Microsoft Office has many tools and features to help you get work done, but have you unlocked its true potential? If you are not following these productivity tips, the answer is no, as they can help you get more done in less time so you can focus on more important things than everyday time-consuming tasks.
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What Is Microsoft Office?
Microsoft 365 (still referred to by many as Microsoft Office) is a suite of tools that gives you access to multiple apps like:
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Teams
With those apps, you can write, create spreadsheets and presentations, hold virtual meetings, collaborate via email, store and share files, and perform other tasks to keep your business and personal life organized.
Productivity Tips For Microsoft Office
Since Microsoft Office offers so many tools under its massive umbrella, it is easy to overlook or even forget certain features exist. That is why we came up with this list of hacks or productivity tips to help you make the most out of the software suite so you can make life easier and do more in less time.
Customize Microsoft Office Menus
As you open Microsoft Word, Excel, etc., you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the features at your disposal. You may also find the clutter to be confusing and distracting. Luckily, Microsoft Office gives you the option to change all of that. You can customize menus in Microsoft Office to fit your personal preferences. This can remove unnecessary clutter and help you save time when finding your most-used features.
Each app in Office has a ribbon that sits at the top and has tabs that let you access various features quickly. For example, in Word, your ribbon could display Home, Insert, Design, Layout, etc. Click on each tab, and you will see corresponding features to help you access the specific functionality you desire.
Chances are, you do not need to use every tab in your ribbon. To customize it and show only what you need, select File, Options, and then Customize Ribbon. From there, you can select what you want to display and what you want to hide, tweak their order, rename features, and you can also add new tabs and groups if anything is missing. And, if you find the ribbon itself to be distracting, you can instantly hide it by clicking on the “^” button at the right edge of the ribbon.
Another way to get fast access to the features you use most in Office is to customize the Quick Access Toolbar that sits atop the ribbon on the upper left-hand side of your apps. Click on the downward pointing right arrow to the left of your Quick Access Toolbar, and you can add or remove options like Home, Save, Send Document, Undo, Repeat, Print, and so forth.
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Autosave Everything With OneDrive
A huge time-waster is accidentally losing an entire document because of a power outage or some other glitch. If you are not using autosave, you will want to do so by connecting OneDrive to Microsoft Office. OneDrive is cloud storage that lets you access files on the go. More importantly, it saves document changes to the cloud, so you have updated copies in case you forget to save work manually. Another perk of using OneDrive is that it lets you store multiple versions of documents. If you need to revert to a previous version, you can do so by clicking on “File,” “Info,” and then “Version History.”
Use Smart Lookup
Have you ever looked through a Word document or Excel spreadsheet and encountered an unfamiliar phrase? If so, you can save time exiting the Office app you are working in to do a Web search for more info on the phrase and use Smart Lookup instead.
To use Smart Lookup, highlight the word or phrase you are curious about. Next, right-click what you highlighted and select the “Search” option. That will trigger Smart Lookup to pop up on the right-hand side of the Office app you are using. From there, you can view definitions and relevant images or links via Bing without having to exit the app. This offers more clarity on whatever you are working on, saves time from switching between apps, and keeps you more focused on the task at hand.
Share Without Leaving Microsoft Office Apps
The more you multitask, the easier it is to make mistakes and waste time. Instead of having to switch between apps to share an essential document, Microsoft Office lets you share without leaving the app. You can share a document by clicking on “Share” in the upper right-hand corner of Word or Excel, for example. You will be prompted to move or copy the document to the cloud to share, and you can send a copy in its original format or as a PDF. You can also send it as a link and have the option to add a password and expiration date for additional security.
Convert Emails To Appointments Or Tasks In Outlook
You probably receive many emails related to upcoming tasks you need to complete or appointments you need to attend. Instead of manually jotting down notes to remind yourself of these upcoming tasks or appointments, you can use a shortcut to get the job done via Microsoft Outlook.
When you receive an email that you want to convert into a task, click on it and drag it toward the lower left of your Outlook screen. Drop the email onto the small clipboard with the check mark representing the Tasks icon. Once finished, you can open up the task and tweak its details to your liking.
The process is similar if you want to convert an email into an appointment in Outlook. Click the desired email and drag it onto the small calendar icon. From there, you can add details, invite attendees, and more.
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Create Favorite Email Folders In Outlook
If you are like most, your email inbox is a nightmare to navigate due to messages and offers from everyone under the sun. This can lead to important messages getting lost in the shuffle and to tons of wasted time trying to find specific emails containing critical information.
Use Microsoft Outlook’s Favorite Folders feature to eliminate clutter, confusion, and time wasted looking for messages. It will keep you from having to scroll through multiple email folders listed alphabetically and will maintain everything in a familiar place.
To add a frequently used folder to your favorites, right-click on the folder. Then, select the “Add to Favorites” option. You will then see that folder listed at the top of all folders in the Favorites section in Outlook’s left pane so you can easily access it.
Select Entire Paragraphs
When editing a Word document, you may need to copy and paste a paragraph or delete it altogether. You can quickly select a paragraph by triple-clicking any word in it instead of manually moving your mouse around.
Use Split View
The next time you need to make changes to one part of a document while referencing another, go to the “View” tab at the top of your Word or Excel window and select the “Split” option. This will enable Split View, a feature that lets you simultaneously look at two parts of the same document.
Want to learn more about Microsoft Office 365? Read our Microsoft Office 365 Review.