Most computers are shipped with an operating system like Windows and an office suite like Microsoft Office, pre-installed in them. Here are some extremely simple ways in which the different applications in your Office suite can help around the house! Whether Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org, it is most likely that you have an Office suite installed in your computer—this usually includes a word processor like Microsoft Word, a spreadsheet tool like Microsoft Excel, a database application like Microsoft Access and a presentation tool like Microsoft PowerPoint. Well, we all know that these are indispensable tools for professionals, so much so that they almost feel crippled without these software applications. But can these tools help around the house too? Undoubtedly! Here are someextremely simple ways in which you can use these tools at home. I know we all love the old world charm of the “recipe diary”. Despite all my tech-savviness, I still reach out for my diary whenever I come across an interesting recipe. But when you find time, do type out those recipes into Microsoft Word. For one, it gets stored in an electronic form, so next time you want to mail a recipe to a friend or relative, you just have to copy-paste the recipe into an email and shoot it off (or if you are very generous, you can even share the whole document as an attachment!) But more than anything else, it becomes very easy for you to find the recipes you want. For example, if you open the refrigerator one evening only to find a single cabbage sitting there, all you have to do it open your recipe document in Word, go to Edit > Find (or press Ctrl+F) and type in ‘cabbage’ and you will immediately be taken to a recipe that uses cabbages. Click ‘Find Next’ to find all other recipes using cabbages. And well, if you don’t have any cabbage-based recipes recorded, it might be a mighty disappointment! Microsoft Excel is a handy tool for managing domestic accounts! You can record the various expenses, budget for them, record the actual expenditure, compare these, total these, compare with last month’s, and so on. And what is more, you can have one spreadsheet each for each of your accounts: for your milkman, flower-seller, groceries, and even for your tailor, and whoever and whatever not! Of course, you will most likely be using Microsoft Outlook to store addresses, birthdays etc. But, in case you find the fields/heads in Outlook too many or too less, and if you prefer to store all this data in a form you are most comfortable with, then you can use Microsoft Access to store all this information. Just open Access, open the Help and explore how to create a database. Then create databases to store whatever information you want, right from your child’s examination results to addresses to birthdays and anniversaries. Digital cameras are a boon. You can click away to glory without being constrained by the number of photos that the film roll can hold. But then, nothing like an album, right? PowerPoint can serve as more than an album, and with no extra expense either—simple do-it-yourself style. Just create a PowerPoint slideshow. On each slide, insert a photo and a small paragraph of text describing the photo; definitely vacations have stories to tell. Now, that’s an easily viewable and easily storable album, with not just photos but descriptive captions and text as well. And what’s more, you can even add your favorite music track as the background music. Again, just open PowerPoint’s Help and explore how to create fancy slideshows! It’s much simpler than you would ever have imagined. Obviously, these are but examples, and there are many, many more ways in which these applications can be used to enhance your effectiveness and efficiency at home, but hopefully this non-exhaustive list of suggestions will open the ground for discussion, where you can share the various other ways in which you use these applications. Dear friends, Janani is planning for a break in between and so she might not be available for the monthly Technology columns for another 2 or 3 months. The reason being she is getting married. Let all of us wish her for a happy married life. Hello Janani Wishing you a happy married life. May God bless you and your would-be.