Knowing how to use Microsoft Office is a must have skill in this digital age. Basic Word processing skills, Excel spreadsheets and emailing are parts of most job roles and without these you could find work and life very difficult.

To help, here are a few basic tips and tricks which may aid you in building your career:

Microsoft word

You might know how to copy, paste, print and save but there are loads more shortcuts you can use to transform your keyboard into a more efficient typing device. Here are a few of our favourites:

This repeats the last action you used in Microsoft Word. Whether it was deleting text, coping, pasting, typing or even using another shortcut, F4 will repeat the action and become your new favourite.

Another incredibly useful shortcut, this opens the Find and Replace box. This is a great way to replace words with mistakes that might be present throughout an entire document. If you want to find instead of replace, Ctrl+F is the shortcut needed.

Ctrl + Shift + N
This applies the Normal style to a whole document at once so you don’t have to adjust your article by hunting through tabs – perfect if you want to format the entire text in an instant.

Most people's favourite shortcut, Ctrl+Z will undo the last action you made in the Word document and is best used in conjunction with its sister command Ctrl+Y; the redo function.


One of the fundamental things about Excel is knowing how to use the formulas and functions but there are plenty of things you might want to learn – such as how to move cells, copy data or format text. Moving cells: this can be done by selecting the range of cells you want to move by highlighting them with the mouse. Then you will need to position the mouse pointer over the heavy border that surrounds the selected range. Excel is perhaps used most prolifically in accountancy and finance jobs.

The pointer should turn into an arrow (PC) or hand (Mac). After this you can click and drag the range to a new location. As you move the mouse, the outline of the range moves. Once you are satisfied with the new location, release the mouse pointer and the cells are moved.

Format cells
You must change the format of cells before entering certain data. For example, if you want text to be displayed as a date or currency then you’ll need to format the cells as such. This can be done by highlighting the cells or an entire row/column, right clicking on your mouse and selecting “format cells”.

Copy text
To copy text across multiple cells, there is a better shortcut than Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Enter the text in one cell and highlight this with your mouse. A small cross (+) will be visible in the bottom right hand corner of the cell. Click and hold this, dragging the mouse until the desired number of cells are highlighting. Releasing the button will copy the text into all the highlighted cells.

This method can also be used to generate a sequential list in seconds. Simple type the first two numbers or digits in the first two cells, highlight both and repeat the above procedure.

Excel is known for its easy to follow formula generator which helps you make calculations but some can be completed automatically.

You can highlight a cell and select “Auto Sum” from the formula tab in the programme to add up all of the values in a specific range. Alternatively, simply highlighting the cells whose figures you want adding up will display the collective sum at the bottom right hand side of the screen (next to the icons which allow you to change the spreadsheet view from ‘normal’ to ‘page layout’ or ‘page break preview’). The cell count and average figure (calculated by dividing the sum by the cell count) is also displayed here at the same time.