We’ve scoured the Web to discover the most powerful and useful Microsoft 365 tips and tricks, delivering them to you to immediately boost your productivity, creativity, and efficiency in 2017.
Microsoft Office 365 is getting smarter. Using the same data analytics and machine learning capabilities employed in projects like Watson and Siri, Office 365 can now “learn” and, to a point, understand what you’re trying to do, taking a lot of the redundant busy work out of managing files, sharing and collaborating, and even keeping a calendar organized.
The 5 Best Microsoft 365 Tips and Tricks for 2017
1. Convert a Note in OneNote to Items in Your Calendar
If you create lists in OneNote, those lists can easily be made into a series of tasks within your calendar, complete with deadlines and reminder notifications. Conversely, you can convert OneNote items into a meeting in your calendar. Use the drop-down menus in OneNote to schedule a meeting, add contacts directly to your contact list, set up meetings or appointments in Outlook, share or discuss the items with an entire group or with just one or two critical people in the group, and even mark to-do items as critical.
2. Color Code Your Calendar to Keep Various Categories Straight
If you’re like most busy professionals, you have a host of appointments and to-do lists relative to your “day job,” numerous personal and family obligations to upkeep, and probably a side project or two you’re working on. One of our favorite Microsoft Office 365 tips and tricks for 2017 is the ability to keep these straight using color coding. Select a color for each of your “roles.” Franklin-Covey users are already familiar with this concept: separating your work roles from your personal roles, spiritual roles, physical self, etc. For instance, you can put all your work-related meetings and notes in orange, notes about the softball team you coach in blue, and the kids’ doctors’ appointments and piano rehearsals in green. Now you instantly know what obligations you have coming up without having to stop and read each one to find something you can move to make room for the emergency meeting or an impromptu meeting with a big prospective client.
3. Office 365 Can Learn to Declutter Your Inbox for You
One of the most practical uses for all the new machine learning capabilities in Microsoft Office 365 is its ability to learn how to keep your inbox decluttered for you. A feature just rolled out last year does just this. Begin by taking the time to apply rules to your Inbox, if you haven’t already. As new messages come in that you aren’t interested in, instead of just deleting those messages, take a moment to mark those as “Clutter”. In no time, Office 365 will begin moving those unimportant emails to the Clutter box for you, where you have the option of reading, saving, or deleting it. Like most machine learning initiatives, it isn’t yet perfected, but can definitely save you loads of time.
4. Put an End to the Dreaded “Reply All” Forever
From the moment email became the business communication mainstay, it has been plagued by the infuriating and time-consuming “reply all.” Unfortunately, no one has ever successfully trained office personnel to hit Reply instead of Reply All when they simply need to bump back a quick, “Okay,” or share way “too much information.” But Microsoft Office 365 gives you the power to ignore these messages once and for all! Open the message thread you want to put a stop to. Click on the Home button. Within the Delete Group option, choose the option to Ignore. This automatically puts all new emails in this thread in your Trash folder. You can undo it if needed by going back to the More button and selecting Stop Ignoring. That way, if the offending message thread does turn to important news, you can include yourself in the conversation.
5. Our Favorite of All Microsoft Office 365 Tips & Tricks: Calling Back an Email After Sending
At some point, we’ve all hit Send, only to realize one-quarter of a second later that it was sent to the wrong person, sent without the attachment, or sent with errors. Our absolutely favorite Office 365 tip and trick is the ability to get that email back before it’s seen by the recipient. To recall an erroneously sent email, open the Sent folder and open the email you wish to recall. Select the Move option and click on the Actions button. Choose Recall This Message. To completely delete the message from the recipient’s inbox, choose the option to Delete Unread Copies of This Message. If you only need to make a quick change and then resent, choose the option to Delete Unread Copies and Replace With a New Message. Then click the OK button, and all is right with the universe once again.
Microsoft Office 365 is becoming more powerful continually. Be sure to upgrade to the latest business versions as soon as those become available, because many of the higher-level features are quite new. Older versions lack the state-of-the-art machine learning capabilities necessary for using the most advanced Office 365 tips and tricks.
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