Some of our readers may remember
the Mavis Beacon Typing software. It was a well known package in its time
and probably helped many a secretary learn how to type.
Apparently Mavis has moved into
teaching other subjects for here we have her leading us into the informed
use of Microsoft Office.
The course comes with two CDs with the first covering Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
The second deals with Outlook, Access and Web Design Fundamentals.
Installation offers you a choice
of voice over from the CD or from the hard drive and you install each segment
of Office separately. With Word the lessons open with Introduction To Word,
a description of the elements and tools of the Word screen using what is
obviously a computer generated voice. With most sections you are required
to interact with the tool or menu under discussion and you cannot move on
until you do.
Following Chapters or lessons include
Creating and Editing Text, Formatting Text, Design Page Layouts, Enhancing
Documents and finally Printing and publishing Documents. Each of these lessons
can take between 50 and 80 minutes minimum.
Each lesson is fairly comprehensive
as far as I can see from the list of topics to choose from. In each of the
above topics there are up to ten sub topics and you can choose which one
to work on. It is possible to go back to a specific topic using the menu
command. There is also an Index so that you can search for a specific topic.
Selecting the Index entry opens the appropriate lesson.
similar format is used for the other segments of Office such as Excel, Access
etc. While I did not have time to test all Office segments I was quite impressed
with the amount of detail in each topic including the Web Design Fundamentals.
There is also a section on Answers where you can type in a topic and it
will endeavour to find an answer providing you have installed that particular
topic or lesson.
One thing I found annoying was the
need to register each time you install a new topic and then find that there
is no provision for an Australian address or phone number and it won’t
let go until you accept an American format address etc which I imagine defeats
the purpose of registration.
You will also need to consider seriously
whether to install with sound from the hard drive as this will add around
200 MB for each topic and with seven topics that is a big chunk of storage
space used up. All up nearly 2 GB. It would be a good idea to remove unwanted
lessons when completed using the Control Panel Add / Remove tool to free
up disk space.
This will be a good program for
someone who doesn’t have money to throw around yet wants to get a
pretty good line on how to use Microsoft Office and its components. It is
exceptional value at $49.95.
You might also keep an eye open
for Mavis Beacon Typing to speed up your keyboard skills. It is a well respected
program and comes in at $ 49.95 for a standard version and $ 69.95 for the