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January 2007 Efficiency Newsletter

Technology does not create productive people. We do.

Microsoft Office 2007 is being released next week, but not here at SET–we’ve already got it. We've been using versions of Office 2007 for over six months, delivering a number of related seminars to IT directors, and uncovering the many ways it could help you...or potentially slow you down.

If you know of an organization that is planning to upgrade to Office 2007, feel free to suggest that they give SET a call. We can explain the nuances of the new file format, offer lessons learned, and keep their users ahead of the curve and satisfied with what is a complete metamorphosis from Office 2003--this is not just an upgrade, and there are no awards for learning things the hard way, so you’re welcome to talk to us when a migration to Office 2007 is under consideration.

I don't usually make sales pitches in this newsletter, but Microsoft doesn't usually unleash such significant upgrades. So, please don’t consider this a solicitation; we just want to participate when we have a reason (and the resources) to help.

Tip of the Month

The Power of Alt-Especially Relevant with Office 2007 Coming

To quickly access commands from the keyboard, look for the underlined letter on your menu titles (you may need to press Alt for them to appear):

Press Alt + the underlined letter and the menu will pull-down. In the pull-down menu, you'll notice that other letters are underlined. To access these commands, press that underlined letter.

For instance, in Microsoft Word you might want to access the Paragraph options. Just press Alt+O, P.

In Excel, you might want to insert a row (Alt+I, R) or a column (Alt+I, C). The advantage to these types of shortcut is that you can figure them out on your own.

For you keyboard warriors out there, this is nothing new – this technique has been around since at least Windows 95. However, what's new is that this is nearly the only way to find shortcuts in Office 2007. The steps are not exactly the same, but they're similar. After pressing Alt in Word 2007, the following appears:

To access Paragraph formatting in Word 2007, you could use the old shortcut, if you memorized it. But more likely you would follow the “Alt rules” and press Alt+H and then PG (see above and below screenshots). Many of the old shortcuts will work from Word 2003, but this is the way most shortcuts will be defined by Microsoft applications in the future (at least those employing "the ribbon").

As Microsoft Office 2007 System is being released to the general public next week, I wanted to offer you at least one step toward getting used to it. You can see from these screenshots just how different things are.

Tool of the Month

Too Many Tools to Digest, Try a Site Aggregator

So many new technology products were revealed this month. Will the iPhone defeat Windows Mobile phones and BlackBerrys? Will Microsoft's new Home Server represent the future of home entertainment? Will every teenager have their own plasma TV in the next two years? All I can say, for certain, is that I'm tired of all the hype around the mega-shows.

If you're overwhelmed with all the news, too, try the popular aggregators. Book a flight on my favorite travel site, kayak.com (it's sooooo good!), check out what people are reading right now on Digg or del.icio.us, or visit Kingnutter to stay ahead of your kids on the latest eBay and YouTube stories (warning, may not be safe for work).

Whatever you do, just don't try too hard this year to keep up with it all; it’s a losing battle. Do you have a favorite aggregator you'd like to share?

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