Word to the wise

A family of related comments has become a regular feature of the response from participants to the IT Training courses they’ve elected to take.  It goes something like this (and generally in this sequence):

Before training: “Yes I’ve used xyz before and I’m here to get a refresher.”

After training: “Gosh, I didn’t know you could do that with xyz!!”

Swiftly followed by: “ If only I’d known this before I’d spent hours the way I usually use xyz!

And somewhat later: “Why doesn’t everyone do this??!”

The following is from historian Dawn Williams, yet another who has recently encountered that particular Damascus signpost:

Excerpted, with permission,  from her blog “The Historian’s Desk

“Today I attended an IT training session on ‘Advanced Document Management’ in MS Word.

Now, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that MS Word, though obviously a vitally necessary programme (at least for those humanities students who have not upgraded to MacBooks…), has often left me banging my head on my desk in frustration. Without guidance or advice – and I don’t count the online help pages as very useful guidance! – it seemed to me to be a programme that did its level best to be overly complicated and unintuitive…. However, as I learnt this morning, Word has some very useful features, particularly for someone (such as a PhD student) who is anticipating composing a long and complex document (such as a thesis!)… Gone are the days of tearing your hair out producing a contents page manually and double- and triple-checking the page numbers!… I would very strongly recommend anyone preparing a long document in Word to read up on and try out using styles. It might seem like hassle to start with but I think it’s the sort of thing that would really help in the long run. I’m certainly a convert!”

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