Documents, Presentations, and Workbooks:
Using Microsoft Office to Create Content That Gets Noticed:
Creating Powerful Content with Microsoft Office

by Stephanie Krieger
Paperback: 864 pages
Publisher: Microsoft Press
ISBN-10: 073565199X
ISBN-13: 978-0735651999

Don’t Just Think Better

by Bill Coan, Word MVP

Whom would you pity most:

The savvy internet user who grew up with file sharing, electronic documents, and portable devices, but who doesn't know how to exploit the real power of Microsoft Office? Or the power user of Microsoft Office who doesn't know how to get his or her documents noticed in a world of file sharing, electronic documents, and portable devices?

It's a tough choice, isn't it?

Stephanie Krieger's brainy new book takes into account both types of users, and it shows why getting documents noticed in today's world requires a savvy understanding of file sharing, electronic documents, and portable devices, plus an equally savvy understanding of Microsoft Office.

If you start reading this book with the hope that it's essentially a list of what's new in Office, you might be a little frustrated at first, maybe even a little disappointed, but then you're likely to become curious and then transfixed.

In my case, I studied the table of contents and noticed that the meaty parts on Word, PowerPoint, and Excel don't start until page 139. So I prepared myself for around 138 pages of light skimming.

As I tried to skim, though, I kept finding myself closely reading topics that greatly interested me: Redefining Documents for a Connected World; Collaborating and Sharing; Microsoft Office Web Apps, SkyDrives, SharePoint; What Recipients See; Planning Your Documents; Doing More with Less Work. These topics are presented quickly, but with force and insight, and they left me with a greater appreciation for what is likely to happen to documents today, both as I work on them and after I save and close them.

A greater appreciation? I should have said a new understanding and a powerful new perspective.

When I reached the parts of the book devoted to the individual applications, I was again impressed with the forcefulness and insightfulness of the presentations. Imagine the ambition of a section entitled, "Staying in Control: Be the Boss of Your Documents." What follows is twenty pages of hard-won understanding rendered into easy-to-read prose that will help you, in Krieger's Zen-inspired words, "bring yourself to [your] document."

Ultimately, of course, readers want to know how to exploit the newest features in Office, and especially the ones introduced in Office 2010 on the PC and Office 2011 on the Mac. Krieger has plenty of room to expatiate on such features, with 220 pages devoted to Word, 160 pages devoted to PowerPoint, 155 pages devoted to Excel, and 134 pages devoted to templates, customization, and automation.

The index is 21 pages long. For entries where it isn't obvious which application(s) is(are) involved, it includes parenthetical references to the application(s). The Table of Contents is ten pages long, but it is preceded by a section slightly more than one page long entitled, "Contents at a Glance." Given these points of reference into the text, readers will have no trouble using the book for reference purposes, but the real power of the book lies in the way it makes you think and rethink the assumptions underlying your work and gives you the tools not only to think better but to work better.

One clue to the book's seriousness of purpose can be found in the Acknowledgments section, which lists a who's who of Office luminaries who helped with the book. Another clue can be found in the dedication at the front of the book, which I quote here in its entirety:

"For Shauna Kelly -- a talented and generous document expert, and a woman of great strength and grace. I wish I had gotten to know you earlier and better, but I am honored to know you at all -- and I'm just one of a great many people who are better for having met you."

Shauna, I am another.

And your humble webmaster is yet another...