How to run a computer software program
After a computer program is installed onto a computer, it can be opened at any time. Below are the steps on how you can open a computer software program on your computer in all operating systems.
When you want to "open" a program, you can use "open" or "run." However, to "open" a file, see: How to open, view, and edit the contents of a file on a computer.
Opening a program in Microsoft Windows
Run a program in Microsoft Windows
In Windows, to run a program, double-click the executable file or double-click the shortcut icon pointing to the executable file. If you have a hard time double-clicking an icon, you can click the icon once to highlight it and then press the Enter key on the keyboard.
If you cannot find a program's icon in Windows 7, Vista, 8, or 10, click Start and type the name of the program you want to open. For example, you could type notepad, excel, or word and click the icon in the search results, or highlight the program icon and press Enter. If the program does not appear make sure the program is installed.
If a program is not installed in the computer, it cannot run. For example, you can only run Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel if you have installed it on the computer.
Run a program on an Apple computer
In Apple macOS, double-click the program icon to run the program. If you have a hard time double-clicking an icon, you can click the icon once to highlight it and then press the Return key on the keyboard.
If you are having a hard time opening a program because you cannot find the icon, you can use Spotlight to search for the name of the program. Once found, double-click the icon to open the program.
If a program is in the Dock, it only requires you to click the icon once.
Run an app on an Apple iPad and iPhone
If you cannot find a particular program icon, using your finger, swipe down from the top-middle of any screen showing icons to start a search. You may need to swipe right after swiping down to see the search field. In the search, type the name of the program you want to open and then click the icon.
Run an app on an Android phone or tablet
How to close a program
If you open a program, at some point you will likely want to close it. Many programs have a red close icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. If not, you can push the keyboard shortcut key combination Alt+F4 to exit.