When one of my senior in home computer tutoring clients in Honolulu Hawaii asked me to write down directions to send an AOL email, I decided to share the instructions with everyone. Print out these instructions for your senior citizen parents or grandparents. Remember, be patient. We all have a learning curve and are capable of learning under the right teacher.
Nothing is Assumed in This Senior Computer Lesson Printable Article Print this page
This is also assuming a magnified screen of 300%. A quick way to increase your screen size which works on a web page is to hold down your Ctrl key while tapping the + key. The - key is to the left of the + key in case you need to make the screen smaller.
1 Double click on Google Chrome. It's the red, green and yellow icon on your desktop. Your desktop is the first screen you see after the computer finishes starting up and you log in.
2 Type aol.com into the website address bar at the top of your screen.
3 Press Enter on your keyboard.
4 Click the three lines in the upper right hand corner
5 Click the mail icon. This will save a step if you happen to be logged in already.
6 Assuming you're not signed in. Sign in with your email address. Since it's an AOL address and you're signing into AOL there is no need to type in @aol.com
7 Tap Enter on your keyboard or Click Next
If you're screen is so big you cannot see Next and for some reason you want to use your mouse instead of keyboard, tap the Tab key on the left side of the keyboard which helps avoid using the mouse if you have dexterity issues (See my Google Slide Show article on how to dexterity issues in senior computer users)
8 Type in your password.
9 Tap Enter on your keyboard or Click Next
10 Click Compose to compose an email. Compose in located near the upper left hand corner of your screen
Your cursor is already in the To: field so no need to use your mouse or touchpad. Begin typing the email address. If you've typed it in before a suggestion will appear below
Tapping the Tab key on your keyboard will complete the email address in the To: field
11 Tap the Tab key on the keyboard to go into the Subject box or use your mouse or touchpad
12 Type your subject such as My Homework using proper punctuation for practice. If you don't know where to place your fingers on the keyboard see my Google Slide Show article on touch typing how to type without peeking.
13 Tap the Tab key on the keyboard or use your mouse or touchpad to go into the body of the email.
14 Type The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
This is called a pangram. It's a sentence that contains all the letters in the alphabet.
15 Press Enter on your keyboard to create a new line. The older computers used to say Return instead of Enter due to the influence of the typewriter.
16 Sign your name
17 Near the upper left hand corner use your mouse or touch pad to click Send
18 AOL doesn't make this part as easy as they could. Mostly so they can sell ad space. In the upper left corner click on Back
19 If the screen is so large you may not be able to see the Compose button. If you do not use your mouse to click somewhere on the screen that does not change to the click finger. In other words the mouse or touchpad cursor remains an arrow. On my screen there's a grey area near the top. I clicked on that.
20 I then used the left arrow key on my keyboard to move my screen display to the left so I could see Compose.
More Keyboard Tricks to Avoid Using The Mouse
If you have dexterity issues using a mouse or computer. First, read the Google Slide Show article I wrote on tools to overcome dexterity issues when using a computer. A computer with a touch screen could be an additional solution. I picked the one I linked to due to the screen size. It maintains a low cost by having only 4 gb of RAM which is plenty if all you do is surf the internet and check email. Be aware that is an affiliate link which costs you nothing to click on yet supports my efforts in bringing you articles such as this.
Second, see the keyboard shortcuts to avoid using a mouse or touch pad.
I've mentioned the Tab key already. The Tab key will take you to the next box or the next link.
Ctrl w will close a tab in a website browser such as Google Chrome. Sometimes you may accidentally click on ads on AOL which fortunately opens up in a new tab.
Enter was also mentioned in this tutorial. Enter replaces a mouse click or even a double mouse click as long as the computer is focuses on what you're trying to open.
Esc may get you out of some situations.
Ctrl p will print the screen. Do not use it to print an email. Use the print icon instead.
Ctrl + makes your internet browser screen such as Google Chrome larger.
Ctrl - makes your internet browser screen such as Google Chrome smaller
These keyboard shortcuts are primarily for Windows computer users. If you're using a Mac and a keyboard shortcut doesn't work, try using the Command key instead of the Ctrl key.
Enjoy your computer.
Your friendly neighborhood computer tutor,
J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.
Honolulu Hawaii and all of Oahu call or Text me, Rick Kirkham, 808.224.1870 to check my availability.