The Complete Guide to Microsoft Office and How to Get the Most Out of It

Last Updated on October 21, 2021

What is Microsoft Office?

According to Microsoft, Microsoft Office is “a productivity suite that helps you work together, simplify your lives and protect your information.”

Office includes individual programs such as Microsoft Word for writing documents, Microsoft Excel for collecting and analyzing data, and Microsoft PowerPoint for creating presentations. The suite was first introduced by Bill Gates in 1990 and has since become one of the biggest names in the world of business software.

If you use a Windows computer at home or work it’s likely that you’ve heard about – if not used – the popular Microsoft Office suite before. But what exactly is it? And more importantly, how can you get started using it yourself? As with any piece of software, there are plenty of features waiting to be discovered by users who take the time to learn. With that in mind, we’ve put together a simple guide to Microsoft Office and some of the most helpful tools it has to offer. Let’s get started!

Microsoft Office is a suite of applications used by both home users and businesses worldwide for productivity purposes, such as creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. The latest version of the software is called Microsoft Office 2019, which includes several new features compared to earlier releases.

The basics of this popular software package consist of 3 different applications which are used for 3 main activities:

Microsoft Word is a word processor for composing, editing, and proofing documents. It allows you to create attractive letters, reports, books, or any other type of written material. Furthermore, it can be used to design newsletters and brochures as well as easily prepare materials for online publishing.

Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application that makes creating graphs and tables simple. You can also use it to analyze data stored in these tables by applying formulas and functions, which helps you transform raw data into useful information. If you wanted to crunch numbers at work this would be your best option!

Finally, there’s PowerPoint – the most popular presentation software on the market today. This app lets you create slideshows containing text, images, video, and more. It also helps you to connect with other people by sharing your presentation via the internet or saving it as a video file so that they can watch it later.

If you already own a computer running Windows 10, 8/8.1, or 7 there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try using Microsoft Office for yourself! Even if you don’t have much experience with office software or any at all, this suite makes it possible for anyone to use powerful tools designed specifically to boost productivity levels. And let’s not forget that each tool included has lots of features that are just waiting to be discovered by users who are interested in taking the time to learn how they work. This guide will help make the process as fun and easy as possible.

In order to download Microsoft Office, you simply need to go to the official website of your country’s Microsoft office store (for example for the UK). There you will find a simple “Get Started” button that will automatically start downloading the relevant files needed to install the suite on your computer. This should take just a few minutes depending on your Internet connection speed and after it finishes you’ll be ready to begin using one of the most popular pieces of business-oriented software out there!

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How to Use Microsoft Office Word for Effective Communication

The first step to using Microsoft Word is opening the application itself. You can start this process by clicking on the Windows Start menu and then typing “Word” into the search bar that appears underneath it. Next, simply click on the program (or press Enter if you’ve clicked on it already). This will open up the main template screen for this app, where you’ll need to select either one of the pre-installed templates or create your own document from scratch using the blank template option at the top of the screen.

If you need help navigating through all of these options, there’s a built-in Help function just waiting to be discovered! To access it, click on “Help” in the menu bar along the top of your screen. This will open up a sub-menu with several options.

Finally, there are lots of keyboard shortcuts that can be used to speed up certain processes within Word or make them run more smoothly in general. To view all of these shortcut options, you simply need to click on “Word” in the top left corner of your screen and select “Preferences”. After that, click on the tab labeled “Keyboard Shortcuts” and choose either “All Categories” or one specific category from the dropdown menu underneath it (for example Clipboard). From there you’ll see an alphabetized list containing every possible shortcut key combination for this app as well as what one does. Please note that not all of these shortcuts will work with a standard computer keyboard, however.

Working with Excel to Generate Data Visualization and Data Analysis

Everyone who has needed to work with spreadsheets has probably used Microsoft Excel at some point. Data analysis is one of the helpful ways that you can use this program. If your company generates a lot of data, then it would be beneficial to create graphs or charts that show trends within this data. You can also analyze these trends over time to understand which parts of your business are successful and what needs improvement. Once you have completed your analytics, you might notice new opportunities for growth in different markets. The following tips will help you generate graphs quickly so that you can begin analyzing data as soon as possible.

Analysis Tools

You should start by examining the rows and columns on the left side of the screen to identify exactly where each set of information begins and ends. This information should be located so that you can easily identify each cell on your spreadsheet. You should also use a toolbar to create a chart or graph from the data within Excel, saving it so that you can share this data with other people as well.

In addition to creating charts to analyze the data, you will likely want to use other tools for analysis as well. One of these tools is known as PivotTables. When you first place all of the relevant numbers into an Excel sheet, it may seem as though there is no rhyme or reason behind it – but if you look closer, you should begin noticing patterns appear. A PivotTable allows you to customize your spreadsheet by grouping certain parts together based upon a criterion that you specify. For example, by creating a PivotTable in Excel, you could break down data such as sales figures by type of item sold and geographical location.

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Graphs Include:

  • Pie Charts
  • Histograms
  • Bar Graphs

Best Practices for Using Powerpoint Presentations

PowerPoint is one of the most significant tools used in modern business, making it a key part of any professional’s toolkit. It is not just an effective presentation itself, however, PowerPoint can be used to optimize how you plan, design, and create your presentations.

The following are some best practices for using Powerpoint effectively:

Use “Slides” instead of “Layers”.  Layering slides means adding individual objects separately on top of another so that they can all appear at once on-screen. Using Slide layers means having each slide as its own unit with each element being able to appear individually during the presentation so that you can focus on what is most important rather than everything happening simultaneously.

Align Objects Horizontally or Vertically.  You can place objects easily on a PowerPoint slide by drawing a line between them and the edge of the screen. This allows you to keep everything organized and looking neat, while also making it easy for your audience to see everything clearly without having to search around too much.

Use Smart Guides for aligning objects accurately.  PowerPoint has something called “smart guides” that will allow you to align several items at once. Simply hold down the Ctrl key, then click and drag each object into place with another — they’ll snap right in line precisely without any effort from your part. These smart guides even work when text boxes are overlapping other ones so that nothing gets obscured or hidden within your presentation slides by accident during editing processes.

Create a “Slide Master”  for consistent formatting of elements.  A slide master makes it easy to apply the same format throughout an entire presentation. You can also add a background or color that you might want every slide within your presentation to have, which you can then easily apply with one click when it comes time to create new slides. The Slide Master should generally include the following:

  • Fonts                        
  • Colors      
  • Shapes      
  • Images

Insert Graphics in Your Slides.  One way to liven up your PowerPoint slides is by including graphics in addition to text and charts. These could be images or relevant icons or emoticons that better convey your point or help illustrate statistics in ways words cannot quite manage. You could even use a mix of images and text to add some flair to your PowerPoint.

Use the “Insert Shapes” feature on your slides to make it more visually interesting, making shapes such as diamonds or squares with certain dimensions that you can resize on-screen whenever necessary.

Give Objects Drop Shadows for Depth. If you want objects in your PowerPoint presentation to look like they’re popping out of the screen and truly grabbing attention, then give them drop shadows. Using this feature will help draw your audience’s eyes towards one object while also keeping that object separate from others on the slide so that nothing gets lost within the design.

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The color scheme should not distract audiences from what is most important – their business meeting or seminar.   Using a simple, two or three-colored scheme that is easy on the eyes will ensure your slides look professional and polished without requiring you to do much work.

Do not use bright colors for text boxes.  A lot of business presentations may be done in PowerPoint because it’s so much easier than spending time with a complicated design program such as Photoshop or Illustrator when there is no time to spare. That does not mean you should sacrifice professionalism for an easier experience, however, which means avoiding bright colors for textual objects such as body text and headers that may distract from what is most important: the content itself and how it helps advance your business meeting or seminar objectives.

Powerful images can convey ideas more effectively than words in some cases. Images can help add life and interest to your PowerPoint presentation, making them a useful tool if done correctly. However, be careful not to overload slides with too many images, or else the point could become obscured by all of the distractions on-screen.

Make your font big enough for people in the back of the room to read.  If you plan on using a projector when giving your presentation, then make sure that your text is easy to read from anywhere within the room. A good rule of thumb would be to set the font size at least slightly larger than what you think it’ll need to be so that it can serve as a backup in case there’s any trouble seeing from certain parts of the room.

You only have 15 seconds before an image loses its impact.  Images can be great to include within your PowerPoint slides for a variety of reasons, but you should ensure that it is not wasted by including an image that no one pays attention to because it is too small or just does not possess enough detail. You only have about 15 seconds before an image’s impact begins to wane.

Use both bullets and numbered lists.  When writing a speech or presentation, you typically want to use bullets rather than numbering everything out because it looks cleaner and simpler for the audience member who may be reading off of their own paper copy of your slide show. However, numbering items can help keep things organized under certain circumstances so don’t assume this is always the best approach.

When inserting images, make sure they aren’t too small.  Typically you should give an image the same amount of space as what it would take up if it were actual size so that your audience can see details clearly without having to stand on their tippy-toes. If this means changing the margins for your slide show then do it because clarity is far more important than making everything fit without any empty space whatsoever.

Liven up presentations with interactive elements. Sometimes the best way to keep audiences entertained and engaged is by including interactivity within your PowerPoint presentation.

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