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IT Essentials

Microsoft Office Essentials


Microsoft Office is a suite of applications designed to help with productivity and completing common tasks on a computer. You can create and edit documents containing text and images, work with data in spreadsheets and databases, and create presentations and posters.


Microsoft Word is a text processing application. It allows the user to configure the attributes of a document, such as layout and the styles of content, and to add their content in a variety of ways and formats to produce documents.


Microsoft Excel is an application used for creating and editing spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are commonly used to working with sets of data containing text and numbers and for generating graphs and charts.


Microsoft PowerPoint is commonly used to create presentations using slides. Though often used to make simple, bullet-pointed presentations, it has has a range of features that can allow a range of media in your presentation.

It is also a great tool for creating posters — see more on our guide to Academic Posters (though of course you can make other kinds of posters using PowerPoint too).


Microsoft Access is used when working with databases using relational data. This is data held in tables which are then linked according to the relationships between the data. Access processes data using queries and you can use forms and reports to interact with the data in a user-friendly way.

Further Office tips and tricks

Once you've mastered the basics of whichever Office applications you want to use, you might want to look into further features that help with tasks.

Microsoft have a selection of Office tips & tricks that can inspire you to work with these applications in different ways.

They also have a series of guides on making your content more accessible when using Office applications.

Got Office questions?

If you have specific questions about using Office, it is good to know where you can go to get answers.

On Microsoft's support pages, you can search for help with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and other applications such as Outlook and OneNote. These pages list different versions of Office (e.g. 2016, 2013, Online) so you can find the help applicable to the version of Office you are using.

If you cannot find the answer online, you can contact the IT Support Office at York for further help.