6. Characteristics of Documents

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Characteristics of Documents

Character - Any letter, number or symbol used in a document

Paragraph - Paragraphs can have a style defined, which includeds options for font, alignment, identification and line and paragraph spacing

Frame - This is an area of a page that contains texts or graphics. Frames can be positioned anywhere on the page. Any changes to the content of one frame do not  affect the content of another frame. DTP software usually makes use of frames

Section - This is specific part of the document where page formatting options can be set for example line numbering, page borders, column and headers and footers

Header and Footer - A header is text that appears at the top of every document above the top margin and usually includes important information about the document.

It only has to be written once and it will automatically appear on every page in the section/document. The footer is the same as the header only it appears on the bottom of a page. It usually contains the page number and any other important information.

Footnote - these are referenced parts to a futher explanation usually at the bottom of the page.

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Mail Merge

This allows the user to create and sent a version of the same document to many differtent people or organisations.

A data source containing customer names and addresses must first be created

Advantages of Mail Merge

  • Documents are produced quickly
  • Only one copy of the document ever needs to be produced or edited


  • Any errors not noticed on the letter will go out to all the recipients
  • Data sources need to be updated and have correct details
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Clip Art and Thumbnails

Clip art images are often supplied free with software packages or more professional clip art images can be bought. They are usually stored in categories

  • Animals
  • Transport 
  • Weather 
  • Computers


these are collection of small images designed to give the user a way of locating or choosing an image

Lots of thumbnail images load much quicker than large images

In graphic libaries they can be grouped into categories. Clip art is usually displayed as thumbnails. Descriptions can be added to the thumbnails

You cannot tell the quality of the full size image.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Clip Art


  • Images are readily available
  • Images are available immediately 
  • The use of clip art can reduce the cost of the design process, for example when designing a logo designer does not have to be employed
  • Extra equipment such as scanners and digital cameras do not have to be purchased


  • Choice of images is limited to what is available
  • The quality of the image ranges from very poor to good
  • Clip art is not original or unique
  • Clip art images, especially from internet sources may be subjected to copyright 
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Graphic Libraries

  • Provide symbols and images related to a specific topic or application
  • Are specialist applications developed with the involvement of manufacturers and professional bodies


  • Industry standard symbols are available
  • The symbols will be recognised throughout the world


  • Mayb be difficult to keep up to date
  • New components may not be available immediately 
  • Components may be included that are not used or available 
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Graphic Libraries

Three types of graphic libraries are used

1. Kitchen design

2. Map making 

3. Network design

These three all use graphic libraries as thet are universal graphics understood by people in the industry

In the kitchen design, the designer will know the standard symbols for a cooker, fire and sink. This reduces the risk of any confusion or ambiguity when pricing the job

In catography a universal set of symbols are used. Few people would not recognise these symbols. They mean the same in every language 

In network design technicians use the same set of symbols to reduce confusion and any ambiguity when planning to build or upgrade a network.

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Bitmap and Vector Graphics

Vector graphics - used in design and CAD packages. They enable users, such as architects and designers, to change their size, perspective and proportions of components in their drawings.

Bitmap Graphics - Produces when a scanner or camera is used. Most clip art is saved as bitmap graphics. This means that the clip art can sometimes be edited and changed to meet the needs of the user.

Assuming it is copyright free. Bitmap graphics can be saved as different file types including BMP, GIF and JPEG

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Differences Between Vector and Bitmap Graphic


  • Can be resized or rescaled with no loss of definition 
  • File size is relatively small compared to a bitmap graphic file
  • Every component of the graphic is described by its feature e.g. length, colour, thickness
  • Can be grouped
  • Cannot be compressed
  • The processing power required to display a vector - based graphic on display equipment is high
  • Each individual element can be edited independently 
  • Can be produced using a word processing package
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  • When resized there is a lowering of image quality: can become pixellated
  • file size can be very large as each pixel in the image has to be stored individually 
  • The components of the graphics are only stored as pixels with their attribute 
  • Cannot be grouped
  • Can be compressed
  • The screen resolution of the display equipment can affect the display of colours used in a bitmap graphic
  • Each pixel can be edited separately
  • Can be used to make subtle changes to complex images such as photographs 
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Features of Software Presentation

Text - the style and size of text should meet the needs of the audience. They should enable the audience to clearly read the text on each slide

Images - Images help convey the message or can be used as an aide memoire by the presenter. The number of images on each slide should be kept to a minimum and they should use a size that can be clearly seen by the audience. Who owns the copyright of the image should be considered

Sound - Includes speech and music. Sound  effects can be set with animation effects. Sound files can be pre existing files, suchas a company advertising jingle, downloaded from the internet or recorded to meet the specific needs of a particular presentation.

Video - video clips can be inserted into a presentation. A video can be set up to play automatically or on a pormpt from the presenter

Animation - Animation effects are visual effects that can be added to text and objects, such as a chart or picture, to control the way that objects appear on slide. Animation can be used to emphasise important points, control the flow of information within the presentation and add interest.

Slide Transistion - Transistion effects govern how the presentation software moved from slide to slide. They can be used to make a presentation more interesting, applied to one or all of the slides or combined with sound 

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Features of Presentation Slide

Hyperlinks - Coloured and underlined text or a graphic, which, when clicked takes the user to a file, a location or an HTML page on the internet or intranet. A hyperlink can take the form of any object

Hotspots - Graphic or text whixh produces an action when clicked. They are usually used to take the user to another page in the presentation

Buttons - Can be used to take the user from one slide to the next. The make the presentation interactive by allowing the user to select the slides viewed or change the order of viewing 

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Delivering a Presentation

Computer and Projector


  • A wide range of features can be used, with slides being showed in the order the presenter wants
  • The presentation can be saved + edited
  • The quality of the slides does not diminsh with use


  • Features can be overused, for example too many sounds
  • A computer and projector have large initial cost
  • Software is needed to edit the slide in real time
  • If there is a powercut the presentation cannot be shown
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Delivering a Presentation

Printed acetate and overhead projector (OHP)


  • Slides can be annotated to explain and highlight points
  • An OHP is relatively cheap and rarely goes wrong
  • If there is a powercut the slides can be read by the presenter


  • Special features such as sound interactivity cannot be used
  • It is difficult to jum to an out of sequence slide
  • If a slide needs to be edited then a new slide will need to be printed
  • The quality of slides can deteriorate with use
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Navigation Methods

Manual transition 

  •  involves some form of action from the presenter to move on to the next slide
  • If the slide contains a number of items, then each item can be displayed manually. For example, a numbered list can be displayed one point at a time 
  • Usually used when a presentation is given by a speaker to an audience
  • The presenter is able to control when each slide or item is displayed
  • The pace can be tailored to meet the needs of the audience

Automatic Transition 

  • The presentation is set up to run automatically with no intervation required to move onto the next slide
  • Things can be changed but these must give the audience sufficient time to read each slide before moving on to the next one
  • The presentation can also be set to restart as soon as it finishes
  • A presenter is not needed
  • Not suitable for verbal presentations as presenter may struggle to keep pace with the presentation.
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Different Presentation Structures

Linear Structure - This is hwere the slides follow on in a suitable manner. One slide links to the slide immediately after it and there is no facility to jump to othe slides wthin the presentation

Non Linear Structure - This is hwere slides can be accessed in any order. The structure gives the presenter the ability to jump over slides to individual or groups of slides

Hierarchical Structure - this is where different options can be selected from each slide

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Non Linear

Non Linear

  • The presenter can show the slides in any order dependent on the needs of the audience
  • The presentation can be tailored to meet the needs of the audience
  • The same presentation can be customised to different audiences by showing slides in a different sequence


  • The structure can be very complicated to create
  • The layout of the slide may beomce over complicated with too many navigation buttons



  • The options are set up when the presentation is created so a predetermined order is followed
  • Options can be selected to meet the needs of the audience


  • The user cannot jump to another slide that is out of sequence 
  • The user may not find the slide/transition required if it is not in the sequence 
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