Six reasons to revisit Microsoft Office

We’ve all signed up to the GroupThink. Google is all that is good and modern and is enthused over by the digital people who use words like ‘agile’ and ‘pivot’. Microsoft Office is beloved of the guys in IT. Its big and its heavy and nowhere near as cool.

So when you’re creating documents, it’s Google Docs you go to, right? Well, yes… it’s a good choice, but there’s a few reasons to forget that damn paperclip and head back to Microsoft Office 2016.

They replaced that Paperclip with something useful
That Clippy fellow was annoying, no doubt on that score. But the idea of having a tool that could help you find the things you want in a huge array menus is quite appealing. Rationalising the menus is one thing, but, in the end, we all go back to search. That’s part of Google’s legacy.

So Microsoft have gone back to the Paperclip principle and made it simpler: In the main menu bar at the top in the likes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, you can click on “Tell me what you want to do” and add in the name of the feature you’re hoping for. You’ll then have that tool displayed, along with the menu. Simple, but very effective.

Built-in Skype
Having bought Skype (for $8.5bn), they’ve gone about embedding in (or at least (Skype for Business) in Word, Powerpoint and Excel. Each of those has a Share menu, which shows everyone who has access to that file, hover over it and the Skype technology will deliver a pop-up menu with links to send a message of start a call, without opening Skype up separately. Of course, you need Skype for Business installed, but that’s what your IT people are for.

Microsoft Office

Built-in research
It’s increasingly widely held that Bing is a better search engine than Google, but we’re all too used to Google to change. But in Office 16, there’s Smart Lookup, which allows you to click on a word and run a Bing search without popping away from the tool you’re using, and getting search, Wikpedia and web results back. And the search also runs on the context of the words around it, so you get the meaning of the word you’re after rather than multiple meanings.

Document bookmarks
When you return to a document, Office 16 will show you where you were last working and you can jump straight to that bit. Very useful if you’re working on one of those interminable projects that runs to hundreds of pages and take you months.

The things you’re used to
Whatever you’ve done before, you’ve used Word, Excel and Powerpoint and you’ve had the benefit of good chart tools, mail merge, animated slides. And when you’ve sent your presentation to the conference or organisation you’re presenting to, you know they’ll be expecting PowerPoint too. And your finance people will expect Excel. It’s what everyone’s used to. It’s just that little bit less hassle.

You can use it on Chromebook
But that’s explained better over here.

Don’t let any of this stop you grumbling about Microsoft, or grumbling about anything in fact. Their products might be a little passé, but that doesn’t mean you should stop using them. Because, in fact, they’re pretty good….

Written by Jimmy Leach

Jimmy Leach is a digital consultant, working with governments, organisations and people. He tweets at https://twitter.com/JimmyTLeach

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