Microsoft Answers logoWhen you have a question or a problem dealing with an Office program, you want a solution NOW. But sometimes, even though we ("we" being us here in the customer assistance department) do try our best to make sure you have the support you need, going through the regular assistance routes (the Office web site, pressing F1 in your program to access Help, calling your niece who works at Microsoft) are not getting an answer.

You're frustrated. You're annoyed. You're getting angry and you're mentally composing a letter is out there who'll listen to your rants!

Well, simmer down, Bossy. You want answers? I got answers, because this is where your very own community comes in.

Welcome to Microsoft Answers, a collection of community-based forums, where people can ask questions, get answers, have conversations, and help each other out. It's pretty simple and straightforward: You go there, you choose the the program/service/hardware you need to ask a question about, drill down to the general topic, and start off by doing a search for your issue.

 Search box on the Microsoft Office Answers page

This is the quickest way to find an answer because chances are, if you have an issue, other people do, too. If you DO find that someone has answered your question, great! But if, in the results, you don't see the answer you need, you still have two options: 1) You can browse the topics that are threaded (organized by conversations between community members), or you can ask the question yourself.

And, because it's nice to return the favor, you could look through some of the questions and see if YOU could possibly help someone else out. It's a beautiful isn't, isn't it?

Some of the people lurking there are just like you and me: regular folks who need an answer to a problem and need it NOW. But there are also resident experts in the form of MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) who are willing to share their  high-quality, real-world technical expertise with little old us!

Note: You're free to browse the forums, but if you want to ask a question or respond to a post, you do need a Windows Live ID (which, of course, is free and takes seconds to set up).

So please: If you're frustrated, before you vent your rage using one of the Office feedback options, visit Microsoft Answers. I'll see you there (though you may not know it's me)!

"All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog." — Franz Kafka

— Crabby