I grew up watching G.I. Joe so I was imprinted with the cliche phrase “Knowing is half the battle” before I could spell ‘knowing’. This post is all about ‘knowing’ or more accurately, finding out. While experience is a great teacher there’s a lot to be said for ‘reading the manual’ as they say. This post is a few simple things you can do to be more productive.
Almost every application has a “Help” button. It’s intended to provide basic usage instructions for the application you’re using. Some applications help feature is more comprehensive and include full user guides and manuals (or at least link to websites where these can be viewed or downloaded). If you can’t find the help menu or button, simply press the F1 key on your keyboard (if you’re using Windows) and the help window will pop up in most applications.
2. Guides, Tutorials and Training
Need to brush up on your Excel skills? Can’t remember how to do a mail merge in Word? Most of the popular application suites have comprehensive support websites that offer in depth product guides, how-to’s and tutorials. To brush up on your Microsoft Office skills visit http://www.office.com/support. Adobe (http://helpx.adobe.com) and Intuit have similar sites to help.
If you use a special line-of-business application, you may have access to additional training resources based on the support level your company subscribes to. Going through the training videos and/or product documents is probably even more important in this case because depending on how niche your industry is local support may by hard to find or expensive, plus knowing the software package you use on a daily basis will make you more productive. Training videos and tutorials often reveal easier more efficient ways to accomplish tasks you perform often or expose functionality you may have have know even existed.
the oracle Google
When I get a call about an application I’ve never used before, I usually try to figure it out, but as soon as that stops looking promising, I turn to Google because chances are I’m not the only person having that particular problem or looking for that particular feature. A quick Google search will often lead you to the answer you’re looking for or at the very least point you in the right direction.