Office365 Essentials For Beginners

Office 365 is used by almost every business in the world. It is important to know how to use it well. Here are my tips to help you do that.

 

Amazon Affiliate Ad - If you appreciate my articles then you doing your Amazon shopping through this link supports my site

 

Table of Contents

What To Do When Office 365 Runs Slow

There are several reasons Office365 can start running slow. These can be:

  • Internet connection

  • Software problems

  • Hardware issues

  • Add-ons

  • File sync

Internet connection

The first requirement is the most important. You must have a solid connection to the web. This means it must have a high bandwidth and low latency. The reasons for this are because you are working in a browser to use your applications. You should also know that you can have a fast connection but still have problems.

For example, if your latency is high, you will still experience problems. I encountered this at my last job. They were on an all wireless infrastructure and had a fast connection. Users still had many issues with delays in Office365 which management did not understand. This is because low latency is just as important as a quick download speed.

To fix internet connection issues, start with the routers and firewalls. These are often culprits and overlooked. Make sure applications have complete access. Firewalls will block things because they see your applications as threats.

Many people do not know how to configure firewalls either which is another issue. You will need to specifically check IP addresses, protocols, and file types. 

Always opt for a wired connection unless you have no choice. Hopefully, that will never be the case. Wireless connections should only be for minor applications like checking email and browsing the web. Please don’t make your applications work on wireless, they will not do so reliably. 

Software Problems

These types of issues revolve around outdated software, but malware causes many issues too. Keep your machine updated. This means the operating system and the applications. Too often I see people just let their machines do operating system updates and do not delve any further.

If you are on windows, the optional updates almost always need to be done. Pay attention to them. Your applications also need updates. Applications are usually neglected. The last two places I worked, applications like browsers were ignored. There is no reason for this. 

Another thing you need to do or have done is to remove startup programs from your settings. These really affect your machine. They will start up in the background and consume resources while doing nothing at all. There can be 10-20 programs doing this. Many, like Adobe or Microsoft products, consume vast amounts of resources. 

Close your unused applications. You do not need to keep them going, just in case. The same goes for browser tabs. You should close everything except Office365 applications. This is the best way to improve your machine’s performance.

The last thing I want to mention is to disable Windows telemetry. Everyone should do this. It does not serve a purpose for you and also consumes resources. 

Hardware Issues

This is more rare but can cause a lot of weird issues. Drives are the most important piece of hardware to improve your machine’s performance. A plain SSD is the minimum today that you should consider.

A technician should do diagnostics on the drive to check it if your machine is having issues. It could be a variety of issues, so don’t think curing one issue will fix everything. 

Memory can cause issues. Specifically, the lack of it. You want a minimum of 8 GB, but 16 GB is better. Memory can also run slow. A test should be done on memory any time there are machine issues.

Add-ons

Add-ons are special extensions to the app you are using. You can download them for any Office365 application or browser. These can have various effects and can range from slowing your application down to being malware. I would be careful using anything like this and you should have a genuine need to use these.

Macros are in this same category. They can be very nice but also contain malware that will get you hacked. It is because macros are <.vba> code and people will use this to install malware on your system. It has happened to many high-profile companies in the past. So, be wary please. 

File sync

OneDrive syncs your files constantly. This is a big slowdown for your machine. I have seen it many times. It will affect your CPU or memory and cause a lot of lagging in your system. The best thing to do is pause all syncing until you need it. It is a real pain otherwise. 

Specific Outlook Solutions

When Outlook is running slow and you have ruled out the previous issues, it is time to look at the folders. There can be too many items being stored in your email folders. This will cause a slowdown. Go through them and delete what you can. 

Make sure Office365 is not keeping files forever. This can be set in the configuration. Set a reasonable time, depending on your organization. You can also enable the archive mailbox. This can be done in the gui or with PowerShell. 

Conclusion

Microsoft Office and Office365 can run slow a lot of times. The software packages are large and take a lot of resources. There is nothing we can do about it. However, when you notice your machine doing things slower, it is useful to go through these steps. I have seen it many times and these steps I have talked about are what have helped. 

How To Write A Document In Word

If all you do is an occasional letter, learning to actually write is not very important. However, if you need to take that next step and get better, there are ways to get better. 

Create An Outline

Creating an outline is a good first step. You will never be very good if you skip this step. As you do it more and more, you will get much better and quicker. The idea is to list major topics. Then you expand each section. This will make your writing more structured and better. Also, you should have the proper zoom for your screen. Most people prefer your page to fill the screen. This makes reading and editing easier.   

Use Appropriate Headings

Headings separate your content. This makes it much easier to read and that is the whole point. You have failed if no one reads your writing. To create headings, go to your top bar and use the styles option. You can select different headings here.

 

The ribbon bar does not contain all the headings at first glance. You must go into the ribbon bar options to see them all. However, most documents do not need more than a few. You can then change the outline view.

  • View
  • Views
  • Outline

This brings up a style area where you get a better outline view. Then, in the Outline Tools group, you can make, Expand, or Collapse headings to organize them in Word’s system. If you move a heading for some reason, make sure and collapse it first. This will insure all the content under that heading gets moved as well. 

Use Bulleted Content

Use bulleted content often. Readers want short takes on a piece of writing. If they like it, they will read more of it. This makes it easier to digest. It is up to you whether to use bullets or numbered items, however. To make a list, click one of the list buttons at the top of the bar. Then, your items will appear in a list. You can also highlight items and click the list button. This will put them in a list automatically. 

 

Write Using Columns

Putting your writing in columns can be visually appealing. This is why newspapers do it. To put your text in columns:

  • Choose layout
  • Page setup
  • Columns
  • Select number of columns

You will notice in the menu there are several options. These options let you control how your document looks. You can make your document look just about any way you want. Take advantage of these features. Play around with some of the settings to see what works best for you. 

 

Use The Review Section

There are multiple tools in this section. The thesaurus tool should be one of your most used. Unless you are very experienced, it is good to use suggestions to vary your writing. To use it:

  • Highlight word
  • Review
  • Proofing
  • Thesaurus

 You will be given a list of words. Choose the one that you want to use. Close when you are finished.

 

The other tool should be tracking changes. Most professional documents have multiple readers and writers. Using this tool makes it easy for them to see what has changed. It is also a good idea just for yourself. You can see what you did the previous day and change it if necessary. To use this feature:

  • Review
  • Tracking
  • Track changes

It marks insertions, deletions, and formatting changes.

Conclusion

In this section, I went over the various ideas to improve your writing. Using Word is convenient for most people because it is easy to get and understand. It has many tools built in to make writing easier. If Word is your software of choice, you should use these features. 

Writing Smarter With Word

The first thing you should always do before you start working is to log in to your Microsoft account. Open program and click the sign in button. If you do not have an account then you can click the "sign up" button. Having an account with Microsoft lets you store files online. The advantages to this are that they will be backed up and you can work on them from any device.

Using Templates

Before making any new document then you should always browse the templates first to see if any fit your needs. They save time, work well, and are designed well. If you do not see anything that will help you immediately then just click "blank document".

As you can see there are a lot of them. They cover many areas and look great. I Use them regularly whenever I need to create a new document.

It is easy to make your own custom documents if the ones provided do not fit your needs.

  • Get your document the way that you prefer
  • On the file menu click save as
  • On the format menu click Word template

If you have created your own templates in previous versions of Word you can still use them. Just do a search of templates on your computer and they should pop up.

Keeping Documents In OneDrive

It is part of Microsoft Office and should be ready to go after you first installed. It is online storage and it is where you should work on your files from. Put whatever document you just made into it from the start and you are assured you will not lose anything. This keeps you from having to backup your computer to save your documents every time you make a new one.

It is often the case that the default place to save documents is OneDrive. I would not change this. Keeping it this way has many advantages I have already talked about. If you have a different default place I do recommend that you change it back to OneDrive if possible. It will save you headaches later on.

You can access OneDrive online the usual way. I included a link in the first paragraph of this section for the log in page. You can also download the app from the same place. This puts a folder on your computer that will sync to your online account when able. It is quite handy. The app and its associated folder let you work on documents offline too. It is a good feature.

 Duplicating Your Work

Sometimes duplicating your work is a good thing. After you created your document ask yourself if this is how you would create other documents. If you have a signature or certain things you will always add to the document then save it and just modify the original. This will save you time and brainpower.

Recent Documents

If you are going to come and go a lot while working on the same document then this feature will help you a lot. It will make your document show up in the recent files. To do so:

  • Click file
  • Open
  • Recent
  • Then hit the pin icon
  • Now it will show up in your recent tab.

Creating Colors

A little known fact is that in Word you not only have a huge list of colors to choose from but you can also create your own color if you really wanted to. At the top:

  • Select the Font Color List
  • More Colors
  • Then Custom

Choose a basic color you want to modify, then to the right, drag the color bar to adjust the color even more to your liking.

Applying Styles

A very good formatting trick is to use styles. They make your document have a more professional look and feel. What you do is make your document like you would except do not do any formatting to it at all. Just type in your headings and text. Once you are done then just select all of your text or just a portion if that is to your liking instead.

Once you are on the home tab move your mouse over the different styles in the gallery on the right end of the home tab. It Word will show you a preview of what your text will look like. It is pretty cool and could save you a bunch of time.

You can even make your own custom styles too. After you have picked the style that is closest to what you want you can then modify it to make it better for you.

  • Select your style
  • Richt click on it
  • Select Modify

Inserting Pictures

No reason to not have some cool pics in your document to enforce whatever message you want. It is easy to do too. From the Insert tab just click pictures and then browse to whatever pic you want to add. Then you can format if you so desire.

Inserting A Hyperlink

Hyperlinks are what we click on to go to various web pages. They give us information and entertainment. You can also use them to enforce points in your Word document or site a source if needed to give your readers more information on the topic you are writing about.

With these advantages it would be good to know how to put these into your documents.

  • Copy the address from our web browser.
  • Highlight the word in your document you want to use as the link
  • Select the Insert tab
  • Choose Links
  • Select Hyperlinks
  • Choose Existing file or web page
  • Select the address box at the bottom
  • Paste your address here that you copied earlier

Making A Table

Making a table of data in Word 2016 can be a helpful thing to do. While this is usually the domain of Excel 2016 it can be done on a small scale here as well. Just like Excel, you can have rows and columns with either character or numerical values inside the cells.

  • Put your mouse cursor where you want your table at
  • Select the Insert tab
  • Choose table
  • Select Insert table
  • Adjust the arrows to give the correct number of columns and rows you want
  • Select Ok

You now have a table that you can work with. The columns width are adjustable, just use the Layout tab

Using Headers

Headers at the top of  document can be very helpful. They do the most good if your document is multiple pages. Pertinent information like dates or page numbers can be set there to appear on all subsequent pages.

  • Select the Insert tab
  • Choose Header
  • Select the type of header you want
  • Choose your options in the window
  • Select top of the page
  • Choose the page numbering style that you want
  • Select ok

Conclusion

There are some truly clever tips for Word out on the internet. These are used by many and will help you in some way. I would experiment the next time you need to make a document and try a few of these out. Your paper or project will look and you will have saved yourself some time.

 

 

Basic Tips For Excel

If you have always been a little afraid or unsure of how to use Microsoft Excel well, I wrote this step by step Excel 2016 tutorial just for you! After reading this and going through my examples I promise you will have a much better grasp on how to use Excel spreadsheets.

Introduction

The new look of Excel has clean and crisp lines in its user interface and this is a good change.

Let us now look at a blank page. A spreadsheet is made up of rows and columns and the little boxes where a row and a column meet are called cells. The rows are numbered numerically and the columns are labeled with capital letters of the alphabet.

A particular cell could be named B8 for example and that will refer to that one cell. The cell is where you enter your information and it can contain numbers, text, dates, and formulas.

Numbers

Excel spreadsheets mainly work with numbers and they are the core of what you will do. You can do basic math and logic within these cells. Then formulas to provide more functionality are just a step away.

Text

Text is mainly used to describe your data and can be entered in cells just like numbers. It is important to use descriptive text so that all of your data is well documented.

Dates

Dates are an important part of all our lives and so it is here with Excel.  Serial numbers are the values of certain days and times. These can be used to be very precise. However, it is much easier to just our standard dates because they work just fine too. I just wanted to mention that you can use serial numbers if you need to.

Ranges

At first you will just work with a single cell at a time but after your spreadsheet gets large you need to work with ranges. A range of cells is several at a time. You can either use a mouse to select many cells or type in the cells you want. To type in a range of cells you do this:

  • =b3/b9

This first one will do basic division with those two cells. You can also include many cells with even less trouble like the second example.

Let's just add b3-b9. To do that we just do this:

  • =Sum(b3:b9)

I use a colon between the opposite ends of the cells that I want to do the calculation on. It is much nicer than typing everything in between and making mistakes.

Autofill Ranges

Filling a range of cells with a pattern of data is easy and quick to do. Enter two or more cells next to each other and select them which will establish the numerical pattern for Excel 2016. Move your cursor to the right corner and drag to expand the selection so that it covers the range of cells that you need. Excel will autofill according to the pattern you first initiated.

I filled in the first two cells which were a3 and a4. Then I highlighted them and clicked at bottom to fill as many cells as I wanted. You can see the numerical pattern was kept.

Cut and Paste Ranges

Cutting and pasting works just the same as most Microsoft Office products so take advantage of that to make yourself more productive. Use this feature to move or modify a range of cells quickly.

Naming Ranges

You can name any particular range so it will make more sense to you. This is very handy if your Excel spreadsheet is large and you have a lot going on in it. Replacing the coordinates of a range with something custom that means something to you makes a lot more sense. Name your range by using the naming box next to the address box at the top.

You can see that I named that small range of numbers that I autofilled earlier. I can use that instead of the coordinates now and that is very nice!

Formatting A Range

Formatting should be a priority if others will be looking at your data. Any formula or data can have different fonts, alignments, and formats. There are several ways to format your data and their usefulness depends on your situation. There are several types of formats and they are:

  • Number
  • Currency
  • Accounting
  • Percentage
  • Fraction
  • Scientific

The best way to format any cell is to lead with the symbol and type of formatting that you want.

Applying A Specific Format

Excel does a really good job of figuring out the kind of format that you meant but if you want to do it manually that is an option too. Select the cell or multiple cells that you want to format and then make sure the Home tab is selected. Click the format list button and it will show you the possibilities. Then just choose the format that you want.

Adding Borders

Highlighting certain portions of your data can really make it stand out. Making a total stand out is a very good way to make it clear to whoever reads your spreadsheet. To add a border around your data just select the Home tab, select Borders, and then choose the type that you like.

I like my baseball data clear and succinct. I added red borders around the total pitches cell and the average pitches per game cell. You can make the lines thick or thin and add color if you want to like me.

If you have trouble finding the Border option, it is the small 4-square box below the font size at the top of your ribbon.

Formulas

To make any set of data useful then you need to do something with it. This is the purpose of formulas. Formulas give meaning to your data and can display it so its easy to read at any given moment. There are two main types that you will use and they are arithmetic and comparison formulas.

Arithmetic does exactly what you would think it does and its most basic forms are what you learned in grade school. You can add, subtract,divide, multiply, and use exponents. Comparison formulas use logic operators to compare numbers and cells. They will give a true or false value back and you can use that to do more tasks in your spreadsheet.

Making Formulas

Making a formula is easy and you just select a cell and enter your information. You start Excel formulas with an [=] sign and then you just edit the cell. Enter values or cell ranges in your formula to perform the calculation that you want.

This is process is elementary but I want to cover everything reasonable. My Excel spreadsheet shows prices I paid for gasoline recently and I added them up. I clicked the cells below my last input and typed out my formula. The formula is listed at the top of but below the ribbon. It is pretty hard to miss.

You can also just click the cells that is in your input range. The process is to click your first cell, add an operator, then click the next cell. This can be a faster way to do calculations.

Functions

Using functions in Excel makes a lot of sense and reduces errors in your tasks. Functions are what you learned in math class and include numerical inputs that give you some output. It makes a lot of sense to utilize them because they reduce very complex calculations to an easy calculation.

Adding a function to a cell is simple and easy. It requires you to click a cell and type it out and then enter its arguments.

 The Sum Function

This is the easiest and most used function in Excel. It does what it implies which adds numbers or a range of cells together. I made labels for my gas prices and used the Sum function to add my cells together. You can see the format of the function in the top bar.

  • =Sum(1,5)
  • =Sum(b3:b10)

Those are two quick examples of how to use the Sum function and what your syntax will look like.

The Max Function

This is another very useful function and it is easy to use. It will look at and pick out the largest number in a range of cells. It looks like:

  • =Max(d3:d10)

It compares the values in those cells and displays the value where you choose.

The Min Function

The Min function does the exact opposite. It is very intuitive and easy to use. It looks like:

  • =Min(d3:d10)

That is all there is to it and it is very useful.

Tables

Excel Tables are a very common feature and using them can be a great idea if your data needs it. A Table has the features of a database but it is more visual for the user. An Excel Table is made up of :

  • Field
  • Value
  • Name
  • Record

A Field is a single piece of information such as a name and the columns are all Fields. The Field Values are the data and they are the cells in a spreadsheet. A Field Name is your column designation and always at the top of your spreadsheet. The Records are related pieces of information and they are the rows that you see in a spreadsheet.

Creating A Table

Creating a table in Excel is easy. Highlight the information that you have entered in and hit [Control-T]. Make sure and check the box if you have headers and hit [enter].

You can see my book information I entered in is highlighted and it appears to be a nice table. The data in your own spreadsheet should be the same. Working with different elements of your Table is easy because you just have to highlight them. You can format sections of your Table and make it look pretty.

I prefer a little color but nothing crazy. I went with the dark blue design because it fits my tastes. There are many other options to choose from and I am sure you will find something that you like quickly.

  • Highlight your table
  • Choose the Design Tab
  • Select Quick Styles
  • Use mouse to get preview of each style
  • Then hit [Enter] once you found something

That is what my Table looks like and it will work nicely.

Why Use Tables

We have this nice Table that is colorful and looks good. Why go to this trouble? The point of Tables is to organize your data. At the top of your Table you will see little arrows by your column headings. You can click one of those and select how to sort the information in your Excel Table.

I can do this and either sort my authors or title by alphabetical order. Sorting by the date of each book is also easy. I chose to sort my table by the year.

Charts

Charts of your data are pretty and really help to get your point across. It is always a good idea to use them if anyone else is going to look at your data reports. I will create an embedded chart for my examples because it is easy.

Creating a chart is easy and all you have to do is highlight your data and labels. Then select the Insert tab on the ribbon and you can see all the different chart designs that are available. Click one of them and see how it represents your data.

You can give it a nice title and customize it further once you have it inserted into your Excel spreadsheet.

Types of Charts

There are many types of charts that you can choose from. The chart you choose will depend on your data and what you want to say with it. Here is a partial list of the most useful (in my opinion) charts that you can choose from:

  • Area
  • Bar
  • Bubble
  • Box
  • Column
  • Pie
  • Line
  • Radar
  • Waterfall

Changing Your Chart

You can always change your Excel chart if you need to. The data you have might not be visual enough with your current chart and if that is the case there are many options left for you. To change your chart type just select the Design tab on the ribbon.

Chart Elements

The chart elements in your spreadsheet refer to the items that make up your chart. These can be changed as needed and it is easy to do. To change the elements of your chart just select your chart,select the Format tab, then choose the elements list at the top left of the ribbon.

Conclusion

Excel can often be confusing with its new look. Not only are many things moved but it also does a lot more too. Looking very different just adds to the problem if your just starting out with it.

There is no need to worry too much though because if you read this then you should be able to do basic tasks at least.

Working With Excel Sheets

When working with a workbook in Excel, you will eventually have to work with different sheets. It is common to add, rename, and switch to different sheets. You can add a sheet with a mouse click, which is convenient. Next to the current sheet, you can click to add a new sheet. You can also right click it to rename it. Then, you can drag it to place it in the order you want, if you have several sheets.

  • To add a new sheet
  • Next to current sheet on list, click new sheet
  • Right click the new sheet to rename it if you need to
  • You can drag the sheet to place it in the order you need

 

To switch between sheets, click the one that you want. Copying a sheet is often done too. To do this, right click the sheet you want to copy and select copy. Then, select “create a copy” and “move to end”. This places your new sheet at the end of your list. You use the same process to move a sheet to another workbook file. 

 

Cells

Information has to be added to cells and edited constantly. So, learning some shortcuts will save you time. Adding or editing information into cells is simple. You click a cell to highlight it and type what you want. To add to the cell without erasing it, double click in the cell. This gives you a point to interact within the cell. You can also modify the contents of a cell using the formula bar. This bar is at the top. It is usually used for formulas but you can edit the contents as well. 

 

There are multiple ways to clear a cell. The method you use depends on whether you need to clear the formatting as well. Select the cell or cells that you want to clear and select the delete button on your keyboard. This method does not clear the formatting of a cell. To get of any formatting:

  • Home
  • Editing
  • Clear
  • Clear format or clear all

Cells can be autofilled. This is helpful as it can save a lot of time. To get autofill to work, you should enter in the first couple of cells. Excel will try to detect a pattern and then replicate it.Select the first cell in your list, hold the mouse pointer at the bottom right corner, then select the little plus sign that appears. Drag down the row or across the column as far as you need. 

 

Creating a growth trend is easy too. This is where cells increase by a discrete rate of growth. To do this magic, you want to enter in the first two cells with information. Excel will detect a pattern. Then, drag the bottom corner of the cell as far as you need and select “growth trend” when given the chance. 

 

Rows and Columns

The rows and columns that you work with can be adjusted to suit your needs. In fact, you can insert or delete any number of them, including cells. You can right click the header for any particular row or column and choose insert/delete. You can also highlight any number of cells, rows, or columns and hit the delete button. When you insert a row, all other rows get pushed down and renumbered. The same happens with columns. When you insert a column, the other columns get pushed to the right. Conversely, when rows or columns get deleted, everything gets moved up or to the left. 

If anything contains sensitive data, it can be hidden. Highlight the rows or columns that you want to hide, right click the selection, and choose hide. 

 

Conclusion

In this section, we talked about the various activities you can do with Excel sheets. Then, we talked about a few shortcuts that help with your productivity. Practicing and using Excel every day will make you very competent.

Using Formulas In Excel

In this section, I will go over how to create formulas, enter in operators, and use functions. A formula is a cell entry that performs a calculation. It does one specific task, usually. At the most basic level, typing a formula is selecting a cell, typing the formula you want to use, and hitting enter. 

 

Typing

Formulas begin with an equals sign. If you leave out the = sign, Excel treats it like text. Enter in any numbers that you need and then a range if needed. You will probably want an operator and possibly a function. When you finish and hit enter, the result appears instead of the finished formula. I find the easiest way to edit formulas is using the formula bar. This prevents mistakes because you have a dedicated place for the formula and do not have other cells next to it. A single misclick can change a lot in your spreadsheet. 

 

Cells and Ranges

In cells, you can click inside and do basic math. Such as:

=10 + 3

You can also enter values to add.

=a1+a2+a3

Values can be multiplied.

=a1*a2

You can do division the same way.

=a3/a2

 If there are a lot, you can enter in a range to sum.

=sum(a1:a10)

This saves a lot of typing and probably errors. Much of function usage is learning the functions originally and then using on a regular basis.

 

A good trick you can do is naming a range of values. To do this:

  • Highlight the range of values you want
  • Right click to bring up the menu
  • Name the range something meaningful

Now, if I named the range a1:a10 “range1”, I can do this:

=sum(range1)

This will sum everything in that range. Of course, you can easily see how doing any math operation is made quicker by this method. 

 

Operators

Order of precedence is important for any software that does calculations. When writing formulas, the order has to be correct for you to get the result that you want. Operators are symbols that tell Excel what type of calculation to perform. It has all the usual types that you can think of. These include arithmetic, comparison, text, and reference operators. 

 

Excel looks at cell contents from left to right, generally. Of course, higher precedence items get evaluated first. Then, anything in parentheses is looked at first.

 

Functions

Functions simplify your formula writing a lot. While you can create and write your own formulas, there is probably a function that does it. So, using the function just saves you time and effort. A function contains an equal sign, parentheses and arguments. Arguments consist of cell references, ranges, constants, text, and range names. Btw, any text arguments must be enclosed with quotation marks. 

 

Functions can be nested as in most programming languages. Nested functions get evaluated first. Some of the more common functions are included in the “AutoSum” tab. Click it and choose which you want. You can choose sum, average, count, max, and min. 

 

When typing a function in a cell, you might not remember what arguments it needs. Make sure and look in the formula bar. It will give you hints as to what you need. When getting the #Value error, don’t panic. It is one of the most common errors. It usually happens when one of the cells it is looking at contains text instead of a numerical value. 

 

You can find all the formulas available to Excel on the functions tab, on the ribbon. You can start there if you do not remember the details of a function you want. Sometimes, it is fun to just explore the different functions! 

 

The function library organizes everything by categories. These categories can include finance, date, time, and text.  

Outlook Tips

These are my favorite tips I have compiled here but there are many more I could have added as these tend to be useful to most people. I did not want to add several situational use only tips as that might just confuse people. Users and even system admins can also have a much different way of using this.

Cut Excess Auto-Complete Addresses

The longer we use email the more people we subsequently get in our contact list. After a while some of those people move on. You most likely do not need someone in your auto-complete that once worked with you 11 years ago. If you would like to remove some of the older ones, here is how.

  1. start typing any name you want
  2. if older names come on then look to the right for an [x] at the end of the line
  3. to get rid of that person in your auto-complete just click the [x]

Learn To Archive Mail

Specifically this is one of the best tips for Outlook 2016. If you are like me then you most likely get a ton of mail that you do not have time to deal with. Furthermore, this mail is usually not the emergency type. It is just something to work on when you get the time. This is perfect mail to be archived. Archiving your mail does not delete it after all it just puts it in a folder automatically set up for handling mail.

  1. If you get mail that you can deal with later just hit the [archive] button at the top
  2. It just goes into a special folder called [archive] in your folder list.
  3. Just open the folder any time you want to try and work on mail in this folder.

 

Automatic Reply For Vacations

We all look forward to vacation time after all it is our time to relax and hopefully do what we want. Getting emails or phone calls from other staff can be bothersome, especially when its just simple issue anyone could have helped with. That is why its important to let people know your on vacation in the meantime.

  1. With Outlook open, click the [File] tab at the top of the screen.
  2. Click on the [Automatic Replies] button.
  3. Select the [Send Automatic Replies] radial button.
  4. Type in your message that you want others to see, adjust font if needed.

 

Email To A Meeting

I like this one a lot because it saves a lot of time. Instead of setting up a meeting manually with different people you can just use mail as your tool to accomplish it instead. This is one of my best tips for Outlook 2016 because it is ideal for those who keep playing email tag and nothing really gets done.

  1. Hit [Ctrl]-[Alt]-[R] to turn this email series into a meeting with everyone involved.
  2. Next, fill out the information like location and time and hit send.

 

Move Around Outlook Quickly

Since I am in Outlook constantly every day and I use most of its features, it makes sense because it is all built in to the same program so you save time. Here are some shortcuts to use because using the keyboard is always faster than using a mouse.

  1. [Ctrl] + [1] = Mail
  2. [Ctrl] + [2] = Calendar
  3. [Ctrl] + [3] = People
  4. [Ctrl] + [4] = Tasks

 

Custom Status

At the bottom of your Outlook screen there is a thin grey bar that has a few things on it like zoom control but you can actually right-click this bar in the grey area and pick what you want to see or not see. If you never use a particular feature then you have the option of unchecking it so you don't have to look at it anymore.

 

Scheduling An Email

Occasionally you might want to schedule an email at a certain time yet it can be a reply or a new email. Moreover, just know that you have the option.

  1. Click the [Options Tab] And Click [Delay Delivery].
  2. This opens up a box where you can give a custom date for the mail to send.
  3. Hit [Send].

 

Junk Email

If you get some email that is of dubious nature or you just don't like email from a particular source then there is hope. At the top of your Outlook page is a big button called [Junk] and you can hit that to let that email and future ones from that source won't bother you anymore. From there you can also set in advance who you don't want to receive mail from.

 

Adding Holidays

This is a cool one because it is also one of those tips for Outlook 2016 that people forget. Being so easy to do, there is no reason to forget a holiday again.

  1. From the [File] tab click [Options].
  2. Click [Calendar] on the left.
  3. Under [Calendar Options] click [Add Holidays].

 

Adding Color Rules

Throwing some color into your view has always been popular yet it is easy to do and it is one of the most colorful tips for Outlook 2016!

  1. From the [View] tab at the top of the screen, click on [View Settings].
  2. Click [Conditional Formatting].
  3. The rules are on the left and the filter options are on the right. Have fun with it.

 

Disabling Desktop Alert

There are many who think this is a good idea and I am one of them because these alerts for new mail are often just distracting. You already know you have new mail as it is easy to see regardless. Often it is just junk mail anyway. So why not keep your productivity up and disable this. Here's how.

  1. Go to the [Options] tab.
  2. Click [Mail].
  3. Uncheck the box where it says [Display A Desktop Alert].

 

Sharing Your Calendar With Others

This is another one of those tips for Outlook 2016 that everyone should know how to do. Actually most people will know what your talking about when this is mentioned but too many do not really know how to do it.

  1. Right-click on your calendar or any other calendar you have.
  2. A menu will pop up and at the bottom just click [Share Calendar].

 

Increase Font Size In Emails

Sometimes it is very hard to read that small text in emails every day therefore if your eyes ache after checking your email then there is hope. I will show you how to increase your font size which is one of the more useful tips for Outlook 2016.

  1. Hold down the [control] button.
  2. Use your mouse wheel either forward or backward to get the size you want.

 

Create A Mailing List

This has multiple uses because you can let everyone on your contact list know some big news or just certain groups that you create.

  1. Click on [New Items].
  2. Select [More Items].
  3. Click [Contact Group].
  4. Type a name for your mailing list.
  5. Now add people by clicking [Add Members].

 

Backing Up Outlook Data

Backing up everything you do in a computer system is just common sense since files can get deleted or moved accidentally. You just never know. The same is with your email. This is also one of the best tips for Outlook 2016 I have given. It saves your email and lets you switch computers or systems completely if you need to do that.

  1. With Outlook open, click [File].
  2. Then click [Info].
  3. Click [Account Settings].
  4. Select [Account Settings] again.
  5. Open the [Data Files] tab.
  6. Highlight the selection you want.
  7. Click [Open Files Location].
  8. Select [Copy].
  9. [Paste] that file wherever you want to have it backed up yet.

Conclusion

There are a lot more cool things you can do with Outlook. It has integration with other Office software which is handy. Tons of shortcuts are available for those who need them. If you use Outlook I highly suggest you sit down and go through these. Learn one of them and use it for a while then come back and try another of the tips. Your productivity will increase and you will love all of the extra time that you have.

Setup A New Profile In Outlook

You will want to make a new Outlook profile when you experience weird issues and syncing problems. The cause of this is usually corruption on the server. Removing your profile can cause even more issues, however. So, the thing to do is to make a new profile and switch to it. You can set this new profile to be the default every time you open Outlook.

Your profile is where Outlook stores its settings. These settings tell the program how to connect to your email server and where to store your precious emails.

You can use many profiles in the Outlook software. It's useful to do this because you can use one profile for work and another for personal use. This lets you keep your emails separate.

Sometimes Outlook will just quit working right. So, making a new profile for a user with the same settings often fixes the issue.

Creating New Profile

Here are the steps to create a new Outlook profile.

  • Open the “control panel’
  • Select “Mail”
  • Select “Show Profiles”
  • Then select “add”
  • Name your new profile
  • Then choose if you want to use this new profile all the time

The control panel is where most of the settings in a Windows machine can be accessed. The best way to open it is to search for it. You do this by selecting the start button, which activates the search feature. Then type control and it will pop up in your search results. Select it to open it.

You will now want to find the <mail> settings in the control panel. Use the search bar of the control panel in the upper right. Type mail in the search bar and it appears automatically.

A small window appears with some different options. You want to select the button on the bottom right called <Show Profiles>.

To create a new profile, select the button in the middle of the current window on the far left. It is called <Add…>.

In the <Profile Name:> box, rename it whatever you want.

Now, follow the prompts and use your typical settings. This should create a new profile automatically. You can then select it from your profile menu.

Conclusion

Creating a new profile is a good way to fix errors in your Outlook or help diagnose issues. In this document, we talked about why you would want to create a new Outlook profile and also how to do it.

Encrypt Your Email Using Outlook

Microsoft supports encryption in all of its modern products. These include Office365, Outlook for the Web, and the various clients. You can choose either the Office Message Encryption or S/MIME methods.

S/MIME In Outlook Client

Your Office365 admin will need to set up the proper certificates for this to work. They should install these certificates in Active Directory. The admin in question should know about this, so you do not have to do anything about this. When properly set up, users can configure their own email application. 

  1. Select <File> at the top in your menu
  2. Select <Options>
  3. Select <Trust Center>
  4. Select <Trust Center Settings>
  5. Select <Email Security>
  6. Select <Settings>
  7. Select <Choose for Encryption Certificate> under Certificates and Algorithms
  8. Select the users <S/MIME> certificate and select Ok

Now you can start encrypting emails. To encrypt an email:

  1. Select <Options> in the menu
  2. Select <Encrypt> and choose Encrypt with S/MIME
  3. Select <Send> once you are done writing

Office Message Encryption In Outlook Client

It is much easier to encrypt email using this method. However, not everyone will have a subscription. Otherwise, this would be the recommended method. Open Outlook on your desktop and start a new email.

  1. Select <Options>
  2. Select <Encrypt> and of the other options, depending on your needs.
  3. Select <Send>

Outlook on the Web Encryption

This is a similar process to what we have already seen. Go to Outlook.com and sign in from your web browser of choice. 

  1. Select <New Message>
  2. Select <Encrypt> on the top bar

You have the option of regular encryption and also to not forward your encrypted email. It is your preference. 

Conclusion

S/MIME and Office Message Encryption from Microsoft both encrypt emails. They also give you the choice of restrictions to place on the message. If you do a lot of encryption, I recommend getting an Office subscription. I say this because the process to encrypt is much easier.  

Office365 Outlook Archiving

This is an archive mailbox. It is designed to automatically place older emails into a container where it can be retrieved at a later date. It is an online mailbox, so it is only accessible with a network connection. None of this data is stored on your computer. This helps with the loading time of Outlook on the user’s machine. This makes the searching of email quicker as Outlook looks to the main mailbox by default. 

 

Archive Folder

There is an archive folder with every installation. However, this is just a separate folder within the main mailbox. It helps with organization, but that is it. Since it is in the main mailbox, it does not speed up email search. 

 

Licensing

The online archive is available on most plans. If you do have it, I would recommend that you useI it. The higher level plan you have, the morse space and resources you have available to use. 

 

Enabling Through Exchange

Depending on your plan, the archive mailbox could be enabled for all of your users at once. If it is not, then you can enable it through the Office365 compliance manager, Exchange Online, or through Powershell. To enable using Exchange Online:

 

  • Open Exchange Admin
  • Select recipients
  • Select mailboxes
  • Select users
  • Select others
  • Select manage mailbox archive
  • Enable mailbox archive

 

Enabling Through Powershell

If you have a lot of people to turn this feature on for, Powershell makes it much easier. Powershell requires the Exchange Online Module for this method to work. While it still turns the feature on for one user at a time, a simple script can do it for a department or all users at a time. Powershell does the hard work for you. 

 

  • Connect to Exchange Online

Connect-Exchange-Online -UserPrincipalName “UserName”

  • Enable the archive mailbox

Enable-Mailbox -identity “UserName” -Archive

  • Restart Outlook

Using the Archive

You will notice that the new Archive has the same folder structure as your regular mailbox. This is a nice feature. Items will be automatically moved after two years to the folder in your Archive section. However, you can move them manually at any time. The time policy can be adjusted as well. So, look into that if two years does not work for your organization. 

 

Common Issues

I hate to say it, but, many users will forget this is enabled and complain they cannot find an email. I have seen it many times, so be prepared. The other, less common, issue I have seen is that a user will move an email manually. They will  put it in a different archive folder than in their main mailbox. Depending on the size of the main mailbox, this will require a mailbox search. So, when searching, make sure and check the box next to the “Archive” mailbox when using the search function.  

Sharing Your Screen On Teams

In the last couple of years, Teams became widely used as a videoconferencing tool. Work from home became the new normal and people needed to communicate within the Microsoft ecosystem of apps. Since Microsoft and its system of apps are so popular, it only made sense for them to develop their own video conferencing app. Before they did this, there was Slack and Google Meet. Both are good options, but Microsoft wanted people to use their own software.

Sharing From The App

To share from the app, you want to click the share button. This button is at the top right of the Teams window. It is next to the leave button in red. After you click it, it will show you several options to choose from. These options pertain to what you want to share. This can be everything or just certain windows. Then, you can choose whether you want your camera showing. 

When your screen is being shared, it is outlined in red. This is a helpful reminder that your screen is being shared. When you are done, click stop presenting. 

Sharing From The Mobile App

Once joined on a Teams call from a mobile device, you want to click the 3-dots at the bottom right of your screen. Then you want to click share. Again, you have several options to choose from. Choose to share your screen. It does not get much simpler.

Sharing from Chat

You can also share your screen from chat. At the top right, you can click on the share button. This has to be done within the app or browser. You can not share your screen from a chat on mobile. You will see a few options, so choose the most appropriate for your situation.  

Conclusion

In this article, we talked about how to share your screen from Teams. This can be done through the app, a mobile device, or chat. Remember to stop sharing when you are done. 

Clearing The Cache In Teams

Many times Teams will start working slowly or refuse to open at all. These are the most common signs. Clearing the cache is often the fix for these issues. It is a good first step and safe to try if you are having problems. 

 

Closing Teams

The first step is to make sure Teams is fully closed. It will stay open in the taskbar even if you close out of the chat screen window. To close Teams, go to your taskbar and look for the Teams icon there. Then, right click the icon and select “Quit”. This will fully close the app.

  • Look at taskbar
  • Right click on Teams icon
  • Select Quit

 

Clearing the Cache

Now, open the Windows “run” menu. This is easily done by holding the “Windows button + R” key combination on your keyboard. A little box will pop up that says “Run” at the top left. In this box type:

%appdata%\Microsoft

Then hit enter. You will see a list of folders, look for the one called “Teams”. You can just delete this. Highlight it and click the trash can button or any other way you know of.

  • Open “Run” menu
  • Use “Windows + R” keyboard combination
  • Type %appdata%\Microsoft
  • Select the Teams folder and delete it

 

Restart Teams

Now you can safely restart Teams. Click your icon to get it going. It will probably take longer than usual to start up this first time after clearing the cache. That is ok, don’t worry. Hopefully, this fixes your issues. If not, you have still helped Teams and ruled out a couple issues.

  • Start Teams as normal
  • Be patient if Teams takes longer to open