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Must Know Software for the Administrative Assistant

Must Know Software for the Administrative Assistant

Jodith on Administrative Arts

Graphic Design

Many Administrative Assistants produce newsletters, fliers, posters, table cards, name tags and any number of other items. Some of these items must be professionally printed. Microsoft Publisher, which comes with Microsoft Office these days, is a good tool for simple graphic design and works for internal items. But if you are going to have things professionally printed, it doesn’t work as well. Many printers don’t accept Publisher files, and converting them to PDF can sometimes be problematic. Publisher also provides very little control over color, placement, bleeds and other issues.

Adobe InDesign is another software that you may see requested in job ads. It’s a very complex, graphic design software. You won’t be able to learn it overnight. And, if you are a Microsoft person, you’ll have a pretty big learning curve because Adobe uses completely different terminology for the same things than Microsoft. I was able to teach myself the basics of InDesign, but more than any other software, I recommend taking a class on InDesign. It really is very complex and to use it effectively, you’ll be better off taking a class.

Graphics Software

If you’re working on websites and newsletters, you are perforce going to be working with graphics. Unfortunately, there is much more to working with graphics than just dragging and dropping them into your document. You need to be able to change resolutions, crop, resize, adjust brightness and contrast, cut out unwanted elements, and a plethora of other little details to make your graphics look great.

In this case, Microsoft doesn’t have a nice, out-of-the-box option for you. Microsoft Paint just doesn’t do what you want it to, and Microsoft Photo Editor isn’t much better.

The industry standard for working with graphics is Adobe Photoshop. It’s a full scale graphic design tool that lets you do everything from adjusting photos to painting portraits. It’s a little over the top for the type of graphics work we do as Administrative Assistants, and it has a price tag to match.

There is another program that you can use. It’s an Open Source, free ware program called GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). If you are already familiar with PhotoShop, there is even an overaly for GIMP called GIMPShop, which is designed to have a similar interface to PhotoShop. I’ve been using GIMP for a few years, and while there is a learning curve to it, it pretty much does the job you want for a great price… FREE!

The career path of an Administrative Assistant requires that you learn many skills. Some of these skills will be software related. Especially in this current economic climate, you will be best poised to climb the career ladder if you know the software companies are using. Do yourself a favor, learn them now instead of later.

Let’s hear from some of the other Administrative and Executive Assistants out there. What software do you consider important for someone climbing the Administrative career ladder to know?

Read the Administrative Arts blog “Must Know Software for the Administrative Assistant”

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