Workflow automation is an increasingly important factor in productivity. A research report from Formstack released this year found that half of managers are spending the equivalent of one full workday each week on administrative tasks, many of which could be automated. And 44 per cent of managers reported that their workplace has invested significantly in workflow automation tools within the past two years. Managers are spending significant amounts of time, up to half of the average workday, on administrative tasks. In many cases, these tasks could be automated. “Few business owners really grasp the concepts of what automation in technology can do,” said Martin Webb, a founder of Tudodesk. “When they start a business or look to grow it, they instantly assume the problem they need to solve is by hiring help.” There are times when automating repetitive or administrative tasks can free up time and mental space, allowing for focus on more important matters. Automate Your Email This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
You can narrow, expand, and otherwise fine-tune your searches in Outlook. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you’ve probably tapped into the regular search feature in which you type a keyword or phrase in the search field and then wait for matching emails to appear. But there’s much more to searching in Outlook than meets the eye. In this article, you’ll master the following skills: Search just your current mailbox or all mailboxes as well as your current folder or all folders. Limit the search to just recent items or include older items as well. Look for messages based on sender, recipient, date, attachment, status, body text, and more. You can easily access recent searches. You can search your calendar and contacts separately or along with email messages. Modify the default settings for searching. I’m using Outlook 2016 via my Office 365 subscription. But most of the features and options I discuss here should work in the prior couple of versions of Outlook. To start, open Outlook. If you’re like me, you may have thousands of messages scattered throughout a host of folders. You may even maintain more than one account or mailbox in Outlook. To run a basic search, type … Read More
Q. I heard that Microsoft is going to discontinue the desktop version of OneNote! Is this true? If so, what will take its place? You did hear correctly. This announcement was made within the last 24 hours by OneNote Program Manager William Devereux. He confirmed that active development of new features and capabilities is ending for OneNote 2016. This was the last version of OneNote built for the standard Windows desktop. It is compatible with the currently supported versions of Windows (7, 8.1, and 10.) Later this year, when Office 2019 is released as the last stand alone version of Office, there will not be a desktop version of OneNote included. However, there are still options for those of you who are fans of OneNote 2016 on the desktop. According to an FAQ posted by the OneNote team, this announcement does not mean the end of OneNote 2016 is imminent. OneNote 2016 will be under mainstream support until October 13, 2020, and extended support until October 14, 2025. You’ve got a little over seven years left with this product as-is. Installing Office 2019 when it is released later this year will not remove OneNote 2016 from your system. OneNote for … Read More
Trying to get to inbox zero? Switching from conventional Gmail to Inbox can help you get there, thanks to features like bundling, snooze, and templates. Inbox by Gmail first appeared in 2014, when the vamped-up web-based email client was still invite only. But there are still people who haven’t switched over, and may not even be fully aware that they can. Those people are missing out. Inbox by Gmail takes what you already enjoy about Gmail — message sorting, filters, great archive search — and makes it even more useful. Its ethos and functionalities will feel familiar to fans of the Getting Things Done productivity approach, as Inbox works to make every email actionable, even if that action is merely to archive a message. This helps you clear things out of your inbox and focus in specifically on what you need to do with your email, when you need to do it. “It’s not an exaggeration to say Inbox literally transformed the way I use email,” said Vinay Pai, the founder of Unfake.us. “I used to be pretty dedicated to desktop-based clients like Thunderbird, Outlook, and Eudora but Inbox made me decide to switch my whole email workflow around it.” It might … Read More
Voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are suddenly everywhere — but can they really up your productivity? We have advice on choosing one, and tips on using it to make life easier. It looks like 2018 is set to be the year that voice assistant devices become truly mainstream. The Amazon Echo Dot was the best selling item on Amazon.com, across all categories, during the 2017 holiday season. And in early 2018, Google announced that a Google Home device had been sold every second since October 19. Both devices and their respective software — Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — were everywhere during CES earlier in January, indicating that current sales figures are just the start of the sector’s potential. But what can a voice assistant do for you in the home or office, other than play playlists or podcasts? And can it really make you more productive, in a world where we’ve already got smart phones, smart watches, and tablets at our disposal? Here’s a look at what the devices can do, with tips from users, and how to decide which system is best for you. Choosing the Right Assistant for You First of all, how do … Read More
Mail merge can save you plenty of time when you need to address multiple envelopes or labels. You have envelopes or labels that you want to address to many people. You can do that individually, or you can do it much quicker through a mail merge in Word. The mail merge feature lets you create an envelope or a series of labels and then merge that file with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of names and addresses. Using a list or table of names, you populate your envelope or labels with fields to insert each name and address. But Word’s mail merge can be tricky. How can you use it simply and effectively? Let’s check it out. I’m using Word 2016 here, but mail merge is available in any version of Word and works the same over the past few versions of the program. You can merge different types of files, including email messages, documents, and directories. But envelopes and labels are the most common formats for a mail merge, so we’ll focus on those. If you want to try out a mail merge on your end, you’ll need a list of names and addresses stored in a Word table, an … Read More
Your Word Tables can look better if you know how to properly format them. You probably already know how to create tables in Microsoft Word. But formatting them is another matter. Formatting a table not only gives it the right look but can also make it easier to use. Maybe you’ve struggled with table formatting in the past, or perhaps you’d just like to learn all the different ways you can format a table. Your options abound in Word. You can create a table with a certain layout. You can apply border styles either to the whole table or to individual rows or columns. And you can give your table a snazzy new look by selecting an entire table style. Let’s go over the process for formatting tables in Microsoft Word. As always, I’m using Word 2016 through my Office 365 subscription. But the process for formatting tables is similar across the past few versions of Word. Let’s start by launching Word with a blank new document. Click on the Insert ribbon and then click on the Table button. Word offers three ways to create a table. You can insert a table by moving your mouse cursor over a specific … Read More
You can automate a host of time-consuming tasks via macros. Do you find yourself running the same laborious and repetitive commands and tasks in Microsoft Word or Excel? There must be a better way, you say to yourself. And there is, with macros. Through a macro, you can record or create a series of commands and tasks in a Microsoft Office application. Then, whenever you want to run those commands, you just trigger the macro. You can create macros to automate just about anything in a program like Word or Excel — apply special formatting, change the layout, insert objects. Macros can sound intimidating if you’ve never ventured into their territory. They’re stored as mini programs using the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language. But you don’t need to be a programmer to use macros. You can record the macro by performing the various commands step by step. You can then edit the macro to make any changes. Let’s check out how to use macros to save time in Microsoft Office. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Your emails can look more appealing with the right themes and stationery. Do your messages from Microsoft Outlook look dull? Maybe you’re trying to promote a product or service in your emails or you just want to wow recipients with a certain style to your emails. And your regular messages just seem blah, at least visually. Can you spruce them up? Sure, you can format each email individually with specific fonts, colors, and other attributes. You can tap into styles to touch up your emails. Or you can rely on themes and stationery. Through themes, you can paint your emails with a specific visual style. You can choose from the built-in themes and create your own themes. Using themes and stationery, you can set up your messages with specific fonts, colors, backgrounds, and other elements. You can choose to apply your stationery to selected individual messages or to all new HTML emails you compose. Let’s see how you can spruce up your Outlook messages with themes and stationery. For this article, I’m using Outlook 2016 via Office 365, but the process for using themes and stationery is similar in the prior few versions of Outlook. This article is part of … Read More
You can enhance your PowerPoint presentations through the power of add-ins. Looking for a way to jazz up your PowerPoint presentations? Microsoft can lead the way, through add-ins. An add-in enhances your Office documents and presentations by giving you more power and flexibility over them. The right add-ins for PowerPoint can ease the process of creating your presentations and lead to more effective demonstrations and slide shows: Free Picture Finder can track down royalty-free photographs that you can use in your presentations. Pickit Free Images finds free and legally-cleared stock photos, icons, and illustrations to perk up your presentations. Handy Calculator conveniently displays a calculator next to your presentation. OfficeMaps can insert maps of specific countries, cities, and other locales. Khan Content from Microsoft lets you add free videos and exercises from training site Khan Academy. And PowerPoint Training and Tips provides tips and tricks for using PowerPoint. Let’s check out these useful and free add-ins for PowerPoint. Note: Most add-ins work with PowerPoint 2016 and 2013 but not with older versions such as PowerPoint 2010 or 2007. Some add-ins also support the free online version of PowerPoint and PowerPoint for the iPad. You can browse and search for an … Read More