By David J. Rosenthal
In the world of technology, things move fast, newcomers disrupt the status quo, and old workflows are quickly made obsolete by the latest developments. Yet, Microsoft has managed to stay at the top of the market for workplace productivity software solutions for decades.
That’s because they are constantly updating and evolving their offering, adding new capabilities and better security. The latest iteration of its comprehensive and customizable work platform, Microsoft 365, is more advanced, easier to use, and connects seamlessly and securely to cloud and business networks.
The All-In-One Solution
First rolled out in 2017, Microsoft 365 combines the world’s most popular operating system, Windows 10 Pro, with Microsoft’s industry standard productivity suite, Office 365, which includes:
It also offers a number of other cloud-based software-as-a-service products for business users, including:
- Exchange Server
- Video Conferencing via Microsoft Teams
It’s the market leading path to a modern workplace for a reason, and there are a host of built in tools — many of which even experienced users are surprisingly unfamiliar with — that make it so efficient and effective at augmenting productivity and collaboration.
Here are nine features and benefits of Microsoft 365 you may be missing out on:
1. Real-time, cross-platform co-authoring
Finally everyone on your team can work on the same projects, whether documents, spreadsheets, or presentations in real time, regardless of where they are or what device or operating system they are using.
Cross-platform collaboration is built into Microsoft 365. Everything functions seamlessly together to ensure optimal productivity, open communication, and no duplicated work. Plus, suggestions, edits, and file history are all tracked and revertable, making it a low risk tool for group projects.
2. Save bandwidth with links
Microsoft 365 helps organizations change bad habits. Email attachments for large files are obsolete. With Microsoft’s productivity tools, documents are stored securely on an encrypted cloud, accessible only by authorized users.
When you use Outlook to share documents, it automatically grants permission to the people you are emailing and serves the file to them. Never bog down your network with duplicates of large attachments again.
3. Use your Mouse as a laser pointer for presentations
Here’s a simple trick that never fails to amaze. There are shortcuts coded right into Powerpoint that allow you to use your mouse cursor like a laser pointer. You can even use it to annotate directly on slides:
- Ctrl+L: Start the laser pointer
- Ctrl+A: Change the pointer to an arrow
- Ctrl+P: Change the pointer to a pen
- Ctrl+E: Change the pen to an eraser
- Ctrl+M: Show or hide annotations
4. Automatically convert OneNote notes into scheduled events
Microsoft OneNote is a full featured note-taking app that is perfect for the free-form collection of information and for sharing it across an organization. It saves written notes, sketches, screen captures, and even audio recordings.
One useful feature of OneNote that is often overlooked, however, is its ability to automatically convert notes into Outlook calendar events. Simply highlight the appropriate note content and click the Outlook Tasks button that pops up. OneNote can also email minutes to all the participants of meetings and be set to watermark all recordings with the date, location, and attendance list.
5. More billing predictability
Think of how many different products and services it would take to replace Microsoft 365. You would need a:
- Business-grade email service
- Office productivity suite
- Cloud storage provider
- Calendaring and scheduling app
- Task management solution
- Remote team collaboration platform
With Microsoft 365, everything is built to work seamlessly together, and because costs are tied to usage, you only ever pay for what you actually need. Plus, Microsoft manages all patches, upgrades, and new feature additions, so you only ever have to migrate once.
6. Intelligent email decluttering
With the rise of remote work, email inboxes that were getting crowded are now positively overflowing — and not all of those messages are of equal importance. Some are just spam, others are boilerplate mass emails, and still more are the consequence of cavalier usage of the “reply all” button.
Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has an integrated email decluttering solution. By setting up some basic rules, it will automatically sort, label, and prioritize your inbox so that critical messages never get lost in the shuffle and high priority emails are segregated and highlighted.
7. Better security
Perhaps the most valuable feature in Microsoft 365 is one that users will hopefully never even need to notice: the advanced security features it builds right in. Unlike Office 365, which included basic security features, Microsoft 365 is bundled with Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1, which includes:
- Safe Attachments
- Safe Links
- Safe Attachments for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
- Real-time detections
8. Seamless PDF integration
Though PDF (portable document format) is an Adobe standard, Microsoft is well aware of just how much of modern business relies on this handy file type. That’s why Microsoft 365 makes editing and converting PDFs to and from Microsoft document formats incredibly easy.
PDF conversion is as simple as clicking “Save as” and choosing PDF in a number of Microsoft 365 apps, including Word and Powerpoint.
9. Work offline and update changes
All of the apps and tools associated with the Microsoft 365 platform store data securely on Microsoft’s cloud storage solutions, such as OneDrive for Business, which means that, so long as the user’s device is set to sync to the cloud, anything they do offline (such as during an extended internet outage) is immediately uploaded when they reconnect.
It’s just a smarter and more efficient workflow, and it enables teams to stay agile amid the uncertainty and new challenges of remote work. Sharing one wifi connection with an entire household is a burden, but offline sync makes things a little more tolerable.
Microsoft 365 Is How Modern Business Gets Done
It’s because of features like cloud syncing and co-authoring that the remote work experiment, which was forced on companies all over the world by the pandemic, has been an overall success.
After some initial hiccups, organizations of all sizes discovered the power of using Microsoft 365’s collaboration, communication, and productivity apps to work from home, in the office, and on a growing range of devices.
Want to learn more about how your organization can get more of Microsoft 365 and other leading business platforms? Talk to Razor today.