Essential Digital Skills Level 1

111 videos, 7 hours and 55 minutes

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Selecting the right type of document

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If you are creating a document, whether you are using Excel or you are using Word, the first thing you need to do is find out what you actually want to create. So the most important thing is look at what you are trying to get at the end of it, then you can decide whether it is best to do that in Excel or in Word or in other programs. So what you need to do is look at the finished result. Supposing you are creating a letter, for example, then the best thing to do with that is to use a Word document because that is pretty much what it has been created for. A newsletter can be better done in Word, the templates are much better there and then you can pretty do... You can put photos and you can do all sorts of things with it. But also if you are doing a newsletter, but you want to then put a chart in, Word is good for that because you can have a chart, you can say how many columns wide and deep it is and you might have a chart on there which could have some data on. You can even put diagrams on, you can put graphs in that.

If this newsletter you are creating, you have got a lot of data you want to handle, so maybe you want to have a live form where you can change things, so maybe it is just something simple like the exchange rate for the Euro to the Pound, what you can do with that, that will be better done in a spreadsheet, in an Excel file because you can have a box on there to say what the current exchange rate is. You can have all the amounts of the currency down, maybe £50, £100, £500. And then when you change the figure in the top, then it will change all the figures lower down so it keeps the document a lot more live. Spreadsheets are also better for more complex things you want to put reports on. Maybe you are tracking your personal finances or you are doing the accounts for your local club, having a spreadsheet can be a very easy way of managing that.

Spreadsheets are used a lot with other applications as well. If you are working in business and you need to process a lot of information or you need to upload information onto an online store, for example, what often they will do is they will upload that using a spreadsheet. So it may well be that the first column on the spreadsheet is what the product is called, the second column on the spreadsheet might be the manufacturer's part number, the third column might be your internal part number, the fourth might be the price you buy it for and the fifth might be the price you sell it for and then maybe the sixth could be whether it could VAT or not. So the advantage of that is, you can put all the information on a spreadsheet, you can upload that spreadsheet directly into your store and then all the products automatically populate. When you then upload images, for example, against those, because the reference is all the same, it is a nice, simple, easy way of working.

And we use a similar system with our training, that if we are selling e-learning courses and we want somebody to... And someone needs to upload all of their staff or all the students in a school to one place, they can supply us with a spreadsheet and that spreadsheet goes straight into our system and it automatically populates, it then sends emails out to people and it keeps it a lot easier. It is a lot easier than manually typing all that information straight in. There are different types of spreadsheet and the usual one with this upload is what they call the CSV file and these are ones that will upload nice and simple because there is no formatting in them, they are basic information just with key details on.

When you are selecting the file type you are looking for, look at what you want it to do. If you have got any sums involved in it, it may be better moving across to using a spreadsheet on Excel or if it is mainly documents, pictures and things like that, Word is a better format. Then the final thing to think about is how you are then going to export that. So you can export that as a document, you can export it as a Word document or a PDF, whichever you want. So both of those systems are there, but the most important thing if you are thinking about what type of document you are... What program you are going to use, is think about what the end result is going to be, what you actually want it to do.

Learning Outcomes:
  • EDSQ Unit 2 LO 6.1