The Top 5 Office Tech Skills Modern Workers Need to Succeed

The Top 5 Office Tech Skills Modern Workers Need to Succeed

In 2013, Microsoft commissioned International Data Corporation to study and prepare a list of the general-purpose skills that most employers looked for in all their best-paying positions. The aim of the study was to allow students to know what exactly they needed to learn and train for to be employable had in mind.

The study recorded skill data for the top 60 jobs — positions with the best pay scales and job growth potential. It revealed that expertise at Microsoft Office software was the second most in-demand skill for most careers. It came second after the need for written and oral communication skills. Many states around the country already recognize the need for skills at Microsoft Office in the employment market, and their public schools offer Microsoft IT Academy training to students. Even Google, the company whose Docs feature has been trying to supplant Microsoft Office for years, requires Office skills for most of its positions.

Signing up for a Microsoft Office certification is certainly one of the best ways to prepare yourself to compete for jobs. Certification courses such as ones by SimpliLearn (see: details at can easily help in this area. Before you sign up for such a course though, you’re likely to be interested in finding out where exactly your Office skills may come up short. What kind of specific skills do employers look for?

Do your Office skills need a little extra work?

Whatever your choice of career, you probably already have a few skills to see you through. If you’re an accountant, for instance, you probably already know the financial functions on Excel; if you’re in management, you’ve possibly already picked up plenty of PowerPoint tricks along the way. Apart from such specific Office know-how, though, employers are likely to look for general skills that Office users need, no matter what their job.

Excel: Autofill

Autofill in Excel is a great timesaver, quickly populating columns and rows with numbered data. Many users, though, aren’t aware of this feature, and put hours into entering in data that could go in automatically. To use Autofill, you simply need to key in anything ending in a number in the first cell. When you click on the bottom right-hand corner of that cell and drag it to cover all the cells that you wish to populate, you’ll find that Excel automatically populates each one on its own.

As an example, assume that you have a set of data in different columns and rows in Excel. If you put down a formula at the bottom of the first column, Excel will automatically apply the formula to the data in the column. If you click and drag the bottom-right corner of that cell across columns, Excel will automatically apply the same formula to each column.

Excel: PivotTable

PivotTable is a tool available under the Insert menu on Excel. To use this tool, you first highlight an entire table, headers and all. When you click on the PivotTable icon now, Excel will automatically analyze the data and move it to a new sheet where you can work with it in different ways — average them, calculate standard deviation on them and so on. You won’t need to reformat your data or use any other function the way you would normally need to.

Word: creating a header template

As you prepare reports, letters or other kinds of documents on Word, you will at some point arrive at a basic set of formatting rules that you like well enough to want to use on other documents in the future. It’s possible to create a set template for such headers complete with all the formatting that you need.

Click on the Header icon on the Insert menu. When the menu shows up, you can set all the rules that you need, and save them. If you have a number of header templates, you can even set preferences to have different headers automatically used for different page numbers. This would be time-consuming work if you did it by hand.

Word: page layout management

Page layout management on Word is important enough to deserve its own menu item — it is third after Home, and Insert. Border Options, Margin and Shading Options and related functions can be invaluable when creating polished-looking documents. In many offices, workers need to call the IT department for help with these tasks. Learning to handle these on your own can make you an asset in any office.


Everyone knows how to hit Print on a document and watch a perfect printed sheet roll out. When it comes to more complicated printing options, though, many have trouble. Printing a document to file, printing selected sections of the document or fixing a stalled print are usually tasks that workers need to call for help for. Learning the print options in every Office program can be invaluable.

Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.