All posts by Ali Jackowski

PowerPoint – Presenter Shortcuts

powerpoint presentation

When giving a PowerPoint presentation, what happens if you need to alter it slightly, while you are right in the middle of it? Do you fumble around with the presentation, and give it the appearance of not being professional, or make yourself look like you have no idea what you are doing?

Luckily for us, there is an easy way to make alterations to a PowerPoint presentation, and no one will be aware you were even doing it!

While in presenter mode, there are specific shortcuts to help you with decisions you might need to make during a presentation. How do we find and use these shortcuts during a presentation?

Follow the instructions on this video.

We recommend that you practice these shortcuts ahead of time, so you are familiar with them, when giving a presentation.

Increase the power of your presentations with a PowerPoint class from Mission Critical Training.

Training that Sticks.  With live, in-person, face-to-face, interactive training classes.  Learn more, retain more, use more!

SharePoint – Library Versioning


SharePoint libraries are a great way to store documents, especially when there are multiple versions of the same document. In a shared drive, documents are labeled many times with v1, v2, v3…, but this can make it harder to find what you are looking for. In some cases, the documents are saved in a number of different places, which makes it hard to know which versions is really the latest and greatest version.

There was a time where this was the only way to store documents, but that is no longer the case.

SharePoint allows you to store multiple versions of the same document on top of each other. Any time a document is opened in a library, it is always the latest version, and it is easy to locate earlier versions, as they all live in the same spot.

There are three ways to save document versions in SharePoint. The first is not allowing multiple versions at all. This means that every time you save the same document to the library, it overwrites the last one. Obviously, this is not best practice, as older versions are lost when they are overwritten.

The other two options are setup to save Major versions, or Major/Minor versions.

To setup versioning, or ensure versioning is setup in your library, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the library you want to check.
  2. Click on the Library.
  3. Go to the Settings group, and click on Library Settings.
  4. Once in the setting area, click the Versioning Settings link in the General Settings section. 
  5. Pick your setting, and then scroll to the bottom and click OK.

Creating Major versions allows a person to keep older versions, but every time a new version of the document is saved, it is available to anyone with access to it. Major/Minor versioning allows the editor to save changes without making the changes immediately available (Minor Versions). Once the Minor changes are complete, the editor can save the document as a Major version, which allows everyone with access to see it.

Learn to make SharePoint work for your organization with a class from Mission Critical Training, in either Denver or Phoenix.

Training that is relevant to your job – We teach you the stuff you can actually use.  Twice the knowledge in half the time.  Learn more. Retain more. Use more.

Excel – What is a Personal Workbook?

Worksbook in a basket

A Personal Workbook in Excel holds information that is specific to your computer copy of Excel. The workbook is created by Excel if it is needed, so you have no control over one being created or not. There are a number of things that might get saved, by Excel, in your Personal Workbook, but the most common items are macros that Excel selected to be saved, when the macros were initially created. Once a Personal Workbook is created, do not alter, delete it, or move it from the location where Excel stored it, as this can cause startup issues for Excel that can be extremely hard to fix. However, the one type of item that is okay to remove from a Personal Workbook is macros.

How do I know if I have a Personal Workbook, or find it to remove macros from it?

To figure out if you have a Personal Workbook, follow these steps:

  1. Open any Excel file.
  2. Once the files opens, click the View tab.
  3. In the Window group, just to the right of the View tab, check the Unhide command.
    • If the command is inactive, then you do not have a Personal Workbook.
    • If the command is active (like our example), then you have a Personal Workbook.

To open and save changes to the Personal Workbook, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Unhide command, make sure Personal is selected, then click OK.
  2. Make the necessary changes (note: the only changes that should be made in a Personal Workbook are removing/deleting personal macros.) and click the Save button in your Quick Access Toolbar.
  3. Return to the View tab, then to the Window group, to click the Hide command and re-hide your Personal Workbook.

Remember, always keep your Personal Workbook hidden. Also, save and re-hide your Personal Workbook any time you make changes. This workbook automatically opens and gives you accessibility to allowable functionality, every time you open any Excel workbook. If you do not have a Personal Workbook, do not worry. Excel controls whether one is created or not, as it is based on decisions you make when creating other workbooks.

Learn more ways to make Excel work for you with a class from Mission Critical Training in Denver or Phoenix.

Training that Sticks.  With live, in-person, face-to-face, interactive training classes.  Learn more, retain more, use more!



Designing SharePoint to be your organization’s best friend

Friends working

SharePoint can either be your organization’s best friend or a confusing, twisted path that you wish you never started down.   SharePoint was developed to be a user-friendly application that allows businesses to share data and information, in a customized system.  If SharePoint sites are designed correctly, it can be a powerful tool.  However, there is little direction given to best practices in building a successful system to help you develop a successful SharePoint site, and many companies build something that falls short of what they need.  Unfortunately, it is hard to find information online that provides you with guidance on these best practices.  Very high percentages of information about SharePoint on the internet actually go against best practices. So building a dynamic, useful SharePoint interface becomes extremely difficult.

Luckily, we can help!

Mission Critical Training can teach you all about the best practices needed for a SharePoint interface that will keep fellow employees coming back, instead of running for the hills, and help your company build a properly structured system that can accommodate future growth. Mission Critical Training has four SharePoint classes to help you create the ideal data management system.

SharePoint Level 1 – Besides instruction on building lists and libraries, this class will cover best practices for building the proper structure of those lists and libraries. The proper structure, and the ease of using lists and libraries, is the number one way to get employees using SharePoint.  However, without implementing best practices, it can quickly go the other way. Just because you build it does not mean they will come willingly, or continue to come to the system.  This course is critical to making sure you build the most solid and effective foundation for your site.

SharePoint Level 2 – Additional functionality and more advanced development techniques, along with site structure and permission best practices, make this class an important addition to your SharePoint training. Knowing what is available, what it does, and how to use it will give you the upper hand in discussions about the design of the company system.

SharePoint Level 3 – This course goes even further in using out-of-the-box functionality, along with some little-known tips and tricks.  SharePoint Level 3 will teach you the higher end functionality that will make your system easier to use, allow you to easily add future functionality, and keep others regularly coming back. We will give you more tools to increase the size of your tool box!

SharePoint Designer and Workflows – You do not need to be a coder to enjoy using the free SharePoint Workflow software tool from Microsoft. We will teach you how to use this application to develop a dynamic SharePoint system, with functionality that is not available in the SharePoint end-user interface. An entire day is devoted to automating a SharePoint system with the use of Workflows, considered the macros of SharePoint.



Professional Project Management

Professional Project Managers need to keep their eyes on all aspects of a project in order to keep it running smoothly. A Project Management course from Mission Critical Training can help you get the skills you need to keep your projects on time and on budget, as well as mitigating risks in the face of ever-changing circumstances.

MCT’s Intro to Project Management introduces formal strategies and skills that are essential to managing projects effectively. You will learn the fundamentals of laying out a professional project plan, managing and motivating your team, and adjusting and adapting your project plan as circumstances change.

Advanced Project Management brings your skills to the next level. This course will allow you to manage larger and more complex projects, as well as to better troubleshoot arising issues, and gives you a complete system approach towards project management.

Risk Management is key for anyone needing to ensure their organization or department is compliant for Risk and Safety Issues, ISO 31000, and the Project Management Risk Standard. This course will help you identify potential risks, prioritize them, and develop sound response strategies.

Register now online, or contact our sales office for more information, including private group training, at (303) 900-0850 or

For our full calendar of classes, please visit our website.


Project – From MS Project to Professional Project Management Concepts and Theory

Managing a project can involve keeping many balls in the air at one time. Luckily, Mission Critical Training has the classes to get you the skills you need to keep your projects – simple or complex – running smoothly.

If you are new to managing any kind of project, Microsoft’s Project application is a great tool to keep your tasks and resources organized. MCT’s Basic MS Project course will give you the skills for developing a project plan, including developing a schedule and allocating resources. Our Advanced MS Project class covers the advanced concepts for designing more complex and comprehensive Microsoft Project plans, including the ability to update and adjust project plans as circumstances change, integrate other Microsoft resources into your project, and create visually impactful reports as your project progresses.

To truly bring your project management skills to the professional level, enroll in our Project Management – Concepts and Theory course. This course focuses on the theory and core methodology you will need to manage projects, or participate on project teams. Understanding the conceptual underpinnings of project management will allow you to more effectively employ any project management application. If you want to gain the skills and knowledge to advance your career as a Project Manager, this course is an excellent place to begin.

Register now online, or contact our sales office for more information, including private group training, at (602) 955-7787 or

For our full calendar of classes, please visit our website.

Using an Input Mask for Data – Access

When people are typing information into a database, it is not always obvious how information is supposed to be entered. In many cases, having consistency in the way data is entered is crucial for custom functionality. Therefore, control through data validation is very important.

Input Masks are one type of data validation that ensure information is typed in the same way every time.

For our exercise, we are going to setup an Input Mask for telephone numbers, but there are additional options for Input Masks, including the option to custom build masks.

Follow the steps below to setup a mask:

  1. Open Access. Then open the table for which you need to add the Input Mask by double-clicking on the table, located in the Object Pane to the left. We are going to use the Contact table of our database, and add an Input Mask to the Business Phone field.
  2. Once the table is open, go to the Home tab of the ribbon, click the drop-down menu for Views, and select Design View.
  3. Once in Design View, click on the field you want to add the Input Mask.
  4. This will open the Field Properties tabs underneath the list of fields, so we need to click in the field labeled Input Mask.
  5. Next, click the button with the (to the far right side of the field), which will open the Input Mask Wizard.
  6. Ensure the Phone Number is the chosen option and click Next.
  7. The next dialog box allows you to see how the mask appears with information filled in, and allows you to choose your placeholder symbols. Once done, click Next.
  8. Select the way you want the field to look for entering data. Many people choose the option to see the mask while typing data into the field, as it gives the user a better feeling about the data they are entering. Thus, we will choose the first option and click Next.
  9. Click Finish, and the mask will be added to the field. You will see the Input Mask populate in the Field Properties.
  10. Go back to the Datasheet View, ensuring to confirm that you want to Save the table.
  11. Add a new item by tabbing across the fields in the record. Note that the Business Phone now has an Input Mask.

There are additional options in the Input Mask Wizard, but you can also type custom Input Masks directly into the field property.

Learn more ways to get the most out of your data with an Access course from Mission Critical Training.

Editing a PDF File – Word

Did you know that you can edit a PDF file in Word?

It is not the same as editing with an actual PDF software, but you can edit the document enough to fix errors or update the look of the document. Word will translate items you want to edit into the best format for editing that particular item. This  means some items will be saved as tables, pictures, or other functional parts. Once you are done manipulating the document, you just turn it back into a PDF.

Check out this video that will show you how:

Learn more ways to make Word work for you with a class from Mission Critical Training!

Don’t have a Mouse Available? Use Key Tips – Excel & Office

Have you ever had a mouse go bad, and IT can’t get a new one to you right away? Or maybe you are at home and don’t want to go to the store right after your dog chews through your mouse wire. The nice thing about computers is they do not require a mouse. Mice tend to be easier to use, but, in a pinch, you can still get your work done by using a little known functionality called “Key Tips.”

Key Tips allow you to use your keyboard to work on documents, without a mouse, and will even allow you to still use your Quick Access Toolbar. If you are a shortcut user, you will probably love this functionality. It’s easy to use. Check out the steps below:

  1. To get started, open a file. We are going to use Excel for our demonstration.
  2. Once open, press your Alt You will see letters appear in your ribbon and on your Quick Access Toolbar, which will look like this:Note that the letters correlate to a ribbon tab; all you have to do is choose the letter of the tab you wish to open and press it on your keyboard.
  3. After you open the tab you want, the letters will change over to representing different commands within the tab groups. We chose N, for the Insert tab, so we will see the letters used for those commands in the next picture.Note that there are some single letter options, double letter options, and even letter/number combinations.
  4. Type the option of the command,  and the functionality dialog box will appear or populate accordingly.
  5. If you need to back out of an area, or the functionality altogether, just press the Esc key.  You can then select new options, or completely start over.

Learn more tricks that can make your working life easier by taking an Excel course, or a class in another application of the MS Office Suite, with Mission Critical Training


Let your Database Skills Evolve with Access

You are pretty good with MS Excel. You have used it for years, taken MCT’s Excel classes, and developed some impressive spreadsheets.

Now what? What else can you do with all that knowledge of logic, formulas, and data?

MS Access is the next level. Apply your knowledge to MS Access, and learn basic database organization and management, so you can develop and manage relational databases that take your data to that higher level.

Start off with our Access Basic class to gain the foundational skills of creating and managing a database, including gaining an understanding of the basic building blocks of a database, such as Fields, Records, and Queries.  You will also learn how to generate simple reports to put your database information to work for you.

Move on to our Intermediate level course, and get the skills needed to build more customizable forms, as well as employ more advanced queries. This class also gives you the tools needed to dynamically display the information generated in reports, as well as to explore data relationships with pivot tables.

Our Advanced Access course bridges the gap between Access and Structured Query Language, introducing SQL, as well as covering advanced concepts in Microsoft Access, such as macros, and Access integration with internet applications.

Need to master Access in a hurry? Our intensive Access Boot Camp covers all of the skills of Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Access in just five days’ time! This course even concludes with a workshop session, allowing you to employ your classroom knowledge in your real world projects.

You can bring your mastery of databases even further by following up with one of our SQL classes. SQL Fundamentals of Querying will give you the basics needed to use this language as a tool to implement logic and define instructions to retrieve needed information. SQL Advanced Querying will give you the ultimate power over your data, allowing you to manipulate your information with the advanced capabilities of the language, including indices and subqueries.

Register for classes online, or contact our sales office for more information, including our private group training, at (303) 900-0850 in Colorado, or (602) 955-7787 in Arizona, or email us at