25 Office Software and Technology Hacks for Teachers or Instructors

How the Right Office Software Contributes to Your Classroom Experience

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How Optimizing Office Software Skills Can Make You a Better Teacher

Tips and Tricks for Students Using Office Software
Tips and Tricks for Students Using Office Software. (c) Caiaimage / Robert Daly / Getty Images

Teachers have a lot on their plates without worrying about technology. But some solutions are readily available in the office software instructors already know and use.

This list gives an overview of tricks, tips, and hacks you may not be using in programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and other alternatives, as painless as possible.

From add in and template suggestions to topical lists of tips and tricks, the following list as your one-stop shopping for increasing your academic productivity or just creating and preserving better life balance.

As you already know, technology can help set the tone for an effective learning environment, as well as productive study skills that can reinforce your efforts to help them succeed.

Getting more out of programs you already know is a smart way to be more effective as an instructor, which is a strength your students will notice and hopefully adopt themselves.

In the following list, the first few suggested instructor resources relate to free alternatives to Microsoft Office. These office software suites include OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, and Evernote (which is a free alternative to Microsoft OneNote, but with premium upgrade plans available). After that, the remainder of this list points you to resources and ideas for Microsoft Office.

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Best Sites for Academic Software Deals

Academic Deals. (c) Tom Merton / Caiaimage / Getty Images

School can be expensive for instructors as well as students.

Be sure to check out academic deal, coupon, or business sites for deals on software and other education-related purchases. You may save more than you think you could!

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Essential Touch Gestures for Boosting Productivity on All Your Devices

You may already know how to swipe, drag, or tap on your desktop or mobile devices.

But whether you are a newbie or's use and touchscreen user, this list is likely to help you learn some new tricks, making it that much easier to communicate with your students.

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Free Google Docs Add-ons for Teachers and Administrators

Google Apps Add-Ons for Education.

Google Docs is an online office software suite that requires an online connection, or syncing through an Internet connection.

These additional tools make this free office software alternative even more useful for teachers and administrators. Find out more here.


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27 Creative Evernote Tips and Tricks Students and Teachers Can Use for School

Presentation Alternatives to PowerPoint. (c) Hero Images / Getty Images

Digital note programs like Evernote continue to be popular among students and instructors alike.

If you are new to this brand or note programs in general, this list can give you a good idea of the benefits.

Many third party apps interface with Evernote, making it even more powerful. This note program is available on desktop, mobile, or in the cloud. 

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Free Education Tools for OpenOffice

Free Education Tools for OpenOffice. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of OpenOffice

 Open office is similar to Microsoft office, except it is open source and free. Its features are competitive, however, so many teachers and students use this office software suite.

This list of additional tools called extensions can help you get even more out of open office programs.

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Expand LibreOffice with Free Extensions for School

LibreOffice-for-Education 2.PNG
Free LibreOffice Extensions for Education. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of The Document Foundation

 Libre office is another free alternative to Microsoft office. If you use programs in this suite, you may be interested in these add-ons, called extensions. Best of all, most of these are free!

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Free OneNote Class Notebook Creator for Teachers

OneNote On the Web. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft OneNote is an obvious tool for students, since it helps users capture ideas and store them in digital notebooks.

Because students use these kinds of digital note programs, it makes sense for teachers to join that space as well.

Microsoft offers a class notebook tool, and provides training on how to use OneNote to create and communicate ideas.

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Meet Microsoft Sway

Design Tab in Microsoft Sway for Mobile
Design Tab in Microsoft Sway for Mobile. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

 Microsoft sway offers a new type of presentation tool, allowing teachers to integrate existing resources and dynamic ways.

This tool does not replace Microsoft PowerPoint, but it does complement that traditional presentation tool, by offering an additional way to share and work with information. As with other tools for teachers mentioned on this list, Microsoft Sway can also be used by students to present information or learn valuable skills as well.

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Save Money with Office 365 University or Education Plans

Microsoft Office 365 University
Microsoft Office 365 University. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

The desktop version of Office traditionally used by schools and businesses may turn out to be the best office software solution for your students and classroom.

However, if you have not looked into the cloud version of Office (which also includes the desktop version), this academic version may provide the right incentive to move toward a subscription-based sign on, for yourself, your classroom, or your entire institution.

Plus, since this is the direction Microsoft is moving toward, preparing your students to use Office 365 may strengthen your academic programming as well. 

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What is Microsoft Office Mix and How Does It Fit In With the Other Programs?

Microsoft Office Mix Add-in for PowerPoint
Microsoft Office Mix Add-in for PowerPoint. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Many teachers use PowerPoint to share information with students. This format provides a familiar structure with several bells and whistles.

A dynamic add-in called Office Mix helps presenters take their message to the next level, by offering a better way to record, poll, and share presentations. 

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Free Academic Templates and Printables for Teachers and Administrators

Printable Teacher To-Do List Template for Microsoft Excel
Printable Teacher To-Do List Template for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Many ready-made or turnkey teaching resources require a small investment of money or time; which is why these free Microsoft Office templates or principles for teachers and administrators are such great tools to check out.

This list includes tools for organizing your classroom as well as sharing your lessons and ideas.

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A Collection of Lessonn Plans for Teaching Microsoft Office

Lessons Plans for Teaching Computer Skills and Microsoft Office
Lessons Plans for Teaching Computer Skills and Microsoft Office. (c) Hero Images / Getty Images

 Microsoft office is so ubiquitous throughout the world, students need to have these skills and to understand these programs.

But for those of us who have used programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and others for years, it's can be tricky to teach those skills. Or, sometimes instructors struggle to use the programs themselves. In either case, these lesson plans are a great place to start.

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How Microsoft Office Can Help with Experiments, Data, Reports, and More

Science Student and Teacher Using Microsoft Office
Science Student and Teacher Using Microsoft Office. (c) Hero Images / Getty Images

Microsoft office programs and add-ins can offer support for your science lessons.

These academic tips and tricks help you and your students communicate using symbols, notation, and more. 

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How Microsoft Office Can Help with Essays, Creative Writing, Grammar, and More

English Student Using Microsoft Office
English Student Using Microsoft Office. (c) Hero Images / Getty Images

English, language, or composition instructors already understand the power of word processing.

Here is a list of add-ins and other tips for enhancing the Microsoft Word experience, helping students connect with your assignments, with fewer roadblocks and distractions.

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How Office Software Can Help with Calculations, Equations, Graphing, and More

Math Student Using Microsoft Office
Math Student Using Microsoft Office. (c) Cultura / Getty Images

If you teach mathematics, you may be dubious of how much Microsoft word or OneNote can help you teach your material. 

Go beyond Excel with these add-ins and tricks for working with mathematical notation and more.

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How to Install a New Language in Microsoft Office Programs

Office Software Languages
Office Software Languages. (c) Fusion / Getty Images

If you teach a language subject, you likely already know that Microsoft office can be used in more than one language. But you may not be familiar with all the possibilities. Brush up on how to install language packs, and more.

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Microsoft Office's Best Graduation Templates

Free Graduation Templates
Free Graduation Templates. (c) Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Blend Images / Getty Images

If your academic duties include preparing for graduations, these ready-made tools could be very helpful, especially if you need to congratulate several students you have worked with.

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Microsoft Planner Makes Team Projects Simple and Visual

Office 365 Planner Charts View for Team Collaboration
Office 365 Planner Charts View for Team Collaboration. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Use this interesting Office 365 tool to plan or organize your classroom; or, consider using Planner to teach students project management skills or group work skills.

Microsoft Planner is an inexpensive and straightforward way to manage tasks, people, and resources. 

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6 Ways Cortana Helps You with Office 365 Documents and Productivity

Cortana Personal Assistant for Desktop.

Cortana is not just for personal or business organization and support.

In later versions of Windows, this personal assistant can help you stay informed, efficient, and organized. Learn how Cortana can help when it comes to Microsoft's cloud version, Office 365.

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Consider Docs.com (Different from Office Online)

Microsoft Docs.com
Microsoft Docs.com. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft's Docs.com offers a way to share portfolios and more. This could be useful for sharing digital files or helping students promote their work. Docs.com offers a profile-based view that could be helpful for some projects.

This is not to be confused with Microsoft Office Online, which is a free version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Onenote (you'll find links to this here as well).

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Top 20 Microsoft Office User Interface Customizations

Make Microsoft Office Your Own
Make Microsoft Office Your Own. (c) Caiaimage / Sam Edwards / Getty Images

Streamlining the Microsoft office program experience sometimes comes down to customization.

With this list, you are sure to find a few user interface settings to make working in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or other programs that much simpler.

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15 Optional Views or Panes in Microsoft Office

Helpful Views to Expand Microsoft Office Programs
Helpful Views to Expand Microsoft Office Programs. (c) fotosipsak/Getty Images

Once you have customized your Microsoft office programs, you can check this list for additional views to use for specific tasks.

For example, you may find some of these are relevant to specific activities you already have in mind.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Microsoft Office Software

Delivering a Presentation with Mobile Technology. (c) Hero Images / Getty Images

Finally, you may be interested in how to boost your overall skill level or prowess with programs like Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, and more--or the skill level of your students.

For ideas on how to step up your Microsoft Office skills generally, I suggest starting with this list. You'll learn about templates for different programs, add-ins for different programs (instructors may be particularly interested in those for PowerPoint presentations), and much more.