August 2nd, 2012

The cloud is here to stay and is quickly becoming a main part of your technical infrastructure. Some companies have chosen to operate nearly 100% in the cloud, and are normally right to do so. As like anything there are downsides to the cloud, as have been made evident by Microsoft Office 365, this is causing some headaches for small businesses.

With the release of Microsoft Office 365 last year, Microsoft said that they would not be supporting Office Live Small Business (OLSB) and users would have to migrate over to Office 365. If your company used OLSB, you already know that your website was taken offline and all data was inaccessible as of April 30.

Microsoft hasn’t left businesses without a solution, they offer OLSB users a six-month free trial to Office 365. The major problem with many cloud services emerged at this point however, businesses had to get their data off OLSB and onto Office 365, not an easy feat, especially for small business owners lacking the required technical know-how.

If a small business owner chose to do the migration themselves, Microsoft had a 21 page help walkthrough for the migration process. Any migration is a daunting when you also have to focus on running a business, one with a 21 page document can be downright dreadful.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t use Office 365, it’s a great office suite for small businesses that offers many improvements over OLSB and many businesses have been happy they switched over. The issue is that when it comes to your business and its documents, the migration needs to be done right the first time, no mistakes. How do you ensure this? By contacting us, we will be able to help with your migration, and have you up and running an a newer and better system in no time.

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Topic Office 365
July 4th, 2012

Microsoft Office 365 is an office suite that’s based in the cloud and is geared towards small businesses. One of the most useful products in the suite is Word, many if not all employees know how to use it to create documents and feel competent with the program. One feature that every user knows about, yet few use is custom templates.

Believe it or not, everytime you start a new blank document, you’re actually using a template. Word offers a number of pre made templates to choose from, but they’re not really designed for business users. Instead, you can create your own custom templates. Here’s how.

How to create a template based off a current document If you’ve created a document and would like all other similar documents to have the same layout and styling, you can turn the document into a template by:

  1. Opening the document in a new window. Be sure that you’ve saved the changes to the final document.
  2. Making changes to the document so that in the future, you can easily add missing information. Note: don’t save the document, as any changes will be made to the original version.
  3. Clicking File followed by Save As. Be sure to save the document in the Documents subfolder of the Libraries directory. This can be found on the left side of the Save As window.
  4. Naming the document as you like. It’s a good idea, but not necessary, to put template in the title.
  5. Selecting Word Template from the Save as type field.
Your template will show up as a selectable template when you start a new Word document. Click on My templates to access it. Be aware that whatever you have in the document when you create the template will be in every new document you open using the template.

If you realize you’ve made a mistake, open the template, make the changes and select Save As. Instead of entering a new file name, locate the original template, and click on it. Word will automatically apply the name of what you’ve clicked. Press Save and confirm the overwrite. You can use this method to any template, including the premade ones. If you do make changes to a premade template, the updated version will be located in the My templates section.

There are many ways you can tweak Word to meet your needs, and templates are a great way to ensure similar documents will look the same, while saving you time. If you’d like to learn more ways you can customize Word, or any other program in the Office 365 suite, please contact us.

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Topic Office 365
June 20th, 2012

A democratic working environment is something that many small business owners strive to incorporate. By having an environment like this, employees feel like they truly have a say in decisions and will generally be more willing to integrate outcomes when they’ve had a say. One of the easiest ways to create a poll is by using Microsoft’s 365 email program, Outlook.

Here’s how you can create polls and votes in your emails using Microsoft 365’s Outlook.

  1. Open Outlook, and click New Message. If you have an email you’d like to attach a poll to, and forward it to others, open the email and click Forward.
  2. Click on Options, located at the top of the window you compose the email in. From the drop-down menu, select Tracking.
  3. Click Use Voting Buttons.
  4. Choose from the options.

If you choose Custom, you’ll be able to customize the names of the buttons. This is done by:

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above, and select Custom.
  2. A window called Message Options will open, under Voting and Tracking Options select Use voting buttons.
  3. Delete the default names and enter the name of the buttons you’d like to use. Be sure to separate them with a semicolon, with no spaces e.g., Choice One;Choice Two;Choice Three.
  4. If you want a read and delivery receipt sent to you, press the two respective boxes below Use voting buttons.
  5. Click Close. You’ll notice the buttons show up in the area where you compose your email. Compose the rest of your email, and click Send.

You can review the results by opening the email you sent, usually found in the Sent Items folder on the left-hand side of the Outlook window. In the open email, press the Message tab followed by Show and Tracking. If there haven’t been any responses the Tracking option will be grayed out, and you’ll be unable to click on it.

Being able to include a poll in your emails is a great feature of Office 365 that can be used for many situations. If you’d like to learn how to use other features of Office 365 please contact us.

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Topic Office 365
June 7th, 2012

As far as many business owners are concerned there’s only one office suite that matters, Microsoft Office. Office is found in nearly every business, regardless of industry, and is an integral part of operations. Microsoft’s newest version of Office, Office 365, takes the suite into the cloud, something that many businesses will benefit from.

There are four main benefits to using a cloud based office suite like Office 365.

Prevent save disasters. One thing every employee has done is get caught up in their work and forget to save, only to have the program or computer crash resulting in the loss of their work. By using Office 365, changes are automatically saved and synced with the cloud, so if something does happen, you probably won’t lose any of your work.

Access from more devices. As Office 365 is browser based, you can access it on a tablet or smartphone. This means you don’t have to be on your computer to access and edit documents. If you give lots of presentations and have a tablet with a data connection, you could ditch the laptop all together.

Eliminate forgotten documents. It can be embarrassing to show up to an important meeting only to realize that you’ve forgotten an essential document back at the office. If this happens, you can just log into Office 365 and access the document.

More storage. With computers, there’s generally a fixed amount of storage available, when it’s used up, you have to free up space by deleting old files. This can be a problem, especially if you have to keep files and information due to legal requirements. Office 365 has plans that allow your company to have as much storage as you need.

These are just four of the benefits to using Office 365 in your business. If you’re looking to move your office suite into the cloud, or would like to learn more about Office 365, please contact us.

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Topic Office 365
May 25th, 2012

One of the most widely used programs is Microsoft Office. The cloud version aimed at small businesses, Office 365, is quickly becoming one of the go-to office software solutions. While there are many features that make it easy to use, one of the best features saves time while making you more productive, keyboard shortcuts.

If you use Office 365, you probably spend a large percentage of time using Outlook. Here are some time saving Outlook keyboard shortcuts. These will work with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Control + 1: Pressing this will switch to Mail. If you’re using a Mac, press command + 1.

Control + 2: This shortcut will switch to your Calendar. On the Mac press command +2.

Control + 3: This shortcut will open your Contacts. On the Mac press command + 3.

Control + Shift + M: This shortcut will open the compose a new message window. You can press this from anywhere in Outlook. On the Mac press command + Shift + M.

Control + Shift + A: When you press this, you’ll be able to set a new appointment. You can press this from anywhere in Outlook. On the Mac press command + Shift + A

F3: This shortcut will open the search pane. On the Mac you can press command + F3

Control + , or .: With a current message open you can press control + , (comma) to switch to the previous message in your Inbox, or press control + . (period/full stop) to switch to the next message in your Inbox. Pressing command + , or . will do the same thing on a Mac.

Control + Enter: When you have an email message open, pressing these keys will send the email. The Mac shortcut for this is command + return.

F4: If you press F4 Office 365 will close. To close the program on a Mac press command + Q

These are the most common shortcuts for Office 365. If you’d like to learn more Office 365 shortcuts or time saving tips, please contact us.

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Topic Office 365
May 19th, 2012

If you were to turn your daily schedule into a pie chart, there’s a pretty high chance that meetings take up a large portion of the pie. Love them, or hate them, meetings are an essential part of business that are going nowhere. A major shift from face-to-face to computer-computer meetings is taking place, with many companies now using Microsoft Office 365 to conduct meetings.

If you use Office 365 in your company, you can have online meetings through Microsoft’s messaging tool, Lync. Here’s how to start a meeting, and some features that make face-to-face meetings unnecessary.

How to start a meeting In Outlook’s calendar, schedule a meeting and invite the participants. When it’s time for the meeting, simply log into Lync, go to your calendar and select the meeting. You’ll have the option to Join online meeting, click it and the meeting will start. If a colleague is online and you would like them to join the meeting, click on their name and drag them over to the meeting window.

Features you can use during the meeting There are a number of useful things you can do in the meeting including:

  • Video calls. If you and the attendees have webcams, you can turn the meeting into a video call by pressing the webcam button beside the attendees’ names.
  • Share and share alike. Press Share (beside video) in the meeting window to get a dropdown menu with a number of things you can share with the participants. Say you are going to do a demonstration on your screen, you can share it with the attendees by selecting Main Monitor. You can also share presentations or programs.
  • Change the presenter. If an employee would like to show something from their screen, or is going to present something, you can give them presenter status by right clicking on their name and selecting Make a Presenter.
  • No interruptions. If one person is presenting, and another has a question, they don’t have to stop the presentation to ask a question, they can simply select IM and type the question. All participants will see it, and the presenter can answer the question when they are finished.
If you’re looking for an alternative to physical meetings, Office 365 has a great set of products that will allow you to do just that. To learn more about Office 365 or any of Microsoft’s other products please contact us, we’re ready to assist you.
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Topic Office 365
May 11th, 2012

Since its release in June 2011 many small businesses have been switching to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud based Office suite, for its numerous features. One useful feature is that you can use Outlook to create and share your contacts’ information in a professional manner by using electronic business cards.

Here’s how to create and share an electronic business card:

Create an Electronic Business Card

  1. Open Outlook and select Contacts followed by Home. Click on New Contact.
  2. When the Contact window opens, press Business Card and the Edit Business Card window will open.
  3. You will be able to enter contact information into the relevant areas under the Fields box.
  4. If you want to add an image or change the layout of the business card, press the Layout button located in the right side of the screen.
  5. When you have entered the information, press Ok and the business card will be saved as a .vcf file which is readable by most email clients.

Add an Electronic Business Card to an Email
If you have saved a contact’s information as a business card, you can easily attach the card to an email.

  1. In a message select the Contacts pane and search for the business card you would like to attach. When you find it, click it.
  2. Select the Home tab, followed by Forward Contact. A drop-down menu will open, select As a Business Card.
  3. You will see the business card as an attachment in the email.

Add a Business Card as a Signature
You can add a business card to your signature in any email.

  1. When you create an email message click Signature and select Add signature.
  2. Select the signature you would like to use, if you have one. If not, press anywhere in the white space below Edit signature.
  3. Click Business Card beside the paragraph alignment buttons in the Edit signature field.
  4. Select the contact name you use and press Ok. Your contact information will show up at the bottom of the email as a downloadable .vcf file.

If you’re a user of Office 365 and would like to learn more, or would like more information on Office 365 or other products, please give us a call.

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Topic Office 365
May 3rd, 2012

Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world, offering a product catalogue that has something for everyone. With products like the Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft all but dominates the desktop office business. The next step for Microsoft has been to move their business services to the cloud.

Microsoft’s cloud based office suite for businesses is called Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote - and Microsoft Server products e.g., Lync 2010 and SharePoint Server. All programs are accessed via a Web browser, offering users the ability to access the programs from the office, home or anywhere in between.

On March 14, 2012 Microsoft held a press conference announcing that the price of Office 365 subscriptions will be reduced by up to 20%. This decrease will apply to all new and renewing direct customers.

The price cut is a great advantage to many potential customers as it makes Office 365 more competitive with other cloud based office solutions such as Google Apps. This is also beneficial as many businesses already use the desktop versions of Microsoft Office. If they switch to Office 365, employees will be comfortable with the cloud version, as the software is exactly the same as the desktop version.

It’s the perfect time to look into Office 365 and see what it can bring to your organization. If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Office 365 or other products from Microsoft, we are your go-to experts and will be more than happy to help.

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Topic Office 365
April 3rd, 2012

In the past, most office software was just that, office software. There was little to no ability to make the software yours, to set it up how you like. This has been changing in the past few years, with many programs allowing for customization - settings and appearances can be altered to suit users’ needs and preferences. Microsoft Office 365 is one such program.

Microsoft Office 365 is first and foremost a suite of familiar office software for businesses to use in their day-to-day operations. But just because this software is instantly recognizable as a Microsoft product, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make some small changes to personalize your computing workspace. Here are a few ways you can do just that:

Set Your Profile Picture You can set a profile picture which will show up on any window or application that has the ability to show your image - e.g., Microsoft Lync. To set your picture:

  1. Log into Office 365 and go to the Home page.
  2. Click the My Profile header. It’s located in the top right hand side of the screen, underneath your name.
  3. Click Change Photo.
  4. Choose your photo by selecting Browse. It’s recommended that your picture be under 100kb in size, you’ll get an error message telling you if it is any larger. When you have selected your picture, press Save.
Add a Signature to Your Emails Many business emails include a signature at the bottom, a way to make each email seem a little more personal, or provide more information including contact details and a potential message about an upcoming promotion. To set your signature:
  1. Navigate to the Outlook page, click on Options. It’s located in the top right hand side of the screen, underneath your name.
  2. Click See all options from the drop-down menu that opens.
  3. Select My Account, followed by Settings which is located in the left hand menu.
  4. Under the Mail Tab, you will have an option to edit your signature. If you want Outlook to automatically place your signature on every outgoing email, click the radio button below the signature that says Automatically include my signature on messages I send.
If you don’t choose to have Outlook automatically add your signature, you can add the signature in your email by selecting the Messages Tab in each new email, and clicking the little arrow below Signature. A list of created signatures will be shown, select the one you wish to use.

Add Your Picture or Logo to Your SharePoint Site If your company uses SharePoint, you can add a logo or picture to enhance what is a relatively plain environment.

  1. First, you need to create an image. You can use almost any picture, just ensure you can legally use it. Get creative, this is your space!
  2. When you have the image you want to use, open SharePoint, click Site Actions and select More Options.
  3. Select Picture Library, and in the window that opens, select a name for a new library, and press Create.
  4. Your new Library should be on the left side of the screen. Click to open it and select Upload.
  5. When your picture shows up in the library, select it twice, so it’s in its own window. Copy the web address from the top of the page.
  6. Under Site Actions select Site Settings followed by Look and Feel.
  7. Beside Logo URL and description paste the URL you just copied. Click Ok and your image will show up on your SharePoint site.
With a few steps you can make Office 365 a little more personal. Just be sure that you can legally use the images you select. If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Office 365 or any other Microsoft products, give us a call.
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Topic Office 365
March 16th, 2012

We all use technology, and many of us are comfortable setting up and using multiple programs, but what happens when a product stops working? Most business owners or managers will be on the phone to support looking for answers, or wading through hundreds of search results for a fix. Does it have to be so hard?

The answer is: No, it does not have to be. Microsoft Office 365 is a good example of a suite of programs with a strong background of troubleshooting and support resource data bases. If you have a question or problem while using Microsoft Office 365, there are a number of ways you can get the problem solved.

  • Troubleshooting Tool:  This tool should be the first place you look when you have questions or need support. When you go to the page you will asked four questions and presented with links to solutions based on the answers given.
  • Office 365 Community: The community, run by Microsoft, provides information on all aspects of Office 365 with the majority of the information being provided by users of the various products. This community also has information on updates and commonly asked questions. It’s a good idea to check with the community to see if there are any other users who have had the same questions or issues as you.
  • Office 365 Technical Blog: If you can’t find answers on the Community page, try looking at the Technical Blog. The blog is run by Microsoft engineers and is a direct link to the developers of the product you are using. Any answers to questions on this blog will often be straight from the source with the answers usually being more on the technical side with lots of explanations or update information.
  • Tools and Diagnostic Wiki: This is a wiki article that covers products in the Office 365 suite. Think of this as the umbrella section that covers troubleshooting of all issues, while providing you with links and updates related to troubleshooting. You can search issues based on product plan, specific products, services, and more. If you are having a problem not covered by the other resources, chances are you will find the answer here.
With comprehensive coverage and a number of different places to go to when you have questions or a problem, you should be able to get back on track in no time. Please contact us if you would like to know more about Office 365 or any other Microsoft products.
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Topic Office 365