Microsoft Office 365 is a superb productivity enabler for businesses of all sizes, from SME to large enterprises with a mobile work force. While most organisations are familiar with the more popular features, there are a host of less well-known features that many users don’t even realise are there. Taking full advantage of everything that the Cloud solution offers will help your employees work better and more productively.

Skype within Office 365

The ability to co-author documents globally is a well-known feature that can boost an organisation’s mobility capabilities, but you can go even further and connect real-time through the document via Skype.

If you’re working with someone on an Office 365 document remotely, then it’s possible to click on the “chat” button in order to start a Skype session. This allows you to communicate real time and within the Office 365 app with whoever you’re working on, helping to minimise any difficulties in working together on a piece remotely.

Get rid of attachments

Attachments in emails can create a number of issues particularly around version control, as people email around old attachments without realising that there is a more recent version of the document.

Microsoft’s SharePoint platform allows you to simply email a person a link to a document that’s being hosted in the cloud, meaning everyone is working off the same version. Even better, document links that are emailed in this fashion through the cloud version of Outlook automatically grant editing permission to the people you are emailing, allowing them to seamlessly pick up where you have left off.

OneNote is your calendar’s best friend

Within Microsoft Outlook is a simple note-taking tool called OneNote. What is great about this feature is that if you create a to-do list in the program, you can convert it over to tasks and deadlines, complete with automatic reminders in your calendar.

You can then easily email the notes to the whole team, allowing them to add the notes and deadlines into their own calendars and ensuring no one forgets to complete a task.

Fix the email inbox

As businesses continue to reply heavily on email, employees are looking for tools and features to help them manage their inbox. Thankfully Office offers a number of different options to help streamline email management.

The “Clutter” button helps you designate important emails that you want to pay attention to, while the “Ignore” button helps you filter out conversations you don’t want to pay attention to. Using the Ignore button allows you to mute out any “reply all” email conversations that aren’t of direct relevance or interest to you.

Edit PDFs

For many, the most attractive feature of a PDF is that they can’t be edited, but if you need to make small changes or correct formatting, they can be a pain to deal with. Thankfully Microsoft Office 365 offers easy editing of PDFs.

Simply open the PDF within Word and when asked if you want to convert the PDF, click “OK.” In most cases the conversion will also maintain the formatting of the document, where previously trying to copy and paste directly from a PDF results in a lot of work to edit it back into a readable format.

Word also allows you to save documents as PDF (File – Export – Create PDF), and for added security you can assign passwords to it.

Get rid of distractions

To keep a document layout as clutter-free as possible to help you the reader focus on the words on the virtual page, press crtl + F1. This will get rid of the ribbon and all the icons on the top of the page. You can also activate reading mode by press ALT and the W and F keys at the same time.

Make use of Outlines view

In the View tab there’s an immensely useful button called “Outlines.” Clicking on this will take you to a heading-and-bullet-points view of a document that you can use to organise up to nine levels of headings. This allows you to move around the documents quickly, search for specific headlines and jump to the exact paragraph you’re looking for.

For people writing long documents on multiple pages, this is the quickest way to ensure they’re not wading through every word of text trying to find one specific paragraph.

Don’t forget that Microsoft Word does tables and charts too

If you’re working with complex sets of data then you’ll need to use Excel but for simple datasets, Microsoft Word allows you to easily create tabular data, and then quickly convert it into far more visually pleasing charts.

  1. Click on the Insert tab on the ribbon
  2. Select the object tool within the text grouping and open “object dialog box”
  3. From the list of Object Types, choose “Microsoft Graph Chart” and click OK.

And that’s it! Instant graph. It’s a far quicker way of using data to highlight the point you’re making through the document than dealing with Excel needlessly.

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