Category Archives: Productivity Tips

5 Reasons to use Microsoft Publisher
  1. Affordable

Publisher is significantly cheaper than other desktop publishing programs.  In fact, it is bundled (or included) in many versions of Microsoft Office and Office 365 so you might already have it available on your computer.

  1. User Friendly

Publisher is very user friendly.  Since it is part of the Microsoft products, many of the commands are the same as in Microsoft Word.

  1. Templates

Microsoft Publisher comes with a large assortment of templates to help you create document.   These include flyers, posters, business cards, newsletters, banners, tickets, cards, and labels to name a few.

  1. Mail Merge

Publisher lets you use mail merge or email merge so you can customize publications to specific clients or information.  This provides a “personal touch” to your documents.  You can add merge to documents, emails, labels, or as a graphic overlay.

  1. End Product

You can save the file as a publisher file, a PDF file, a HTML file, a Word file, or a graphic file (JPEG, TIF, PNG or GIF).

  1. High Quality End Products

You can print the documents you create on your personal printer as an RGB color publication. There is also a wide variety of specialty papers you can purchase to print special document.  For example, there is special perforated, heavy stock paper you can purchase for business cards.    The documents created in publisher can also be exported to a file that is ready to be taken to a commercial printer.  Just make sure you are aware of any requirements the printer has before you create the document.

If you are interesting in learning more about a Publisher class or the Richland College Business Office Systems Program, send us an email at

Essential Tips to Help You and Your Team with Collaboration Projects










Have you discovered that more and more of your work tasks involve collaborating with others?

As technology and the accompanying tools evolve, employers are finding it more beneficial to have their workers “come together” and to share ideas and materials for project development.

The Australian-based company INS (acronym for In No-one’s Shadow) has focused much of its efforts on preparing workforces for the future, which includes keeping current employees updated as well as helping companies keep their employees moving towards the future. Although INS is based in Australia, its outreach is global, which means the advice offered on collaboration can be used by all.

Below are several tips from a May 2016 INS article to keep in mind for your collaboration projects. You can click this link to read the entire article.

  • Understand the Bigger Picture—mentally move beyond your immediate group and role, and look at the larger outcome of why this project is important.
  • Clarify the Objectives—if everyone is “not on the same page,” the project may wind up going nowhere. Make sure the objectives are clearly stated and that everyone understands these objectives. As stated by INS, “…clarify whether all stakeholders and group members have the same objectives, and are working through any differences…”
  • Agree on Roles and Leadership—early discussions on and the identification of leadership and the other roles will make it easier to move forward on the project.  It is also important to establish accountability as it is connected to the various roles.
  • Know the Boundaries—just as accountability is important, it is equally vital for each person to know boundaries for themselves and others and to have these boundaries respected.
  • Develop an Ecosystem, not an ‘Egosystem’—remember, it’s about the successful completion of the project and not about someone grandstanding. Being a good listener (this goes for all group members) is essential.
  • Value Diverse Input—keep an open mind and realize that everyone’s contributions to the discussions and efforts should be appreciated.

If you want to improve your communication and collaboration skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information email, or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.

Creative Gift Giving

Do you have someone on your holiday list that is hard to buy for or someone who seems to have everything? Looking for a one of a kind gift? Microsoft Office has the answer. Create custom calendars to give as gifts. Calendar templates are available in every program. Word has 39 templates, Excel has 45 templates, PowerPoint has 11, Publisher has 19, and Access has 2. Each program has a variety of layouts, sizes and color schemes. Customize the calendar with personal photos and meaningful dates. Print the calendars on cardstock and staple (either at the top or in the middle so it can be folded). For a small fee you can get the calendar professionally printed and bound at a local office supply store.

To create a calendar, click, on File, New, type in Calendar in the Search for Online Templates box, and choose your favorite template.


Social Media: What’s the Difference?

Today it seems like everyone is on social media.   Social media is used for many different things:  staying in touch with family and friends, keeping up-to-date with news and trending topics, and promoting businesses and social causes.  It allows you to connect with people all over the world who have different backgrounds, interests, hobbies, and professions.  With so many different sites, how do you know which one is right for you?  Click here for an quick comparison graphic of the most popular social media sites.

Facebook – Created in 20014 by Mark Zuckerberg as way to keep up with his friends.  It is the world’s largest social media site with more than I.5 billion active users worldwide.  It allows you to send messages, post status updates, and share photos and videos.  Depending on privacy settings, requesting and accepting friend requests will determine what can be seen on your timeline and home page.  It works well on both a computer and mobile device.

Twitter – Another popular social media site, Twitter is designed around short updates.  Each tweet (or post) is limited to a total of 140 characters, spaces and punctuation marks.  You can attach short videos and photographs to a tweet.  Twitter is most popular for inventing the hashtag, which has now been adopted by many other social media sites.  With over 289 million active users, it can be used on a computer but because of its quick real-time messages, it is most often used on mobile devices.  You connect with other users by accepting and requesting to follow other users.

Instagram – Instagram is a photo-sharing app for mobile devices used by over 300 million active users.  The simplest of social media sites, it allows you to upload photos or short videos, write a caption, and add hashtags so your followers will be able to see them.  It is most popular with teens and young adults.

Pinterest – Unlike other media sites that are based on sharing status updates and photos, Pinterest is focused on collecting and sharing things found on the Internet.  You organize the things you collect on Bulletin Boards.  You can follow other Pinners who have similar interests and repin (or save) their items to your boards.  It is available on both the computer and mobile devices.

LinkedIn – While the other social media sites are more for personal use, LinkedIn is more of a professional networking site.  You create an online resume (or profile) of your skills and employment history.  As you add contacts and make connections you build your network.  Your connections can go in and endorse your skills.  Many businesses use LinkedIn to screen and recruit potential employees.

If you are over 50 and interested in learning how to use these popular social media sites, the Richland College Emeritus program will be offering Social Media 1 (Facebook) and Social Media II (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other sites) classes starting in January.  Spring registration begins on November 22 for current students and November 28 for new students.  Contact the Emeritus office at (972) 238-6972 or the Business Office Systems and Support program at (972) 238-6215 to sign up for these popular classes.  FYI—If you are over 65, the classes are FREE to Dallas County residents.

EXCEL 2016 Offers New Chart Types

If you have ever examined Excel’s charting tools, you may be wondering what other chart types could there be as previous versions of Excel offered eleven chart types.  These included Column, Line, Pie, Bar, Area, X Y (Scatter), Stock, Surface, Doughnut, Bubble, and Radar.

Microsoft’s newest version, EXCEL 2016, brings with it some new and modern chart types to help you better illustrate data that you include in your worksheets.  These charts are also available in PowerPoint 2016 and are:

TREEMAP:   A Treemap chart displays hierarchically structured data. The data appears as rectangles that contain other rectangles. A set of rectangles on the same level in the hierarchy equal a column or an expression. Individual rectangles on the same level equal a category in a column. For example, a rectangle that represents a type of food found in a grocery store (Dairy)  may contain other rectangles that represent products in that category.

See Treemap chart below.









WATERFALL:  As explained by Microsoft, “Waterfall charts are ideal for showing how you have arrived at a net value, by breaking down the cumulative effect of positive and negative contributions. This is very helpful for many different scenarios, from visualizing financial statements to navigating data about population, births and deaths”.

PARETO:  A Pareto chart contains both bars and a line graph. Individual values are represented by bars. The cumulative total is represented by the line.

HISTOGRAM:. A Histogram chart displays numerical data in bins. The bins are represented by bars. It’s used for continuous data.

BOX and WHISKER:  A Box and Whisker chart, as explained by Microsoft, is “A box and whisker chart shows distribution of data into quartiles, highlighting the mean and outliers. The boxes may have lines extending vertically called ‘whiskers’. These lines indicate variability outside the upper and lower quartiles, and any point outside those lines or whiskers is considered an outlier.”

SUNBURST:  A Sunburst chart is a pie chart that shows relational datasets. The inner rings of the chart relate to the outer rings.   It’s a hierarchal chart with the inner rings at the top of the hierarchy.

For more information from Microsoft regarding the creation and use and to view samples of these new chart types, click the following link:

New Chart Types in Excel 2016

Interested in learning Excel 2016?  Please contact Angela Nino, lead faculty in the Business Office Systems & Support Department at Richland College.  ( or call 972-238-6215) The BOSS department is a Microsoft Authorized Testing Center; if Excel certification is important to you, keep in mind that you will be able to both learn to use Excel 2016 and attempt the Microsoft Excel 2016 Certification exam with us!


Introducing Excel 2016’s New IFS Function!

Have you ever needed to establish categories or summary ranges for numerical information?

Let’s say you have the feedback from a seminar that was held earlier this year, and you’ve chosen the categories of Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory to help determine what items need improvement or attention as you plan future seminars.

In our example, the results have to have a rating of 87 or above to be considered Excellent, 86 to 75 to be Satisfactory, and 74 to 70 for the Needs Improvement category. A score of 69 and below is considered Unsatisfactory.

08-29-2016_dYou can use the new IFS Function in Excel 2016 to help you quickly obtain your information. In fact the Excel 2016 IFS function can help obtain the conditions on 127 different conditions!!  In our example, you can see the categories and scores for these items, but how can we quickly determine what needs improvement, is satisfactory, etc.?
Just one word of caution
–if you open a file containing the IFS function in an older Excel version, the error message #NAME? will appear.

The two screen shots below allow you to see the conditions and the criteria for this function that must be met for each category. We simply create the IFS function for the first item and include conditions and what will appear for each score. In this case Cell C3 is where the IFS function will appear for the conditions in Cell B3.

 08-29-2016_a08-29-2016_bOnce all of your conditions are stated in Cell C3, you can then copy the function in to Cells C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, and C9 and presto! You have your work completed! The finished results appear below:

08-29-2016_cKeep learning how to use Excel more efficiently so that you work smarter,
not harder!!!

If you want to develop or upgrade your skills to help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information, please contact Angela Nino at or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote, which can be used on up to 5 devices.

Microsoft Office 2016 (Office 365) BOSS Classes Are Here!!!

Office 365 Apps as of May 2016Do you need to learn Microsoft Office or update your Microsoft Office skills?

GET DIGITALLY PREPARED TODAY by taking one or more Microsoft Office productivity software classes—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, or Publisher—through Richland College’s BOSS Program.

REGISTRATION is going on now through Saturday, August 20, 2016, for full-semester classes.
For online and flex-term classes, registration will resume on Monday, August 29, and will be available until the beginning of the actual class start date. Click here to see the class schedule for Fall 2016 BOSS classes.

  • Word 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • Excel 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • PowerPoint 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • Access 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • Publisher 2016 – offered on campus and online

As you learn the latest software version of Microsoft Office, you will also be preparing for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam(s) that are available for Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. Getting your certification in one or more of these software applications lets employers know that you are proficient and highly knowledgeable about that application, which can help you with employment and promotions.

For more information on these courses and how to get registered, please contact Angela Nino at 972‑238‑6215 or by email at

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exams.

DYK?–if you take a DCCCD class, you are eligible for a free download of the latest Microsoft Office 2016 (Office 365) version? You can use your MS Office software on up to 5 devices!

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road.

Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes . . . Really?

10-06-2014 final 187440476These terms are usually used in the world of computing to describe disk space, or data storage space, and system memory. For instance, just a few years ago we were describing hard drive space using the term Megabytes. Today, Gigabytes and Terabytes are the most common terms being used to describe the size of a hard drive.

But what are they? According to the IBM Dictionary of computing, when used to describe disk storage capacity, a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes in decimal notation. But when the term megabyte is used for real and virtual storage, 2 to the 20th power or 1,048,576 bytes is the appropriate notation. According to the Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, a megabyte means either 1,000,000 bytes or 1,048,576 bytes.

When referring to a megabyte for disk storage, the hard drive manufacturers use the standard that a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes. This means that when you buy a 250 Gigabyte hard drive you will get a total of 250,000,000,000 bytes of available storage.

This is where it gets confusing because Windows uses the 1,048,576 byte rule so when you look at the Windows drive properties a 250 Gigabyte drive will only yield 232 Gigabytes of available storage space, a 750GB drive only shows 698GB and a One Terabyte hard drive will report a capacity of 931 Gigabytes. Anybody confused yet?

Both of these standards are correct depending on what type of storage you are referring.

Processor or Virtual Storage
1 Bit = Binary Digit
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1024 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1024 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1024 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1024 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte

Disk Storage
1 Bit = Binary Digit
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte

How about a little more detail?

A Bit is the smallest unit of data that a computer uses. It can be used to represent two states of information, such as Yes or No.

A Byte is equal to 8 Bits. A Byte can represent 256 states of information, for example, numbers or a combination of numbers and letters. 1 Byte could be equal to one character. 10 Bytes could be equal to a word. 100 Bytes would equal an average sentence.

A Kilobyte is approximately 1,000 Bytes, actually 1,024 Bytes depending on which definition is used. 1 Kilobyte would be equal to this paragraph you are reading, whereas 100 Kilobytes would equal an entire page.

A Megabyte is approximately 1,000 Kilobytes. In the early days of computing, a Megabyte was considered to be a large amount of data. These days with a 500 Gigabyte hard drive on a computer being common, a Megabyte doesn’t seem like much anymore. One of those old 3-1/2 inch floppy disks can hold 1.44 Megabytes or the equivalent of a small book. 100 Megabytes might hold a couple volumes of Encyclopedias. 600 Megabytes is about the amount of data that will fit on a CD-ROM disk.

A Gigabyte is approximately 1,000 Megabytes. A Gigabyte is still a very common term used these days when referring to disk space or drive storage. 1 Gigabyte of data is almost twice the amount of data that a CD-ROM can hold. But it’s about one thousand times the capacity of a 3-1/2 floppy disk. 1 Gigabyte could hold the contents of about 10 yards of books on a shelf. 100 Gigabytes could hold the entire library floor of academic journals.

A Terabyte is approximately one trillion bytes, or 1,000 Gigabytes. There was a time that I never thought I would see a 1 Terabyte hard drive, now one and two terabyte drives are the normal specs for many new computers. To put it in some perspective, a Terabyte could hold about 3.6 million 300 Kilobyte images or maybe about 300 hours of good quality video. A Terabyte could hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Ten Terabytes could hold the printed collection of the Library of Congress. That’s a lot of data.

A Petabyte is approximately 1,000 Terabytes or one million Gigabytes. It’s hard to visualize what a Petabyte could hold. 1 Petabyte could hold approximately 20 million 4-door filing cabinets full of text. It could hold 500 billion pages of standard printed text. It would take about 500 million floppy disks to store the same amount of data.

An Exabyte is approximately 1,000 Petabytes. Another way to look at it is that an Exabyte is approximately one quintillion bytes or one billion Gigabytes. There is not much to compare to an Exabyte. It has been said that 5 Exabytes would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind.


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, 972-238-6382.



Let MS Office 2013 Custom Apps Help You Increase Your Productivity!


timing concept

Did you know there is much more you can do to enhance your experiences with the Microsoft Office 2013 Suite than what is already included in Word? Excel? PowerPoint? or Outlook? While the applications within the Suite are literally crammed with tons of powerful features, there additional ways (through add-ins) that you can customize your specific office needs even further, which can save you time and effort. These apps range from

  1. Converting PDF files to text (recognizes text in six different languages).
  2. Generating a tag cloud of text from a Word document.
  3. Sending fax documents without leaving Word.
  4. Searching the web via Google within Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—no need to toggle back and forth between your Office applications and your web browser.
  5. Creating a graphical idea map from any of the Office applications.
  6. Converting the case of your text in Excel files quickly—This can be a life saver if you are importing information into Excel from a variety of sources because it saves you time and energy by not having to make “hand edits” that are slow and manual.
  7. Creating Excel data as a “heat map” – provides a visual of data for the United States and is color coded.
  8. Previewing hyperlinks from Outlook email messages—helps to prevent messages sent that contain broken links.
  9. Integrating key information from LinkedIn from your profile with Outlook—can help with your networking capabilities.
  10. Sending Direct Messages from Outlook to Twitter.

Vangie Beal previewed a total of 30 MS Office apps that can help you increase your productivity and efficiency, but there are many others that have been added that may fit your needs also.

Many of the apps are free, while others may have a one-time charge or a subscription fee. If you see any that can help you, simply click this link to go to and then “shop until you drop”!

P.S. I just found another app (for Excel) that can be very engaging when you are trying to transform data to a simple graphic quickly and easily. It’s free, it’s easy, and the name is Bubbles—try it, you might like it!

Take a look at the sample screen shot below.

06-29-2015 Bubbles App

If you want to learn new software or if you need to update your software skills, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


What Students Really Need to Hear

09-15-2014-final-478293049-150x150These are not my words.  They are the words of another teacher, speaking for all teachers everywhere!  Please take 5 minutes to either read the article or watch the video by this inspiring and very dedicated teacher, Chase Mielke.

Click here to watch the Video:  What Students Really Need to Hear


Click here to read the Article:  What Students Really Need to Hear

When you are discouraged and feel like giving up on school, try to remember what you learned from reading or watching what this teacher had to say about his students.  _____________________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.