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Professional Documentation Master Class using Microsoft Word

Potential inefficiencies using document processors like Microsoft Word

We write business documents for several reasons, for example:

  • To communicate a thought, idea or suggestion
  • To stimulate interest or some form of action from the reader
  • To educate the reader

Therefore, what we write and how this communication is displayed and received are all vitally important.

Document processing applications like Microsoft Word have become essential business tools allowing us to capture our communication messages and display them in a professional looking manner.

However, the very visible nature of the output from such tools, and our own growing standards (through increasing exposure to similar communications) means that we can easily become obsessed with making the document 'look right', sometimes to the detriment of making sure that the document 'reads right'.

In fact, some would argue that we should be spending 80% of our time getting the message right and 20% of our time making it look right, but often we end up spending 80% of our time battling with the formatting.

Why is this?

The main reason is that tools such as Microsoft Word seem to offer endless ways to easily format a document.  And, because they are easy to apply, that's exactly what we do. Yet, the more we play around with the formatting of our documents, the more problems we seem to uncover, resulting in an inordinate amount of wasted time and effort.

Writers for professional publications don't have this concern as the formatting standards for the publication they are writing for are often set in advance, leaving the writer to focus on the words and the message.

So, how can we apply this professional approach to our business documents?

Professional Documentation Master Class using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word can be a powerful productivity tool in terms of writing business documents. However, because Word is designed to be used straight 'out of the box', with no training, people often pick up bad habits and can fall into the trap of perpetual formatting.

Why is this?

Essentially, the application includes two approaches or tools to help produce and format documents.

  1. A 'simple' approach using the formatting tools in the Office ribbon
  2. A 'formal' approach using pre-defined or easy to set-up Word Styles

Because we have not been taught which is the better way, we all initially fall into the trap of using the 'simple' approach. Applying the formatting using the Office ribbon requires no training. You just click and change. This formatting is known as WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get.

However, the 'simple' approach is the way that amateurs work! By constantly applying formatting we think we are being smart, but instead we are just wasting precious productivity time and effort. Also, because we are often applying formatting on top of formatting, the results can be unpredictable, resulting in us spending 80% of the time trying to get the formatting to look appropriate.

Instead, we should be using the 'formal' approach, applying the pre-defined or easy to set-up Word Styles. Using this approach, we can decide upon the formatting style once and then get on with the process of making our communication effective, knowing that using the appropriate Word Styles will automatically make the formatting correct.

The 'formal' approach is the way that professionals work! They focus on the message not just the media.

The Doldrum Bay Consulting course "Professional Documentation Master Class using Microsoft Word" will teach you how to change your amateur habits and help you to start using the professional approach to creating effective documentation.

Who should attend:

People who use Microsoft Word and want to:

  • Create more professional looking documents, such as proposals, or reports for clients, that are quick and easy to edit and format
  • Take other people’s poorly formatted documents and convert them into masterpieces (in minutes rather than hours)
  • Understand how to solve common problems with Word documents (including formatting anomalies)
  • Focus on the important things in documents – such as getting the correct message across!

What to Expect:

This is a hands-on course built around slides, discussions, workshops and case study exercises. Course materials guide the participants through the professional approach to using Microsoft Word and during the course the participants will be creating and amending several documents.

Immediate Benefits:

Participants should be able to:

  • Create and modify a document using the pre-defined MS Word Styles
  • Create a new Style
  • Use document templates
  • Apply Styles to ‘messy’ documents that don’t use them
  • Fix problems as they occur
  • Remove hidden data, and create secure documents
  • Create beautifully formatted communications quickly and efficiently

Course Format:

  • A half-day instructor-led workshop.
  • Attendees will need to bring their own Windows laptop with at least Microsoft Word 2013.

Course Tools:

  • Participants receive a Learning Guide, checklists and examples.

Course Brochure:

Download the Professional Documentation Master Class using Microsoft Word Course description.

For more information

For more details on this course, please contact David Foley,