Heels clicked. Still in Oz. Send balloon. HELP! Dorothy — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Heels clicked. Still in Oz. Send balloon. HELP! Dorothy

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in The Office Tech Pro

Too often, when we’re lost, we read a software book or try going online for computer based training. Unfortunately, unless we know exactly what we really want to know in the right terminology, the effort is fruitless. For most people, software issues can be summed up into about 3 categories.

1. I got results I didn’t expect.
2. I don’t understand what I’m supposed to click on.
3. I have what I want, but it took me hours to get here. Isn’t there an easier way?

Here’s a little help.

1. If you get results you don’t expect, TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE KEYBOARD! As satisfying as it seems sometimes to keep clicking, and then click even harder, the right answer is to take your fingers off the keyboard and the mouse and see exactly where you are. Take a deep breath and consider your options: Ctrl+Z (Undo), Esc or did your cursor simply end up where you didn’t expect it. Don’t forget that undo can step you back 16 actions in Office versions 2003 and earlier and 100 in 2007. If all else fails, close the file, do not save it and begin again. In 2007, you can save your files without undoing your Undos. In other words, Go ahead and save your file, you can undo things you’ve saved until you close the file.

2. Hover, don’t click. You’re reading instructions that say, “On the Home tab, click on the More button in the Styles group. If you’re new to 2007, this sounds like Martian. If you’re an intermediate to advanced user, you may have overlooked an intro lesson on the new Office 2007 interface which demystifies the new terminology and geography of this revolutionary new interface. Taking the time to hover over things may give you some insight into what the instructions are telling you. At least initially, set Screen Tip style to Show feature descriptions in ScreenTips. Spend a few minutes with an introductory visual tool, such as Master Visually Office 2007 from Wiley Publishing (wiley.com) or Quick Start Cards from Brainstorm Inc. (brainstorminc.com). HINT: In 2003, set your Customize Options to Show ScreenTips on toolbars.
 

3. I like to say that there’s a right way and a long way. If you got what you wanted after hours and hours of “hunt, peck, search and destroy,” but you know it should have just taken minutes, try this. Write down what the end product was in terms you understand, such as, outline with indents or subtotals by department. Then, search help, the web or your tips and tricks material for this subject. This is exactly the sort of thing we try to cover in our Microsoft Office webinars and the Office Technology Training Suite, available here on Business Management Daily. You can always post a note here on my blog, too. It might make a great topic for an article or an item to address in a webinar!

And, as always, the shortcut key for Help is F1. It might not get you directly to Kansas each and every time, but if you know where you’re going, it will get you started on the right road, yellow bricks, or not.

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