Back to school tools from Microsoft Office

Getting ready for going back to school involves a certain amount of shopping, even for frugal homeschooling mommas like me. This year our Daniel is preparing to head off to college (in 8 days- be still my heart!) a project that always seems to take an extra bit of shopping.

I know an 18 year-old is officially old enough to handle things on his own.  But there’s something mother hen-ish in me that always makes me fuss and shop a little more for a new college kid than for normal (homeschool) back-to-school. My kid is going out into the world, after all.

From pillows to towels to shampoo to Kleenex, right down to that jar of peanut butter and box of crackers for midnight snacks, I want to make sure my kids are comfortable and have what they need to free up their time and attention for the real reason they’re at school–to study and learn.

As a freshmen just beginning his basic requirements, Daniel will surely have papers to write. Recently Microsoft supplied me with some info about Microsoft Office 2010 and asked me to talk about it.  As a writer, I’ve used Microsoft Word for many years, and have really been happy with it. Daniel has a good start on a writing career himself– he’s already written two sci-fi manuscripts. So he’s familiar with Microsoft Office too.

But the latest version of Microsoft Office 2010 has lots of neat tools available that seem customized to make it easy for a college student (or a younger teen, for that matter) to write good papers and pull together professional-looking presentations.One tiny example: these days Microsoft Word can even automatically create a bibliography from in-paper citations. What student hasn’t spent hours on those pesky bibliographies?

If you’d like to see more of what Microsoft Office 2010 can do for your students, visit From there you can download a free trial to see if it’s something that would be useful for you.

Microsoft is also offering 15% off to get your students (or yourself) outfitted with the latest from Microsoft. And don’t miss reading other blogger’s back-to-school stories at Microsoft Office 2010’s brand page on

I’d love to hear what’s on the back-to-school shopping list at your house!


  1. An automatic bibliography tool?! Oh, I soooo could have used that in my college days (1999-2003).

    When I was in college, Word had little animated figures in the corner for the “help” feature. The standard one was a paper clip or a cat or something. But, I changed mine to the older-professor-guy. He looked EXACTLY like my English professor, so it was like Dr. R. was there helping me write my paper. Far more entertaining than actually useful… unlike the auto-bibliography. Wow, that would have been so cool!

  2. I absolutely enjoyed everything about going to college-even the process of the bibliography for all those papers so the new ‘tool’ is not something I would have invested in and won’t when I continue for my Master’s. Because I fully appreciated my time in college and all my kids did to make it easier (I was 50 when I got my BA recently) I wanted to enjoy the whole experience and do everything I could on my own.
    In my mind—putting together an excellent bibliography is as important as learning how to use a dictionary; a computer doing it for you just doesn’t cut it. Practice, Practice, Practice, is what college paper writing is all about.

  3. What a fabulous review! I hope you get lots of clicks from it and I wish we needed an updated copy! Having just taken Comp 1 a year ago, I too would have loved that handy bibliography tool!

  4. Hi Mary–just an FYI that there is a free online tool called that does bibliographies for kids too. I teach my English students how to use it, because it’s such a friendly tool. However, only the MLA version is free, so if a prof wants APA or Chicago, no dice.

  5. Great to know– thanks!