Office software The different programs

Many Microsoft programs come under the heading of Office. A few (the most important ones) are described here.


This is a word processing program. I have described its features in the Word Processing section, simple and more advanced.


Desktop publishing is similar to word processing, the differences are described here.

To write some text in Publisher, make sure you have a blank page showing (close any windows if they are in the way) and click on the tool marked "A". Click and drag over an area of the page. A rectangle will appear. Type some words and they will appear in the rectangle, although they may be too small to read. If they are, click on the thing saying "Zoom", probably near the bottom of the window. You can change font, text size, text colour, etc. in much the same way as for word processing.

Putting a picture on the page is nearly as easy. There will be a tool with a picture of some mountains on. Click on this, and draw a rectangle in the same way as for the text tool. Another rectangle will appear, with no picture in. To insert a picture that's on your hard disk, right- click on the picture frame, click on "Change Picture", "Picture", "From File..." and choose one.

Drawing shapes is even easier. There are various shape tools. Click on one, and click and drag over the page. You can change the appearance of the shape to a certain extent using the fill and line style tools, probably near the top of the window. Try fill effects. With some shapes, a small grey diamond () will be present, and you can use this to alter the shape.


PowerPoint is used to create "presentations". In other words, a series of screens, which can have text or pictures on them, and can link to each other in a similar way to web pages.

To create a new presentation, do the following. It is easiest to begin with a blank one rather than using a template or a Wizard.

When you start PowerPoint, a window should appear asking whether you'd like to create a new presentation or load an existing one. Click on "Blank presentation". Click on "OK". You will be shown a choice of slide layouts. Click on the blank one, then click "OK".

You will see a blank rectangle. This is called a slide. Your presentation will contain several slides. These can either be viewed in order, or you can provide links between slides, and design simple motion effects for when a slide is displayed. These are described later.

Adding a new slide is obvious. You can delete a slide by clicking "Edit" then "Delete Slide"

You can add text boxes, pictures, WordArt and shapes to the slide in the same way as for Publisher and Word. You can also change the background. Since the presentation will probably be shown on screen and not printed, it is sensible to do this. Right-click on the slide and click "Background..." This will display a window, asking you what you want to do. Underneath the main picture is a drop-down colour list. From this you can choose a colour scheme colour, any other colour, or a fill effect.

One of the most popular features of PowerPoint is that it can display simple animations when a slide is first displayed. First, draw a few shapes (just about anything will work). Arrange them in the position you want them to end up in. Now click on "Slide Show" then "Custom Animation..." Click on the "Timing" tab. You will see a list of the objects on your slide. Choose one, then click on "Animate". Decide whether you want the object to appear automatically, or if you want the person viewing the show to click to show the object. Then click on the "Effects" tab to choose one of a wide range of effects. If the object is a text frame (not a WordArt), you can choose to show it letter by letter or word by word. Do not do this if there is a large amount of text, however.

In PowerPoint, it is easy to create buttons and links to other slides, and even to external web pages. If you click on "AutoShapes" and choose "Action Buttons" you can create a button. When you do this, it will ask you where you want to link to. If you do not decide then, you can choose later, by right clicking on the button and choosing "Action Settings..." You can do this with any object, not just buttons. If you add a blank button, you can add text to it by right clicking and clicking on "Add Text".


This is a spreadsheet program. When you run it, you will see a grid of grey rectangles. Each of these rectangles is called a cell, and it can contain a number, a few words, or a formula.

To enter something into a cell, click on the cell and then type. What you type will probably be displayed as text in the cell. Cells are given a label, which is a letter followed by a number. The letter identifies the column, and the number identifies the row. You can see these numbers and letters near the top of the window, and at the left.

Type a number in cell A1. Then, in cell A2, type something like "=A1+3". You will see that the number in cell A2 is 3 more than the number in cell A1. The "=" at the beginning tells Excel that it is a formula. If you remove the "=", it will just display the formula as text.

You can do many other mathematical operations as well. Try various things. If you click on "Insert", then on "Function..." you can see a list of all functions Excel can do. This list does not include the mathematical operators "+", "-", "*", "/" and "^" or the text operator "&" (puts one piece of text immediately after another).

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