OneNote as a presentation tool

It may not be an obvious usage scenario, but I use OneNote as a presentation tool all the time. It simplifies explanation of complex ideas. Therefore, I thought of sharing the method on the blog. Those of you have attended my session will have noticed this already.

Benefits of using OneNote during a demo

Here are the reasons. Of course, I could have used a blank presentation as well. But you will soon realize why OneNote is a better option.

Continue reading OneNote as a presentation tool

How to Create Time using Office

Here is another way to look at using Office. We want to do so many things. But time is always in short supply. There are thousands of methods of saving time – ranging from behavioral changes, getting up early to sophisticated methodologies. But all of them suffer from one problem… the solution itself requires more time!  Now consider this. You can Create Time using Office – because you are already spending three to four hours on it on every working day.

The time you spend on Microsoft Office is considered as the part of the game, part of life, mandatory and non-negotiable. Why? Because you have work to do and it requires you to use Office. So you just use it. In the process, you spend half of your work-life using Office. We have never looked at those 4 hours as a source of extra time.

If you know how to use Microsoft Office efficiently, you will save lots of time. It is like CREATING time because it just did not exist for you earlier. It is a reward you get by being more efficient.

One you have extra time, you are smart enough to invest it in whatever you think is important: Work, Family, Sports, Health…

Once you know the approach towards working efficiently, you should invest part of the time CREATED into learning a little more. That way you will continue to create time throughout your life.

Empowering! is it not?

Read the Efficiency Knowledge Pack on more ideas and concepts related to
Inefficiency Management.

What is Office 365

This is a commonly asked question. There is a lot of confusion about exactly what it means. Here is a simple and practical description of What is Office 365 – primarily for non-technical users. See what you need and then find the right tool.

Business Need

Product

Create Documents –
full featured editing

Office on PC or Mac – all features

Create / Edit Documents – quick editing or viewing

Office on devices (Android / iOS) or Office Online (browser editing)

Create SCORM compliant learning content and Quizzes

Office Mix (add-in to PowerPoint)

Store my own documents

OneDrive (one person’s documents)

Store documents for department: long-term usage

Site (SharePoint)

Store documents for time-bound projects – short-term usage

Groups

Manage cross-functional teamwork – Files, Discussion, Notes, Calendar

Groups

Manage team tasks

Planner

Manage team communication – Chat style (like Slack)

Teams

Discover files used by you and your team

Delve

Communicate urgently

Skype for Business

Communicate slowly

Outlook – Mail

Time Management

Outlook Calendar and Tasks

Personal Contacts

Outlook Contacts

My own tasks and delegated tasks

Outlook Tasks

Ask, inform, discuss, debate

Yammer

Create Interactive Reports. Handle millions of rows very fast. Share on browser or mobile. Independent of Excel.

Power BI

Create mobile apps without programming

Power Apps

Create professional looking content / presentations without manual formatting

Sway

Simple process automation

Flow

Prevent others from forwarding your mails

Information Rights Management

Keep an audit trail of mails, chats and document activities as per regulations

Compliance Center

Prevent employees from sending (leaking) confidential information to external parties

DLP (Data Loss Protection)

Works with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Store important documents, contracts, agreements

Records Center (SharePoint Sites)

There are many features / products which I have NOT included because this list is already very long. I don’t want to scare off people! More features / apps are getting added regularly.  The listing above is accurate as on 15th Dec 2016.

Light bulb

Don’t use Power BI with PowerPoint

I work with many customers on Power BI. It is a new topic for many users and decision makers (not techies). The benefits of using Power BI are obvious and everyone wants to use it immediately. However, the first question I get is – How to use Power BI with PowerPoint ?Here is the answer. Don’t try to put Power BI dashboards or visualizations into PowerPoint. Simple. If you want to know why, read on …

Why not use Power BI with PowerPoint

Continue reading Don’t use Power BI with PowerPoint

MS Word and SEO – better together

Sounds like there is no connection MS Word and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But there is. One of the parameters which is important while performing SEO is the ease of reading of the web content. Easier the better.

But how do you know if your text is easier to read or not? That is a feature MS Word has been providing for over 2 decades. And mind you, if you want your web pages to be more readable, why not treat our documents the same way? Think about it.

Many SEO tools have a built-in method for checking the ease of reading. I use the Yoast SEO tool. It uses the Flesch Reading Ease score. If the score is above 65, your content is easy to read. Max score is 100.

So what about MS Word and SEO?

Continue reading MS Word and SEO – better together

Beautiful handwritten notes using OneNote

If you have Surface and the Pen (or similar laptop with pen/stylus), you can create beautiful handwritten notes using OneNote.

What exactly are beautiful handwritten notes using OneNote?

Well, you need to see the notes to believe it.
Of course, it will not improve your handwriting!
But whatever strokes you use, will look more natural and realistic. Have a look.

beautiful handwritten notes using OneNote

To enable this feature, activate the check box Use Pen Pressure Sensitivity in OneNote. In fact, it is ACTIVE by default on devices which support a pen. That means, you will benefit from it anyway.

The real question is, when do you need to deactivate this feature?
Well, I have found one scenario – when you are drawing diagrams and not using handwriting. If you draw diagrams, you want all lines to look similar. The line width should not change based upon pen pressure. See the difference.

Drawing using a pen in OneNote

For intricate art, pen pressure is really useful.

Drawing using pen in OneNote - with pressure sensitivity active

You can, and should change this option based upon your needs.

See all attachments sent by someone: People Pane in Outlook

There are many available options. The simplest way to see all attachments sent by someone is to use the People Pane in Outlook. Just go to View tab and activate the People Pane. The most convenient option is Minimized.

Enable People Pane in Outlook

Whenever you open any mail, Minimized People pane is appears at the bottom of the message. You will see a visual list of all the people addressed in that mail – sender, To and CCs. If available, their photo will also be shown. The tooltip which appears on mouse hover shows the name of the person.

Outlook People Pane

How to see all attachments sent by someone

Just click on the name in People Pane. The pane opens up and shows many things – mails from, attachments sent by and meetings with the selected person.

How to see all attachments sent by someone in Outlook People Pane

That’s it. If you have activated the Social Connector, you can even see their Facebook and LinkedIn feed.  Enjoy.

How to use the Surface pen as a mouse with Office

If you use Surface or other Windows tablets/ laptops with a stylus, the default action is to draw on top of the document. This can be annoying. Here is how to use the Surface pen as a mouse with Office tools.

Use the Surface pen as a mouse with Office

The default setting is to use the pen for drawing. In the image below, I tried to select the textbox and move it using the pen. This is what happened.

Pen used as a drawing tool

Annoying, is it not?

This is NOT a bug. This is a feature. The idea is simple. Microsoft wants you to use the pen as a pen by default. You can use it to annotate things in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

Pen used for annotation

But what if you want to use it as a regular mouse?

No problem. Just go to File – Options – Advanced and activate the option
Use pen to select and interact with content by default

Use the Surface Pen as a mouse option

Now the pen works like a mouse. This setting is available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Outlook does not need this setting because, although we use Word as the editor, the mails go out as HTML.

OneNote is a completely different story. If you have a pen, you would like to take notes as handwriting. If you have a keyboard, you can type. Therefore, with OneNote, the pen is always in draw mode.  There is a setting which is very intelligent. It is under File – Options – Advanced – Pen, but it has many more options.

By default it is set to understand which input method you are using automatically. I suggest that you do NOT deactivate this setting. It works perfectly as it is. But in the rare circumstances where you want to use the pen as a mouse rather as a handwriting tool, you can deactivate this setting.

OneNote Pen options

By the way, the new surface pen has different pen tips.
You can buy these tips for just 10 USD. These tips change the resistance or friction while you are writing on the screen. The default pen tip is like an HB pencil. The kit gives you more options. If you use the pen extensively, I strongly recommend that you buy and try different tips and figure out which one suits you better.  Mind you, the kit looks deceptively bigger on the Amazon site. The actual dimensions are 1.6 x 1 inch only!

Surface Pro Pen Tips

Summary

Pen, Touch, Trackpad and Mouse have their own strengths. Having to use multiple input devices can get confusing. But do not worry. Just use the tool which is best suited for the job at hand. For example, for creating complex presentations, I use a mouse. Reading and annotating large document is best done using touch. Drawing and handwriting is easiest with the pen.

Using the right tool in the right place is called efficiency!

How to select all shapes in SmartArt

This sounds simple… just click inside the diagram and press CTRL A. But it is not. I want to select all shapes in SmartArt – not the connectors. Let me explain.

What exactly is – select all shapes in SmartArt ?

Here is a sample org chart SmartArt with all shapes selected. I want to change formatting of only the people boxes, not the connectors.

Select all shapes in SmartArt

I want to change formatting of only the people boxes, not the connectors.  That will require too many attempts at Ctrl Clicks to exclude the unwanted connectors.

Fortunately, and as always, there is a better way. Open the SmartArt editor by clicking the arrow on the left side. Older versions of PowerPoint show two arrows in that position.

Click inside the editor and then press CTRL A (Select All). Now only the key shapes are selected. Connectors are automatically excluded.

Select all shapes in SmartArt but not the connectors

That’s it. This works in all types of diagrams which have connectors of some kind. Few diagrams have no connectors at all. In these cases you do not need to select all in the editor.

How to use FormulaText function in Excel

FormulaText function in Excel was introduced in version 2013. It requires just one parameter – the cell from which you want to display the formula.  Even if you select a range, it will return the formula in the top left cell.

image

Detailed syntax.

When to use the FormulaText function in Excel

Here are three practical scenarios.

  1. It is very helpful in documenting important formulas.
  2. It can also be used as a part of an audit process.
  3. Trainers can use it to teach formulas more effectively.
  4. I find it useful for creating more readable screenshots while creating learning content for Excel.