Make the most out of Outlook with these tips

Millions of businesses worldwide use Microsoft Outlook, preferring the free web-based email and calendar service over its many competitors. Outlook also offers tasks and contacts management capabilities, among other nifty features that will help you work smarter and boost your efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at some tips to help you make the most of Outlook.

Organize your inbox

Is your Outlook inbox getting a little too cluttered for your liking? Use the Clean Up feature to tidy up your inbox.

From your inbox, click the Home tab and choose from one of three Clean Up options:

  • Clean Up Conversation – reviews an email thread or a conversation and deletes redundant messages
  • Clean Up Folder – reviews conversations in a selected folder and deletes redundant messages
  • Clean Up Folder & Subfolders – reviews all messages in a selected folder and any subfolders, and deletes redundant messages in all of them

Ignore conversations

Besides redundant messages, group conversations that aren’t relevant to you can clutter up your inbox. The Ignore button helps you organize your inbox and focus on relevant emails.

To activate this feature, select a message, then click Home > Ignore > Ignore Conversation. Alternatively, you can open a message in a new window and click Ignore under the Delete function. You can easily revert this action by going to the Deleted Items folder and clicking Ignore > Stop Ignoring Conversation.

Send links to files

This function is especially useful when you need to send large files to your coworkers or clients. You can send a link to the file instead of the file itself as well as set permissions to allow recipients to edit and collaborate on linked files in real time.

To do this, upload the file you wish to send to OneDrive. Then from the message box, click Attach File > Browse web locations > OneDrive.

Tag contacts

To get the attention of a specific person in a group email or meeting invite, use the @Mention function. This works particularly well for emails sent to multiple recipients or if you want to convey the urgency of your message.

In the body of your email or invite message, type the @ symbol followed by the name of the person you want to tag (e.g., @johndoe). Doing so will highlight the name in the message and automatically add it to the To line of your message.

You can also search for messages you’re tagged in by selecting Filter Email from the Home tab, and then clicking Mentioned.

Add notes to emails

With Outlook, you can add sticky notes to specific parts of an email. To add a sticky note, simply drag your cursor to highlight your chosen text in the email, and then release the mouse button to trigger a pop-up object menu. On that object menu, select Add Note. This will open a OneNote feed within Outlook, where you can add text or images to your sticky note.

Schedule a Teams meeting

Teams is Microsoft’s unified communication and collaboration platform, and it includes the Outlook add-in. This feature allows you to set up Teams meetings directly from Outlook. It also lets you view, accept, or join meetings while in either app.

To schedule a Teams meeting on Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to the calendar view on Outlook. Click the New Teams Meeting tab.
  2. Add individual participants or entire contact groups to the Required or Optional fields.
  3. Type in the topic, start time, and end time of the meeting. There’s no need to add the dial-in phone numbers and conferencing IDs to the invite, as Outlook does this automatically for you.
  4. Create a message inviting the recipients to the meeting, then click Send.

Share emails to Teams

With Outlook, you can easily share an email from your inbox directly to a specific Teams channel. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Select the email you want to share.
  2. Click the Share to Teams button.
  3. On the Share to Microsoft Teams pop-up menu, type the name of the person or channel you want to share to. Check the “Include attachments” tickbox if you want to include the email’s attachments.

These are just some of the things you can do to improve your Outlook experience. For more on how to get the most out of Outlook and other Microsoft products, drop us a line today.

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Maximize your Microsoft Word subscription with these tips

Microsoft Word is synonymous with document processing, which isn’t a surprise given its ubiquity and reputation for being user-friendly. Yet, many users are still surprised to learn that it has plenty of useful features, albeit ones that are hiding in plain sight. Here are some of them.

Work online

Don’t have the Word app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone? Go to office.com, sign in with your Microsoft account, and open Word Online, the web version of Word. This is particularly useful for users who have limited free storage space on their devices, as the Word app can be pretty hefty in terms of storage space (2.11 GB for Windows and 1.2 GB for Mac). It allows for the same level of functionality without the storage burden.

Collaborate effectively

You and your colleagues can now edit the same Word document simultaneously and in real time. Simply save the document to your Microsoft OneDrive account, click Share, and send the link to the file to your coworkers. People with the link can access and edit the document using the Word desktop app or Word Online.

Maintain editorial control

Use the Track Changes function of Word to monitor all edits made to your document. To turn on Track Changes, click on the Review tab, and then select Track Changes. You will then be able to view all changes made to the file by every user, and you will also have the ability to reject or accept suggestions and edits as you see fit.

Use Smart Lookup for research

The Smart Lookup feature helps you do online research while you’re working on a document — no need to open another tab and type in a query. Simply highlight and right-click the word or phrase you want to look up, and select Smart Lookup from the menu that appears. Word uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine to conduct a search on the selected word or phrase, and displays the results in a pane that appears on the right side of your screen.

Format your documents

The Styles gallery contains predefined formatting options for text. You can also add your own styles, or those you use frequently, to the gallery. By saving your own style preferences, you can apply them anytime without having to manually format everything. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to format as a new style (e.g., a heading or a certain phrase).
  2. Specify the formatting you want on the mini toolbar that appears. For instance, click Bold and Red if you want the text to appear as such.
  3. Click the More arrow in the lower-right corner of the Styles gallery. Select Create a Style. This will open the Create New Style from Formatting dialog box.
  4. Give the style a name and click OK. Your new style will appear in the Styles gallery, ready for you to use anytime.

Search and use images quickly

With Word, there’s no need to open your browser to look for images for your document. Just place the cursor in the area where you want to insert the photo, click the Insert tab and select Online pictures (type “clip art” in the search box if that’s what you need), select an image, then click Insert.

Edit PDFs

Word’s PDF editing function allows you to make quick changes to PDF files without having to download and use a PDF editing app or software. But before you can edit a PDF file in Word, you have to convert it to a file format that Word can display. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click File > Open > Browse
  2. Choose the PDF file you want to edit, then click Open
  3. Click OK to make a copy of the PDF file and convert its contents into a format that can be opened in Word. (Note: The original PDF will be preserved.)
  4. Make edits to the copy of the PDF file.
  5. When you’re done, click File > Save as > PDF

Microsoft is constantly rolling out nifty new features for its popular word processor. To stay updated on the latest Word features and functionalities, reach out to our Microsoft experts now.

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Keep your data safe with Windows 10’s built-in backup features

Businesses rely on computers for their daily operations, so succumbing to a ransomware attack is devastating. Ransomware blocks access to all data, which can result in financial losses and the company closing down temporarily or permanently. Windows 10 offers built-in tools and cloud storage options so you can come out on the other side of a ransomware attack or data loss incident relatively unscathed.

File History in Windows 10

Serving as the main backup utility, File History enables users to regularly schedule backing up of files on their PC and store them on an external drive. That means you can connect your PC to a network or USB drive and make backups as needed.

However, be sure to regularly connect the external drive if you intend to use File History for backups. Otherwise, Windows will prompt you that your files have not been backed up every day. You can ignore this warning at your own risk. If you back up to a mapped network that is unavailable, File History will commence backup in the local disk until the network drive becomes available.

Setting up File History

Anyone can set up File History. After all, it was designed to make data backup and recovery easy for users. By default, File History backs up the main file folders, but you may also pick which folders you want to back up and bring in folders from other parts of the PC to do this.

From the Start menu, click on Settings > Update & Security > Backup.

Once in Backup, you can connect to an external drive. Click on Add a drive to see a list of external hard drives hooked up to your PC and choose one.

When you return to the Backup section, you will see that the Add a drive option has changed to Automatically back up my files (by default). This allows backups to be created at periodic intervals, which you can set to anywhere from every 10 minutes to once a day (the default option is once every hour). You may also set how long to keep the backups.

Restoring files that have already been backed up is just as easy as setting up backups. Simply type “File History” in the search bar. Then, you will see the “Restore your files with File History” folder. Selecting this opens a new window showing the folders backed up onto your external drives.

Setting up OneDrive backup option

If you have access to a network drive or the cloud, back up to it instead of locally. One such cloud option is OneDrive. You can prompt OneDrive to automatically back up your files. Just click on the cloud icon in the Windows notification area, then select More > Settings > Backup > Manage backup.

Not only will selected folders sync in OneDrive, but new and existing files will also be backed up to OneDrive, so they can be accessed using other devices in case something happens to your PC.

Making system image backups

A system image is an exact replica of your entire operating system, along with all the programs, settings, and files. If you created a system image backup using the Windows 7 Backup and Restore tool in Windows 7, it will still work in Windows 10.

To use this feature, access the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) option from the Control Panel. Click on Create a system image, choose where to store the backup (i.e., an external hard drive, network drive, or DVD), and which drives or files to back up. You will then be asked to make a system repair disc, which you can use to start a PC and restore the image backup.

Never worry about losing files in Windows 10. For more tips on how to successfully back up and restore data, contact us today.

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