Transitioning to Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 2016

Since the debut of Microsoft Office in 1990, each version came with more functionality, enhanced features, and tools for better efficiency. Each update tweaked the user experience (I am sure we all remember Office 97’s “Clippy,” the animated paper clip that appeared at the bottom right hand corner of the screen), but Microsoft made few substantial changes between the original Office and Office 2003.

Then Microsoft Office 2007 revamped the environment and introduced several grand features. Because of vast changes to the user interface, many users lost valuable time fighting to find the tools and interfaces that were familiar and comfortable.

Office 2010 brought along Web applications, allowing users to access Office tools regardless of the device of choice, whether phone, tablet, or PC.

Shortly after the launch of Office 2010, “cloud services” became a hot topic of discussion. Cloud storage continues to be a top choice for storage and backup solutions. Cloud storage provides Internet-connected users on-the-go access to their documents without the need of a computer infrastructure.

Two of the main initiatives behind Office 2013 and the Web-based Office 365 were cloud services and touchscreen capabilities, and these features deserve credit for much of the success thus far of Microsoft Office’s latest widely-adopted versions. Office 2013 includes OneDrive, Microsoft’s free version of cloud-based storage that has been integrated into every Office application within each suite.

Microsoft Office 2016 unites PC and Mac functionality. The latest version of the Office productivity suite introduces the “Tell Me” search tool, allows real-time co-authoring of Office Online documents, and provides deeper integration with the cloud. If you’re not familiar with Office 16, don’t worry about being behind the times: As with earlier Office releases, most businesses will transition slowly to the new version. Many small and midsize businesses are just now upgrading to Office 2013.

Additional training for Office 2013 and Office 2016

Microsoft Office 2016 suiteAs glorious as the new features can prove to be, to most users the transition to a new version of Office can be a major disruption to productivity. Drastic program changes can cause users to become frustrated and lose hours searching for signs of familiarity. Before businesses roll out a new version of Office, their end users should receive training and have necessary tools made accessible to assist with the transition.

At the remote systems engineer (RSE) “information technology helpdesk” where I work, we assist clients who have recently upgraded versions of Microsoft Office. After years of working with businesses in banking, law, healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, and SMBs across a spectrum of technology-dependent industries, we’ve learned how to help make the Office transition much smoother.

We accommodate most of the requests we receive for Office 2013 and Office 2016 instruction with either onsite training or live online training. Formal training sessions help to introduce the Office newbie to all the tools and shortcuts that can make them more efficient when dealing with documents, spreadsheets, presentations, email, and record keeping. These training sessions also allow experienced users to reinforce their knowledge and give them a venue to ask questions about specific, more complex Office features.

If you determine that a training session will help your end users work more efficiently in a new Office version, I strongly recommend using a Microsoft Certified Trainer. (If you’re hunting for an Office training specialist, I would be happy to help you in your search. Email me at or call 1-844-777-6278.)

I also recommend a few resources that reinforce the Office 2013 and Office 2016 training classes. Many of the end users I have met during presentations tell me that they frequently reference the written content that accompanies the training session. It serves as a “cheat sheet” until they have mastered the material.

Additionally, several user-friendly tools provided by Microsoft and other sites can assist with the learning curve caused by changes in the Office products.

If you were comfortable within Microsoft Office versions 97 through 2003 but can no longer find familiar features in your newer upgraded version, Microsoft provides an Interactive guide of Offices versions 2007 and 2010. (Office 2013 does not yet have an Interactive guide available. However, users will find the 2010 guide to be helpful until a 2013 guide is released.) The guide has proved to be a useful tool that shows users where features and tools are located within the new interface. Users may download a free version of the Interactive guide or can work with an online version as needed.

Microsoft also provides Quick Start guides that introduce Windows PC users to the basics of the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote apps in both Office 2016 and Office 2013.

Transition Tools:

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