More than one billion people use Microsoft Office – that’s one in seven people worldwide! They use Word for reports and memos, PowerPoint for presentations, Excel for calculations, and so on. Most users today don’t have formal training in MS Office and learn how to operate the programs through trial and error. MS Office programs are easy to use and you can master the basics in a matter of hours.
However, many don’t explore beyond the basics to understand just how sophisticated and versatile these platforms are. Formal Microsoft Office training can help you understand these platforms and learn the tricks that can make your job easier. Your overall productivity will improve and you’ll impress your boss. In the meantime, here are some great hacks that will make your Microsoft Office experience even better!
Microsoft Word is text editing software that allows you to create text documents of several pages. You can insert pictures, add charts and graphs, use different fonts, and perform a number of other asks. These are just the most basic aspects of Microsoft Word. There are a number of other tricks that can help improve your overall productivity.
1. Recovering lost text – Everyone has faced data loss and corrupted Word files at some time or the other. You type in several thousand words of meticulously planned text and suddenly there’s a glitch or disruption that corrupts the entire file. You can recover lost text by going to File and then Open. Select the corrupted or damaged file and then select the Recover Text from Any File This command is present in the drop down menu File type list located to the left of the File name text box. All text will be recovered but you won’t recover any graphics or image files.
2. Learn about Spike – If you want to copy or move information from multiple locations in the document to one position, you don’t need to move back and forth through the entire document. You can use a feature call Spike. It allows you to copy or select text from different locations on the Word document and move or paste it to a new location simultaneously. All you need to do is select the text and press CTRL+F3. This moves the data to Spike. You can continue to select and move the text to Spike until you’ve highlighted everything you needed to. The next step is to place the cursor at the desired location and press CTRL+SHIFT+F3. That should move the text completely. You can press CTRL+Z or Undo immediately if you want to just copy the text instead of moving it.
3. Removing double spaces – Double spaces are a big annoyance and it can occur multiple times in a single document. You can manually go through the document to find those double spaces or simply Find and Replace the space. All you need to do is open the Find and Replace option by pressing CTRL+H. Once the dialogue box is open, place the cursor on the “Find What” tab and press the space bar twice to indicate double space. Then place the cursor at the “Replace with” option and press the space bar once to indicate single space. All you need to do is click on “Replace All” and all the double spaces will be replaced by single spaces.
Microsoft Excel is one of the most complex and sophisticated programs in the MS Office family. On the surface, it seems like a single spreadsheet, but it offers a number of tips and tricks to make your job easier. Here are some of the tricks you can use on a daily basis in Excel:
4. PivotTables – If you have struggled with reports, particularly summarizing reports, you need to know how PivotTable works. This feature allows to you analyse a large dataset without using a single formula. All you need to do is go to Insert and then PivotTable. Select the dataset you need to analyse and then click OK. You can generate the report by dragging the fields in the top half of the slots to the lower four boxes in the right hand bar. You can find more info about using PivotTables here.
5. Conditional formatting – This is a great tool to highlight a certain data set or values and can be useful at presentations and meetings with your boss. You can draw their attention to values that matter by highlighting them. All you need to do is click on Home and Conditional Formatting. You can choose from a wide range of formats and formulas. For example, if you want to highlight all values less than 500, you just need to choose “Highlight Cell Rules> Less than” and type 500 in the option. All values less than 500 will be highlighted.
6. Waterfall charts – These are the most popular graphs to illustrate net values. They can break down financial or statistical data into flow, contributions, and total. These charts are very easy to use. You just need to click on, “Insert > Inset Waterfall or Stock Chart > Waterfall”. You’ll have an easy to understand chart on your Excel document ready for use.
PPT is one of the most powerful and popular presentation tools available today. While there are other versions and programs online, they’re not quite as sophisticated as MS PowerPoint. Here are some tricks that can help you become more productive on this platform:
7. Insert slides from other files – You can insert slides from other files or previously prepared presentations by using Insert > Slides from Files.
8. Summary slide – You can place a summary slide at the beginning or end of your presentation with the help by clicking on the Viewmenu and choosing Slide Sorter. Choose all the slides you want to use by holding down CTRL and clicking on the slides. Then click on the Summary Slide button on the Slide Sorter menu. Your summary slide will appear in the set.
This is just scratching the surface of what MS Office is truly capable of. A solid foundation in MS Office programs will help you perform better at work and improve your productivity. That will also improve your career prospects and help you get a better job if needed.
Author bio: Jordan James is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Activia Training, a UK-based training provider specialising in improving delegates’ workplace performance in business skills, management development and IT applications. Jordan is passionate about social media and customer service issues, and regularly blogs about these – and many other – topics on the Activia blog.