Planning to teach Office 2000, either in a formal setting or informally in your organization? If so, you’ll want to check out Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2000, a Que publication. It’s one of those old-fashioned, three-inch-thick computer books that’s worth every minute you spend with your nose in it.

You can’t go wrong with Ed and Woody
The co-authors of this book are legends in the computer desktop industry. Ed Bott is a senior editor for PC Computing and Woody Leonhard publishes Woody’s Office Watch. Nestled inside the more than 1,400 pages of text are 619 special tips signed “from Ed,” “from Woody,” and “from Ed and Woody.” These guys know Office, and they have a knack for knowing what’s important to end users of all skill levels.

One thing I like about the book is how easy it is to read. The color scheme is simple—black ink with blue highlights—and there’s enough white space that you don’t get worn out trying to zoom in on the important sections of a page. The designers use the blue ink to identify pointers to related sections within the book, to label the tips from Ed and Woody, and for section headings. The tips themselves and special notes are set off by a light gray background, and all the screen shots are black and white.

Value for your money
But enough about the look—it’s the content that counts. The book consists of 10 chapters and two appendices. The first chapter deals with the Office interface, including valuable tips on customizing toolbars. For example, for users who prefer to use the keyboard over the mouse, the authors’ Tip #16 reminds us to activate the option that displays keyboard shortcuts along with ScreenTips. To do so, open the Tools menu, choose Customize, click the Options tab, and then activate the Show Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips option. With this option activated, holding the mouse over the Insert Hyperlink icon displays not only the label Insert Hyperlink but the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl]K as well.

Some of the best tips and tricks in the book come under the heading “Secrets of the Office Masters.” In chapter three, the authors teach us how to rename some of the registered file types to make the Type column easier to read in common dialogs. (The trick is to remove the word Microsoft from the file type names so you don’t have to widen the Type column just to see which Microsoft product is listed.)

As you’d expect, there are chapters dedicated to using each of the Office 2000 applications—Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, FrontPage, and PhotoDraw. For advanced users, chapter 11 teaches you how to automate Office using macros and VBA scripting. The first appendix contains a general guide to customizing Office installations on standalone machines and on networks.

The bonus product that accompanies the book—Que’s Special Edition WOPR 2000 Pack CD—contains a complete electronic copy of Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2000—and that version contains excerpts from other Que publications on Word 2000, Excel 2000, and PowerPoint 2000. In addition to that extra content, you also get a huge collection of clip-art images from Macmillan Digital Publishing; some extra Word templates and FrontPage themes; an Excel data recovery tool; a trial version of Microsoft Project 98; and GoFigger, a utility from the creators of WOPR that helps you manage figures in Word documents.
You can purchase Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2000 wherever Que publications are sold. The list price is $39.99, which includes the bonus CD. If you’d like to suggest a product for review on TechRepublic, please send me a note .