Learn More and Become Dangerous

Category: Software

Over the last few decades, one piece of software has stood out – head and shoulders – over any other piece of software. In fact, for many people this software has been the first thing installed on any new computer and is often used every time the computer is turned on. Can you guess what it is...?

The Envelope, Please!

What is this software? Microsoft Office. The powerhouses of this suite are two programs: Microsoft Word and Excel, which provide word processing and spreadsheet capabilities to millions of people around the world. It's been imitated by many, but never duplicated.

There's a good chance you use Word or Excel every single day, whether it is to dash off a quick note, tabulate the figures for a budget, or track something in your office. These are the workhorse programs in many users' daily routines.

If you are like most people, you know enough to get by with Word and Excel. But what you don't know could actually be holding you back and hampering your productivity! When I've got questions about how to use Word or Excel, my go-to guy is Allen Wyatt. I've personally known him for over a decade, and for over 17 years he's been publishing newsletters about how to use both Word and Excel.
Word and Excel Tips

ExcelTips is a free weekly newsletter that provides guidance on how to get the most out of Excel. Similarly, WordTips, as you might suspect, provides hands-on guidance for Word. These are independent newsletters, and each provides a range of tips, from beginner to expert, that you can put to use right away.

After just a few issues you might actually become dangerous in how you use the software. You'll definitely become more of an expert, and you'll be able to wow your friends and co-workers with your ninja skills.

Allen compiles all his tips at the WordTips website and the ExcelTips website. Take a look around; you'll find thousands (literally) of tips on how to use these programs. You can drill down to find tips by topic, or you can search to find just what you need. Here are a few examples:

There isn't a single thing I've wondered how to do with Word or Excel that I couldn’t find the answer for at Allen's sites, with a little digging around. He's been covering these Microsoft Office programs since before the days of Word and Excel 97, and his depth of knowledge shows. Everything from beginner information to advanced programming with macros -- it's all there!

Do yourself a favor, though. When you visit either of these websites, do what I did -- subscribe to Allen's newsletters. They are published weekly and they are free. Each page on his websites has a sign-up form at the right side of the page.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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This article was posted by on 16 May 2014

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Most recent comments on "Learn More and Become Dangerous"

Posted by:

16 May 2014

Hi Bob:

I agree with you about Allen Wyatt's "tips" newsletters. Also, like you, subscribers can ask for help with some some rather convoluted requirements -- including some of my own! Often, other subscribers jump in and offer solutions (which Allen acknowledges).

He covers a broad range of versions. For example, he has tips for Word from '97 all the way to the current versions.

I highly recommend subscribing to Allen's newsletters. I learn something new with each issue.

Posted by:

16 May 2014

From the teaser I was convinced you were going to say it's the web browser. Office? Bah! Well, OK, it does have its uses. :-)

Posted by:

John Wafford
16 May 2014

Don't forget Allen's daily Word and Excel tips.

Posted by:

Don Lewis
16 May 2014

Yes! Alan Wyatt's word tips are a great resource. I can't begin to count the number of times that I encountered a problem and remembered reading about something similar in his word tips. It is worth reading all the tips because even if the subject is inapplicable to your work, you'll probably end up helping someone else dig their way out of a hole. His archive offers are a good investment.

Posted by:

16 May 2014

This is the very first thing that I uninstall after first running all security updates and install a reliable A/V program. There are plenty of free Office and word programs available on line.

Posted by:

16 May 2014

Without cheating, I was initially going to guess IrfanView for image/photo handling and to replace the Microsoft Paint and/or PhotoViewer programs.
Or, I would have thought of installing a replacement for Windows Media Player (WiMP), with something like WinAmp and BSPlayer combo.
Or, replacing the still-born NotePad, with something that is actually useful like EditPad.
Or, even replacing the InternetExplorer, with Firefox/Opera/Chrome.
Or, maybe installing an A/V program, such as AVG or something.
Or, a utility to control the StartUp programs that are automatically booted w/Windows, with WinPatrol.
After all, there are many alternatives to Microsoft Office that are of the FREEware variety.
Unfortunately, and probably like yourself, I am an addict of the Microsoft Office suite (including Outlook, OneNote and Visio). But I finally stopped upgrading at Office2010 and that is still my bread and butter to this day (of course, installing the ClassicMenu as the Ribbon replacement becomes a must for power users).
Thank you for the links for Excel/Word tips.
Cheers, RandiO

Posted by:

Jack Morin
16 May 2014

Why pay for something that you can get for free. I use Open Office Suite that cost me nothing compared to Microsoft that can cost $139.00 and upwards.
I have not found any task that cannot be accomplished by Open Office just as well as Microsoft Office.

Posted by:

16 May 2014

Bob, thanks for sharing these resources. What a fantastic find! While I understand that the freebie programs are sufficient for many, MS Office is the one found in, well, offices. A proficiency in Excel and/or Word can be a valuable asset on the job.

Hmmmm. I'm definitely starting to feel that 146% nudge.

Posted by:

Daniel Wiener
16 May 2014

I'll definitely check out Allen Wyatt's newsletters. Thank you for the tip.

Considering how expensive Microsoft Office is, I've been recommending to other family members that they use free substitutes like Office Libre. However, I recently discovered (almost by accident) that the large company I work for had a deal with Microsoft to let employees purchase the complete Microsoft Office 2013 suite for just $9.95 for their home computers. I jumped at that offer, so now I've installed it on all of my home computers for that single ridiculously low price. I'd suggest that people inquire if their companies have any similar deals. It can't hurt to ask...

Posted by:

Darcetha Manning
16 May 2014

Thanks Bob for this information. I use Word alot and ocassionally Excel. Anything that
makes my life easier, is greatly appreciated.

Posted by:

Lesley McLaughlin
16 May 2014

Bob, I've fancied myself fairly proficient in both Word and Excel, but there are always things to learn - and re-learn, and things long-since forgotten that need brushing up. Thanks.

Posted by:

17 May 2014

The only time I use Word is when I go to fax something. I haven't used Excel in years. If I go to type a message to myself, I use notepad.

Posted by:

Rick Lybarger
17 May 2014

Great article Bob! With just a little vigilance, I was up for promotion from clerk to office techie simply because I was a power user with a curious mind. That was back when the office got it's first PC. Everything else, " office machines" which I could work on also. Keep up the great work!

Posted by:

17 May 2014

Bob, must admit, I would never have thought the Microsoft Office was the answer! I thought, Windows, simply because, that is the most used Operating System, in the world. However, I guess that, there is a difference between Operating System and Software.

In all honesty, I also, make sure that MS Office is installed, on all of my PCs. Do I really know how to use Word or Excel or Access or PowerPoint? NO. But, I know that I need them, when I am trying to view, what comes from these parts of Office. Please, no remarks, that I can get Free programs, that will view these parts, okay? I know that, I simply prefer to have MS Office.

I will check out this website and see, if, I can learn more, on how to do good things, when I am using Word and then maybe, I can finally, learn how to use Excel!!! Believe me, I have tried and tried and tried to use Excel, only to get completely frustrated and stop trying! I have been told, once you learn Excel, it is easy and I would love using it.

Thanks, Bob ... I can't wait, to check out Allen Wyatt's website. :)

Posted by:

18 May 2014

And I thought for certain it would be Adobe Reader. MS Office? Haven't come close to using it since 2001, my last "corporate" stint as an independent contractor. Use OpenOffice and haven't missed it.

Posted by:

19 May 2014

Open Office rocks. Of course, I'm not a good judge since I only use it to write letters and other sorts of musings, but it is free and I have found no difference between OF and Word. Perhaps the Microsoft product might excel at other jobs (such as Excel, LOL) but for me I've been using the freebie since last June and loving it.

Posted by:

Granville Alley
19 May 2014

Word & Excel are now quite powerful applications. However MS's insistence on changing the user interface for the sake of change (Office Ribbons & Windows 8 being perhaps the perfect examples of this kind of hubris) the usability of the Office Applications has actually regressed in recent iterations.

Unfortunately, style over substance seems to be the watchword for Microsoft (and actually style is a bit of a misnomer itself as "style" at least as in 'elegance" or "well tailored" is not really MS's forte' either. So perhaps in MS's case it should be change for change's sake in preference to refinement and fine-tuning of what works, which better describes their design philosophy.

It is too bad because they clearly have a host of bright people and a boatload of money to throw at software design, and if they had a vision beyond the next quarter's earnings perhaps we would be being blessed with well designed, easy to use, powerful applications that work consistently from version to version while increasing in speed and power. But protection of their desktop monopoly and driving revenue seem the only constants in the MS universe.

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