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What are your “must-have” office skills?

I’m thinking about next year, strangely. I’ve now been taken on permanently in ICT (yay!) and my new department head is very much a progressive sort. So, I’m starting to think about to plan out the road-map for the year. In particular, I’m wondering what to do with the new year 7 intake. The new Y8s are fine – I had some fun this last year doing animations in Scratch, presentations in Prezi, design in SketchUp as well as some work in Excel, so they’re okay. The new Y9s have at least a half-term already “blocked” for an introductory look at the OCR Nationals (in the form delivered by the local upper school), plus I want to do some work with them using GameMaker (thanks @ZoeRoss19 for the introduction to that one) – I’ll need to be thinking about more there, too.

But it’s the new Y7s that I’m focusing on at the moment; I’d like to deliver some short(-ish) student-led units looking at how to use the major features of office software, properly.

…And yes I do mean office software, not Office software. I’m hoping to get them using not only Microsoft Office (the standard school installation is still Office2003) but Google Documents and possibly even LibreOffice, too, for a wider exposure to the genre than just the norm.

So my point is this… what are your “must-have” office skills? For me, there’s a whole heap of skills that simply don’t get taught (maybe, actually, most people primary teachers included don’t know them) that make using office software bearable. Now I’m sure that units a-plenty have been written on using Microsoft Office, but (a) do they adequately cover the alternatives now available and (b) do they actually teach the right skills?

Word processor: styles, table of contents, mail merge, headers and footers (including page numbering), section breaks as opposed to page breaks
Spreadsheet: cell references (including to other tabs in the same document), standard formulae, validation, naming ranges, web queries, absolute vs relative cell references
Presentation: master sheet, consistent look, minimising words

And then, after all that, there’s what desktop publishing software is for (and why it isn’t the same as word processing) and also thinking about what databases are for and how to use them.

What have I missed? Am I re-inventing the wheel (again) to no good end?

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