Millions of workers across the country use Microsoft Office to create documents, manage their meetings, analyse data, and complete all kinds of tasks in the workplace. Therefore, knowing exactly what you can do in each program is essential to stay productive and stave off frustrations at work.
Whether you’re delivering a presentation or just trying to stay on top of your emails, here are our top tips for Microsoft Office’s most commonly used programs.
The backbone of office work across the country, Microsoft Word has a few tricks to make things easier when editing documents. Use the ‘Track Changes’ option to record all of the changes that you make to a document, particularly if you’re editing someone else’s work, so that they can be reviewed upon completion. The ‘View Side by Side’ option in the ‘View’ tab will also mean you can open two documents and review them at the same time with synchronised scrolling.
The ‘View’ tab also holds the ‘Outline’ option, which is perfect for reviewing the heading structure of a document and the flow of information in each section. In the Outline View, you can jump straight to a more pertinent section of a document, or create a rough draft of work with headings and sub-headings set before writing the rest of your text in ‘Print Layout’ (the default view for Word documents).
Whenever possible, deliver your presentations using two screens. Doing this will give you the Presenter View of your slides on your personal display (usually your laptop or desktop computer), while your audience pays attention to the slides themselves on the main display (often a larger display such as a projector).
In Presenter View, you can keep prompts for your presentation in the notes section below each slide, see a timer of how long you’ve spent delivering your presentation, and a preview of which slide is queued up next. The zoom tool is available to give you greater control of your presentation, allowing you to zoom in on important sections of slides – perfect for discussing charts and graphs that may display several different focal points.
If you need to convert your PowerPoint into a Word document, simply save the presentation using the Outline/RTF option in ‘Save As’. This will copy the presentation’s text formatting, though not any images used (which have to be manually copied across).
Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used pieces of spreadsheet software in the world, though because of its varied applications, things can be complex if you’re using other people’s documents. Don’t forget that the status bar at the bottom will quickly show average, count, and sum information for all cells you select. Right-clicking the bar brings up more options to help you read selected information quicker, such as minimum and maximum values.
To avoid retyping information when you need to transpose data, highlight the information you need and copy it. Then find ‘Paste Special’ under the Clipboard tab and select ‘Transpose’, to neatly create your new table. If you need to input a large amount of complex data, consider altering the AutoCorrect function in the ‘Proofing’ tab of ‘Options’ to automatically insert larger information (for example, a person’s full name) when you type abbreviations (their initials).
Keeping on top of your emails is imperative to staying productive while working, therefore it’s important to know everything Outlook can do to help you. If you’re working with clients or colleagues in a different country, add their time zones to your calendar to avoid scheduling meetings at unreasonable times. This can be done in the ‘Calendar’ tab of Outlook Options by scrolling down to ‘Time zones’ and checking ‘Show a second time zone’.
For a quick way to keep your inbox organised, head over to the ‘View’ tab and select ‘Show as Conversations’. This will combine the emails you receive with any replies that they have generated, meaning you don’t need to search back through your inbox to find related emails, and future replies don’t clog up your inbox. If you find yourself routinely making the same searches, create a search folder in the ‘Folder’ tab. This will create a new folder that can be customised to include anything from all messages marked ‘important’ to those that exceed a file size limit.
No matter which program you’re using, you can pin frequently used documents by right-clicking on the icon in your taskbar and selecting the push-pin to the right of a document when your mouse hovers over it. This keeps any documents saved in shared folders instantly accessible, as well as templates you need, easily to hand.
Unlike the standard desktop clipboard which only holds one item at a time, Microsoft Office’s clipboard also holds 24 items from across all Office programs, meaning you can click the window icon in the bottom-right corner of the ‘Clipboard’ tab to see your entire clipboard history and select which items you need.
Got any top Office tips? Any shortcuts you can share with fellow office workers? Tell us about it on Twitter at @viking_chat.