Editor’s note: This week, we’re looking at Microsoft Office. You’ve probably only been scratching the surface of everything that Office can do, so watch CBT Nuggets trainer Simona Millham’s webinar Office Tips and Tricks for IT Pros on Tuesday, October 18 at 10 a.m. PT (5 p.m. UTC).
When you compare Microsoft Office to the invention of cars, cars seem way cooler. It’s an illusion. Cars can get you from point A to point B while you bump your head to the stereo, but sending a message to a friend without having to be there in person? Instant, groundbreaking power.
Microsoft Office 1.0 for Windows came out in 1990 and packaged Word, Excel, and PowerPoint together into one neat software bundle. It wasn’t long after this innovation that Microsoft Office conquered the real world office entirely.
Microsoft has been loading their productivity suite with features ever since. You can see what’s new in Office 2016, and learn how to use even the most obscure Microsoft Office tools with our training.
Here are a few of the technologies that Microsoft Office (thankfully) made obsolete.
1. Pen & Paper
Some of us still know how to write by hand. And some of us even miss the good old days of handwritten letters, memos, and notes.
Here’s the thing, though: the paper manufacturing industry is one of the biggest guzzlers of fossil fuels in the world. And to top it off, waste byproducts of the papermaking process give rise to air pollution, acid rain, and climate change.
Al Gore was insistent on fast-tracking the development of the internet, and now we know why. He was multitasking. Thank you for saving the planet, Microsoft!
Why they sucked:
- You couldn’t press two keys at once.
- Type too quickly and the keys would jam. Didn’t notice? See next point.
- If you made a typo, you had three options: start again, type over it, or give up.
Never used a typewriter? Try and write a letter to your grandparents using this Typewriter simulator and see how far you get before tearing your hair out.
3. White Out
Amounting to little more than white paint in a dropper bottle, White Out was an essential item in the office, but it’s miraculous ink-erasing power came at a price. Accidentally staining your tie with indelible white ink was almost guaranteed.
4. Fax Machines
They’re the epitome of a technology that just won’t die. The funeral has been prepared, yet they stubbornly refuse to attend. Fax machines remain popular thanks to their ability to securely transmit documents and signatures made by hand. That is, by legitimate people, not scammers and hackers.
Thankfully, the common people need not worry about faxes anymore. Fax-to-email was the only thing missing from a more planet-friendly world.
5. Files and Filing Cabinets
Office space? Expensive. Searching for a single record that was misplaced in the wrong index? Impossible without some luck, and tedious if you were desperate to find it.
Storing all your information, documents, and records in non-physical files on the computer might have saved the trees, but it also saved businesses big bucks by squeezing a roomful of cabinets into a hard drive just a few inches long.
Microsoft Excel replaced those complex, old-fashioned ledger books that were understood only by qualified accountants. Excel opened up the field of business to all who dared to brave entrepreneurship.
Running a successful small business became easier, faster, and inexpensive thanks to Excel’s ease of use in creating essential business records like balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, stock inventory, and more.
7. The Post Office
When did you last post a handwritten letter through the mail? People love sending and receiving mail so much they used to wait weeks or months for a single message to arrive via snail mail. Gratefully, those days are over.
The free version of Outlook Express was one of the de facto reasons why email took off. It was more than email; it was a personal postbox. Nowadays people use webmail like Gmail in the same way, but the ease and comfort of email through Outlook has never left us.
Did we miss another technology that Microsoft Office made obsolete?
Let us know in the comments below.
Learn all the things you didn’t know you didn’t know about Microsoft Office here.
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