Microsoft Office

This resource will provide an overview of Microsoft Office, and explain some of the common tabs that are universal amongst the programs included in it.

What is Microsoft Office?

Microsoft Office is a set of interrelated desktop applications, servers and services, collectively referred to as an Office Suite, which can be downloaded for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

The University of Wollongong provides all students with access to Microsoft Office 2016 for free. The programs included in this suite are Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.

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Instructions on how to download the latest version of Microsoft Office are available here. For further information or assistance you can contact one of our Peer Coaches or UOW IT services.

The difference between Microsoft Office and Office365

Office365 is Microsoft’s cloud-based counterpart of Microsoft Office. Office365 includes online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Office365 is also provided to you for free by the university, and can be accessed using your UOWmail account. To learn more, check out our ‘Office365’ resource.

Microsoft Office programs


Microsoft Word is a word processor that allows you to edit and modify, insert images, equations and symbols, and format documents.

To learn more, check out our ‘Microsoft Word’ resource.


Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet software that allows you to organise, format and calculate data using formulas provided by the software, which is broken up by numbered rows and letter-organised columns.

To learn more, check out our ‘Microsoft Excel’ resource.


Microsoft PowerPoint is a slide show presentation program that provides you with an interface to design multimedia slides that can be displayed through a projector or personal computer. You can incorporate images, sounds, videos, text and charts to create a presentation.

To learn more, check out our ‘Microsoft PowerPoint’ resource.


Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking program. It can be used to record notes (handwritten or typed) which can include drawings, screenshots and audio commentaries.


Microsoft Outlook is often used mainly as an email application however it also includes a calendar and task manager.

Common tabs explained

The tabs explained below are universal amongst all the aforementioned applications and only differ slightly in style to accommodate the needs of the application.


The File tab contains controls for the open file, including options to save, print or send the file, and the option to create a new file.


The Home tab is broken into sections of ‘Clipboard’, ‘Font’, ‘Paragraph’, ‘Styles’, and ‘Editing’.

  • Clipboard: Allows you to paste certain text or images that have been saved to the clipboard.
  • Font: Allows you to change the style, size, and colour of the font, highlight a certain word or sentence, make a word or sentence bold, italics or underline, and create superscripts or subscripts.
  • Paragraph: Allows you to adjust the paragraphs by either aligning the content to the left margin, right margin, centered or distributing the text evenly between the margins. Lists can also be created in either bullet point form and/or numbered lists form.
  • Styles: Allows you to choose a different style and format for your word document.
  • Editing: Allows you to edit the word document accordingly through either ‘Find’, ‘Replace’ and ‘Select’ buttons.


The Insert tab allows different insertions relating to the program being used. It allows you to insert items including:

  • Pages;
  • Tables;
  • Pictures, Shapes, Charts, Screenshots;
  • Online Videos;
  • Links;
  • Header, Footer, Page Numbers;
  • Additional text through ‘Text Box’, ‘Signature Line’;
  • Equations and Symbols.


The Design or Page Layout tab allows you to change the theme of the Word Document, PowerPoint Presentation, or Excel Spreadsheet. The theme is a set of preset style choices, including fonts, headings, and text colour.


The Review tab allows you to leave comments, track the changes of a document and to check for spelling and grammar errors in your Word Document, PowerPoint Presentation or Excel Spreadsheet.


The View tab allows you to change the way you view your document, including switching between viewing layouts and adjusting the zoom percentage.

Further resources