5 Newfound Fave Office 365 Features

David ByrdBy David Byrd

I like roundups of new or underused functions in applications, and I’ll bet your customers do, too. My favorite lists cover features in familiar products that I’ve either overlooked or never bothered to try. From time to time I read an article on smartphones that introduces me to a function that I find practical and of value.

Now, there are probably thousands of obscure Office 365 functions, but today I want to highlight some that have merited my attention. I’m calling them my Newfound Fave 5.

1. Collaborative Editing

The ability to have multiple people editing the same document simultaneously can make for some interesting interactions. I have often collaborated with colleagues in the office using Word, PowerPoint and Excel. It’s not only productive, it’s a bit of fun to have multiple team members editing a document, inserting comments and ultimately accelerating the process to a finished product. However, it’s also a big productivity boost to have both local and remote people jointly develop something important to you or your team. It’s one thing to know about the capability, it’s another to actually see it in action.

2. Multi Device Support

The feature that has expanded my appreciation and use of Office 365 more than any other is the ability to have it running on all of my work and personal devices simultaneously. In my case, that list includes a Surface Pro (which doubles as my tablet), a PC and an Android phone. I really enjoy the option of making or receiving VoIP or Wi-Fi calls using Skype for Business from any of my devices.

Mobility is the new paradigm for business, and I want to be accessible whether I am in the office, visiting a client or just having lunch. I want to be reachable without people knowing where I am or having to figure out what number to dial. Moreover, running Skype for Business on all devices allows me to join meetings, view documents and fully participate in collaborative discussions without restrictions. I also added OneDrive and Office to my Android phone, giving me access to my business and personal files anytime and wherever I am. I can access my files without draining my laptop battery. I can read, edit, view, or display files from my smartphone. Office 365 on all devices just aids in satisfying the need for overall mobility.

3. Email Mute Button

Another seldom-used feature that I find really interesting is the ability to mute annoying reply-all conversations. How often have you found yourself on a distribution list that started out interesting, but you find yourself receiving emails from too many people for too long a period of time? Sometimes you can’t seem to disconnect yourself from a never-ending string. Hence, an Ignore button. Open the message in the Home section of Outlook and click Ignore. This removes you from the conversation, and if at some point you want to re-engage, go to the Delete folder and see what you have been missing. I like the Ignore button. It is becoming part of my arsenal to improve my productivity.

4. PDF Editing

Editing a PDF file has become really easy using Office 365. I, like many of you, have attempted to use free PDF-to-Word software, and I’m sure that some of you have even acquired an Adobe subscription. However, I discovered that if you open a PDF in Word, it will ask you if you wish to have the PDF converted to a document. Simply click “yes,” and the PDF file will now be editable. This saves a lot of time when you’re interested in selecting specific text for use in other documents or presentation material.

5. Quick Analysis & Flash Fill

Excel has many sophisticated features; it’s very difficult for marketers like me to understand and use many of them. However, you’ll find it worth your while to gradually increase your Excel skills. Two features that I like are Quick Analysis and Flash Fill.

Quick Analysis allows me to create charts, graphs and pivot tables quickly and, at least from my perspective, fairly simply. Just select the cells that you’re interested in visually representing in some fashion and Quick Analysis offers various options for presenting the material. It’s a true time-saver and something that makes information more relevant and easier to understand.

Finally there’s Flash Fill. I haven’t used this very much, but it looks promising. With Flash Fill you are able to quickly replicate an action or series of actions you are currently performing in Excel. Flash Fill perceives your intent and completes the actions for you. For example, say you are changing the formatting of a list of names across two columns (first name, last name) into a single column. When you type the second reformatted name, Excel displays the whole list, reformatted. Just click to accept the suggested reformatting.

OK, so technically, these are six newfound features. However, since both are in Excel,  I counted them as one. Enjoy them all soon!

Did you help customers adopt Office 365, with these and other features? Share a success story, be entered to win a CP360° award!

David Byrd leads marketing and operations for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, he was CMO at ANPI, and CMO & EVP of sales at Broadvox.

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