Digital technology has profoundly transformed the world in which we live, and particularly the world of business! Today, it is absolutely essential to know how to use Office tools to manipulate data (Excel), as well as present and share this data (PowerPoint, Word). The objective of this course is to test your knowledge in this area. Depending on your level and your needs, we provide you with information on a range of courses to improve your skills. We also offer details on certification, in order to make the most of your skills in a professional context.
WHICH MICROSOFT OFFICE TOOL FOR WHICH FUNCTION?
In this course, we base our teaching on the 3 main software programmes of the Microsoft Office Suite: Excel, PowerPoint and Word (2010 version), as these are the tools and versions most frequently used in a workplace context. But don’t worry, most office tools are very similar: you can make use of most of the tips given here for other applications such as LibreOffice, Google Apps, etc.
Discover the functions of each tool
Each of the three main office tools is designed for a specific document type. It is important to understand the functions of each tool.
Excel: a brief introduction
Excel is a spreadsheet programme, and therefore logically serves to manage spreadsheets. But what does this mean in practice? You can use Excel to perform calculations of varying complexity using formulas and the integrated functions. Excel also allows you to manage lists of data, i.e., spreadsheets in which we store, sort, and filter information. The spreadsheet allows you to perform statistics on these lists, by using the database functions or famous pivot tables. Finally, Excel allows you to present your data in graph format.
Example of use: you can track your accounts in an Excel workbook, with a year by page, and extract the data in the form of pivot tables and graphs.
PowerPoint: a brief introduction
PowerPoint is a computer assisted presentation software. It allows users to create and present animated slideshows. You can also print out your slideshows and comments.
Example of use: you can use a slideshow to accompany the oral presentation of a speech and present the results at a meeting. You can print and distribute the slideshow at the start of the session for participants to take notes.
Word: a brief introduction
This is a word processing software. You type your content in continuous text, format it and set the document layout, which can be made more or less elaborate depending on its purpose. The longer the text, the more it should make use of functions to automate the format (styles, headers, footers, etc.). Word also allows users to add a table of contents, and to insert footnotes, an index and illustrations. Finally, the revision function allows the collaborative editing of documents.
But knowing how to write a letter in Word, or to perform a calculation in Excel does not mean that you have mastered all of the functions of these tools. However, it is unlikely that you will need to know how to use all of these! Therefore, you should focus on the essential and on the functions that meet your present and future needs, i.e. you should make an informed and effective use of these tools!
Example: You should be able to write the minutes of a meeting, apply the same formatting throughout, using styles, and include a table of contents and index. You should aim to be able to create a template from these minutes to reuse for future meetings.
A table outlining the main features of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word
Target the right tools for the tasks you have to perform
This index of functions may seem impressive, but don’t worry, you don’t need to master everything! Your ease of use and mastery of each tool depend on the nature of your work and responsibilities. It is up to you to carefully select what functions and tools you could use to make your work easier and more efficient!
IMPROVE AND ENHANCE YOUR OFFICE SKILLS
What’s the best way to enhance your Office skills?
It’s better to demonstrate:
maturity and realism: it is impossible to know and master everything.
humility: even if you think your Office skills are fantastic, remember that unless you’re applying for a job in IT, impeccable Office skills are not the first or deciding criteria sought after in a job applicant. There’s no need to insist on your skills in this area.
Opt for a description that highlights your functional abilities and skills: for example: ‘bonne maîtrise de la gestion analytique et statistique sous Excel’ (good use of data management and statistics in Excel). Such a description is more precise, and a potential recruiter or employer can thus see the link between your skills, your experience, and the qualities sought after in the job candidate.
During the job interview, the same advice applies, avoid boasting about your Office skills! You may find yourself being interviewed by someone highly competent in Microsoft Office who doesn’t mind checking your skills by asking you one or two very technical questions. Furthermore, you may be asked to take a little test to ensure that the skills you claim to have are, in fact, real.
Therefore, it is a good idea to certify your skills with a course or diploma. You will find information about training courses at the end of this course.
What skills should I try and develop?
It is vital to build on your already existing skills based on the following criteria:
Your current activity. Think about your current tasks and responsibilities, and your career on a broader level. In what areas could you excel and specialize in order to be more independent and productive? If you work in accounting or finance for example, you should focus on improving your Excel skills: calculations, formulas and functions specific to this field, macros, VBA, etc. If you are a team leader and hold many meetings on the other hand, communication is an integral part of your job. Therefore, you should think about developing your PowerPoint skills (or other presentation tools such as Prezi). You might also consider additional software such as photo editing tools, graphics creation, schedule management, etc.
The direction you would like your career to go in. It is important to think about the future. The skills that you will need will evolve over time. For example, if you want to start your own company, it is essential for you to be able to do projections, simulations, a business plan, etc. Therefore, the advanced use of Excel features like the solver, scenario manager, the target value or the spreadsheets and pivot tables are a must.
Where can I find training resources?
Numerous resources are available free of charge on the Internet, including downloadable user guides and video tutorials.
Comprehensive training programmes:
The site tutoriel-video.com offers a large number of online training courses (in French) for the 2007 and 2010 versions of Microsoft Office. Different modules are offered based on ability level (beginners/intermediate/advanced).
There are also a large range of courses available (in different languages) for Office 2016 (for PC and Mac), on the site support.office.com. The advantage of this site is that the resources are always up-to-date.
Courses to help you revise the basics
Courses to build on your Excel skills
Courses to build on your PowerPoint skills
Courses to build on your Word skills
Where can I certify my Office skills?
There are several certificates you can do to validate your Office skills specifically, or your IT skills more generally. These start with complete beginner’s courses right up to more advanced skills, including the use of social networks, digital copyright, etc.
The newcomer on the market but already approved for the personal training account (replacing the DIF), the TOSA Certification has already become a standard in terms of Office and IT skills. 35 questions, 60 minutes, and at the end of the exam, the successful applicant obtains one of five levels of expertise, ranging from beginner to expert. Certificates are available in Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
The ECDL (European Computer Driving License)
As its name suggests, this certification has the advantage of being a European certification. The ECDL can also be done as part of an employee’s personal training account and allows you to certify your basic IT skills in multiple-choice test format. The modules include:
Understanding key concepts relating to ICT, computers, devices and software
Computer Aided Presentation
Email and Web browsing
Microsoft Office Specialist Certification
MOS certifications are based on a test of your ability to perform specific or set tasks on the various software applications of the Microsoft Office Suite. There is no multiple choice quiz, and therefore it is more a validation of skills, rather than knowledge. The MOS certificates are recognized at an international level, including the United States.
Now it’s up to you to take the next step!
This course was developed with the support of: