Brought to you by the people wondering why you created that memo in Excel.

I thought I’d seen it all when a co-worker created a training manual using PowerPoint. And no, I’m not talking about the ubiquitous note-taking slide sheets that accompany a Powerpoint-based presentation.  This was a manual for systems training. No slideshow involved.

But then I spoke with someone who was having a devil of a time fitting employee performance data in a required form given him by HR.  The reason why?  That form was created using Powerpoint.

To quote Dave Barry: “I swear I am not making this up.”

While those are rather unique ways to use a Microsoft Office product, it’s a safe bet to say that we tend to use Microsoft in a way that we’re most comfortable with, rather than in accordance with the purpose of each program.  Letters get written in Excel.  Graphic-laden flyers are created in Word.

An objective of our February Learning Event presentation inspired me: she’ll be providing a decision matrix you can use for future situations where you may want to blend onsite and online learning.  When should you have your learners complete self-study courses?  When will they learn best in a classroom?

In that spirit, I’ve come up with a decision matrix to help match the purpose of your document to an appropriate Microsoft Office software.  When should you use Publisher?  When should you consider Word?  Here’s my take on it.

Oh, and Outlook is for emails.

Yes, there’s more that you can do with each of these programs than I’ve illustrated in the above matrix.  I created it for the average user, not the MS Certified power user.  And yes, each program is versatile enough that you can create your files into most whatever you need them to be.  But for those of you trying to create letters in Access, remember that one of the really cool features behind Word back in the day was their Mail Merge function.

It may be easier that way.

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