The use of computers in the professional world

The computer age has come to be the answer to the quest of the paperless office in the modern world. Many professionals are required to have a literacy of some level of the computer packages that institutions and companies have. Even the small time briefcase salesperson or entrepreneur use computer packages and software for their day to day running of their businesses. The most widely used computer packages used today are MS-Word, MS-Excel and MS-PowerPoint, which are all tools of Microsoft software. These packages are useful in the professional arena especially to carry out research projects and their daily business. I am a personal assistant at the World Bank and all these packages are effective in any of our developmental research programmes.Microsoft Word is a powerful word processor.

Besides just professional use, this paper is an instant example of the results and uses of MS Word as it has been typed using the package. You can do anything from letters to a thesis and the advantage of this package is that it assists you every step of the way with how to lay out a document, spelling, grammar and alternative words for big or small words to suit your type or line of work. The spelling and grammar tool is extremely convenient in that it can use many of the international languages. At the World Bank we use either the American or British English style of writing.MS-Word becomes an added advantage to our research assignments because it takes away the hassles of word by word proof reading, or in some cases it is simply minimized.

It allows you to type till you have said the last word because it is not like paper or books that run out. Legal, business and financial professionals have special needs for word processing. With the aid of detailed instructions that are installed in MS-Word, the secretaries or personal assistants are able to create complex legal and financial documents including pleadings, contracts and client files. Step-by-step directions for formatting, creating templates, macros, tables and document collaborating using Word with e-mail and the Web, make the ideal office tool.

Apart from just typing, word also provides a simple but effective filing method on the personal computer. Documents are saved alphabetically and numerically for easy access.Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program. One might of heard the terms “spreadsheet” and “worksheet”. People generally use them interchangeably. To remain consistent with Microsoft and otherpublishers the term worksheet refers to the row-and-column matrix sheet on which you work upon and the term spreadsheet refers to this type of computer application. In addition, the term workbook will refer to the book of pages that is the standard Excel document.

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The workbook can contain worksheets, chart sheets, or macro modules. At the World bank we deal a lot with figures and financial reports. We use Excel to format, arrange, sort and calculate data to perform “what if” calculations. What if the interest rate went up one percent? By entering the new percentage rate Excel will calculate the new totals.Once research data is in place, Excel helps us extract it in useful forms such as printouts, charts and graphs. Excel’s advanced print features are used to control what portions are printed, page layout and print size. In addition, Excel does the work for me with automated features, using Excel’s autofill, autosum and autoformat features.

The use of Excel’s built-in formulas and functions, or write custom functions to return correct figures is an invaluable advantage to any professionals research work. Using Excel for spreadsheets ensures that data is accurate and professional. Below is a picture of a basic Excel window.Figure 1: A Standard Excel WindowPowerPoint is a complete presentation graphics package.

It gives you everything you need to produce a professional-looking presentation. PowerPoint offers word processing, outlining, drawing, graphing, and presentation management tools- all designed to be easy to use and learn.As a personal assistant to a couple of Programme Managers who have to present a lot of their work to governments, headquarters and many legal and financial fraternities, I see that PowerPoint has very functional advantages such as creating presentations made up of a series of slides. The slides that you create using PowerPoint can also be presented as overhead transparencies or 35mm slides.

In addition to slides, you can print audience handouts, outlines, and speaker’s notes which is good in the sense that participants are at the same pace with the presenter during the presentation. You can format all the slides in a presentation using the powerful Slide. You can keep your entire presentation in a single file which are the slides, speaker’s notes, and audience handouts. You can import what you have created in other Microsoft products, such as Word and Excel into any of your slides.

Below is a dialogue box that comes up when you start using the programme.Once you have chosen the type of presentation you need to use, a slide similar to the one below appears on your screen and allows you to start inputting the research or any other material onto the slide until you are finished.These three Microsoft packages are inevitably very useful in my profession during research because they have realistic and up to date functions and instructions. However, as researchers, the World Wide Web is by far the greatest tool to use in that it assists in getting research material for almost anything in any field or subject. The discussed three packages assist mainly with data presentation, typing and general outlook of the finished research product.