Free Computer Classes

We offer free computer classes that provide hands-on training to adults. We'll make you more confident when using computers in the library, at work, at home or when looking for a job. Most classes are held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

The majority of our scheduled computer classes are currently offered on a walk-in basis (no registration required, except where indicated). Seats will be filled on a first-come, space available basis. We highly recommend that you arrive on time for the classes you wish to attend. 

One or more of our classes may require online registration. These classes will contain a register link  when you click the class title.  Click the register link to start your registration for that particular class.

Please consult the library calendar or the Computer Class Calendar brochure to find a class. The computer classes FAQ can answer many of your questions.  If you can’t find the answer to your question there, please contact Desire Grogan at desire.grogan@dc.gov or 202-727-1298.

The library is also currently partnering with ByteBack to offer longer training sessions to our users.  Please visit ByteBack's website to find out more, or call to register:  202-529-3395.

Class Descriptions

Computers skills are required for success in the workplace. Take our computer classes to gain the skills that can help you get a job and keep it.

For those new to computers, we highly recommend that the classes be taken in the order in which they are listed below. Customers are also encouraged to repeat the basic classes before moving on to the intermediate classes. The intermediate classes are fast-paced.

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing: 2 hours

Self-paced typing tutorial. Practice tutorials and lessons for improving typing and keyboarding skills. Developing your keyboarding skills can help you create the cover letter and résumé needed to launch your career.

Required Skills:
The ability to read and comprehend English well. After this class you will be able to:

  • Practice home-row key typing in self-paced exercises
  • Test your typing skills at various levels of proficiency and speed
  • Customize practice lessons to enhance your typing skill abilities
  • Practice constructing your own résumé using MB's Print Shop Résumé Pro Deluxe program
  • Note: Please bring your own earbuds for individual listening

PC Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to personal computing. For those who need to come into the world of computers, this is the class for you! Overcome your fears and gain the skills that can get you ready for the workplace. Also take the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing class as a perfect complement to PC Basics.

Required Skills:
The ability to read and comprehend English well.

After this class you will be able to:

  • Identify basic computer components and operating system features
  • Execute basic mouse techniques
  • Perform basic keyboard strokes and functions
  • Identify and navigate the features of the Desktop
  • Open and exit software programs
  • Identify and navigate the various toolbars of the Windows environment
  • Identify and navigate the Windows environment of Microsoft software applications
  • Create and save a document to a disk
  • PC Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Word I Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to Microsoft Office Word. Learn this software’s basic word processing features that can help you to create letters, résumés, faxes and other documents that are used to apply for jobs.

Required Skills:
The ability to read and comprehend English well and the skills acquired in the PC Basics class.
After this class you will be able to:

  • Identify and navigate the basic features and elements of the MS Word window
  • Execute multiple text selection techniques
  • Apply basic formatting features
  • Perform the Copy/Cut and Paste function
  • Execute the Find and Replace, and Go To features
  • Explore a variety of templates for creating letters, résumés, faxes, memos, reports, stationery and much more
  • Activate and navigate the Drawing Tool
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • Word I Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Word II Intermediate: 2 hours

Microsoft Office Word Intermediate. Learn more features of this word processing software that can help you further your career.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics and Word I Basics.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Navigate and adjust default settings in the Page Setup feature of the File menu
  • Create headers and footers, footnotes and endnotes, table of contents, indexes and cover pages
  • Insert, move and resize graphics, SmartArt and stylized text boxes
  • Engage and apply the Bullets and Numbering features
  • Insert special symbols and diacritical (accented) letters
  • Insert captions, page numbers and page breaks
  • Create, modify, enhance a table
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • Word II Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Excel I Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to Microsoft Office Excel. Learn the basic features of the spreadsheet environment that are frequently used for calculation and data entry functions in the workplace.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics and Word I Basics.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Identify and navigate the basic features and elements of the MS Excel window
  • Build a simple budget spreadsheet, using data entry and cell navigation skills
  • Format and edit spreadsheet data, using common and unique formatting features
  • Create simple formulas
  • Use the AutoSum feature
  • Explore the Paste Function feature for all other mathematical operations available in Excel
  • Engage the Chart Wizard to create a chart, based on the simple budget database created in class
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • Excel I Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Excel II Intermediate: 2 hours

Microsoft Office Excel Intermediate. Learn more features of this spreadsheet software that can help you further your career.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics, Word I Basics, Word II Intermediate and Excel I Basics.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Manage the screen view and navigate multiple worksheets in a workbook
  • Construct 3-D formulas, using the Consolidate feature, and execute the Paste Special function
  • Engage and perform the Auto Outline, Data Validation and AutoFilter features
  • Apply the stylized Conditional Formatting feature to spreadsheet data
  • Protect worksheet/workbook environment
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • Excel II Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

PowerPoint Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to Microsoft Office PowerPoint. Learn the basic features of creating a dynamic PowerPoint (slide show) presentation. The use of this software not only makes a great impression when introducing yourself and your experience during the interview process, but is widely used in the workplace and in educational settings.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics, Word I Basics and Word II Intermediate.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Identify and navigate the basic features and elements of the Microsoft PowerPoint window
  • Create a simple slide presentation using the installed themes and design templates
  • Identify and engage the three working panes of the PowerPoint environment, i.e., outline pane, slide pane, notes pane
  • Edit and customize each slide, by engaging PowerPoint's "bells and whistles," e.g. custom animations, transition effects, sound, and insertion of graphics and links
  • Insert additional slides
  • Delete unwanted slides
  • Activate the slide show presentation
  • Save the presentation as a slide show (.pps) and as a presentation (.ppt)
  • Send both files to your e-mail account in order to tweak as an after-class activity
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • PowerPoint Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Web I Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to the World Wide Web. Learn the basic terminology and navigational skills associated with surfing and searching the Internet via the World Wide Web. These skills can help you to navigate and complete online employer applications.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics and Word I basics

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the Internet and the World Wide Web (www.)
  • Identify and navigate the basic elements and features of the Internet Explorer browser environment
  • Navigate the Web using hyperlinks
  • Explore the features and advantages of various search engines and directories
  • Perform simple Web searches and explore various job search engines
  • Copy and paste Web text and graphics to a Word document
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • Web I Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Web II Intermediate: 2 hours

World Wide Web Intermediate. Learn additional and more complex ways to search and conduct research on the Internet via the World Wide Web. Explore high interest sites and conduct individual job searches.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics, Word I Basics, Word II Intermediate and Web I Basics.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Perform advanced searches, using the Advanced Search feature of several search engines and directories
  • Interpret the differences in the results of each advanced search strategy performed by different search engines
  • Conduct natural language searches, using Ask.com and others
  • Identify and interpret error messages produced by broken links
  • Explore high-interest Web sites, e.g. job search engines, genealogy, health, foreign languages, business and finance, online tutorials, personal profiles, and more.
  • Engage the Source Mode of the View menu to examine the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) that supports the Web environment
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • Web II Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

E-mail Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to web-based e-mail. Learn to use the basic features of web-based e-mail, particularly how to attach a document, such as your résumé, to your e-mail transmission. Job searching online requires that you have an established e-mail account.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics, Word I Basics and Web I Basics.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Identify and navigate the basic feature and elements of a Web-based e-mail environment
  • Read, send, forward and reply to e-mail messages
  • Apply formatting features to e-mail transmissions
  • Attach documents and graphics to an e-mail transmission
  • Activate e-mail options, e.g. signature, vacation responses, and more.
  • Create folders
  • Insert e-mail addresses into an address book
  • Search online e-mail address resources
  • Use appropriate e-mail etiquette
  • Identify e-mail abuse
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • E-mail Basics Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

HTML Basics: 2 hours

Introduction to simple Web page design. Learn to use the hyper-text mark-up language (HTML) in order to create a web page.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics, Word I Basics, Word II Intermediate, Web I Basics, Web II Intermediate and E-mail Basics. A significant amount of typing is required!

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Use four basic HyperText Markup Language tags
  • Create a simple Web page using a text editor
  • Apply the appropriate enhancement tags for formatting text, inserting images and creating hyperlinks
  • Apply attributes to existing tags, e.g. background color to the background tag
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account
  • HTML Basics Extra! - a three-hour presentation of the above, when advertised

Health Literacy: 2 hours

Learn how to find quality online health information.

This class is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the DC Department of Health's HIV/AIDS Administration (DCDH/HAA), and is presented by the Project for Intermediate Advocates (PIA).

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well, and the skills acquired in PC Basics, Word I Basics and Web I Basics.

Class Objectives
You will be able to:

  • Navigate medical Web sites
  • Evaluate medical Web sites for updates and active links
  • Research personal health issues
  • Make informed health decisions based on information retrieved from creditable health Web sites

Job Searching on Monster.com: 3.5 hours

Online registration may be required for this course. If so, a register link will appear with the class title on the online calendar.

Learn to use one of the most popular job search engines to identify potential jobs and to post your résumé and cover letter for potential employers to consider! Also, learn how to apply to job postings, using one of three methods, and how to keep track of your application process in order to keep your job search organized.

For the class, customers must:

  • Bring a prepared résumé and cover letter that are created in Microsoft Word and saved on portable media, preferably a flash drive.
  • Bring a list of job titles and/or subject areas for the Job Search and application processes.
  • Be able to open and save résumé and cover letter to Desktop.
  • Be able to navigate an e-mail environment and generate-mail messages
  • Be able to navigate and complete online forms.
  • Be able to create folders in the Windows environment
  • Be able to read and comprehend English well

Walk-in access will be limited. Space permitting, only walk-ins who satisfy all seven prerequisites will be allowed to claim vacant seats, if any.

Class Objectives
You will be able to do the following:

  • Navigate the features and menus of Monster.com job search engine.
  • Evaluate medical Web sites for updates and active links
  • Upload résumé and cover letter to Monster.com. Review demo of three types of application responses to a job posting.
  • Conduct and save job searches.
  • Apply to job postings, using one of three featured application processes on Monster.com.
  • Generate a tracking system by creating folders to host employer contact info and follow-up communications.
  • Note: Please bring your own flash drive to save any additional class documents, or send them to your established e-mail account.

Microsoft Office 2007 Online Tutorial

Get up to speed with the new features of the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) by engaging Microsoft's online tutorials.

Required Skills
The ability to read and comprehend English well.

Class Objectives
After this class you will be able to:

  • Work with the Ribbon — the new feature that makes the Microsoft applications easier to use than ever before
  • Find everyday, common commands you need to create documents and to do your job
  • Use the new file format in the way that's best for you

The online tutorials include:

  • Self-paced lessons and practice sessions for hands-on experience
  • A short test at the end of each lesson; tests are not scored
  • A Quick Reference Card you can save to your own flash drive


Frequently Asked Questions About Our Classes


How often are classes offered?

Free computer classes are offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Classes are advertised on a monthly basis about one week before the first of the month. From month to month, class times vary in order to accommodate morning, afternoon and evening attendance during the library’s hours of operation. Each class is a one-time workshop and is scheduled for two to three hours of instruction and hands-on training. For this reason, customers are encouraged to repeat a class several times, in order to strengthen their skills, before moving on to the next level of classes. Our year-round schedule allows for this kind of repetition in the learning process.

View class descriptions for classes currently available.


Do I have to register to attend?

No, you do not have to register. All classes are available on a walk-in basis only. This means that seats will be filled on a first-come, space-available basis. There may be certain classes in the future that require registration. These classes will receive special notations both on the Web site and in the monthly calendar brochure. Seniors are welcome in all classes!


What happens if I am late for class?

Even though all classes are available on a walk-in basis, we highly recommend that you arrive on time for the class you wish to attend. Some classes may fill up, and then you will not be able to get a seat. Though latecomers may be admitted to the computer lab if there is space, it is with the understanding that the trainer will not be repeating covered material. This would be unfair to those who arrived on time. Please be on time!


How do I find the latest schedule?

About one week before the upcoming month of classes, the schedule of computer classes is distributed in brochure format to neighborhood libraries throughout the city. It is also available at the Central Information Desk at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Main Branch). This same schedule is also posted on the library's Web site. Please consult the current schedule of computer classes in order to choose the class (es) you wish to attend.


Where do I go for class?

All classes at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (MLK) are held in our Computer Lab (Room 311), located on the third floor at 901 G St. N.W. The library is accessible from both the Metro Center Station on the Red, Orange and Blue lines (11th Street exit) and from the Gallery Place Station on the Red, Green and Yellow lines (9th Street exit). 

The nearest paid parking is available on 8th Street (PEPCO Building) and on H Street between 9th and 10th streets.


Class Canceled: What do I do?

Due to circumstances outside the library's control, a scheduled class may sometimes be canceled. When we find out about a cancellation in time, we will leave a message on the computer class information line, 202-727-1298. The word “Canceled” will also be placed next to the class title on the online calendar. Sometimes, we may have to cancel a class because of a last-minute, emergency situation. We apologize if this happens. If you arrive to discover that a class has been canceled, please feel free to walk in on another class of the same or different type during the month.

If there is stormy weather, please call 202-727-1111 to find out if the library is open. Thank you, in advance, for your patience.