The saying that we only use 10 percent of our brains is a myth, but most people only use 10 percent of Microsoft Office. The basic functions of the world's most popular Windows and Macintosh software suite are user-friendly enough for just about anyone with a bit of computer literacy. There are, however, deep and rich sets of features to Office applications that can help perform complex tasks and enhance the user experience. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification shows that workers know how to tap those time-saving features.
Types of MOS certification
MOS certification, formerly known as Microsoft Certified Application Specialist, comes in several different categories. Four new builds of the Office suite have been released since 2000:
- Microsoft Office XP
- Microsoft Office 2003
- 2007 Microsoft Office System
- Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft offers three ascending levels of credential in each of these builds, beginning with basic certification and continuing into Expert and Master qualifications. MOS certification at the Expert level consists of similar yet more detailed and difficult training than the entry-level exams. Master certification is earned by completing the highest available level of exam in four of the five flagship products of the Office suite:
- Microsoft Office Word
- Microsoft Office Excel
- Microsoft Office PowerPoint
- Microsoft Office Outlook or Microsoft Office Access
Word and Excel certifications offer both a basic and an Expert-level exam, while PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access have just one exam apiece.
MOS certification in the workplace
Although MOS certification exams can be taken for multiple Office suite builds, most workplaces that make use of this software are running the 2007 or 2010 versions. Office workers with MOS Expert certification in Word will learn to apply document protection and templates, efficiently format content, apply references to documents, perform mail merge functions, work with macros and create and manage forms. Expert Excel specialists will learn to work with workbooks, formulas, macros, and data visualizations.
MOS certification in PowerPoint will help professionals in various career fields, from business to research to classroom teaching, by providing expertise with graphics, charts, tables, transitions, animations and presentation delivery. Keeping the inbox clean and the messages professional is the goal of MOS Outlook certification, and training in Microsoft Access, the Office suite's database platform, will teach students how to manage information in a relational database, build tables and forms, create precise queries and generate reports.
Additionally, an exam is under development for MOS certification in Microsoft SharePoint, a business enterprise document management system that can function as a central node for several important aspects of a company's Web content. SharePoint certification is not included in any Master-level credentials just yet, but check back with the MOS certification page at Microsoft's website for continuously updated information.