28 September 2007

There's nothing wrong with asking for "Help"!

Wouldn't it be nice to have your own personal helpline when you need help and the IT people have left for the day and you just can't figure out how to print that Excel document so it fits on one page and your boss needs it urgently? Well, I am very fortunate as I just call my sister. She is great with software programs (self-taught) and usually knows the answer to my problems, or knows where to find it. We actually joke about it when I call her, I say "Is this the Excel Helpline?" So I asked her to write an article on how she gained the skills and know-how she has in Word, PPT and Excel. Here is her article below:

"When I first got back into the workforce, I quickly realized that a computer course was something I needed since I had never used a computer before. And yes, I know I am showing my age here...

Initially, I could not see how the lessons they were giving me on font sizing, margins, tabs, etc. were going to help me type a letter quicker than what I could do on my trusty typewriter; I could have finished that letter in two minutes! Of course, I quickly changed my mind when I saw the many advantages of using a computer.

Even when I was first learning, I found that I wanted to know more than what they were teaching me, so I started to investigate the various menu options myself and I started using the "Help" command. There's nothing wrong with asking for "Help"! A "Help" command is included in the Microsoft Office program menu bar. The more specific you can be with your question, the better your chance of getting answers on what you need. Here are a few ways you can get help.

Using the Office Assistant:
On the menu bar, go to Help > Show the Office Assistant. Your Office Assistant will show up on your screen usually in the lower right-hand corner…maybe as a paperclip, a cat or a dog. Click on your Office Assistant and you will get a pop-up that says, Type your question here. Do as it says…i.e. type in "How do I draw a curve in Word" or "Using Shortcut Keys in Word" and then click Search. You will get several results to choose from – choose the one that is closest to what you want to do and try it out.

Using the F1 key command:
Press the F1 key and type in your question.

Another way to learn more about your word processing program is to do tutorials. There are several tutorials available on the Internet. Even if you are at an "advanced level", you likely don't use all of the advanced features on a daily basis and the old saying holds true, "if you don't use it…you lose it". It's up to you to keep your skills up to date. The tutorials give you a good overview of what various programs can do.

Microsoft Office have their own tutorials that are very helpful. Click here1 and type in the name of the program you want information on.

There are several other good tutorial sites, for example: Internet4classrooms2 and bettersolutions.com3.

Basically, if you search on the Internet and type in the word "tutorials" and whatever program you want to know about, something will come up… Good idea also to just go to a University site4 and see what they are teaching…this will give you an idea of some of the many things your program can do.

And last but not least, keeping a "network" of secretaries is the best resource. You don't have to know everything…you just need to know others that do! My network is invaluable as one of my main "Help" resources."
Submitted by Lynn Crosbie, Administrative Assistant

Quick Tip:

For a quick way to get help, if you look in the top right-hand corner of Outlook, Word, PPT and Excel there is a Help box with the words Type your question here.

1 Microsoft Office Online, http://office.microsoft.com/, (accessed September 28, 2007)
2 Internet4Classrooms, http://www.internet4classrooms.com/on-line_word.htm, (accessed September 28, 2007)
3 Better Solutions.com, http://www.bettersolutions.com/word.aspx, (accessed September 28, 2007)
4 Florida Gulf Coast University, http://www.fgcu.edu/support/office2000/word/index.html, (accessed September 28, 2007)

There are many good blogs and websites for helps on the different software programs and my blog is not intended to duplicate that. My intention is to give quick tips on things I have found useful and share it with you in the hopes it will make your work easier.

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