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Posted November 8, 2010
Highly Recommended for beginners and intermediate users
I've just purchased Office 2010, and sitting in front of my laptop I can see, out of the corner of my eye, a copy of "Using Microsoft Office 97" gathering dust on my bookshelf. Well, although I have not used Office 97 for a number of years I did think that it would be useful to update my knowledge about the Office suite of programs, hence my purchase of "Beginning Microsoft Office 2010 by Guy Hart-Davis." This is quite a weighty tome, some 753 pages, but don't let this discourage you, as you will find out its very good value for money. The book covers Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, Guy Hart-Davis has designed it to help the beginner and intermediate user get up to speed quickly and immediately become productive with these applications. I find his approach focused, providing detailed advice on everyday tasks as well as the more complex tasks. If you are reading this for personnel pleasure or work there are many items you will find useful. If you know anything about Office the temptation is to skip Chapter 1, which is an introduction to the five main Office programs, but that might be a mistake, I found a few things I had not picked up by just using Office, in any case if you have used Office before it will not take long to read. Given that you cannot look at a blog or article these days without the "Cloud" being mentioned Chapter 2 provided a very good overview of how to start using the cloud via Microsoft's SkyDrive, worth a look with the 25GB free space. I found Chapter 3 provided a very comprehensive understanding of the common tools across the Office suite, very useful if you are using an old version of Office or only use one or two of the applications, this shows you how they integrate and how you might make best use of this integration. Chapter 7 explains how to format your documents, in particular applying styles, anyone who has used Microsoft Word knows that "styles" are very powerful, but at the same time you can get into a lot of trouble if you do not understand them. In fact you usually end up using the default, which given the versatility of this feature is a waste. You need to invest time in understanding how they work and chapter 7 goes into all the detail you need. Creating Excel charts is covered in chapter 14 and is fairly basic, but essential for the beginner, not so clear that the intermediate user would find it helpful, although I found it is set out very well. The Excel chapters do not mention pivot tables which might have been useful, but I guess you cannot cover everything. Chapter's 17 and 18 are quite good at combining the mechanics of PowerPoint with the need to create clear, concise and compelling slides; if these are the only chapters you read in this section it will be worthwhile. I liked chapter 19 because it told you how to set up your PC for a presentation, how often have you plugged in your laptop, to a supplied projector, only to find that there was some incompatibility with the projector. Well this chapter should help sort it out, a very comprehensive chapter about presentation, very useful stuff. Chapter 21 is part of the Outlook section and explains how to import contacts; it would have been more useful to have had information about importing messages from other email applications. I guess what I like about the book is that all the cool features you get with Office 2010 are explained very fully and that enables you to make the best of
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