Most of us are comfortable with using the best-known Microsoft 365 apps, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and recent events have prompted us to embrace collaboration apps like Teams. Yet new additions are added frequently, and it is worth stepping out of your comfort zone to explore some of these often-overlooked Microsoft 365 features.
1. Real-time co-authoring
Many people don’t realise that, on applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, it is possible to have many users editing the same file at once. When working on large pieces of work, such as tender responses and annual reports, there is no need to pass around the document to one person at a time, or deal with the stress of combining feedback from many sources separately.
2. Comments in documents
If you’re writing a report, or even a blog like this one, and have a question or need extra input, you can highlight the relevant word or paragraph and add comments to make the process easier. If your comment begins with the @ symbol and another user’s name, the app will automatically notify them by email that there is a comment needing their attention.
3. Send links instead of documents
When a document is in the cloud instead of on your hard drive, you no longer need to attach and upload a document, and can instead provide a link for the recipient. This makes sure they always have the latest version, and you don’t end up with multiple versions doing the rounds. You keep control of your IP, and you can even set an expiry on the recipient’s access.
4. Turn OneNote items into calendar tasks
Most of us are busy, so it is easy to end up with notes that we forget when we move on to the next meeting. It is easy to turn actionable items into future calendar events, or to create a task in Outlook, so that nothing gets missed.
5. Built-in version control
Apps like SharePoint, Teams and OneNote include simple version control, so that when you have many people collaborating, you can always see who changed what. Every time you save a document, a new version of the document is created. If you want to view, compare, or restore previous versions, just select File, Info, and Versions to explore the history of your document.
6. Adding tabs into Teams
When any team meets regularly, they tend to have certain content they will refer to most often. To save them from half a dozen clicks as they scroll through folders, you can add a tab so that the document link is right there in a single click. No more embarrassing silences in Teams meetings as everyone searches for the right document.
7. Search in SharePoint
Navigating around SharePoint can involve opening a few folders to find the right content, but it is much quicker to use the search function. It can be handy to have an intranet page as your default browser page, so that you can simply open the app, type in your search and voilà!
8. Recording Teams meetings and publishing to stream
You can create an internal ‘YouTube’ for your organisation so that when anyone misses an internal meeting, or where there is a lot of technical detail, you can share within the organisation. You can even choose to share externally when you’d like your customers to get an important update. There are even some simple video editing tools, so that you can trim content, and viewers can search for specific keywords to pinpoint the right content quickly.
9. Alert Me in SharePoint
This is a tool that has been around a long time, yet few people know about it. Especially handy for group files, you can set a configurable email alert when there are changes to files that you need to know about.
10. Move email conversations to chat
If you look in your inbox, you’ll probably see many emails that were sent to a large group, with several contributors using the reply all function. If you’ve been on holiday, or busy in meetings, trying to unravel the trail can take a lot of patience. When people move the conversation to the chat function in Microsoft Teams, it is easy to follow and catch up on events, and the conversations can be effortlessly located later if you need to refer back to them.
These are just some of our favourite features that make the day easier… but it was hard to stop at 10. Spending a little time regularly to explore new Microsoft 365 features is well worth the effort, and Microsoft has many short online video tutorials that make raising your skill level an easy task. Your TechPath account manager is always happy to share a few tips and tricks, so don’t forget to ask next time you talk to us. For more news and ideas, follow TechPath on LinkedIn.