3 Essential Office 365 Skills Everyone Should Have


Staying productive in the modern office requires a lot of technological tools. Employees are expected to get their work done quickly and effectively, and this focus on efficiency has driven employers to search for people with specific skills revolving around popular business platforms. Although there are many of these, one of the most widely used is Microsoft Office 365.

The reason for this is simple: It's easy to learn, difficult to master and has a depth of usability that's hard to beat on the current market. In fact, IDC found that Microsoft Office skills were the fourth most important attribute a candidate could have when walking into a job interview. These talents even beat out integrity and creativity.

Of course, this suite of products is incredibly diverse, and it can be hard to know where to start or what you need to know. To help you out in your journey to improved career opportunities, we've put together a list of some of the most important Office 365 skills the modern worker can have.

"Excel is widely used across a range of different industries."

1. IF statements in Excel

If you work with numbers at all in your job, you'll most likely have to run into Excel. This spreadsheet program is widely used across a range of different industries for the same reason: It works. Microsoft has spent years refining Excel into the versatile tool it is today, and one of the most important functions of this platform is the IF statement.

Basically, these features allow you to program in a response to occur when a particular cell or group of cells act in a specific way. Say you're a teacher creating a spreadsheet of your students' grades. Column A has their name and column B has their grade on a particular test. You want to be able to quickly glance down the rightmost column to see who failed and who passed, where less than a 65 percent is a fail. To accomplish this, the IF statement would look like this:

=IF(B1<65, "Fail", "Pass")

In order to extend this to the rest of the class, all you would have to do is click on the square at the bottom right of the original IF statement and drag it down to the bottom of the list. This feature is great for those that have conditional reactions to each piece of data that they deal with.

2. Create comments/track changes in Word

Collaboration is a huge part of the working world, especially when you're creating a written document. Microsoft knows how important working in a team is, and it's why the company has added a commenting feature in Word. When you're sent Word doc to look over, click the Review tab. You'll see that you now have a New Comment option. To add a comment, all you have to do is highlight the relevant section and click the New Comment button. The words you write will show up in a red box to the right of the original article and the section you highlighted will also show red.

On top of this, you can decide to follow the words you add with the Track Changes button. Selecting this option, which is also under the Review tab, allows you to add words to a document that are bright red. Basically, this allows you to include sentences for your co-worker's review without forcing them to comb through the whole article looking for your addition.

3. Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Outlook

Any computer expert will tell you that the key to efficiency is keeping your hands on the keyboard. Moving over to the mouse wastes precious time and redirects your focus away from the actual task. Therefore, one of the best ways to make the most out of your Outlook experience is to utilize important keyboard shortcuts.

Of course, the list of shortcuts Microsoft has created is well beyond the scope of this article. You can find the entirety of them on Microsoft's website, but we've provided a list of some of the most vital ones to learn below:

  • New Message: Alt + H, N, 1
  • Reply: Alt + H, R, P
  • Reply all: Alt + H, R, A
  • Insert file: Alt + N, A, F
  • Go to search box: Ctrl + E
  • Create a contact: Ctrl + Shift + C

Get certified and really dive in

Clearly, Office 365 has a wide variety of tools that can help employees increase overall productivity. However, truly being able to take advantage of all this platform has to offer is going to require some more in-depth training. If you'd like to see how your career can benefit from a more granular approach, you should check out the Office 365 certification course offered by New Horizons Computer Learning Group.