Tag Archives: Microsoft Office 2016

Teaching Microsoft Applications: Encourage Individuality, Encourage Experimentation

By Alex Scott, triOS College; Author of Labyrinth Learning’s Microsoft® Excel 2016 Comprehensive

Over years of using and teaching Microsoft Office programs, I’ve often wondered why there are so many ways to do the same thing. Many users are familiar with at least two methods of executing a common task like copy and paste using keyboard shortcuts or the context menu. But for new users, alternatives methods can be intimidating and difficult to remember.

Students with tablet

In my class I tell my students there are usually at least three ways to do the same thing! For example, say I want to copy the word “Microsoft” and use it in another location. I have four options:

  • Ribbon commands
  • Right-click to open the menu of commands
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Drag and drop

How do students know which method to choose?

Start Where You Are Comfortable

New Way and Old Way

New users can feel overwhelmed by these options, so focusing on one approach is a great way to start.  I tell them to focus on the method that makes most sense for them, whatever they are comfortable with. Everyone learns differently, and each student can decide what is right for them.

Experiment!

As their confidence increases, I encourage them to try different ways, to see how the task might be done easier or faster using a different method. More experienced users sometimes get into the habit of using the same method to do all tasks, so even students who are familiar with Office programs can benefit from trying new techniques.

Implement Methods That Increase Productivity

In the work world it isn’t just about getting the work done, it’s also about getting things done quickly and efficiently, using the best method possible.

I’ve noticed patterns when I use certain methods. When I was writing my Excel textbook, a big part of the work was using Word to format and edit the content I drafted. I found that when I made a simple change – using shortcuts for copying and formatting – my time was drastically decreased!

Even as an advanced user, I find myself going back to the Ribbon—even for tasks that would be accomplished more quickly using the mouse or keyboard. The key is to know as many different methods as possible, and to remind yourself to look for an alternative approach to complete a task instead of always doing things the same way.

The best way to do something isn’t necessarily the way you’ve done it in the past, and methods that work for some situations aren’t always the best for others.

Be willing to experiment and you will gain productivity!

Office 2016 Now Available

blog2Microsoft’s Office Suite is a mature and much-used product. According to the Verge, there are approximately 1.2 billion Office users worldwide. Being a mature set of programs, Office 2016 doesn’t have many new features, but there are a few key changes and additions.

The most visual change in Office is the new look and feel of the program, including some changes to the program menus, that closely resemble Windows 10. However, even with these changes you will still find most of the tools you use in the same locations as the previous version of Office.

The “cloud” is a major focus of Office 2016. You will still be able to purchase a boxed copy of the software, but Microsoft is really pushing users to the cloud. When you subscribe to Office 365, you get 1 terabyte of space on OneDrive for each user, and the integration between Windows 10, OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage) and Office 2016 becomes very tight. Also, saving and opening documents to the cloud has gotten a lot more seamless. The new Outlook, for example, just sends a link to attached documents that are saved to OneDrive. This allows for faster emails, less used space due to saving multiple copies of the same attachment, and the ability to edit the document after the link has been sent.

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Office 2016 will be available on a variety of devices and computers.
This version of Office will be available across eight or more platforms including Android, Windows, and Mac devices. Your settings and documents will be available on whichever device you use.

The most exciting new feature is the collaboration feature in Word. When a document is stored on OneDrive, multiple people can edit that document at the same time. Google Docs has had this feature for years, but Word 2016 is a much more powerful program with even more complex tools.

Skype is now integrated into Office, and the new Microsoft Sway makes its debut in this version. Sway is a new online-only program for creating webpages and presentations. Think of it as Word and PowerPoint mashed together with some great special effects. You can use Sway for free (without buying Office) at https://sway.com/.

More information about Microsoft Office 2016 is available at https://products.office.com.