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The bumper guide to make Office 365 work harder for your organisation

By Daniel Jennings April Thursday, 2016 Blog, office 365 No Comments

Office 365 is everywhere and by now most of you will have signed up for the subscription based offer. The new version of Office benefits from automatic cool new add-ons and features thanks to it finally being ‘cloud’ based. This means Office 365 is constantly evolving with new features being added, and existing features being improved.

It also comes with a whopping 1TB of data available through Microsoft OneDrive. You also get flexible access to Microsoft Office using any type of internet-enabled device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.  You can use the desktop version of Microsoft Office, and the Office Online version.

To help you get the most from Office 365 we’ve put together this bumper guide of tips and tricks – enjoy!

TIP 1 - Everyone can edit anything together!

You can edit a document at the same time in Word, PowerPoint or Excel. You can see the changes as they’re made and who is doing the editing. No more toing and froing with email attachments, waiting for the other person to finally send it back. Everyone can just crack on and work together at once.

You can even Skype whilst you’re working on a document together. Just hit the chat button and away you go. Even if you leave the Office document, you'll be able to continue the conversation via Skype on your desktop or phone.

TIP 2 – Edit a PDF and send it back as a PDF

We’ve all been there…someone sends you a PDF and you want to make changes but can’t. Now that’s a thing of the past. When you open a PDF you can hit edit, which will then convert it to a Word document, you then make your changes and resave it as a PDF. How brilliant is that – goodbye sticky notes! 

TIP 3 – Turn your scribbles into real text and drawings

OneNote is a powerful tool to use in meetings and creative sessions. It used to be that when you scribbled something down you then had to go back to your workstation and type it all up.

OneNote now allows you to convert notes and drawings when you scribble them on a device that supports it e.g. Samsung Galaxy Note. And if it guesses the lines wrong you can easily fix it with the lasso tool.

TIP 4 – Bing your images

The new kid on the block is called Sway, and it won’t be long before the good old fashioned PowerPoint presentation is a thing of the past thanks to this bad boy. It’s basically a giant online canvas that gives you loads of new tools to share information and show off work.

One of the nicest features within Sway is the integration with Bing images. Bing reads your presentation and suggest images based on the words you are using. As you add more words, the Bing image search automatically updates.

TIP 5 – Always follow what you love

With SharePoint Online you can now follow the things you love. Create and follow sites to collaborate on projects. Follow documents that are shared with you. Follow people who you want to stay connected with. Follow tags that relate to the projects you work on.

TIP 6 – Laser time!

If you are giving a presentation the old fashioned way using PowerPoint, and you don't have a laser pointer, you can use your PC's mouse as a fake one. You simply tell PowerPoint to change the mouse icon into a little red dot.

This isn't a new feature for Office 365. Older versions do this too, but Microsoft did include this feature in the version of Office that runs on the iPad released earlier this year.

Even though the iPad doesn't use a mouse, if you hold your finger or stylus down on the iPad, the red button fake laser pointer will appear.

TIP 7 – No more big email attachments

If your company uses a business edition of Office 365, here's a nifty trick for sharing a file. Upload your file to Office 365's cloud storage. Fire up the cloud version of Outlook (known as Outlook Web App) and, instead of attaching a file, link to the file on your cloud.

This isn't unique to Office 365 — all cloud storage services allow you share documents via links. But Outlook will automatically grant edit permission to the people you are emailing. (You can change their permissions too.)

TIP 8 – The power of Excel made simple

The power of Excel is how easily it turns data into charts. With the latest version, this function has been beefed up. Select the cells, fire up the Quick Analysis tool and click through your options for visually presenting the material: charts, totals, tables and sparklines (tiny line charts), etc.

You know how powerful Excel’s Fill Down "Control -D" command is? The new version of Office has something that practically reads your mind: Flash Fill. With Flash Fill Excel sees what you are doing and does the rest of it for you.

For example, say you are changing the formatting of a list of people's names from spread across two columns (first name, last name) into a single column. When you type the second reformatted name, Excel displays the whole list, reformatted. Just click to accept it.

TIP 9 – De-clutter your inbox automatically

Clutter is a feature designed to remove low priority messages out of your Inbox and put them into a ‘Clutter’ folder, saving you time when you scan for important messages.

Clutter determines the messages you are most likely to ignore based on your past behaviour. It then moves those messages to a ‘Clutter’ folder of your Inbox.  The ‘Clutter’ folder will be available regardless of how you access your account.

TIP 10 – Ignore

Reply-all conversations can be annoying and distracting, and worst of all can clutter your inbox. By using the 'Ignore' feature, all future reply-all messages will be automatically deposited into your deleted items folder. If you need to retrieve the conversation later, you can simply go into the deleted items folder and click on 'Stop Ignoring Conversation' and all messages will be returned to your inbox.

TIP 11 – Offline access

Sometimes it is not always possible to have an internet connection or at least not a good one. And so, not having an internet connection should not be a hindrance for you to avail the benefits of the Outlook Web App. That’s why the Outlook Web app also works in an offline mode to allow you to use it even when you lose internet access. Office and OneDrive for Business clients are also available in offline mode which helps you keep up with your work at all times.

TIP 12 – Avoid mistakes

We’ve all done it. That gut wrenching moment when you accidentally hit ‘reply to all’ or write ‘please find attached’ and there is nothing attached! Mailtips will stop this from happening; the tool will warn you about common mistakes, before you make them by default.

Topics: Blog, office 365

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