10 ways Microsoft Office can boost individual productivity (and 5 ways it can boost team efficiency)

Listen on Spotify.

If you’re like me, you use Microsoft Office every day. I have for years. But I’ve wondered if I use Office to its full potential. I investigated and found some really great tips which have helped me get more done. I thought I’d share with you so that you — and your employees or colleagues — can be more productive too.

New features are always being added to Office, so it’s essential that you make sure you have the latest version installed and are able to make the most of it. The best way to do this is to buy a subscription to Microsoft 365, so that you’ll receive updates automatically. You can also get a stand-alone version of Office, but will not receive automatic updates.

Later, I’ll give you hints on how to create snazzy looking documents. For now though, let’s dig into the detail.

1. Use the OneDrive autosave feature

You can get OneDrive whether or not you have a subscription. Here’s what you can do with it.

  • It lets you access your files at any time, from anywhere.
  • When the autosave feature is on, your work is saved in real-time and updated as you make changes. This protects you from losing work to computer glitches, or power cuts.
  • You can retrieve saved copies of your work by going through the Version History.  
  • This saves time and ultimately allows you to be more efficient.

2. Learn some shortcuts

If you’re a regular user of Microsoft Office, you’ll know how consistent the user experience is across the apps. This means nearly all the keyboard shortcuts work the same way across them all, as I talked about when I explored how to use Excel to become more productive . This is sure to save time and boost your productivity.

I’ve learned a few of them myself.

  • Ctrl + S to Save.
  • Ctrl + A to Select All.
  • Ctrl + P to Print.
  • Ctrl + D to alter Font.
  • Ctrl +  C to Copy.

If you employ others, it might be a good idea to give your colleagues a list of common commands that they can use. Who knows? Maybe, you’ll see an uptick in individual and team productivity. There’s one shortcut that’s so useful, I’ve decided to give it its own section.

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

3. Find and Replace

It’s an editor’s nightmare. You’re reading through a draft and spot places where you’ve made an error in the text. You’ve use the wrong company name, more than once. Now you’ve got to trawl through the text to correct each incidence of the mistake. A real pain, right? Well, don’t worry. You can just use the Find and Replace function to make the corrections lightning-fast. Remember, this shortcut can also be used to great effect in Excel.

All you need do is press Ctrl + H and the dialogue box will appear. Enter the text you want to locate in the Find box and the replacement in the Replace box. If you need to delete a word, just leave the Replace box blank.

Super-fast and easy, right? Well, there’s more. You can also use the Advanced Find and Replace feature.  

  • Click the ‘More >>’ button at the bottom left of the Find and Replace dialogue box.
  • From there, you can change font, the layout of paragraphs and more of any text
  • You can even edit punctuation.

Thus you’ll speed up your work, but quality won’t suffer. You’ll be working more efficiently in just a few easy clicks.

How can I create great-looking documents?

Want to make the documents you work on look good and stand out? Use Styles to have documents looked snazzy in no time at all.

  • Find Styles under the Home tab.
  • You can use it to apply pre- determined settings on the go.
  • The styles can be changed to suit your needs.
  • What’s more, if you decide to change themes halfway through your work, Styles will automatically update, so that no precious time is lost.

Soon, I’ll share a neat little editing trick that’s sure to help you get more done in less time. Now we’ll go back to picking up some time-saving tips.  

4. Use Spike to Copy and Paste many items

Spike allows you to copy lots of items and paste them all in one go, which will save time and increase your efficiency. Here’s how you do it.

  • Select a section of text and hit Ctrl + F3, then move on to the next block of text and do the same. Each time you hit Ctrl + F3 that bit of text will be stored.
  • When you’re ready to Paste it all, you can type Ctrl + F3 + Shift.
  • If you want to save the text so you can use it at another time, type ‘spike’ and hit Enter.

5. Customise your Office ribbon

Do you always find yourself searching for features you always use? Just add them to the middle of your ribbon.

  • Go to File, then Options, then Customize Ribbon. From there, you can add loads of great functions so you can easily access them.
  • You can Hide the ribbon for more space when you need it. You can use a shortcut for this too, Ctrl + F1.
  • You can even add the shortcuts and features you most commonly used to your Quick Access Toolbar.

It’s time to discover those superb editing shortcuts.

6. Adjust autocorrect to suit your style

You can change the settings of autocorrect so that you can stop it from making any changes you don’t wish to. Moreover, you can add words you tend to mistype or add symbols. Just go to Tools, then Autocorrect Options.

7. Quickly select a paragraph

This is another writing and editing tip you can use to boost your efficiency when working in Office. You might know that you can select a word by double-clicking it, but this trick goes one step further. If you triple-click a word that entire paragraph is highlighted. This can be wonderfully useful when you want to move around large blocks of text during the editing process.   

8. Use Split view

One other feature which I often use when editing documents is Split view. This lets you look at two parts of the same document simultaneously so that you can look at one section when altering another. For instance, you might what to look at the conclusion you’ve written as you reference another part of the work. You can make changes on either screen as you like. If you use windows, you can use the Side-by-Side feature, which adds synchronised scrolling to Split view, which no doubt saves time and effort.

A little later, I’ll give you some ways to use Microsoft 365 to increase productivity amongst and across teams.

Next though, I’ll share two tips that will help increase your productivity when using PowerPoint and Excel.

9. Use conditional formatting in Excel

In Excel, you can use conditional formatting to highlight or emphasise the contents or values contain in any given range of cells.  Here’re a few examples of what you can do.

  • Highlight negative values in red and positive values in green
  • Emphasize values that exceed a certain number.
  • Marked out different percentages of a total.
Example of conditional formatting.

You can even set your own rules for formatting data.  You can access Conditional Formatting from the Home ribbon. This trick is sure to improve team productivity, because highlighting data in this way helps you draw other’s attention to the most important pieces of information, so that they can do their job more effectively and speedily.

10. Sharpen the look of your presentations with merge shapes

In PowerPoint, you can click Merge shapes, found under the Format tab, to combine a range of simple shapes with more complicated ones, to make presentations look fabulous. What’s more, you can copy and paste newly merged shapes into some of the other apps in the Microsoft Office suite. Nifty, right?

It’s time to talk about Office and team productivity.

5 ways to boost team efficiency with Microsoft Office

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Now that we’ve explored ways you can improve your individual efficiency, let’s look at some of the ways you can boost team productivity using Office 365.

  • Easily share documents and collaborate like a pro.
    • This process is designed to be seamless, so that you can maximise your productivity.
    • If you decided, for instance, to do some work on your phone during your commute, you can save versions to OneDrive and securely share files so that your co-workers and project manager can easily add their input.
  • Use the @mentions feature of 365 to get people’s attention fast.
    • When you want to contact a team member, just type @ followed by their name, in Windows, Mac or Outlook.
    • You can also use @mention tag as a useful filter in your email inbox. When this filter is applied only messages in which you’ve been specifically tagged will show in your inbox.
    • That is bound to speed up the tasks of sorting through and attending to the seemingly endless deluge of email you get.  
  • Use version history to streamline teamwork
    • Just click the filename, then Version History to use this feature. This is a great way to keep track of different versions of the same document when collaborating on a team project.
    • You’ll never get stuck in a nightmarish email loop when lots of people end up emailing you their versions of the document.  Inevitably, you then have to consolidate all the corrections and suggestions into one document.
    • With version history, all co-workers involved with the project can get access to the most recent copy of the document as and when they need to work on it.
    • By helping to eliminate a source of confusion and getting rid of the need for lots of emailing back and forth, team productivity will likely improve.
  • Create top-class presentations fast with PowerPoint AI
    • Begin a presentation — in either the web or desktop version of PowerPoint — and enter whatever information you want without stressing about how it looks.
    • When you’ve finished filling the slides, go click on Design Ideas in the Design tag. Then all you need do is choose from a set of automatically generated design ideas.
    • By this means, everyone in the team has the power to create striking professional presentation in a trice.
  • Work fast with the dictation and read aloud functions
  • The apps in Office 365 keep getting smarter, because it’s a cloud service which gets regular updates.
  • These updates means Office adapts to how you work, saving your time and effort.
  • The Dictate feature lets you speak rather than type. Ensure your microphone is on and that you are speaking naturally and as fluently as possible. It’s possible to give commands like ‘new paragraph’ so that you can sort out the layout of a document.
  • You can even dictate your punctuation and thereby speed up even more.  
  • The ‘Read Aloud’ function can save time too. It may be a godsend in editing too. As the computer reads through text you and your team has created, you’re more likely to spot errors more easily than you would do if you just repeatedly proofread work. This ensures that you can work faster whilst not sacrificing on quality.
  • If English isn’t your mother-tongue, the read aloud feature can help you learn how to pronounce words.

Summary

Microsoft Office, then, is full of surprises. I hope the hints I’ve given you help you unleash the potential power of Office and improve personal and team efficiency.

Remember:

  • Learning keyboard shortcuts will help you work much faster across the whole Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Sharing files securely and using the version history effectively will go a long way towards increasing team productivity.
  • By getting a subscription to Office 365 you’ll be able to take advantage of the regular updates that will help you work smarter, not harder.

So, why wait? Get Microsoft Office and take steps towards maximising your productivity today!

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: