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By Bonnie Bills | Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Office 2010 for Business: Focus on PowerPoint

lynda.com has been rolling out courses on Office 2010 since the suite launched to business customers last month, and I’ve been talking with our Office 2010 authors about their experiences with this latest version. In today’s Q&A, I talk with David Diskin, author of PowerPoint 2010 New Features and PowerPoint 2010 Essential Training.

Q: PowerPoint 2010 released to the general public last week. Why should users consider upgrading?

A: There are actually quite a few reasons. In fact, of all the new Office 2010 apps, I think PowerPoint got the best enhancements. Features that a lot of users have been asking for are finally here. For example, one of the most common questions I get asked as a trainer is How can I convert my slideshow into a DVD or put it on YouTube? Before, you couldn’t without expensive, buggy third-party tools. Now, it’s built right into the Save menu and is super easy to do.

There are a bunch of other enhancements, too, and many of them are subtle. One of them is the new way transitions are rendered—transitions are the animations you see when going from one slide to the next. PowerPoint 2010 takes advantage of your fancy video card to make the movement smoother, less jagged, and gives you a bunch of new 3D options which are really neat to look at.

Q: What’s the best new feature in PowerPoint 2010 for making presentations more visually compelling?

A: Just one? Alright. It’s the new background removal tool for images. You know how you bring a photo or logo onto a slide, and it’s got a background that you don’t want—like a white square or other artifacts like a skyline or the rest of the scene? PowerPoint 2010 offers a slick new feature to remove the background from an image in just a few clicks. It lets you get really creative with your own photos, stock photos, or logos by removing the parts you don’t want. It’s amazing to see it in action and so easy to use.

Q: PowerPoint 2010 has new capabilities for sharing a presentation over the web. What are the issues to be aware of when using this feature?

A: That’s right, you can now upload your presentation temporarily to Microsoft’s servers and send a link to anyone you want for a live presentation over the web while you do a conference call. When you click next on your PC, everyone’s screen automatically slides forward too.

This feature has a few limitations, though. For example, it doesn’t yet work with embedded video or audio, and your transitions are all converted to Fade. Animations work, and so do all your images, graphics, charts, and diagrams. And there are no worries about fonts. But the problem most people will see right away is that your mouse pointer (plus the pen, laser, and highlight features) don’t broadcast. So, you can’t point with your mouse to the connected audience.

I think for their first attempt at something like this, they’ve done a good job, and I’m sure we can expect some enhancements down the road.

Q: In addition to training people in how to use Office, you help businesses craft PowerPoint presentations. What’s your top tip for making more effective presentations?

A: Keep the slides simple. I always see slides crammed with too much content and that just doesn’t work. The audience doesn’t know whether to listen to the speaker or read the slide. If you have a lot to say, summarize it on the slide and give the audience handouts or refer them to your website for the details.

By Bonnie Bills | Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Office 2010 for Business: Focus on OneNote

Microsoft finished rolling out Office 2010 to customers this week, making the suite available to purchase in retail stores and online. lynda.com has been rolling out courses on Office 2010 since it launched to business customers last month, and I’ve been talking with our Office 2010 authors about their experiences with this latest version. Today’s Q&A features David Rivers, author of many lynda.com courses including OneNote 2010 New Features and the upcoming OneNote 2010 Essential Training.

Q: What’s your favorite new feature in OneNote 2010?

A: I would have to say my favorite new feature in OneNote 2010 is actually two features that work well together. First, there’s the new functionality that allows you to share a OneNote notebook over the web. With your free Windows Live account, you can share a notebook using SkyDrive. With your notebook stored and shared on SkyDrive, you can access it from any computer that is connected to the Internet.

Second, with the new OneNote Web App, you don’t even need to have OneNote installed to view and edit the notebook shared on SkyDrive. You can even create new notebooks with the OneNote Web App.

By Bonnie Bills | Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Office 2010 for Business: Focus on Outlook

Karen Fredricks’ favorite feature in Outlook 2010 is its new Social Connector, featured in this tutorial from her course Outlook 2010 New Features.

lynda.com has been rolling out Office 2010 courses since its launch last month, and I’ve been talking with our Office 2010 authors about their experiences with the latest version of Microsoft Office. Today’s Q&A features Karen Fredricks, Customer Relationship Management expert and author of the lynda.com course Outlook 2010 New Features.

Q: An overcrowded inbox is something most people wrestle with. Does Office 2010 have features that make this easier?

A: Absolutely. First of all, if you find that there’s a lot of spam clogging up your inbox, you can change your spam filter settings. That will insure that those messages about your mortgage and various body parts will be automatically sent to the Junk email folder instead of to your inbox. You can also start “training” Outlook by marking individual messages as spam if you’re being bothered by a specific individual or organization. Quick Steps is another cool Outlook 2010 feature designed to whip your inbox into shape. For example, I can create a Quick Step to automatically move all messages with the word “sale” in the subject line to a specific folder and forward a copy to my boss once I’ve read it.

Q: You’re very experienced with contact management software solutions. How is Outlook as a contact manager?

A: Technically Outlook is not a contact manager, it’s a PIM (Personal Information Manager). A PIM allows the user to keep track of emails, addresses, appointments, notes, and tasks. A contact manager makes it easier to track the interactions between you and your contacts. For example, in Outlook you don’t associate an appointment with an individual; with a contact manager you do, which means you can cross-reference your appointments from either your calendar or from a contact record. Some Microsoft Office suites include Business Contact Manager, which adds true contact management functionality to Outlook.

Q: How does Business Contact Manager stack up against other contact management programs?

A: If your business consists of a single employee, or if you work for a large company that doesn’t need to share its contact information, thenBusiness Contact Manager is a nice choice for contact management.  In addition to being free, Business Contact Manager adds in several true contact management functions, including relating contacts to appointments and notes, allowing for project management, creating a pipeline based on sales opportunities, and reporting. However, if you want to share your information with several members of your team, have true mail merge and e-market capabilities, and do a bit of advanced database customization then you’ll want to look at a true contact management system such as ACT!.

Q: What’s your favorite feature in Outlook 2010?

A: That’s an easy one! I absolutely love the new Outlook Social Connector. I’m a big fan of social networking. Now I am able to see directly from my incoming emails whether or not I am connected with the sender. My incoming emails include the photographs of the people I am connected to, as well as updates from their sites which makes emailing feel so much more personal. And, if we’re not already connected, I can send out an invitation at the click of a button. As an extra bonus, the incoming email now provides me with a list of the previous email I’ve received from the sender as well as a list of any attachments they might have previously sent. How cool is that?

By Bonnie Bills | Thursday, June 03, 2010

Office 2010 for Business: Focus on Word

lynda.com has been rolling out training on Office 2010 since its launch last month. I’ve been talking with our Office 2010 authors about their experiences with the latest version of Microsoft Office. Today’s Q&A features Gini Courter, author of Word 2010 New Features.

Q: You’ve been working with Microsoft Word as a user and trainer for many years. How has Word evolved?

A: Although I’ve trained Word users for every version of Word, I moved (and only reluctantly) from WordPerfect to Word when Microsoft released Office 97, and I still used Quark or PageMaker for documents with complex design requirements. It always seemed that Word wasn’t quite enough to handle my publishing needs—which honestly, aren’t all that complex.

Then Word 2007 was released. Frustration with the ribbon at first, but wow! Finally, a Word version that has great publishing features: positioning that works for art, strong and easily accessible styles, and SmartArt so I don’t have to fire up Visio for simple illustrations. I’m not an artist, but with Word 2007′s picture styles and two or three good photos I can easily create a unique and immediately recognizable look—a brand of sorts—for my documents. The Manage Sources reference tool saves me hours constructing professional and academic articles as my library of sources expands. With Word 2010 the tool list is even richer.

By Crystal McCullough | Thursday, May 13, 2010

Three Microsoft Office 2010 courses released: Excel, Word, Access

Click on any one of the following images to view the trailer for that course:Excel 2010 New Features Course TrailerWord 2010 New Features Course TrailerAccess 2010 New Features Course Trailer We’re happy to announce the release of three New Features courses covering Microsoft Office 2010 software: Excel 2010 New Features, Word 2010 New Features, and Access 2010 New Features.

Excel 2010 New Features covers Excel’s Backstage view, improved sharing and collaboration capabilities, its graphics features, and enhanced data analysis and visualization tools. Word 2010 New Features shows how to use the features in Microsoft Word 2010 to proficiently create professionally formatted and richly illustrated documents. Access 2010 New Features covers the Backstage view that replaces the File menu in Office 2010, shortcuts for building tables, new layout tools and navigation controls, and more.

By Bonnie Bills | Thursday, April 15, 2010

How can lynda.com help your business succeed?

My name is Bonnie Bills, and I’m Associate Program Director for lynda.com’s business channel. We’re on a mission to offer more courses that will help our members succeed in business, whether your business is a one-person operation or a large enterprise, whatever your field, your title, your skill level, or your operating system.

I’d like to share a bit about our plans here, and I invite you to share your ideas in the comments:

By Megan O. Read | Friday, March 26, 2010

Microsoft Silverlight, technology and education, ColdFusion, and Windows Phone

Our authors have been busy as usual! Check out the latest news on conferences, speaking events, webinars, and blogs from a few of our fine lynda.com authors:

Walt RitscherAuthor Walt Ritscher is going to have a busy month. In April, he is speaking at three different Microsoft Silverlight conferences. Check him out at one near you:

April 17-18, 2010: Seattle Code Camp v5.0—Two full days of talking about code with fellow developers. Sessions will range from informal “chalk talks” to presentations. There will be a mix of presenters, some experienced folks, for some it may be their first opportunity to speak in public. We are expecting to see people from throughout the Pacific Northwest region and beyond.

April 26th: Silverlight User Group talk in New York. Join NYC WPF & Silverlight Meetup to get location information and RSVP.

April 27-29th: Devscovery Conference in New York, NY—Devscovery is a three-day multi-track indepth technical conference produced by Wintellect. In 2010, Devscovery will provide 33 technical sessions to cater to the intermediate to advanced developer.

Laurie Burruss, Simon AllardiceJoin authors Laurie Burruss (lynda.com Senior Director of Education) and Simon Allardice for MoblEd10 in Pasadena, CA April 19- 20. Explore how mobile technologies are impacting the ways we learn, work, and play anytime, anywhere, and everywhere. Register today.

Dan ShortDan Short, author of the new ColdFusion Builder Essential Training course, gave a great ColdFusion Builder webinar this week. ColdFusion Builder is Adobe’s first dedicated development environment for programmers of ColdFusion-based Internet applications. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recorded content online.

Joe Marinilynda.com author and Product Manager for the Microsoft Windows Phone, Joe Marini, has launched the IE for Windows Phone Team Weblog. If you are looking for updates on the Windows Phone, mobile development tips and sample code, this is a great resource.

By Megan O. Read | Friday, January 22, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta training now available on lynda.com

This week, lynda.com published five new Microsoft Office Beta 2010 online training courses.

Gini Courter, author of countless Microsoft Office books and partner of TRIAD Consulting, has been busy authoring many of these new releases, including Powerpoint 2010 Beta: Real-World Projects, Word 2010 Beta: Real-World Projects, Access 2010 Beta: Real-World Projects, and Outlook 2010 Beta: Real-World Projects.

Also available now are Curt Frye’sExcel 2010 Beta: Real-World Projects, and David RiversOffice Beta Preview.

With more Office 2007 and 2010 online courses in the works, this is a rapidly expanding and exciting area of training for lynda.com. Let us know what you think.

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