Your computer
Homework guide
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What is the point of homework?
When and where should you do it?
Tools you need
Essential furniture and equipment
Planning your homework
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Ages 6-15
Ages 15-18
Your computer
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One day it may be normal for learners to give in work electronically - no hard copy or printouts. In the meantime, you will find that you have to print things, perhaps lots of things.

Previewing work and printer properties

Most of the software you use for your work will have a Print Preview option. Don't print until you are satisfied with what your document looks like in this. You may have to adjust margins, because part of your document is outside the printable area - this often happens with footnotes or page numbers.

When you print it's best to use the File menu and select Print. In some programs, if you click on the print button on the toolbar (or press Ctrl-P on a PC or Command-P on a Mac) then you will print your document using the current settings or the default settings for your printer. But using Print on the File menu should bring up a dialog box. This lets you choose what to print, how many copies and which printer to use, if you have more than one. If you click the Properties button, you should see another dialog box, with information about your chosen printer. This will let you choose other things, such as the kind of paper to use, whether to print in colour or black, and what quality of print you want.

Avoiding waste

For printing drafts, use the lowest quality setting, and black ink, rather than colour. Your document will print more quickly, and your ink or toner cartridge will last longer. Use the best quality settings only for a final version of important work. Most modern inkjet printers allow you a lot of choice over the speed of printing and the quality of the print - but even the lowest quality output will be clear, legible and quite neat.

When you are printing drafts, use paper twice - print on the reverse side of paper you have already sent through the printer. Print only a few pages at a time, until you are happy with a document. If you correct a mistake, then you need only reprint the page in question - so long as your page breaks don't move. You can be sure of this by inserting manual page breaks to separate pages. Automatic page breaks may move if you add or delete text - which may force you to reprint an entire document.

You can use the Page Setup function on many programs (it is not always in the same menu) to change orientation for a document or section. Use footers for page numbers, and headers for things that should appear on every page - you can change the headers in different sections, too.