How to Use Microsoft Office 2000 Visually in Full

Reviewed by: Paul Schneider,PhD, send e-mail

Published by: SAMS Publishing, go to the web site
Requires: Familiarity with Windows 95/98/NT; Microsoft Office 2000 (any release)
MSRP: US$24.99

How to Use Microsoft Office 2000 Visually in Full Color, whew! Now say that title 5 times quickly! Hereinafter I'll just refer to it as HUMO2000. HUMO2000's title may be long-winded, but the book is not. In a nutshell, HUMO200 provides its users with quick, straightforward, visual explanations of how to accomplish a wide variety of Office 2000 tasks. Suffice it to say this book is aimed at the visual learner.

HUMO2000 is for beginner and intermediate level users. The book's contents consist of chapters on Common Office Features, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, Office Internet Tools (Internet Explorer and Word's Web Publishing tools), Office Graphics Tools, and Integration of Office Applications. The later chapters are a nice addition not typically seen in "MS Office" books.

Each individual chapter is laid out in a visually appealing manner. The tasks covered are listed first, followed by a short explanation of the chapter. What follows are instructions on accomplishing each of these individual tasks. Each of these sections start off with a one-paragraph explanation of the task at hand, followed by the meat of the book, 4-8 pictures and text explaining the steps. Last, is a series of "How-To Hints." These hints more or less give you the "next step" for each of the tasks.

Where HUMO2000 excels is in the visual layout and explanation of each task. The text is short and concise. With the use of full color photos you are quickly and easily shown what needs to be done to accomplish the task at hand. Overall I found it easy to follow the book and repeat each of the individual tasks.

Another strength to this book is its glossary and index. Building a useful and comprehensive glossary and index can be a difficult chore, but the authors of HUMO2000 have certainly risen to the task. This, combined with the comprehensive table of contents, makes it quite easy to quickly find any desired topic.

Sounds pretty great so far. Well in many respects it is, but there are some areas where it fell short. One of the area that is lacking is in a coherent lesson plan or organization. Although it provides a great quick and easy way to figure out how to do things, I don't see it helping the user to really learn the product. It seems that most of the learning will occur through repetition and looking up tasks again and again (fortunately this is quite easy with its excellent index). Put simply, it does not provide any review of the lessons learned, the explanations of the tasks are minimal, and the grouping of the tasks, while logical, does not fit a specific lesson goal. In terms of education the pedagogy leaves something to be desired.

HUMO2000 successfully delivers a wide variety of MS Office 2000 lessons visually. If you are a beginner or an intermediate user looking for a quick easy to understand reference for MS Office 2000 or like to learn on the go and as needed, HUMO2000 may be the book for you. If you know that you are primarily a visual person, then definitely check out HUMO2000, because this is the area in which it excels (no pun intended!).

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