Outlook Conversational View

If you have the latest version of Office Pro Plus, a great new feature is now available. It is called Outlook Conversational View – (not to be confused with “Show as Conversation” setting). Check the View tab in Outlook. Conversational view is useful for managing long mail trails.

Outlook Conversational View

When you click on this button, the menu options reduce and the Reading Pane is automatically activated. Don’t worry. If you do not like it, just click on Classic button.

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Warning: Office 365 SPAM – Phishing attack

DO NOT respond to any mails which ask for Urgent Upgrade. Here is a sample mail which I just received.

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There is a link called UPGRADE NOW.
DO NOT CLICK ON THIS LINK.

This link leads to an authentic looking Office 365 login page. Needless to say, it is a fake page. This is called a Phishing attack.

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DO NOT put your password there.
Just delete the mail permanently and do not think about it again.

I have already informed the relevant authorities in Microsoft. They will do the needful.

If you are in another country or region, you may not receive this particular type of mail. But in any case, do not trust any such mails. If you are an IT person, go to the Office 365 Admin page and check if there is a genuine need for license upgrade. If you are not an IT person, just alert your IT team.

Be safe!.

Excel Data Model : Simplifying usage

Excel Data Model is a database that is built-in to Excel. It has been around since 2010. Using it increases the capacity of Excel to handle millions of rows, it reduces file size significantly and eliminates VLOOKUP for code to description mapping. These new options in Excel 2016 and above simplify the usage of Excel Data Model and improve performance for large data operations. Go to File – Options – Data tab.

Excel Data Model usage options

Options in section 1 and section 2 are already covered in my previous blog articles. Section 3 helps us incorporate Data Model more easily into day-to-day Excel data management activities.

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Pivot performance improvement options

If you use Office 365 Pro Plus and Excel 2016, you should see a new tab under File – Options. The Data tab. This has many useful features which help improve Pivot performance. In addition, it also helps you with incorporating Data Models more easily into your Excel data management process.

If you do not see the Data tab in File – Options, you are not using the the right version of Excel. Escalate to your IT team to set it right. 

Data tab for Pivot performance adjustment

Here is a set of Practical usage guidelines for some of these new options.

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IFS function: Goodbye nested IFs

With Excel 2016 and Office 365 Pro plus, a less confusing and powerful function was introduced – IFS function. It eliminates the confusion generated by multiple nested IFs for complex calculations. In any case, if you are using multiple nested IF statements, check whether VLOOKUP can solve the issue or use Pivot Table grouping.

Nested IFs look like this:

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The same formula using IFS function is much simpler to type and understand :

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IFS function has just ONE set of brackets, irrespective of the number of conditions used. It also offers the last argument for default return value – in case all other conditions did not produce any output.  Try using it.

The function will return an error if used in versions before Excel 2016. Be careful.

Excel Fix: 3D Maps not working, Home tab blank

I had both these problems. I am using Office Insider – Fast track for Office Pro Plus. I tried all kinds of things but nothing worked. Full repair, complete uninstall and reinstall, reapply Windows patches, reinstalled .net framework, escalated to MS. No use.

The solution was very simple. I went to Excel – Customize Quick Access Toolbar. At the bottom right corner I chose – Reset – Reset All Customizations. That’s it. Both problems solved.

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I myself do not know why it worked. But it did. If you have the same issues, try this one.