Windows 11 is here and professional assistants may be wondering what’s new with it or whether they should upgrade. 

Microsoft’s latest version of its operating system will probably divide people. Some don’t like change. Some are wary of it. Some embrace it. 

Is it better than Windows 10 or simply different? Time will tell. 

As a Microsoft Office trainer, I love the tech side of things and am excited about exploring Windows 11. Here’s what I can share with you so far. 

A New Look 

The first thing you will notice when opening Windows 11 is it looks very different. There’s been a redesign. 

You get the sense Microsoft is trying to clear the ‘clutter’ and give the operating system more of a macOS feel. 

Here are some of the things you may notice. 

Taskbar Icons 

The icons at the bottom of your screen have moved from being aligned to the left to being set in the centre. 

I wondered why Microsoft did this but, having got used to it, I think it’s better. 

Recommended Section 

There is a new ‘Recommended’ section, which shows recently used programs and files. This is useful for quickly finding what you have been working on. 

Search Bar 

The search bar is now located in the Start menu. You now open the Start menu, click on the search box and type in what you’re looking for. 

Live Tiles Vanished 

Live tiles are no longer included and have been replaced with static icons in a grid. For many people that won’t be a loss. 

Apps and the Apps List 

Any pinned apps have been moved from the right side of the screen to the top half. They’re now right in front of your eye line. 

The apps list in Windows 10 was set down on the left side of your screen. In Windows 11, the list is accessed via a button. Open the Start menu and the apps button will appear in the top right-hand corner. 

Badges on apps have undergone a little redesign. You’ll also notice app icons being more animated or ‘bouncy’ – to let you know when something is happening. 

Clock and Calendar 

In Windows 10 you had ‘Alarms and Clock’. This function is now simply called Clock. 

What’s new is a feature called Focus Sessions. It allows you to set aside marked break-free time for completing specific tasks, to encourage greater productivity. This could be a really useful tool for the savvy assistant. 

However, the clock in the Calendar function of Windows 10 has disappeared in Windows 11. Some may find that strange or disappointing. As with other changes, it’s something we’ll have to get used to. 

Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge 

With Windows 11, there’s no more Internet Explorer included. Microsoft Edge has now got you covered for that (but you can get Internet Explorer back if you really want it).  

Microsoft Edge is the default browser (and has been for Windows 10) for whichever Windows 11 device you are using. 

Splitting the Action Center 

The Action Center for notifications in Windows 10 has been rejigged. Microsoft has separated it into two menus in Windows 11 – Calendar and Notifications. 

Skype 

Skype is not pre-loaded in Windows 11 because its communication and call function is better covered by Microsoft Teams. Of course, you can install Skype on your machine if you really need it. 

Sound and Vision 

There are many different tweaks to the design of Windows in version 11. Some may be more obvious than others. 

Windows 11 has different wallpaper and more themes than Windows 10. Windows and menus have rounded corners instead of the older squared type, giving them a softer feel. 

The resizing of a window is more fluid, whether you use a mouse or touch screen, there’s an improved Snap Assist function and a simplified ribbon bar. 

You can choose from light and dark modes. In dark mode, you may notice notification or warning sounds are more muted. Listen out for that, it’s a nice little added touch. 

Not So Scary 

If you’re a PA, EA or VA used to working with Windows 10, you may be thinking ‘Do I really want to upgrade to Windows 11’? 

Time will tell as to how well Windows 11 performs and delivers for its users. 

My initial impression is very positive. I have certainly felt more productive with Windows 11. The change in design has changed the way I work. And for the better. 

Yes, you will have to figure out how to find features, use functions and do tasks. Once you do, it will probably feel more freeing and intuitive. 

If you don’t have time to work it all out for yourself, there’s always my new program Essential Office for the Savvy Assistant.  

It covers, as the name suggests, all the essentials you’ll need to use Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams. 

The program is the first in my new online program, MS Office Mastery for The Savvy Assistant. It provides step-by-step instructions, including how to use the Microsoft Applications in Windows 11. 

No need to be kept in the dark or struggle trying to work Windows 11 out. Get to know it. Get to love it. Enjoy the extra productivity and time savings it gives you. 

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Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

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On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

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Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

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Kathy Soulsby

I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

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

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James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

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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

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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

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