Unlock Productivity: 7 Clever Methods to Use Microsoft Office 365

Often overlooked tips to make the the majority of this popular software for your company.

At many workplaces, Microsoft Office apps are this integral the main operational fabric that it feels as though they’ve been with us forever. The truth is, the Microsoft Office 365 of today differs compared to the version many folks are familiar with. Rather than downloading the suite of apps on your computer, it’s now cloud-based-which means you can collaborate, share files, and get work done from anywhere.

Even in the cloud, Microsoft Office is similar to you remember it, replete with all the current key features and services. Such familiarity doesn’t mean you understand or are benefiting from every shortcut, capability, or time-saving hack the program provides, however.

Knowing that, examine these seven productivity-boosting (but often overlooked) means of using Microsoft Office 365.

We’ve all been there: A contact is delivered to the complete company, and folks start Replying All. The responses, while occasionally amusing, are also a huge distraction. These endless email threads “will be the bane of my existence,” jokes Bobby Michael, an Office 365 specialist at Sprint.

Thankfully, there’s an instant, if often overlooked, fix: Ignore Conversation. The feature, which is obtainable beneath the message list in Outlook, automatically places all messages linked to a specific conversation in Deleted Items. “When you enter an answer All nightmare you can merely hit ‘Ignore’ on that message, and you won’t be bothered by all of the replies,” Michael says.

When in-person meetings aren’t possible-or are simply just too much of a period suck-Skype Meetings certainly are a good alternative. The web meetings tool includes real-time audio and video conferencing, IM chat, screen sharing, and whiteboard features. If you’re the meeting organizer, in addition, it makes it possible for you to control the discussion: you can bestow (and revoke) meeting privileges to participants, including the capability to share screens or initiate an IM conversation.

Also you can mute people on the decision, which Michael appreciates: “I was on a call last week, and a gentleman was breathing really heavily into his microphone. I politely muted him while I was speaking, and unmuted him when he had a need to say something.”

Meetings certainly are a necessary evil. Wasting time organizing them isn’t. The Free/Busy feature in Outlook eliminates the necessity for drawn-out, scheduling back-and-forths by allowing employees to easily check when co-workers can be found, busy, or out of office.

The feature is a specific favorite of Michael, who manages a big sales team. “I take advantage of it each day,” he says.

One new feature that Michael is specially excited about may be the ability to blur the backdrop on video calls. For people who have pets or kids will recognize the innate value in this, but also for those that don’t: Remember Robert E. Kelly? The academic rose to viral fame whenever a live BBC teleconference was interrupted by his two adorable children. Now, Kelly stars in Microsoft’s video introducing the feature.

OneDrive lets you sync all of your documents to the cloud, making them accessible via any device with or without WiFi. In addition, it enables teams to simultaneously edit projects, without ever losing tabs on the most up-to-date version.

OneDrive works much like Google Docs, but includes enhanced security features. Data loss prevention will say, “Hey, Laura is downloading a lot of documents, is it feasible she is on the point of leave us?” Michael says. “There are checks and balances,” like the ability for managers to get alerts so as to prevent IP theft when certain leading keywords, like the reference to a competitor, are used.

Phishing and spoofing attacks are increasing, a trend Michael has noticed dealing with clients at Sprint. Companies can truly add Office 365 Threat Protection with their plans, which protects against hacks by scanning all attachments, websites, and files contained in incoming emails.

There’s a whole lot that you can do in Office 365. So much that remembering how to accomplish each one of these things gets challenging quickly. That’s where “Tell Me” will come in. Represented by a lamp icon and located at the proper corner of the applications window, the feature serves as a virtual help desk.

Say you need to take away the BCC field from a contact, but aren’t sure how. Using “Tell Me,” searching “delete the BCC field,” and you’ll be directed to the correct command button in addition to relevant online help articles. Same applies to if you’re going to leave on holiday and need to create an out-of-office message, or wish to insert a table into your Word document, or want to perform a huge selection of other actions in Office 365.

Despite the fact that he’s a specialist on the program, Michael admits he still uses the feature every once in awhile. “There are a great number of command buttons that I don’t use each day,” he says. “You forget where they are!”

To learn more, visit sprint.com/whyspr

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