Have you noticed something about the tools we use in our work?

There’s a natural tendency to use them one at a time for what we need them to do.

Word for writing documents. Excel for spreadsheets. Outlook for emails. PowerPoint for presentations.

It all makes perfect sense. That’s what these core Microsoft applications are best known for.

But none of them are a one-trick pony…Discover the Power of the Combo

The applications offer a combination of power, functionality and creativity.

Microsoft Word is much more than a text writer.

It will allow you to create and insert tables, at a set size or customised to how you want it, in your document.

Word also lets you display information visually through many different charts: including pie chart, line chart, columns, bar chart, X-Y correlations, waterfalls and charts in combo.

You can add images and screenshots to your document. You can even add a world map and display your stats or information on it.

Pictures and Products

Microsoft Word has a visual capability that many forget. Branded templates are a piece of cake when you Work Smarter with Stylesand they save you so much time.

Even when it comes to words, the application is not just for reports, summaries, minutes and notes.

You can use Word to create eBooks and lead magnets. So easy to build a portfolio of PDF guides, checklists, worksheets, etc., as resources for clients in combination with your marketing activity.

Discover the Power of the ComboNeed to create forms that people can fill in? It might be a checklist, a template letter with different elements to choose from, asking for contact details or a booking form.

These Fillable Forms are all possible in Word.

You can use different types in combination. Contact details with a checklist or a booking form with covering letter, for example.

Much More Than a Spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel is best known for allowing you to create excellent spreadsheets
and working with numbers.

But it does far more than that.

You can use it to create:

  • A list of contacts
  • A customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • Task lists
  • A project planner
  • Charts
  • Inventory tracking
  • Seating plans
  • Worksheets
  • Forms
  • Quizzes
  • Timesheets

And more, of course.

You can create any of the above in combination with the accounting, number and reporting functions of Excel. And every VA should know the essential skills of this Office application.

Microsoft Outlook is seen as a way to manage your emails – and your clients’ emails.

Be in Control, Stay in Control

It’s an application that lets you take back control of your inbox but offers much more than that. It’s a communications centre. It’s your diary, calendar and project planning nerve centre. It’s the control centre for all your operations.

You can set your brand and themed Styles within Outlook. You can store, manage and archive files. You can automate tasks.

You can use email in combination with shared or attached files from Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Applications Link Up Well Together

A simple example of a great combo is with Word and PowerPoint.

Let’s say a client gives you a simple document in Word and says, “Turn that into a presentation, please.”

If you didn’t know any better, you would take the ‘copy and paste’ approach, because it seems like the only way to do it.

But MS Office and Microsoft 365 usually give you more than one way to carry out a task. If you know the smarter ‘how-to’, it saves you time and effort when carrying out assignments.

In this case, you can create a brilliant slide deck using Word in combination with PowerPoint.

Take the basic document in Word, give it a Style and it’s ready to be transplanted into a fresh presentation design. It really is a very smart way to go. It doesn’t avoid copy and paste completely but the combination of applications makes the job so much easier and quicker.

And who doesn’t want less hassle with a task? Especially if it’s one that’s going to be a regular in your ‘to do’ list.

Microsoft PowerPoint is another application that has more up its sleeve than the obvious function (i.e. presentations).

You can use it to create infographics, which can be added in combination with a report or marketing piece in Word, or shared via email. You might also choose to use it to create Instagram posts for your social media content and planning.

PowerPoint is a powerful tool, on its own and in combination with other applications.

The same can be said for Word, Excel, Outlook and – of course – Microsoft Teams.

How are you using them in combo to make your VA life easier and more productive?

What are your favourite combinations? Let me know how you’re using these VA-friendly tools.

Shelley Fishel