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The New Year Approaches- Update Your Microsoft Office Suite Skills

For some of us, the perpetual software updates bring pangs of excitement and anticipation of new features to enhance productivity. Nevertheless, for others, these impending updates elicit anxiety, frustration, and perhaps the mind mantra, “why, just why?” One can stand their ground and refuse to join the forward march to learn how to use upgraded software. However, there is a techno conspiracy to keep businesses upgrading their software, and it might be easier to tag along with those who learn the updates. The vicious cycle of computer operating system updates requires software companies to install updates to remain compatible. I will say that I hear there are a few warriors out there who are still using systems and programs that are pre-Microsoft Vista (I know right!), who enlist IT personnel to, in essence, pause time. I also postulate most businesses decree, there will be no updates to “work systems” until the IT team has indicated the crossing will be easy. Eventually, the updates happen, and the employee will need to learn how to do his or her tasks with the new system.

Fear not my fellow Microsoft Office users. There are opportunities for you to learn how to embrace the updates, or to be first-time-users of the various programs. The main conundrum with Microsoft Office Products is their seemingly endless product list, which, by the way, are not uniform in their layouts and features. There are office products for home, school, and business. There are products for the PC and Mac, and online Office 365 subscriptions. If you are thinking, “No brainer, online Office 365 means uniformity- one fits all.” Think again, you need to select between Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, Office 365 Office Home & Student, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Business Essentials, and their options for enterprise or education. Thus, you need to know which product your employer uses, or think about which one you think your future employers will most likely use. If you are currently, or were a recent, college student using your college’s student version, then you might need to learn about the potential differences between the product options.

How do I do it, how do I learn how to be efficient with Microsoft Office? Most of us know how to use Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook to various levels. Who knows how to use, or have heard of Delve, Flow, SharePoint, Sway, and Yammer? Microsoft Office subscription comes with over 20 installed apps. An Internet search for learning to use Microsoft Office will display a plethora of options, some free and others at a fee. Additionally, some offer certification of proficiency when using Microsoft Office Suite, which they recommend adding to one’s résumé. LinkedIn offers learning programs and a free monthly introduction. Click the hyperlink to view a list of 20 common learning options for Microsoft Office 365. Additionally, one can learn about the various accessibility features offered for Microsoft Products. Some provide print instruction, others offer videos at various lengths, and interactive testing of your newly acquired knowledge.

More often than not, I find K-12 schools embrace the Google system being it is free. I also find that most colleges and businesses use Microsoft. Students might be more apt to use Word and PowerPoint. The likelihood that employees will also need to be competent in using Excel, Outlook, and Skype (yep, Skype is part of Microsoft) is high. Whether you are, or might become, an entry-level employee or senior-level executive, you will most likely encounter the need to use Microsoft Office. Who is ready to meet 2019, and all the new and upcoming updates, with confidence and the “I can do it” attitude?

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Tags: Microsoft, softare


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Comment by Jennifer Mundl on December 27, 2018 at 10:02am

More of my students are using Google documents instead of Microsoft Word. Although it is not as powerful as Microsoft Word, it is a free service that students can use any time. It is cross-platform and will also work on their cell phones or tablet beside a computer. Most of my students cannot afford the additional cost of 365. So I would need a further explanation of why they should purchase this. For students that are college-bound or employment focused, I can see the benefit of using it. Just thought it would be good to know other resources for them. I have quite a few new ones are great.

Comment by Adrienne Kleinman on December 18, 2018 at 5:57am

Erika, thank you for sharing this! I had no idea that there were so many layers to Microsoft Office. 

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