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Microsoft Office

Take a Free Skill Assessment

Looking to take a class on a Microsoft Office application but not sure which level is right for you? Or maybe you are just curious how well you stack up in using an application. Take one of our Free Skill Assessments to find out! Select the application (Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, or SharePoint), enter your email and info, and answer 20 questions. We will immediately give you the recommended course level to take, as well as email you an answer-by-answer analysis of how you did on the assessment.

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Word

Using Word Templates

When you were in school, you probably had to write according to standards set forth by the your school, such as the APA or MLA stylebooks. In Word, you can preset a template that meets those standards, and not have to remember it again. Every time you open your Word template, the document format is ready to go, waiting for you to start writing. The nice thing about a template is that it is very hard to overwrite it, as a template will force you to do a Save As, saving your work as a Word document, rather than a template. To overwrite your template, you would need to change the file type, save the new template in the same place as the old template, and name the template you are trying to save wi8th the exact  same name as  the original template. Plus, you would still need to confirm the overwrite. It is just the opposite for a regular document, as a regular document can be overwritten just be clicking save. To create a template, you need to first create a regular Word document with all the correct formatting. Once you have done this, follow these steps to turn it into a template: Click the File tab to go to the backstage area. Click the Save As section on the left. Click Browse. A dialog box will appear that will allow you to name the template ans store it where it is convenient for you. Click the Save as type drop-down menu and select Word Template. Choose where you would like to store the document and click Save. You can close the file and your template is saved. It can be easy to think you are using a template, when you are actually mistakenly working within a regular document.  There is one sure way to know, which is to check the document icon. If it has a blue stripe across the top, it is a template; if not, it is a regular Word document. Learn all the ways to make Word work harder for you by taking a training class from AdvantEdge Training.

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Microsoft Office

Missing a Mouse? Use ALT

  If you’ve ever had a mouse go bad in the middle of a project, you probably called IT to bring you a new mouse.  Or if this happened at home, you drove to the store to get a replacement. Regardless of where it happens, it is Murphy’s Law that it will happen at the worst possible moment. You’re desktop computer doesn’t have a finger pad and you just have a couple of things to finish, but you are stuck waiting to finish. Or are you? Clicking the ALT key allows you to keep going! Follow the steps below to type your way through the commands need to finish your project: Once you have pressed the ALT key, letters and numbers will appear on the ribbon tabs and on your Quick Access Toolbar. If you press the correlating key on your keyboard, you will make that tab active, which will display different options for you to press. For example, if you press N, the Insert tab will become active, and the commands in that tab will have different letters or combinations of letters to press to insert that object. Single letters are easy, but what about commands with combined letters? You do not have to press the combination of letters at the same moment. Press the letters of the combination in order, and the command will execute. For example, pressing the key for letter S, then the key for letter L, will open the Sparkline dialog box. If you need to backup a step, maybe because you pressed the wrong key, press the Esc key to go back one step. Pressing Esc a few times will take you out of the functionality. AdvantEdge Training and Consulting has Microsoft Office classes that fit your specific skill level and project needs.

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Business Communications, Emotional Intelligence, Professional Development

The Telephone Game – Emotional Intelligence

Most of us remember playing the Telephone Game at a party as children: The first player thinks of a sentence, then whispers it in into the ear of the player next to them. That person whispers what they thought they heard to the next person, and so on down the line, until the last player reveals what was whispered into their ear.  Usually, the message has dramatically changed between the message the first player thought up and the message the last player heard, often with humorous results. What is it that makes this communication-chain game work?  Clearly, the whispering aspect has some bearing on the results of the game, but that is not the only thing that is happening. The same thing can happen when we try to communicate with others outside of the confines of the Telephone Game. So what factors are at play that can cause our efforts at communication to go so awry? The Real Life Telephone Game When we communicate with another person, the message they receive is based on much more than just the words we choose. Studies show that less than 10% of our message is conveyed by the actual words. Body movements and the expressions on our faces communicate more than half of the meaning the listener receives, and around 40% is conveyed by our tone of voice. If something outside of our intended message influences our voice, posture, or facial expressions, it is easy to see that what we meant to say can get lost in translation. For example, if a speaker is in pain, or feeling unwell, it can come across to their listener as though they are angry or impatient with the conversation. Our mood, or our feelings about the listener, can alter the tone of our voice, as well as our expressions or body posture, altering how the listener understands our message. Even something as simple as sitting with your arms crossed can give the impression of being defensive. Many things beyond those physical attributes can cause your misunderstanding. How the listener feels about the speaker can also influence whether they interpret a message more positively or negatively. Even the listener’s mood can bias their interpretation of what is said to them. In a recent article, we discussed how word choice can be interpreted differently by different people. Our experiences with particular words or phrases can easily stymie effective communication. One example many people can relate to is the phrase, “We need to talk.” Those four words can send shafts of terror through the hearts of anyone who has heard that before they receive very bad news. A speaker may mean it in the most innocent or positive way, but a listener who has heard that phrase prior to being dumped by a partner, or punished by an angry parent, is not going to be able to put aside those experiences to listen with a completely unbiased mind. Getting It Right How can we make sure our real life version of the Telephone Game gets us closer to getting our intended message across the line? We cannot control the listener’s mood, or their past associations, but there are some techniques to help minimize misinterpretations:  Avoid important conversations when we are feeling agitated, distracted, or highly emotional. Try to keep our nonverbal cues (body posture, tone of voice, facial expressions) consistent with the message we intend to convey.  Be attentive. Actively listening when another speaks, and giving them nonverbal signs (like maintaining eye contact and an open body posture) encourages the listener to be attentive and open to your message.  Keep an open mind. When you jump to conclusions, even if you do not verbally express them, those thoughts are often betrayed on your face, and can steer the conversation in an unintended direction.  If you know your listener has negative associations with certain words or phrases, avoid using them.  If you observe that what you are saying is missing the mark, own it. Do not blame the other for misinterpreting, as that will just increase defensiveness. Say something like, “That didn’t sound right. Let me try that again.” Effective communication is about how well you get your idea across.  If the message is being misinterpreted, it is your job to take a step back, figure out where things went wrong, and then try to make them right. After all, it isn’t the fault of the last player in the line of the Telephone Game if he hears “The Pope wears stinking pomade,” after “I hope we’re drinking Kool-Aid,” has filtered through 12 whispering people. The message went wrong somewhere up the line; blame won’t make the message any clearer. Get the Skills Want to make sure your conversations don’t turn into the Telephone Game? AdvantEdge Training can help: AETC’s Emotional Intelligence training course will teach you how to influence and direct your emotional states, and better understand others’ emotions, with an eye toward anticipating and influencing their behaviors. Our EI classes will help you develop the skills to be more effective in communication, manage conflicts better, and find more common ground in your interactions.  Effective Business Communication teaches the skills needed to be more effective in your conversations, so that your interactions with others can be more productive, and yield more positive outcomes.

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Excel

Recorded vs Coded Macros

In the world of Microsoft, macros are the way many users automate various steps of their daily processes. There are two basic types of macros, recorded and coded. Recorded macros are what most users are familiar with. as they are simple to create and simple to use.  Coded macros are less common, as require knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Recorded macros tend to be more forgiving than coded ones, especially since one character out of place in a coded macro will render the whole macro useless. Check out this video on creating recorded macros and coded macros, and some of the differences between the two: Get the skills you need to automate your work day with AdvantEdge Training’s Excel classes , or VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) training courses

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Outlook

Grouping Emails to Save Time in Outlook

Making order out of the chaos of our Inbox  can be a cumbersome job. However, failing to do so often means we have a hard time finding needed emails regarding a project, or ones sent on the same date. Grouping emails together by conversations is helpful, but sometimes the people in those conversations start a new email chain every time they send out an email. How can we keep such a set of emails organized? Luckily, there are other ways to group emails in Outlook. You can easily organize your Inbox to your own unique needs by utilizing just a simple click of the mouse. Immediately above the email summaries is a drop-down menu that allows you to choose any number of options with which to group your email. If you have set your reading pane to be on the right, then the drop-down filter is above the email summaries to the left of the reading pane, as shown above. If your reading pane is on the bottom, or it is turned off, the filter drop-down menu is on the far right side, above the email summaries: Clicking this button opens a drop-down menu that allows you to filter and group emails by a number of different options, including by Sender, Date, or Subject. Select the options that will allow you to find what you need quickly, without having to scroll through all of the email in your Inbox. Utilizing the various functionality options available in Outlook can be a vital part of managing your time better throughout your working day. Check out AETC’sTime Management with Outlook class to manage your time and boost your productivity.  

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Microsoft Office, Professional Development

Time to Get Back to School

Summer is winding down, and the Back to School sales are in full force. It is time for students to sharpen their pencils and respond to the school-bell call to get back to the important task of education. Weather its in a physical classroom or an online platform, students are excited for the school year to begin. Students come in all ages, and we can each better our lot through the acquisition of new skills. Check out the virtual career-advancing courses AdvantEdge Training has to offer. This year is the year to take you to a new level of mastery and competency! Don’t wait until 2021 to begin the process of further developing your career. After a summer of pandemic stress and attempts at social distancing vacations, your staff is likely to benefit from some custom-built education to sharpen their skills and help them get back to more normal routines. So be sure to check out what we can offer to your workforce through our private and semi-private training development. Don’t be left out when the school bell rings!

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Excel

Removing Duplicates in Excel

 Removing duplicate information can be both helpful and intimidating when working with many line items in Excel. Follow these steps to make the process easy : Ensure your data has column headers and that there are no blank columns or rows between data you want selected and checked. Click anywhere inside the data you wish to have checked for duplicates. (Once you click the Remove Duplicates command, all data will be selected.)  Click the Remove Duplicates command, located on the Data tab, in the Data Tools group. This will select the rest of the data.  A dialog box will pop-up, allowing you to select the columns you want compared for duplicates. It is a best practice to have more selected, rather than fewer, as more criteria will keep the wrong records from being removed. (ex.: If I only chose last name and first name, then there is a good chance I will delete a row that was not actually a duplicate, as there might be more than one person with the same first and last name.)  Once you click the OK button, it will let you know how many duplicates were deleted.   Learn more was to make Excel less intimidating and your work easier by taking an Excel class with AdvantEdge Training.

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Excel

Filter Data with Header Drop-Down Filters in Excel

All too often, when we are sent data from someone, it is not presented in the view we would like. Changing the way our data looks, and being able to do it quickly, can save us some time, when we use the right tools. In some cases, using a table has some advantages, while using just the drop-down filtering has different advantages. For example, some functions do best when contained in a table; so using regular drop-down filters allows for more complex functionality. Tables, on the other hand, have added functionality to add colors, totals (sum, average, etc.) at the bottom of the data, slicers, and other items not included with drop-down filters. In our video, we are going to add drop-down filters, and walk through some of the functionality for filtering. Remember, the drop-down filters we use in the video are also available when the table functionality is used for data. Want to learn more ways to make Excel work for you? Check out AdvantEdge Training’s live training courses.

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SharePoint

How to Use a Quick Edit Menu in SharePoint

In older versions of SharePoint, uploading multiple documents was not an easy process, whereas the newer versions of SharePoint (2013, 2016 and 365) have the added ability to drag and drop many documents into a library at the same time. Once uploaded, adding metadata to those documents would be time consuming, if we had to add the information one document at a time. With the Quick Edit function, we can very quickly make numerous changes. This is especially helpful when uploading documents that require the same metadata, as this functionality allows you to make edits using Excel-like shortcuts. Even uploading one document and adding metadata can be easier using Quick Edit than using the normal edit form of SharePoint, as the normal edit form can be very difficult to navigate when custom coding has been added to the mix. In cases in which the normal edit form is easy to navigate, adjusting or creating a view gives the user an interface where the metadata columns are all next to each other, so there is no need to search for the correct fields, and all metadata tagging can be done quickly and efficiently at the same time. When using Quick Edit, it is important to have create views that make it easy to add metadata, so the end user does not need to go through extra steps to get the job done. This will help with the user experience and, more importantly, user buy-in. Check out our video to see how Quick Edit works:

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