As a training company that cares about its attendees, you can perhaps understand how passionate we are about making sure what we deliver matches what the delegate wants and needs.

I’m sure many of us have been sent on a course where the tutor has a thick manual of topics to deliver, and that’s what you’re going to get (whether you like it or not !). Not an ideal scenario.

So where does the responsibility lie for making sure the course content matches the attendee needs ?

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Microsoft Excel

Exploring this Excel Function

At the start of a Microsoft Excel course I always ask people  – “What do you Need to Know”.  I’m trying to find out what each attendee wants to achieve from their time spent with me.

Often the VLOOKUP function is mentioned.  “I’ve heard other people talk about it, but I’m not really sure what it does”.

You won’t be surprised to learn that it is designed to look things up!  However, there are two distinctly different ways that it can be used.

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Which should I use?

Once upon a time, a customer phoned me and said “Paul, I’ve seen this amazing project plan done in Microsoft Excel.  All you do is change the numbers and everything updates.  Can you show me how to set one up.”

I have to admit I was sceptical.  I had seen Excel Workbooks which emulate a Gantt Chart.  Some used a Bar Chart to do that, others used the Formatting features.  However to make the thing “sing and dance”, surely you need proper Project Management software.

Nevertheless, it set me thinking.  When would you use Microsoft Excel to plan projects?  In what circumstances is Microsoft Project the right way to go?

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Microsoft Powerpoint

Where are we up to?

This is the third in a series of blogs on how to impose a corporate look or create a personalised style for your presentations.

In Microsoft PowerPoint – Templates and Themes we saw that a Template is concerned with the Layout of slides; a Theme affects their Formatting.

An important step in designing your own Theme is settling on an appropriate Colour Scheme.  This was discussed in Microsoft PowerPoint – Theme Colours.

The next thing to consider is choosing the correct Fonts.

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One thing that we stress here at Base2 is that our Tutors should be flexible and adapt to the attendees needs.  This blog describes a perfect example.

The Request

We received a request from a regular customer.  They wanted us to run a course, the aim being to “mop up the people who were not able to attend the courses you ran for us earlier in the year

I looked back in my records and found that the person organising the course had asked for “a combination of elements from your Intermediate and Advanced Microsoft Excel courses”.  The e-mail then went on to itemise the topics they would like to see covered.

After further discussions, I had created a course booklet for a two-day Microsoft Excel Workshop, which we delivered twice with great success.  The attendees loved it.

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Microsoft Excel

Serial Numbers

Our blog Microsoft Excel – Understanding Dates looked at how the program stores dates behind the scenes.  We found that the date 30/06/2016 (which just happens to be my birthday) is actually stored as the number 42551.

This Serial Number turned out to be the number of days since 1st January 1900.  Serial Numbers make it easy to do arithmetic with dates.  Want to know what the date will be in thirty days time?  Just add 30 to today’s date and Excel will work it out for you.

This time we are going to look at some the Functions Excel provides which work with dates.  We will also explore some tricks to change the way a date looks.

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Microsoft Word

Who is in control here?

I did a workshop for three ladies from a local organisation.  They had inherited a set of Microsoft Word documents which detailed the procedures that their department had to follow.

The trouble was that they had little experience of the program.  Looking at the documents, it was clear to me that the person who created them didn’t know much about it either!

You see, if Microsoft Word documents are well designed, they are a dream to work with.  However, if they are badly put together, altering them can be a nightmare.  It seems as if the program is in control, not you.

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Microsoft Powerpoint

The story so far…

In a recent blog – Microsoft PowerPoint – Templates and Themes – we explored the difference between these two concepts.  We found that a Template defines the layout and positioning of the objects on the various types of Slide in a presentation, whereas a Theme sets the formatting of those objects.

Furthermore, we discovered that a Theme allows you to change Colours, Fonts and Effects to create a corporate look or personalised style for your presentations.

This time we will concentrate on features to do with colour.

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I’m here to help

James contacted me as part of our Training PLUS service.  This allows people who have attended one of our courses to ask for help with any problems they encounter when trying to put the training into practice. [The Training PLUS service is entirely free!]

In James’s case, he was attempting to create a report in Microsoft Access. He wanted the elements he had put in the Page Footer area to appear only on the first page of the report, and this was proving difficult to achieve.
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Microsoft Excel

An Interesting Problem

A while back, Sarah Raad of Tent  (who are experts in Marketing and Design) got in touch with me.

Sarah had downloaded a file of financial transactions from her bank and loaded them into a Microsoft Excel workbook.  When she looked at the dates against each transaction, something strange had happened.  Every date was exactly four years and one day earlier than it should have been.  What on earth was going on?

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