Classes, Workshops, Tutoring and Educational Materials for Budding Web Designers

Grades and Class Structure

There are many good video-based tutorials, and Microsoft has put together a series of online lessons, (which it strongly stresses educators use) you'll learn most of your basic interface, toolbar and common functions using those tools. My role is to introduce you to situations, applications and environments:

  • Where the program you're using doesn't produce the results you need.
  • Where you have far more flexibility and control than most users know
  • Where you'll learn smart workarounds, quick tips and easy shortcuts.


This class is offered Tuesday evening and Thursday morning. If you cannot make it to one, you are welcome to attend the other. Each weekly lesson's practice session will be turned in to me at the end of class. If you miss a class it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make up that practice session and turn your document in to me by the following week. Since all materials are available online, you can easily follow the course materials. These weekly assignments make up about 50% of your final grade


CIS 110: Computer Office Applications

This is the course outline for your Syllabus. Since we have so many links to online tutorials, it is easier for you to use this website as a starting point. But you can download MS word version here.

Quarter 2, Mar 2013
Instructor: Myra Anson Nicholas
Cell: (703) 402-9065
Classes: Tuesdays 6 pm and Wednesday 9am

In this course, students learn how to generate word, spreadsheet, database, and presentation documents using the Microsoft Office Professional suite and other contemporary office utility products. Topics include: editing methods, document merging, templates, document preparation, file naming and storage conventions, backup methods.

We will be using Office 2010 in class, but if you have Office 2007 on your system at home, go ahead and use it. There's not much difference between the two. I have links to videos for both 2007 and 2010.

Class 1

In this first class, I'd like to identify students who are beginners, and advanced. I will attempt to give students at all levels a challenging learning experience.

Those with a high level of expertise can earn their grade by helping those in class with little or no understanding of the program.

Course Introduction

Introduction to resources, shortcuts, tips and tricks found on sidebar of this course outline

Requirements and Expectations
Coursework, homework and attendance. Grading system: for midterms and final: the minimum to pass the course, and what upgrades earn you A's and B's

Lecture and discussion
A short history of each "parent" application: Documentation Formatting, Data Analysis and Presentation Design and how all 3 coming together on your desktop has created unique problems and opportunities. What formal training each application had in the past, what can be conveyed, and what has been lost. In short, within the past 15-20 years these sophisticated tools requiring very different conceptual approaches are now combined on your desk. And, of course, what that means for your work environment and your future.


Overview: Office Suite (watch MS Office video)
  • Microsoft Word what it is best for, how it functions
  • PowerPoint common uses, functionality
  • Excel use as spreadsheet, database, sorting

Homework: Review video lessons

  • Review video: (2-3 min)
    Word 2010 is the word processing software in the Microsoft Office Suite. It allows you to easily create a variety of professional-looking documents using features such as themes, styles, SmartArt, and more.
  • Review video: (2-3 min)
    Excel 2010 is the spreadsheet software in the Microsoft 2007 Office Suite. It allows you to store, organize, and analyze numerical and text data. 
  • Review video: (2-3 min)
    PowerPoint 20010 is the presentation graphics software in the Microsoft 2010 Office Suite. With PowerPoint, you can use its easy-to-use predefined layouts, themes, or templates to create dynamic and professional presentations.

Class 2

Starting with Word

Lecture:  Class will start with "word processing" concepts, how document processing has altered the workplace and changed the value put on individual workers. Students will begin to understand how such a basic skill can impact their career.

In-Class: (where we start will depend on the class skill level.) Word basics: including simple text formatting, making edits, and understanding the basics of styles and how to avoid common word problems. Class will learn how to use the preferences and options tab to customize word for their own use.

Practice Document: Proposal and Task List. (please ignore image at top):
Click for PDF of expected outcome
Click for file containing unformatted text.

Practice Document-a Tutorial: (and improve on the layout & design)
Click for PDF of current layout
Click for file containing unformatted text.
Images: menu-bar, view-button, code, google-source, w3 sample, notepad-save, open file, side by side, reference-sheet

Homework: start with the "Getting to know Word" video series Each section is about 30 minutes (with a practice session) and ends with a short quiz. (The links for word 2007 still works). click the link and then click on the orange button that says "start this course" it is a self-paced course, not video. At the end of each section there is a "test yourself" section. Go ahead and do that and email it to me.
I: Create your first document (2007) How to do the basics: type where you want to on a page, fix spelling errors, change spacing and page margins, and save your work
II: Edit text and revise your documents (2007) How to get from one place to another in a document so that you can make changes anywhere on the page, how to add and delete text, and move text around
III: Make documents look great Emphasize text, make lists, and learn to use styles, a tool that helps you format a document

Class 3

There's a "web application" version of the Office suite.
Just go to click get started now, sign up for a free account and then go!

Keyboard Shortcuts for Word

Resume Samples


Beginning of resume from last class

Understanding Word Templates and Styles - How to Create Your Own

Lecture:  Class will learn about document types: reports, stories, articles, reviews... each type having its own purpose, set of rules and vocabulary. Readability factors, proper grammar and how font selection can change how the document is perceived.

Tuesday evening class: we'll divide into 2 groups. Students who who are expert or very well advanced in Word, Excel and PPT - I'll call you "Aces" and those who are fairly new to the Office suite will be called "Diamonds" (as in diamonds in the rough.) The Aces, instead of doing the in-class exercises, will work with the Diamonds and share whatever skills they think necessary to help them through the exercises. The Aces will be graded on their attendance and performance, instead of the exercises. We will discuss this in class.

Special discussion on resumes (for Tuesday's class we'll review class 1 discussion):
Uniquely creative resumes and the reality of how most resumes are treated. Review the Different resume layouts and how each one presents a unique asset.

  • Layout for Version 1 stresses accomplishments and education.
  • Layout for Version 2 stresses accomplishments and education..
  • Layout for Version 3 emphasizes the assets you would bring to the job... (that includes skills not in a curriculum and self-taught knowledge) and explains where or how you acquired the skills or gives you the chance to elaborate.

In class assignment: A Formatted Document Template that can be used for a Stratford Syllabus (use sample syllabus for current layout) And, of course i've prepared a text file for you to use to format the syllabus.

MIDTERM ASSIGNMENT for Tuesday Diamonds & all students in Wednesday classes: (Due class 6)-please do not use a template - create your own design.

Students will create:

  • A business letterhead, Business Cards
  • A Formatted resume that you would use to request interviews
  • A "boilerplate" proposal on letterhead, formal with a task list.
MIDTERM FOR ACES: Formatted resume and Fundamentals Guide (see homework below)

Homework for Tuesday Diamonds & all students in Wednesday classes: I reviewed the links and found that once you get to the page you'll see an orange button that says "start this course" click the button and you'll go to the next page. This is a self-guided tutorial, so click the "next" button at the top of each page to advance. You will need a copy of word 2007. See below for Tuesday's Aces homework:
Bullets, numbers, and lists The ins and outs of bullets, numbers, and multilevel lists
Save time with templates How to create documents by using existing templates on Microsoft Office Online, and how to turn your own documents into templates
Get to know Tables Learn how to insert a table into a document, add formatting and edit its structure.
Headers and FootersHow to work easily with the header and footer feature how to add page numbers or other headers and footers that Word has designed for you; add your own text; the date and time; and the document name and file location.
Homework and Part of the Midterm for Aces: This assignment will merge into the midterm, since we'll just be reviewing basics in excel. Create a very simple guide for complete newbies - those who have less than a year of computer experience on how to start up word and do the basics... (complete with screen captures) do not assume they know the fundamentals. (see fundamentals workshop proposal doc) The guide should be between 15-20 pages. I'd like to see an outline by next week.

Class 4

Student Data Files
(these are zipped files)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3


Using Today's Spreadsheet for Strategy

Lecture:  Spreadsheets changed the way managers and business executives thought of data and how, over 20 years later, the ability to understand, organize and manipulate data has become a requirement for almost all office personnel. While tutorials focus on simple database-style use, programs such as excel can be used for a whole host of important tasks. This week and next we will examine spreadsheets created for specific tasks and examine how they are used.

In-class exercise: review intro to Excel Basics (click link) We will review it briefly as a class, then look at this Kit pricing example of a spreadsheet in use.

The example Kit pricing (created in 2002 in a very old version of excel, but is still in use) was and still is for determining pricing for a product made up of a group of items-a kit- (for both wholesale and retail)
Tuesday's Aces will be helping the Diamonds with this.
Wednesday's Class we will work through this step by step... i promise!

Exercise: (to be started in this class and finished as homework) Class will learn how to create their own worksheet. Each student will create their own following my example.

Homework for Tuesday Diamonds & all students in Wednesday classes: 
Continue with the "Getting to know ... " video series

Excel Basics How to create a workbook, enter and edit text and numbers, and add rows or columns

Homework for Aces: continue Fundamentals Guide.

Class 5

Excel: More than Just Budgets

Lecture:  Now that we've gotten to know how the use of simple lists and functions can make the world easier, lets start trying to use our data to draw conclusions and make strategic decisions.

Learn to create a budget.... You'll learn how to create your own household budget (if the info is sensitive, then go ahead and modify numbers) that will include all bills and income, separate by month, year, and allow you to make spending or income choices and see the outcome.

Learn how to import data into excel and manage it. We'll go to Google's Keyword Research Tool and try out some search terms... then download the results into excel for review.

Homework for Tuesday Diamonds & all students in Wednesday classes: 
Create your own household budget (if the info is sensitive, then go ahead and modify numbers) that will include all bills and income, separate by month, year, and allow you to make spending or income choices and see the outcome.

Review tutorial: Get to know Excel 2007: Enter formulas
How to enter simple formulas into worksheets, and how to make formulas update their results automatically

Class 6

Excel Function Tutorials: create custom formulas to perform calculations
Microsoft Excel 2007 / 2010 Step by Step Database Tutorial

Excel: Advanced Formulas

Lecture:  Going beyond simple math functions, averages and percentages, this program can help you with simple tasks like pulling out a list of email addresses in record time, let you export all kinds of data, even after you've modified the order of fields, or help you determine on the spot pricing for product suites with variable fees, discounts and commissions. Any one of the above could take hours using "obvious" methods. The trick is learning - and preparing for - the need.

Present Midterm Documents

IN CLASS EXERCISE: Class will create a timeline and budget using an outline of a marketing plan worksheet. Class will download a marketing plan worksheet, then fill in the dates, figure the costs and the final budget totals using in-class directions and clues from the spreadsheet. (see sample pdf here ) Anyone needing extra help with excel, please let me know. I will be happy to review and answer questions.

For review....
Learn how to figure out dates using formulas in Excel 2010
How to create a chart in 2010

Homework: Read and perform exercises in your book, Chapter 1 (PPT-Chapter 1) the orange section. We will start with powerpoint in the following class.

Class 7

Power Point: Presentation Software for Everyone

Lecture: "Slide" presentations have come a long way since the 1970's when I was first taught to do them. The time, labor and cost made them quite valuable, therefore the data, formatting and of course the script reflected that value. During the development of slide imaging software, research on colors, fonts, layout and sizing for best results was done. Then we moved to desktops... All those studies, accumulated knowledge was replaced with a program whose defaults often put whole audiences to sleep.

We will practice creating presentations in class using different effects.

Create your first presentation Learn the steps to create a slide show, start to finish.
In class exercise: Create slide show from following elements:Quick view of slides for reference
Front Page of Slide Show
Text for slide show in Word
Logo for Slide Show
Photo 1 for Slide show
Photo 2 for Slide Show
Personalize your slide design Get the nitty gritty on changing a theme to a specific design.
Discover the power of custom layouts Create a custom slide layout with a logo.


Students will create a PowerPoint Presentation with:


Students will create a PowerPoint Presentation with:

  • Presentation must contain either table(s) and/or chart(s) from Excel. It is ok to use any of the spreadsheet files discussed in class (and posted in this outline).
  • You may create a screen capture of your resume, use elements of your letterhead graphics in your presentation.
  • Presentation explains/persuades your suitability to perform a task. Should be at least 8-10 slides
  • Please study all of the hints and tips on the sidebar. This demonstrates your knowledge of Microsoft Office.
I will be available to help students. The school has a firm deadline for grade submissions.

Class 8


Link to beginning of resume from last class

Learn tips from the experts at! Check the links below.

PowerPoint: Work Faster and Smarter

Lecture: Yes, Virginia, it is possible to create a great presentation in PowerPoint! Planning first, creating a script with a list of images helps. The photos, graphics, themes, and effects need to support your presentation's message, not distract from it. Pick a color palette, find images and themes that work, then go about designing a presentation that holds together. The save it as a custom presentation

Links to images relating to creating custom presentations: (start in slide master view)

Information from will give you a lot of help, and best practices with powerpoint presentations.

Themes and backgrounds-all of these are from experts at Tutorials, not videos.
Coordinate the Look of Your Slides with a Design Themes
Background Colors and Graphics in PowerPoint 2007

Emphasize Content all of these are from experts at Tutorials, not videos.
Add an Excel Chart to Your PowerPoint Presentation
Add Photos to the PowerPoint 2007 Slide Master
Edit the Slide Master to Speed up Production

Class 9

PowerPoint Hints, Tips and More!

Power Point: Way Beyond Simple Layouts

Lecture:  Just because you CAN add sound, moving graphics, and photos of your recent girls night out doesn't mean you SHOULD. PowerPoint has added a lot of interesting ways to emphasize, transition, showcase and otherwise modify text, images and sound. Play with all the effects, but choose the ones you use carefully. Your job is to use this program to deliver a message, not cause migraines!

Interesting uses for power point
As a method for helping people determine website layout
As a method for teaching the basics of a software program

Apply Custom Animations Add a Custom Animation from the Quicklist
Put your photos into PowerPoint See how easy and fun it is to put your digital photos into a slide show. Your travel pix, your animals, whatever!
Get visual with SmartArt graphics Create visual appeal out of text and other information.
Using a Content Slide LayoutAdd Clip Art and Pictures
Add sound effects to a presentation Insert and play a sound file across several slides; play a CD.

Class 10

Present Finals

Yes, i will create a reference sheet on this website for those who want to refresh their memories or brush up on their MS office skills


Hints, Tips, Shortcuts & Time Savers

All Office 07 Time Saver Links Working with Macros Show Word's Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips 6 Tricks to Save Time in Word 2007 Customizing Word 2007 Keyboard Shortcuts for Word 2010 Excel 2007 Time-Savers six tips that will save you time and effort when working with your Excel 2007 spreadsheets.

Cool Tips

Inserting Bookmarks in Your Word Document If you're looking for a little more flexibility when you're searching for text within your document, the use of Wildcards in Find and Replace

Excel Goodies

Excel 2007 Time-Savers six tips that will save you time and effort when working with your Excel spreadsheets. Excel Function Tutorials: create custom formulas to perform calculations Microsoft Excel 2007 / 2010 Step by Step Database Tutorial

PowerPoint Hints, Tips and More!

Coordinate the Look of Your Slides with a Design Theme Edit the Slide Master to Speed up Production Add Clip Art and Pictures Using a Content Slide Layout Background Colors and Graphics in PowerPoint 2007 Add an Excel Chart to Your PowerPoint Presentation Apply Custom Animations in PowerPoint 2007

Design Principles

Elements of Design These are the ingredients to any design project, whether it's a way to set up your garden to a map that shows people who to go from here to the moon. There are eight design elements that are pulled together by eight design principles.

Principles of Design These are the tools that blend the ingredients for any design project. You can use all the design elements, but if you don't blend them with rhythm, balance, contrast, etc., then you don't have a cake.

Design Palettes: A design palette is a mix of basic ingredients- typefaces, photographs, illustrations, and color schemes-that, in one designer's opinion (mine), represents a distinctive mood or style.

Choosing & Using Type In your lifetime you've seen billions of letters and millions of words, yet you might never have consciously noticed the typefaces you read.

Google's External Keyword Tool lets you type in keywords, find similar and see their popularity. After running your search, download information into csv format. open excel and import the data.

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