Windows 7 and Office 2010 for Dummies - Book + DVD Bundle, a book for the user who doesn't want to spend too much time in front of the computer and just wants to finish his work quickly, in order to "move on to something more important".That's what the authors say in the introduction to this just-over 300 pages 2 in 1 guide to Windows 7 and Office 2010. I must confess that, when I first glanced at the pocket sized book I raised my eyebrows and muttered a "Hm, this will be interesting!" I guess you're just as curious as I was to know how they packed so much information is so little space. Let's see, shall we?
Who should read this book?
Before I explain how the guide is organized, I feel the need to point out the target audience. This book was written for beginners. No, not for the beginner who has spent some time working on a computer but doesn't yet know how to install a wireless network, but for the "level zero" beginner. You've just bought yourself a PC and you can only locate the power button? Well, this was made for you!
How the book is organized
The guide is split in three parts, each containing a number of chapters and sub-chapters. It starts by introducing you to Windows 7, continues with Office 2010 and ends with "The Part of Tens", a section containing a couple of lists, that will be analyzed later in the review. The book also comes with 2 DVDs packed with video tutorials, but don't make the same mistake I did, at first. Don't think that maybe the DVDs contain some extra info that didn't fit in the printed version, because they don't. It's mostly the same thing. However, since "one image is worth 1000 words" and a movie is worth much more, they are very helpful and make you understand some of the things explained in the book much faster.
At a closer glance
The first part of the guide, dedicated to Windows 7, is split into 8 chapters. Along the way, you'll be introduced to Windows 7, learn about the Desktop, Start Menu and Taskbar, learn to navigate the interface and work with files, folders and programs. Also, you'll get information on how to "cruise" the Web, how to use the Control Panel to customize Windows 7 and how to protect your operating system. The last chapter of this section focuses on Media Options. Yes, it's all fun and games in this last chapter, and the guide covers all the basic operations very well. The second part of the book introduces the reader to Microsoft Office 2010, focusing on five of the most frequently used programs in the package: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Access. Just like in the previous section, the videos will prove themselves very useful, making the information much easier to understand and assimilate.
After reading the guide and watching the video tutorials, I'm sure that any beginner will be able to use Word, Outlook and PowerPoint quite well. I have my doubts, however, about Excel and Access. Those programs are less 'friendly' and require more than a couple of pages of basic training. To get one thing clear, when I say quite well, I really mean you'll use 10-20% maximum of what the program has to offer. You won't learn everything about Word, many buttons and options will still be a mystery, but you will be able to edit a document and, after all, that's what you need.
Moving on to the final section of this book, we get to the "Part of Tens". In translation, the book ends with two lists. The first is named "Ten or so things you'll hate about Windows 7 (And how to fix them)", and the second is a list of ten keyboard shortcuts, that would have made much more sense as a simple table than as a whole chapter.
Is the information comprehensible?
Yes! It's so comprehensible, in fact, that it sometimes seems simplistic. The book offers only the basic information and it makes it as clear as daylight, so if it's mentioned in the guide, you can be sure you'll get it! The authors take the time to explain everything step-by-step, using plain English and avoiding too much computer-talk.
This book is great for every beginner out there. Even if you don't know anything about computers, you won't get lost with this guide. However, if you do know the basics, I'm afraid this book will make you yawn. It takes readers from "level zero" and doesn't get them too far, but it gives them an idea of how things work and prepares them for the next level if they decide to learn more. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we all went through those moments in which any computer-related task was difficult to understand. This guide doesn't offer tons of information. It manages to fit both Windows 7 and Office in a Portable Edition because it only explains the basics. However, that's just what entry-level users need, so it's a perfect buy for them.