I’ve always used Microsoft Office and found the new version to be even better than before. I test drove the latest Microsoft Office on the HP Spectre. As soon as I opened the box, I was impressed by how amazing the laptop looks. I love the rose gold trim and the touch and feel of the keyboard. I also like playing music when I’m writing an assignment, so it’s really important to me that the speakers are good quality and the Spectre speakers had excellent sound.
Looking at Word, I found the new-look ribbon interface to be simple and efficient. It’s also ordered in a logical manner and very easy to use. It’s also less cluttered, which is great because I didn’t use a lot of the options in the older version anyway, now that they are hidden away I can easily get to the ones I use the most. I think the new iconography is also better than in previous iterations of Office because the different functions can be more easily identified.
One new feature I loved is the Resume Assistant. It is great! It gives me suggestions of positions that I’m most suited for, and also the type of skills needed for those jobs as recommended by LinkedIn. I think this is really important for students because we want to make a good impression when applying for our first full-time job. Also, the Resume Assistant gives you a great head start creating your CV as it showcases different people in different roles and they describe their work, experience and skills to you in an easily understandable way. This means you can find a profession you are interested in, understand some of the key criteria employers are looking for, and then tailor your resume to suit these. I think this feature gives me the tools to not only produce a good resume, but also to prepare for a job interview.
Another feature that is helpful is Word Researcher. It is great when working on assignments to help you find information from a variety of sources. Because these are then listed in short summaries, it gives me a chance to determine the reliability of the website really quickly without having to scroll through the website myself.
I thought the dictation feature is very useful because you can get your ideas down quickly onto a document. But it would be better if it also gives you basic formatting functions (such as spacing or deleting).
I also really enjoyed using the HP Spectre because of the touch screen, and drawing with the new inking feature rather than using a mouse. I can also use the digital pen, which is more accurate. In fact, I use the inking feature all the time for editing documents. It has a variety of tools, some are different from those previous editions and allows me to mark-up text creatively! The Ink to Math feature is also great, especially for writing equations onto a document rather than typing them, and if I make a mistake, I can easily correct it. The inking feature is also great on PowerPoint, which we are using all the time now for presentations. With this new version, you can do more with images, drawings and annotation. I like to use Ink to Shape as well – it’s always good to be able to draw things with ink first as it’s quicker to get the outlines done that way, and then you just convert them to the shape you’re wanting.
I also found the Focus Assist feature really important. This is an app that allows you to switch off your email and social media notifications at set times. I found this extremely helpful to keep me on task when it comes to preparing for exams or when an assessment is due. However, I think it would be even better if there’s a mode for easily distracted students that prevents them from turning off Focus Assist between certain times once it had been turned on, so that they can be forced to stay on task.
I would say my favourite tool in Microsoft Office is OneDrive because it is very useful and allows multiple users access when working together on a group project and getting important feedback from our tutors. It’s a great collaboration tool because you have access to your document wherever you are. You don’t need to be at home with your laptop or in class at uni. I can pretty much share my work with another student and co-edit an assignment even if I’m at a coffee shop or on a train on way home. It just makes my life so much easier as it is efficient and easy to use.
All in all, I enjoyed using the new features of Microsoft Office and found many of them to be really easy to use.