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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, by Dwight Spivey, Reviewed.

Not a general book, of course, but a one for those interested in and learning to use the software with the hardware and operating system.

I thought I knew Word, in particular, very well, but there were many lessons for me here. I’ve learnt things that will hopefully increase my productivity and allow me more freedom to express myself more fully. The ability to work with programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint more effectively will certainly improve my speed of work. But, as familiarity increases, I also expect that my confidence in use will allow me to take advantage of many of the aspects of the programs of which I was previously ignorant or uncertain. It solved a problem or me involving Excel and charts; for that alone, it saved me much time that would otherwise have been wasted.

Laid out in a logical manner, which aids both learning and actual use, it’s a ‘Dummies’ guide in all but name. Of course, there are many aspects that are merely alluded to and many others that aren’t covered at all, but that’s to be expected with a subject so complex and multi-layered.

Illustrated copiously with screen shots, the text gives excellent examples of the solutions to many of the problems we deal with daily in our computer lives. The tone is friendly and light, but the content is serious and fairly comprehensive. I’m by no means a techie, but I found it easy to follow. I’m very new to the Mac, and previously used Office 2010, so I had more than one set of changes to deal with. The book led me easily through the maze of technical jargon, helping me understand much that had previously been a mystery to me.

Organised into chapters dealing with various aspects of each program, I found the whole course easy to follow. I ignored the section on Outlook as I’ve tried this program in three of its previous manifestations and always suffered major problems with it. There are other programs available that do everything outlook does, and are easier to deal with, so I’ll stick to those. My knowledge of PowerPoint is very small, but as an author, I can think of ways in which it could be very useful, especially for marketing, so I was glad of the help on that.

If, like me, you’ve recently purchased either a Mac and/or the newer Office software, and you’re having difficulty using either or both, then this is the book for you. Of its type, it’s one of the better examples and I recommend it.
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