NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, April 2003
Professor Teaches Office XP
A Review by Bill Shook, Editor
(click to email author)

I was in the process of trying to find time to learn Microsoft Publisher 2002, primarily for the newsletter, when I received an email from Individual Software asking if we would like to do a review on their Professor Teaches Office XP tutorial suite. It sounded like an opportunity to not only review the software but also to get some help. I've had the package for a couple of months, but had problems spending enough time on it until now.

I have been very impressed with Professor Teaches. It is very user friendly, requiring very little time to learn to use, so that maximum time can be spent on the tutorial itself learning the subject matter. Their opening paragraph on the product at their website (http://www.individualsoftware.com) is as follows:

"Professor Teaches Office XP is the complete multimedia training program for all the leading Microsoft applications. Eleven separate tutorials on eight CD-ROMs teach beginning to advanced features of Office XP and Windows. Each program offers hundreds of practical exercises designed to build essential skills quickly and effectively. Step-by-step "how to" instructions make learning easy."

This says it all. I found everything they say to be true. Let me provide some detail.

Each of the eleven programs is loaded individually for use. The eleven programs are: Word 2002, Excel 2002, PowerPoint 2002, Outlook 2002, Access 2002, Publisher 2002, FrontPage 2002 (7 separate CDs) plus Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows Me, and Windows 2000 on one additional CD.

To install an individual program for use, the appropriate CD is inserted and the install is begun by clicking on the resulting menu. It went smoothly. They load pretty much like most other Windows programs, beginning with the License agreement and identifying the file location and copying the files. Also, each program provides the option to have the audio come from the CD or the hard disk. If from the hard disk, 2 to 3 times the space is required. The specs say that 50-95 MB are required per program. This is with sound coming from the CD. Also, Registration during install is optional, with provision to register at a later time. The install then gives an option to review how to use the course and the topics covered. Viewing how to use the course one time with one program will probably be sufficient.

It's tempting at this point to say 'and that's all there is to it; just follow the instructions,' which is pretty much true, but let me acquaint you with some of the specifics.

As stated before, each course begins with a list of topics covered and an estimated time to complete. Using Word as an example since it probably has more use than the others, 53 topics are covered, including the following: Creating Documents, Using Templates, Font Formatting, Working with Tabs, Applying Styles, Creating Columns, Borders and Shading, Inserting Images, Creating Charts, formatting Tables, Printing Documents, and Creating Web Documents. The course can be started with any topic, but is generally from the beginning. Each instruction page as you go through the course is numbered to help keep track of progress.

The material to be covered is stated both at the beginning of the course as well as on each instruction page. You are then given an opportunity, on each page, to perform these instructions and see the results. If a wrong icon is clicked, an error will come up and wait for you to click the correct icon, which reinforces learning. As stated, the results can be followed on each screen. Also on each page there are options of going back or forward one screen at a time, or to the main menu, or to quit. In addition, each page contains an options button which allows turning on audio (the instructions are read to you) vs just visual, repeating the audio, and hiding text. There are also options of Bookmarks, Glossary, Index (covering the entire course), jump to a specific topic, the main menu, minimize (handy for temporarily taking care of something else and then coming back), and Exit from the course. Minimize is also very useful in "shelling" out to your program to try out what you've learned and then one click back, without having to Exit Professor and then re-loading. The instructions also contain Hot words that some may not understand. Clicking on them will provide explanation. Finally, each chapter ends with a summary of what was learned and a 5 question quiz. As far as I know, the quizes aren't recorded, but answers are provided. A session can be terminated at any time; upon return it gives an option of continuing where it left off.

It is easy to go back and review just by putting in the CD, and selecting the subject desired.

Also, each course has an Answers program, which is on the same CD as the tutorial, but brought up separately. It allows going to any part of a course for review, either by browsing or selecting from a list of topics or entering a search word or phrase.

In summary, the program is very professionally done and easy to follow and learn.

System requirements:
System requirements are modest: Pentium PC or higher, MS Windows XP, Me, 2000, 98, or NT4, Double Speed CD-ROM, 16 MB RAM available, 50-95 MB hard drive space available per application, 16 bit color display or higher, Sound card, Speakers or headphones, and Mouse.

Can you believe it? All this for only $29.95!!! This is not $29.95 per program, but for ALL 8 CD discs and 11 programs!

Special discounts:
But, even better -- Individual Software now has special discounts for user group members on six of their product series available through May 2nd. Full details including products, descriptions, prices, and ordering procedures are on our website with the newsletter articles and can be found at: http://pcgroup.nwark.com/discnt43.htm Briefly, the product series and prices are as follows:

  • Professor Teaches Office XP: SLP (Suggested List Price) $29.95; UGP (UG Price) $24.00
  • Professor Teaches Windows XP: SLP $19.95; UGP $16.00
  • Professor Teaches How to Create Web Pages: SLP $29.95; UGP: $21.00
  • Professor Teaches Office 2000: SLP $29.95; UGP $21.00
  • Screen Creator Deluxe: SLP $29.95 UGP $21.00
  • Heritage Family Tree Deluxe: SLP $39.95; UGP $28.00

For more information on Professor Teaches Office XP, visit:


Individual Software
4255 Hopyard Road, #2, Pleasanton, CA 94588-9900
Susan Dykas, Public Relations Manager
800-822-3522 - Ext 166
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