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What’s New in Office 365 Webinar

Are you making the most of your Office 365 software? Microsoft has recently introduced a range of updates to the Office 365 suite. In order to ensure you are getting the most out of your software, Ben hosted a webinar to give you an overview on the latest updates and features you can start using today.

Watch the replay of the webinar, and there are some notes below for your reference. Here’s a free notes page you can download and print if you’d like to jot down a few notes as you’re listening.

Latest Updates in Office 365

Here’s an overview on what was covered in our webinar:

General Updates

  • One of the most noticeable updates recently has been the new icons for each of the Microsoft applications, and a ‘simplified ribbon’ – the menu bar above the applications is a bit more simple and easier to read.
office new icons
  • There is improved integration between applications for more seamless collaboration
Office Online
  • The online version of Office 365 is accessible from a web browser, which is extremely useful when trying to access documents or data from the cloud
  • The online versions are becoming more popular around frontline workers who can access the programs from mobile devices when they’re out of the office.
  • Apps are getting progressively more useful and introducing more functionality, so there are less differences between the online and desktop versions.
  • ‘Design ideas’ is a new feature whereby the program can offer ideas on how to layout your document based on what it thinks you’re trying to achieve (side note: does anyone remember “Clippy”, Microsoft’s Office Assistant in versions of Word?? #flashback)
Microsoft Office Clippy
Office Desktop (PC)
  • Unlike previous versions of Microsoft Office where you have to wait for an upgrade to access updates (ex. Office 2013 to Office 2017), the modern day desktop version of Office automatically delivers updates as long as your subscription is active.
  • Autosave functionality is now on by default and allows real time saving of changes on documents saved in the Office365 cloud.
  • Updates on user interface for improved user experience.
  • Some apps are starting to develop and improve some functionalities that are useful to hybrid devices (Tablet Laptops).
Office Mobile
  • “Any device, anywhere, anytime” is Microsoft’s main mantra at the moment.
  • Outlook mobile has amazing built in applications, which you can download from the App Store and log in as you would to Office 365 online.
  • Through a feature called Scanning, you can take a photo of a text or document written on any surface. You can then have the file saved as pdf with the correct orientation into your OneDrive file.
 Sharepoint and OneDrive
  • ‘Mentions’ are now available within Office documents for better collaboration – for example, if you are editing a document, you can insert a comment and tag a colleague by writing @johnsmith and John will be notified that there is a comment waiting for him.
  • Create reminders for Sharepoint to keep track on which files or documents to update. For example, company policies or risk management assessments that are meant for periodic reviews.
  • Sharepoint allows real-time file sharing that helps create a more efficient collaboration on document and content.
  • There is now more control on how we can share and grant access to content and documents. For example, we can now issue access that blocks the ability for the reader to download the content.
 Stream and Teams
  • Microsoft Stream is a powerful video library for your business. It is now commonly being used effectively for training videos and job interviews. And with the other Office365 apps out there that it can be integrated with, there can be a lot of powerful uses for Stream.
    • Speaker timelines are read with face detection powered by AI technology that detects which speaker is speaking.
    • Speech-to-text functionality automatically takes all of the audio from your video then converts it into text or transcript. It will then be saved next to the video within the Stream application.
    • Transcript search and timecodes is enabling users to search for certain parts of a video more easily.
  • Skype for Business is now being phased out and is going to be replaced by Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams is becoming a hub of where we do work. It is being integrated to most of the apps and features in the Office 365 suite. Also, more businesses are now using Teams as their telephones replacing previous methods of telephony.
  • Staffhub is now replaced by Microsoft Shifts, a little feature in Teams that helps you coordinate your rostering of frontline staff.
  • Microsoft To Do integrates with Outlook’s Tasks to help keep track of important reminders and notes.
 Planner
  • Planner is a task management tool based on kanban methodology that works on the concept of filling Buckets with tasks or, as Microsoft calls them, “cards.”
  • It is a simple and powerful way to organize and keep track of tasks and jobs assigned to team members that allows real-time collaboration and content sharing.
Webinar Q&A

Q: Is the Design Ideas feature available in the desktop version of programs as well as online versions?
A: Yes they are.

Q: Autosave. I assume from what you have said that this won’t work for Box-saved docs?
A: No, it’s just for documents being save to the Office 365 cloud. (Box is another cloud storage software)

Q: Outlook mobile app. Can I log in for my work email and my personal email separately?
A: Yes. You can have multiple email accounts sitting within Outlook mobile app.

Q: If we’re already subscribed to Office 365, do any of these apps cost over and above that?
A: All the ‘standard’ apps exist with your Office 365 plan. There may be additional costs for specialist programs such as Project and Visio, which you could buy on a single license basis.

Q: How do I best deal with tasks in Outlook on iOS?
A: You could use the Microsoft To Do app, as To Do items are now essentially being synced with MS Outlook Task items.

Q: Can I use my OneDrive just like Dropbox for sharing with others outside my organization?
A: Yes. Absolutely.

Q: Does a Search look through all the apps?
A: Yes, but, it can depend on context. (For further explanation, please refer to the webinar video at 55:25)

All of these features, products and services are already available in your Office365 subscription and are ready to be utilized by you. Your challenge is now to make the most out of your Office 365 subscription by taking action on these new features. You don’t need to change everything at once, but what is one thing you can take action on today to improve one part of your business efficiency or productivity? It may only look like a small step at first but all of these little one percenters can make a big impact in the long run.

If you’d like to discuss and understand any of these Office 365 tools further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

O365 Power Up Package
Office 365 for the Real World Webinar

Office 365 for the Real World Webinar

Office 365 for the Real World Webinar

Have you ever wondered how other businesses utilise their business software? The Office 365 suite offers so much capability in powering up your business with a great range of tools available, sometimes all it takes is to have a wider knowledge on how to utilise them. Watch our webinar replay to see how other businesses are using Office 365 to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

In this webinar, Mia McIntyre talks about case studies of real businesses who efficiently make their existing Office 365 tools work for their organization, rather than having to pay for external subscriptions and remember multiple logins. Have a watch of the replay, and there are further notes below.

How Other Businesses are Using Office 365

File Storage and Sharing

Company: Sovereign Property Development

  • Property Development Firm
  • 15 staff and growing
  • Were paying Monthly or Annual payments for Dropbox accounts

Having to share files throughout the team and to external parties can be a tough job and an expensive one too. However, Microsoft’s solution to this is Sharepoint (for business files) and OneDrive (for personal files). These tools only require a single log in and let you efficiently and securely store, manage and share your files in the cloud, through to the organisation and to external people.

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A lot of people get confused with the functionality of these two tools. They are both cloud storage options and are very efficient with file sharing but their difference lies on their purpose:

Sharepoint

  • This is where business data is stored
  • It lets you choose who has access to the data
  • It is a single source of truth – only one true document, rather than multiple versions

OneDrive

  • Can be an alternative to your internal hard drive storage (Local Disk C:)
  • Can be automatically synced to your local storage

 

Feedback Forms and Surveys

Company: Healthy Helpers

  • Health Consultancy
  • A team of 42
  • Uses a paid SurveyMonkey subscription to send feedback forms to clients and exports results into Excel

When it comes to capturing feedback from our clients, the Office 365 solution is Forms, with the additional functionality of Microsoft Flow to export the data into other programs. These apps are already included in your Office365 suite.

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Forms

  • Simplified form creator
  • Offers Anonymous feedback

Flow

  • Automation tool
  • Captures form information to bring into another environment (e.g email, newsletter, document, etc.)

 

Managing Tasks

Company: Good Change

  • Not-for-profit organisation
  • Many volunteers and staff
  • Currently uses Trello to track team tasks

When it comes to task management, there are a lot of tools that stand out and there is one in your Office 365 suite. It can be a headache to set up a new account to track the tasks of a fresh employee onboard but Office 365 has a solution –that is Planner. With a single login, you eliminate the risk of forgotten login details. Planner uses Kanban methodology that helps provide an easy and intuitive view of your tasks.

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Planner

  • Manage and Monitor Tasks for the Team
  • Assign and track tasks of team
  • Collaborate tasks with the team

 

Education and How-to Documents

Company: Moving Forward Logistics

  • Logistics firm
  • Onshore and Offshore staff
  • Struggling to manage onboarding with regards to training

In an organisation that is rapidly growing, it is vital to keep track of company systems and processes and enable new staff to be onboarded easily. Office 365 offers Stream and Sharepoint to keep track of these systems easier. Sharepoint lets you store and manage your content to share with whomever you want, so it’s a great place to store company procedures and other documentation. Having Stream is simply like having Youtube exclusively for your business, which means that it is well suited for recording and storing training videos for your team.

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Managing Communication and Meetings

Company: Change Solutions

  • Consulting Firm
  • Global staff
  • Currently using paid Slack for communication, meetings and sending files

How many of us are using paid meeting tools? What if there is another option that won’t cost you an extra buck? We’re talking about Microsoft Teams here, which allows you to either internally or externally set meetings and communicate with the people in your organization. Another good thing is that it is fully integrated to the rest of your Office 365 tools so all your data, such as files, chat conversations, plans and videos, is fully accessible within Teams.

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Microsoft Teams

  • Schedule Meetings for video or audio calls
  • Record video and audio during meetings and save to Stream
  • Create Teams where you can communicate as a group chat
  • Connects to Sharepoint so data is integrated

 

Simple Application and Automation

Company: Home Helpers

  • Carers Agency
  • 20 carers
  • Quoted $50,000 to get various apps for logging job information

Who would’ve thought that a simple process of trying to know when carers clock in or clock out could cost so much? Having to plan and build an application from scratch is a long process and by the time they’re done, they might not be as flexible to the changes in processes and technology as they should be. Microsoft provides a solution for this –Powerapps and Flow. With Powerapps, you can create form-style apps that can integrate with Flow for actions. And this is cost-effective and adaptable to your future changes.

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 Powerapps

  • Create simple business apps using templates and point-and-click design
  • Easily connect your app to data and use Excel-like expressions to easily add logic.
  • Publish your app to the web, iOS, Android, and Windows 10.

Flow

  • Create action from the Powerapp

 

What is an Online Environment?

Put simply, “because it’s online, it’s essentially like Googling your files” (Mia McIntyre). In a modern world of IoE, it’s no surprise that it also influences how the modern work environments are set. Nowadays, you can access the whole lot of your organisation’s documents, files, processes and even teams in just one click of a mouse.

You can create a company dashboard that has your Vision, Mission and Values plus anything you might be needing for your team. It’s endless what you can do, just limited to your imagination!

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Webinar Q&A

Q: Does Forms offer an option for anonymous feedback?

A: Absolutely. There are two options in creating forms, a) create an anonymous form; b) shows your Office365 login

 

Q: Do volunteers need a paid Office365 account on your domain to access Teams and Planner?

A: You can have external users in those environments but, Microsoft is still a money-making business so even if it can be done, some features may be unavailable. Security-wise, no one can anonymously access the account randomly therefore, it still requires an active log in.

 

Q: With Teams Meetings, do all attendees need to have Teams set up or can their Skype for Business link into the Teams conference call?

A: Yes, it’s linked at the moment but, remember that Skype for Business is being discontinued in the future so you can’t guarantee the experience.

 

Q: Is Teams a practical, direct replacement for Skype for Business or should they co-exist?

A: The change management plan is to completely replace Skype for Business with Teams.

 

Q: Can OneNote be used with Flow?

A: You can connect documentation in OneNote with Flow but, it would be a lot of setup. Our advice would be to capture your information in Powerapps by Forms not in OneNote.

 

Q: What can you recommend as alternative to Microsoft Project?

A: There is no clean replacement for it.

 

Q: Where does Outlook Customer Manager fit into all this?

A: Customer Manager is a plugin that you get from a business premium account. It is tied into everything. A plugin that sits in Outlook that allows you to capture information around a client based on their email address.

Now that you can see how other businesses are using Office 365, you must be filled with ideas on how to improve the utilisation of your own Office365 business tools. Were all your questions answered? If you do have additional questions or points that weren’t discussed in this webinar, we’d be happy to have a conversation with you.

 

Want an assessment on how you can power up your Office 365 usage? Talk to us today to see if our Power Up Package is right for you.

Getting Started with Sharepoint

This is a guest post by Mia McIntyre of MIVirtual.


As Seth Godin says in his book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, 

“Work has changed…. The old system was represented by two parties: those that owned the means to production and those who ran it…In the new system the game has turned inside out. The means to production is now mostly in our hands in the form of our laptops.”

There is a lot of talk around what will work look like in this new digital age? Given what we are already starting to see now, it will encompass the following:

–          Knowledge Sharing

–          Strategic Partnerships (even with competitors!)

–          Networking and Social Interaction (face-to-face and online)

–          Technology!


This is such an exciting time for those in business (of all sizes), because it makes all things possible!

Technology has allowed this to occur, whether you’re running *Life Admin, you’re helping someone else achieve their business goals or you’re wanting to achieve yours, this is where O365 and SharePoint comes in.

*Life Admin = Managing your personal household administration requirements (bills and alike).

Let’s start simply – Office 365 gives you the online licence to the Microsoft Office Suite which we all need to run our businesses day-to-day. . . word, excel, outlook etc. Then we need to store our documents somewhere but not only do we need to store them, we need to share them with others (clients, team members, partners) and access them from various locations. The best way to do that is via SharePoint. This obviously becomes more prevalent if you have a geographically dispersed team.

If you already have O365 for your business, this little video shows you how to access SharePoint:

You can build your own Wiki Pages: 

……your own ‘Process Register’ and more!

There is absolutely no need to wing it anymore with all of the tools and resources that are accessible to us and something like SharePoint can grow with you and your business. You can continue to build and add to it as needed and you can run a successful, quality virtual business from anywhere! Now people might think that this doesn’t apply to them if their line of work requires a storefront / office …not true. What this system and virtual work environment does for you is to allow to you manage the operations of your business from any location so you can get-on with things without having to just head-in to the office to get the paperwork done.

 This isn’t industry specific either, which is fantastic. It is also important to note that this most certainly doesn’t stop with SharePoint. O365 are releasing amazing new functionality all of the time but some of the existing items are:

–          OneNote  (Taking notes via typing and free drawing with your stylus)

–          Yammer   (Social collaboration)

–          Delve        (Document rollup / preview based on most recently and frequently used)

–          Planner    (Project and Task Management)

If you think that building a fun, interactive and engaging environment for you and/or your team – ready to propel you into that bigger and better phase – join us for the webinar on 31st May so you can learn more about making that happen!

 


Mia McIntyre is the sole Founder of MiVirtual, specialising in assisting SME’s adopt virtual/CLOUD based tools including Office365, on-shore Virtual Assistantss and Executive Virtual Assistants. Mia’s main goal is to see people smile and the way she can help contribute to ensuring people are happy is to help them adapt and innovate through these ever-changing times and increasingly versatile work environments.

Backing up Office 365 with Backupify

More and more companies are relying on Office 365 to get their business done, but all that cloud data is followed by risks you may not be aware of. What if a file is accidentally deleted or overwritten? Do you have a plan for when employees leave the company? How do you ensure their files and information stays within the company? Enter Datto Backupify.

Datto Backupify fills a gap in the Office 365 offering by backing up the data within user mailboxes, OneDrive & the company SharePoint sites. It ensures that companies can access and control the data they entrust to these systems and prevents data loss from external threats, user and service error.

If you’re currently using (or looking to migrate to) Office 365, you should know that Office 365 doesn’t back anything up long-term. If you delete something, after a 30 day period it is gone forever, unless you use a third party tool like Backupify.

Backupify lets you restore individual files/emails to entire SharePoint libraries and mailboxes as well as an external download so you can actually download your data to your computer/server. This is a function that a lot of other products can’t do, instead they can only restore back into Office 365.

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    • Manage backups, view restores, and see an activity feed from an easy-to-use dashboard
    • Zero in on files, emails, contacts, and calendar invites with robust search parameters
    • Restore files, emails and calendar invites directly to a user’s account or download them instantly to your own computer

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It’s also inexpensive, 1-24 staff is $75ex/month for the client and they get three backups a day. For more information about Datto Backupify contact us on community@grassrootsit.com.au

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SharePoint document libraries get a facelift

The uptake of Microsoft SharePoint by Australian small businesses is increasing, driven in part by the rapid move towards Office 365, which effectively includes SharePoint at no extra cost. Many businesses are discovering the benefits of SharePoint for a range of uses ranging from simple shared calendars to full blown document management systems.

Document Libraries, which form a core component of SharePoint, are finally due to receive a long-overdue update, bringing the user experience up to date with modern expectations. Not only is the visual design changing to a far more appealing and modern look, but new features are being introduced such as file linking, and far easier file move/copy functionality.

Microsoft SharePoint has long provided exceptional functionality, but I’ll be the first to admit that the dated user interface could often be a barrier to user adoption. If it’s been a while since you last looked at how SharePoint could benefit your business, I encourage you to have a look at how far the product has come.

For a more detailed run down on the new Modern Document Libraries you can visit the Office Blogs.

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winding back the clock

Winding back the clock

We all know that technology is a rapidly changing industry and we are constantly being told we need to keep up. Today, I want to do something different. I want to take the time to go through 10 of my favourite Grassroots IT blog posts. I’ve raided the library and chosen the ones I think are still relevant and useful to you. These are the ones you may have forgotten about, or may have never read, but they might just be coming to you at the right time.

So. Sit back. Relax. Grab that mid morning coffee and have a read. All below for your reading pleasure.

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How to get the most out of your IT support team

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How to get the best from your IT Support Team

It’s fair to say that you’ve invested a lot in your IT support team. If you have an IT support team in house, then you’ve spent time and money recruiting them, training them, and developing them with the hard and soft skills necessary to perform at a high standard. You’ve spent money on computers, software, desks, all sorts of gadgets you may not understand, and of course plain old (but not plain cheap) floor space in your office.

Keep reading here!

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The 3 things every business owner needs to know about their backups

 

Brisbane and large parts of Queensland were hit recently by Tropical Cyclone Marcia, with extensive damage and destruction left in its wake. Thankfully none of our clients across greater Queensland suffered any real damage, and by the time the weather reached Brisbane, although it brought with it a heap of rain, there was no real damage or destruction beyond some minor flooding.

Keep reading here!

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Need to know about your backups

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How to Identify Malicious Phishing

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How to identify a potentially malicious phishing email

There’s a lot of risk these days with emails arriving in your inbox, spam that’s essentially carrying some sort of a malicious payload. It’s dangerous in the sense that it will potentially risk installing some bad software or virus or malware … something like that on your computer.

Keep reading here!

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Announcing our free downloadable BYOD Policy Template

The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend is well and truly here to stay, with employees pretty much expecting these days to be able to bring their own personal choice of mobile device to work with them, and use it to access corporate data and systems, usually starting with email.

Keep reading here!

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BYOD Policy

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How Hipchat can solve your internal communication problems

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How HipChat solved our internal communication problems

Our team cover various functions such as technical support, administration, finance and marketing, and just like more and more businesses don’t necessarily all work from the office, at least not at the same time. It’s normal for us to have at least one or two people working remotely at any one time, either from home, or from a client site.

Keep reading here!

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Going to ProBlogger? Here are our top travel tech tips.

The tickets are booked, clothes are in the suitcase and we’re humming the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (actually we’ll be driving, but you know). But what about the gadgets, widgets, and other technology to make life a little easier whilst in transit? We asked some tech-savvy business travellers what their top travel tech tips.

Keep reading here!

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Top 3 tips to reducing your IT costs

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Top 3 Tips to Reduce IT Costs

Years of IT consulting have taught me where and how people spend unnecessary money on IT and lose their competitive edge. My goal with Grassroots IT is to help small to medium businesses get the most value from their technology investment. Here are three simple tips that can help you reduce IT costs and take charge of your technology today.

Keep reading here!

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Is Your IT Health Check up to Date?

You see, while technology appears to be solving all of our problems, they still suffer from some of their own. With a little forethought and a little TLC, there are ways and means to minimise the impact when technology does fail. There are also ways to improve their function and monitor their health. Simple checks on servers and network systems can save you much time and money in the long run.

Keep reading here!

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Is your IT health check up to date

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how we collect client feedback

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How we collect Client Feedback

From the day we opened the doors at Grassroots IT over 10 years ago we have had a passionate focus on our clients, and how we can best help “keep the light green” for them, so they can focus on growing their business and not be held back by technology problems. We obviously need certain technical skills to help deliver on this, but just as importantly we need to effectively engage with the people involved. Thus our tagline – “IT Help for Humans”.

Keep reading here!

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How to successfully deal with IT problems

Technology can be an amazingly powerful business enabler, pretty much everyone agrees on that point. But it can also be bloody frustrating at times. Its ok, I get it. Even though we’re the experts it happens to us too. In fact not only do we get to deal with our own frustrations with IT, we also get to deal with our clients annoying IT problems!

Keep reading here!

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How to successfully deal with IT problems

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office 365

Office 365 free for students

Education Queensland recently published an article stating that all Queensland state school staff and students can download multiple free copies of Microsoft Office 365.

We love this because almost everyone in most computerised working environments today is using Microsoft Office 2016 and it gets students familiar with the tools they will need in the real world.

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office 365

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Office 365 free for students and teaching staff

 

This announcement comes with the new Microsoft 2016 software update and although Microsoft have offered this to students in the past (read our blog here), this new offer promises to be more accessible.

What is really convenient about this is the self-service portal. Students can now sign up and download the software themselves simply using their email address from their educational institution. It takes under 15 minutes to register and start using Office 365.

This offer is only available for personal home computers and mobile devices, not for department owned devices. For more information from Education Queensland, click here.

 

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For PC and Mac, visit portal.office.com , login using your school email address, click through to install and follow the onscreen process.

For instructions on how to get started, click one of the links below:

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Outlook 2016 Productivity Hacks

Last month we successfully held our Outlook 2016 Productivity Hacks webinar. The webinar was designed to help everyday users of Outlook 2016 expand upon basic skills and use Outlook more efficiently. The webinar expanded on our previous blog post Getting the most from Microsoft Office 365.

We have provided you with a link to replay our webinar. Enjoy!

Outlook 2016 Productivity Power Tips from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

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Skype Meetings in Outlook

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      • Schedule a Skype Meeting through Outlook
      • “Meeting Options” button lets you fine tune your meeting

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Auto Responders

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      • Auto Responders are a powerful way of keeping others informed when you won’t be responding to email as usual
      • Rules – EG: forward specific emails to a co-worked for action in your absence

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Outlook Rules and Automation

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Outlook Rules and Automation can do some amazing stuff to help streamline and automate parts of your workflow

      • Basic rules can move emails between folders based on simple criteria
      • More advanced rules can be triggered by a wide range of conditions
      • Once triggered a rule can execute a number of actions
      • Define any exceptions to the rule

Idea:- Play the Darth Vader theme song when you receive an email from your boss

Idea:- Print all attachments from an email then file the email automatically

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Attaching Files

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      • The new way of adding attachments to an email automatically shows the last few documents that you have worked with

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Quick Steps

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      • Quick Steps can provide a super useful way of executing frequently used actions, such as moving an email to another folder

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Clutter

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      • Helps you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages.
      • The email server keeps track of the email you read and the ones you don’t.
      • Once you turn it on, Clutter is automatic. As new email comes in, it takes messages you’re most likely to ignore and puts them into the “Clutter” folder.
      • The more you use it, the better it gets.
      • If you find Clutter isn’t for you, you can turn it off.

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Outlook Mobile

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      • The new and improved Outlook app unifies your email, calendars, cloud storage and contacts, so it’s easier to get things done.
      • Outlook Mobile App has long provided similar functionality to clutter, although here it’s called your Focused Inbox.
      • Manage emails with simple swipe gestures and share availability with your contacts effortlessly on the new Outlook app.
      • Email signatures will not be copied over, but you can create your own text signature.

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Filter your Inbox

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      • Filter your inbox by unread emails, important emails or even create your own filter

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BCC a Meeting Invite

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      • Add a contact to an existing meeting without notifying the current attendees.

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Quick Parts

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      • Quick Parts for standardised blocks of text
      • New Email > Highlight Text > Insert > Quick Parts > Save Selection to Gallery

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Delayed Delivery

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      • Schedule emails to be sent when it is convenient for you

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New Search Folder

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      • Will show emails that match a certain criteria that you have specified
      • Will show emails in all your folders not just your inbox

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Task Bar Shortcuts

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      • Right-click task bar to create new email, appointment, etc

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Conditional Formatting

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      • View > View Settings > Conditional Formatting
      • Apply conditional formatting to emails in your inbox
      • Useful for VIP, Projects, etc

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Clipboard

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      • New Email will appear simply but hitting Control-V and pasting the content from your clipboard.
      • This works for new Calendar items

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Desktop Notifications

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      • Turn off desktop notifications, then on for VIP using a Rule

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Email Templates

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      • Email Templates. File > Save As > Outlook Template

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Favourites Folder

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      • Pin folders to ‘Favorites’

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Setting Appointments

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      • Create appointment date using natural language. eg: Next Monday

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For further information on setting an appointment in Outlook read our blog Sending the perfect Outlook Meeting Invite.

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Sending the perfect Outlook Meeting Invite

Sending meeting invites directly from your calendar in Microsoft Outlook is one of those super basic features that makes life so much easier for everyone. Unless, that is, you forget some basic guidelines around how to send the perfect Outlook Meeting Invite.

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The Subject

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Are you one of those people that puts entries in your Outlook calendar with a subject like “Coffee”? Or “Meeting”? That might be fine when it’s just for you, but sometimes it’s not overly helpful if you happen to invite other people to “Coffee” too.

When creating a meeting with other people, particularly external people like clients, think about how your meeting is going to appear in their calendar, and optimise your subject line accordingly. Remember, it’s not all about you.

How about this for a meeting invite that I might send to Steve – “Coffee. Ben (Grassroots IT) + Steve (WattsNext)”. After Steve has accepted my meeting request and this appears in his calendar, all of the important information such as what (coffee) and who (Ben) appears right up front.

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The Location

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Again, think about the person you’re inviting to your meeting, rather than yourself. If you’re meeting at your office in the boardroom, perhaps putting “Boardroom” in the location field could be improved on, most especially for external people who may never have been to your office before.  Does this person even know where your office is? With so many of us now working from Smartphones, putting the address of your office in the Location field will let all of that awesome technology do its thing, even guiding your guest to your office via GPS.

Instead of just “Boardroom”, why not something like “Boardroom, 76 Kedron Brook Rd, Wilston”.

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Start Time

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OK, here’s one that the productivity freaks amongst us can argue about forever and a day. Do you set the start time as when the meeting will actually start? Or are you one of those people who set their calendar entries to include their travel time to and from each appointment?

Again, please think about it from the perspective of the other people you’re adding to this meeting invitation. Yes it might make sense for your calendar to show that you’re in a meeting from 2pm, but when that includes 30 minutes travel time to actually get to the meeting, think about how confused everyone else on this invite is going to be! Everyone’s going to be there 30 minutes early waiting for you.

My suggestion is to set the Start Time to the actual time that you want to start your meeting. If you also need to block out time in your own calendar for travel, then add a second entry into just your calendar for this.

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Pro Tip: Did you know that you can enter natural language into the Start and End time fields? Why not try setting a meeting for “Next Monday” or “Christmas Eve”.

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Time Zone

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This one can be an absolute nightmare if you’re doing business with people across multiple timezones. We’ve all been there. You talk on the phone and agree what time to meet, someone sends the calendar invite, then on the day one of you is an hour late.

The easy solution to this is to turn on the Time Zone fields on your meeting invite screen. Just click the “Time Zones” button at the very top, and right next to the Start and End time fields will appear two new fields where you can select which Time Zone you are scheduling in. Make sure this is set correctly and Outlook will do the rest, ensuring that the entry goes into everyone’s calendar correctly.

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The Agenda

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So this may not always be relevant, depending on what the purpose of your meeting is, but it can certainly be nice in a lot of cases to add a couple of dot points in the notes section about what your meeting will be covering. It’s just courtesy, really 😉

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Getting the most from Microsoft Office 365 – March 2016 Update

I was recently invited to present at a conference to talk to an audience that we had recently migrated onto Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud platform. Rather than discuss the basics of the cloud, Office 365 or any of the Microsoft Office products, we got straight in with a deep dive into some of the power packed tools and features that some people may not have been familiar with.

It was a fantastic session with a massive amount of discussion and knowledge sharing around how the tools and techniques presented could be integrated into people’s daily duties to streamline and automate tasks.

I’ve made available below for viewing and download the slide deck from this presentation, along with some summary points of what was discussed.

Ben

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Skype for Business allows you to connect with your team anywhere using our mobile apps across Windows, iOS and Android, or bring remote participants into meeting spaces of all sizes with Skype for Business Room Systems and Surface Hub.

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      • Saving contacts in groups helps keep organised
      • You can easily engage with people outside your organisation
      • It will be possible to replace your entire voice system just with Skype for Business
      • Multiple participants
      • Video calls let us experience body language, micro expressions, etc

Various ways of engaging with someone:

      • Start with chat
      • Escalate to Voice, Video, etc

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Yammer is your company’s private social network that helps you and your teams stay on top of it all. Start conversations, collaborate on files, and organize around projects so you can go further—faster. Yammer makes it easy to quickly bring your team together so they can have conversations, collaborate on files, and more.

 

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      • Use a Yammer group to bring people, conversations, and data together so you can get work done anytime, anywhere.
      • Loop relevant people into conversations to facilitate teamwork.
      • Streamline projects by looping customers and vendors into conversations, so the whole team can work together in one place.

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Your stuff travels with you on your computers, tablets and phones. Get OneNote for any of your devices or use it on the web.

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      • Get things done with your friends, family, classmates and colleagues.
      • Share your notebooks with others for viewing or editing.
      • Use OneNote at home, school and work to capture thoughts, ideas and to-do’s.
      • Find all your notes quickly in the recent view.
      • Clip any web page to OneNote and view it later, online or offline.
      • Send emails to me@onenote.com and we’ll put them into your notebook.
      • Take great looking photos of documents and whiteboards on your phone and tablet with Office Lens.

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Office Web Apps

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Create with confidence using familiar apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more.

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      • On your PC or Mac, on tablets and smartphones, and on the web: Office works wherever you like to work.
      • Save documents in OneDrive where security is built in.
      • Your files are easy to find, edit, and share with friends and coworkers.

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Office Mobile Apps

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From work to your favorite café, Office 365 keeps you connected to what’s important—friends, family, projects and files. Access the Office apps you use and the files you need seamlessly from your desktop to your mobile devices.

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      • 1 TB OneDrive cloud storage keeps you connected to important files—anywhere, on any device.
      • Unlock advanced editing, formatting and co-authoring features on your device.
      • Install Office on your desktop, with Office 365 auto-updates you’re always up to date.

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Outlook Web App

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      • Outlook Web App is useful when not near your own computer
      • Some extra features such as ‘Sweep’ which creates rules to help keep folders tidy

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Sweep

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      • Sweep creates automatic rules for keeping the chosen folder tidy
      • Helps you delete all the messages you don’t want–—past, present and future—from one sender.

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Auto Responders

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      • Auto Responders are a powerful way of keeping others informed when you won’t be responding to email as usual
      • Rules – EG: forward specific emails to a co-worked for action in your absence

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Outlook Rules

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Outlook Rules can do some amazing stuff to help streamline and automate parts of your workflow

      • Basic rules can move emails between folders based on simple criteria
      • More advanced rules can be triggered by a wide range of conditions
      • Once triggered a rule can execute a number of actions
      • Define any exceptions to the rule

Idea:- Play the Darth Vader theme song when you receive an email from your boss

Idea:- Print all attachments from an email then file the email automatically

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Attaching Files

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      • The new way of adding attachments to an email automatically shows the last few documents that you have worked with

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Quick Steps

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      • Quick Steps can provide a super useful way of executing frequently used actions, such as moving an email to another folder

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Clutter

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

      • Helps you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages.
      • The email server keeps track of the email you read and the ones you don’t.
      • Once you turn it on, Clutter is automatic. As new email comes in, it takes messages you’re most likely to ignore and puts them into the “Clutter” folder.
      • The more you use it, the better it gets.
      • If you find Clutter isn’t for you, you can turn it off.

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Outlook Mobile

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

      • The new and improved Outlook app unifies your email, calendars, cloud storage and contacts, so it’s easier to get things done.
      • Outlook Mobile App has long provided similar functionality to clutter, although here it’s called your Focused Inbox.
      • Manage emails with simple swipe gestures and share availability with your contacts effortlessly on the new Outlook app.

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Tell Me

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      • Tell Me is a quick way to access features you need, but can’t quite remember where to find them.

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Smart Lookup

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      • Smart Lookup does an internet search on words that you have highlighted.

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Cloud Sharing and Co-Authoring

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      • Sharing documents via the cloud is a great way to avoid version conflicts when working on a document with others.
      • When you and your colleagues want to collaborate on a document, use real time co-authoring to see everyone’s changes as they happen.

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