More than 1 billion people worldwide use Microsoft Office, also known as MS Office or the Microsoft Office Suite. It is undeniably the most highly used desktop software for home and office computers worldwide. At this point, some level of MS proficiency is all but required for students, job-seekers and entrepreneurs.
The current version of MS Office features the following major components:
Word: The Microsoft Office flagship program, Word allows users to create and edit standard documents.
Excel: This program enables users to create and edit spreadsheets of any length.
PowerPoint: This program is used to generate digital presentations that incorporate text, as well as graphs, tables, videos and audio clips.
Outlook: This internal communication tool is used to program calendar dates, schedule meetings, and send/receive email messages between MS Office users.
OneNote: This program allows computer and tablet users to record annotated notes and then share the notes with others using the MS internal network.
Access: This program is used to create, modify, and maintain content management systems.
Publisher: This program allows users to create and edit alternative documents, such as greeting cards, product labels, press releases, and company newsletters.
Tutorials are Worth Your Time
Microsoft Suite has been celebrated for user-friendliness ever since the first versions Word, Excel and Powerpoint were launched in 1990. User-friendliness is great, but most of us can admit we don’t fully understand the higher-level features of the MS programs we rely on everyday.
For instance, many people use Excel to log data, but Excel’s real value is as a data management and analytics tool. If you learn a few conditional formatting rules and Excel formulas, you’ll be able to automatically import, parse and analyze large (and even sloppy) datasets within a matter of minutes.
This all sounds more intimidating than it is. Remember, Microsoft Office is designed to be accessible. There are dozens of free, high-quality guides to help you get started. So, whether you are a longtime MS user or a first-timer, we think these online tutorials will empower you to be a more effective and organized Office whiz.
Training Courses for Word 2013: This module from Microsoft is divided into three categories. Beginner courses cover basic competencies like creating an original document and tracking editorial changes; intermediate tutorials discuss specific projects (such as a resume or table contents), as well as unique aspects of Word 2013; and advanced courses discuss finer points of word processing, like collapsed headings and mail merging.
Simon Sez IT: Word 2013 Training Tutorials: This series of YouTube tutorials includes nine instructional clips about Word 2013, such as “Working with PDFs,” “Managing Long Documents,” and a two-part “Mail Merge” course. Most of the Word-oriented videos are between 8 and 15 minutes in length.
Lynda.com: This YouTube account covers the same ground as Simon Sez IT, only with a greater number of shorter video clips. Specific tutorials are dedicated to text-wrapping, finding and replacing text, incorporating ‘Smart Art’ into a document, and saving files to ‘SkyDrive,’ a cloud-based file database also maintained by Microsoft.
GCF Learn Free: Word 2013: This site is formatted as a series of mini-courses dealing with specific competencies, such as inserting hyperlinks, adding tables and charts, and checking spelling and grammar. In addition to tutorials exclusively dealing with Word 2014, GCF Learn Free also offers courses for five previous incarnations of the software, as well as other Office programs and SkyDrive.
Word 2013 Tutorials: This blog-style site features posts that deal with new aspects of Word 2013 (such as editing PDF files and inserting YouTube clips into documents), as well as functions that have been present in previous incarnations of the software. Other posts offer tips for first-time buyers and troubleshooting strategies for those who have experienced problems using Word.
Training Courses for Excel 2013: This official web tutorial from Microsoft consists of mini-courses divided into three categories. Beginner courses deal with basic letter and numeral input (as well as general math); intermediate courses delve into functions like sorting and filtering data (as well as programmatic changes unique to the 2013 version); and advanced courses discuss password protection, drop-down lists, and printing capabilities.
Simon Sez IT: Excel 2013 Training Tutorials: This 17-video series covers everything from basic data input to advanced functions (such as flash fill features). Tutorial duration varies, but most clips fall between 10 and 15 minutes in length.
Lynda.com: Top Must-Know Excel Tips: Want to become Excel-proficient in less than 24 minutes? This five-video series covers fundamental aspects of the program that enable users to create basic spreadsheets and perform cursory functions (although novices may want to consult another source for advanced materials).
GCF Learn Free: Excel 2013: In addition to functions and software applications, this site offers tips for purchasing the program, troubleshooting advice, and basic mathematics lessons that correspond to Excel spreadsheets. The 2013 version is covered, as well as five previous versions of the program.
Chandoo.org: Advanced Excel Skills: This site features 49 mini-courses divided into the following categories: Tables & Formatting; Conditional Formatting; Advanced Charting; Pivot Tables & Pivot Reporting; VBA & Macros; Using Excel Productively; Data Tables, Simulations & Solver; Integrating Excel with Other Tools & Optimizing Excel; and Become an Advanced Excel User.
Barnard College Empirical Reasoning Lab: Excel Tutorial for Mac: Many workplaces exclusively use Mac desktop and laptop computers, and users operate programs on these devices much differently from other PCs. This site from Barnard College includes nearly 100 mini-courses focused on Excel for Mac computers.
Training Courses for Outlook 2013: Microsoft’s proprietary web tutorial offers mini-courses that fall into one of three categories. Beginner courses cover scheduling, emailing, and other basic Outlook functions; intermediate courses discuss program navigation functions (such as locating a folder and tracking an email using receipts); and advanced courses focus on password-protection and email management.
Simon Sez IT: Outlook 2013 Training Tutorials: The YouTube channel features 10 clips exclusively dealing with Outlook 2013; specific topics include “Archiving Your Email,” “Calendar Options,” and “Setting up Gmail and POP Accounts.”
Lynda.com: Outlook 2013 Tutorials: As with other program series, Lynda.com’s Outlook instructions consist of mini-tutorial clips, most of which are between three and seven minutes in length. Customizing an inbox, creating appointments and reminders, and previewing documents using the ‘Quick Analysis’ function are some of the topics of discussion.
University of Colorado Boulder: Outlook 2013 Quick Reference Guide: Unlike sites that explain Outlook through mini-courses, this collegiate site presents instructions for 60 different functions on one, easy-to-read infographic table.
Training Courses for PowerPoint 2013: This site begins with mini-courses that cater to Office users who are creating their first PowerPoint presentation. Intermediate courses discuss image-cropping, watermark insertion, and adjusting background settings; advanced courses deal with cover animation, sound effects, and other multimedia additions.
Simon Sez IT: PowerPoint 2013 Training Tutorials: This tutorial series consists of seven video clips that run between 9 and 16 minutes in length. In addition to a two-part tutorial dedicated to creating a presentation from start to finish, other clips discuss incorporating different types of multimedia, using PowerPoint at work, and previewing drafts using the ‘Presenter View’ function.
Lynda.com: PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: The PowerPoint 2013 chapter of this Youtube account includes 10 video tutorials, most of which are 5 minutes in length or less. Topics of discussion include “How to Create Custom Slideshows,” “How to Customize PowerPoint Layouts and Templates,” and “Understanding Object Layering.”
GCF Learn Free: PowerPoint 2013: This series of illustrated mini-courses is divided into 6 categories: Office Basics, PowerPoint Basics, Text & Objects, More Objects, Reviewing Presentations and Collaboration, and Customizing Your Presentation.
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: Dating back to August 2013 (when the latest version of PowerPoint was released), this blog-style site provides mini-posts containing instructional advice for all aspects of creating and modifying a PowerPoint presentation.
Training Courses for PowerPoint 2013: This official tutorial site from Microsoft begins by explaining the basics of Access, such as creating tables and building table relationships. Upper-level courses discuss advanced functions like read-only queries, parameter filters, and date criteria.
Simon Sez IT: Access 2013 Training Tutorials: One of the more extensive chapters of the Simon Sez IT YouTube account, the Access section contains 14 video tutorials, most of which run between 11 and 15 minutes in length. Most of the clips address strategies for creating the initial database and then building relationships between different tables and datasets.
Lynda.com: Access 2013 Tutorial: This YouTube series features eight educational videos that discuss specific topics like “Creating the Database File,” “Adjusting Form Elements in Layout View,” and “Getting a Different Look with Crosstab Queries.”
GCF Learn Free: Access 2013: This collection of 21 illustrated tutorials includes topics like basic dataset creation, strategies for working with data, instructions for running queries, and designing a database. Additionally, two of the tutorials discuss tips for purchasing the software.
Training Course for Publisher 2013: This official program from Microsoft explains the differences between Publisher 2013 and older incarnations of the software, and offers tips for Office users who are transitioning between the two.
Simon Sez IT: Publisher 2013 Training Tutorials: This YouTube account features nine video tutorials specifically dealing with Publisher 2013. Clip titles include “Rulers, Measurements, and Guidelines,” “Managing Pages,” and “Backstage View.”
Microsoft Publisher Basics ― University of Utah: This eye-catching tutorial demonstrates how to create documents, use various software tools, add objects, add/delete/edit content, and perform other key functions of Publisher 2013.
Training Courses for OneNote 2013: The official Microsoft tutorial website features three courses pertaining to OneNote that discuss creating a Notebook (for first-time users), using tables, and “making the switch” to the 2013 version of the program.
Lynda.com: OneNote 2013 Tutorial: This YouTube account features 18 instructional videos discussing different aspects of OneNote, such as strategies for using different templates, adding multimedia, and using the ‘Quick Filling’ feature.
OneNote 2013 for Dummies: The official site for the book of the same name features 25 illustrated mini-tutorials that are formatted like the ‘Help’ section of a software program. Additionally, each tutorial allows readers to leave comments.
OneNote 2013 Tutorials: Arguably the most comprehensive instructional resource for the current version of the program, this 21-page, illustrated guide addresses the various technical and functional components of OneNote 2013, as well as tips for reaching out to and sharing information with other OneNote users.
Seven Tips and Tricks to Get More Out of OneNote: This tongue-in-cheek article from Lifehacker includes subsections like “Why OneNote Is Awesome,” “Format and Edit Your Notes with Faster Shortcuts,” and “Change the View to Fit Your Workflow.”
Microsoft Office Suite 2013
Microsoft Office 2013 for Dummies Extras: These mini-tutorials discuss tips and strategies that Office users can use across different programs, such as keystroke shortcuts, commands, and editing functions, as well as a few program-specific pages.
Free MICROSOFT Office Tutorials: This site is subdivided into four program-specific tutorial sites (for Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word), as well as a page dedicated to instructors who incorporate this software into their curricula.