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How to Become Proficient with Microsoft Office

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Perhaps you stumbled upon this article because you just started using Microsoft Office, or maybe you just wanted to hone your skills not only in Microsoft Word but also in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. Being proficient with Microsoft Office is a common requirement in almost every job application and even in businesses. In fact, Microsoft Office skills dominated at the top 20 most desired skills. This includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint skills. 

However, many of us still struggle to use some of the Microsoft Office tools. In this article, you will discover how to improve your Microsoft Word skills and other Microsoft Office tools.

What is Microsoft Office? 

Microsoft Office is a group of applications and services developed by Microsoft. It is the leading product platform that drives productivity by making any computer-related tasks easier for the user. There are about 1.2 billion people worldwide who use Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office offers different products and packages for home, business, and enterprise use. Under those products and packages are different Microsoft apps and services.  

Microsoft apps and services include:

  • Access (PC only)
  • Advanced Threat Analytics1
  • Bookings
  • Cloud App Security
  • Edge
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security
  • Exchange
  • Forms
  • Intune
  • Kaizala
  • Microsoft 365 Defender
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365
  • Microsoft Editor
  • Microsoft Family Safety
  • Microsoft Lists
  • Microsoft Stream
  • Microsoft To Do
  • Mobile apps
  • MyAnalytics
  • Planner
  • Power Apps
  • Power Automate
  • Project
  • Publisher (PC only)
  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager
  • SharePoint
  • SharePoint Syntax
  • Skype
  • Skype for Business
  • Sway
  • Visio
  • Whiteboard
  • Windows
  • Workplace Analytics
  • Yammer

The Core apps and services of Microsoft Office

Word

This is word processing software where you can type text and content in a word document. You can change the layout of it based on your preference or requirement. You can insert bullets, numbers, footnotes, illustrations, etc.  

Excel

Microsoft Excel, often called a worksheet, is a spreadsheet program that contains cells in rows and columns. You can manage, arrange, calculate, filter, and sort data using this software easily. You can also produce pivot tables and graphs to present data.

PowerPoint

This program is used to create clean slide presentations that are impactful and professional. It allows the user to create any kind of basic slides to complex presentations.

Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager software used to send and receive emails. This can also be used in managing calendar appointments, tasks, contacts, and notes.

OneNote

This program is used for note-taking, organizing links, storing photos, and more. Users over the Internet or a network can share OneNote with one another.

OneDrive

OneDrive is a file storage hosting service that can back up your personal files using Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

Teams

Teams is used as a chat-based platform for team collaboration. You can perform document sharing, online meetings, and more useful features for business communications.

You don’t need to master all of the Microsoft Office apps and services to be proficient with Microsoft Office. You just need to choose and master the apps and services that you will use in your career and develop your skills in using the core apps and services.

How Can You Improve Your Skills and Become Proficient with Microsoft Office?

Here are some tips and techniques in using three of the top core apps in Microsoft Office: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Develop your Microsoft Word Skills

Microsoft Word is the most popularly used application. One of the many reasons is probably the simple user interface. However, Word does a lot more than just typing and editing text. Maximize the capabilities of the Microsoft Word program and save time by using the tips and tricks below.

Copy, Cut, and Paste Keyboard Shortcuts

  • CTRL + C to copy
  • CTRL + X to cut
  • CTRL + V to paste

Master these three shortcut commands, and you will be surprised how much time you will save from using your mouse or trackpad in copying, cutting, and pasting text.

Selecting text  

  • You can select all text in the Word document by pressing Ctrl + A on your keyboard.
  • To select a single word or text, double click the first letter of the word. 
  • To select the whole paragraph, make three quick clicks anywhere in the paragraph.
  • Press Shift + down arrow or Shift + up arrow to select a line of text.
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + down arrow or Ctrl + Shift + up arrow to select a paragraph.

Other shortcut keys

  • Add web links to your document by using the Ctrl + K keys. 
  • You can create a horizontal line by typing 3 hyphens and pressing Enter. 
  • Delete entire words or sentences by pressing Ctrl + Backspace.
  • Press Ctrl + Z to undo the last action.

Develop your Microsoft Excel Skills

Microsoft Excel is the most commonly used Excel sheet program. It is used in various disciplines of business, administration, education, and more. 

You can use some of the shortcut keys that we mentioned in Microsoft Word in Microsoft Excel. But this program has several cool and practical uses that you can take advantage of to make your work easier and complete tasks faster.

Here are some unique tips that cover the basics.

  • Convert data in a website into a worksheet by clicking File > Import External Data and click New Web Query.
  • Use Auto filtering in a large spreadsheet to filter results by clicking Data > Filter > Autofilter.
  • Save time from manually entering the Sum formula by selecting the first empty cell in the column and use the shortcut “Alt + =” This shortcut will calculate the sum of an entire column or range of cells. 
  • Type less, commit less to no mistakes like typos and misspelled words enabling AutoCorrect and AutoFill Tools tab.

You may visit our article about the ten of the most advanced excel skills that you can learn from an excel online course like the VLOOKUP, Index/Match, 3D Sum, Pivot Table, and more, in this article.

Did you know that you can utilize other functions in Excel? You can use Excel to create your own custom calculator, financial reports, expense trackers, financial forecasts, and more. You can also present data visualization, plan your schedules, and create calendars.

Microsoft Excel 2019 And 365: Beginner To Advanced is an online course designed for those interested to learn the basics of Excel 2019. This is a crash course that will take you from beginner to advanced level in under seven hours.  

Develop your Microsoft PowerPoint Skills

Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful presentation tool that lets you create a visually compelling slideshow to fulfill various collaborative projects. Knowing how to use PowerPoint and realizing that there are tons of cool tools that will help you master the presentation process and create professional-looking presentations

Here are some tips you can use in your next PowerPoint presentation.

  • If you want your presentation to look like a mediocre presentation, stay away from using the basic, built-in PowerPoint templates. There are different templates available online that you can use, like the designs in 24Slides.
  • Use Format Painter to copy all of the formattings from one object and apply it to another object. Using this will save you a lot of time because you do not have to go through the time-consuming process of changing and remembering all of each element’s settings. 
  • If you want to change your entire presentation’s theme, you can globally make changes by just going to the Design tab and choosing from the available themes in the Themes section.
  • Make your PowerPoint presentation stand out by creating animated backgrounds. If you are interested to learn how, take the Powerpoint 4 Video Part B: Animated Backgrounds online course from Skill Success.

How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume

Most job seekers overlook the benefit of showcasing their Microsoft Office skills in their resumes. Familiarity and being proficient in Microsoft Office suite demonstrates efficiency in using these tools that provide organization competence. When the job description mentions the need for Microsoft Office skills, this is the right time to highlight the skills in your resume. Since a resume should always align with the job description, it is only right to highlight these skills as necessary. Highlight your Microsoft Office skills by: 

  • Including the skills that are relevant and those that you truly possess.
  • Being specific and concise in highlighting your Microsoft Office skills.
  • Assessing and determining your level of expertise. 
  • Listing the Microsoft Office skills down in the skills section.Profe

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