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Playing well together in Microsoft Office

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Microsoft Office applications have always had the capability to work together. These days, there’s much more interoperability than most people use. Here are a few ways to explore playing well together in Office.

Word and PowerPoint

One of the best-kept secrets of Power­­Point experts for fast-tracking presentations is to start in Microsoft Word. This process will turn your presentation projects from hours or days into just minutes. Begin by typing what you imagine your slide topics and bullets to be. Resist the urge to format them in any way. When you have the presentation text roughly in the order in which you’ll present them, use Styles to format your Slide Title text as Heading 1 and your bullet text as Heading 2. This is done easily with Ctrl+Alt+1 (Heading 1) and Ctrl+Alt+2 (Heading 2). Save the file as Rich Text File (.rtf), and close it. Then, in PowerPoint, in a blank presentation, click the bottom half of the New Slide button, and choose Slides from Outline. Locate your .rtf file, and open it. You’ll find it will lay out your slides perfectly! As the two files are not technically linked now, you may edit either to your heart’s content.

Excel and Access

Both of these tools actually overlap in their capabilities. For example, it’s possible to maintain an effective, long list in Excel, otherwise known as a flat database. And there are features such as Pivot Tables and Formulas in Access. You can have the best of both worlds. If your data are best kept in Excel, but you have an occasional need to do a complex query, it’s possible to keep your data as an Excel workbook and use Access to query. Or, you can open up the data in an Access database in Excel without converting it to Excel and do charts, graphs and other types of analysis without losing the integrity of your database. In either application, begin on the Data tab (Excel) or the External Data tab (Access), and choose the appropriate button. When given the opportunity in Access to import or link, choose link. From Excel, you will automatically be linking to the database.

Outlook and OneNote

If you have installed OneNote on your computer, you may notice a couple of new buttons in Outlook. OneNote has the built-in capability to connect meetings to a notebook in order to take notes.

Another clever way to use them both is to send related email messages to a notebook to avoid searching through haystacks of email to find the ones that pertain to a particular project, customer or topic. Going back the other way, you can create a to-do list in OneNote and link it back to Outlook in your Tasks by clicking the Outlook Tasks button on the Home tab in OneNote.

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