Today, there are numerous office suites available for students to choose from, such as Google Office, Apple’s iWork Suite, or even free office suites, such as OnlyOffice. But are the benefits for that students that use Microsoft Office over any other office suite?
Given that Microsoft Office has been the industry standard for Office Suites for close to 20 years, a student would benefit greatly by learning everything they can from each application within the Office suite so that they can be productive, creative and serve as a valuable asset to any business.
It should be noted that Microsoft recently changed the name of its Office Suite from “Microsoft Office” to “Microsoft 365”. For the purpose of this article, I will be using both terms interchangeably, but they mean the same thing.
Becoming Fluent in Microsoft Office Sets You up for Success
There are literally dozens of Office Suites available for people to use today. Some cost money, while others are completely free. Some office suites are feature rich, while others are very basic and only offer proprietary file formats. Some are very popular, like Google’s Office Suite, while others are not so well known.
Microsoft 365, however, is the king of Office Suites. It was first released in 1988 and has developed into a full-featured suite of tools that have been adopted by the business world-wide as the industry standard. Because of this, one would benefit greatly by becoming fluent in using each application within the suite.
As I have mentioned, there are literally dozens of office suites available for you to choose from. However, as a student, the benefit of becoming fluent in Microsoft 365, is that you can take this skill set and apply it right now in school and carry that skillset into the business world once you have completed your education.
Learn Microsoft Office as Soon as Possible
If I could offer one bit of advice, it would be to learn how to use Microsoft 365 as soon as possible. Learning how to use Microsoft Office is not hard, but it will take some time and effort on your part. The more familiar you become with it, the more productive you will be when using it, which is why I highly recommend that you become familiar, very familiar, with all of the applications found within this suite.
If you are a student reading this article, my guess is that you are either a high school student or a college student. Or perhaps, you are a parent of a student and you are trying to see what benefits, if any, there are two learning Microsoft office over any other office suite available on the market today.
As a High school student, I highly recommend that you make it a point to learn everything you can about Word, PowerPoint, and Excel as quickly as possible. The benefit of learning how to use these Office products early on, is that you will use these tools (or variations of them), for the rest of your life, especially in College and in the business world.
If you have not already mastered the Microsoft Office applications prior to entering your first semester of College, you will regret it, (especially if you are not completely fluent in Microsoft Word).
In the real world, being fluent in each of these applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), is a requirement in order to be productive in College. You will find that you will be able to write papers faster and won’t have to worry about meeting the requirements of your professor’s formatting preferences. For example, you would have no problem being able to create a table of contents, insert an image, or use Styles throughout for one of the many term papers that you will have to write during college.
Perhaps you are a parent of young kids, and find yourself reading this article hoping to find out just how early is too early to teach your kids how to use Microsoft 365. Start early. Don’t wait until they get to Middle School. One of the best things you can do for your child’s education, is to teach them how to use the applications within the Microsoft Office suite. As soon as your children are introduced to the computer and are learning how to use it, you should introduce them to Microsoft 365. They will use these tools all throughout their schooling and into adulthood.
As a parent, teach them one cool new feature about each program within the office suite each week. You will find that they will pick it up much faster than you might think. If you don’t know what to teach them, look it up online and Google it. Don’t make it complicated. Find something it will take you five minutes to teach your kids and then have them show you what you have taught them. Super easy, and it can be fun too. Make it fun.
Let me offer you some practical advice, something you can do right now to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. Subscribe to any one of the thousands of YouTube video channels that are devoted exclusively to helping people become more proficient in using Microsoft 365. You can find short videos that provide a wealth of information.
For example, I follow a YouTube Channel called, Technology for Teachers and Students, where he teaches you both basic an advanced techniques used in Microsoft 365. Simply following his channel and learning from what he offers, can make a tremendous impact on your growth potential. This is a no-brainer because you get tremendous value, at no cost to you.
Microsoft Office for Students and Educators is Completely Free
You read that correctly. Microsoft has introduced “Office 365 Education”, which according to Microsoft, means that “Students and educators at eligible institutions can sign up for Office 365 Education for free, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools.” It literally only costs nothing, and if you would like to sign up for this, you can do so by visiting the Office 365 Education page, and use your valid school email address to get started today. This is a HUGE benefit to students.
A Paid Subscription Offers Even More . . . a Lot More
Now, if you need more than Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Microsoft Teams, (and you probably will), as a student or as an educator, you can subscribe to a Microsoft 365 subscription for $6.99 a month, (or $69.99 for an annual subscription). If you purchase this plan, you get all of the following:
- OneDrive (2 Terabytes of Storage)
What if you have more than one kid, or want other family members to be able to use Microsoft 365? Well, for an additional $3.00 a month, ($9.99), up to 6 people can have their own account using Microsoft 365. Additionally, you can use Microsoft 365 on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. Microsoft 365 is available on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and even accessible via a web browser!
You can purchase your Microsoft 365 subscription by visiting the “Microsoft 365” page by clicking here.
Resources are Everywhere
One huge benefit that students have in using Microsoft 365 as opposed to any other office suite, is the number of templates that are readily available for you to download and use at a moments notice. These templates are available within each Office application, specific to that application. Simply open up the Office application in question, and then click on the More Templates link at the top right-hand side of the screen. You will then see dozens of templates specific to that application for you to choose from.
To make it even easier, you can simply type what you are looking for in the SEARCH field at the top of the screen and hit the Enter key. When you do, you will see dozens of templates to choose from.
For example, if you were to simply type the words “Business Card”, you would find business card templates in a variety of layout options to choose from. Additionally, Microsoft is always adding new templates to their repository. It saves an enormous amount of time because you don’t have to worry about formatting a resume, for example, and if you happen to be one of those individuals who is design-challenged, you won’t need to worry about designing the layout for your project. It does it for you. You just pick the one you like, and it does the rest.
Another major benefit that can’t be overlooked is the vast number of resources available to you to on the Internet. In addition to finding channels on YouTube to help you learn as you go, you can find templates from others who have tackled the same type of project that you are endeavoring to conquer. Simply Google it, using plain language, but be sure to add the term, “template”, and the the Office product in question. For example, you could Google “Download Microsoft Word Essay Template”. I think you get the idea.
Being Fluent in Microsoft Office Makes You a Valuable Asset
As a College student, when you begin looking for a job in the business world, your employer will not expect the same results from you, as they would from one who has been working in an office environment for 10 years. However, if you show that you are skilled and extremely proficient in using Microsoft Office applications, such as Microsoft Excel, and perhaps even Microsoft Access, you will become much more valuable in the eyes of your employer.
If you are fluent in Microsoft 365, as a College student, you can hire their services out. No, I am not referring to cheating in anyway shape or form. I am referring to formatting and proof-reading the rough draft of a paper that has already been created. For example, (believe it or not), some students may not know how to insert an image into a paper, or create a table of index, or apply different styles throughout the paper, or know how to insert a table from a spreadsheet providing live data. To their detriment, College students will pay top dollar to have someone do this for them because they don’t want to take the time to learn how to do it themselves.
Once you have landed a job in the business world, being the “Go-to-Resource” will show your employer that you are not only a valuable recourse, but one who is capable of tasks that others might not know how to accomplish. You will find that your co-workers will come to you with questions on how to do something in one of the Office programs. The more you are able to show others how to do what you know how to do, the more valuable you become to your employer. Job security. Another reason how you as a student, will benefit from mastering Microsoft 365 once you have completed your education and enter into the business world.
Learning is key. Never stop learning. Keep in mind that most students only do what is required to “get by”. This is where you step in, because the more you know how to do, the more valuable you become.
The earlier you are introduced to the applications found in Microsoft 365, the greater your potential for success in grade school, middle school, high school, college, and beyond.
Regardless of your age, if you make it a point to master Microsoft 365 starting today, in one year you will be far more productive than you are now, and you will be able to carry those skills with you into the business world, once you have completed your education.
Tim ChesonisTim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.
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