some topic areas are related to a specific tool, the content
generally focuses on topic areas rather than specific tools—a
wise choice—as most topic areas have relevance across
the suite. Don't worry however, because there is a plethora
of step-by-step instructions for all of the tools represented.
Mastering Office 2003 for Business Professionals starts
off with an introduction to the major new features in Microsoft
Office 2003. This is followed by three chapters focusing
on getting better use out of Outlook and its associated
tools. Next are chapters which focus on adding punch to
your presentations and documents. Then you will learn about
collaborating and managing mass mailings, complex documents
and putting documents on the web. The last set of chapters
focuses on security, organization, template development,
forms, macros,and generally making Microsoft Office 2003,
not you, do the work. Finally, the sole appendix covers
some of the more exotic new features in Office 2003 such
as handwriting recognition and voice recognition.
Courter and Marquis wrote the book using a fairly friendly
and slightly formal style. The approach is not one of
a buddy helping you out or a consultation in conversational
manner, but more like a series of friendly job aids that
are coupled with enough human touch to keep you from
feeling stupid. The approach worked well for me and it
is general enough that I suspect it will serve a mass
audience well. There is a decent mix of screen shots,
step-by-step instructions and useful business-related
tips placed throughout the book. Overall, I am betting
there will be at least a handful of valuable nuggets
for everyone, irrespective of your experience level.
Even for a veteran user of Microsoft Word like me, there
were several new tips in areas such as information rights
management, securing documents, locking in styles and
other document properties that I was not aware of.
the book is pretty solid, I have to admit I was disappointed
by the absence of any coverage of OneNote, InfoPath and
especially Business Contact Manager. Although these are
not part of the core Office product, they are especially
relevant to the business user and do come with some of
the popular Microsoft Office packages people can purchase.
That aside, if you are looking for a solid Office 2003
book and spend a greater part of your working day using
Microsoft Office applications you'd be doing yourself
a favor by reading Mastering Office 2003 for Business
Professionals. Who knows, maybe after reading it you'll
find yourself outside taking advantage of that found
hour you saved by working smarter!