Microsoft 365 features

Microsoft 365 (formally known as Office 365 – find out more about the name change here) is one of the most popular and effective tools for boosting business productivity, collaboration and efficiency. But are you confident that you know every useful Microsoft 365 feature to help streamline your day?

Most of us will already be using Microsoft 365 in some capacity, whether that’s through Microsoft’s established Office apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) or their business class email service, Outlook.

But most people don’t have a full understanding of the capabilities of these products – which could end up saving you time, money and effort. In fact, Microsoft also offer a host of additional products that can help streamline processes within your business. Have you ever heard of Stream, Bookings or Forms? Do you have a good understanding of how they could improve the efficiency of your business?

If you’re a Microsoft 365 user, you need to read this article now to make sure you can take advantage of the Microsoft 365 features you may not know about.

Here are 11 super useful Microsoft 365 features that you might have overlooked…

1. Edit a PDF in Microsoft Word

Have you ever been stuck in a situation where you need to edit a document in Microsoft Word but can only access a finalised PDF? We’ve all wasted time searching the internet for ‘the best PDF to Word converters’ without realising that the solution is as easy as opening a new Word document.

To convert a PDF to a Word document you need to navigate to File > Open > Select your PDF from your computer. Once you’ve completed these steps the message below will show, click OK to complete. It really is that simple!

PDF to Word

2. Store and share videos

Videos can take up huge amounts of storage space and are often difficult to send or share with others due to their size, but Microsoft 365 has a feature that can tackle this problem. Microsoft Stream application allows you to easily store, watch and share videos via the cloud, making them accessible any time, using any device – provided you’re connected to the internet. Stream also includes speech to text and auto-generated caption functions to make videos easy to understand and accessible to everyone. Having one place to store training videos and team meeting recordings will enhance employee experience and staff development.

3. Mention colleagues to grab their attention

Need to ensure that your colleague doesn’t miss an email? Or need to assign tasks to different employees without confusion? Try mentioning them in the body of an email via Microsoft Outlook.

Mentions work in a very similar way to Facebook tagging. To mention a colleague in an email, simply:

  • Type @ followed by their name to select the colleague you want to mention
  • Their name will be automatically added to the ‘To’ line of the email (sending them the email if they’re not already a recipient)
  • Their name will be highlighted in the body of the email – making the text that’s relevant to them obvious
  • When they receive the email, they’ll see the @ symbol in the message list so they’ll know they’ve been mentioned by name

You can also filter your Outlook inbox by mentions, meaning you can easily find emails that are important and relevant to you.

Mentions on Outlook

4. Run live presentations across the globe in over 60 languages!

You can now “go live” with Microsoft PowerPoint, meaning you can carry out presentations to people across the globe in real time. To go live you’ll need to navigate to Slideshow > Present Online. This will generate a QR code that audiences can use to access your presentation on their device. In fact, live PowerPoint presentations can also generate real-time subtitles and even translate these into over 60 different languages, allowing you to present globally without the language barrier.

PowerPoint Live

5. Real-time document collaboration with colleagues

If you’re working on a group project, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the different versions of the same document that are created whilst editing. Sending revised versions back and forth to one another can become extremely confusing, sometimes it’s difficult to avoid finalising the wrong version of a document by mistake!

Microsoft 365’s real-time collaboration feature is the answer to this problem. It allows colleagues to edit and collaborate on work in Word, PowerPoint and Excel at the same time, using different devices. The document just needs to be saved to either OneDrive or SharePoint, Microsoft 365’s cloud storage applications. When you begin editing with multiple users, each edit can be highlighted and named so you can see exactly who has changed what. To collaborate on a document, you simply have to click the ‘Share’ button in the top right-hand corner and invite a user to collaborate with you.

Real-time collaboration - Microsoft 365 features

6. Create surveys, polls and quizzes quickly and easily

If you’re looking for a quick, easy way to gain employee or customer feedback, Microsoft Forms is an excellent tool. Forms allows you to create surveys, polls and quizzes quickly and easily. You can then invite others to respond using almost any web browser or mobile device, whilst seeing real-time results as they’re submitted and using the built-in analytics software to evaluate your responses. You can then export your results into Microsoft Excel for more detailed data analysis and interpretation.

modernising the workplace 2021

7. Automatically organise your inbox

Are you wasting time searching through unwanted emails to find the ones you really need? A great way to boost your productivity and remove the stress of so many incoming emails is to set up rules in Microsoft Outlook that will automatically organise your emails.

Outlook does already have a ‘Clutter’ feature, which learns from your actions and behaviour to determine which emails you’re likely to ignore – it then automatically moves these emails into your Clutter folder. But you can organise your inbox even further by creating folders for different purposes, for example, by sender, department, project, or vendor. You can then create rules for emails that will automatically sort incoming emails into their designated folder, dependent on factors such as sender or subject.

To create rules for your emails, simply right click on the email in question and then navigate to Create Rule > More Options > Select the relevant conditions and folder you’d like it moved into > Save. All incoming emails that align with the selected conditions will automatically come through to the selected folder.

Create rule to automatically organise your inbox - Microsoft 365 features

8. Retain old emails for compliance purposes

In sectors where sensitive, financial or personal data is managed, businesses often have to comply to regulations that mean email data must be stored and accessible for long periods of time (even after a client has stopped working with you or an employee has left your business).

Microsoft 365’s Litigation Hold feature solves the risk of losing important data. Litigation Hold will store any inbound or outbound emails that have been deleted, preventing data from being stolen and keeping your business compliant should you ever need to retrieve that data again.

9. Don’t get distracted by unnecessary email threads

Have you ever found yourself cc’d into a long email thread that you just don’t need to be involved in? Is the amount of emails coming through clogging up your inbox and distracting you from the task at hand?

Microsoft Outlook gives you the option to automatically ignore unimportant emails threads, meaning you won’t keep getting notified and can focus on more relevant tasks. Rather than deleting each message as it arrives, you can ignore the entire conversation by Selecting the conversation or message > Home > Ignore > Ignore Conversation. To stop ignoring a conversation, navigate to the Deleted Items folder and select the conversation you want to recover > Home > Ignore > Stop Ignoring Conversation.

Ignore email threads

10. Automatically add travel plans to your calendar

With lots going on it can be difficult to stay on top of where you need to be and when. But with Microsoft 365, you’ll never miss a plane or forget a journey again. If you receive a flight, hotel, or car rental confirmation via your Microsoft Outlook inbox, Outlook will automatically add these into your calendar. It will even include any important information that it can gather from the email, such as flight numbers, website links, confirmation codes and more.

11. Schedule appointments effortlessly

Missing meetings, forgetting to schedule appointments, and double-booking time slots can be a nightmare for most business professionals. But Microsoft Bookings provides an easy-to-use platform that allows you to schedule meetings effortlessly. Bookings will even automatically sync to employees Outlook calendars, helping you to find time that works for your colleagues too and avoiding double-bookings.

12. Bookmark important messages to refer back to later

Microsoft Teams’ instant chat function is great for quick back-and-forth messaging between colleagues and teams. And, if you need to save an important message or attachment to refer back to at a later date you can easily bookmark the message to do so.

To bookmark a message in Teams, click the bookmark symbol on the top right-hand side of the message (you may need to click the three dots first to find it). Then, when you’re looking for that message at a later date, simply type “/saved” into your search bar and all of your bookmarked messages and attachments will display on the left-hand side of your screen.

We’re Microsoft Gold Partners, so if you’d like to know more about how Microsoft 365 can help your business, we can help. We’ve written a comprehensive eBook on Modernising the Workplace in 2020 using Microsoft 365 as the ideal toolkit, which you can download now for free!

Alternatively, if you’d like to speak with one of our experts to learn how Microsoft 365 can add value to your business please get in touch today.

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