How to Be More Productive With Microsoft 365

Whether you're an entrepreneur, teacher, full-time parent, student or artist, technology and AI are finding ways to make our lives easier. The new Microsoft 365 (available for PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebook) is leading that charge.

Microsoft Master Trainer Richard Gunter explains five features that help you simplify your life.

1. Microsoft Editor

If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word, you’re likely familiar with the squiggly lines that appear under a word you’ve misspelled. The new Microsoft Editor has been built out with machine learning and AI to not only correct spelling mistakes and grammar, but it will also help you write entire sentences. Choose a sentence you’d like rewritten, then select ‘Rewrite Sentence’ and the Editor will provide you with options to choose from. Maybe it’s more concise or uses language in a way hadn’t considered.

Microsoft Editor also has a built-in similarity checker. What does that mean? Well, if you’re a student or researcher who writes lots of papers or journals, the Editor scours source material that is out there and lets you know if what you’ve written is too similar to what’s already been published by someone else. The editor then gives you two options: it can rewrite the sentence for you, or it can help you cite it.

2. Outlook

Most often associated with work emails, Outlook is available on all devices including for web-based access. It doesn’t have to be a work-only app, you can now use it for your personal email and sync it with your Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail accounts.

One of the reasons to use it for your personal email, as well as your work email, is that you can sync your calendars so when someone at work wants to book you for a meeting when you have a dentist appointment, it will show up in your work calendar as busy. It doesn’t share information between the calendars, but does help keep you more organized.

3. Quickstarter in PowerPoint

This tool will take you from a blank white page to a full-on outline for the presentation topic you are doing, in seconds. All you have to do is click ‘New File’ at the top in PowerPoint and then you can see the ‘Quick Starter’ icon. Select a topic, which can be anything, then choose from a theme and wait for AI to find info that you can build on.

Quickstarter doesn’t fill out the presentation, but it does give you an outline to follow, and suggests topics and keywords that can enhance the overall project.

4. Presenter Coach in Powerpoint

Giving a presentation can be nerve-wracking for some, but Presentation Coach helps you get ready and guides you through practice, so when the time comes to get up in front of people (in person or virtually) you’ll be ready.

 Turn your microphone on and the AI will check your language for pacing (too slow or too fast), word choices to ensure inclusive language, and filler words including ‘um’ and ‘like’ so you can be more concise.

5. OneDrive Cloud Storage

Another benefit of a Microsoft 365 Subscription is that you get one terabyte of storage for you or if you have a family subscription, for each family member (up to 5). This gives you the ability to upload all your files from your phone or computer, share large files with family by simply sharing a link, and keep your files secure should you lose, or lose access to, any of your devices.

The other feature of OneDrive is Personal Vault. OneDrive is already very secure, but Personal Vault adds another layer of security with 2-factor authentication. That way if someone gets access to your password, they won’t be able to gain access to things like your SIN, tax information, copies of your passport or anything else you would keep in your Personal Vault.

By Staples Canada

May 13, 2020