Category Archives: Office 365

Office 365 Poster : Learn which product to use when

Office 365 has lot of apps. It can be confusing to know which app to use when. Here is the solution. To solve the problem I designed the Office 365 Poster.

It is simple, action oriented poster. First column lists common activities all of us perform and second column shows the recommended app and feature to be used.

You can download the PDF file from here. Use it, Print it, Share it with colleagues and friends… just spread the word.

The PDF is protected. Only printing is allowed. Of course, you can take a screenshot as well. But editing and copying is not permitted.

Have an idea to improve the poster? Post a comment.

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Note that all the latest icons have been incorporated as on 15 Nov 2019. As and when new icons are released, I will keep the poster updated.

Incremental Search in QAT customization list

Probably nobody noticed it. But this is an example of how Microsoft is looking at even the smallest inconveniences and resolving them to improve efficiency. In order to understand this topic, you have to know how to perform the QAT customization – Quick Access Toolbar. You can read this article for details.

While customizing QAT, you see two lists. The list on the left side has thousands of items – all available features in the product. The list on the right side contains items which are already there in your QAT.

The idea is to find the desired item from the main list and add it to the right side list. Now, in the longer list, if you wanted to find, let us say the item “Split”, you could not type the characters s p l. Basically, incremental search did not work at all. If you typed s p l it will show you the first entry of l rather than the entry starting with spl.

This required lot of scrolling and manual searching because it is a very long list. It is not a major issue but a small irritant. However, recently, Microsoft solved this and now, the long list supports incremental search. In short, you type spl together and it will go to Split item (in Word).

Incremental Search in QAT customization works.

We usually miss incremental improvements

The reason I am writing this article is that, most probably, I would have missed this improvement altogether. Why? Because for many years the list did not support incremental search. Once we know that something is not going to work, we just don’t try it.

Luckily, I tried it recently, hoping that true to its continuous improvement thought process, Microsoft may provide incremental search some day. And it did work.

A classic example of missing incremental improvements is associated with Excel. In older versions, if you click inside a cell and type CTRL A the entire sheet would get selected. What we wanted is to select the block of data around the selection. People just gave up on CTRL A.

But somewhere down the line (I don’t remember the exact version), Microsoft did enhance Ctrl A to select the current region of contiguous data. Unfortunately, most users who were earlier disillusioned with CTRL A never tried it again and they still don’t know that CTRL A works.

Such if life!

Office 365 Usage Scenarios

O365 contains a lot of tools. Most users do not even know about all the tools available. Even if you know the tools, the next question is – which tool to use when? Most people take this decision either randomly or based upon their habits. Both approaches are wrong. I created a set of 5 videos to illustrate some common Office 365 Usage Scenarios.

Office 365 Usage Scenarios

This is a playlist in YouTube. Each video is about a common business need. For each business need, the video demonstrates the best suited tool. As you know, efficiency is a two step process… step 1 is to know what is available and step 2 is to use the right tool in the right place.

You can view the playlist here.
These videos have a British voice because I created these videos for global consumption.

Here are the videos. Each one is just 5 minutes long. Continue reading Office 365 Usage Scenarios

WhatsApp vs Kaizala

WhatsApp is simple, convenient and popular. Due to this, it is used for official work as well. Whether you like it or not, you have to accept it. Attempts to control it fail miserably. That is where Kaizala comes in. It provides all the convenience of WhatsApp plus all the security and governance you need for managing official work and data. It is a no brainer. But still, let us see WhatsApp vs Kaizala comparison from a business collaboration point of view.

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Reading time 6 min

Continue reading WhatsApp vs Kaizala

Password-less login in Office 365

Just using a login id and password is dangerous. For best protection we must use two factor login – password + OTP. But this is inconvenient and irritating. Now we have a new option – Password-less login – for Office 365. This is secure as well as convenient. See how easy it is and ask your IT team to enable it for you. (5 min reading time)

Password-less login

This requires you to download Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile and configure it once. You must enable the Phone Sign-In option.

Once this is done, you do NOT need to type in your password at all during login. Here are the steps.

  1. Go to the login page Office.com and click Sign In
  2. Enter the login name and click Next
  3. Now, instead of asking for your password, it will just display a number

    Password-less login screen showing a 2 digit number

  4. At the same time, you will receive a notification on your mobile. This notification shows three numbers.

    Passwor-less login notification on mobile phone

  5. Choose the correct number from the mobile notification and choose Approve
  6. If the phone was locked at the time of receiving this notification, you will have to enter unlock code or use fingerprint or face sign-in
  7. That’s it. Now your login is done … without entering the password.

What happens if there is no internet connection

For the Password-less login to work, the Microsoft Authenticator app requires internet connection  on the mobile. If there is no internet connection, you can click on the Use your password instead option.

In this case, you can type the password as usual. You will NOT receive a notification on mobile. But the Microsoft Authenticator app will still show the code for your account. Type that code and the login will work. The codes are automatically generated every 30 seconds. This does not require an internet connection on your mobile.

Ask IT to enable Password-less login

This is an Azure AD feature. Ask  your IT team to refer to this article for details. It is just a single PowerShell command as of now (Dec 2018). Soon it will be available as an option in Azure AD portal user interface as well.

Enable Office 365 MFA and be safe

Quick guide for Office 365 MFA. Includes admin and user tasks in brief.

Admin: Enable Office 365 MFA

  1. Go to Admin Portal 
  2. Users – Select the user
  3. Office 365 MFA option in User properties
  4. Select user(s) again and click the Enable button
  5. That’s it. Now it is the user’s turn to take the next steps

User: Enable Office 365 MFA – first time only

  1. You must go to a browser – incognito / InPrivate / private mode
  2. Go to https://portal.office.com
  3. Login as usual.
  4. Click Next in the Additional Information dialog
  5. Now there are many options and this can be a confusing step
  6. Open the dropdown choose Mobile App and Choose Receive Notifications for verification option

    Choosing the Mobile App autentication option

  7. Click the Set Up option. After some processing, it will show a QR code
  8. Now it is time to download and install the Microsoft Authenticator App on mobile (Android and iOS)
  9. Open the app and from the top right menu, choose Add Account – Work or School Account
  10. Scan the QR code
  11. Now it will register the account on the mobile and you will see a 6 digit code which keeps changing every 30 seconds (does not require internet connection)

    Mobile account registered showing authentication code

  12. Now click Next on the browser side.
  13. You will now receive an notification on the mobile phone.
    Choose the Approve option.

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  14. Now the MFA is configured.
    Please note, the displayed 6 digit number is NOT REQUIRED to be entered anywhere. This is because, we are using the Receive Notification for Verification option.
  15. In the next step, it will ask another number for verification in case you lose your mobile. Add a different number here.  Click Next.

Special password for Outlook and Skype for Business

Outlook client and Skype FB does not support MFA. Your regular account password will stop working as soon as MFA is configured. Outlook will keep asking for your password and your regular password will not work. Now you have to use a special password.

That is the one shown to you in the next dialog as Step 4. Copy that password and use the same password it for Outlook and SFB. Use one password for laptop and one for desktop / mobile, etc.

If you use any ActiveSync client on mobile, that will also require a password. Technically you can use this password, but it is better to create another one.

How to do that? Go to Portal.Office.com, click on your photo, go to My account – Security – You will see a Create App Passwords option. Create a new one from there and use it.

User: Regular Office 365 MFA login

Now onwards, MFA is enabled. Now login using two steps

Step 1: Login using UID PWD as usual.

Step 2: Immediately, you will receive the Approval notification on mobile.

Congratulations

Chances of your account being hacked reduced by 99% now.

Share this with everyone you love and make their digital lives also safer.

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Store files in Office 365 – Best Practices

(Reading time 3 min ) This article provides concise instructions on where to store files when you have Office 365 E3 or above in your organization. There are multiple places and apps within Office 365 where files can be stored. But there is no clarity about which file goes where.  Here is a simple guide for everyone.

where to store files poster

Continue reading Store files in Office 365 – Best Practices