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Templafy Blog

Office 365 features list: 11 smart tips to step up your productivity

By Henrik Printzlau

Published Dec 6, 2016

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Office 365 comes with an intriguing set of handy tools and features to help you work smarter and more efficiently in Microsoft’s cloud.

Having used Office applications for many years, you certainly know most of the ins and outs, and master keyboard shortcuts in your sleep. Still, there might be some hidden gems that can help push your productivity to another level when working with the full array of Office 365 features.

Are you a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher or Outlook aficionado? Do you frequently use use Skype for Business, OneDrive or SharePoint?

Here are 11 smart Office 365 features you might want to add to your Office 365 toolbox today.


1. Co-author Microsoft Word documents in real-time

In case you haven’t heard of this new feature that comes with Office 2016 (it actually has been around since 2013 when Microsoft introduced real-time collaboration in Office Online), you definitely should look into it. Just as with Google docs,
real-time co-authoring in Word allows you to collaborate with your team online and work on documents together. Thanks to an integrated sidebar, you can save files to OneDrive or SharePoint directly from within Word to instantly share them with others and track changes in real-time without having to go back and forth between applications.

2. Skype with your team while working on a document

Use the
Skype in-app integration to chat with your coworkers and collaborate on a document that is stored in Office 365 without having to leave the application. Simply click “chat” to talk, share screens or have video calls over Skype with your team while working together in the document in real-time.

3. Turn OneNote notes and meeting minutes into Office calendar events

Did you know that you can convert notes that you have taken with
OneNote to tasks and events including reminders or deadlines inside your Office calendar and assign them to your coworkers? Use this features to email OneNote meeting minutes and automatically add relevant details such as date, location, participants, etc. for each meeting they refer to.

4. Data visualization reloaded: Turn Excel data into a 3D map

If you run a business edition of Office 365, Excel includes some powerful 3D data visualization features you might not have given a try (or heard of) yet. One of them is
Power Map, which is enhanced with Power BI. With Power Map, you can turn rows of data into interactive maps. What’s more, if the data is geographic in nature, Power Map will transform it into a compelling 3D map. You can find this feature in Excel under Insert/Map.

5. Goodbye bulky email attachments: Send links to files instead

Email attachements are so yesterday. Want to share a document for co-authoring? Just save your file to Office 365 and send out an email via Outlook with a link to the file in the cloud. By default, Outlook will grant permission to the person you want share the link with. As always, you can adjust settings and change access rights anytime you want.

6. Show off your presentation with PowerPoint Designer

Make your presentation pop with
PowerPoint Designer, a new feature that automatically presents several choices how to best show off an image you drop into your presentation. Use the capability to zip through and create polished presentations in short time with (almost) zero fussing.

7. It’s a kind of magic (or not): Use PowerPoint Morph to create cinematic motion

PowerPoint Morph
allows you to create seamless animations between slides. Just duplicate a slide, move icons around on the second slide and play the slideshow. Quite similar to a .gif, icons will move around automatically without any programming. PowerPoint Morph can even animate 3-D shapes.

8. Keep focus in Outlook with Focused Inbox

Similar to how Gmail’s Priority Inbox, Microsoft recently started to roll out the
Focused Inbox to Office 365 users. The functionality allows you to easily keep track of messages in Outlook that matter most to you. Using two tabs for relevant (focused) and general (other) emails, Focused Inbox looks at how you organize your emails and automatically distributes them to the respective folders.

9. Use Smart Lookup powered by Bing for searches right within your Word document

Working on a Word document and need to do some research on the web? You don’t have to fire up a browser to look something up. Simply right-click a word or phrase and choose
Smart Lookup. A Bing search window will pop up directly inside your Word document – just enter your query here to start your web search.

10. Tap the power of Office Delve to see what your coworkers are working on

If you are using the Enterprise edition of Office 365 and are storing files in Microsoft's cloud, you have access to Microsoft Delve. The search tool automatically presents trending documents and other relevant content in a dashboard format. Delve also keeps you in the loop on what your team is working on. Just click on their names to get insights.

To read up more on Office 365 and its capabilities, look into our recently published blog post on Office Delve and Microsoft Graph.

11. Scanner on the go: Turn your whiteboard and meeting doodles into OneNote memos with Microsoft Office Lens

Turn your phone’s camera into a handy scanner with the freely available
Office Lens app for iOS and Android. It allows you to take a snapshot of a whiteboard note or document and automatically puts it into OneNote for optimized readability.


Ready to tap into the power of the new Office 365 features? Request a personalized demo to learn how Templafy can help streamline your Office documents and boost your enterprise productivity.

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