During this time of uncertainty, layoffs and unemployment, you may need access to Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Excel but don’t want to pay for it or just plain and simply can’t afford it.  In case you didn’t know, Microsoft has a free Office version, called Office for the web apps,  that resides online and is easily accessed through your web browser.  The free Office for the Web App is a suite of online applications that lets you create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and use OneNote. You can then store the documents you create on Microsoft OneDrive, an online file storage service. Both of these tools are free and are accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Keep in mind that this is a slightly scaled down version of the complete office suite but perfect if you just need to create simple business documents, presentations and spreadsheets and of course, you don’t mind working in the cloud. One of the main benefits of using Office for Web Apps is that you don’t need to install any software on your computer.

The first thing you need to do before you can start using Office.com is to create a free Microsoft Account. Once you have your Microsoft account setup, you can access all of Microsoft’s online services.  In order to help you get started, Microsoft has created a series of free Office for the web training tutorials which covers everything from getting started to collaborating and sharing your documents with others.  The free training consists of 6 modules with over 34 video tutorials, explained below, which are designed to help you learn how to use Office.com better and more efficiently.

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  1. Get to Know Office.com:  The first training series is called the Getting started at Office.com and has six videos that include how to launch an app, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Microsoft Teams.  You will also learn how to find the files you worked on recently, pinned, or files shared with you.  There is also a video on how perform a search to quickly find apps, files, people, and sites and how to create new documents or upload and open a file in OneDrive.

  1. Get to Know Outlook on the Web:  The second training series, called Get to know Outlook on the web, consists of seven videos that will explain how you can use Outlook on the web to organize your email, calendar and contacts including how to send messages and share files with others, how to manage your inbox and calendar, how to set up team meetings and how to use the search feature to quickly find emails, events and contacts.
  2. Get to Know Word for the Web: The third video series, called Get to know Word for the web, focuses on how to use Word for the web to create documents, add text, images, art and share your files with others.  This series consists of five videos covering documents layouts, inserting tables and pictures, collaborating online and doing other cool things in Word for the web.
  3. Get to Know Excel on the Web:  The fourth video series, called Get to know Excel for the web, not only provides an overview of Excel for the web but also goes into more advanced Excel features such as creating formulas, using Pivot tables, conditional formatting and flash fill.  This series consists of seven videos that also covers some new features in Excel like Ideas to gain valuable insights from large amounts of data as well as how to share your workbook and collaborate with others.
  4. Get to Know PowerPoint on the Web:  The fifth video series, called Get to know PowerPoint for the web, consists of six videos that covers everything from designing slides to what to do when you’re ready to present to others.  Topics such as inserting pictures, shapes, animations and transitions are covered allowing you to create an engaging presentation for your audience online.
  5. Share your Documents:  The sixth and final video series called Share your documents, consists of four videos that covers collaboration and how  to share your documents, create a shareable link, secure your docs only to specific people and how to share with someone outside your organization.

Here’s a full breakout of the 34 different topics covered in the Office for the Web Training.  The complete series can be found here.

Getting Started at Office.com
  • Get started
  • Find it with Search
  • Get back to your work
  • Recommended files
  • Create new documents
Get to know Outlook on the web
  • Get to know Outlook on the web
  • Create and reply to email
  • Organize your inbox
  • Create a signature and automatic reply
  • Schedule an appointment or meeting
  • Create and edit a contact
  • Search for email, contacts and events
Get to know Word for the Web
  • Get to know Word for the web
  • Change document layout
  • Insert tables and pictures
  • Collaborate online
  • Cool things in Word for the Web
Get to know Excel for the web
  • Get to know Excel for the web
  • Create formulas
  • Insert a PivotTable
  • Conditional Formatting
  • Flash Fill
  • Get insights with Ideas
  • Collaborate
Get to know PowerPoint for the web
  • Get to know PowerPoint for the web
  • Designing slides
  • Insert pictures, shapes, and more
  • Animations and transitions
  • Create a presentation with others
  • When you’re ready to present
Share your documents
  • Share your documents
  • Create a shareable link
  • Secure your docs only to specific people
  • Share with someone outside your organization

To improve your office skills and find more free tutorials, visit our Microsoft Office Tutorials page on officeskills.org.

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