Blog

February 26th, 2013

Office_Feb26_BMicrosoft Word has been an important business tool for many years and will likely continue to be so for many more to come. There are numerous features that are used on a regular basis that, while they should make things easier, can actually create more work. One such feature is copy and paste. However, Word has some interesting copy and paste functions that can truly make your job more efficient.

Here's an overview of Word's copy and paste feature.

Simple copy and paste As you likely know already, you can copy by selecting/highlighting text, or pictures and either right-clicking and selecting copy; pressing Ctrl + C (Command + C on Mac) or selecting File followed by Copy.

You can paste by either right-clicking and selecting paste; pressing Ctrl + V (Command + V on Mac) or selecting File followed by Paste. When you copy and paste, the highlighted text or image will be placed where you have placed the cursor.

While simple copying and pasting works fine for most situations, there are times when you are copying from one word document to another and need something else. Many documents have different text and layout formats which can make copying a bit inefficient, as you will likely have to change some of the text or image settings. Word has four built-in features that can make this easier.

These settings can be found by first highlighting what you would like to copy. You should see a clipboard above the highlighted text when you hover your mouse over it. Pressing the down-facing black arrow will open the different copy functions.

  • Keep Source Formatting - Pressing this will keep the formatting of the text/document you copied from. This is the default option.
  • Merge Formatting - This will keep the text's format, without changing the format of the document you paste into. E.g., if the text you copied is a different font and size, it will be posted into the new document at the same format, but the next word typed will retain the previous format.
  • Use Destination Style - This will change the text you copied to the same format as the document you copy into.
  • Keep Text Only - This will copy only the text. All graphics, tables, charts and formatting will be discarded. When you paste into the new document, the text will be changed to that document's formatting.
This feature can help make it easier to copy and paste from one document to another. Office has many features that can assist in improving your productivity, or make your job easier. If you are interested in learning more Office tips and tricks, please contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
January 30th, 2013

Email is a crucial component that many businesses have come to rely on, so much so that when the program they use has a problem the whole business is hamstrung. Many companies use Microsoft's Outlook, which does stop working from time-to-time. One of the most common issues is when your emails aren't being sent.

Here's three tips on what to do if there is an email stuck in your outbox.

Re-send it From Outlook's main window, click on the Send/Receive tab (usually located beside Home), followed by Send All. This will tell the program to try and send any email in the inbox again. After you press this, check your outbox to see if the email is still there. If it isn't, you know it has been sent.

Check the attachment If you notice an email is still sitting in your outbox, check and see if you attached a file. As a general rule of thumb: Larger files will take longer to send. Is the attachment a big file? If yes, try waiting a few minutes (it could take upwards of 10 minutes depending on file size).

Another problem may be that the file size is above the attachment limit, which is ordinarily set by the email server. If the attachment is over the limit, Outlook will continuously try to send the message, but it won't be able to send it. You often won't be able to change the email once it's in the outbox. The easiest way to remedy this is by:

  • Clicking on the Send/Receive tab.
  • Selecting Work Offline from the ribbon.
  • Opening the message and deleting the attachment.
  • Making the attachment smaller.
  • Re-attaching the file and sending the email again.
There are many ways you can make attachments smaller. One of the most popular is to zip it using a program like WinZip, or PeaZip. If the attachment is still too large, you may be better off trying one of a  number of cloud storage solutions which allow you to upload and share larger files. You will just have to let email recipients know the link of the file in the email.

You're offline If the email still isn't being sent take a look at the bottom of the window in Outlook. There should be a grey bar, called the Status Bar. If you see a yellow warning triangle with an '!' in it and the words Disconnected beside it, that  means either your Internet connection isn't working or the email server is offline.

To check if your Internet connection is working, try loading any webpage. If this doesn't load, most browsers will display an error message, telling you to check your Internet connection. If the Internet is working fine, it's probably a good chance your email service is offline. When the server comes back online, the warning triangle should be replaced with the Outlook logo and a note stating you are connected.

To learn more about how to ensure Office and all of the related products are helping make business easier, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
January 3rd, 2013

Take a look at computers in almost every business and it's guaranteed that a large percentage of them will be running Microsoft Office. There are many different versions of Office, and Microsoft will officially release a new version of Office - 2013 - in Q1 2013, and businesses will be looking to upgrade. Those who do upgrade will undoubtedly have questions - one of the more common being how to change the default location where your documents are saved.

Here's how you can change the default save location, (where documents are saved), in Office 2013. By default, Office 2013 will save your documents to SkyDrive. Some users will want to change this so that documents are saved to their PC.

  1. Open Microsoft Word and select a blank document.
  2. Click File followed by Options.
  3. Select Save.
  4. Click the box that says Save to Computer by default.
  5. Click Browse beside the Default local file location and select the file where you would like to save your documents. If you don't change the location, your files will be saved into your Documents folder.
  6. Select Ok.
After you set the save location, you will notice that other Office programs will also be set to save in that location as well. If you're interested in upgrading to Office 2013 when it arrives please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
December 5th, 2012

There are many tools in a business's arsenal that can help give it a competitive edge, or help employees be more efficient. One of these tools is Microsoft Office, as without it many companies would likely be largely inefficient and struggling to keep up with the Joneses. While it is fairly easy to use products like Excel, it can be challenging to master all it has to offer. If you have spreadsheets with a lot of data, it can be a bit of a chore to navigate, while keeping track of where you are. Luckily, there's a feature that makes it easier to keep your place.

Here's how you can easily keep track of your place in spreadsheets through the use of freezing and splitting panes.

Freezing panes Freezing panes is often used when you want to keep a number of specific rows or columns in view whenever you scroll up/down/sideways. This often makes it easier to see important data without having to scroll up/down constantly.

You can freeze both rows and columns by:

  1. Selecting the row/column below/beside the field you want to freeze, e.g., if you want to freeze rows A1-3, select A4. You can select the row/column by clicking on the row indicator on the side.
  2. Clicking the View tab and pressing the arrow beside Freeze Panes which is located in the Window group.
  3. Select either:
    1. Freeze Top Row - This will freeze the first row.
    2. Freeze First Column - This will freeze the first column.
    3. Freeze Panes - This will freeze the selected columns and rows.
After you've frozen panes, you will notice that the Freeze Panes option has been changed to Unfreeze Panes. Pressing this will unfreeze the rows or columns you have previously frozen. The only issue with this is that you can only freeze rows or columns on the outer edge of the workbook, you cannot freeze panes in the middle of the workbook.

Splitting panes If you need to work in the middle of a large spreadsheet, while still looking at existing information in the same sheet, you can split panes. Splitting panes will allow you to scroll in a selected area, while the rest of the worksheet will be frozen.

You can split panes by:

  1. Mousing over the split box which is located above the vertical scroll bar on the right side of the screen. It's a little grey box just above the upward pointing black arrow.
  2. Clicking and dragging the bar over to where you want the split to start. e.g., if you want the split to happen at C23, drag the split box to C23.
This will create a vertical split. If you want to create a horizontal split pane, you can drag the split bar located beside the horizontal scrollbar - located in the bottom right beside the right-hand facing black arrow - to the area you would like to split.

By either splitting or freezing panes, you can easily keep track of important cells while navigating to other parts of your spreadsheet. You should be aware however, that you can't split and freeze panes at the same time. If you have split a pane, and then click on Freeze Panes, Excel will turn off the split pane, and freeze all rows and columns above and to the left of the start of the split pane.

If you would like to learn more about how Excel and Microsoft's other products can help you and your employees, please contact us, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
October 31st, 2012

Email, one of the most disruptive technologies ever led the way for a digital communication wave of change that has more or less destroyed the traditional methods of communication. Why write a letter when you can just type out an email and have it delivered and read instantly? The problem with email is that it has led to a bunch of users who just type without thinking and hitting send, only to regret what they have written. Don’t look at us that way, we are all guilty of it. However, if you have Microsoft Outlook, you can put a delay on emails, giving you a chance to avoid such mistakes or regrets.

Below are instructions on how to delay emails in Outlook.

7-second tape delay for emails It worked well for hockey commentator Don Cherry after a few unpopular comments landed his program, Coach's Corner, in hot water. For emails, seven seconds is a bit short, we recommend delaying potentially inflammatory emails for 10 minutes, to give you time to review and possibly cancel if you notice mistakes. You can add a delay on individual emails in Outlook by:

  1. Clicking Options in the window you’re writing your email in and selecting More Options.
  2. Select Delay Delivery followed by Message Options.
  3. Clicking the box beside: Don’t deliver before and selecting the date and time to send the email.
You’ll be taken back to the message window after you’ve selected the delivery time, and pressing Send will put the email in the Outbox folder until the specified time. If you use a POP3 email account - if you’re unsure what you use, contact the administrator in charge of email - you will have to keep Outlook open.

There are many different reasons to use the delay function of Outlook, it’s especially useful if you often realize there are mistakes in your emails. You should still be sure to read over your emails and if it’s an angry reply or it contains negative information ensure that it carries a relevant tone and that you really want to send it. Has there ever been a time when you could have used this feature? Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
October 17th, 2012

Computers are great devices, they help managers and employees do their jobs with a level of efficiency that is unattainable without them. Unlike items like paper or pencils which have gone largely unchanged over the past few decades, computers have gotten ever more advanced. When they get older, they will start to slow down causing many owners to want to upgrade. Before you do though you may be able to get your current computer running faster.

Here’s six things you can do to speed up your Windows machine.

Reduce programs that start at startup Any programs added to startup will be opened upon booting up of the computer. Programs that are resource intensive will cause a computer to be sluggish upon startup, and during operation as they will be open in the background. It’s a good idea to keep programs that open at startup to a minimum.

You can check what programs start up when your computer boots by clicking on the Start button and in the search box - the white box just above the start button - type: msconfig. This will open a window that allows you to configure parts of the OS. Click the Startup tab to see what programs open upon startup. Each program has a tick box beside it which you can unselect to stop the program from opening at startup. Unless you know exactly what all the programs on the list do, don’t click Disable all, just disable the programs you know and don’t want to open.

Remove bloatware Bloatware is software that comes installed on the computer, usually with trial licenses, and is non-essential. This software is added by some vendors in an attempt to get a few extra dollars out of customers, and the more of it, the slower the computer will run. You can get rid of it through the Add/Remove or Programs and Features tools in the Control Panel. Again, if you’re not too sure what the program does, don’t uninstall it. Instead, contact your hardware vendor or IT for guidance.

Remove malware Malware is any unwanted program that is of a malicious nature e.g., viruses and spyware. These programs will cause computer performance to drop. It’s important to install anti-virus programs and regularly run scans to find and delete, and keep malicious software off your computer.

Do a memory test A computer’s memory, much like our own, fades over time, and will eventually ‘forget’ things. This is true for both the hard disk and Random Access Memory (RAM) - Both are forms of storage: Hard disks are for long-term storage, RAM is short term. With memory, RAM especially, prolonged use will cause it to be less effective, which means your computer will run programs  more slowly. Sometimes, adding RAM to a slow-running computer will be the ticket to making it run faster.

Upgrade to a solid state Solid State Disks (SSD) are hard disks that don’t have many moving parts. They store data in memory cells that can be accessed faster than traditional hard disk storage methods. Many new laptops have an SSD with Windows installed on it which makes them incredibly fast, often able to boot in under five seconds. Adding an SSD to your machine and using it to store essential programs and data could dramatically increase speed. It does come at a price though and current SSDs are more expensive than their older hard disk counterparts. This is rapidly changing however, and you can probably find a good deal on lower capacity SSDs.

Defrag your system If you don’t have an SSD, you could always defrag your hard disk. A new hard drive will store data in chunks that are located close to each other. As more data is placed on the disk, these chunks will move apart which means the computer has to access data located in different parts of the drive, taking it longer to access and thus slowing down your computer. Running a system defragmentation will push the parts back together for easier access.

You can, and should, run a disk defragmentation at least once a month, just be sure to do so when you won’t need your computer, as it could take a few hours. To schedule or conduct a defrag click on Start followed by Accessories, Systems Tools and Disk Defragmenter.

As computers get older, they will run slower. Luckily on Windows machines, you have options and tools that can help speed it up, or at least keep it at the current speed. If you have any questions about slow computers or would like to speed yours up, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
October 3rd, 2012

It can be moderately annoying to have to click to open programs that you use on a daily basis. It can take time and lead to you being less efficient, especially when it’s a program like Microsoft Outlook. One way to work around this is to set your computer to open this program when you turn it on, so that you time to go get a coffee and sit down ready to start your day.

Here’s how you can get an Office program to automatically open upon startup of your computer.

On Windows

  1. Start your computer normally and when you're at the desktop, click the Start button, or Windows orb, which is usually located in the bottom left of your desktop.
  2. Point to All Programs followed by Microsoft Office.
  3. In the drop-down menu, hover your mouse over the program you want to open when your computer starts up, press and hold Control and click and drag it into the Startup file.
If you follow this, a shortcut of the program will be made and placed into the startup folder. If you don’t press and hold Control, the program will be moved into the Startup folder, and you will have to navigate to Startup every time you want to open the Office program.

On Mac

  1. Open System Preferences and select Accounts.
  2. Select the account you log in with followed by Login Items.
  3. Press the plus button under the list of programs and select the Applications folder.
  4. Scroll down to the Microsoft Office program you would like to open at startup, click on it and press Add. If you can’t find it, type the name of the Office program into the field with the magnifying glass.
When you next start up your computer, the program(s) you have chosen should open as soon as the computer boots up. It’s important to remember that any programs you add to the startup process will cause the computer to boot up more slowly. If you’d like to learn more tips on using Office in your business or workplace, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
September 19th, 2012

Microsoft has an exciting fourth quarter of 2012 ahead. The impending release of Windows 8 is being met with mixed thoughts by pundits, and there are a ton of new features that could essentially change how we use computers. Some of these features focus on enabling businesses to adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solution.

Here are four features of Windows 8 that will help companies manage or implement a BYOD policy.

DirectAccess. DirectAccess (a feature of windows that allows users to connect to enterprise systems without the need for a Virtual Private Network), first introduced in Windows 7, has had some improvements. The goal of this feature is to allow users on their own devices, or who are out of the office, easier connectivity to the office, without the need for costly networking. Windows 8 Enterprise editions will come with this already installed, and the new version will make it easier to configure and monitor.

Windows To Go. For companies that have no assigned seats, or with consultants/remote workers, the need to use the same system as the office on their devices is important. With Windows To Go users can run their work PC from a USB drive. When a user connects the USB they can boot up an exact copy of their work PC, and continue working. This feature is a perfect match for BYOD, as users have a distinct solution to plug into the office, without needing to install extra software, and IT can manage the work PC without being too invasive.

More secure mobile platform. One of the biggest updates Windows 8 will bring will be closer integration of the OS between desktops and mobile devices. With the new platform, IT can set which mobile devices have access to different apps, encrypt hard drives on phones, and run more efficient security campaigns with the aim of keeping business data on personal devices secure.

One management tool, many systems. One of the hardest tasks IT has in relation to the monitoring of personal devices is managing the different systems employees use. Windows 8 will extend the current device management tools IT uses to monitor systems in the office to all devices using Windows. This means IT has one device management tool, not 3-4, and changes made to one system can, in theory, be applied to all devices.

Built in virus protection. When Windows 8 releases, it will come with built-in security and virus protection. While it can be guaranteed it won’t be perfect, hardly any anti-virus programs are. This is an added layer of protection if your users don’t have an antivirus program on their personal devices.

Windows 8 is still a month or so away from release, and many companies are preparing for an upgrade. If you’re interested in upgrading to Windows 8, or have concerns about BYOD, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
September 5th, 2012

These past few months of 2012 have been big for Microsoft, with the officially announcement of Windows 8, two new tablets and new versions of nearly every Microsoft product. The Redmond, WA based company has indeed been busy. One of the more recent developments is a new version of Office, Office 2013 or Office 15 as the technical preview labels it. Office 2013 is promising to bring about some big changes.

Here are the major changes you are going to see with Microsoft Office 2013:

Overall changes With Office 2013, all of the major Office components have been updated to take advantage of the new layout in Windows 8. This means that the whole Office suite is now set up with a tablet friendly layout.

At this time, there are five different plans available for users who want to buy Office 2013.

  1. Office Web Apps. A free web based version of Office that is integrated with SkyDrive, Outlook.com and Facebook Messages.
  2. Office Home Premium. The consumer version that comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher. This version can be installed on up to five computers at once, and comes with 20GB of storage space on SkyDrive.
  3. Office 365 Small Business Premium. Has the same programs as the consumer version, but instead of SkyDrive, uses Office 365. This version also has Exchange email, SharePoint and Lync.
  4. Office 365 Pro Plus. This plan has the same programs as Small Business as well as InfoPath.
  5. Office 365 Enterprise. Enterprise is the most complete plan, with all accounts being 365 Enterprise accounts and the full version of Exchange.
You’ll also be able to subscribe to Office, which will allow you to take your account anywhere and access/stream Office software and documents. Office will download/stream the program you need while you’re using it and then delete it afterwards. Almost every major program of Office has also been updated.

Word Word has been cleaned up a little and the ribbon at the top of the window (where all your editing options are) has been modified slightly to make it more useful. Laying out your documents has been made a lot easier with the ability to insert images directly from the Internet without having to download them first. You’ll also be able to adjust images more quickly due to enhanced alignment tools.

It’s obvious that Word 2013 has been designed for tablets by default, and the window is slightly taller but a lot wider. Some functions like Spell Check also take up a lot more space, which can make it tougher to edit/navigate documents. This could take some getting used to, but shouldn’t pose much of an issue for your employees.

PowerPoint PowerPoint shines with the new layout, with your project or presentation taking center stage with tools fading into the background. If you’re editing a presentation and you close the program, you’ll get a pop-up offering to take you directly to where you left off last time when you restart the program.

Embedding images and videos is a lot easier with the ability to search for media within PowerPoint and embed it directly, without having to mess with code and downloading images. Media also has quick formatting options which are easily accessed from where show up as a small box beside the media element.

There are also some great new presentation tools, including a preview of the next few slides that only you can see, the ability to zoom in/out on slides, and better ability to jump between slides.

Excel Excel has also had a similar facelift, with the latest features aiming to help users with their spreadsheets. Select a range of cells and Excel will give you a Quick Analysis option which can suggest ideas about what you may want to do with that data. When creating a chart or graph, Excel will make a suggestion as to the most appropriate chart/graph for the data. With complex data that can be analysed using pivot tables, Excel will build the tables automatically. Editing of charts, tables and data has also been made easier.

Excel has been made to look more ‘alive’. If you make a change you will visually see the results (if you change data, the resulting chart will update). If you make an error, Excel will now give you detailed explanations about the error, not just the usual error code from previous versions.

Outlook Outlook has been updated to be more efficient too, and you’ll be able to view and reply to emails directly from the main screen, without having to open emails in a new window. Instead  your emails open in a new pane that’s part of the main screen. You’ll also be able to quickly view all of your unread emails, by simply clicking Unread.

The address book has also received an overhaul, to bring it closer to the one on Windows Phone. It will try to put similar accounts together into one card and addresses can be more easily viewed.

There is a slight downside though, as notifications stack up on the right side of the window. If you’ve been away on vacation and return to 100s of emails, you’ll be flooded with notifications that take up a large portion of the screen. They do fade after a few seconds, but they could prove to be a nuisance.

There have been lots of changes made in Office 15, and no doubt more will be made before the retail release of Office 2013. You can sign up to preview Office 2013 here. While you can try it, we recommend that you don’t implement it as the new office suite in your office until the retail version is released. If you’re as excited as we are about Office 2013, and would like to learn more about implementing it after the release please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft
August 30th, 2012

2012 is shaping up to be a really big year for tech giant Microsoft. With the impending release of Windows 8, nearly every Microsoft product and service is receiving an update to both its visuals and features. One of the latest changes Microsoft has made is with its aging Hotmail. The change is a massive one, and it appears to be for the better.

In late July Microsoft quickly announced and released @outlook.com, their new cloud based email service. If a Web based email service from Microsoft sounds familar, it is, as Outlook.com is a reinvented and drastically improved version of Hotmail.

Outlook.com has completely ditched the clunky, outdated layout Microsoft has used for Hotmail for years and released something that looks 100% modern, and maybe even a little spaceage. The general opinion is that it looks fantastic. For Gmail users, it looks instantly familiar, with files and folders on the left-hand side of the window, your emails in the center and addons on the right-hand side of the screen.

Hold on, isn’t that exactly the same as Gmail? Yes, and for a reason: it works really, really well. However, Outlook.com does improve on Gmail with integration of a large number of features including:

  • Integration with Microsoft Office. All documents sent to you can be viewed and edited online.
  • Integration with SkyDrive. When you click the Outlook box at the top of the window, a drop-down menu opens with the ability to shift to your SkyDrive. This makes it easier to switch and share files between the two services. This also allows you to share larger files that don’t have to be sent via email, slowing down delivery. Just share the file on SkyDrive and link to it in the email.
  • Synchronized contacts. You can instantly synchronize your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts and chat with them directly from Outlook.com.
  • Skype. Experts wondered what Microsoft would do with Skype when they bought it last year. The answer is: integrate it with Outlook.com. While it isn’t active yet, Microsoft has noted it should be part of Outlook.com soon. When it’s activated, you’ll be able to call and chat with your Outlook.com contacts via Skype, directly from the Inbox. There will be no need to install Skype on systems.
  • Mobile support. You can access your account on nearly any mobile device that can connect to the Internet.
How do I get an Outlook.com account? If you’re interested in getting an outlook.com account, you can sign up for free at outlook.com. If you have an existing Hotmail account you can log in, select Options followed by Upgrade. All your contacts, emails, password and rules will be transferred over.

Outlook.com looks like a viable competitor to Gmail, and because it’s a Microsoft product, it’s a near certainty that it will be a heavily supported platform that can and will attract many businesses and other organizations. If you’re interested in learning more about Outlook.com, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Microsoft