What Are The Basic Computer Skills (Checklist) You Must Have

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 28th, 2022

This checklist can be used by tutors to evaluate student skills or to identify relevant skills.

Parts of this checklist might potentially be used for preliminary evaluation.

brown and white long coated small dog wearing eyeglasses on black laptop computer

The ICAS Computer Abilities Assessment Framework defines basic computer skills as Internet and email, computers, word processing, graphics and multimedia, and spreadsheets.

Computer Fundamentals

Check all of the talents listed below that you are capable of doing.

Fundamental Operations

  • Power on and off the computer and display.
  • Increase and decrease the volume.
  • Using the keyboard, enter your username and password.
  • Use the mouse by pointing, clicking, double-clicking, dragging and dropping, right-clicking, left-clicking, and scrolling.
  • Open, resize, minimize, and shut windows.
  • Insert a flash drive or CD, open it, and examine the contents.
  • File creation, naming, saving, and printing
  • Make folders to arrange your files.
  • Recognize and utilize icons and move an icon on the screen.
  • To input commands, use the menu bar, pull-down menus, pop-up menus, and dialog boxes.


  • Select the appropriate printer.
  • Make use of printing choices (print preview, portrait/landscape, number of copies, color, and so on).
  • Print only particular pages or portions of a document.

E-mail and the Internet

  • Launch a web browser such as Firefox, Explorer, or Chrome.
  • Use the keyboard to navigate to a certain website by inputting its URL (URL.)
  • Conduct an Internet search for information using keywords.
  • Save text and images from an internet page by copying and pasting them.
  • Make, utilize, and manage bookmarks and favorites.
  • When accessing the Internet, open new windows and move between them.
  • Save information by properly closing all documents and programs (Log out)
  • Create a free email account on the Internet.
  • Access, read, and respond to e-mail.
  • Send a message by e-mail.
  • Include documents or graphics in an e-mail.

Microsoft Word

  • Launch Microsoft Word.
  • In Microsoft Word, use the keyboard to compose phrases and paragraphs.
  • Choose and modify text.
  • Copy and move text chunks.
  • Use the following commands: cut, copy, paste, and delete.
  • Modify the text format and styles, margins, line spacing, etc.
  • Make use of bullet points and numbering features.
  • Make use of the spell checker, thesaurus, and dictionary.
  • Create a header or footer and fill in the blanks with the necessary information.
  • Add pictures to a text document.
  • Save files to the computer, then save as to a different place.
  • Save Microsoft Word documents as PDFs.

Microsoft PowerPoint

  • Open PowerPoint and experiment with different themes and slide styles.
  • Enter text into the PowerPoint presentations using the keyboard.
  • Add graphics to PowerPoint presentations.
  • Create attractive presentations by utilizing basic design elements.
  • Launch and run a slide presentation.
  • Use the file command to print PowerPoint slides in various formats.


  • Make a spreadsheet with headers, rows, and columns.
  • Create cells that are suitable for text or numerical entries.
  • Fill up the blanks with data.
  • Sort data alphabetically or numerically using the sort functionality.
  • Use the filter function to narrow down your results.
  • Make use of auto sum.
  • Select and apply formulae from the functions menu to conduct basic operations.
  • Print all or a portion of an excel worksheet page.

How can I educate myself on fundamental computer skills?

With technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, actual computer hardware and software skills are more vital than ever. An employer will check for computer skills on your CV, and you must be able to walk and talk the talk—that is, you must be able to utilize a computer while on the job.

Here are five simple and free ways to enhance your computer abilities.

1. Determine what you must study.

Most likely, you only have limited free time to devote to learning a new skill. As a result, it’s critical to make good use of that time. Whether you want to change careers or advance in your present one, reviewing the job description of your desired position is a wonderful method to understand the talents companies are searching for and the tools you should be familiar with.

The “Requirements” part of a job description is an excellent location to look for this information. Furthermore, most of this material is available online.

For example, if you work in customer service, you may look for “customer service software.” Keep an eye out for certain goods in your search results. Another useful resource for discovering specific tools in your field is Capterra, a software evaluation business.

2. Begin with the fundamentals—and make sure you know how to operate a computer.

While this should go without saying, before learning any particular technical skills, you need to have a basic grasp of how to use a computer—ideally, both a Windows and a Mac. In addition, there are several free materials available online. Lifewire, for example, is a great resource for thorough lessons.

Nowadays, it’s rather usual to locate free (or low-cost) computer training events. For example, see what your local library, community center, or community college offers. You may also take free Mac classes at an Apple store near you.

If you work in an office, consider becoming Microsoft Office certified to enhance your abilities and add value to your career.

3. Become acquainted with the operation of computers (and the Internet).

While this should go without saying, before learning any particular technical skills, you need a basic grasp of a computer and its operation. In some circumstances, understanding how the Internet operates might also be beneficial.

Do you now require a master’s degree in computer science? Certainly not. However, having a basic grasp of how the technology you use works gives a solid basis for future study.

4. Enroll in a free online or in-person computer class.

There are several free materials accessible, both on and off the internet. Check out what’s available in your towns, such as at the library, community center, community college, or YMCA. You may also look for educational events or organizations on sites like Meetup or Eventbrite. CourseHorse is another wonderful option if you live in Los Angeles, New York City, or Chicago.

There are several options if you’d rather study computer skills for free online! You should be able to find almost whatever you want to know on YouTube. If you want a more formal learning experience, many free college-level courses are available online through Coursera, EdX, and Class-Central. Free beginner classes are available on sites like Khan Academy, Codecademy, and Free Code Camp.

5. Put what you’ve learned into practice.

Whether a job description calls for knowledge of a particular tool, examine if there is a method to gain hands-on expertise. For example, suppose a job requires you to be familiar with Trello, a project management platform. 

Consider how you might be able to incorporate Trello into your current role. If this is not possible, perhaps there is a situation in which you might utilize it in your personal life, such as while arranging a trip.

Try to be as inventive as possible. For example, do you want to learn how to utilize Google Calendar? Begin by utilizing it to plan and schedule appointments and activities for your family. Do you want to learn how to utilize Skype? Make an account and use it to make a video call with someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

Alternatively, suppose you are studying a talent such as graphic design, web design, or development. In that case, there are several practice methods: for example, you may enter contests on 99Designs or solicit tasks on Fiverr.

Whether you need to become acquainted with a premium product or program you do not have access to, check to see if the app offers a demo or has any training videos on its website. 

At the very least, you’ll have a rudimentary understanding of the software’s structure and operation.

Remember to always be truthful with an employer about your talents and abilities. Don’t exaggerate your abilities. If you lack a talent specified in the job description, you may always add that it is something you are presently learning (or want to acquire) and stress your ability to learn new abilities fast.


Editorial Staff

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