Thursday, August 2, 2001

Learning My Tools

The only New Year's resolution I'm doing well at is "learn more about Microsoft Office." I've been using Microsoft Word and Excel for many years. I take their presence for granted. In fact, I haven't once cracked open a book about Word (although I do own Word 97 for Dummies).

Last year, I saw someone (OK, my wife!) doing a highly repetitive task in Word 97. Her task was to search for a word denoting a section, delete the next twenty lines, then reformat the remaining 'block' (something along these lines). There would be as many as thirty sections in this document. During that weekend, I copied her document, and tried to get Word to do this task for me. That weekend, I scratched the surface of Word macros.

Fast forward to today: I subscribe to Woody's Office Watch. This e-mail newsletter is chock full of nifty behind-the-scenes stuff on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. I try to learn a new 'feature' every time I'm in one of these Office tools.

This is the crux of my New Year's resolution: learning my tools. Microsoft Office is a big beast. I'm on an ancient version (Office 97). But it's a beast that's worth learning, because it's ubiquitous, and it contains features that can often save you time.

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