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The Production and Preparation of Documents and Assistive Technology

This unit is concerned with producing high quality documents, exploration of the type of documents you will encounter, some of the processes you might be involved with when developing paperwork, and the technology that can support you to complete these tasks professionally.

By completing this section, the learner will:
Understand the purpose of producing high quality and attractive documents in a business environment
Know the resources and technology available and how to use them when producing documents in a business environment
Understand the purpose of following procedures when producing documents in a business environment
Be able to prepare for tasks
Be able to produce documents to agreed specifications
Understand the purpose of preparing for and evaluating a presentation
Be able to develop a presentation
Develop a basic understanding Microsoft Word and the reasons/benefits of using it
Develop a basic understanding Microsoft PowerPoint and the reasons/benefits of using it
Develop a basic understanding Microsoft Excel and the reasons/benefits of using it
Develop a basic understanding Microsoft Outlook and the reasons/benefits of using it
This section will consist of reflections exercises and activities. There will be a requirement to prepare and deliver a presentation outside of this Module, which will not be officially assessed, but will enable you to practice and evaluate your presentation techniques. It is advised that you get some practical experience of using Microsoft Office, as the tools are used on a widespread basis within the business world. This module will take around 7 hours to complete.

Documents - Understanding the purpose and value of designing and producing high quality and attractive documents

In this current business age, most organisations expect a basic level of production quality, whether documents are produced for meetings, for clients, or for use with external organisations. The different types of documents that may be designed and produced could be:
Letters – most organisations have their own standard letter template but there may be instances where you will have to alter the letter or change the style to fit the audience (e.g. changing the font, adding images to illustrate products, or font size for those with dyslexia).
Agendas – You may not need an agenda in all team meetings, but when you do it is important that it is clear and easy to read. It is also a good idea to leave space for any notes people may want to make during the meeting. The meeting section earlier in the module has already covered this in more detail.
Memos – Most companies have a standard template for a memo which will be simple, fit for purpose and will usually contain the company logo and tagline.
Business Cards – Business cards in an organisation can differ as there may be different reasons for producing the card. Sales people may include sales incentives or appointment confirmations on the back of the card, whilst the CEO may not include his/her personal mobile number, and may defer to his/her PA’ s number. In all cases, business cards need to be made of a quality, thick card, with either a matt or gloss finish, or be made of plastic.
Minutes - as already covered.
Reports and Spreadsheets - using Word and Excel which will be covered shortly.
Presentations - using PowerPoint or other tools, or handouts to give out after the presentation.
Newsletters – updating customers and potential customers with current news and offers.
Legal documents will need to look professional and contain the right terminology and legal clauses. This will need to be thoroughly checked after typing to ensure there are no contractual mistakes or typos.
Price-lists/Catalogues – need to showcase products and the design/production may be outsourced to a specialist agency to co-ordinate and print. The company may still produce new pricelists to promote offers which can be sent to customers; they can be picked up on-site, or be emailed out.
Different formats in which text may be presented may be Rich Text Format (.rtf), Plain Text (.txt), and Microsoft word (.doc &.docx). Another format which can be used to present text is a PDF. PDF files are usually used for finished documents and cannot be edited or changed. Some PDF documents however do have fields to input data in certain fields. These will be covered later on in this section when exploring Microsoft Office as a suite of tools.
Producing Documents to agreed Specifications
If these documents are regularly used by the organisation, the functional department, e.g. HR, Marketing, Operations or Sales, may choose to create a template for employees to use and keep on a shared drive so any employee can have quick and easy access. This also means that documents will have the same format and be professional and keep the high quality and standards.
Agreeing the purpose, content, layout, style, quality standards and deadlines for the design and production of documents ensures the company brand or image is portrayed consistently. It also ensures that the document includes the correct information and meets organisational, compliance, or regulatory standards.
The resources and technology available and how to use them when producing documents in a business environment
Many organisations are kitted out with the hardware and software to help employees to design and produce high quality and attractive documents. Tools usually used are:
High quality photocopier/printer
High quality computer software or apps
Desktop Computers/Laptops
Quality paper for printing or acetates for presentations
Ring Binding or Heat-binding machines– to bind professional reports or documents
Guillotines – for creating made-to-measure paper-sizes
When documents are well presented, clients and other stakeholders, such as shareholders, investors, employees and external partners, feel it is easier to read through or look over. If the quality is poor, then this will reflect upon your company image and reputation.
The different types of technology available for inputting, formatting and editing text are:
Computer (with monitor & keyboard or a laptop)
Printer, scanner
Computer software – Adobe Photoshop (image editing software)/InDesign (desktop publishing software), Microsoft Word, or Works, Microsoft Publisher (part of Office and is another design package for newsletters, certificates and brochures)
Computers are the quickest way of inputting, formatting and editing text when using the correct software for what you need. Microsoft word is generally the most used software as it is compatible with most computers. Microsoft word has a variety of built in features that allow for higher levels of editing, and formatting. You can change and edit fonts, sizes, layouts, templates, and colours. This will be explored further on in the Module.
Another way to input text is through a scanner through a JPEG or PDF. Using character recognition software, you can convert scanned documents into word documents and make changes as necessary. To do this however, the system you are operating and the document itself need to be high quality for the software to read the scanned document.
Understand the purpose of following procedures when producing documents in a business environment

It is important to agree on the purpose, content, style and deadlines for the design and production of documents so that everyone is clear on what is expected and the document outcome is fit for purpose. Agreeing the purpose, content, style and deadline will ensure the information reaches the intended audience in the best possible way suited to them. You can also save time if you have a clear idea of what is expected from you and you will avoid any misunderstandings.
These are the key ways in which you can research content needed for documents:
Company files or handbooks
From Colleagues
Internet (worldwide web – which anyone can access) /Intranet (the internal company version for employee use)
Organisational reports or data
Review sites which comment about your organisation
You can organise the content and research for documents by collating similar information into clear folders before you start to put it all together with clear headings so you know where to find information when you need it.
You should also make sure you know the purpose of the document so you can make sure that the style of the document is appropriate (e.g. formal/ non-formal, target audience). By knowing these you can create a rough draft and from there you can show the originator of the document to make sure that you are covering all the agreed areas and it is fit for purpose.
A simple way of integrating and laying out text and non-text is to use a word processor such as Microsoft Office Word. Microsoft Word enables you to input text and images such as graphs, clip art and other images. You can ‘wrap’ text around the images making the layout of the document easy to read. You can also change the layout of the page by adding columns or using a built in template. Other Microsoft Office publications such as Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher also have similar features to integrate and lay out text and non-text.
The purpose of checking finished documents for accuracy is to make sure that what you have written is understandable for the audience. It also gives a positive image of the organisation which is important for sales and growth. A company that sends out information with spelling mistakes will be avoided, or mocked, and assumptions will be made about the level of quality in delivering their goods and services. All documents should be accurate in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation you will avoid misunderstandings if a word is spelt wrong or incorrect punctuation is used.
Ways that you can check finished documents for accuracy are:
Spell & Grammar check
Proofreading
Asking a colleague to proof read
Making sure the facts you have included are correct
Storing documents safely and securely will enable sureness that sensitive information will not be disclosed to unauthorised people. Storing documents safely complies with the data protection act and ensures information is not disclosed to third parties who have not received permission. Ways that you can safely store documents are:
Lockable Filing cabinets (for hard copies of files)
Digitally filing documents on a computer (protected with passwords)
Backup copy of digital files (back up should be carried out regularly in case there are any losses or power cuts when documents are opened.)