The Application Essentials module covers the main concepts and skills needed to start using common office productivity applications — documents, spreadsheets, and presentations — effectively.

The term ‘digital native’ falsely suggests that young people intuitively know how to use digital technologies. By using digital technologies, young people acquire the so-called ‘lifestyle skills’ such as the use of social media, videos, games, however without appropriate training students fail to acquire the digital skills required in the learning and labour market.

This module is suitable for schools wishing to provide their students with the skills to use documents, spreadsheet and presentation applications effectively. These skills are essential not only to carry out specific tasks but also as a starting point for developing more in-depth competences in using these important office productivity applications, which are now ubiquitous in workplaces globally.

Develop essential skills to use applications effectively.

Module overview

CategorySkill set
Office productivity applications
  • Overview
  • Common tasks
Word processing
  • Getting started
  • Formatting and alignment
  • Objects
  • Outputs
  • Getting started
  • Formatting
  • Managing worksheets
  • Formulas
  • Charts
  • Outputs
  • Getting started
  • Text and formatting
  • Objects and effects
  • Outputs

Main learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to use computer applications effectively. After passing this module, candidates will feel confident using important office productivity applications, to perform everyday workplace tasks. They will be able to:

  • understand the purpose of different common office productivity applications and carry out common tasks
  • work with text in a document, insert and edit objects and tables, and prepare and print outputs
  • work with numbers and text in a spreadsheet, manipulate spreadsheet data, use formulas, insert charts, and prepare and print outputs
  • build a presentation, insert and format text in slides, insert and edit objects and effects, and create outputs including a slideshow.


The detailed syllabus for the Documents module is publicly available, so that there is complete clarity about what is covered.

The syllabus document, which sets out the specific skills and knowledge that you will learn and against which you will be certified, can be downloaded here.

Sample tests

Do you want to better understand the Documents module and how we test skills and knowledge

Try out the Documents sample tests here to get a feel for the coverage of the module, or practice before your certification test.

ICDL Digital Student

Digital skills to design and develop, share and protect

ICDL is the world’s leading digital skills certification, which helps people to develop and certify their skills in using a computer. Consisting of a number of modules, with the flexibility for teachers to choose the topics that meet the needs of their students, ICDL is an ideal way for schools to help develop their students’ digital skills.

Schools around the world use ICDL. ICDL Digital Student offers both flexibility, and a range of levels, along with an up-to-date offering that is kept to rigorously high standards around the world. Students can benefit from an internationally recognised certification that is mapped to a number of qualifications frameworks and standards, and which integrates with curricula in several countries.

The modules in ICDL Digital Student are:

Smart Digital

Offer ICDL in your school

ICDL isa global digital skills certification. With a wide range of courses to choose from, ICDL offers the real world digital skills your students need to excel and become more productive learners, employees, entrepreneurs and citizens.

To offer ICDL to your learners, students and staff you will need to become an ICDL Accredited Test Centre (ATC).


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