When I started working at Microsoft, I hadn’t been in such an open, technology rich culture before. And with so many IT systems around, and so many different software resources, my head was buzzing. In fact, I remember that at the end of the first week, the number of links in my Favourites was massive – just to internal websites.

I’d never used internet telephony, encryption, instant messaging, live meeting or SharePoint before, so I was all at sea until I could play around and work out how they were supposed to operate. Meanwhile, people who’d been at Microsoft for a while were metaphorically whizzing past me, as they collaborated, shared, published and distributed information. Whilst I was trying to work out how to answer my desk phone.

imageOne of the godsends for me was a set of documents called Work Smart Guides, which walked me through the basics of some of the new technology I was encountering.

As our IT team describe it, Work Smart Guides bridge the gap between technology and users. Work Smart guides provide employees with scenario-based, best-use productivity aids on Microsoft products and technologies.

We produce them because we expect to see more consistent, productive, and cost-effective use of products and technologies across the company – which helps the business ROI on IT investments, as well as helping people to understand the benefit the IT team deliver to users.

Updated ready-made IT guides

The Microsoft IT Team have just updated the published versions that you could modify and publish for your users. This is a great step – I’m guessing that lots of schools, TAFEs and Universities are either producing user documentation for staff, or want to. And I bet that 80-90% of the content is identical in each institution. So these guides would make a good starter for 10, either for the format, or the instructions, or simply the screenshots. As an example, here’s the Email Basics one.

The subjects covered in the step-by-step guides for users include:

  • Protecting data with BitLocker
  • Getting started with email
  • Transfer files and settings to a new computer
  • Collaborating with SharePoint
  • An overview of collaboration tools
  • Customising SharePoint sites
  • SharePoint workspaces
  • Integrating Outlook with SharePoint
  • Basics of managing email (Are you a stacker or a filer?)
  • Office tips for Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Word
  • Outlook email signatures
  • New features for users in Windows 7
  • Securing Windows Phone
  • Get started with Outlook Web Access
  • Successful meetings with Lync

Download the Work Smart Guides

There are 36 of them, and they come in one big Zip file for you to play with:

Learn MoreDownload the customisable versions of Work Smart materials.