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Help on Help: How to get real help for Microsoft Office

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Microsoft Office Training,Office Technology

by Melissa P. Esquibel
Certified Microsoft Office Instructor

Do you ever feel like you needed more help after accessing the Help section in Microsoft Office? Here are three tips and tricks to getting the right help fast, and getting you back to work:

1. Know what things are actually called. If you work on a computer often, you probably click around your work space with lightning speed. Slow down for a moment and just hover over parts of your screen. In 2003 and earlier versions, a ScreenTip will pop up and give you the name of the option or feature.

In Office 2007, you can get even more information with expanded ScreenTip settings. Click on the Office button and select the applications options button at the bottom of the dialogue box. You’ll notice an option at the top for ScreenTip style. Choose the one that says “Show feature descriptions in ScreenTips.” When you know what you are asking for help on, the help is more likely to be useful.

2. Look beyond the help on your hard drive. Of course, you will want to make sure that your help settings automatically go to Office Online for help. This help is the most updated and comprehensive help provided by Microsoft.

But if you use only the help on your hard drive, it’s likely that it is at least two to seven years old. Better, clearer help is available. Microsoft has added multimedia help. You can find mini-video and audio tutorials on specific subjects, such as mail merge in Access or creating charts in Excel.

3. Have at least two learning or reference resources at your fingertips. I’ll be more specific: Have one resource from Microsoft Press and one from another publisher, like Business Management Daily's Microsoft Office Training Series. Where the Microsoft Press books will be very comprehensive, other resources will be more apt to speak to you in plain terms. Many of these books come with CD-ROMs that allow you to add the entire contents of the manual right on your hard drive.


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