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Top 20 Tips for Office 365 Productivity -- SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles Edition


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This is a "Best Of" presentation of materials from my webinar/session collaboration with Tom Duff (@duffbert) in which we share our favorite productivity tips from Office 365 and the Microsoft Office productivity suite. This presentation was shared at the SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles (#SPSLA) in Playa Del Rey, California on September 28th, 2019 at the MIcrosoft Offices.

For more content like this, be sure to subscribe to the CollabTalk YouTube site at

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Top 20 Tips for Office 365 Productivity -- SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles Edition

  1. 1. Top 20 Tips for Office 365 Productivity Christian Buckley Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC Microsoft RD & MVP #SPSLA
  2. 2. Christian Buckley Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC Microsoft RD + MVP @buckleyplanet
  3. 3. Lock your Word document We focus so much on admin control at the site or site collection level that we often forget about some of the simple protections that we, as end users, can apply to our files directly. When working with sensitive information, Word has several options to protect a file. To see these options, go into File > Info > Protect Document Options include:  Always Open Read-Only  Encrypt with Password  Restrict Editing  Restrict Access  Add a Digital Signature  Mark as Final Some of the options require additional steps, but all of this is driven by the user and does not require admin oversight.
  4. 4. Adding interactive Microsoft Forms to PowerPoint While not brand new, Forms is an underutilized resource that allows you to quickly and easily publish surveys and snap polls within your organization – or to external users and partners. Creating your surveys is easy, as is changing the question types, adding or removing answers, and rearranging the layout before or after you push it live. Additionally, as the survey author, you have access to real-time stats, and can share the results with your management team or respondents.
  5. 5. Adding interactive Microsoft Forms to PowerPoint  Microsoft Forms is now integrated with PowerPoint for Office 365, providing a seamless way for speakers, trainers, and educators to connect and interact with participants. As shown in a Microsoft Tech Community blog post, presenters can get real-time audience feedback via forms and quizzes without asking them to leave PowerPoint.  To get started, in PowerPoint under Insert, click the Forms icon to create a new form/quiz or insert one you’ve already created.  Please note that this feature is currently only available for PowerPoint Windows 32
  6. 6. Adding interactive Microsoft Forms to PowerPoint To see the responses to your form or quiz, sign in to your Office 365 account at Open the appropriate form from your My forms page, and then select the Responses tab at the top of the page.
  7. 7. Adding interactive Microsoft Forms to PowerPoint To create a quiz, check out the article at us/article/create-a-quiz-with-microsoft- forms-a082a018-24a1-48c1-b176- 4b3616cdc83d
  8. 8. Add protection with OneDrive Personal Vault With the growing presence and sophistication of online threats, it’s increasingly important to have the right protection and tools to help safeguard your devices, personal information, and files from being compromised. Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that you can only access with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS.1 Your locked files in Personal Vault have an extra layer of security, keeping them more secured in the event that someone gains access to your account or your device. Just enter a PIN, or use your fingerprint, face, or a code delivered by email or SMS1 to unlock and access your files—no need to remember multiple passwords. Additionally, Personal Vault can be unlocked with the Microsoft Authenticator app. 365/blog/2019/06/25/onedrive-personal-vault-added-security- onedrive-additional-storage/
  9. 9. Add protection with OneDrive Personal Vault You can use the OneDrive for mobile app to scan documents, take pictures, or shoot video directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device—such as your camera roll. On Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive. And like all files in OneDrive, the contents of your Personal Vault are encrypted at- rest in the Microsoft cloud and in-transit to your device. Personal Vault automatically relocks on your PC, device, or online after a short period of inactivity. Once locked, any files you were using will also lock and require reauthentication to access. Personal Vault began rolling out earlier this month, and should be available on your tenant by October. 365/blog/2019/06/25/onedrive-personal-vault-added-security- onedrive-additional-storage/
  10. 10. Planner and To-Do Integration  Planner is your out-of-the-box Kanban-based project management tool. Microsoft has finally taken steps to align this great tool with Microsoft To-Do.  Users can see all of their tasks across Microsoft 365 in To-Do, including flagged emails in Outlook and tasks assigned in Planner. View your tasks, deadlines, and details, and plan to get more done throughout your days.  To get started, update your To-Do app and click Show List when prompted to Track tasks assigned in Planner.  365/blog/2019/05/29/new-to-microsoft-365- april-streamline-compliance-collaboration- inclusive-engaging/  soft-To-Do-Blog/Planner-and-To-Do- integration-bringing-you-a-more-cohesive- task/ba-p/552740
  11. 11. Send attachments as links in Outlook in/help/4011261/how-to-set-attachment- preference-for-attaching-a-cloud-file-in-outlook  Send links, not files!  When working with cloud files (SharePoint, OneDrive) you can set the default attachment state to a link rather than always attaching a copy of a file.  To get started, in your Outlook desktop app go into Files, and then Options, and look within the General section for Attachment Options.  Select Always share them as links and click Ok.
  12. 12. Send attachments as links in Outlook  Next, open a new email message and select Attach File. Navigate to the relevant cloud-based file and attach.  The file will attach with the cloud icon, and by default, will say Anyone can edit. As your recipients open this file, they will be viewing and/or editing the document from within your cloud environment.
  13. 13. Send attachments as links in Outlook  Click on the right arrow on your file to see additional options, such as removing the attachment, or changing the permissions.  For local files that are not in the cloud, you can attach them to your email per normal steps, then select the right arrow on the file to save it to the cloud (you’ll see all of your available options), allowing you to manually change an attachment to a link.
  14. 14. Getting notified when you do a "mass deletion" in SharePoint Online or OneDrive It's a nightmare of mine… someone pings me and says that hundreds of files are missing from a document library, and they're not in the recycle bin either. If you're lucky, you figure out who deleted the files, and often they didn't realize they did that. Now in SharePoint Online and OneDrive, Microsoft will notify you via email if you've done a "mass deletion" of data. Here's what happens… Here I have a document library in SharePoint Online, and I have a folder with 427 files in it:
  15. 15. Getting notified when you do a "mass deletion" in SharePoint Online or OneDrive I delete the folder, and I get a chance to confirm I want to do that. But let's pretend I didn't read it carefully or I clicked Delete without meaning to… Hey, I've seen it happen…
  16. 16. Getting notified when you do a "mass deletion" in SharePoint Online or OneDrive In about 15 minutes, I get the following email from Microsoft letting me know it detected the mass deletion, and giving me one more chance to make things right if I shouldn't have done that…
  17. 17. Getting notified when you do a "mass deletion" in SharePoint Online or OneDrive I know the first question will be "so how many documents need to be deleted to trigger this feature." The answer is "we don't know, and it depends." As Sarah Haase states: The tricky part is determining how many files must be deleted before these automated notifications take place. According to Microsoft, “Notifications are sent to users when a higher than usual number of files are deleted per hour.” No additional information has been provided on how the ratio of file deletions is measured or what percentage increase in file deletions is enough to meet the notification threshold. As Microsoft calls out, “This is not to be considered a fail-safe file recovery solution – it is a continuation of best efforts we are making to protect your files from accidental loss.” So… this isn't a hard-and-fast feature that you can count on every time. My threshold may well be different than yours. But it's nice to know that the days of deleting large amounts of data unknowingly will be fewer and farther between now.
  18. 18. Adding an Email as a Task in Outlook and To-Do  To-Do is quickly becoming “the” default task management solution within Office. Within Outlook, did you know that you can drag-and-drop an email into To-Do via the Tasks icon?  Most of us are used to dragging and dropping emails into Calendar to set up reminders and schedule meetings, but you can follow the same process to define tasks.  Just grab an email and drag it down to the Tasks icon at the bottom left of Outlook. do/?s=tips-tricks&f=adding-an-email-as-a-task-in- outlook-on-windows&l=en&p=web
  19. 19. Adding an Email as a Task in Outlook and To-Do  A task dialog will open up, with task details at the top and the body of the email below. From here you can set due dates, reminders, assign it to someone on your team, push it to OneNote, and more.
  20. 20. Adding an Email as a Task in Outlook and To-Do  Click on the calendar icons to pick your start and due dates. Change the status and priority, as appropriate.
  21. 21. Adding an Email as a Task in Outlook and To-Do  Once you have defined the start and due dates, it is always wise to set a reminder, IMO.
  22. 22. Adding an Email as a Task in Outlook and To-Do  Within the Tasks view of Outlook, you can quickly view all of the tasks created within Outlook – as well as task lists created in the To-Do app (Windows or mobile)  For additional productivity, there is much more than you can do with To-Do integration to your mobile device and other smart speakers, and automate using Microsoft Flow. We’ll cover more of those examples in future tips…
  23. 23. Text Annotations in Office Lens  Office Lens trims, enhances, and makes pictures of whiteboards and docs readable. You can use Office Lens to convert images to PDF, Word and PowerPoint files, and you can even save images to OneNote or OneDrive.  You can now  add text to highlight a part of a document  add a watermark of your brand text before sharing  add a caption that stays intact with the image wherever it goes and communicates your idea to your colleagues  After taking your image, simply tap on the ‘T’ icon and easily add text while on the go and in the moment. You can select a style/template, change text color and position, and then share!  Currently available on both Android and iOS, but no word about support for Windows Phone, Blackberry, Palm OS, or Kin (fun article on why Windows Mobile failed that’s worth a read)
  24. 24. Text Annotations in Office Lens
  25. 25. Adding to OneNote Meeting Notes via Mobile Within any new meeting, you have the option to add OneNote meeting notes to any outgoing meeting invite. From the Appointment menu, simply select Meeting Notes. Next, select either Share Notes with the Meeting or Take Notes on Your Own
  26. 26. Ink Analysis in PowerPoint Announced in April 2018, Microsoft has expanded the inking capabilities in Windows and the Office suite, now leveraging shape and text recognition in PowerPoint, allowing you to more quickly markup and edit your presentations using handwritten notes and touch screens to write, select, and convert text and shapes into clean, professional images and drawings. April 2018 announcements
  27. 27. New AI-Powered Inking Features As of October 2018, there are several new AI-powered Inking capabilities in Word and PowerPoint. You can now use a touch-enabled device and digital pen to ink your ideas and transform them into perfectly formatted content. You can also choose from 30 new 3D models with built-in animations to bring your content to life.
  28. 28. Automating Microsoft To-Do with your Smart Speakers  Households are increasingly using smart speakers and IoT devices to automate various aspects of our lives and increase productivity, but did you know that you can sync these services to Microsoft To-Do?  To use Siri with Microsoft To-Do, you begin by connecting your or Exchange account.  Go to your iPhone's settings, select Accounts & Passwords and then Add Account. Then select Exchange or and simply follow the prompts to add your account.  Once you’ve added your account, enable Reminders for that account by selecting Accounts & Passwords once more and then either Exchange or Then make sure that Reminders is toggled on for that account.  Once your Microsoft Account has been connected, set your default Reminders list to one in your Outlook or Exchange account by opening your iPhone's settings, tap Reminders > Default List and then select the desired list.  Once set up, all you need to do is say 'Hey Siri, remind me to...' and it will be synced to your Microsoft To-Do list. Using Siri and Reminders with Microsoft To-Do on iOS11 and iOS12
  29. 29. Automating Microsoft To-Do with your Smart Speakers  For more details, check out the following:  Using Siri and Reminders with Microsoft To-Do on iOS11 and iOS12  Using Ok Google with Microsoft To-Do  Using Apple Watch with Microsoft To-Do  Additionally, there are many many many integrations available through services like IFTTT (If This Then That) and Zapier to help connect your smart speakers and smart phones to Microsoft apps and services, such as  Connecting Amazon Echo To-Do to OneNote
  30. 30. Change your Outlook mobile swipe options If you use the Outlook mobile app, you have some options available for how you manage your email experience. Personally, I don’t want to deal with folders and multi-step actions within my phone, and prefer to manage more complex actions through the desktop app. My preferred swipe actions are to Delete and Mark as Read/Unread. To change the swipe options, go into the gear settings for your account and select Swipe Options, and select from the options for left and right swipe.
  31. 31. Making quick video recordings in OneNote Let's say you want to create a quick video of yourself, either to let your team know something, or perhaps just as a reminder to yourself to take care of some items. OneNote has a basic video recording function built in, and it's perfect for those basic types of videos (not screen captures… just whatever your vidcam is picking up). Here's how it works… First off, go to your OneNote Options (File > Options), select Audio & Video, and make sure you have the right audio and video devices selected to record yourself:
  32. 32. Making quick video recordings in OneNote Once that's done, go to the Insert tab, add a new page, place the cursor where you want the recording to be, and click Record Video:
  33. 33. Making quick video recordings in OneNote The video will start recording immediately, and you'll have a Recording tab in the Ribbon Bar that will have the controls to Pause and Stop the recording:
  34. 34. Making quick video recordings in OneNote When you're done, just click Stop and everything is stored automatically. If you want to replay the recording, click Play:
  35. 35. Making quick video recordings in OneNote What's also a nice touch is that you can also right-click on the video icon and save it to a different location if you need it to reside outside of OneNote:
  36. 36. Insert Data from Picture into Excel With Insert Data from Picture, you can take a picture of a printed data table with your Android device and convert that analog information into an Excel spreadsheet with a single click. New image recognition functionality automatically converts the picture to a fully editable table in Excel, eliminating the need for you to manually enter data. Available in Excel for iPhone, Excel for Android tablets, and Excel for Android phones. 2c59-4bc0-b04a-a671a6868fd7
  37. 37. Using the Read Aloud feature in Outlook Have you ever gotten an email from someone that looks more like a novel than a request? Have you wished you could just have someone read it to you while you focus on something else? Well, with the Read Aloud feature in Outlook, you can now do that! Here's how… First of all, you need to turn the feature on in your Outlook Options panel. Go to Ease of Access and select the Show Read Aloud setting:
  38. 38. Using the Read Aloud feature in Outlook Now when you open an email, you'll see the Read Aloud Speech option. When you click that option in the Ribbon Bar, a speech toolbar will appear and you'll start to hear the email being read aloud. The toolbar allows you to Rewind, Pause/Start, Fast Forward, set Options, and Stop:
  39. 39. Using the Read Aloud feature in Outlook With the Options setting, you can alter the speed of the narration, as well as the voice used. David is a lower-pitched male voice, while Mark has a higher-pitch. Zira is the female voice: While this isn't something I'd necessarily use all that often, I can see it being useful for long emails with a ton of text. It could also be extremely useful in the case of people who have vision issues that make it hard to read and/or digest longer emails.
  40. 40. AI-Powered To-Do Tracking in Word Editor—Word’s AI-powered writing assistant—is an indispensable tool for the written word. But sometimes you need to leave a placeholder in your document and come back to it later to stay in your flow. Word now helps users create and fill in these placeholders without leaving the flow of their work. For example, type TODO: finish this section or <<insert closing here>> and Word recognizes and tracks them as to-dos. When you come back to the document, you’ll see a list of your remaining to-dos, and you can click each one to navigate back to the right spot.
  41. 41. AI-Powered To-Do Tracking in Word Once you’ve created your to-dos, Word can also help you complete them. If you need help from a friend or coworker, just @mention them within a placeholder. Word sends them a notification with a “deep link” to the relevant place in the document. Soon, they’ll be able to reply to the notification with their contributions, and those contributions will be inserted directly into the document— making it easy to complete the task with an email from any device. Over time, Office will use AI to help fill in many of these placeholders. In the next few months, Word will use Microsoft Search to suggest content for a to-do like <<insert chart of quarterly sales figures>>. You will be able to pick from the results and insert content from another document with a single click. Currently in preview with Office Insiders.
  42. 42. Reuse existing slides in new PowerPoint presentations Instead of recreating slides from scratch, quickly find and reuse slides from your files or from others in your organization with the help of Microsoft AI in PowerPoint. Simply click the Reuse Slides button on the Home tab to surface existing PowerPoint decks in the sidebar to browse through recommended PowerPoint decks that you have access to, view the slides in each presentation, and insert them into the deck you are creating. This feature is available for all Office 365 subscribers.
  43. 43. Jumpstart your notetaking with OneNote Templates And yes, you can create your own templates! If you have spent countless hours building a format that you reuse for new projects and meetings, simply open the template console and select Create New template… and save your format as a template.
  44. 44. Export PowerPoint to Video You’ve spent time creating your presentations with animations and transitions to tell a story, and want to save your file in a more consumable format. Export, Save as Video You have the ability to create a quick video using set timing, or create custom timing and transitions, and even annotate with video so that you can walk through each slide and talk about the content that is being shown.
  45. 45. Checking for gender-inclusivity when using Word If you're old like me, words like "policeman" and "fireman" just want to roll off your tongue, as that's what you grew up with. But today's communication often requires a more gender-inclusive word selection like "police officer" or "fire fighter." Microsoft Word has an option that will allow you to do grammar checks for that very scenario. Here's how to activate that… In Word, go to Options > Proofing > When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, and click on the Settings button after Writing Style: Grammar & Refinements:
  46. 46. Checking for gender-inclusivity when using Word Scroll down to Inclusive Language, and select the option for Gender-Specific Language:
  47. 47. Checking for gender-inclusivity when using Word Here are some examples of what happens now…
  48. 48. Want more tips? Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 “October Discord” Register at
  49. 49. Christian Buckley @buckleyplanet Tom Duff @Duffbert …AND subscribe to us on YouTube at
  50. 50. Thank you
  51. 51. Be sure to register and spread the word for two upcoming SharePoint Saturday Events Ensenada Saturday, October 12, 2019 CETYS University, Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior, Ensenada, B.C 22860, Mexico #SPSENS - 63037372478 Denver Saturday, October 12, 2019 Microsoft Technology Center - Denver, 7595 Technology Way #400, Denver, CO 80237 63298384171?ref=estw
  52. 52. We have two awesome User Groups here in Los Angeles check out their meetups! LA SPUG: LAExUG: