts of the letter take additional features depending on the

situation of the letter. Some of the parts with extensions are as

 The inside address: this experiences two major

Table 13.11

ufs (under flying seal of) e.g. Used in internal letters where the letter must follow the official
channels of communication, i.e. following the line of command.
The Registrar A letter addressed to the Human Resources Manager should pass
Zambia Institute of Management through the employee’s supervisor so that the supervisor may
PO Box 31735 append his/her opinion on the matter.
In this situation, the employee will for example put two copies of
ufs The Principal the letter in the same envelope addressed to the immediate
ZAMIM supervisor and the supervisor will endorse both copies and prepare
Lusaka a covering minute containing his comments on the subject then
forward the one copy to the Human Resources Manager.

In the example, the letter is addressed to the registrar but to pass

through the Principal.

Attention line, e.g. The contact person (one handling the case in the organisation) is
known but the letter is addressed to the chief in line with the
The Director requirement that letters between client and the organisation be
Zambia Institute of Management addressed to the Chief executive of the company.
PO Box 31735
Lusaka The attention line means that the letter will be received by the
person to whose attention it is marked, i.e. Mr Siakavuba in the
Attention: Mr Siakavuba example.

Also, the address on the envelope will include the attention line.

 Signature Block: - may experience extensions

based on the availability of the author
♦ for/Managing Director is used
when the MDs proxy is writing the letter. The proxy will
append his/her signature, name and designation. The
convention indicates that the author is writing using
delegated authority, not as the chief executive officer. This
is the person who will be intentioned to when the reply is
♦ pp is used when the author of the
letter is not available to sign the letter in person. In this era
of technology, the superior may dictate a letter over the
phone and the letter is to be dispatched at once. The
subordinate (the secretary, for example, will sign but the
author’s name and designation will feature. To declare that
the signature is not for the designated author, the
abbreviation pp is used to denote per proxy.
♦ Signed is used when the original
signature cannot be accessed, neither can the signature be
retrieved. This is least likely but a letter of the pre
computer popularity period of tremendous influence can be
retyped verbatim, and instead of the signature, the word
signed will be used.

3. Style and Presentation

The term Style in correspondence relates to three major elements –

expression, punctuation and display.

a) Expression

Since the letter and the memo are both office documents, they must be
presented in formal expression devoid of all colloquialisms – see

b) Punctuation

Consideration of punctuation evolves around two options, one of

which is associated with the modern practice while the other belongs
to the old school of writing – open punctuation and the punctuated,
respectively. The punctuation option shows itself more in the cases of
the addresses, initials, dates, etc.
Table 13.12

Open Punctuation Punctuated

The Education Secretary The Education Secretary,
Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (Z.I.C.A.),
PO Box P. O. Box 32005,
21st June, 2007.
21 June 2007

The main variations relate to

i) the absence of commas in the address and date (open punctuation) and their presence
in the punctuated);
ii) the absence of the periods (full stop) in the initials – ZICA, PO Box and the date, and
their use in the punctuated. Note the mandatory space after each period, thus taking more space for each
iii) absence of the ordinal number system in the date – 21 June under open punctuation,
as contrasted to the 21st June in the punctuated.

Beware of the general tendency to adhere to old methods. The world is dynamic!

c) Display

The major contenders in this aspect of style are the blocked and semi
blocked styles. The semi blocked style is a compromise between the
blocked and the indented style. Note the particular differences in the
positioning of the various parts of the memo and letter. The models
given above are in the blocked style. Here we shall illustrate the semi
blocked and the indented.
Semi Blocked Indented
Letterhead Letterhead
Date Date
Reference Reference
Inside Address
Inside Address Salutation
Salutation All the paragraphs of the Message are
indented thereby creating problems of
Subject Line determining how wide the indentation
should be.
At times the indentation would
Message (blocked) be wider than usual.
Also centring can be a problem,
especially when one is writing the letter
by hand.
Generally, the indented style does not
Complementary close give the most impressive appearance.
That is why the blocked style is being
Signature popularized.
Designation Complementary close
cc designation
encl encl

Element 5 Other Forms of Office Writing

1. Minutes

a) Purpose

Minutes have two major purposes – as a record of a meeting that

was held, and as a report on the meeting that was held.

b) Types and Layout

Table 13.13

i) This format extracts and summarises main conclusions of a meeting and

Reports of meetings why. The type is mainly used to report results of meeting or conference
proceedings in one organisation to participants or other organisations that
may be interested. The report may also be sent to the press especially
after newsworthy meetings or conferences.

ii) These minutes present decisions and votes as well as a summary of

Narrative Minutes discussions leading to those decisions and votes. They are more detailed
and could be a source document on issues pertaining to the meeting. Other
types of minutes can be derived from these.

The meeting Secretary is usually required to produce narrative minutes

while any other member can produce other types.

Examination questions usually ask candidates to discuss or even illustrate

narrative minutes.

iii) These are a summary of the meeting showing the resolution of a meeting
Resolution Minutes not how these were reached. The type usually takes the format of a list.
The resolutions can be extracted from narrative minutes
iv) This is a summary of the meeting which highlights any jobs or
Action Minutes assignments that were handed out at a meeting. The minutes take the form
of a table with columns covering the tasks, who should perform the tasks
and by which date the tasks should be completed – on the lines of Action

These can be extracted from the resolution minutes bearing in mind that
not every resolution informs action.

c) Layout and Contents of Narrative Minutes

These are modelled on the agenda of the meeting. However, since

the agenda was projective and minutes are reflective, there is much
more detail in the minutes than in the agenda. A template of
Narrative minutes would look like this:
Plate 13.3

Heading e.g.


Present – names of members present beginning with that of the Chairperson and ending with the

Apologies – names of all those who were not able to attend the meeting but had sent word to that

In Attendance – names of those people present at the meeting of which they are not regular
members. Such people as the ex officio (those who by virtue of their positions
are free to attend the meeting) or guests – invited to either clarify a certain
technical mater or receive the technical clarification;

Absent – names of those who missed the meeting without any apologies.

Gives summary description of how the chair went about opening the meeting – calling the
meeting to order (time for this must be shown), announcing apologies and introducing the
“in attendance”, outlining procedures governing that particular meeting, adopting the
agenda,, declaring the meeting open.


Indicates how the minutes were corrected and confirmed. Note that minutes are circulated
ahead of a meeting and are taken as read by the time of the meeting. All those present take
part in correcting the minutes while only those who were present at that meeting whose
minutes are being looked at take part in their adoption. For this reason, names of those who
propose and second the adoption should be reflected.

Minutes are only signed after receiving approval or adoption by the meeting!

Here any issues that were left unresolved at the last meeting will be raised, clarified and

Presents summary of each new item that was tabled, discussed and resolved (by vote). The
length of this section depends on how many such new business was presented.


A summary of any business that was relevant to the meeting but was not on the initial
agenda is presented. Such are the items which end up being carried forward because most
members may not have any details to justify responsible discussion.


This section describes how the Chairperson closed the meeting after highlighting key
aspects of the meeting, thanking the members for their participation and advising on what to
do with the deliberations – broadcast them or keep them classified until further notice.

Chairman’s Name & Signature Secretary’s name & Signature

2. Briefs
a) Purpose and Usage

These are notes prepared for another person to follow or

implement. They are commonly used during hand over or when a
job is to be completed by someone else

b) Special Characteristics

Special feature is that Briefs are written in bullet point form. The
bullet would be numbered for ease of reference!

3. Notices

a) Purpose

The main functions of the Notices are:

i) To give details of something

such as an event (announce)

ii) To invite people to the


b) Contents

A good notice is supposed to produce a good attendance to the

function – be it a meeting or otherwise. It must therefore provide
information that will make it possible for the audience to take the
appropriate action:

i) details of the event

 what event – so that the affected can attend;

 date of event – “on”
 venue – “in/at”
 time – “at”

ii) author – who is announcing and inviting in case of query;

iii) date of the notice – to help determine how current the
announcement is so that people can attach necessary attention;

c) Types and Layout

Table 13.14

Type Features
i)  Meant for posting on the notice board and other public places eg
Display windows, walls and tree trunks;
 Should standout among other materials so as to be easily spotted out;
 Suitable for open events as opposed to closed group events;
 An aspect of mass communication (see Unit 11.3a, v)
 Should have capacity to attract attention, stimulate interest, provoke
a desire and produce action – the AIDA model of sll publicity materials,
ii)  Sent to specific people;
Personalised  Suitable for closed groups;
 Rarely mounted on public display for a like notice boards;
 Is a form of interpersonal communication (see Unit 11.3a, ii);
 May take the forms of a card (when target audience are many but
known eg all share holders (invited to AGM),the informal note, a memo,
letter, etc.

Element 6 Public Sector Written Communication

Public sector organisations usually have an elaborate reporting system and

stakeholder structure and are consequently very formal in their operations.
The organisations may be found as Civil Service (Central and Local
Government) and Public Limited Companies as well as societies and
Cooperatives. Written communication here is critical as it is the basis for all
managerial activity. Needs for information are perhaps greater than in the
private sector where the employees deals directly on daily basis with the
owners of the business. .

1. Internal Minutes/Memo

a) Characteristics of Public Sector Organisations

b) Informational Needs in Public Sector Organisations

2. Cabinet Memo

3. Ministry Circulars
Highlight/emphasise elaborate extensions

Element 7 Effective Curriculum Vitae and Application Forms

1. Purpose

Both the Curriculum Vitae (CV) and the Employment form are self
portrayal documents which are used in job procurement (application).
They give the potential employer a brief but factual summary of the
job seeker’s relevant life – private and public as may be relevant to the

The documents give particulars of the applicants’ events in their lives

in some chronological order. The more modern practice, however, is
to start with the latest and move backwards to the earliest. However,
the CV is designed by the applicant while the Application Form is by
the employer. In fact, the two are essentially the same except that the
latter is the CV modelled to the particular organisation’s requirements
and specifications.

2. Major Features and Parts

One’s life is complex, however short it may look. The individual has
to select from the many events those that will sell them most

The CV and Application Form are therefore structured to guide both

the supplier and the user of the required information. They are
generally broken into clear sections seeking specific detail.

Year of Birth
Place of Birth
Marital Status
Contact Details


Period Institution Qualification


Period Institution Job Title


Give details of other skills and capabilities not included elsewhere. Things such as your job challenges,
what aspects of job you specialise in, workshops and conferences attended,

Your pass time interests. The employer would like to engage a human being not a work machine. A human
being accumulates pressure from work and should have somewhere to dissipate that pressure through.
Contact details for at least two and up to three people drawn from educational, employment and other
activities like church, clubs, etc. Consult them to seek their approval to vouch for you.
12 Visual communication

Based on the old theory that when I hear, I forget, but when I see I remember, Visual
Communication occupies a very prominent role in communication in the business world.


From this Unit we should be able to

 Apply visual communication as a better option of medium in various complex situations.

 Design various visual communication instruments fit for use in given situations

Element 1 Principles of Visual Communication

1. Special Attributes of Visual Communication

a) Independent of language – i.e. you do

not need any language to understand a diagram;

b) Appeals to sight thus it is easily noticed;

c) It stays longer in the mind thereby

enhancing memory (when I hear, I forget, when I see, I

d) It can be easily interpreted as the

audience can approach it from any direction;
e) When used well it helps keep the text

f) It takes burden of creating vivid verbal

picture off the sender by appealing to the mind of the audience to
fill up any gaps – it speaks volumes more than words can! (No
amount of words can fill a basket);

g) Very useful when dealing with complex

information, such as objects/people, processes, places, statistical
data as well as safety information;
2. Types of Visuals

a) Objects/people

Pictures will make it easier to introduce an object or person to

another. Imagine the effectiveness of mail selling using full
colour brochures and even leaflets, fliers or handbills.

Sketches may also be used to achieve the same effect.

b) Processes

Flow charts are perhaps the most effective means of showing the
various stages of a process or operation. Consider the various
spider diagrams and the communication cycle used in this text.
They show the concepts more explicitly.

c) Places

Directing people to certain localities is most effectively done

using maps and such other drawings than verbal descriptions.
Imagine giving directions to your clients for your new premises
you have relocated to within the same vicinity.

d) Statistical Data

Most of the work in offices centres on statistical material of one

form or the other. The most frequently used forms of presenting
statistical data include lists, tables, graphs, charts, pictograms,
scatter graphs, the Gantt chart, histogram, etc. These may be
better defined or explained in the subjects where they are core
concepts, such as papers T3 and T4 – Business Mathematics and
Statistics, and Economics, respectively.
i) Lists:- vertically arranged and numbered collection of
items, names of clients, transactions, etc

ii) Tables:- quantified or qualified raw data arranged in headed

fields (columns) and records (rows) which may be numbered. For example financial
highlights from the Zambian Breweries plc Annual Reports for 2007 were presented as

Table 14.1

K million 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Group turnover 318, 572 386, 294 451, 465 479, 847 516, 371
Opening profit 33, 686 41, 810 61, 403 75, 096 69, 526
Profit before taxation 28, 595 33, 053 56, 758 69, 042 63, 713
Profit after taxation 15, 165 20, 023 33, 394 40, 690 44, 259
Total assets 239, 034 254, 255 305, 644 354, 983 381, 401
Current liabilities 89, 409 98, 519 133, 955 166, 463 151, 153
Shareholder’s interest 149, 625 148, 197 157, 661 174, 327 190, 103

iii) Graphs: - interpreted data to reflect progression or a trend

in the behaviour or trend of some activity. For example a graph can be drawn on the
group turn over pattern over the period 2003 to 2007.

iv) Charts: - these mainly show comparison of the performance

or characteristics of items or products over a given period. Charts belong to two major
types – the bar chart in three major classifications – the simple, compound/multiple and
the stacked/cumulative; and the pie chart based on values of the circle apportioned
proportionate to the quantities of the items being displayed.

v) Pictogram

vi) Histogram

vii) Gantt chart

viii) Scatter graph

e) Safety Information
Safety may be taken to be in the production area
(plant/workshop/factory) or on the road.

i) Plant/factory Safety: - various safety signs like of

danger, operating equipment, directions, location of some
facilities, etc;

ii) Road Safety: - the various road signs.

3. Challenges in Designing Visual Communication

The visual displays should be:

a) Relevant to the text: -should be used to explain particular

complex concept in the message;

b) Readable: - should not be clustered or crowded or


c) Adequately labelled;

d) Signalled at appropriate point in text;

They work equally well with both oral and written communication.
Before looking

Element 2 Basic Components of Visual Communication

a) a heading/title;

b) labelled parts

c) a key to explain parts/shadings to avoid clustering;

Element 3 Visual Aids for Corporate Identity

1. The Logo

2. Corporate Colour

Hardaway JM & F Hardaway (1978) Thinking into Writing, Massachesetts:Winthrop


Herfernan JA & Lincoln JE (1986) Writing: a college handbook, New York: WW Norton
& Co.

Kaitholil G (1994) You Can Be an Effective Speaker, Bombay: The Bombay St Paul

Kenrick E et al (1987) Business Communication, London: Longman;

Steinberg Sheila (1999), Persuasive Communication Skills, Pretoria: University of South


Weisman HM (1985) Basic Technical Writing, Columbus: Charles E Merrill Publishing


Zambian Breweries Group, (2007) Annual Report

Bovee CL, et al (2002) Business Communication Today 7th Ed New Delhi: Pearson
Education Inc

May CB & May GS (1999) Effective Writing: a Handbook for Accountants 6th Ed
Prentice Hall
A Grievance...........................................165
Application packages...........................33 GUI......................................................12
arithmetic and logic unit........................5 H
AUTOCORRECT................................67 hard disk...................................12, 13, 17
B Hardware................................................5
bar code................................................21 HEADERS AND FOOTERS.........71, 92
Batch processing....................................4 I
Bits.........................................................7 Information. 3, 12, 14, 15, 118, 149, 169,
C 170, 174, 177, 178, 196
Clipboard..............................................64 Information Technology......................14
Communication Skills................126, 198 Input devices....................................5, 20
communications. .2, 14, 15, 20, 116, 136, INSERTING........................................58
144 Internet...4, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 30, 31, 32
computer..1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, Internet Service Providers....................30
16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, Interview....................................160, 163
29, 30, 33, 77, 90, 139, 185 ISPs......................................................30
Correspondence..................................179 K
Counselling........................................165 KISS...................................................133
CPU......................................5, 10, 17, 26 L
Curriculum Vitae................................192 Letter..................179, 180, 181, 182, 183
D Listening............140, 141, 142, 143, 176
DELETING..........................................58 M
Disciplinary........................................165 Mainframe..............................................1
DVD.........................................12, 18, 19 Management information.....................15
E Medium and Channels.......................119
E-mail...................................................30 Meetings.............................................155
EDI.................................................15, 30 Memo.................................179, 180, 191
Editing................................171, 172, 177 memory...2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 20, 169,
Excel Environment...............................78 194
F Menu...11, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45,
FIND..............................................66, 81 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 54, 55, 59, 60, 61,
Flash disks............................................18 62, 64, 66, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75,
Floppy disks.........................................17 89, 94
Formatting Cells...................................84 MICR.............................................24, 25
G Microsoft Access......................94, 95, 96
Microsoft Word..............................33, 34 Recycle Bin..........................................11
N REPLACE......................................66, 81
Note Taking................................146, 147 Reports. 95, 101, 102, 173, 174, 188, 196
O ROM............................................8, 9, 18
Online processing...................................4 S
Optical Character Recognition.............23 Selection.................................50, 69, 162
Oral............................................136, 140 Seminar..............................................159
P software........................11, 12, 18, 28, 31
PASS..........................................133, 169 SPELLER.............................................67
Performance Appraisal.......................164 storage. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22,
Plotter...................................................28 23, 24, 29, 64
Presentations......................................150 storage devices...............................10, 17
printers.................................1, 26, 27, 28 supercomputer........................................1
PRINTING...........................................55 T
processor..........................2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 20 TABS AND INDENTS........................60
Proof Reading....................................171 V
Public Speaking.................................151 Video conferencing..............................15
Q Voice messaging systems.....................16
Queries...................95, 97, 101, 110, 113 W
Questioning........................................145 worksheet...............78, 82, 83, 85, 86, 89
R Written communication......................167
RAM............................................7, 8, 11 Z
real-time processing...............................4 ZIP disk................................................18