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Incorporating the core Office apps we’re all familiar with, 30+ additional Microsoft applications as well compatibility with hundreds of third-party productivity applications, Microsoft 365 can serve up a solution to almost any business challenge you might face.

While 365 customers are often familiar with the core productivity platforms such as Teams, SharePoint, Planner and Outlook some of the most useful helpful features of each often goes unnoticed. In no particular order, let’s dive in and explore a few simple ‘productivity hacks’ you and your Team may not be familiar with.


#1 Drag and Drop Files to your OneDrive or SharePoint

At the top of your personal OneDrive or a SharePoint site you’ll see the option to ‘upload.’ While you can use this to migrate locally-stored files to a new cloud location you can also simply ‘drag and drop’ any files and folders you want to relocate, This often proves faster and more convenient.


#2 Sync your cloud storage to your device for easy offline access

Syncing your OneDrive and SharePoint libraries to your device enables access when you have no internet connection and allows you to use the more familiar ‘file explorer’ interface as opposed to the OneDrive and SharePoint web portals.

Initiating the process is easy; simply click ‘sync’ at the top your OneDrive account or any SharePoint site you want to sync to your device. The Taskbar can now be used as an access point for your online file libraries, avoiding the hassle of having to navigate SharePoint and Onedrive through your browser.


#3 Send links to Cloud-hosted files instead of attachments.

It’s always better to distribute files via cloud storage rather than by sending lots of large email attachments. Large files can sometimes take a while for the recipient to download an excessive use of email attachments can increase the chances of malware transmission.

A safe and convenient alternative is to send a link to a OneDrive or SharePoint hosted file. When attaching a file simply click ‘Browse web locations’ then choose your file and select ‘Share link.’

Once the link is attached you can then alter file permissions and control the recipient’s ability to edit the document.


#4 Sync SharePoint Calendars to Outlook

You can sync a SharePoint calendar to Outlook. Simply click on the Calendar tab in SharePoint and then click ‘connect to Outlook.’ You will then be able to access this Calendar from your Outlook under ‘other calendars’ besides where you access your own personal calendar. This saves you the hassle of having to navigate to a specific SharePoint site in order to view the calendar.


#5 Use ‘Groups’ to share resources among a team with a common goal

You’ll hear the word ‘Group’ used a lot in articles that discuss Microsoft 365. A ‘group’ is basically a group of people who require access to a common pool of resources; this could mean a shared calendar, email inbox or a shared file library for collaboration on group work. You can create groups through various platforms and the route you take should depend on why you want to set the group up. For example, if access to a communal calendar is crucial you may want to set the group up through Outlook, or if file access is the main priority then setting up a group around a SharePoint Team site would be your best option. You can also set up groups through Planner for when project task coordination is critical, or through Teams in cases where chat-based collaboration is important. Fundamentally, ‘Groups’ are an essential part of the Microsoft 365 experience and they make collaboration so much easier.


#6 Use ‘Smart Lookup’ to research words or phrases without breaking your stride

‘Smart Lookup’ lets you perform an internet search within an office app by highlighting a piece of text, right-clicking and then selecting ‘smart lookup’.

This feature will then perform a web search within the application you’re working in, so there is no need to copy and paste the item to a separate web browser. This simple feature turns what could be a slightly clunky process into a 2 click action that can be performed in seconds.


#7 Enable ‘Reading Pane’ view in Outlook and respond to emails faster

‘Reading Pane’ view lets you view the contents of an email without having to open each one individually; a great efficiency booster. Enabling this view is easy; simply navigate to ‘view’ from the top of the Outlook window and activate ‘Reading Pane’ from the ‘layout’ menu.


#8 Stay productive from any device using the Office Mobile Apps

Most of the Microsoft apps are available for download as mobile apps for IOS and Android. Sync files across multiple devices and stay productive. Use Microsoft Launcher on Android, or Microsoft Edge on IOS to access your Microsoft applications under one interface that lets you switch between screens in a single tap.


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