Category Archives: Office Skills

Free Holiday Templates from Microsoft

With the holidays fast approaching, many of you are tasked with creating a variety of holiday documentation including party flyers, party menus, writing gift tags, creating holiday gift lists, Christmas card lists and more. The good news is that Microsoft has many free holiday templates all ready for you to use that will help make your job so much easier.

One easy way to find the exact holiday template you are looking for is to go directly to template.office.com where you will find thumbnails and direct links to all the featured categories and events and occasions.  On this page, you can also search by application (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) or go directly to the type of templates you are looking for by browsing through their extended list.

Once you locate the category you are searching for, just click the category and you will be taken to a page full of related templates for that category.  In the example below, I selected the Christmas category as I want to make a holiday party flyer.

Office holiday templates

Browse through the available templates until you find the exact template you are looking for.  Once you locate your template, click on the template and you will be taken to a download page where you can download your template to your office application.  Note:  Right next to the template name, you will see what application the template supports (Word, PowerPoint or Excel).  In the following example, I chose a Microsoft Word Holiday Party Invitation as want to modify my template in Word.

Word Party Invitation template

On the download page, click the download button and your application will be downloaded directly to your computer.

Download templates from Office

 

Once downloaded, click on the template to open it and it will open in the Office application.  If necessary, click the Enable Editing button at the top of the page so you can modify your template.  To modify the template and add your own text, just select the text you want to change and type in your own information.  Once completed, save the template to your computer drive or to the cloud and it will be ready for printing and distribution.  Happy Holidays!

Ideas on How to Create Organizational Charts

An organizational chart (org chart) is a visual aid used to clarify who reports to who, and who is responsible for what in your organization. It typically shows the business owner or department head at the top. It can be in the format of a drawing, diagram, flow chart, or picture. Most are stored as an electronic document, and often they’re printed and distributed to staff.

In this article, we’ll show you how to create an organizational chart. We’ll also share some tools to easily create org charts, find organizational chart templates, and suggest creative approaches for communicating your organizational structure.

Two Types of Organizational Charts

For the purpose of managing your small business, there are really only two types of org charts you’ll need to know about:

  • Hierarchical/Top Down
  • Matrixed/Cross-Functional
  1. Hierarchical/Top Down Organizational Chart

A hierarchical, or top down, organizational chart is a diagram that shows an organization’s reporting structure from the top down, starting with the business owner or department manager at the top of the chart, and employees who report to her appearing below her name. All roles appear in boxes connected by a line to illustrate reporting relationships.

  1. Matrixed/Cross-Functional Org Chart

A matrixed, or cross-functional, organizational chart shows multiple reporting relationships. It is used to depict complex business organizational structures with functional or project reporting relationships in addition to supervisory (top down, hierarchical) relationships. It shows both supervisory relationships such as ‘who is my boss’, as well as project or team relationships.

If your organization needs an organizational chart, there are many things to consider such as what tools to use (free or paid) to create it and what to include in your organization chart.  Also, once your organizational chart has been created, how do you use it?   To read more about how to create your own organizational chart including some non traditional approaches you may wish to consider,  take a look at this article compliments of Fit Small Business.  

How to Re-use (import) Slides from other Presentations

If you have frequently used content in other presentations, you can import it into your current presentation without even having to open up the file.  By importing slides, you will essentially be creating a copy of the original content for re-use and it will not effect the original presentation.  You can choose to keep the original formatting of the slide(s) you’re importing or they will inherit the design of your current presentation by default.

You can also import slides from a Slide Library if your organization uses SharePoint which allows you to share and reuse PowerPoint slides stored in the library.  To use slides stored in your company Slide Library, select the Open a Slide Library instead of Open a PowerPoint File to locate your presentations in step 3 below.

Requirements:  PowerPoint 2013 or 2016.  To follow this tutorial, open up the Hiking Adventures Begin PowerPoint presentation and the hiking-days PowerPoint Presentation and follow the directions below:

  1. Click on the Slide 2 thumbnail or the slide thumbnail where you want to import a slide
  2. Click the Home tab > Slides Group and click the arrow below New Slide and then select Reuse Slides
    re-use slides in PowerPoi
  3. The Reuse Slides Pane will appear.  In the Reuse Slides pane, select Open a PowerPoint File.
    Reuse Slides Pane In PowerPoint
  4. In the Browse dialog box, navigate to the folder where the presentation file resides that contains the slide that you want to add and then click Open.  In our example, we’re inserting the slides in the hiking-days presentation. The slides will appear in the Reuse Slides Pane.
    Reuse-slides in PowerPoint
  5. The Reuse Slides pane will display thumbnails of the available slides.  In the Reuse slides pane, right click on the first slide and choose Insert All slides .  Alternatively, if you only want to add one slide, just click the slide you want to add.  The slides will appear in your presentation.
  6. If you want to preserve the formatting of the source presentation, check the “Keep Source” formatting option otherwise the slides will inherit the design of your current presentation by default.

    Import slides into PowerPoint

    Sample of the presentation with only 1 slide imported.

If you choose to insert all the slides, your presentation will contain 7 slides as shown below:

Importing slides from other presentations in PowerPoint

Sample of all slides imported into the presentation.

 

 

Back to School Technology Tips to Save you Time and Money

Preparing to go back to school can be very costly.  Whether you’re just getting started with your Office Administration courses or simply need supplies and resources for any field of study, software, books and other supplies can really set you back.  While many courses do require you to use certain software or have required books, others may allow you to choose which software you work on and how you wish to learn it.  This is where you will be able to really utilize all the amazing free resources right at your fingertips on the web.  The following are just some of the ways you can save yourself and your classmates lots of time and money.

 1.  Use Free Office Software

Apache Open Office is a free, open-source office suite used for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  Apache Open Office comes with a full suite of products including Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for creating presentations, Base for database management, Math, an equation editor and Draw for creating graphics.  The software is easy to download and install from the OpenOffice website.

LibreOffice is another great free Office Suite with a super clean interface and lots of feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity.  LibreOffice also includes several applications suitable for any project including Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing).

Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and OneNote that let you create, view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes.  You do not need an Office 365 subscription to collaborate and work together on class projects or group assignments.   This free version of Office is perfect if you need an office suite for creating just basic documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases.   If you need more advanced features such as mail merge, you will need to purchase the full suite of software.  To access and use Office Online, you will need to create a Microsoft Account login.  Once logged in, you will be able to begin creating your office documents right away.

2.  Save Your Files in the Cloud :

Saving your files in the cloud is definitely the way to go and best of all it’s free.  The cloud is nothing more than the Internet or more specifically, a network of servers that allow you to store and access data remotely versus locally on your own computer hard drive. By connecting with computers in the cloud, you can store your files in the cloud to easily share with others. You can also access most online storage solutions from any device you own which makes storing and accessing your files easy and convenient.  While there are many, many cloud storage and file sharing services to choose from, here are a few of the most popular ones that are used in businesses today:

OneDrive:  OneDrive allows you to easily store and share photos, videos and documents for free.  There are currently two types of OneDrive solutions – one for personal use and one for business use.  The personal OneDrive storage gives you 5 GB for free but if you need more space you can currently get 50 GB for just $1.99 a month.   If you happen to have an Office 365 subscription, you’ll automatically get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage.

Google Drive starts you with 15 GB of free Google online storage, so you can keep photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings and videos.  You can also invite others to view, download, and collaborate with you on any of your files if you want, making it great for classroom use.

Dropbox Basic – A Dropbox Basic account is free and includes 2 GB of space. You can download free apps to access Dropbox from your computer and mobile device.  Like all popular products, there are paid options if you need more space and you can also earn more space on your Dropbox Basic account by referring others and linking to their social media accounts.

3.  Buy a Subscription of Office

Office 365 University:  If your course requires you to use Office 365 and you’re a student or faculty member at an approved school, you can purchase Office 365 for just $79.99 USD for a four-year subscription.  This will get you the latest Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook) for two devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, or Windows tablets.

4.  Access Free Online Tutorials

Now that you’ve learned how to obtain or access a version of Office software for free, take advantage of some of the readily available free tutorials to get started using your software.  The free Microsoft online documentation center for all Microsoft Office Applications is a great resource especially if you don’t use a product yet but would like to find out more about it. These courses are freely available and can be found alongside the hundreds of courses and videos in the Office Training Center that covers all major Office applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, OneNote and even OneDrive.  Training is available for all major releases on Windows, Mac, iphone and ipad.  It’s also possible to get training for past versions of Office if so desired.

Microsoft  also recently partnered with LinkedIn to provide some amazing high quality LinkedIn Learning training courses that focus on Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016 and Excel 2016. Here are just some of the free training courses available

  • Getting Started with Outlook” video series that consists of over 41 videos that covers multiple Outlook tasks including how to add and remove email accounts;  how to import gmail into Outlook; sending, receiving and organizing messages; how to add a signature; manage contacts and calendars; manage meetings; and collaborate and share with others
  • Getting Started with Excel 2016 series which consists of over 37 separate videos, you’ll learn how to enter and organize data, create formulas and functions, build charts and PivotTables, and use other time-saving features.
  • Getting Started with Word 2016: In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a blank document or one based on a template, select and format text, create bulleted and numbered lists, change text alignment, and change line spacing. You’ll also learn how to add headers and footers, change page numbers in headers and footers and add pictures and tables to a document.
  • Getting Started with PowerPoint 2016. In this course, you’ll learn the lay of the land including types of slides, design elements, and what’s new Inserting text and images. You’ll also learn how to saving your presentation and how to share it.
  • Free Microsoft Office Tutorials can also be found on officeskills.org at http://officeskills.org/microsoft-office-tutorials.html.   

5.  Use Online Notetaking Software

There are many note taking apps on the market all offering different levels of features and capabilities.  Below are some of the best note taking applications although some of the completely free versions are somewhat limited in features.

OneNote is a free digital notebook from Microsoft that you can use on your PC, Mac, phone or tablet.  You’ll find it’s very easy to type, handwrite or sketch your thoughts into OneNote.   In addition, you can also embed tables, attach files, insert links, webpages, photos and videos into your notes.   OneNote also allows you to organize and save your notes in notebooks and sections for easy retrieval and sharing with classmates, colleagues or co-workers.

Evernote Basic – This popular software allows you to capture, organize, and share notes with other students or your instructor from anywhere. For instance, you can clip pages from the web, pdfs or images and keep them all in Evernote so you’ll never lose track of your data. Evernote also has a good help and learning center where you’ll find access to tips and tutorials, articles and troubleshooting tips.

Google Keep is a simple note taking app allows you to create, edit and share notes, make lists, save drawings as a note, label, color and pin notes and more.  While limited in functionality, it is a great free option, especially for those who enjoy working with Google applications.

Useful ways to use SmartArt Graphics in your presentations

SmartArt is a diagramming tool in Powerpoint that allows you to create visual representations of information.  Your SmartArt graphics can be designed to match the look and feel of your presentations and can be used to create process flows, cycle diagrams, pryamids and orgazational charts. SmartArt is also created from the Insert tab > Illustrations Group on the Ribbon.

SmartArt graphics can be created from scratch by choosing from several different types of layouts and the one you choose will depend on what information you want to convey and in what way.  For example, the Process layout shows the steps to complete a particular task whereas the Hierarchy layout illustrates the structure of an organization such as an organizational chart.

Requirements:  PowerPoint 2013 or 2016.  To follow this tutorial, open up the Hiking Adventures Begin PowerPoint presentation and follow the directions below:

Insert a SmartArt Graphic in PowerPoint

  1. Click on slide 3 to select it and then click on the Insert tab > Illustrations Group > SmartArt button on the Ribbon. The Choose a SmartArt dialog box will appear.
    Add a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint
  2. Click the List category
  3. Scroll down and choose Vertical Block List in the fifth row. Notice the description in the right hand pane.  Click the OK button.
    List layout in SmartArt graphic
  4. The SmartArt image will be inserted in your document and the text pane should now be visible as shown in the image below. If not, click the tab on the left side of the graphic.
    Tip!  When entering text in the SmartArt graphic, you will need to press the down arrow on your keyboard and not the ENTER key as pressing the ENTER key will add a new bullet point.
    SmartArt text pane
  5. With the first bullet in the Text Pane selected, type Bone Density and then press the down arrow on your keyboard to move to the next bullet. The text will appear in your graphic.
  6. Type Weight Bearing  then press the down arrow key again to move to the next bullet and type Strenghens Core.  Your graphic should now look like the following:
    SmartArt text pane
  7. You can also type directly in the text boxes.  Click in the second text box and type Heart. Click in the text boxes next to Heart and type Lowers risk of heart disease and Improves Blood pressure.
    Smartart Text Boxes in PowerPoint
  8.  Click in the third text box and type Weight. Click in the text boxes next to Weight and type Burns about 250+ calories/hour and Helps control weight.  Your SmartArt graphic should look like the following:
    SmartArt bullets

Converting Bullet Lists to SmartArt

You can also convert text already typed in your presentations, such as a bulleted list, into a SmartArt graphic.  Once converted, you can then style the SmartArt graphic by adding colors, fills, outlines and other effects as desired.  Depending on the SmartArt graphic layout you choose, you can also add pictures and additional text and change the layout type at any time.

  1. Click on Slide 4 to display it and then select the bulleted list or click anywhere in the list. Click the Home tab > Paragraph group and click the Convert to SmartArt Graphic button.  You can also click More to open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.
    Convert bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint
  2. Choose the Vertical Picture Accent List layout.  Your slide should look like the following.
    Convert bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint

Style your SmartArt Graphic

When working with SmartArt graphics, the SmartArt Contextual tab will appear. Here you will see two new tabs, the SmartArt Design tab and the SmartArt Layout tab.

  1. Make sure your SmartArt graphic is still selected. Then, under the Design Tab, click the more button to display SmartArt styles.  Choose the 3D Polished Style.
    Styling SmartArt in PowerPoint
  2. Click the Design tab > SmartArt Styles Group and click the Change Colors button on the Ribbon 2. Select the Gradient Loop Accent 1 style.
    Styling SmartArt in PowerPoint
  3. If you have a picture SmartArt, you can click on the pictures and choose an image to go into each section.  Browse to the location where your images are located and add one picture for each bullet as shown below.  See Adding images to your PowerPoint presentations.
    Add a picture to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint

There are several other options that you can try out for your SmartArt diagrams.  It’s a good idea to experiment with these options to customize your presentation as needed.