The Newfound Fave Five Office 365 Features


It is very popular for various writers to research new applications and produced lists of new features or functions. My favorite are lists that inform us of features or functions on familiar products that we have never used or were unaware. From time to time I read an article on smartphones that introduces me to a feature that I actually find practical and of value. With regard to Office 365, there have been several articles that lists some of these unknown features and a couple have merited my attention. So, the ones that I want to discuss today are The Newfound Fave 5.

The first one is one that I have actually used. It is the ability to have multiple people editing the same document simultaneously. I have often collaborated with the people in the office using Word, PowerPoint and Excel. It’s actually not only productive but it’s also a bit of fun to have multiple team members editing a document, inserting comments and ultimately accelerating the process to a finished product. However, it’s also a big productivity boost to have both local and remote people jointly develop something important to you or your team. It’s one thing to know about the capability but totally different to actually see it in action.

The second very interesting feature that has really expanded my appreciation and use of Office 365 more than any other, is to have Office 365 running on all of my work and personal devices. In my case that is a Surface Pro (which double as my tablet), PC and Android phone. I really enjoy the option of making or receiving VoIP or Wi-Fi calls using Skype for Business from any of my devices. I was not interested in using just my Surface Pro or PC because I wanted to be accessible whether I was in the office, visiting a client or just having lunch. I want to be able to walk around the office or be out of the office without people knowing where I am or what number to dial. Moreover, running Skype for business on all devices allows me to join meetings, view documents and fully participate in collaborative meetings without restrictions. Mobility is the new paradigm for business. I also added OneDrive and Office to my Android phone giving me access to my business and personal files anytime and wherever I am. Even if I have my laptop with me, I can access my files without draining my Laptop battery. I can read edit, view or display files from my smartphone. Office 365 on all devices just aids in satisfying the need for overall mobility and, quite frankly, it is way too cool!

Another one of those seldom-used features that I did find really interesting was the ability to “Ignore” annoying reply-all conversations. How often have you found yourself on a distribution list that wanted to inform you regarding an issue but you find yourself then receiving emails associated with the issue from too many more people for too long a period of time? At which point, you no longer have further interest and can’t seem to disconnect yourself from a never ending email string. Hence, an Ignore button. Open the message in the Home section of Outlook and click Ignore. This removes you from the conversation, and if at some point you want to reengage, go to the Delete folder and see what you have been missing. I like the Ignore button. It is number 3 and becoming part of my arsenal to improve my productivity.

Editing a PDF file has become really easy using Office 365 and is number 4. I, like many of you, have attempted to use free PDF to Word software and I’m sure that some of you have even acquired an Adobe subscription. However, I discovered that if you open the PDF in Word, it will ask you if you wish to have the PDF converted to a document for editing. Simply click Yes and the PDF file will now be editable in Word. This saves a lot of time when you’re interested in selecting specific text for use in other documents or presentation material. Another great newfound addition to Office 365!

Excel is an application that has so many features it’s very difficult for marketers like me to understand and use many of them. Excel is a very sophisticated and, often, specific application. However, as you gradually add skills and features, it becomes really cool to take advantage of some of Excel’s newfound Office 365 additions. Two that I like Quick Analysis and Flash Fill. Quick Analysis allows for the creation of charts graphs and pivot tables quickly and, it seems at least for me, to be easier. Simply select the cells that you’re interested in visually representing in some fashion and Quick Analysis offers various options for presenting the material. A true time-saver and something that makes the information more relevant and easier to understand for users of the spreadsheet. And finally there’s Flash Fill. I haven’t used this very much but it looks promising. With Flash Fill you are able to quickly replicate the act or series of actions you are currently performing in Excel. Flash Fill perceives your intent and completes the actions for you. For example, if you are changing the formatting of a list of names across two columns (first name, last name) into a single column. When you type the second reformatted name, Excel displays the whole list, reformatted. Just click to accept the suggested reformatting.

Okay, so technically, these represent 5 and 6 of the newfound features. However, since both are in Excel, at CloudRoute, we counted them as one.

Enjoy them all soon!

David Byrd

David Byrd leads marketing and operations for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, he was CMO at ANPI, and CMO & EVP of sales at Broadvox.