Learn Microsoft Office tips and tricks from the experts with TechRepublic’s Quick Reference: Microsoft Office Pack PDF. These four PDF charts, which cover Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, will help you solve common problems, empower users, and boost your own Office skills.

When you roll out a new version of business software, your users
generally don’t need to learn it from the ground up. They just need to know
what’s different, how to take advantage of improved functionality and added
features—and maybe how to configure settings to make the new version look and
feel like what they’re used to. In such situations, a book like The Upgrader’s Guide to Microsoft Office
System 2003
is ideal.

Unlike most Office reference books, which tend to be
burdened with sweeping coverage of standard features that Office has supported since
it was in diapers, the Upgrader’s Guide
targets areas of change. In the case of Office System 2003, this encompasses
changes to features shared by all the applications, new capabilities and refinements
that are specific to each one, added technologies such as XML support and
information rights management, collaborative tools like SharePoint Services,
and two new ancillary programs, InfoPath and OneNote.

Free sample

Get a taste of what the Upgrader’s
has to offer—its focus and depth of detail, how it’s written, and
what it looks like. Download this PDF version of Chapter 3, “What’s New in
Outlook 2003,”
courtesy of Que Publishing.

Logic and order

The Upgrader’s Guide
is cleanly organized, and key information is neatly pulled out and easy to
find. Chapters include sensible sections like “Changes to the User
Interface,” “The New Menus,” and “Productivity
Enhancements.” If a user needs to know how to package a presentation to
CD-ROM, you can point to the PowerPoint chapter for a quick illustrated
walk-through of the procedure. If you need to identify Access’s new task panes
(there are five of them), you can flip to “The New Task Panes” in the
Access chapter for a list of all available task panes with the new ones flagged.
If you want a crash course in how to work with XML documents in Word, you can
go to the Word chapter and find sections on loading and editing an XML file,
setting XML options, associating XML schema, using transformations, and saving
documents in WordProcessingML format.

The structure of the Upgrader’s
is logical and the coverage is comprehensive, beginning with
discussions of what’s different about Office 2003 overall and a look at
features shared among applications. The book then focuses on the individual
apps, with a chapter apiece on what’s new in:

  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Access
  • FrontPage
  • Publisher

These chapters are followed by detailed introductions to
OneNote and InfoPath and a chapter explaining information rights management.
The book winds up with two appendices—a version guide and a discussion of Outlook’s
Business Contact Manager, a COM add-in for managing contacts, accounts, and


Guide to Microsoft Office System 2003

By Mike Gunderloy, Susan Harkins

ISBN: 0789731762
List price: $19.99
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Que (August
9, 2004)


Decision-making help

The Upgrader’s Guide
plays another role besides handy support reference. The picture it paints of
Office System 2003’s capabilities and technologies can help decision makers
identify the possible benefits and liabilities of adopting the new version. On
top of that, the version guide appendix sorts out the Office editions, with a
comparison table that lists which of the Office System’s 11 applications are
included in each package, along with corresponding licensing options. The
appendix also lists the evaluation kits that Microsoft offers and recommended system
requirements for each Office 2003 edition.

Effective guidance

This book does what it does very well. It doesn’t belabor familiar
features or provide tutorial information for novice users. It simply identifies
and explains the significant changes you’ll need to be aware of as you upgrade
your users to Office 2003 or weigh the value of implementing such an upgrade.

The only criticism I had of the Upgrader’s Guide—and it’s not really much of one—is a slight regret
that the book doesn’t include “What’s New In…” chapters covering
Visio 2003 and Project 2003. The authors note that those applications were
excluded because of their specialized appeal, but I think there might have been
a place for a brief look at their interoperability features within the context
of this book.

Take it for a spin

Our sample chapter download will give you a sense of whether
this book belongs on your shelf. It will also provide useful information on the
numerous changes to Outlook 2003, including the new look and feel, intelligent
grouping, dynamic distribution lists, search folders, the Rules And Alerts
Wizard, additional levels of attachment blocking, and integration with
SharePoint Services.

After you’ve had a chance to peruse the chapter, feel free
to post your thoughts to the discussion below. Was the information in the
chapter useful to you? Would you like TechRepublic to provide more free samples
from various tech books when they come off the press? As always, we appreciate
your feedback.