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Book Review: Microsoft Home and Student 2010: Step by Step by Joyce Cox, Joan Lambert, and Curtis Frye

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It’s so exciting to take a new computer out of the box. Well, it is if you’re geeky.  When it’s built to your specifications, it’s even more exciting. Until you’ve gotten  the wonder tool up and running and say, “What the heck did they do to” whatever software you were using before which has now been updated. It’s not that we’re against improvements, but sometimes it seems the software publishers went nuts and totally redesigned an old faithful (or as faithful as software can be).

If it sounds like I’m speaking from recent experience, that’s only because I am. My new laptop is a thing of beauty until I try working with the 2010 version of Word.  Of course you don’t get a manual, but I’m really experienced at hitting the F1 key. However, no matter what I need assistance with (usually simple functions that require new commands or menus), I am directed from menu to menu to menu until my search subject was finally not found. This is not good customer relations.

Microsoft Home and Student 2010 – Step by Step is not a comprehensive guide to every aspect of Microsoft Home and Student 2010. It is, nonetheless, a good reference to turn to when puzzled by some of the things you once thought were basics.

“Basics” is the operative word here I discovered when I read a paragraph on how to move the cursor. “Candid” is another refreshing attribute  of Microsoft Home and Student 2010 – Step by Step, such as when it advises the reader, “Word’s grammar checker helps identify phrases and clauses that don’t follow traditional grammatical rules, but it’s not always accurate.” Some things never change.

Microsoft Home and Student 2010 – Step by Step offers familiarization with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The book is user-friendly, allowing first-time users of these programs to acclimate at their own speed. For me, one of its greatest features is the information provided on “customizing,” an essential aid to personalizing programs for one’s own use.

Microsoft Home and Student 2010 – Step by Step is a book for beginners, providing enough information to get one started with Microsoft Home and Student 2010; it is not for advanced users (who probably figure all this stuff out intuitively, anyway). Since I never take the time to learn all the features of my software, I usually don’t get past being an “intermediate user.”  Thanks to the book’s extensive index, I am able to quickly get myself unstuck when stymied.

Bottom Line: Would I buy Microsoft Home and Student 2010 – Step by Step? Yes, for beginners and casual users it offers invaluable help that does not always seem accessible on-line.

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