With a new baby on the way life can feel very full. From birth announcements and a photo-based Website about your new arrival to growth charts and christening invitations, Microsoft Office can help make everything run smoothly.

Create a distribution and contacts list
Before the big day when your new baby arrives you can use Microsoft Outlook to create a special distribution list that includes all the people you want to share the news with. That way you can be sure you don't miss anyone out in the exhaustion and excitement of the first few days.

You can also use the contacts section of Outlook to record all the important names and telephone numbers that you may require, for example your midwife or health visitor's details and the calendar section to record any appointments you need to keep.

Prepare for hospital and newborn checklists
When rushing to hospital you want to be sure you have everything you need with you and haven't left an all important item behind. You can use either Microsoft Word or Excel to create a checklist of things needed by you, your partner and for the baby at the hospital. You can check off the items as they are collected helping to ensure that nothing is forgotten.

Making sure you have all the items you need for your newborn baby when they come home can be a daunting prospect. You can also use Microsoft Excel to prepare a checklist of all the items you need. You can use the list to keep track of where you have got to with each of the items, recording for example that things have been ordered or when their delivery date is, right down to where the items that have been bought or given are stored.

Create a photo album and website
You can use Microsoft PowerPoint to create a photo album of your baby's first few days to sent to everyone on your distribution list. You can include captions with the photos adding, for example, details of the time and weight at birth. Even if they don't have PowerPoint you can save the file in such a way that they don't need it to be able to read it and view the photos.

You could also use Microsoft Frontpage to build a website where you could post news and publish your photo album for your family and friends to coo over.

Make a baby growth chart
As your child gets older you can still use Microsoft Office to help keep track of things. Microsoft Excel can be used to create a baby growth chart. Excel has the facilities to allow you to include scanned in photos on the chart, for example of your child on their birthday or when they reach a particular height. In this way you can keep a close eye on their weight and height and also provide a useful and attractive record for your child to have when they're older.

Design your own christening invitations
Microsoft Word can be used to create your own christening invitations, saving you money and giving the christening a much more personal touch. Word has the facilities so that you can scan in photos that you can then use as the focal point of the invitation. The photos can be easily cropped and manipulated to fill any part of the paper you want. There is a huge selection of formatting options and font styles available, allowing you to play with the size and colour of any text and borders you may have added. This allows you to cheaply and easily experiment with the look of your invitations before deciding on the right look for you. You can also use Word to create thank you cards for christening presents, giving your stationary a coordinated look.

Microsoft Office can't get up in the middle of the night to help you with feeding and changing nappies but, if you put it to work, it can help you be prepared for one of the happiest times in your life by taking care of some of the details.