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Three Essential Yet Underemployed Microsoft Office Tools


Employment & Learning

When creating a document such as a resume or cover letter, everyone has their own way to doing things. It is important to consciously get as efficiently as possible to make yourself essential for that position. That is why approaching some common tools in a new perspective are important.


The Undo Button

Undo is arguably the most important button in the Microsoft universe, no matter what the software (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher). Most people are familiar with its backward pointing arrow in the upper left corner of the screen, on the Quick Access Toolbar. Obviously, it gets used when a mistake is made – and rightfully so – to bring it back to where you were before the error. Unlike the delete button, which is considered a forward action, this is taking a step back.

The other way to approach this button is to know that you can use it to increase your knowledge of the software, as it gives you the chance to experiment and try new things. Because of the Undo button, you will not harm anything. Try something: if it works, great; if it does not, then just undo it. I have found many shortcuts and increased my efficiency by losing the fear of the unknown, since I am aware I can undo it when necessary.

The short cut for Undo is to hold down the CTR key and then hit the letter Z. You can usually use it numerous times in a row, depending on your particular computer’s settings.



One of the biggest mistakes most people make is that they will open a new document and do the work necessary on it. Then, at the end, they will Save As. This is not only a bad idea, this can be a dangerous and potentially time-costing one. Here is the better way. As soon as you open up a new document, while it is still blank, use the Save As. Then, as you create the document, get into the habit of regularly saving, rather than just doing it at the end.

If you forget to save when you try to close a document, a window will pop up and ask you whether or not you want to save it. However, if there is an electrical problem such as a brown- or blackout, or computers being computers, if it locks up and freezes, you will lose everything since the last time you saved. There is no reason to lose anything more than a paragraph if you get into the habit of saving often. You can Save numerous times in a row; it will not harm the document.

There are three ways to save: one is to go to the FILE tab on the Ribbon and click on either Save As or Save, or click on the floppy disc icon on the Quick Access Toolbar on the upper left corner of the screen; the third way is to use the keyboard shortcuts, which is F12 for Save As, or hold down the CTR key and then hit the letter S for Save.


Make it Fun

Learning any new software can be tedious and frustrating. Plus, if it is not used often, it is easy to forget what you have already reviewed. The best way to get past that is to make it personal, and thereby make it more fun.

Unlike proprietary software that is designed explicitly for a company or is job-specific, the Microsoft Office is malleable to working on projects that are more personal. For example, if you are learning Word, work on your resume and cover letter, or create a year-end letter to share with friends and family. For PowerPoint, create a slideshow of your travels, or a topic close to your heart. For Excel, a household budget will improve your skills enormously. Then, when it comes time to get to work on an employment-related project, you will already have the knowledge on how to proceed.


Information on our computer classes at the YWCA Employment and Learning Center where information such as this is taught can be found at:

You can view the full original article by Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen Productions, at: