Execution means everything in today’s marketplace. Businesses that achieve their goals satisfy their customers and set the stage for growth and prosperity. Similarly, employees that efficiently execute their tasks and other responsibilities contribute to the success of their company and increase their personal value.
Modern technology gives you as an employer or business owner almost limitless opportunities for productivity and efficiency gains, but much of that potential lies untapped. Developing an awareness of the capabilities of your everyday software and learning how to access little-known features can help you and your team produce better deliverables using less time.
Office 365 transcends the image of a traditional productivity suite by creating an ecosystem that incorporates all other relevant services such as as1 Dynamics CRM and OneDrive. Add Power BI to the mix, and you have a robust collection of tools that will help you do work faster and smarter.
You probably know that you can do many fantastic things using Office 365, but have not yet learned how to maximize its potential. The following tips reveal some of the less-known features at your disposal and show you how to find them and put them to use.
When you learn how to maximize the potential of Office 365, you will gain capabilities that make you more valuable. If you own your business, you have the knowledge to help your firm compete in challenging market conditions. As an employee, your ability to leverage the nuances of software increases your productivity and helps you stay in command of your career.
So far, we have tantalized you with the possibility of improving your work by making better use of Microsoft Office. Now, fasten your seatbelt and read on. As you learn, stay alert for other neat tricks that you can learn on your own. The power of the software you use daily might surprise you when you discover how much the following 20 tips for Office 365 can help you.
Microsoft Outlook works as an email client and also has robust tools for individual and group scheduling, as well as task lists and reminders. The following two tips will help you squeeze more productivity from Outlook than you thought was possible.
1. How to Recall an Email
Clicking the send button can spawn instant regret in the case of a message transmitted in haste. Regardless of whether you chose the wrong set of words or the wrong recipient, your life can change, at least temporarily, with one click of your mouse. If you use Outlook 2016 as your email client, you can have a second chance using the recall function.
Learn the following steps so you can recover quickly from a mistake:
Email recall might not work for every recipient, so you might want to add a delay to the Send function as an alternative to the Recall function.
You lose control over your email after sending it to an external recipient who uses Gmail, Yahoo or other email servers, so Recall only works if you use Outlook with a Microsoft Exchange account, and your recipient uses the same Exchange server. If you do not know if you use an Exchange account, check the email tab from the Account Settings window (accessed from the File menu).
2. How to Automate Recurring Tasks and Filing with Quick Steps
Use Outlook 365 to automate repetitive tasks such as inviting a particular group of people to meetings or forwarding emails to a group. You can also automate sequences to perform functions such as moving or deleting messages.
The Quick Steps feature includes several templates for automating Outlook tasks, so you can save time using the following steps:
Backup your Quick Steps, so you do not have to recreate them manually if something goes wrong with your Outlook application. The process requires MFCMAPI, which gives you access to your mailbox data. You must download MFCMAPI from the Microsoft Open Source website and install it.
Next, use the following steps:
Microsoft’s cloud-based storage service integrates seamlessly into Office applications and the Windows operating system. The service allows you to store and share files securely online, but it also has remote access features you need to know about.
3. How to Access Local Files Remotely
Use the OneDrive Fetch feature to remotely retrieve files located on your computer. The feature can save the day when your computer did not upload the information you needed to OneDrive, or you forgot to bring your flash drive with you to work. Fetch will also let you remotely stream videos stored on your computer.
A host computer must have Fetch enabled for you to access its files remotely using OneDrive.
Use the following steps to activate OneDrive Fetchon a host computer:
Now, use the below steps to fetch files from a Windows computer:
The latest version of Excel 2016 comes with many impressive new features that make your work faster and easier. Use the next two tips to get a taste of what Excel can do for you.
4. How to Forecast from Historical Data
Businesses use forecasts to set budgets and purchase supplies, but generating accurate data can present a challenge. Thankfully, Excel 2016 has a new feature that lets you create charts showing projections generated from time-based data stored in a spreadsheet. The function calculates the bounds of confidence and provides estimates for the margin of error using the Exponential Smoothing (ETS) algorithm.
Use the following steps to create a forecast with your data:
Now that you have slashed the time you spend creating forecasts, you can focus on other parts of your business that require attention.
5. Import and Refresh Data from the Web
Have you ever needed to update a spreadsheet using data found online? If you have, you can end the tedious process of repeatedly navigating to a web page, copying the data and pasting it into Excel. Use a one-time process to bring up-to-date information from a web page and after that update your data by clicking your mouse.
The process works well with correctly formatted HTML tables, but you can invest some time and effort to bring freeform data into your spreadsheet as well.
Import Web data using the following steps:
Use this tactic rather than pasting the table directly into Excel, to update it conveniently without repetitive cut-and-paste processes. You will find out you save much time and aggravation by letting Excel do the hard work for you.
6. How to “Unpivot” Data
The Unpivot feature of Excel gives you the tool you need to transform your data from columns into paired values. Known to some as changing data from “wide to long,” the feature lets you go “wide” by having multiple columns for data for each row or “long” by having a single data point per row, with the likelihood of multiple categories. In the database world, administrators describe as “folding” the process of moving data from columns into rows, which accomplish the reverse of a pivot table. In Excel 2016, Microsoft calls the process Get & Transformer Power Query.
Regardless of what you choose to call it, the process works in just a few steps using Excel’s Query Editor.
7. How to Extract Data from Dynamics CRM to Standard Word and Excel Documents
If your company has chosen the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you have access to templates for Word and Excel that draw from its data. The tools help you save time and improve accuracy by setting up a primary document that you can use to send or print the same type of material frequently. After extracting the data to your Office document, you can customize it for your particular purpose.
Start using Word templates with Dynamics CRM using the following steps:
You now have your document available to send or print using information from the contact you have chosen. Create as many templates as needed to streamline your business processes.
8. How to Back-up All Your Office 365 Data
Businesses embrace software as a service because of the convenience and flexibility supplied by the cloud. Office 365 and other apps such as Google Apps and Salesforce provide powerful features at affordable prices. Businesses pay only for the services they use, so they can quickly scale their IT with demand. Meanwhile, employees can work remotely, using SaaS applications, opening the door to distributed work-forces and flexible work arrangements.
When employees leave your company, you want to scale down your cloud-based services, but doing so causes you to lose access to the data stored in those user accounts. You also need data backups to protect against data loss from viruses and service errors. Similarly, some companies have legal and regulatory requirements that call for them to retain backups of all their business-related information.
Despite their appeal, cloud-based apps often lack the ability to backup and restore data. Users have accepted the risks involved with working without backups, but now they have some backup-as-a-service options available to them. Spanning Cloud, an EMC product, and Datto’s Backupify have demonstrated the viability of a cloud backup service. Another service, Asigra was the first to backup Office 365 data and has the distinction of backing up cloud data as well as data stored on local machines.
Shop carefully for a backup-as-a-service provider to ensure that you get complete ownership of your backups and coverage that matches the requirements of your organization. In the future, apps such as Office 365 might include built-in backup functions. Until then, however, you have the responsibility to take charge of your data.
9. How to Revert to Older Document Versions in Word
Regardless of whether you spent hours revising contracts or invested careful thought into marketing copy, you can lose everything by making a simple mistake such as deleting content. Such errors can cause much wasted time and inconvenience, but Office 2016 users who save their files on SharePoint and OneDrive for Business have a secret weapon. They can revert to previous versions of their documents to reclaim their brilliant and creative thoughts and move on with their work.
Word gives users like you the ability to view historical versions of all your files. To do this, follow a few simple steps:
Don’t forget that you can also access older file versions from the right-click context menus in the OneDrive for Business web interface, with up to 25 versions of your docs available, along with details such as the date of the revisions and the names of the authors who have made them. You’ll also discover that you can revert to older versions of other Office formats including Excel and PowerPoint. You can also access a recycle bin at the lower-left corner of the Web interface to recover deleted files.
10. How to Create a Web App
A web application can help keep your employees connected with their work, and connect your customers with the products and information they need. You can build a custom app using an online Microsoft Access database that works through a web browser to make app development a simple process. Your app can improve the accessibility of your business data while allowing you to manage your app using the familiar Access interface.
Create your web app using the following steps:
Access will now create an app for you based on your chosen template. Use the Add Tables tab to customize your project. The ease of which you can create, deploy and manage a web-based application using Microsoft Access might surprise you.
11. How to Build and Manage Database Table Relationships
Databases created with Microsoft Access use multiple tables that have defined relationships that make entering and retrieving data fast and efficient. Create your relational database by creating keys for linking fields between tables using Access’ powerful but simple visual interface.
For example, suppose that you create one table that contains contact information and another that includes the events and projects connected to each contact, you can create table relationships using the following steps:
Access the Relationships Window
Delete or Modify Relationships
Relationships in Access have several limitations. Firstly, you can only create relationships between tables in the same database. Also, you can create relationships between tables and queries if necessary. Finally, you must define every relationship you build. Access will not automatically predict the type of relationships you should create.
12. How to Create a Navigation Form
Navigation forms in Access simplify the process for end-users to access reports and other forms, so people can use your database without knowing much about the application. The application includes multiple layouts to choose from that support various user needs.
Use the following steps to build a Navigation form in Access 2016:
Access names a new Navigation form “Navigation Form” in the Form header by default. You can change the name using a few steps:
Change the form’s caption, the information that displays on the document tab either above the form or in the window’s title bar, using the following steps:
Next, apply a theme to your database.
Finally, make your new navigation form the default form for displaying data. Do this in four simple steps:
13. How to Create a Mail Merge
Mail merge gives you an easy way to send personalized emails and newsletters to people on your contact list. You can use Publisher to do Mail Merge using one of two methods.
Open Publisher to create an address list.
Use Publisher to craft your email message.
14. How to Create a Publication from a Template
Choose a pre-designed Publisher template to quickly start a new publication. You can find the templates available to you on the application’s Start page. You will see the page when Publisher opens when you do not choose to open an existing file. While using Publisher, you can access the Start page from the New menu under the toolbar’s File option.
Use the Featured option to search for templates. The Built-In option displays template categories such as brochures or greeting cards. If you cannot find a template you like, use the search box to find templates at the Microsoft Office website.
Suppose you wanted to make a greeting card. You would click Card, choose a design and then click Create and then Other designs. Next, click on Page Design and then Change Template.
You can also manage templates. For example, you can create a template from any publication you have made by saving it as one using the Save As dialogue. You can also change templates.
Publisher gives you access to Avery templates that work with the brand’s special paper and card-stock products. If you want to use a new Avery product, you can find the template for it online.
Use the following steps to access Avery templates using Publisher:
After creating a publisher document, visit the File option from the menu to access your print options. You can also choose Export to save your publication as a PDF or choose Pack and Go options to prepare your file for commercial printing.
15. Use Building Blocks to Quickly Create a Publication
Speed your document creation in Publisher by using Building Blocks, which are content blocks that you can re-use. Blocks can include the following types of content:
You can find four galleries of Building Blocks by accessing the Building Blocks group from the ribbon. The fifth gallery, Business Information is in the Text group.
Create and save Building Blocks such as borders and images and make them searchable by assigning keywords to them using a simple process:
Use the following steps to insert a Building Block into your publication:
Many professionals depend on Visio for their work. The software helps professionals create diagrams such as flowcharts and floor plans, but it also supports 3D objects and drawing.
16. How to Create 3D Shapes
Within Visio, you can find a few regular 3D shapes. For example, there is a selection of diagram types including maps, networks and flowcharts. You also have built-in 3D stencils available.
In the Shapes window, click the More Shapes option and then click the type of diagram that you want to create. Look for 3D in the stencil name as you search the Microsoft Download Center for shapes. While working in Visio, you can also depend on the application’s 3D section.
Copy downloaded stencils to the My Documents/My Shapes folder on your computer. When you want to access your stencil, open Visio and then click More Shapes and then choose the stencil by name.
Other options for creating 3D shapes in Visio include using the Sampo Software 3D Visioner, an add-on product that works on Visio versions 2010 to 2016. The product supplies users with a first-person navigation mode that helps you import 3D models into Visio using.OBJ and .X formats.
17. How to Prevent Resource Over-Allocation
Stop over-allocating resources in Project 2016 using Resource Engagements, a new feature that replaces the Resource Plans function used in Project 2013. Managers can now use Project with confidence, knowing that they have not created an over-dependence on vital resources.
Resource managers using Project configure their Resource Pool so protect managers can submit accurate engagement requests. Resource managers receive and review requests and makes decisions based on available information.
Use the following steps to create a Resource Pool:
Use the Resource Pool by following a few additional steps:
Here is how to submit a Project Resource Request:
18. How to Specify an Alternate Date Format in Individual Project Tables
Use a relatively unknown feature to use an alternative format for the dates used in Microsoft Project. For example, you can decide to see a task’s date and time in the Entry table. In other words, you do not need to limit yourself to the default Date format specified on Project’s General page. You can assign a different date format to any table in your project.
Just follow these few simple steps:
Power BI creates visually rich data as well as dashboards that display relevant information. You can use the application to get organized, print reports and add analytics functions to your apps. The following tips apply to the desktop Power BI.
19. How to Shape and Combine Your Data
You can connect to a variety of different data sources using Power BI and then use the data to conform to your requirements. The following common tasks will help you get the job done.
As you use Query Editor, it records the step-by-step process you use for creating your data presentation. Every time your query connects to your data source, the editor will follow the same steps, so you always see your data shaped the way you want to see it. Meanwhile, as you shape your data, your source stays intact in its original form so that you can use it elsewhere.
Access the Transform ribbon via the right-click menu for any item such as a column and choosing options from the context menu. You can rename tables and transform data types using the context menu. You can also delete columns or convert text into numeric data. For example, you can right-click the column header and choose the Whole Number from the Change Type menu.
The Query Settings pane under Applied Steps displays the steps of your data-shaping process. You can delete steps by clicking the X to the left of each step. So, if you see a cell that shows Error you can view its details by clicking on it. As a result, you will see an Applied Step appear in the Query Settings panel that contains information about the problem that helps you take corrective action.
Use the Merge Queries option to combine your data. For example, if you have abbreviations associated with names or words, you can choose Combine and then Merge Queries from the Home tab. When you choose the table that you want to merge into your original table, you will see a new column appear that contains the information you want to combine. Expand your selection to include all the columns you need.
20. How to Create Reports and Share Reports and Dashboards
Use Report View to create an unlimited number of pages containing visualizations. The interface works in ways similar to the Editing View used by the Power BI service. For example, you can relocate, merge, and edit visualizations to create reports that deliver superior insights into your data. Click New Page on the ribbon to add pages to your report.
Use the five areas of Report View to create reports.
Share your reports using one of three available methods.
Share your dashboards to let your coworkers access your dashboards in the read-only mode using the following steps. Reports work like dashboards, so that you can share them, too.
When you must revoke access to your dashboard, follow these few easy steps:
Efficiency and productivity have become important factors in the modern workplace. People who can do more in less time are at an advantage over their peers, which results in better pay and more successful careers. Microsoft Office has set the standard for office productivity software and continues to offer innovative tools. As you have seen in the above twenty tips, Office supplies you with many less-known features that can make a difference in the way you work.
Some software features left unlearned have the potential to transform your job. For example, people often recognize OneDrive as a cloud-based storage service and never learn about some of its available tools. Features such as the remote access feature of OneDrive can help you stay productive while travelling and rescue information from older versions of your files. OneDrive can also help you avoid wasted meetings and project delays caused by forgetfulness or unexpected requirements, by giving you on-demand access to a remote computer.
Develop an awareness of the software tools and shortcuts available to you as you work. Spending time learning how to access the potential of your software can result in substantial efficiency gains that will boost your career and help your company compete. After experiencing some little-known but powerful features of Microsoft Office and related services, stay alert for other tools and tricks to put in your virtual toolbox. Explore the menus and ribbons available in every application and learn how every option works.
When you encounter a new challenge, check out the Help files in your application and visit the Microsoft Office website to learn from the online community. Every minute you spend learning how to get better results from your software will save you future frustration and help you distinguish yourself as a power user with an uncanny ability to get things done for yourself and your team.
Article Credit: invenioit.com