20 Tips for Mastering Office 365


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:

  1. Navigate to your Sent Items folder and double-click the message you wish to bring back. 
  2. Select the Message tab in the ribbon, and then choose the Move group.
  3. Choose the Actions icon and then click the Recall This Message option from the drop-down menu.
  4. Next, you will see a Recall This Message dialogue window opens that asks you whether you want to Delete unread copies of this message or Delete unread copies of this message and replace with a new message. You can also choose to receive a notification if recall succeeds on a per-recipient basis.
  5. Click the OK button.
  6. If you asked to receive status notifications, you would see a Tracking icon appear in the ribbon that, when clicked, will summarize the result of your attempted recall.

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:

  1. Click the Inbox icon in your folder pane or use the Control+Shift+I key combination to display your received messages.
  2. Next, click the arrow that has a line above it in the scroll bar in the Quick-Step box. From the list that appears, choose New Quick-Step. You will see a list of Quick Setup templates.
  3. Choose a template and then complete the steps in the First Time Setup dialogue.
  4. Give your Quick-Step a name and then click the Finish button.

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:

  1. Open MFCMAPI.
  2. Accept any prompts from the application until you see the primary window.
  3. Click Session and then Login from the main menu.
  4. Choose the profile you wish to backup from the Choose Profile dialogue box. A window will open that shows all your mailboxes and .pst files used with Outlook. Double-click on the mailbox for which you want to create a Quick Steps backup.
  5. Expand the Root – Mailbox or Root Container folder in the navigation panel.
  6. Look for a folder called Top Information StoreIPM_SUBTREE or Top of Outlook Data File and expand it.
  7. Find the folder called Quick Step Settings and right-click on it. From the context menu, choose Export Folder and then As MSG files.
  8. In the Save Folder Contents to MSG, check both checkboxes and then click OK.
  9. Use the Browse for Folder option to find a location to store your Quick Steps backup. The system will save each Quick-Step as a file, so you might want to create a new folder to store your backup.
  10. Click OK to start exporting your data.
  11. Close the open windows to shut down MFCMAPI or repeat steps 4 through 10 to backup Quick Steps from other mailboxes.



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:

  1. Right-click on OneDrive in the Windows taskbar and choose settings from the menu.
  2. Click the box associated with the Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC option, and then click the OK button.
  3. Use the Windows Start menu to find OneDrive and open it. Doing so starts the service.

Now, use the below steps to fetch files from a Windows computer:

  1. Visit https://onedrive.live.com from the remote computer. Log into the account used by your host computer.
  2. Click the Settings icon at the top left of your OneDrive window and then choose the PCs option from the list.
  3. Choose the host PC from the list that hosts the files you wish to access.
  4. If you have not connected previously to the host computer, you will probably need to acquire a security code via SMS or email and enter it into the space provided.
  5. Browse the PST computer using the web-based OneDrive interface.


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:

  1. Open or create a worksheet with two corresponding data series. Use a set with your data and another one with time or date values for your timeline that has regular intervals so that you can get the best possible results. Select both sets of data with your mouse.
  2. Click on Excel’s Data tab and then click the Forecast Sheet icon.
  3. Choose either a line or column chart from the Create Forecast Worksheet window.
  4. Enter an end date and time in the Forecast End box and then click the Create button to generate the forecast worksheet.
  5. Customize your forecast by clicking Options.

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:

  1. Click on the New Query option from Excel’s Data tab and then choose From Web from the Other Sources list.
  2. Type or paste the URL of the page that contains the data you wish to import and refresh.
  3. Use the previews generated by Excel to find the table that contains the data you need. When you find it, click Load. The data will appear in your worksheet.
  4. Later, refresh your data by right-clicking in the table and choosing Refresh from the context menu. 

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.

  1. Open Query Editor from the Data ribbon inside Excel.
  2. From the Get & Transform section, choose the From Table option. If your data does not have clear formatting, the feature might first ask you to define a data range. After that, select the columns you want to Unpivot.
  3. Click the Transform tab and then choose Unpivot Columns.
  4. After executing the Unpivot, you will see two new columns at the right called Attribute and Value
  5. Rename the columns to anything that makes sense to you. 
  6. Save your work to Excel’s default location by clicking File and then Close & Load. If you want to choose an alternate location, select the Close & Load To option. If you close without saving, you will have a chance to save your changes to a new worksheet. 

Dynamics CRM

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:

  1. From inside Dynamics CRM, navigate to Templates section of your settings.
  2. In the Templates section, click the Document Templates efforts.
  3. You will now see a list of templates to choose from. You can use one of the templates now or click the New option to create a new one.
  4. After clicking New, you can choose between creating a Word or Excel template.
  5. Click on Word Template. Under Select data, choose Contact from the dropdown box.
  6. Click the Select Entity button from one-to-many, many-to-many or many-to-one relationships. Your choice will depend on the purpose of your document.
  7. For this example, choose the many-to-one relationship called Account.
  8. Click Open in the dialogue box. You will see your template open in Microsoft Word.
  9. Set up XML Mapping by clicking on the Developers tab, then click XML Mapping. Choose urn:microsoft-crm/document-template/[entity name]/.
  10. Expand the Contact by clicking the arrow on the left. You will see available field controls that you can insert into your document.
  11. Scroll to full name, right-click it, and then choose Insert Content Control. Select the Plain Text option. Continue inserting controls until you have the ones you need.
  12. Name your template and save it.
  13. Back in Dynamics, navigate to Settings and then Templates.
  14. Click the Upload template option.
  15. Here you can drag your saved template file from Windows to the Upload Template box or use the interface to navigate to your file and upload it.
  16. When the document template loads, enter the Properties and Name.
  17. CRM will auto-activate your template. Next, you will activate security.
  18. Click Enable Security Roles. You can enable your template for everyone or for particular roles, such as CSR Manager.
  19. Choose the appropriate security role and then click OK.
  20. Use your new template by navigating to the contact record for which you need to create a document. Click the three-dot icon on the navigation bar and then choose Word Template. Choose your template from the list. 

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:

  1. From the OneDrive for Business web interface, choose the file you wish to restore by clicking on it.
  2. Open the context menu by clicking on the three-dot icon and then choose Version History.
  3. Select the revision that interests you and choose to either Viewit or Restoreit using the context menu.
  4. When replacing your file with a past version, you will see a dialogue box asking you to confirm the action. Click OK to make the change.

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:

  1. Within Access, click the File tab and then choose New from the column on the left.
  2. Choose Custom web app from the list of templates you now see.
  3. In the Custom web app dialogue, create your app by first entering its name and choosing an available SharePoint or Office 365 site for its location. You can enter the SharePoint or Office 365 site URL in the space provided. If you need help, click the Get help finding your web location link.
  4. Browse templates by clicking the circled-right arrow to the right of the dialogue box.
  5. Click the Create button. 

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

  1. Open the Database Tools tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Click the Relationships button. When doing this for the first time, you might also see the Show Table box appear. 

Table Selection

  1. Choose Show Table from the Relationships section of the ribbon if you do not already see it.
  2. Use your mouse to click Add to add tables for which you will define relationships.
  3. When you finish adding tables, click the Close button. 

Create Relationships

  1. Choose the tables to which you want to add a relationship. Most of the time, you will want to make a one-to-many relationship. You use one table as the Parent and a second table as the Child. Choose a field from the Parent table that contains unique information by left-clicking it with your mouse and drag it to the corresponding field in your Child table and release your mouse. 
  2.  In the Edit Relationship box, choose Enforce Referential Integrity and then click the OK button.
  3. You now see a line connecting the two fields in the Relationships window.  
  4. Repeat the above steps to create additional relationships, if needed. 

Delete or Modify Relationships

  1. Click the line that represents the relationship you want to edit. The line will darken.
  2. Use the Delete key to remove the relationship or double-click to open the Edit Relationships box to modify it. 

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:

  1. Open the database for which you will create a navigation form. When the file opens, open the Create tab. You will see the Forms icons near the centre of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Navigation button to see a list of available Navigation layouts.
  3. Select a layout. A form appears in Layout view, ready for editing.
  4. If you do not see the Navigation pane, press F11 to display it and see your database objects. Do not confuse the Navigation form with the Navigation pane. The form is what you are now creating from the ribbon. The Pane is the embedded window that shows your database objects.
  5. Drag an object from the Navigation pane to an Add New tab on the Navigation form. You now see the object’s name rather than the Add New tab. Notice that the object now displays in the form’s centre.
  6. Repeat Step 5 until you have added every needed object. While in Layout view, you can edit the names of the tab by clicking the name until you see a cursor.
  7. On the Access toolbar, click Save to save the form. Access will give you a chance to name your Navigation form. Now you see your Navigation form in the Navigation pane. You can open your Navigation form in the same way you open your database’s other forms. 

Access names a new Navigation form “Navigation Form” in the Form header by default. You can change the name using a few steps:

  1. Open it in the Layout view. Do this by giving your form a right-click and then choosing Layout View from the context menu.
  2. Select the label in the form’s header by clicking it once, and then click it again to get an editable cursor.
  3. Enter the desired name for your label and then press Enter.

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:

  1. Open the form in Layout view. 
  2. In the header, right-click, and then choose Form Properties.
  3. Look in the Property Sheet to find the All tab. Change the form caption as you desire. 

Next, apply a theme to your database.

  1. Right-click on any report or form in the Navigation pane and then choose Layout View.
  2. Change to the Design tab and use the Themes options to select various themes that change the database’s colours and fonts.
  3. If you only want to give your database different colours, leaving the fonts alone, use the Colors options.
  4. You can change the fonts without changing the colours by using the Fonts options.
  5. Select an option from the Themes section to change the colours and the fonts for your database. Preview each theme by hovering over it with your mouse and then apply it with a single click. 

Finally, make your new navigation form the default form for displaying data. Do this in four simple steps:

  1. Click Options under File and then Help.
  2. Choose Current Database.
  3. From Application, Options access the Display Form list and choose the name of your navigation form.
  4. If applicable, change the default form when your database opens on a SharePoint server, choose the form from the Web Display Form list under Application Options and choose your form’s name.



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.

  1. After opening a new Publisher file, choose Blank Page Sizes from the Popular Publication Typespanel. Choose an available page size and then click on Tools from the menu bar. Use your mouse to select the Mailings and Catalogs option. When the sub-menu appears, choose Create Address List. You now see the New Address List dialogue. 
  2. Define Column Fields. You must have two or more categories selected for your columns. Use the Customized Columns button at the lower-left corner of the New Address List dialogue and choose the headers for your columns that will hold information for your contacts. Highlight the column names such as First NameLast Name, and Email Address and click Add. Close the dialogue by clicking OK when you have finished adding columns. 
  3. In the New Address List window, type in the information for your first contact. Use your mouse to enable the empty field below the header of the first column. Use Tab to move to the next column. At the very least, add an email address and name for each contact. 
  4. Use the New Entry button to add a new entry. You can delete entries using the Delete button in the New Address List panel. When you have finished entering contacts, click the OK button to exit. Enter name for your mailing list and then click Save to finish your Mail Merge list. 

Use Publisher to craft your email message.

  1. Open Publisher and choose the Email option from the Publication Types menu in the left-hand panel. When the Email Templates menu opens, choose an available template and then click the Create button at the bottom right. 
  2. Compose your message and signature. You can import a document created using a different application by opening it and then copying its text and pasting it the Text place holder in Publisher. Paste the text into the next placeholder for your signature and fill in other appropriate placeholders. You have finished your message.
  3. Associate your message with your mail merge list by opening the Mail Merge task pane from the Mailings and Catalogs menu under Tools. Inside the Mail Merge pane, use the option to open an existing mailing list. Use the navigation tools to find the file you created earlier and then double-click it to start the merge. Notice the Mail Merge recipients panel open that displays the information for each contact. Click the checkbox next to each contact to whom you will send the message you created. Click Next: Create merged publications at the bottom of the panel to connect your message with your list of addresses. 

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:

  1. From the Start Page, choose Built-In and then choose a template category. Click on a template to discover whether it works with the number that matches your Avery product.
  2. When you find the Avery template that matches your needs, click Create.
  3. Use available Page Design options to change the fonts, colours and other attributes used in your document. 

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:

  • Calendars – Stories, sidebars and headings
  • Page Parts – Stories, sidebars and headings
  • Borders and Accents – Reusable graphic elements
  • Advertisements – Coupons and other advertising content
  • Business Information – Contacts and other information about your company

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:

  1. Choose an element you would like to save for reuse and save it by right-clicking it and choosing the Save as Building Block option.
  2. When you see the Create New Building Block window open, enter appropriate information including:
  • Title – Give your block a name
  • Description – Add optional information to help you identify your Building Block in the future gallery – Select the gallery to which you would like to add your new Building Block
  • Show in Gallery – Decide whether you want to see your Building Block while browsing the gallery
  • Category – Choose a pre-defined category for your Building Block or create a new one
  • Keywords – Add keywords to make your Building Block easier to find when you search for it

Use the following steps to insert a Building Block into your publication:

  1. Use the Page Navigation panel to choose the page to which you want to add a Building Block.
  2. Select Insert and then click the Building Block that you want to insert on the page.
  3. Scroll through the Building Blocklist or click More to find the Building Block you wish to use.
  4. Click your desired Building Block to insert it. You can now resize and move it as needed.



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:

  1. Choose Blank Project and then choose the Resource tab.
  2. Click on the arrow beside Team Planner and then choose the Resource Sheet option.
  3. Click on the Add Resources option to import the resource information that you already have.
  4. Enter new resource information by clicking on Work Resource. Add the name and details for your resource. 

Use the Resource Pool by following a few additional steps:

  1. Open your Resource Pool project.
  2. Open the project that will use your pool’s resources by choosing ResourceResource PoolShared Resources.
  3. Click on the Use Resources option and then choose your Resource Pool project from the dropdown box.
  4. Choose either the Pool Takes Precedence or Sharer Takes Precedence option to deal with conflicting requests.
  5. Use your selected resources for your project. Meanwhile, Project will add resources from your project to the Resource Pool.

Here is how to submit a Project Resource Request:

  1. Navigate to Project Service and then choose Projects.
  2. Select the relevant project.
  3. Use the down arrow from the bar at the top of the screen to select the Resource Requirements option. 
  4. Choose the roles for which you want to request resources and then click the Submit Request option with your mouse.
  5. Alternatively, you can choose the Hard Book function to hard book a resource after you select a role. After selecting the option, you will see a calendar that shows resources with colour-coded availability information. Use available tools to increase the precision of your resource search.
  6. A resource manager will review and approve (or deny) your resource requests. 

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:

  1. Use your mouse to access the View ribbon.
  2. From the Data section of the ribbon, click on Tables and then More Tables from the list.
  3. Use the More Tables box to choose the table for which you want to change the date format.
  4. Click Date format in the Table Definition window to choose the format for the dates.
  5. Click OK to apply.
  6. Click Apply in the More Tables box to apply your changes. 

Power BI

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.

Recording Steps

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.

Transforming Data

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.

Editing Steps

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.

Combining Data

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.

  1. Canvas – The area where you visually create your report; begin creating your report by adding fields from the Fields panel by dragging them to your canvas
  2. Visualizations – A collection of charts and other visual tools used to present your data; use the Visualization section of the ribbon to change the type of visualization used for your report; for example, Power BI can create a map based on geolocation data if you have it available
  3. Fields – The collection of data fields available for each query; drag the fields to the canvas to create your report
  4. Filters – Tools used to choose what data appears in your report
  5. Views – Use Report ViewData View and Relationship View to define your report

Sharing Reports

Share your reports using one of three available methods.

  1. Publish your report using the Power BI service. On the Home ribbon, choose the Publish option.
  2. Upload your .pbix file from the Power BI service. To access the Power BI service, visit app.powerbi.com in your Web browser and then click Get Data and then Get. Click Files panel, choose Local File and then choose your report file from the Reports panel to upload it.
  3. Save your report and send it just as you would any other file. Use your mouse to click File and then Save As. Click the Share icon.
    Sharing and Un-sharing Dashboards

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.

  1. Open the dashboard you want to share and then click the Share icon.
  2. In the Share dashboard window, click Invite and enter the email addresses of the people with whom you want to share your dashboard. You can also modify the default message. A yellow warning bar will appear if you invite an external user who is not part of your organization.
  3. Check the Allow recipients to share your dashboard option if you want recipients to re-share your dashboard.
  4. You can choose to share your dashboard with as many as 500 coworkers using Office 365 within your company, or you can share with people outside your firm by sending them a link via email.
  5. Click the Share button. 

When you must revoke access to your dashboard, follow these few easy steps:

  1. First open the dashboard that you must un-share.
  2. This time, click the Shared with button. You will see a list of all the people who have access to your dashboard.
  3. Click the dots next to Can view and choose Stop sharing to revoke access. You can also use the Disable re-shares option to prevent people from re-sharing your Dashboard.



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

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