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

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes