Microsoft Office is by far the most popular office suite that provides many features such as word processing, web publishing, spreadsheets and database creation. Tapping into these Microsoft Office resources, however, is not always easy and straightforward, leaving users stumped and puzzled.
So where can you find out how to use and perform these great features in Microsoft Office? Below I have listed some great, free resources for help with Microsoft Office.
Free Online Training Tutorials
There are a number of websites that offer free online Microsoft Office training tutorials. These training tutorials range from quick tips and tricks, to step-by-step instructions with screenshots to video tutorials. To find free online training tutorials, do a Google search (or any other search engine for that matter) for [free online training tutorials].
Microsoft Corporation’s Knowledge Base
It’s always good to get information first hand from the horse’s mouth, right? Well, to find out about Microsoft Office, go to the Microsoft website. There they offer tips and tricks on how to use Microsoft Office products, have a huge knowledgebase of frequently asked questions, any related patches to update or fix current application functionality, and even offer additional free downloads of templates and other tools to use with Microsoft Office applications. You can find the features just mentioned on the Microsoft website at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/ for Windows PC users and http://www.microsoft.com/mac/ for Apple Macintosh users.
Computer Help Bulletin Boards and Forums
People like to help. Pure and simple. Message boards are proof of this concept. Every day thousands of people log onto message boards and ask questions and receive prompt, free advice and answers. There are all kinds of message (bulletin) boards out there that specialize in computer software. One I’ve found that I like is TekTips.com. They have users from all kinds of technical backgrounds with advice on just about every software application imaginable. They require membership to post a message (most forums and message boards do), but it is a quick and easy process. There are other computer training message boards out there, just do a Google search for [software forum] and you’ll be on your way.
Microsoft Office Training CDs
Not too many Microsoft Office training CDs are available for free, but there are a few available. For instance, Video Professor offers a wide variety of computer training resources for some of the most popular word processing, spreadsheet, database and graphics packages around. They have Microsoft Office training CDs for most of the Microsoft Office application packages. They offer you one free training CD, in the hopes that you will want to buy others. You can find the Video Professor website at http://www.videoprofessor.com.
College and University Website Searches
Some of the best resources for computer help of any kind are college and university websites. They usually have instructions for faculty and staff on how to do computer functions from the most basic to quite advanced. They also provide screen shots lots of times that show you step by step how to perform a particular function. Some colleges have the latest technology like Microsoft Office XP (2003), but some universities still have Microsoft Office 2000 or even Microsoft Office 97, so no matter what version of Microsoft Office you have, there is most likely a free college or university resource where you can find useful information.
Microsoft Office Application’s Built-in Help Feature
By far, the quickest place to get help on using a Microsoft Office application is the built-in feature, Microsoft Help. Located on your menu bar, it is easy to access and doesn’t require you to leave your house or even have an internet connection or phone line. You can search in Microsoft Help a couple of ways. For instance, there is the Office Assistant, the cute and lovable (even sometimes annoying) little paperclip that appears when you first open Microsoft Word (this feature can be disabled if desired). When you have a question on how to perform a function, simply click on the animated paper clip type in what you are looking for help on and press enter. A list of relevant suggestions on how to do the functionality that you want to perform is displayed.
In addition, the Microsoft Help feature offers a substantial knowledgebase of instructions on how to perform specific Microsoft Office application functions. You can search by drilling down in the Contents section, typing in a question in the Answer Wizard section, or typing in a phrase or term in the index section to see all of the relevant help instructions that are available.
Temporary Employment Agencies
It may seem unusual to list a temporary agency as a place to get free training, but the opportunity does exist. Consider this; temporary agencies (such as Manpower, AppleOne, and Spherion to name a few) want their employees to have skills that are marketable to their clients so that they market that employee and get a contract, therefore getting paid. Lots of jobseekers coming to the agency are lacking the skills necessary to get them that a position, and that is not profitable. To get those employees up to speed, they offer free training tutorials on some of the most popular word processing packages. Most of these trainings are computer-based trainings that you have to schedule an appointment to come and learn, but they are self-paced so there is no rush. All you need to do to utilize this free training is register with a temporary employment agency (mainly ones specialize in administrative work) and then schedule an appointment for your free training.