Six US teens compete to be the best in the world … at Microsoft Office

How to get Microsoft Office for free
While your teenage years may have been spent blasting through video games, smoking illicit substances around the back of school, or standing awkwardly in the corner at parties, not everyone takes the same journey through life. Some teens have a different passion to fill up their spare time: Microsoft Office.

Having triumphed at the U.S. National Championships, Michelle Wu, Joseph Halikos, Andrew Parker, Ryan Catalfu, Ian Sexton, and Samuel Li will now take their skills to the global stage to see if they can earn the honor of becoming world champion. Each of the bright students specializes in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, the foundation stones of Microsoft’s productivity suite.

Office teens

To win the national prizes, the young people had to work their way to the top of a field of around 430,000 contestants via industry-standard Microsoft Office exams. The final challenge was a unique test where students were asked to replicate a document (or spreadsheet or presentation) using their computing skills and some raw digital assets.

So while you may have hit your 20s proficient in Half-Life 2 or knocking cans off a log with an air gun, these young men and women are going to be running rings around their peers in the Microsoft Office stakes instead. The World Championship event is being held this weekend in Dallas, Texas, and involves more than 100 finalists from more than 30 countries. Cash and medals are at stake as well as bragging rights — assuming you’d want to bring up your Microsoft Office world champion title in conversation.

“This competition has grown immensely in the last few years as students around the country have realized the value of earning MOS [Microsoft Office Specialist] certification to prepare for success in college and careers,” said Aaron Osmond of Certiport, which organizes the competition. “These six champions have proven their superior knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, and we wish them the best as they compete at the World Championships.”


Jam out in hi-fi style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.