HELP DESK — First, help yourself

HELP DESK — First, help yourself

The Digital Life

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

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Some office workers who rely on the computer for much of their work run into problems which they can solve quickly without screaming for IT. It turns out that much of that help is available under a tab labelled Help. Unfortunately, many people are either reluctant to resort to learning via the Help tab or would instead call in the IT specialist to rescue them.

However, many solutions come by learning the ins and outs of specific software. Too often, workers skim over the essential functions and are surprised when they discover that their jobs can be even easier if they knew the shortcuts.

There are plenty of shortcuts in most software, allowing for fewer keystrokes. Creating macros, which assembles a series of repetitive functions, will save a lot of time and help to meet deadlines.

One of the remarkable features of the computing world is how so many similar keys apply to a variety of functions. It is a way software developers provide users with quick ways of using the tools.

Good examples include the suite of tools in Microsoft Office. Once you master Word, you will find it easy to migrate to Powerpoint. The same is true of Excel, which gives you a logical way to manage numbers but which integrates with Word.

Software developers base their new products on the fact that many workers are already skilled in other tools and work to reduce the learning curve. Users are encouraged to go beyond the basics to master the intricacies intended to allow for higher productivity.

In the early days of computer usage, users spent many hours completing face-to-face courses. Today, though there are still formal classroom courses, free online classes offer an extensive range of training, complete with certification.

Here are some things to consider before you call the IT department:

1. Never be shy to ask a colleague for help. You would be surprised how people are ready to give you a hand to better understand and master your computer tasks. But remember, that Help tab may have some immediate answers.

2. Is the software up to date? It is easy to check. Go to the About tab and click to learn whether you have the most up to date version. In some companies, you may have to get IT to install the latest version. But you could end up helping IT to keep the versions up to date.

3. Have fun exploring the menu bar! Go over the various tabs and note the difference from one software to another. Those differences can lead you to be a real expert user and give you increased confidence in using the tools.

4. When in doubt, ask. Search engines bring up a lot of the answers you need. Over time you will learn how to narrow your search to get to the appropriate answers. Online will not only answer questions but provide step by step guides shared by those who are ready to share their knowledge. In time you too will be eager to share and help others.

5. Visit the software website. They are anxious to ensure that you become highly skilled with their product so that you become a regular user and ultimately end up recommending it to others.

6. Take time to know her is a song; but it also applies to learning software. Set aside time each week to learn more and more about the main tools you use every day. You will be proud of the progress you make and the impact on your work. Eventually, your improved skills will be a merit to yourself and the company which employs you.

7. Don't rush and get frustrated. Sometimes you may need to take a break if you are not picking up the techniques quickly. You may not understand the concept and, therefore, regard something as a problem you are not able to solve. Take your time and review the literature and go through the steps, slowly and carefully. Success will be yours for your renewed patience.

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