I suspect that many of those reading this may be too young to answer in the affirmative, but does anyone remember watching the Waltons on television?

That very close-knit family of rural Virginians growing up in the Great Depression were held up as a beacon of American values by no less a figure than the then president George Bush Senior, who said that his efforts to strengthen the American family would hopefully make them 'more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons'.

The family traits of the Waltons were honesty, decency and a willingness to support each other at all times.

And that rather tenuous link brings us to the family of Microsoft Office applications, although there are some similarities in that the different applications do support each other and they have certain traits that run throughout the family.

A very basic example of how different members of the Office family support each other is to copy from one application and paste into another, which is simplicity itself. Just copy as you would normally (Ctrl + C) in whatever application you have open, switch applications and paste (Ctrl + V) where you want your text or whatever to go.

There are many family traits held by all office applications including such functions as keyboard shortcuts, spell checker and Word Art.

One practical example of these family traits is the ability to add buttons to your toolbars. If a task you perform on a regular basis does not have its own button on your toolbar, then it is possible to add it by doing the following. Let us suppose we want to add Print Layout to our toolbar.

Click Tools then Customize
In the Customize dialogue box, select Commands
Select View from the Categories list
Scroll down to Print Layout in the Commands box and drag it to your toolbar and drop it in.

While doing this, you will notice all the other options that are available to add whichever button you want.

Sometimes the support of one application for another is not quite so obvious, as in the following example, where, although the process is done entirely in one application, it does need the support of another.

You can send an Excel workbook through email via Excel itself, but this will only work if you are using Outlook or Exchange. With your workbook open do the following:

Go to File then Send To
Click Mail Recipient
When the blank email form appears, simply enter the address of the recipient and send in the usual manner.

These are just a few ways in which the family of Microsoft Office products interact with and support each other. There are many more examples that you may like to discover for yourself, perhaps by means of a training course. The applications that make up Microsoft Office may seem a little daunting because of the sheer size of their capabilities. But as the examples above show, often a process you learn in one application can be applied in exactly the same way in another.

And, of course, there is only one way to finish this article on the Office family, with apologies in advance.

Goodnight Outlook. Goodnight Excel. Goodnight PowerPoint... etc.