By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Know how to access Microsoft applications
- Describe the key functions within Microsoft’s standard menus
- Create, save, and open a document
Both personal and business productivity have increased as the result of technological advances. Computer technology has facilitated communication, information sharing, and data analytics. Although there have been several software programs developed over the years in these areas, two main leaders have emerged: Microsoft and Google are most common in organizations today and are suitable for a variety of purposes. Google and Microsoft have dominated the market for productivity software programs because they have adapted to the changing needs of businesses. Their success continues because of their forward-thinking and response to market needs.
Overview of Microsoft 365
Microsoft launched Microsoft Office in 1990. This suite of applications included three main programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These programs are bundled as a package to give the user the full range of productivity tools to meet a wide variety of needs. Office applications offer the flexibility to appeal to various preferences with the many ways to perform tasks within the software.
Office applications are compatible across a wide variety of platforms, including mobile devices and Apple/Mac operating systems. The applications also integrate well with other software. You may be aware of older versions of Office, such as Office 2016 or 2019, but the latest product, Microsoft 365, moves beyond these static versions, instead offering a subscription that updates automatically. With the introduction of Microsoft 365, the programs use a cloud-based technology that can be accessed anywhere. Microsoft 365 also enhanced the collaborative features of the programs.
Accessing and Maintaining Microsoft Products
When you register for a Microsoft 365 account, you are given access to OneDrive, which is its product that provides online storage in the cloud. This offers many advantages. When you save a file to your OneDrive, you will be able to access it from any computer as long as you have an internet connection. There are different versions of Microsoft 365 available for purchase, but most software today uses this subscription-based model for a fee. The software programs are installed on your devices as “apps,” but can also be accessed through the web-based versions with some limitations to functionality. Updates to the programs are provided regularly by Microsoft and should be performed when prompted. Sometimes the information technology department (IT) will take care of these software maintenance issues with your company or school equipment. There are student editions of most versions of Microsoft 365 that can be purchased at a reduced cost or even for free. The student editions might also have some limitations to the functionality of the programs.
The Microsoft 365 suite includes software for many of the most common computer needs in today’s workplace, as well as for personal use, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, database management, an email and calendar interface, and a collaboration tool. Table 2.2 provides an overview of the applications within the suite. Other chapters in this text will cover these programs in detail. What comes next in this chapter is a breakdown of commands that are common to all the Microsoft 365 applications, so you can get a basic understanding of how to navigate.
|Create documents such as reports, memos, agendas, résumés, flyers, and mailings.
|Create data-based sheets and workbooks for gathering data, performing functions, and analysis.
|Create slide presentations for use in workplace meetings or client showcases.
|Create and maintain databases of information.
|Manage email communications and calendars.
|Set up workspaces for collaboration, such as a team might use on a specific project.
Overview: Ribbons, Tabs, and Commands Menu
Since its initial release, Microsoft’s suite of office products has been a driver of change, introducing new features in each subsequent version. Since the 2007 version, the apps have used the ribbon—an interactive bar of commands at the top of the application—as their user interface. With the ribbon, all the functions are clearly organized and user-friendly.
The ribbon is organized into tabs, each of which houses a collection of thematically grouped commands. The default tabs are File, Home, Insert, Design, Layout, References, Mailings, Review, View, and Help. As you hover your mouse over the ribbon, you will notice many small icons (pictures) that have a command over them. A command directs the program to complete a process, such as Save. When you select the Save icon, the command will start.
As you can see in Figure 2.19, the commands in the ribbon are organized into a command group of similar or related buttons, which appear together on the ribbon tabs.
Each tab generates a different ribbon with the appropriate commands and command groups. This section introduces the most used tabs. You will learn more details about them and practice using them in each specific application as the book goes on. Figure 2.20 shows the tabs available in Word and Excel, and Figure 2.21 shows the tabs available in PowerPoint and Access.
If you open a Microsoft product without opening any specific file, you will see the welcome screen, which provides a Backstage view. The Backstage view is located in an application for managing most tasks related to the documents. In Backstage view, you can open, close, rename, print, and control the settings for the application. There will be many commonalities within the Office programs for the tabs. When you have opened a file in an application such as Word or Excel, the Backstage view gives you information about that file you are working with. As you can see in Figure 2.22, the file properties are shown on the right pane of the Backstage view, which displays critical metrics about your document, such as its size, number of pages, number of words, file name, last saved time, and when it was printed. Backstage view also includes important commands such as file protection, inspecting the document, and managing the document, which will be discussed later in this chapter.
The Backstage view is not included in the Mac Version of Office, but you can get the properties of a file by going to the File tab and choosing Properties.
Creating a New File
As you open an Office application, you will be introduced to the welcome screen, which shows your recent files on the left and your options on the right. See Figure 2.23. Because you are in Word, you can choose Blank document to start a new document, or you can select a template from the default template list. A template is a document with many fields already filled and formatted, ready for the user to work on.
The Mac version does not have the same welcome screen. To create a new file, go to the File tab and choose New Document or New Document from Template.
To create a new document without using a template, simply select Blank document. A new document will be opened with a blank screen for you to create your file. This new document will be opened in a new window. You can then add the content to the document and save the document if desired. More about document creation will be covered in later chapters in the book.
Saving a File
The Save command is located at the upper-left corner of the window. Using the Save command saves your document in its same location, with its same file name. It is a way of making sure your work does not get lost in case your computer crashes or the application closes suddenly. A good best practice is to save your document occasionally, by either pressing on the Save icon or using Ctrl+S. You can also set up automatic saving at specified time intervals.
The Save As command, located on the File tab, allows you to not only save the file with a different name but also to change its location and its type. When you save the file to a new type (for instance, Save As PDF), the file opens in the new file format. The previous file type remains open. When you click on the Save As command, a dialog box will appear, asking you to select the location where you want to save the new version and what you want to name it.
Large companies like WorldCorp will typically give their employees a schema or convention to follow when naming files so that the company will have a unified system that all employees can easily identify and understand. This also allows people within the organization to be able to keep track of different information about the file, such as its version and the project or department it is associated with. For example, if the name of your market trends report is “market_report_v1.docx,” the next version could be “market_report_v2.docx.” This gives you a version history of the file, which enables you to keep track of older and newer versions. Figure 2.24 shows the current folder and the name of the file you want to change.
Save As can also be helpful in other situations. For example, you may want to save your file in a different format so that it can be opened by a different application. You would also use the Save As command to save the file in a different folder, with a different name for categorization purposes. The default Word file format is .docx, but you could also save it as a .pdf or .rtf.
Microsoft also offers the option to save to a different location—for example, your local computer, a shared private location (such as a company drive), or the cloud OneDrive. This allows you to save your work easily even if the device you are working on does not have saving capacity, and also gives you the ability to share your work with others. (You will learn more about collaboration later.) To share a file with others, first save your presentation to OneDrive. Choose File, then Share, and then Share with People.
Opening an Existing File
With the desktop version of Microsoft 365, your recent file list will be readily available in Backstage view. If the file you want does not appear in your recent file list, click on File and then Open. Locate the file, select it, and click Open. If you want a file to always appear in your recent file list, you can “pin” it: Go back to File, and the file that is now open will have a pushpin icon next to its name. Click on the pushpin, and the file will be pinned.
To access a file in Microsoft 365 online, you must set up an account with Microsoft if you do not already have one. Then, you can go to the program you are working in and you will find your recent file list. OneDrive also gives you access to files not listed in your recent file list. Locate the file you want and click Open. Your document should appear.
Printing a File
To print a file, choose the File tab. In the list of options on the left, you will see Print. When you click on Print, you will be shown a preview of your document along with print options. See Figure 2.25. The print options include a variety of settings, such as number of copies, printer selection, and paper size. You can also print on both sides of the paper or select only certain sheets to print. When you have chosen the desired settings, choose Print on the upper-left side of the screen.
Print screen on a Mac displays the options that are included with the user’s installed printer.
The Options command at the bottom of the File tab contains a multitude of choices that control the way your workspace appears, determine the way the text is corrected, and allow changes to many aspects of the program. A summary of the options available is shown in Table 2.3.
|Provides options that affect the user interface
|Changes how the content is shown on the screen and when it is printed
|Sets the way spelling and grammar are checked
|Sets up AutoSave to save a copy of your work at scheduled intervals
|Chooses the language in which menus and controls appear
|Checks your documents for accessibility to people with visual or other challenges
|Sets how words are edited, replaced, or cut and pasted
|Allows users to choose which commands are shown on the ribbon
|Quick Access Toolbar
|Allows users to choose what is displayed on the Quick Access Toolbar above the ribbon
|Manages the available Office add-ins
|Sets security settings, most of which should remain as set
The Options command, present in all Office applications, opens an Options dialog box, as shown in Figure 2.26. Before you start working, it’s advisable to click on each of the Options items to see what each covers.
An Options item that is critical to your work is a Save option called AutoRecover. Just ask yourself, “Has my computer ever frozen in the middle of a sentence?” This happens to everyone, but AutoRecover can prevent a catastrophe by allowing you to set the program to automatically save your work every two minutes, five minutes, or whatever interval you choose.
Another helpful option is proofing, which allows Microsoft to check your spelling as you type.
You will find some options that you may never need to change. In the future, however, you will be glad to know where to locate these hidden settings.
Customize Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar are useful features. Because you are likely to use both functions on a regular basis, you want their commands to always be visible. This is most easily done by customizing the ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar.
There are probably some other commands that you wish you had immediate access to but did not know this was possible. For example, did you know that you can add an email command to either the ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar? Suppose you want to email someone and add a presentation to your email as an attachment. If you add Email to your ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar, you can just click on the Email command, which will open your regular email program with access to your address book and add an attachment of the presentation to the email. No more need to open the email program independently, then search for the file on your computer, and finally attach it.
As another example, suppose you work with a lot of graphics. There are numerous commands associated with drawing and inserting graphics that are generally hidden. You may not even be aware that these functions exist, but when you change the scope to All Commands and look through the choices, you will find many commands that can save you a lot of time if you set them up for immediate access.
There are two ways to customize the Quick Access Toolbar. First, from the Options dialog box, select the Quick Access Toolbar, shown in Figure 2.27.
For example, to add a Quick Print option, scroll down to Quick Print in the list of commands on the left. Highlight Quick Print, click the Add button, and Quick Print will appear on the Quick Access Toolbar, as seen in Figure 2.28, which shows the result of customizing the Quick Access Toolbar.
The second way to customize is to right-click on the Quick Access Toolbar, which opens a context menu. Choose Quick Print from the menu items, as shown in Figure 2.29. The Quick Print option should appear on the Quick Access Toolbar.
The Quick Access Toolbar is found on the Preferences tab on the app main page.
Customizing the ribbon is a similar process. Start at the Customize the ribbon command from Options in Backstage view. To add a command to the ribbon, you first have to create a new group, as follows:
- Choose the tab on the right where you want to add the new command. (For the purposes of this demonstration, choose the Draw group, making sure there is a check mark next to the Draw box.)
- Click on New Group, which will be listed when you click on the plus sign next to Draw.
- In the box at the top left, select Commands Not in the ribbon (see Figure 2.30).
- Scroll down to Borders and Shading and click Add.
- Then, select another command, Brightness, and click Add.
When you return to the application, you will see your New Group with the options selected. Using this method, you can select any command from the left and add it to the ribbon commands on the right. This works for all the Office programs.
The Home tab is where you begin to create your document, spreadsheet, or presentation. The ribbon for the Home tab in Word is shown in Figure 2.31. You can view the ribbon as command central for the application: It is a collection of commands and command groups that govern the basics of the program you are working with. Each group of commands is separated by a thin vertical line (see arrow in Figure 2.31).
First is the Clipboard group, which contains the commands for all the cut-and-paste functions. As in all the Office applications, an arrow next to or below a label means that there are other possible choices for that function. Notice that the Paste command has an arrow below it. Clicking on the arrow gives you several Paste options; if you hover over them, you will see helpful descriptions and previews.
The Font command group is similar across applications. You can choose Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, and Highlight. You can also regulate character spacing and add a superscript or subscript. Primarily, however, you will change the font face, color, and size.
Sticking with Word to get an idea of how the Home tab operates, the Paragraph command group contains the commands for indentation and for aligning text to the right or to the left, centered, or justified. You can create columns, change the direction of the text by rotating 90, 180, or 270 degrees, or stack the letters on top of one another. The Paragraph command group also contains the commands for creating bulleted and numbered lists and for adding SmartArt graphics to text. Notice that there is an arrow associated with most of these commands, indicating that each one offers still more choices for formatting a paragraph.
Table 2.4 lists common keyboard shortcuts. To use each action, press the Ctrl button, and while holding it down, press the next key. You may find these shortcuts useful so that you do not have to take your hands from the keyboard to use the mouse. It might be helpful to bookmark this table for future reference as you work through the rest of the book.
|Open a file
|Create a new file
|Save a file
|Print a file
|Close a file
On a Mac, Control is replaced with Command.
Format Painter, represented with a paintbrush icon, is a shortcut tool that is available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This tool lets you copy the formatting of a section of text, a cell, or whatever you choose to another place on a document, spreadsheet, or slide, respectively. It is especially useful when you need to reformat large amounts of text.
First, select the text that has been formatted in the way you want. Then, click on Format Painter, and the cursor will turn into a little paintbrush, as Figure 2.32 shows. Brush over the text you want to change, let go of the mouse, and the text will now be formatted in the desired style.
Note that if you want to use Format Painter again, you will have to repeat the steps outlined above. To format a lot of text, double-click on the Format Painter icon, and it will last until you click on it one more time.
The Insert tab allows you to insert a variety of items into your file, including visual images such as pictures or diagrams, tables, links, and equations or special symbols. The Insert tab will differ a bit by program. Figure 2.33 shows what the Insert tab looks like for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For example, in Word and PowerPoint, you have options to insert SmartArt. Excel has many options to insert charts and graphs. More details about the specific insert options will appear in the chapters to follow on each of the programs.
The Design tab is found on the ribbon in Word and in PowerPoint. See Figure 2.34. The tab includes options to customize the look of the document or presentation. There are preset themes that you can use to enhance the document or slide, or you can create your own theme. The options on the Design tab are covered in more depth in Creating and Working in Documents and Preparing Presentations.
Layout and Page Layout Tabs
The Layout tab (Word) and Page Layout (Excel) tabs control items such as spacing and margins in your file. You can use the options on the tabs to insert page breaks, change the orientation, and define the print area. In Page Layout in Excel, you can also apply a theme to your spreadsheet to enhance the visual appeal. This is similar to what you would find on the Design tab for Word and PowerPoint. Figure 2.35 shows the tabs for Word and Excel. The chapters on Word and Excel will cover these tabs in depth.
The Review tab is found in three Office programs (Access does not have a Review tab). In Word, the Review tab is useful to check spelling, track changes within a document, and compare previous versions of documents to each other. The Review tab in Excel also contains a spell-check feature, but also allows you to add comments and to protect the worksheet from editing by others. Finally, the Review tab options in PowerPoint are very similar to those in Excel. The Review tab is a great place to reference to make sure your file is ready to share with others and to collaborate by adding comments. Figure 2.36 shows the Review tabs for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
The View tab is also seen in Office applications, except Access. It can customize what you see on the screen. You can change the options to show you what the file will look like when printed by choosing the Print Layout view. You can use the options to zoom in to make the screen larger. Finally, there are options to view files open in the same program side by side or to switch between the open windows when working with multiple files at a time. Notice the slight differences in options between the three applications in Figure 2.37.
The Help tab looks the same in all the Office applications. The Help tab gives you options to seek help on an issue with the application you are working with. Through the tab, you can use the Help search by clicking on the question mark or you can contact support directly. The Show Training is a good place to start if you have not used the program at all before. It gives you a collection of help tutorials to walk you through many of the more common features used in the program. When you select any of the options on the Help tab, a window will open at the right to assist you further (see Figure 2.38).
Based on the application you are using, there are different tabs that are included in the ribbon specific to that program. These tabs offer options that relate to the functionality of the program. For example, in Word, you have a Mailings tab that can send a document to a large database of individuals. In PowerPoint, you have the Slide Show tab that contains options for developing your presentation. Table 2.5 gives you the default tabs for each program. Remember, using the Customized Ribbon option, you can change which tabs you have displayed in the programs.
|Home, Insert, Layout, References, Mailings, Review, View, and Help
|Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, and Help
|Home, Insert, Design, Transitions, Animations, Slide Show, Review, View, and Help
|Home, Create, External Data, Database Tools, Help, Table Fields, and Table