Microsoft Outlook

Use keyboard shortcuts

Yes, that’s right. Just like in Word and Excel, there are keyboard shortcuts in Outlook too. For example, press CTRL+R to quickly reply to a message. Hit ALT+S to send an email without any clicking. Or, press CTRL+1 while you’re in another part of Outlook to immediately jump back to your email messages.


Use the “Go to Date” function

Don’t waste precious moments clicking through weeks and months to find the right spot for a future appointment. Jump straight to the date you need with the “Go to Date” dialog box. Just press CTRL+G while you’re on the calendar, and it’ll pop up right away.



Go to date in outlook



Use filters to only see unread messages

You know you’ve got 23 unread messages hiding among hundreds of read ones but spotting them is tricky. Quickly filter your inbox to display only unread emails by clicking Filter Email > Unread in the home tab in the menu ribbon.


Create virtual “sticky note” reminders

Want to create a quick virtual “to do” list on your desktop? Press CTRL+SHIFT+N from anywhere in the Outlook interface to create a new note that can be dragged and positioned anywhere on your screen. Great for quick tasks that don’t need to be full-blown tasks.

Microsoft Word


Save your custom formatting

You needn’t spend time applying custom formatting to every document you create. Instead, save your preferred document formatting using the Quick Styles function and make it available every time you start a document. There are step-by-step instructions here.


Turn track changes on and off

Perhaps you’re editing a document, and you want your substantive changes to appear tracked, but to simply enable your formatting changes. There’s good news; you can quickly turn track changes on and off by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+E.


Turn highlighted text into a link

Interesting hyperlinks can be fiddly if you go the long route. Even worse, formatting can be sent haywire if you paste a long web link directly into a doc. Instead, highlight the text you’d like to become the link and press CTRL+K. The insert hyperlink dialog box will immediately open.


Pick up where you left off

Are you back in the office to put the finishing touches to that document you were working on yesterday? Don’t waste valuable seconds scrolling to find the section you were working on. Just open the document and press SHIFT+5; Word will take you directly to the last place you edited.


Save as PDF

There’s absolutely no need to print and scan documents to create a PDF. The quickest route by far is to save your Word document directly as a PDF. Just click File > Save As, then select PDF in the format drop down list. Saving as a PDF is possible in Office 2007 and later.

Microsoft Excel


Quickly add up data

Quickly add up an entire column or row of data by clicking in the first empty adjacent cell and pressing ALT+= (that’s the equals key). Excel will then automatically sum all of the numbers it can find in that row or column.


Display formulas

If you want to see quickly which cells contain a formula or would prefer all the formulas on a page to be visible, just press CRTL+’ (that’s the acute accent key, beside the “1” on most keyboards). You can toggle back to the values view by pressing the same keys again.


Find and replace across an entire worksheet

Finding specific text in a document using the CTRL+F shortcut is pretty well known. Less well known is that hitting CTRL+H will open up the find and replace dialog box, allowing you to replace data in multiple cells in one go.


Jump to the start or end of a column

You’re hundreds of rows into a spreadsheet, and you need to get back to the first or last cell. Scrolling works but takes time. The quickest way is to press CTRL+↑ (that’s the up arrow) to go to the top of a column or CTRL+↓ (the down arrow) to jump to the bottom of a column.


Microsoft OneDrive


Share your files

One of the benefits of having all that storage space on OneDrive is the ability to upload and share files with friends or colleagues. Though most of the items you upload to OneDrive might end up being private, you also can switch certain items into a public mode to share as you please. This allows you to skip out on sending big email attachments, as the recipient will have direct access to select files in your OneDrive at any time.


To share an item on OneDrive, find the file or folder. Then, right-click on the file or folder and select “Share.” Once the pop-up window appears, you can choose if you want for your recipient to edit or delete that file. On the next screen, also can also unclick “Allow Editing” so you can limit the recipients to just downloading the file. Finally, click on “Copy Link” to bring up a URL that can be shared. You also can enter a name or email address from the dialogue box to send the files automatically.




Back up your PC to OneDrive

1 TB of storage is a lot to use, but a great way of leveraging that storage space is to back up your PC to OneDrive. Granted that you’re running the latest versions of Windows 10, the in-built OneDrive Sync client can help you do that.


To get started, simply search or navigate to OneDrive from the Windows 10 Start menu to launch OneDrive if it is not already running in the background. Next, click on the OneDrive cloud icon in the task bar. After that, click on “More” and choose “Settings.” From the pop-up menu, then choose the “Backup” tab. You can then click “Manage Backup” to choose which folders from your PC to backup to OneDrive. To finish, simply press the blue “Start Backup” button.

You’ll then find all your uploaded files in the Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folder in your OneDrive. If you repeat this on a daily basis, these files will go everywhere with you, meaning you’ll always have a copy of what’s on your PC if it is lost, stolen, or crashes.



Save your email attachments to OneDrive

If you’ve got a full inbox, you’ve likely lost important attachments in the mess of emails. A great tip to avoid that is to save attachments from Outlook to OneDrive. You can do this by right-clicking an attachment in Outlook, or clicking the drop-down menu on it. Then, click “Save to OneDrive.” Just like that, the file will be saved to the email attachments folder in OneDrive, allowing you to access from any PC, without having to sort through an inbox of messages.



Upload and back up your phone’s camera roll to OneDrive

Accidents happen, and one of the worst things in life is losing the precious photos saved on your phone. Luckily, if you’ve installed the OneDrive app on your phone, you can use it to back up your entire camera roll to OneDrive. The option for camera roll backup should have appeared when you installed OneDrive on your phone, but you can still manually enable it if need be.


On Android, you can enable the camera roll back up by tapping on “Me” along the bottom bar of the screen. Next, tap on “Settings” and then click on “Camera Upload” under “Options.” Be sure the right account is selected under “Camera upload account” and then flip the “Camera Upload” switch to on. Next, confirm your choice. There are additional settings you can choose, such as uploading only on WiFi, or while your phone is charging. You also can backup additional folders, and include videos.



Empty the Recycle Bin to save storage

On a PC, deleting a file sends it to the recycle bin, and the same applies to OneDrive. Whenever a folder, file, or document is discarded from your OneDrive collection, it moves to the Recycle Bin. This might be a fail-safe in case you deleted an important file, but the files still take up space towards your OneDrive storage limit. Be sure to click on the Recycle Bin and clean up files regularly to avoid losing out on your storage.


Microsoft PowerPoint

1. Embed attention-grabbing YouTube videos

Did you know that more than one billion hours of video are watched everyday on YouTube? And Cisco predicts that by the year 2021, more than 80% of all internet traffic will be video content.

So, whatever topic you’re presenting on, there is probably a quality video on YouTube to support your point.

Why make your audience sit through dense text or dull charts when you can easily insert a video instead? Your audience is already used to consuming video content.

I remember a presenter that included a video of John Cleese’s motivational speech on “The Importance of Mistakes.”

The video perfectly illustrated the presenter’s position, and as a result, the presentation stayed with me for all the right reasons.

 The how-to: 

  • Copy the embed code from your YouTube video.
  • In the Insert menu in your PowerPoint slide, click Video > Online Video.

The Insert Video screen in Microsoft PowerPoint

Inserting a YouTube video in Microsoft PowerPoint

  • Paste your embed code, or you can even search for a YouTube video from within PowerPoint.
  • Move and resize the video within your slide, and preview it to make sure it’s what you want.

Zoom between slides at light speed

The old way of navigating through your presentation was to click through it, in order, one slide at a time.

Zoom changes that.

Zoom lets you zip around your presentation to different slides instead of clicking through laboriously one slide at a time.

For example, say you want to quickly flash back to your first slide, then return to your place in the presentation. Use Zoom. Or, you have a funny animated GIF of Crying Jordan (used sparingly, of course) in the middle of the presentation that you hope will slay the audience and you want to call back to it. Use Zoom. Or if you want to show a bird’s eye view of all of your slides at once, sort of like a table of contents. Use a Summary Zoom.

Zoom for PowerPoint

 The how-to: 

  • From the Insert menu, select Zoom.
  • Summary Zoom will show an overview of all of your slides, Slide Zoom allows you to jump to a single slide anywhere in your presentation, and Section Zoom allows you to show a group of selected slides.
  • Once you have that down, you can get fancy with Zoom Tools (on the Format menu) and customize transitions and backgrounds.

Dazzle your audience with Morph

Back in the early 90's, a new computer graphics technique known as morph was making audiences collectively rub their eyes in disbelief as the T-1000 smoothly transitioned from a pool of mercury into a human in “Terminator 2” or when Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White” video opened minds by showing how similar we all really are.

Back then, morphing was a multi-million dollar technology reserved for major Hollywood production studios. But now, the Morph feature in PowerPoint lets you use animations to seamlessly transition from one slide to the next.

In other words, Morph is essentially an easier, quicker way of doing some of the things you can do in the Animations tab with more work.

 The how-to: 

  • On the Transitions tab, select Morph.
  • The two slides you are connecting need to have at least one object in common: text, a shape, picture, or chart, for example.
  • The simplest way to approach this is to duplicate a slide, then alter the duplicate by moving objects around, removing or adding text, etc.
  • PowerPoint will automatically animate these changes.
  • Once you have the hang of Morph, check out these advanced techniques.

Use the Designer to create sleek slides

Were you the kind of kid who drew outside the lines in coloring books and came up with your own creations? When you go to wine and paint night do you end up completely ignoring the instructor to make your own masterpiece? If so, Designer might not be right for you.

If you know what text and pictures you want to include, but don’t have the time or ability to design the perfect layout, Designer does the heavy lifting for you. Think of it as an AI interior designer for your slides. You add the text and images, and Designer lays them out for you. As PowerPoint MVP Heather Ackmann says, “It instantly gives you a slide makeover.”

Don’t worry: you’re still in charge, so if you don’t like what you see you can always ask Designer to try again. Designer wants you to be happy.

An introduction to the PowerPoint Designer and Morph features in PowerPoint 2016

 The how-to: 

  • The beauty of Designer is that it works automatically in the background while you’re building your presentation.
  • From the Insert menu just start adding pictures and charts and Designer will make suggestions. Designer will even turn your boring old bullet lists into sequential graphics.
  • Note that Designer only works when you’re connected to the internet and using one of PowerPoint’s built-in themes.
  • You do have to opt into Designer the first time you use PowerPoint, but you can always turn it on via the Design tab, or off from File > Options > General.

Use your smartphone as a remote and laser pointer

How many presentations have you been to where the presenter has lost their train of thought while they lean over and fumble with their laptop trying to point out something or select a different slide?

How impressed would you be if instead, your presenter pulled out their smartphone and calmly tapped the screen to advance slides, or nonchalantly pointed it at the screen to highlight data on a chart like they were James Bond or something?

Well now you can be the one impressing everyone by using your phone as a remote and laser pointer.

 The how-to: 

  • First, you’ll need to download the free PowerPoint app for Android, iPhone, or Windows phones.
  • Next, connect your phone to the projector with an HDMI cable or WiFi (through AirPlay or ChromeCast, for example).
  • Now, you’re a PowerPoint sorcerer.
  • In a pinch, you can even create and share presentations on the PowerPoint app and then continue working on them once you get to your computer.