For the sake of full disclosure, I was Technical Reviewer for O’Reilly’s newest book on Office 2010 (Office 2010: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner & Matthew MacDonald). That being said, it has quickly become my go-to ‘bible’ for all things Office.
For years I have told my students, clients, and family that a computer expert is not someone who knows everything, it is someone who knows everything that he or she needs, and that it is impossible to be a maven in every aspect of computers. Granted, I am pretty good with a lot of things IT-related, when I do have a question I like to have a good reference handy.
Like most courseware specialists I spend a lot of time in Word and PowerPoint. I practically live in Outlook, and dabble in Excel, OneNote, and Publisher. With the exception of the last two this has been true for the past ten years, and over that time I have both learned a lot and gotten used to what I can and cannot do in these applications. Frankly if you were to track how I create and manage a Word document now, with a couple of notable exceptions, you will see little difference in how I did things in Word XP or even Word 97 for that matter. As proficient as I am, I have also fallen into routines based on older versions of the software.
As I read through the book – and as Technical Reviewer I did read every page – I had the opportunity to learn a lot of the new features in the latest version of Microsoft’s application suite. Much of what I learned was cosmetic – Chapter 21 has a section on arranging objects on a slide which I liked, and Chapter 22 (Editing a Presentation) was a godsend, especially with regard to Slide Masters). Other features, such as Chapter 23’s Adding Multimedia and Movement (to your PowerPoint slides) outlined a whole new feature that I got to play with because of this book, and is definitely something I will be incorporating into future presentations – starting with TechDays!
The reality is that today’s Office is too big for anyone except the REAL experts to know everything, and having a good reference manual is crucial to your success with the advanced functionality of the suite. My reference is certainly this book… as the sub-title read, it really is the book that should have been in the box!