Lesson 7: Microsoft Office

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Microsoft Office

How to use this guide:

Our tutorials are structured so that anyone wanting to teach a single Office program can simply base a course on the relevant tutorial. This guide explains how you and your students can use multiple tutorials to build a more comprehensive proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite. Our Office tutorials do assume a basic familiarity with computers, so students will need to know how to use a mouse and navigate a computer interface in order to be successful.

The guide includes four distinct learning plans you can follow and adapt for instruction in a classroom, with a small group, or with individuals. Each plan addresses a specific set of skills students may be interested in acquiring, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and using the cloud through both Microsoft and Google accounts.

Each plan has four components:

  1. Objectives: These are the goals learners have entering this course of study. Objectives can help you identify the best plan for your class.
  2. Outcomes: These are the skills learners should have gained after successfully completing the plan.
  3. Learning plan: This is a possible sequence of our tutorials. You can find summaries and links for the tutorials mentioned in our Tutorial Descriptions lesson, or you can view our All Topics page to find any tutorial you want.
  4. Other tutorials you may want to use: Additional tutorials on our site you may want to reference or include in the learning plan, depending on the skill levels and needs of your students.

About Microsoft Office:

Service providers tell us that proficiency in Microsoft Office is one of the most common skills adult students want to gain. When a student says she wants to be proficient in Office, she may mean one of a few things:

  • Most commonly, proficiency means knowing how to use the three most common Office programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Proficiency can also mean being able to use other basic Office programs and services, like Publisher and Outlook. These programs are not included in the learning plans in this guide, but you can view them on our Microsoft Office page.
  • For a small group of users, Office proficiency may include knowledge of Access, Microsoft’s database management software. Access is a complex program designed for very specific tasks, and it can be quite difficult for many users to understand. For this reason, we don’t suggest encouraging your learners to study Access unless they absolutely need it.

Teaching our Office tutorials:

  • Each of our tutorials is designed to ensure that students build a solid foundation of basic skills before moving on to more complicated tasks. The first lessons cover simple but essential tasks like navigating a program’s interface or entering text, while later lessons explore using more complex functions of the programs.
  • If you want to teach only one Office program, you can simply follow the tutorial for that program, perhaps omitting later lessons if you’d like to teach a shorter or more basic class.
  • You also may want to offer classes that include more than one Office program. There are several reasons for this. If there are many students who want to learn multiple programs, it may be easier for you to organize one course with many sessions than multiple short ones. Because many of the Office programs include similar features and tools, you may also find that teaching multiple programs in one class saves you and your students the trouble of covering similar material multiple times.
  • To teach multiple Office programs, you can follow our suggested learning plans, which you'll find later in this guide.

Using our learning plans:

To get started, choose the learning plan that best suits your students’ needs. Once you’ve found a plan, you can customize it to make it more relevant to your learners. This could include:

  • Adding your own content. To get the most out of our site, we encourage you to use it in combination with your own assignments and assessments.
  • Removing redundant or unnecessary content. Not every course or lesson will be useful for every situation. In two of the learning plans, we’ve already removed lessons that are included in multiple courses. You can do the same. Read the tutorials, and assess your students’ knowledge and needs. You can then omit any content that is irrelevant or unnecessary for your learners.
  • Selecting additional tutorials. You may also choose to integrate tutorials from other sections of our site. You can find a complete list of our tutorials here.

Learning plans

Word and PowerPoint

This plan is for learners who may or may not have used the Office suite but who want to become more proficient in creating documents and presentations.

Objectives:

  • To be proficient in important Microsoft Office programs
  • To be able to create documents for printing and sharing
  • To be able to create and share presentations

General outcomes:

  • Learners will be able to claim proficiency in Word and PowerPoint.
  • Learners will able to independently create professional-looking documents and presentations.
  • Learners will be familiar with some advanced Word and PowerPoint functions.
  • Learners will understand how to use Word and PowerPoint in a variety of professional, educational, and personal situations.

Throughout this guide, we list the 2016 versions of Microsoft Office programs, but you'll want to make sure to choose the version your computers currently have installed. You can find tutorials for older versions of Microsoft Office programs on our Microsoft Office page.

Other GCFLearnFree.org tutorials you may want to use:

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

This plan is for learners who may or may not have used the Office suite but who want to achieve general Office proficiency.

Objectives:

  • To know how to use the most common Microsoft Office programs
  • To be able to create documents for printing and sharing
  • To be able to create and share presentations
  • To be able to manage and store data in a spreadsheet

General outcomes:

  • Learners will understand which tasks each of the major Office programs can perform.
  • Learners will be able to independently create professional-looking documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
  • Learners will be familiar with some advanced Office functions, including Mail Merge (Word) and formulas (Excel).
  • Learners will understand how to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a variety of professional, educational, and personal situations.
  • Learners will be able to claim Office proficiency.

Other GCFLearnFree.org tutorials you may want to use:

Working in the cloud: Microsoft account

This plan is for learners who have basic proficiency in at least one desktop Office program but who want to work on Office documents in the cloud using a Microsoft account.

Objectives:

  • To create a Microsoft account
  • To be able to create, upload, and share Office documents via Office Online

General outcomes:

  • Learners will have a Microsoft account.
  • Learners will understand the functional differences between regular Office programs and Office Online.
  • Learners will be able to create, upload, and share Office documents in the cloud.

Other GCFLearnFree.org tutorials you may want to use:

Working in the cloud: Google account

This plan is for learners who have basic proficiency in at least one desktop Office program but who want to work on documents in the cloud using a Google account.

Objectives:

  • To create a Google account
  • To be able to create, upload, and share documents via Google Drive

General outcomes:

  • Learners will have a Google account.
  • Learners will be able to create, upload, and share documents in the cloud.

Other GCFLearnFree.org tutorials you may want to use:

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