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You are here: Home > Review
Mavis Beacon Teaches Microsoft Office
Software: Mavis Beacon Teaches Microsoft Office
Use: Software
Reviewer: George Kimpton
Date: January 2006

Mavis Beacon answers 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.

Mavis Beacon Selection PanelA 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 Deluxe.


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