The Microsoft Office 2007 suite offers a more user-friendly and flexible package of applications compared to the 2003 version, once secretarial and office workers have learned how to make the most of the intricacies of the software.
That is the opinion of Theresia Piggott, a self-employed virtual assistant and member of the Institute of Professional Administrators.
Outlook 2007 has various updated features, such as the ability to search for information faster than its predecessor, no matter what folder it is in, using the same technology as Microsoft Windows.
This means that no matter how large the mailbox – and secretarial staff usually have plenty of stored emails – search results will still be delivered quickly.
New colour categories make it simple to customise and distinguish items so that locating information is easier.
For example, a particular colour can be allocated across related email, calendar and task items.
There is also a “to do” bar which integrates tasks, email messages and upcoming appointments in one place, providing secretarial staff with a consolidated view of their priorities for the day.
Excel has undergone a similar transformation to Word 2007, with its own version of the Ribbon.
Rather than having to go through various menus and toolbars, commands and features that are used frequently by secretarial and office workers are all located on task-oriented tabs, which contain logical groups of tools.
People who need to work with vast amounts of data will also be pleased to see that worksheet limits have been extended in the new version.
Excel 2007 supports up to one million rows and 16,000 columns per sheet, representing a 1,500 per cent and 6,300 per cent increase respectively.
In addition, similar to the Word 2007 upgrade, the new Excel makes it easier to quickly format the data in a worksheet and apply themes to a document.
The designers have also made improvements to formula writing capabilities, such as a bar which automatically resizes formulae to accommodate complex equations and prevent them from covering other data in the worksheet.
Learning To Use Advanced Features.
Ms Piggott said that the speed at which companies upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office will very much depend on their financial situation, but added that it will most likely be the software of choice in the coming years.
“I know that the colleges are now teaching 2007, so that’s obviously going to be the thing for the future,” she explained.
Ms Piggott said that many workers still do not make the most of the software, whether they are using the older or newer versions, and they need training to be able to use more advanced features, so secretary courses with Microsoft Outlook in London could be the way to for administrators living in the capital.
“I would say that most people have a basic knowledge to get by but when it comes to Excel formulas and functions and things like that they probably don’t have much of a clue and I believe that most people need training in almost all applications,” she explained.
“If somebody’s using Word they can probably type a letter but probably don’t know much about how to format things, how to use styles and headings and things like that. There’s so much to know,” she added.
Microsoft Office Courses And ECDL.
Ms Piggott said that in previous companies she has worked for, most staff were able to use Word and Excel up to a certain stage, but when it came to more complex elements, they had to ask those who had been on the likes of Microsoft Office courses in London.
“Databases are a whole different ball game and require quite a lot of training,” she added.
Ms Piggott also recommended doing the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), saying that this can help secretarial staff a “tremendous amount” as it teaches them about Word, databases with Microsoft Access, Excel, how to create presentations in PowerPoint plus personal organisation with Outlook.
“In fact I know that the NHS in [Scotland] are insisting on ECDL now,” she added. When workers have learned to use the advanced elements of the software, they can be a great help in making a day-to-day job easier, and this is particularly true for the latest version.
“I would say that once you’ve got your head around 2007, it’s much more user-friendly than 2003,” Ms Piggott concluded.
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