21/02/11

By Adrian Booth

The old adage that time is money is particularly true for small businesses, where keeping processes sharp and efficient makes huge sense.

The development of the Ribbon in Office is a good example of how software we use all the time can be adapted to our individual needs, allowing us to shave a series of precious moments off repetitive tasks throughout the working day. Add all those little bits of time together and you realise you are turning orders around faster, increasing output and keeping cost down.

For anyone switching to Office 2010, the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s integrated business programs, the Ribbon is likely to be the first major change you’ll notice. It is the wide bar at the top of the screen which now runs throughout the entire Office 2010 suite.

The Ribbon was first introduced for Office 2007 applications like Word, Access, Excel and PowerPoint and it is here to stay. If you are new to the Ribbon, it might take a while to get used to using this new type of toolbar, but it is well worth it.

The Ribbon simplifies navigation within Office applications; necessary because traditional menus were in danger of becoming cluttered as Microsoft added more and more features and commands to their popular programs.

One of the great things about the Ribbon is that we can now customise the Quick Access toolbar to display commands we use the most. We can add, remove and relocate commands within applications, and make them work the way we want them to.

This customisation illustrates that Microsoft understands that with a staggering billion Office users, it is never going to have everyone’s individual preferences available as a default.

Once we’ve set-up customised tabs to help speed-up what we do by arranging all the frequently used commands in places that are easy to find, colleagues with similar tasks will want them too. That’s no problem either; we can just send them the files.

Business owners can even create a company-wide custom Ribbon and install it on everyone’s PC, which means specific commands everyone needs are at their finger-tips, leading to efficiency savings which run throughout the business.

If you are interested in looking at the Ribbon, you can start getting used to it right away without even buying Office 2010. Just download the free 60 day trial from Microsoft.com/office

Watch the video below featuring Tanya Shirlow, SMB Marketing Lead at Microsoft UK, as she discusses the advantages of cloud services.

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