8 Office or 365 Hacks

Are you in the Office 365 club? It’s a club comprised of millions around the world who are collaborating easier (and faster) with the online productivity suite. If you are, then you know these two things:

  1. Collaborative cloud software can be a fantastic tool to increase overall productivity in the workplace.  
  2. It’s easy to get bombarded by all of the features available if you’re new to the product.

To make navigating the platform easier for new Office 365 users, we’ve compiled 8 helpful hacks.

1. Skyping and Typing

Skype for Business integrates with Word Online and PowerPoint Online. Perhaps one of most useful features available is the ability to chat with people collaborating on a Word document or PowerPoint presentation in real time. The ‘chat’ option appears whenever more than one person is actively working on the piece. Users can see their fellow editors typing, pasting, copying, etc. People are also identifiable, as their name is attached to their cursor.

Even if you’re not in the document, if you have Skype on your phone, computer, or browser open, you can chat. Chat titles reflect the title of the document or presentation. Contact cards are also automatically added to group collaborators.

2. Attachments - We Bid You Adieu

Thanks to OneDrive and Sharepoint, we can leave the days of adding attachments to emails behind us. Now, once you upload or create a document, presentation, note, or spreadsheet, it lives in Microsoft’s cloud. Each has its own unique URL. You can click ‘Share+’ and a window with the shareable link pops up.

Depending on your preferences, you can select links that allow people certain permissions. Collaborators can either ‘view link’ or ‘edit link’. Links are also available for sharing with people outside of your company. For example, one option would appear as ‘Edit link- no sign-in required’.

3. Anywhere, Anytime Access

Not by your laptop? No problem. Office 365 applications are available to download on Androids, iPhones, tablets, ipads, and Windows phone, and Windows 10 devices. Depending on your Office 365 subscription type (home vs. business) the applications available for download on these devices may vary.

Keeping these applications at your fingertips can be a great asset, especially for your business. All users need is their login and an Internet connection. Say one of your collaborators is editing a document from their mobile device, and you are editing it from the browser app, you will both be able to see one another live editing.

4. Save Your Doc Here, There and Everywhere

While Office 365 allows you to create and edit documents inside the platform, many people still prefer to save their documents locally to their desktop. Uploading those Office documents, presentations, and spreadsheets to Office 365 may sound like a hassle. To take the extra step out of the process, Office 2016 is fully configured to save to OneDrive or Sharepoint.

When you’re ready to move a document to the cloud, simply click ‘Save’ from the dropdown menu as you normally would. Then you will see options to save to OneDrive (specific notebooks too!) and Sharepoint. Should the document be a born in the cloud app, you can also choose to download it to your desktop.

5. Become a Sway Super Hero

For those who are less familiar with the tool, Sway is Office 365’s newest application for creating presentations. With Sway, you can still create or upload traditional PowerPoint presentations, but some people may opt for a more creative tool. If you’re someone who doesn’t like being hassled when trying to embed images or videos in your presentations, you will love this application.

Sway integrates Bing, YouTube, PicHit, Flickr, Twitter, and OneDrive to make the above process super easy. While editing your presentation, click ‘Insert → Suggested’ and drop down menu will appear with each of the above platforms. You can search right in the Sway dashboard select your desired images/video, and click ‘Add’ to see it instantly moved over to your presentation. No need to download anything and save it to your desktop anymore!

6. Let Me Teach You How

Getting to know new software can take time. It can involve tirelessly clicking drop down menus or forfeiting to Google when frustration peaks. The ‘Tell Me’ feature in Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online, may be the simplest, yet most useful feature. The Tell Me feature helps users save time as they no longer have to search all over the web to learn how to use their new software.

The Tell Me search box is located smack in the middle of the Ribbon on all three applications. You can’t miss it. Not only is Tell Me convenient, but it is also smart. You can enter something as simple as ‘list’ and you’re immediately shown options for bullets, numbering, text styles, etc. The Tell Me box doesn’t highlight and redirect you to where you should go to find these tools either. You can take action directly by clicking the desired option from the search results.

Can’t find what you need? Click “Get Help” and pop-out browser will appear with Microsoft’s top results.                                                

7. All for OneNote and OneNote for All!

If you’re someone who embodies all things ‘organization’, OneNote will likely be your favorite application. OneNote’s simple interface helps users keep their notes detailed, organized, and easily retrievable. OneNote is available for your desktop as well as online. Like the other Office 365 apps, you can share your notebooks with people you’d like to collaborate with.

So what makes it so unique? Picture yourself in a meeting, trying to catch every last detail your boss is presenting. You can simply hit Insert → Record Audio and the recording will begin immediately. You can continue typing your notes while the recording is taking place, just hit Stop when you’re ready. No need to ask the presenter to go back or scramble to find someone with the notes later.

The desktop version of OneNote has a few more interesting features like embedding video with a built-in browser search and password- protecting sections of your notebooks. While you can’t perform these features in OneNote Online, you can sync your notebook in the Desktop version and see those changes reflected in the online version.

8. Now It’s Easier than Ever to Sign on the Dotted Line

DocuSign and Microsoft have teamed up to make signing off on documents easier than ever. Once your admin has added DocuSign to your O365 instance you’ll see the DocuSign option in any emails that include attachments in Outlook. After clicking DocuSign, you can simply login with Office 365, choose who is signing, and a new window will open with the attachment.

The rest is a breeze, as you simply drag and drop your signature or other desired information (i.e. name, date, company, etc.). You can also send attachments requiring signatures in Outlook by clicking Apps → DocuSign and select your document or template. For more on this process, here’s a helpful tutorial.

Considering all that Office 365 has to offer, it’s easy to become overwhelmed (especially if you’re new to Microsoft Office in general). Hopefully, the hacks above have shed some light on just how easy it is to get things done - quicker and efficiently. With all of these great features, Office 365 has become a model collaborative cloud software product.