Microsoft Office with a Stylus: Unleash the power

Guest Post by Matthew O'Brien - Microsoft Expert Educator

When you have a Tablet PC such as the Surface Pro 3, it is really easy to get stuck using OneNote for everything. After all, the two are a perfect match. But – there are plenty of other applications out there that can very effectively leverage the stylus. In this four part series I’m going to look at Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, giving real life examples of how I have used the stylus in the software for my classes, and then a quick how to guide if you want to get out and give it a go. Below are 4 office apps and how you can use a stylus with each.


Office with a Stylus - Word

Microsoft Word is a powerhouse for word processing – that’s why it was invented! Most of us use it, but because of the way we have always used it, most people are stuck with the linearity of keyboard entry with a bit of mouse action for formatting. That’s not a bad thing – it’s fit for purpose and appropriate. Check out how you can use Word with a Stylus at this post.


Office with a Stylus - Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of my most favourite software packages as a scientist, data nut and science teacher. It is amazing for doing calculations, creating small databases, running analysis, creating small programs and graphing results. All of these historically require a keyboard input, or a bit of mouse action – all the way it was designed to be used. This blog post will get your started with inking in Excel. 


Office with a Stylus - PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is an amazing presentation and an underutilised graphics editing program. Unfortunately, it is much maligned with people being “PowerPointed to death” – but this is the fault of presenters and creators, not the software. But both the graphics creation use, and presentation tips is a topic for another blog at another time. In the meantime, check out Ineke McGuire’s article on boring people to death and Toby Trewin’s article on other uses for PowerPoint. You can learn all about making your stylus a hit in PowerPoint by reading this blog post.


Office with a Stylus - Outlook

Outlook is a brilliant program for communication and organisation. It covers off on email communication, calendar scheduling (including synchronisation across devices) and task management. Add OneNote to the mix, and you got the tools you need for complete organisation control – but you can read about that here in my organisation trinity article. Check out this blog post for tips and tricks on using your stylus with Outlook.


Wrapping it all up

To wrap up this series I have create a video and a Sway sharing my thoughts. The first is a nearly 10 minute video that goes through everything I have covered in this blog series, with examples and step by step how to demonstrations of annotating in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.


The second is a Sway – This has most of the content from the four blog articles, a link to the video and some additional content as well so that OneNote is also covered.


I also had a bit of fun making some additional graphics to illustrate it all using OneNote.It is designed to be a stand alone resource that anyone could use to get familiar with the use of the Stylus in Microsoft Office.

Enjoy! Let me know if you find it useful 🙂


Guest Post By

Matthew O'Brien - Head of Strategic Planning - Brisbane Boys College

Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog

As the Head of Strategic Planning at Brisbane Boys College, Matthew is passionate bout providing opportunities to learn through technology. He has a keen interest in:

  • Use of the stylus as an interface
  • Use of data to inform (and improve) teaching practice
  • Flipped classroom (especially the use of video content)
  • Learning modalities
  • Learning analytics
  • Collaboration in the classroom
Comments (4)

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  3. DM says:

    Can you use Ink to Text in Excel for the individual cells?

    1. Clare White says:

      Hi DM,
      Thanks for reaching out. There is not currently ability to use the Ink to Text function in Excel in individual cells. We will keep you posted for any updates. Thanks ^Clare

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