Hints and Tips

Basic Microsoft Office Menu Skills

The first requirement of using Office is that all the menu commands should be visible, yet many users work with a restricted menu in the mistaken belief that this is ‘as good as it gets’. To make the full menus permanently visible in any Office program:

  1. Choose Tools, Customize.
  2. Click on the Options tab.
  3. Switch on Always show full menus (and perhaps also switch on Show standard and formatting toolbars on two rows while you are in there.
  4. Choose Close.

The full menus will now be visible in the program you are using and in all other Office programs. The second requirement is that you should be aware of the different methods of selecting an Office command (yes, there are more than one!). Take the simple process of moving text from one part of a Word document to another (a cut and paste). There are at least seven ways in which this can be done:

  1. Use the mouse to select the Edit, Cut and Edit, Paste commands from the menu.
  2. Use the keyboard to operate the menu – Alt, (E)dit, Cu(t) and Alt, (E)dit, (P)aste.
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut keys Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V.
  4. Use the mouse to click the Cut and Paste tools on the standard toolbar.
  5. Right mouse click the selected text, choose Cut from the speed menu then right mouse click the destination and choose Paste.
  6. Drag and drop the selected text with the left mouse button.
  7. Drag and drop the selected text with the right mouse button and choose Move Here.

Of the seven possibilities option 6, drag and drop with the left mouse button, seems to be the most efficient as it only requires two actions (option 2 requires eight actions!). However there are times when a drag and drop is not the most convenient method (try dragging text from page 1 to page 300 of a long Word document).

Most of the options listed above may be applied to all common Office commands. The most important thing is to be aware of the alternatives and to be able to select the most appropriate for any given situation – and for your personal preferences regarding mouse or keyboard operation.

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