Microsoft 365 is the most popular of all major office productivity software. It has 50% of the global market share, just beating Google by a couple of percentage points.
It does everything the modern office needs; word processing, spreadsheet work, video conferencing, cloud storage and collaboration tools to name a few.
Because Microsoft 365 is such a vast platform, with over 20 complex apps, it can be easy to miss helpful features. It’s easy for people to stick with what’s familiar to them, but this often means missing out on time-saving processes, productivity tools and collaboration methods.
There are so many amazing features to these applications that we cover in a lot more detail in our Microsoft 365 productivity training, but we’ve pulled out a few of our favourites to share with you here.
1. Skip the menu bar by using search to find functions
We’ve all been there. You know what you want to do, but you have no idea where to find the tool that does it.
There’s no need to waste your time scouring the hundreds of functions along the ribbon at the top of your app, simply type what you’re looking for in the search bar and Microsoft will come through with lots of suggestions.
2. Take advantage of the free stock images, icons and videos
Most businesses need to make use of images from time to time, whether it’s to use in brochures, websites or presentations. But finding good corporate imagery can be time-consuming and expensive.
Inside Word, Excel and PowerPoint, you have a treasure trove of images, icons, videos and stickers. These are all free to use in your marketing.
You can find them here: Insert > Pictures > Stock images.
3. Save time with Data Types in Excel
Researching things like the population of a city or the nutritional value of a new menu can take hours. Did you know that within Excel you have access to several databases? Called ‘Data Types’, they include topics on everything from chemistry to yoga poses. You can use data types to populate data for various topics in seconds.
- Just start by adding your list (e.g. list of menu items)
- Highlight your list, click the Data tab
- In the Data Types window, choose the type of data it is (e.g. food, plant etc.)
- Click the small database icon that appears at the top of the list
- Choose the type of data you want
- The details will populate into the next open column on the right for each list item
4. Save time on customer surveys with Microsoft Forms
This cloud-based survey and form builder makes it quick and easy to gather results. You can build the form to include any questions you like, choosing from various formats (e.g. drop-down list, text box or yes/no) and receiving results as soon as the recipient clicks ‘Submit’.
Microsoft Forms will then report your results, breaking them down into categories and making it easy to find statistics and key findings. You can even export your results into Excel.
5. Use PowerPoint Presenter Coach to improve your skills
Feeling nervous about an upcoming presentation? You’re definitely not alone. Public speaking can be nerve-wracking.
Luckily, PowerPoint can help with a handy, AI-powered feature called Presenter Coach. You can activate this coach when practicing your presentation and it will give you tips on your pacing, use of filler words (like ‘umm’), repetitive language and more.
Just look for the ‘Rehearse with Coach’ option on the slide show menu.
6. Save recurring email text in Outlook’s Quick Parts
Do you have certain emails you send to customers that have the same paragraphs of text in them? Like directions, contact details, post-event thank you emails etc.
There’s no need to re-type the same information every time. Outlook’s Quick Parts feature saves blocks of text and can instantly paste them into emails.
- Create a quick part by highlighting the text you want to save
- On the Insert menu, click Quick Parts
- Save Quick Part
When you’re ready to insert that text into another email, just use the same menu. Then click to insert the Quick Part. Easy.
7. Create a keyboard shortcut to paste as unformatted text
Keyboard shortcuts are a great hack for saving time, but there’s not always one there when you need it. One handy shortcut to add for Microsoft Word is to paste as text only. This method removes any formatting that copied text might have, so your document isn’t messed up.
Here’s how to do it.
- In Word, click File > Options.
- Click Customize Ribbon.
- At the bottom of the panel, next to Keyboard shortcuts, click Customize.
- Scroll in the left pane to All Commands.
- Look for “PasteTextOnly”
- Type your keyboard command, then click Assign.