Make Your Files User Friendly with a Document Interface or Table of Contents:
- Make Your Files User Friendly with a Document Interface or Table of Contents:
- Office tutorial video: Interfaces
- Microsoft Word Table of Contents Document Interface
- Microsoft Excel Document Interface
- Microsoft Excel Applications
- Microsoft PowerPoint Document Interface
- PDF Document Interface
- Mixed multiple files
Free Microsoft Office Tutorials
In this office tutorial I will discuss why an interface and table of contents is essential to communicate to your audience effectively. I view, print and format literally thousands of files each year. That is what I do in my secular employment. So I can honestly say to you that I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with regard to files and applications. All too often the content can be fantastic, or the application may be state-of-the-art, but if it does not hold out its hand and welcome you as the user it is ineffective.They do not have a table of contents or a document interface.
Office tutorial video: Interfaces
Consumer sentiment is extremely powerful. Our first impressions of a file or application can often mean the difference between someone using that application or abandoning it never to return.To illustrate this, imagine that you had to go to a city to do some work. When you arrive at the outskirts of the city you notice that there are no key markers or signs to direct you. So you open your street directory to try to get some references as to where to go only to find that there are no maps for this city. No one has ever bothered to take the time to provide you with a map. Very frustrating, to say the least..
Similarly, we often present people with rather complex files with no road-map and expect them to find their way around and enjoy the experience.This is why a table of contents document interface is necessary.
Whether we are working with Word documents with Excel files, coded applications in Excel, Microsoft Access or PDF files we should provide a table of contents document interface. In essence this is like holding out our hand and welcoming someone to our work. This is especially important if we are working with multiple files, or videos that we wish to pass on to an end user.
I’m going to list the applications and methods that I find useful in making files friendly. You may know have others. If so, please leave a comment so that all can benefit from your experience.
Let’s go through file friendly techniques one at a time.
Microsoft Word Table of Contents Document Interface
- Cover Pages are a great way to get people’s attention. Microsoft provides Templates for these under the Insert tab on the Ribbon. Make your own Cover Page to set the theme of your document.
- Table of Contents is a great way to help the user to navigate through your document. Even if you only plan to print the document and not distributed electronically you should add a table of contents. I have noticed that many people try to add a table of contents manually unaware that Microsoft will do this for you automatically and professionally.
- On to the Insert Tab, look under Links and you will see Hyperlink, Bookmark, Cross Reference. These can all be used to enable the user to navigate through your document.
- On to the References tab, you will see many helpful features such as Footnotes, Index, Citation, Table of Authorities and Biography; these can be effectively used to add to the user experience.
Microsoft Excel Document Interface
- Consider inserting an Document Interface Sheet as the first sheet. Use hyperlinks to navigate to the key elements in your Excel document.
- Use Comment Boxes to help your user understand how they can get the needed information from the data provided. Just as a side point. Format these Comment Boxes attractively and then copy and paste that formatting to all Comment Boxes in your document.
- Use Smartart to help the users see how the document will flow
- Consider putting a User Guide to help the user understand how they can use your file.
Microsoft Excel Applications
- With applications use of User Forms activated from your interface page provide a great way to help the user enjoy your hard work.
- Drop-Down Menus can be used to visually simplify your navigation options.
- Make sure that every sheet has a Return to Interface option.
- Why not consider a Floating Menu that follows the user throughout the whole experience in the document. You can even add your navigation from this menu..
Microsoft PowerPoint Document Interface
- Use Slide Show. Consider sending your file as a PPS or PPSX slideshow file, this provides for a great user experience upon opening.
- Use Hyperlinks to navigate through your document.
- Add a Short Video to the cover page to explain your goals and build anticipation for what lies ahead. PowerPoint is packed with presentation features.
PDF Document Interface
- Use an Active Table Of Contents. This will be created automatically if the table of contents was active in the document that the PDF was created from.
- Set the Bookmarks and display the bookmark window. Set your defaults to display this on opening before sending the file to the user.
- Use Navigate Pages. Set your defaults to display this before sending it to the user.
- Consider embedding a Shockwave File(Flash) on your introductory page. This can have a great effect and can showcase what the user can expect from your file.
- Make your PDF an Interactive PDF. Add a Print Button, Submit by Email Button, Comment Boxes and Drop-Down Lists. Why not allow the user to contact you for support and offer suggestions for improvement?
Mixed multiple files
The situation often arises where you need to send multiple documents links and videos. How can you do this effectively? I’ll show you some of the ways that I regularly use to accomplish this.
- If you have a PDF Writer why not Combine your documents and then set your Bookmarks.Have Bookmarks displayed as default on opening.
- If you are using Adobe 9+ you can then use the Portfolio feature. This is a marvelous feature that allows you to combine different file types, PDF word XL into one PDF file and presented in a carousel or slide format. All the user has to do is click on the current image to go to that file. This really is a wonderful feature that is not used enough. In my view.
- From within PowerPoint use Package in CD to put together a full presentation. All your files can put in one folder if you wish. Use your PowerPoint Slides with Hyperlinks as your first second and third menu choices and then Package to Your CD. This feature works surprisingly quickly. Folders of 30 to 40 files and videos can be packaged in just a couple of minutes.
- Multiple videos can be packaged with an interface by using programs such as Camtasia Studio which comes equipped with a Menu Maker. I often use this feature if I’m sending out an application that I have developed. Along with the application I send multiple videos packaged with an interface to help the user understand how simply to use the application. This can then be used as a training feature for staff working on the coalface.
This is just a list of some of the things that I have found helpful. There are many more that are available.
Interface your programs and files and make them user-friendly. People will want to view your work sentiment will be good and you will have less support problems.
In the future blogs I will show you how to do all of the suggestions that I have just mentioned. Stay tuned.
Make sure that your files and programs shake hands with your end users.
Office tutorials for document interfaces in MS 2003 table of contents tutorial Click Here
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