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Admit it: sometimes you need help with Office. If you didn't, you wouldn't be reading this. (Then again, maybe you would. Maybe you just like to stop by and visit old Crabby every day. Or maybe you’re here by accident and have no idea how you got here. Either way—you’re getting help today whether you like it or not.)
There truly are a variety of ways of getting answers to your burning Office questions and today I’m going to point you toward them. But the thing is, people, you’ve got to USE these resources; they’re here for YOU.
So if you've ever pounded the you-know-what out of your mouse in frustration follow me as I go through my top five ways of getting help—and then I'll pop in five more, because I can and because they exist.
These pages are your connection to all you want to know about the ins-and-outs of any Office program:
This is my favorite online forum, where you can interact with fellow Office users, experts, and others, get your questions answered, answer others’ questions, share ideas, and learn more about the Office products and technologies that interest you. (My OneNote guru, Michael, wrote a great post about how to use Microsoft Answers.
Sometimes it's not a simple question you need an answer to; maybe it's how to use an entire program or a broad aspect of that program. How about short, online training courses that cover anything from the very specific (how to create a flowchart in PowerPoint) to the very broad (color printing in Publisher)?
These online courses are self-paced, and they actually help you get your hands dirty by using all your favorite (and maybe not-so-favorite) Office applications as part of the course. There are practice sessions, a test (for mom’s fridge, natch), and even a Quick Reference Card to print for when your memory fades.
Sometimes you just need a little help from your friends—the ones that really know what they're talking about. If you're looking for tips and ideas, or if you're troubleshooting problems, you already have many capable friends to turn to. They're ready to answer your most basic questions, as well as your most difficult. The Office MVPs are experts who've been recognized by Microsoft for their helpfulness, depth of knowledge, and passion for technology. And they talk to you in a language you can understand. Capiche?
(Every year we sponsor an “MVP Summit” where Office MVPs from all over the world come to Redmond and share their experiences with us. Beth Melton, an MVP award winner, talks about her experiences at the 2010 summit.)
Well of course I’m going to bring up the blogs; I'm here. Peruse the various blogs that are part of this Office family of blogs, such as Office in Education, Office Casual, and Microsoft OneNote; they are packed with tips, tricks, informational (and yet entertaining) videos, newsy items, ideas, links to other resources, and a whole lot more.
My last 5, nice and quick:
Pressing F1 when you're working in any Office program is like having an angel sitting on your shoulder. Get an overhead look at a particular feature or dig deeper to find the exact procedure you need before you rip your hair out. If Help can't help, it will guide you to other avenues that can.
Microsoft Support This is where you can read support articles, get in on a community of like-minded Microsoft users, read the latest support news, and check out current updates and other downloads.
Books Some people still like to have a book in their hand when learning a new skill while they're soaking in the tub. And frankly, it's safer that way. (If you don't find a book you need listed there, try Amazon; that's where I found mine.)
Microsoft Safety and Security Center Your access to security updates, free antivirus and antispyware products, a free malicious software removal tool, and more.
Live Support The best way to find Microsoft customer service options, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses is to visit the Contact Microsoft home page and read about what you can do there.
Third-party support and solutions These third-party support centers are usually pay-as-you-go types of deals and they can be infinitely helpful. These companies are customer service-focused and will walk you through any type of problem. Visit the Microsoft Office Services, Training & Support center to find one that might work for you.
(Okay so that’s six; which would YOU cull? Me, I couldn’t do it; all these solutions can be helpful, depending on what you need.)
And finally, a quote: "Complain to one who can help you." — Yugoslav proverb
well im pretty crabby most of my days