Office Best Practices Video on Microsoft Channel 9

Spend 30 minutes and save at least 10 minutes every day. Learn powerful time savers and amazing features which work across Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Have a look.
Post your comments. More videos coming up soon.

Office Usage Best Practices

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Blocking others from editing parts of the document

Word documents stored on OneDrive and SharePoint can be edited by more than one persons simultaneously. This is a very useful and powerful feature. (Read this article for details). Each person can edit in different places. Temporarily the current paragraph is locked for others. When the document is saved, the paragraph is automatically unlocked so that others can work on it.

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Something going wrong? Try SAFE mode

This works for all Office products. When things go wrong or the application starts very slowly, or gets hung while starting or misbehaves in any way, it is worth trying starting it in SAFE mode.  How do you do that? Simple.

Press CTRL key while clicking on the Office Application Icon. It will ask you if you want Safe mode. Choose Yes.

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Another method is to use a command-line switch – more useful to techies. Press Windows Key and R. The run dialog opens. Write the application name followed by /safe and press Enter. For example:

winword /safe

Here are the exact application names for all products:
winword, excel, powerpnt, outlook, mspub, msaccess, onenote

Benefits?

It opens the application with no customization. All your custom settings are replaced with default settings. No add-ins are loaded. This usually makes the application start very quickly. And now you can troubleshoot which item or setting is causing the problem.

Starting in safe mode is NOT a permanent solution. It is usually the first step in troubleshooting causes of application instability or crashes.

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What did I learn today: For Demo Warriors Only: Clear Outlook Categories

This article is relevant only for people who conduct demos or training on Outlook. During demos we create custom color categories. These categories remain customized for the next demo as well. Ideally I would want the categories to have default names (Red Category, Blue Category and so on). How to clean all of them quickly just before the demo? Simple.

Start Outlook with the Startup Switch /clearcategories

<office installation path>\outlook.exe /clearcategories.

This DOES NOT remove custom categories which have already been applied to Outlook items like mails, appointments or tasks. These have to be removed separately. But it does remove the custom descriptions. Now the category dialog looks like this.

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Caution: Visual Interpretation Error in Data Analytics

We have seen how to put data bars in Excel (Bar charts with a difference). These help us compare any value with any other value visually. This helps us understand patterns in the data.

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If not used properly, this great feature can lead to confusion and misinterpretation as well. Here are common scenarios and the solutions.

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Understanding Live Preview in Office

Probably you have used it some times. But it is important to understand how to use it and when NOT to use it. Live Preview shows many options – visually. These options typically work on a selection. Moving the cursor over each option applies the current setting temporarily. No need to click. Move to the next option to preview that effect. If you don’t like any of those, just move the cursor away.

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This type of preview is available in many places. Notice it and use it to your advantage. If you are noticing it for the first time, and it has finite options, just try mousing over each of them so that you create a visual understanding of how it works. Next time you will be able to choose in a more knowledgeable manner.

When NOT to use these? If you have a low configuration, slow PC, these previews can slow things down. In such cases DEACTIVATE live previews. File – Options – General – Enable Live Preview.

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Live Preview can be deactivated for multiple users in an organization using Group Policy as well.

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Microsoft Project: Are you making this common mistake – Wrong Task Type!

Just realized that I have not covered Microsoft Project at all in my blog so far. So let me start with the commonest mistake. The mistake is – not changing the Task Type. Tasks can be of three types. But most people just use the default one. And that can lead to unnoticed side effects. Learn how to prevent and repair the mistake.
(Reading time 7 min)

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