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The MS Office Power

Almost 90% computers in the world have an MS Office yet how many of us have realized the possibility of creating a multi million dollar empire from a mundane Word or Excel or PowerPoint, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

business Updated: Jun 01, 2009 22:09 IST

Almost 90% computers in the world have an MS Office yet how many of us have realized the possibility of creating a multi million dollar empire from a mundane Word or Excel or PowerPoint. We use these applications daily on an open it, use it, shut it basis. Has it ever occurred these very applications could also the stepping stone to one's financial independence and maybe even a foundation of a huge business?

The Excel Magic

What happens when there is a passionate relationship between man and software? Microsoft Excel is that mundane application we use daily to work on our work sheets. Have you ever thought of it as a revenue generator? Have it ever thought it could be "your friend"? Well here is a gentleman who made Excel his "best friend" and guess what Excel has too fallen in love with him and is showing this man features most us don't even know.

Ashish Mathur (www.ashishmathur.com) made friends with Microsoft Excel in his trainee days at KPMG and the relationship grew at MDI, Gurgaon. At a conversation a while back Ashish spoke about his "special relationship" with Excel. His business model is imparting Excel gyan to organizations. The value he offers is sharing Excel solutions which are simply not available elsewhere. For an organization it means better efficiency, time saving and huge cost savings where vendors push database solutions which are not even required. Incidentally Ashish is not a software developer but a layman like any of us. With an approximate rate of around Rs.30,000 for a single workshop, it could well be estimated his revenues could easily touch a few crores in the next few years. All this from an application we all use yet none of us ever imagined it could actually be a revenue generator.

Powerpoint Power

A good presentation can make or break a deal we all know and everybody wants the best presentation. This drive to give the best has resulted in almost what can be termed as a 'Powerpoint Economy'. If that sounds exaggerated try a search for Powerpoint Templates on Google and you get a whopping 1,010,000 results. While free templates do abound but the serious ones buy paid templates and thus an entire eco system of Powerpoint designers, content writers, 3D graphics experts has resulted in an economy of its own. You can order ready made templates of get yours custom made. Websites like www.presentationload.com and www.dreamtemplate.com offer a Powerpoint template subscription starting from a little as Rs.1500. www.presentationpro.com says it allows users to create "killer presentations" and you can even order a DVD of templates, 3D graphics and icons for around Rs.5000. If that sounds high here are yet more options like www.Ppted.com which offers templates for as less as Rs.1000. Started by Geetesh Bajaj in Hyderabad he also built an entire community of Powerpoint information sharing on indezine.com


Then there is more on the Powerpoint consulting front. For instance take Ellen Finkelstein Powerpoint workshop. An intensive 3 day workshop, the cost a whopping $395. Definitely for the serious ones, here she teaches about creating "outstanding presentation" along with design principles and tips on avoiding the "Death by PowerPoint" syndrome etc

Word's Worth

In our generation probably the definition of literacy could easily be whether you can use Word or you can't. Time, freebies, age, nothing seems to be able to dislodge the good ol' Word as world's most popular word processing software. Even in the times when Bill Gates was the most hated man probably Word was used to even write that content. It just keeps getting younger with a new version with each passing. The result an entire eco system is built around Word.

Word is template based, which means substantial time can be saved if the formatting is left to the template and users concentrate on content. According to Manish Sharma of Printo.in "Using Word for layouts of documents can save you from DTP charges of Rs.200 per hour." Printo is a printing company which allows you to print just about anything from a calendar to a book or just about anything that can be typed. Simply type and go to their Kiosks and you will get it in print. Their relationship with Word is one by default. Says Manish "We have set up Service Terminals for SMB, wherever SSTs are installed (Self Service Terminals) almost 80% individuals choose Word over other platforms."

What makes Word or for that matter Powerpoint so popular is perhaps the ease users find in sharing and collaborating data especially with formatting. Says Tarun Malik, Director, Product Marketing & Strategy, Microsoft India "Microsoft Office offers new tools to help users get better results faster, collaborate across boundaries, make more informed decisions, and work while mobile"

Office Scrap book

Over the years the good old Office has gone through changes. Some of which we like, the others just too gaudy for the ol' timers. Apparently MS Office celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Here are a few you may find useful.

Simply blog

This is perhaps the easiest way to blog. Simply write and publish your blog from Word. The new Office menu allows you to publish from the Office menu and all your documents will be sent to a blog, a website or a document server.

Dual Screen

Dual screen in Powerpoint lets you do two things at a time! View the editing screen on a laptop, and have a projector showing the main presentation. Just use the 'Show Presenter View' option to view the presentation as it would be during the show, while you make your edits.

Picture show

Add hundreds of pictures to separate slides at one go! Just click the Photo Album option under the Insert tab. This summons a dialog box that lets you add hundreds of pictures to separate slides at one go - in less than a few minutes.

Formula Icons

Gone are the days when accountants have to use formulas keyed in and now it's all in a jiffy with the Formula Icons. You no longer have to select a format or template and just dragging them makes you visualize the final output before selecting them.

Data Numbers

In Excel you can differentiate between different numbers and data. Just setup rules for data that are above or below a certain value, are duplicates, contain a certain value and so on. To quickly differentiate between the different values and the normal ones, you can setup colors, icons or graded scales that appear and change automatically.

Transferring docs thru Bluetooth

Ever heard of transferring your documents to a Bluetooth device from Word or Excel? Well, for that you need to know more about add-ins in Office 2007

Simply right click on the ribbon, select the 'Customize quick access toolbar' (quick access toolbar is what the ribbon is called). Here, click on the 'Add Ins' item on the left side menu. The 'Manage Add Ins' item at the bottom of that screen gives you access to a lot more options, through a dozen more screens.

One useful add-in that automatically turns on is the 'Bluetooth' which shows a nice little drop down allowing the user to send a document from any Office client (Word, Excel, etc) product to a Bluetooth device in range in a single click.

Perhaps the most interesting one is Google Desktop Office Add-in. I wonder if it was collaboration or submission that Microsoft had in mind when it designed this one!

The Last Word

Microsoft Office has been the undisputed leader with almost a 90% worldwide share. IBM, Sun and so many Open Offices have been able little difference to MS Office Suite. Even online office suites like ThinkFree, Zoho, Peepel have been hardly been able to make any dent in MS Office position. The result has been a huge eco system around this suite enabling thousands of people to earn and create businesses around this Office Suite. Did anyone ever imagine Word, Powerpoint or Excel could be the foundation of a multiple crore business?

(Puneet Mehrotra writes on technology www.thebusinessedition.com)