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Welcome to Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP, a book that puts you in the driver’s seat of Microsoft Office XP, the multidimensional productivity suite from Microsoft. The various applications in Office XP enable you to do just about anything you need to do with your computer—at work, at home, or at school.

Sending e-mail? Try Microsoft Outlook. Creating a report for a major presentation? Create the report document in Microsoft Word and put the key points on attention-getting slides in Microsoft PowerPoint. Tracking sales projections for your national accounts? Microsoft Excel has the power you need to analyze, report, and chart your financial data. Knock out a professional-level Web site with Microsoft FrontPage in a single afternoon. And for doing close-to-miraculous things with your data—organizing, managing, sorting, organizing, filtering, reporting, and more—you can put Microsoft Access on the job.

In Office XP, you’ve got all the software power you need to get where you want to go. Now you simply need the map to show you the quickest, smartest route (and of course, you don’t want to miss the great sights along the way). Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP is designed to help you tap the most important features in each of the primary applications so that you can get productive quickly—and we’ll touch on some of the add-in programs as well. Because Office XP has a lot of ground to cover, you’ll find that we move through the different applications at a pretty quick pace, touching on all the basics so you know how to do the most important things first.

Not only will you find the tasks you’re likely to use most often in each of the different programs, but you’ll also discover tips and workarounds that help you accomplish things faster and with a minimum of effort (that’s where the smarter comes in). And because Office XP is a suite of complementary applications that share some common features and procedures, you’ll find that what you learn in one application easily transfers to another. That means a shorter learning curve for you, which translates to better productivity sooner.

Ready to get started? There’s no time to lose! By this afternoon, you could be working faster and smarter with Office XP.

Versions of Office XP

You may be wondering whether you’ve got the right book for the version of Office XP you are using. Let’s answer that right now: Yes, you do—no matter which version you’ve got. Chances are that you are using (or thinking about purchasing) one of the following versions of Office XP:

  • Microsoft Office XP Professional, which includes the primary core programs (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Access)

  • Microsoft Office XP Standard, which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint and also is available in a special discounted version for teachers and students

  • Microsoft Office XP Developer, which includes all the programs in the Professional version plus FrontPage, SharePoint Team Services, and Developer tools

You might also have one of two versions of Office XP that are preinstalled on new computers. Office XP for Small Business includes Word, Excel, Outlook, and Microsoft Publisher, and Office XP Professional with Publisher includes all the programs in the Small Business version plus PowerPoint and Access.

In this book, you’ll find everything you need to know to get up to speed with the core applications, which are the central focus of each of the three Office XP packages—and discover quickly how to do what you most want to do with these powerful programs. Whether you want to create a simple document, print a lengthy analysis of your cost-to-sales ratio, or whip up a Web page in 30 minutes or less, you'll be able to find what you need—and hopefully have some fun—following along in this book.

This Book Could Be for You

Chances are that you’ve had some experience with computers but you just haven’t had the time or inclination to look too closely at Office XP. Perhaps your office just licensed the program for the first time. Or maybe you decided after a number of years in your own small business that it was time to upgrade to a program that can truly do it all.

Whatever your reason for learning Office XP now, welcome! You will find that Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP has something for you if you are:

  • Comfortable with computers but new to Office XP

  • Skilled in one program (perhaps word processing with Word or creating spreadsheets with Excel) but unfamiliar with the rest of the applications

  • Interested in learning how the various Office XP applications can be used together to make you more productive at work

  • Wanting to learn skills that complement those you already have

  • Working in a corporate environment in which you are responsible for producing professional-looking reports, spreadsheets, and presentations

  • In a work situation where you need to master a specific task in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, or FrontPage quickly (although being familiar with the others would be helpful, too)

  • Needing to get up-to-speed with the latest versions of the Office programs so that your small business can collaborate with client companies

Whether you use Office XP in your business, at home, or at school (or all three), you’ll find that the suite has everything you need for working with words, numbers, multimedia, Web pages, and e-mail. In short, Office XP offers all the work tools you could need—and in Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP, we’ve attempted to give you a great road map for discovering and using the tools that will help you get where you want to be in the fastest way.

What’s in This Book?

Because there’s so much information between the covers of this book, we thought it would be helpful to organize the sections by application. In other words, each major part of the book focuses on one of the primary applications you’ll be working with. Specifically, here’s the breakdown:

Part I, “Learning the Basics of Microsoft Office XP,” introduces you to the suite and shows you how to start and exit the various programs, use the Shortcut Bar, perform tasks that are common to all applications, run multiple programs, switch among open programs, and get help when you need it.

Part II, “Word Power, Made Simple,” shines a spotlight on Word 2002, the word processing component of Office XP. In this part of the book, you learn all the document basics you’ll ever need—starting a new document, working with templates, entering and importing text, editing and formatting text, creating lists and tables, and more. You’ll also learn to do some high-end tasks with Word, including creating special layouts, working with sections, inserting graphics, creating links, adding bookmarks, generating a table of contents, and inserting codes, and creating an index.

Part III, “Excel the Easy Way,” takes a focused approach to building a basic spreadsheet and shows you how to enter and format data, organize rows and columns, create data ranges, and work with functions. Once you create the basic spreadsheet, you learn to improve its accuracy by editing your information and boost its visual appeal by changing the format, adding borders and shading, choosing a different font, style, and size. When the spreadsheet looks the way you want it to, you learn how to select areas of the sheet for printing. Last but not least, in this part you learn to plot and chart spreadsheet data using any one of the collection of chart styles—pie, bar, line, area, and more—offered in Excel 2002.

Part IV, “Simply Powerpoint,” gets you right into the fun world of presentations by showing you how simple it can be to put your thoughts in slide form. In this part of the book, you learn to create a simple presentation by using the professional designs built into the program. You then add your own text and graphics, set the order and timing of slides, and choose eye-catching transitions that will keep your audience interested. Finally, you learn to add multimedia effects to your presentations—sound, video, and more—and find out how to turn a presentation into a Web page and how to broadcast your presentation live, online, to an invited audience. Fun stuff!

Part V, “Organize with Microsoft Outlook,” illustrates how much easier life is with a personal information manager such as Outlook working for you. In this part of the book, we begin by using Outlook to handle online communications—creating, sending, receiving, and filtering e-mail. But the capabilities of Outlook go far beyond simple messaging; you can use the Calendar, Journal, Address Book, Notes, and Task features in Outlook to further organize your time, thoughts, contacts, and to-do lists. Your only excuse for being disorganized after reading this section of the book is that you haven’t found time to import the data you need to organize.

Part VI, “Managing Data with Microsoft Access,” focuses on the difference that smart data management makes, giving you the power to know what’s going on in your business by seeing for yourself how data hangs together, who’s buying what, and how you can best anticipate and respond to trends that affect your business and your life. This part walks you through the process of creating a database, working with data tables, creating data-entry forms, sorting information, working with queries, and then preparing and printing reports.

Part VII, “Fast Web Pages with Microsoft FrontPage,” gives you the straight story on creating Web pages you’ll be proud of. The part starts with a basic discussion of creating a simple site and moves to ideas about finding graphics, working with color, creating and managing links, adding tables and frames, creating rollovers, and viewing the source code for the page. You’ll also learn to publish your pages and troubleshoot errors when they occur.

Finally, the book winds down with two appendixes. Appendix A provides a blow-by-blow description of the installation and upgrade process of Office XP. (You’ll also learn how to uninstall and reinstall features here.) Appendix B lists the Office XP shortcut keys in one handy reference.

Tips, Notes, and Other Special Elements

To make your trip through the book as easy and informative as possible, we’ve provided special elements to draw your attention to information that can save you a few steps, clarify terms or concepts, or provide additional information that can help you learn more about the topic at hand. You’ll find the following elements in each of the chapters in the book:

  • Tips

    offer quick techniques, workarounds, or suggestions that can help you perform tasks faster.

  • Notes

    provide additional information related to the task at hand. A note might provide background on a feature, an idea about ways a certain task might be used or a Web site you can visit for more information.

  • See Alsos

    list a reference to another section in the book that provides complementary techniques.

  • Cautions

    help you avoid trouble by pointing out what could go wrong (or introducing ways you can prevent problems) in a given procedure.

  • Lingo tips

    define concepts and technical terms referred to in the text.

  • Try This! elements

    provide real examples of how you can use the different features of Office XP. You’ll find some interesting stories and suggestions here.

  • Key Points

    help you review what you’ve learned by listing the important concepts introduced in each chapter.

In addition to these special elements, you’ll find throughout the book a fast-but-friendly tour of all the major features in the primary applications. You’ll also find a healthy mix of explanation and how-tos—the numbered lists indicate a process you can follow to learn a particular task. In addition, you’ll find that screen shots (pictures of my computer screen as I write) help illustrate where we are in a process, and tables help you see at a glance information that can be compared and contrasted.

So now that you know the lay of the land, let’s check out the system requirements you need so we can get down to work.

What You Need

For Office XP to run optimally on your system, Microsoft recommends that you have the following hardware and software capabilities:

  • Pentium 133 or Pentium III computer

  • At least 128 megabytes (MB) of random access memory (RAM)

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Office XP also runs on Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP Home Edition)

  • 210 MB hard disk space for Office XP Standard (245 MB for Office XP Professional)

  • CD-ROM drive

  • SuperVGA monitor (or better) with 800-by-600-pixel resolution and 256 colors

  • Mouse or other pointing device (trackball, touchpad, and so on)

In addition to these system basics, you might need other devices, depending on what you want to do with Office XP. Check out this list and see whether there’s anything you’re missing:

  • A Windows-compatible printer

  • A scanner or digital camera for importing graphics

  • Microphone for speech recognition

  • Graphics tablet for handwriting recognition and drawing input

  • Extra RAM for media-intensive operations

  • 14,400-baud modem (or faster)

  • Internet connection with an Internet service provider


Note If you have questions about system requirements or want to double-check and make sure that your computer makes the grade, check out the Office XP system requirements online at http://www.microsoft.com/office/evaluation/systreqs.asp.

Now, if you’re ready to get started, let’s kick into high gear and move on to Chapter 1, “Getting to Know Microsoft Office XP.”


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this book. Microsoft Press provides corrections for books at the following address:


If you have comments, questions, or ideas regarding this book, please send them to Microsoft Press via e-mail to the following address:


or via postal mail to:

Microsoft Press

Attn: Faster Smarter Series Editor

One Microsoft Way

Redmond, WA 98052-6399

You can also contact the author directly at kmurray@iquest.net or her BlogOfficeXP Web site, http://www.revisionsplus.com/blogofficexp.html, with any comments or suggestions. Please note that product support is not offered through the above addresses.

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