If you ever attend one of my training sessions you will hear me go on about transferable skills. Compare it to the deals you get of ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘two for the price of one’.
These are the things you can learn in one package which work in the same, or a very similar, way in other packages. It’s always worth giving it a go!
1. Keyboard shortcuts
When you can do the same thing in more than one product you can normally use the same keyboard shortcut. This doesn’t just apply to Microsoft products (although that helps) but the most commonly used shortcuts are often the same wherever you go because there is only one really obvious option to use. For example, CTRL + S is Save. It would make no sense to use any other letter than that.
2. Find and replace
Whether you have a lot of data in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Access you may need to find something. Rather than scrolling though screens full of information the find option will do it for you. Or if you need to find something and replace it with something else. For example, find Ltd and replace with limited for consistency or even updating a company name. The biggest difference is that in Microsoft Access it defaults to only searching the column you are currently in.
3. PowerPoint, Excel and Word
There are many features that are available in all 3 packages with very subtle differences. SmartArt, Pictures, Shapes, Icons (in Microsoft 365 only) and Charts are very similar across all 3 packages. While tables in Microsoft PowerPoint are a slightly cut down version of Tables in Microsoft Word. Most of these options are available on the Insert tab. Along with the consistency there are many icons here that are only available for specific functionality within that one application.
4. Viewing multiple files at the same time
I’ve written a couple of articles recently about how to view multiple Excel files or Word documents at the same time that have proved really popular but this can be done in PowerPoint too. See the further reading at the bottom of the article to find out how.
Although there are many features in each package that are unique to that specific package there are others that are consistent such as Bold, Italic, Underline, Font Size, Font Type and many more. There are others that can do slightly different things in slightly different ways depending on the package. Two in particular are increase and decrease indent. They do exactly this but if there are bullet points or numbering involved they also increase or decrease the level of the bullet or number, but not in Excel because bullets and numbering don’t exist there.
So follow my advise and if you discover something new in one package (or even already know how to do it) have a look at other applications and think about whether it could be useful there too.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about my top 5 transferable skills in Microsoft, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful: