Nerd alert: Microsoft Office rocks.
Okay so I’m going to show a little naiveté here: when I first started designing stuff I started in PowerPoint. I’d been using it for years for lectures and presentations, so I knew my way around. Did you know you can curve words, make your presentation into a video, or mesh things together to come up with a hero shot? That first picture on my Teazzed page was done in ppt.
When I combined my photographic visuals for Black Cat Scribbles Vol 1, I started with PowerPoint. I made a “presentation” and line up everything just right, tweaking the font, the words, the image, and coming up with a great visualization of what that page of the story conveys. For image tweaking itself, I used PhotoShop or GIMP, but I found adding the story to the image works a lot better in PowerPoint.
I don’t use the Internet based Office too much though, just because if I need to access something, I want to be able to do so when the Internet goes down. And even though the person trying to sell me on the cloud based service was adamant the Internet is very stable, I can’t tell you how many times it has gone down at work, at home, or I just can’t get access (one time I went to interview at a college, and they wouldn’t allow guests on the wifi. Fortunately I was able to get a few things accomplished without the Internet, but I had been expecting to have a connection.)
Word is pretty cool too. The track changes rocks. Once I was helping a client who wanted to see my changes to their resume, and they said, “Just highlight all the changes you do in yellow so I can tell them apart from the original writing.” That confused me for a second, and asked if I could just use track changes. They said what is track changes. I showed them the function and marked up their document with the tracked changes and they were wowed by it.
I appreciate the “replace all” function. There have been times in my stories where I wanted to change the name of a character and did not want to go through multiple pages looking for every single time the name was used. With the “replace all” everything got changed simultaneously.
Excel is more of a pain. I keep track of all my class grades in it, setting up formulas so that it calculates the grades correctly. But once it’s set up it performs beautifully and saves me a lot of headaches. I’m not as into Excel as some people, mostly though because I am not a math person. But it’s still a good tool to use. I even have a spreadsheet to keep track of purchases and other budget things.
*End of nerdiness