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November 30th, 2016

2016november30_office_aBusiness owners who subscribe to Office 365 have the entire cloud at their fingerprints, from email service to cross-platform access of apps and an ease of use that attracts even the technophobe. Now, those owners who belong to the Insider program (Fast Ring) have another reason to smile. They can now utilize the Office 365 Hub, an Office management program that makes using Office on Windows 10 easier than ever before. Read more to find out what the Hub does and why it's so popular.

What does Office Hub Do? Office 365 Hub is a dashboard management program that makes it easier for you to integrate all your Office 365 apps in one location and manage the different programs without the need to get on a browser.

Users can:

  • Manage their payment and subscription information
  • Optimize Office apps for mobile devices
  • Access files, programs and apps on the cloud drive from any device
  • Switch between a personal and business account
Office Hub, like other dashboard management programs, allows you to access multiple apps and programs in one place. Clicking on the Home tab displays a summary of recent documents accessed as well as your commonly used Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

For the business owner, this ease of access increases efficiency company-wide. Business owners can install new apps on the desktop without visiting an online browser, while administrators will have no problem moving between the different office applications.

What’s more, Office 365 Hub provides a Help and Training tab with links to online resources, tutorials and support forums to help new Office 365 users to quickly acclimate to the cloud. All in all, Office 365 Hub promises a stress-free and easily manageable cloud experience.

Reaching the Office 365 Hub App Unfortunately, the Office 365 Hub is not yet visible to everyone who signs on to the Get Office App on Windows 10. It is only open to those who are Office 365 subscribers and members of their Insider program. They also have to be set as Fast Ring subscribers, members who receive builds before they have been completely debugged and updated. Otherwise, you can expect the general release of Office 365 Hub and its benefits in the first half of 2017.

If you want the latest updates on Office 365 Hub or any new Microsoft features, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
November 17th, 2016

2016november17_office_aOffice 365 has given business owners access to online organizational programs and collaboration tools for years. In an effort to become more user-friendly, Microsoft recently added new features to Office 365, including two security upgrades and the addition of productivity tracking. Keep reading to find out more about Office 365's new Azure Information Protection, Enterprise Mobile Device Management and Productive Insight features.

Azure Information Protection Using Office 365 protection technology, also known as Azure RMS, this feature allows business leaders to mark sensitive documents and control who has access to information in various documents. The protection travels with the data, whether it is online or provided through another device. Business owners can mark a document as internal and keep it from being sent outside the company. Drop-down menus also allow users to apply trackable data protection in order to identify potential leaks and gain insight into how a business is structured.

Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite Re-branded from the Enterprise Mobility Suite, this feature adds more security potential to sensitive data while allowing business owners to manage apps on any device from one location. Users have more control over identity-driven access and also encrypts data to allow secure collaboration among employees.

Productivity Insight This feature, an addition to Delve Analytics, tracks an employee's time management at the office. MyAnalytics for Outlook allows business owners or managers to see who has read, replied, and forwarded their email while also providing them with information on the the email sender. The feature also acts as a storage receptacle for shared files and contact information so they can be accessed quickly.

As Office 365 expands its services to include security and productivity features, companies using cloud-based servers have an advantage over old-school computer users. Not only do they have access to the technology to keep their data safe and accessible to employees, but they also have the management software to see where their efforts are paying off by way of productivity programs. If you need to know more about the new features of Office 365, give our professionals a call. We can answer your questions and help you get the most out of the new Security and Productivity Insight additions.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
October 31st, 2016

2016october31_office_aAs far as communication goes, there are numerous factors to consider, especially when that communication is done online rather than in person. Since its inception, Microsoft Outlook has always been an excellent communication tool. And now, with its recent update, it can do an even better job at helping people communicate with one another quickly and easily. Learn and take advantage of the changes that Outlook’s update makes to the user experience.

Improved Contact Cards One of the most welcome changes with the Outlook update is that the concept of the Contact Card has been greatly improved upon. In previous manifestations of Outlook, the information about contacts that was quickly available was limited to basic information such as name, phone number, and email address. With the new Outlook, Contact Cards can contain a person's job title, their relationship to you, and what your most recent communications were so that you can better remember who you are talking to and what you were talking about.

Smarter Search Features Searching contacts, emails, and other features of Outlook is easier with the latest update. Search features are now smarter in that they can go off of the first letter you type and retrieve your most frequent search requests starting with that letter. This speeds up searching and helps retrieve relevant information in seconds, not minutes.

People Section Enhancements Outlook has also made some major improvements and enhancements to the ‘main people’ section of Outlook. You can now create smart lists of people based on common features. This will include your most frequently contacted people, groups based on job titles or departments, favorites, and those who need follow-up. These lists makes sending group emails to relevant contacts much simpler because you don’t have to scour all your contacts to find the right people.

Now that you know some of the ways that Outlook has changed the user experience with its latest updates, you can begin to put these to use in your business. Contact us to help you navigate those changes and put the benefits to use in your business and personal communications.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
October 14th, 2016

2016october14_office_aEvery day we see more and more machine learning making its way into our lives. From phones and watches to computers and laptops, it's hard to do anything in the world today without interacting with ‘intelligent’ computers. Well, Office 365 has taken things to a new level, and will be getting more than a few of these features in the near future. Read on to prepare your business for all the changes coming to Office 365.

Tap

How many times have you been working in a Word document or an Outlook email and needed to quote a report or copy in a graph from another file? With 365’s new ‘Tap’ service, you have the option to do that without even leaving the application you're working in. Microsoft’s intelligent assistant will even suggest information and data for you to insert based on what you’re writing. You may not even have to make the search -- it will predict what you need in advance!

Quickstarter

A blank canvas is always intimidating when creating a presentation. Quickstarter for PowerPoint and Sway gives you the boost you need by suggesting outlines, layouts, and even information based on the subject you’re presenting on. For example, if you’re holding a meeting to discuss a business retreat, Quickstarter will suggest page layouts and important text for lodging, transportation, itinerary, etc. Half of your presentation could be finished within minutes of starting it.

Designer

Sometimes it seems like everyone else has stunningly beautiful PowerPoint presentations while ours just look like stock templates. And that’s why we’re so excited about the announcement of Designer. All you have to do is insert your text and your photos or graphics, and Microsoft’s machine learning will automatically position, resize, and fade each component so it looks like a professionally designed slide.

Maps

Everyone has made a graph based on Excel data before. It’s probably the swiftest software solution for transforming numbers into charts on the market, and it’s getting a pretty cool upgrade. Now you can convert geographic data like country names into colored and categorized maps. Go ahead and select a second column of data and watch the countries light up based on the differences between the data points in the second column. Do you have sales data that’s organized by location? Maps will let you create a chart that displays that information with little to no manipulation necessary.

MyAnalytics

The last announcement comes in the form of a standalone dashboard for aggregating your work habits. MyAnalytics pulls data from various 365 tasks to help you recognize meetings trends, most productive times of day, and project progression. And if you’re not ready to do anything with this data yourself, the dashboard will make suggestions to you such as ‘focus time,’ best collaborators, and productivity goals.

With these exciting and intelligent additions, entirely new levels of business productivity are possible. Even before Microsoft announced these features, Office 365 reigned supreme as one of only a few truly wonderful pieces of productivity software. If you haven’t made the transition yet, there’s no better time -- call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
September 29th, 2016

2016september29_office_aThe cloud has made it easier for people, businesses, and companies to interact and collaborate. And one of the best productivity tools on the market is Microsoft Office 365, which is making it even simpler to store, organize and share files online. Thanks to its newest update, you can enjoy all these functions when working with teammates, business partners, and customers outside of your organization. Read on for all the details regarding 365’s new guest-collaborator feature.

This new functionality mainly centers around Office 365 groups. A 365 group is essentially an email address with Office privileges that several people have access to. For example, if you have an Editorial Group, each individual writer at your organization will receive emails, calendar invites, and document read/edit privileges sent to editorial@acme.com.

If you’re interested in adding a guest from outside of your organization to an Office 365 group, the process is simple. From the group administration dashboard, click “Add Members.” Then, all you need to do is enter the email addresses of whomever you would like to add, and voilà.

Guest collaborators will receive an email alerting them of their new addition and access to group files, emails, and calendar items -- all accessible via Office on the web.

Take note, however, of Outlook’s alert: “You’re adding a guest to this group. As a member, they’ll have access to group content.” This will grant new guests all the same read/edit privileges as other group members -- including privileges from before the guest was added.

There is no requirement for guests to have a Microsoft account, and by always labeling the new member as a guest, original group members won’t ever have to worry about forgetting who should receive confidential document privileges.

Unless the guest is a trusted partner, we recommend creating 365 groups specially designated for the purpose of outside collaboration to ensure the privacy of your cloud documents. Administrators can remove them at any time, or guests can volunteer to leave on their own.

Adding and removing collaborators from outside of your organization may be as simple as adding an email address to a list, but the possibility for improved teamwork is limitless. If at any point in your workflow you feel that your work is suffering from bottlenecks in creation, communication, or collaboration, there’s a good chance Office 365 has a solution. If there’s anyone who will know that solution, it’s us. Message us today about collaborating on all your productivity dilemmas.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
September 13th, 2016

2016september13_office_aMany suffer from glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. Reasons vary, from traumatic childhood experiences to the inability to imagine your co-workers in their underwear. Enter Microsoft PowerPoint. This program helps visually depict a presentation, whether it be for a class project or a boardroom meeting, or to convince parents to buy your first car. With the nine following tips, you can maximize the efficiency of your next PowerPoint presentation.

Start slideshows instantly

The audience doesn’t want to see the speaker’s cluttered desktop or unread emails as the PowerPoint presentation is being set up. Simply name the file with a .PPS or .PPSX file extension and voilà! Bypass the editing mode and start the show with a double click and end it with the Esc key.

Pull back the focus with Blackouts and Whiteouts

Audience members have the tendency to lose focus or drift away when presentations are longer than usual. If you suspect audience members are starting to lose focus, hit the B key for a complete blackout or the W key for a total whiteout. Then hit any key or click the mouse to return to the slides - this technique helps get the eyes back on you, where they belong.

Say no to bullet points

Both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook agree that bulleted lists aren’t the ticket. A better way to create lists is to drop each item in one at a time, if possible, next to a big image that is the main focus of your presentation. Don’t forget to talk about each individual list item, but not with bullets.

Insert pictures from Flickr and OneNote

Jazz up presentations by including images or memes that’ll make the audience laugh instead of doze off. Head to the Insert tab and select Online Pictures; you’ll see Office.com Clip Art, Bing Image Search, Flickr, OneNote and even Facebook. The vast pool of online imagery is now at your disposal.

Chart animation

The challenge doesn’t lie in inserting the chart into the presentation, but in making it interesting. Enter chart animation. After inserting the chart, click the Animations tab and activate the Animations pane. From there, click Add Animation. Pick an animated effect. Then, in the Animation Pane where you see the entry for the chart's animation, right click and select Effect Options.

This lets you customize sound and animation timing. But on the final tab—Chart Animation—be sure to change Group Chart from "As One Object" to "By Category." This makes charts display on screen one element at a time as you click, with bars or pieces of pie arriving one after the other, as if each was its own slide.

Kiosk presentations

Kiosk mode simply plays your presentation on a loop without allowing any human intervention or desktop access. This is ideal for trade shows and kiosks that you’d find in malls. Simply click the Slideshow tab > setup Slideshow > and in the dialog box, click next to Browsed at kiosk. Duration, audio, animation and transitions are fully customizable.

Extend music over multiple slides

Why confine your favorite tunes to just one slide? Expand it over the duration of your presentation by clicking on the speaker icon that indicates the embedded audio. Look for the Audio Tools above the tabs on top. Now select the new Playback tab, and in the Start section make sure to check the box for “Play Across Slides.” And presto, the audio is played across the next few slides or until the music runs out.

Duplication

If you are constantly reusing the same element throughout your presentation, the good old Ctrl-C+Ctrl-V is fine, but Duplication is better. Hold Ctrl while you click and drag on the object to create an exact dupe, keep selecting and making dupes and they’ll all space themselves out evenly. You can even dupe entire sets of slides; simply select one or more slides on the left navigation pane, select Insert, click New Slide menu and select Duplicate Selected Slides.

Animate, animate, animate

Any element of a PPT slide is animatable. Choose the element, go to the Animations tab, and at the right end of the Animations Gallery, click the down arrow to get "More." You can choose from many options about how an element appears, gets emphasis, or disappears—but for animated motion, go to the fourth section. If you pick Custom Path, you can get the object to do just about any wild motions you want on the screen before it settles down. Keep in mind that you don’t want an audience with motion sickness. PowerPoint presentations are complicated -- that’s a fact. So is how effective it becomes once utilized properly. If you have any further questions regarding our tips or how to execute them, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We’re more than happy to answer all of your questions.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
August 25th, 2016

2016August25_Office_ADid you know that Microsoft’s Office 365 platform provides updates to their online components once every quarter? This is quite impressive because as an end user, you’ll be able to enjoy a more feature-rich and intuitive experience with your cloud productivity suite without having to manually install the updates yourself. So what exactly does Office 365’s update have in store for you this quarter?

Word

This quarter, Office 365’s upgrade will focus on cloud-powered intelligent services, designed to maximize productivity while saving time. And Office 365’s upgrade wouldn’t be an upgrade if there were nothing new in Word, the business application that put Microsoft on the map. To that end, Word is getting two new features called Researcher and Editor. As you may have guessed, Researcher is designed to help you find reliable sources of information by using Bing’s Knowledge Graph to help search and then cite sources in your Word document. In the future, Researcher’s body of reference materials will also include sources such as national science and health centers, well-known encyclopedias, and more. The feature will be available on mobile devices too.

Now that you have Researcher to help you start your paper, you can count on Editor to help you finish it. This new feature builds on the existing spellchecker and thesaurus, and in addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and wavy blue line under bad grammar, Editor uses a gold line for suggestions on how to improve your writing.

PowerPoint

Currently, when making a presentation, you’re forced to use the 1-2-3-4 linear method of showing your slides. The problem is that you can’t change your presentation order as needed without having to exit PowerPoint’s slideshow mode, and let’s face it, sometimes you do make mistakes and need to go back or move to a different slide. But thanks to PowerPoint’s new feature, Zoom, you can now present your slides in any order you want at any time without a hiccup.

Outlook

The time has come for Office 365’s Outlook to get the Focused Inbox which has been available for iOS and Android for some time now. If you’re not familiar with Focused Inbox, the feature separates your inbox into two tabs: Focused tab which includes emails that matter most to you and the “Other” tab for everything else. This makes it easy to identify email that needs your attention so you never miss anything important.

Not only that, but as you move email in or out of the Focused tab, Outlook learns from your behavior and adjusts to your priorities. You can also flag someone by typing the @ symbol in the body of the email and pick whoever you wish to flag. This will automatically highlight that person’s email and their email address will be added to the To: line. If you are mentioned, the @ symbol will show up in Outlook so you can quickly find all email where you are mentioned.

For now, Microsoft hasn’t set a release schedule for these new features, but according to Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President for the Office team, you can expect to use them soon enough! And as always, if you would like to find out how you can make the most out of Office 365 or Microsoft Office, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
August 5th, 2016

2016August5_Office_AThe latest addition to the Office 365 family is Bookings. This online service helps schedule appointments with businesses using software. Good ‘ol pen and paper definitely still work, but given the world’s technological advances, digital appointment management makes sense. Besides never having to pick up the phone to schedule your events ever again, here are four other reasons why you should check out Bookings:

Visibility

Bid adieu to the days of scribbling on post-its and frantically going through your schedule to find out where you’re heading for lunch. Microsoft Bookings provides you with a unique webpage that is compatible on both desktops and mobile devices. Here, customers can select times and dates based on current availability -- simply enter contact information and then book it! The system fully automates the process of managing your appointments.

No more rain checks

Microsoft believes that “Businesses can avoid last-minute cancellations by controlling how much advanced notice is required to make a cancellation.” That’s why immediately after making the appointment, a confirmation email is sent to the customer along with a reminder email before the appointment time. The web page also offers a rescheduling service;simply click on the link on the confirmation email and pick a time that you’re more comfortable with.

Synchronization

Once completed, the booking is then synced to a centralized calendar where businesses are given the option to reschedule, cancel or re-assign the appointment to other staff members as they see fit. If you do decide to re-assign it to staff members, Bookings offers a nifty feature known as “split view.” This shows which staff members are booked at which times, and you can compare everyone’s schedules side-by-side. The appointments are synced not only to your calendar, but to the staff members’ calendars as well. Moreover, this versatile system accommodates Office 365, Outlook.com, and even Google Calendar, so users can keep whatever calendaring service they prefer

Double duty

Appointment-setting might be the primary goal of Bookings, but the system can also be utilized to build a company’s customer list. Once customers input their information into the system, it automatically creates contact entries for those customers. The contact card contains personal information such as name, address, phone number, and email addresses. As companies grow, they can add more staff members as well as create additional booking pages for free. Furthermore, staff members aren’t required to have Office 365 subscriptions to be a part of the service.

Efficient tech resources aren’t enough to maintain a successful business anymore; in order to really stand out from competitors, comprehensive appointment management is required. Feel free to give us a call if you need any questions answered or issues addressed We’re more than happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
July 22nd, 2016

2016July22_Office_AAccording to Salesforce, an average sales rep spends more than 70 percent of their time each week in their email inbox. Despite this fact, email and customer relationship management (CRM) software has remained separate, forcing sales reps to toggle between them. Fortunately, we have some good news for small and medium-sized businesses: Salesforce will finally be integrated into Microsoft Outlook.

Salesforce and Microsoft have been working together for more than two years, and it has definitely been a win-win situation for everyone. In the latest development between these two tech giants, they've released a brand new product that promises to make the lives of sales representatives much easier. Lightning for Outlook, a flashy new add-on allows your sales team to access customer relationship management (CRM) software right from their Microsoft Outlook inbox without switching back and forth between the two applications.

The add-on accomplishes new levels of integration with Lightning Components, which allows for dragging and dropping of fields and elements from Salesforce directly into Outlook. For example, sales reps will be able to update a price quote with Salesforce’s SteelBrick -- a Quote-to-Cash software -- from within Outlook. This has been termed 'snapping'. Just 'snap' the code you want to migrate into the appropriate Outlook account.

One of the most exciting new features, called Lightning Sync, enables users to automatically sync contacts and calendars across Salesforce and Outlook. "When you update a contact in Outlook, it's reflected in Salesforce and on your mobile device," said Greg Gsell, Salesforce's director of Sales Cloud. "All devices and teams are immediately kept up to date."

Both Lightning for Outlook and Lightning Sync are available now; the former is free for all Salesforce Cloud users, and the latter is free for users of Salesforce Cloud Lightning Enterprise Edition or higher. Lightning Components Framework -- a UI framework for developing dynamic web apps, which gets integrated into Outlook, will be released later this year with pricing to be announced at a later date.

However, this doesn’t mean Lightning for Outlook will solve everything. This plugin simply makes it easier for the two programs to work together. Still, there is a maze of security, database and account management issues to navigate through to make this new feature work properly. At GenTech, our experts are well-versed in email and CRM systems, so why not give us a call today and work smarter, not harder.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
July 4th, 2016

2016July4__MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_BMany users feel safe behind their monitors and why shouldn’t they? With the myriad of IT security measures available out there, it's easy to make any device feel like Fort Knox. What many people underestimate though, is the tenacity and relentless determination which cyber criminals have when searching for the tiniest loophole they can find in our security protocols. The recent Cerber ransomware attack on Microsoft 365 users is the latest incident.

Steven Toole, a researcher for the cloud-security firm Avanan, detailed that his company experienced the first attack at 6:44 a.m. on June 22nd. Another interesting fact is that at least 57 percent of all Microsoft Office 365 customers on Avanan’s platform received at least one phishing attempt that contained the infected attachment. While Avanan did extrapolate the number of Office 365 users involved, the exact number has yet to be revealed.

This is particularly interesting since according to Microsoft’s first quarter reports in 2016, there are over 18.2 million Office 365 subscribers worldwide. On top of the global scale in which the attacks took place, it took Microsoft over 24 hours for the attack to be detected and for any attempts to block the attachment to be made.

Microsoft’s side of the story shares many similarities with slight differences on the detection and actions made about the ransomware attack. In an email to SCMagazine.com, the spokesperson wrote:

"Office 365 malware protection identified the attack and was updated to block it within hours of its origination on June 22. Our investigations have found that this attack is not specific to Office 365 and only a small percentage of Office 365 customers were targeted, all of which have been protected."

The point is Office 365 was compromised, regardless of how quickly it was detected - many people were asked for a ransom and were told that their files have already been encrypted. Still wanting to come across as polite, the ransom came with an audio recording that detailed what the attack was and what measures must be taken in order to regain access to the files. The unknown attacker asked for a ransom of 1.4 bitcoins or an equivalent of $500 in exchange for the decryption key.

Toole noted that “This attack seems to be a variation of a virus originally detected on network mail servers back in early March of this year," He also added that "As it respawned into a second life, this time Cerber was widely distributed after its originator was apparently able to easily confirm that the virus was able to bypass the Office 365 built-in security tools through a private Office 365 mail account.”

This proves that cyber criminals go to great lengths to not only use their tools but to improve on them and eliminate flaws. So no matter how many firewalls, passwords or fire-breathing dragons you have to guard your servers and networks, without the right network security measures in place, chances are they’ll manage to find a way to overcome the hurdles and wreak whatever havoc they can.

Network security isn’t something to be taken lightly, if you are unsure about how safe or how capable your systems are in fending off cyber threats - get in touch with us. Our experienced and friendly staff will help you with any ransomware or security-related issue you have.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office