Application Exploration

Definition

Application exploration is the activity many geeks immediately engage in after getting a new gadget, or installing a new software application. It’s basically just figuring out everything your new toy can do! This can help you discover useful features that you otherwise wouldn’t have known existed. It can also help you avoid/diagnose any problems in the future, as application exploration helps you become much more knowledgeable about how your tools work.

Finding More to Read

Tooltips

If a button doesn’t have any words on it, try putting your mouse over it without clicking. After a moment, a tooltip will often appear with more information. This works not only with buttons, but also with many other areas on the screen. Try moving your mouse over the picture of a tooltip to the right. After a moment, “Tooltip Example” should appear, which is the title of the picture. Now try putting your mouse over other parts of your screen (remember, no clicking). Which areas show a tooltip?

Right-clicking

Try right-clicking on things (or ctrl-clicking on a Mac). Right-clicking almost always brings up a menu of actions you can apply to what you just right-clicked on. For additional information on right-clicking in Windows, check out Microsoft’s Basic right-clicking tips.

Menus

You can also click on any menu options at the top of a window (they often have names such as File, Edit, View, etc). See if there may be a button related to what you want to do there. If you see an option with a little arrow () on the right side, clicking on it will show you even more actions to choose from.

RTFM

That stands for Read The Freakin’ Manual and the acronym is so often used in geek culture, that it’s kind of a joke. It’s usually said when someone complains about not being able to use their technology, while admitting to never having read the manual.

Granted, geeks don’t always read the manual/help/tutorial either. As you explore an application, you don’t really need to read the manual if you’re figuring everything out just fine on your own. Just use it as a reference, looking something up when it’s not immediately obvious.

Sometimes though, when you’re really stuck and frustrated with a piece of technology, the only thing to do is settle in for a good read of the freakin’ manual. There’s also another case when reading the manual is probably a good idea before you even get started: if the worst case scenario would be really bad. For example, it’s probably a good idea to RTFM before taming your first lion.

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