Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Microsoft Office 2008 Visual Quickstart Guide

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Microsoft Office 2008 is overloaded with tons of useless features which make the program slow, complex, and bloated. "Microsoft Office 2008 Quick Start Guide" matches Office's complexity. This 500-plus page tome is a comprehensive guide to many of Microsoft Office 2008's major features.

Unfortunately, this is not a typical "Visual Quickstart Guide." One would not get a Quickstart, because probably it's hard to quickly start the digital equivalent of an oil tanker. Beginners to Microsoft Office will find this guide completely overwhelming and would be overwhelmed by all that Microsoft Office 2008 can do.

The author breaks up Office into its core components: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Entourage, and the integration of those applications. Unfortunately he covers almost all the major features which is completely unnecessary for a Quickstart guide. For example, how often do people use the Notebook view in Word or the Newsgroups function in Entourage? Similar to Office itself, adding in all these extras makes it harder for the user, or in this case reader, to find the basic functions of the program they need. This book could have easily been half the size and the reader would have understood most of what they need to know about Office.

The text was easy to understand for those functions the author was describing but there was a distinct lack of the common Visual Quickstart Guide screenshots and visual enhancements. The book was extremely text heavy and dense because of this. For a intermediate user trying to look up how to create a stock chart or brushing up on mail merging, this is a good manual. Beginning users will be overwhelmed with the comprehensiveness of it all.

Pros: Covers a vast majority of functions in the Microsoft Office 2008 Suite.
Cons: A vast majority of functions in the Microsoft Office 2008 Suite are unnecessary and overwhelming, just like this book

3 out of 5 Dogcows
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Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right