Eight features of Microsoft 365 that you should be using
Most of us are used to using Microsoft products at some point in our lives. Outlook, Word, Excel and more recently Teams are long established as business tools for communication, creativity and collaboration.
In recent years many businesses have moved away from purchasing individual applications or Microsoft Office bundles, choosing instead to work with Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 is cloud based, available on a subscription rather than as a purchase, and has the advantage of being continuously updated.
It also means that Microsoft can constantly introduce new features – some of which you may be familiar with, and some which may be new. Here are our favourites.
- Work offline
With Microsoft 365, you can work on files offline, thanks to Microsoft’s OneDrive feature. OneDrive sits on your device, behaving in a similar way to your computer’s own hard drive, and syncs your files seamlessly to the cloud.
This means that as you work on a document in the cloud – for example through Teams – a version is synchronised to OneDrive on your device. If you find yourself without an internet connection, you can work on the document offline and as soon as you reconnect to the internet, the latest changes will be automatically upload back to the cloud. The updated version will then be available on all connected devices.
- Real-time co-authoring
Collaborate with others online and view their changes as they happen. You can share your file to OneDrive, then others can work on it simultaneously. This may be useful for hybrid working – if you are in the office and a colleague is at home, you can collaborate with ease on a presentation or portfolio, as if you were in the same room. An integrated sidebar helps you share directly from the application on which you are working.
- Share links instead of files
No need to attach documents – with Microsoft 365, you can share a link to the document with anyone and watch changes in real-time. This is helpful for keeping on top of drafts and maintaining the organisation of documents, without the need to go back and forth with updated versions. This also helps to counteract the file size limit that emails may have, and prevents a slow, lengthy process of sharing within a business.
- Visualise data
You can turn your data in interactive visualisations in Excel. This can be done through ‘Power Map,’ which creates a 3D interactive map of data and insights to impress any audience. This works particularly well for data that can be segmented into regions or areas. For example – if you wanted to create an animation of where your customers are located, this would be the perfect feature to help visualise it.
- Show appreciation with the ‘Praise’ add-on in Teams
Within the chat feature on Teams, you can show appreciation for your colleagues using badges and stickers such as ‘thank you’ or ‘awesome.’ This can help you keep in touch with your colleagues through positive interactions team, especially if you are working in different places.
Add this feature by going into messages, then into message extensions. Search for ‘praise’ and add this application for easy access to the badges.
- Read aloud
The ‘read aloud’ feature on Word is a way to help users proofread their work, taking advantage of text-to-speech technology. Often errors are hard to spot when reading on screen, but easier to identify when a piece is read aloud. It also gives your eyes a break from the screen.
- Continue reading where you left off
In Microsoft 365 you can continue reading a document where you left off – automatically bookmarking where you finished reading. This can be great for longer documents which you may read over in the morning, continue during the day, then you could pick up where you left off on the train home. You can pick this up on any device, without losing your place.
- Accessibility reminder
Accessibility reminders is a new feature for 2022 that allows users to collaborate equally, even if they have different abilities. This reminder can let fellow collaborators know that you, or someone else, requires the shared document to be accessible. For example, somebody in your team may be colourblind, and the creators would need to alter the document to ensure data or other visualisations do not rely on colour to present the necessary information.
For more advice on how to make the most of Microsoft 365, contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.