The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #239 – OneNote templates

    As we’ve covered on ToW before , OneNote is an application that attracts legions of fans like few other productivity apps. The average user probably snips and clips, pastes and types into their OneNote notebooks, but may not realise the depths of functionality only a menu or two away. Surface 3 users...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #225 – Surveys R Us

    Have you noticed an increase in online surveys asking if you have a few minutes to complete them, when you visit web sites? Do you duck & dive when walking along the street and are confronted by a just-a-little-too-friendly student in high-vis and brandishing a clipboard? Surveys are undoubtedly...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #212 – Filing and piling of email

    The topic of filing vs piling of email has been had on ToWs passim ( here & here ) , but this week’s gem comes courtesy of a recommendation by productivity guru Tim Pash . Tim says he couldn’t live without a cracking utility which plugs into Outlook, called SimplyFile . The premise is very simple...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #203 – Remote control of Office

    Anyone who regularly presents will have had the occasion when there’s a need to wander around the stage, or instead be marooned behind a lectern on the side, yet if there’s no presentation “clicker” provided, it’s difficult to control the flow. A/V professionals complain that they can never keep hold...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #176 - F(u)11 screen ahead

    This week’s tip might seem a little obvious to some, yet partially unknown to others. Internet Explorer has offered the capability to display a page in full-screen mode, since IE4. Just like the “ content, not chrome ” ethos of the “ Metro ” Modern UI design language, reducing the various window borders...
  • Blog Post: Snipping tool for OneNote users

    Following on somewhat from my off-topic Walking in the Country post, I thought I'd recount one useful tip that helps in grabbing the maps (or any other screen content, for that matter . at least anything that isn't rights-protected). If you have OneNote installed, press WindowsKey+S to initiate a snapshot...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #67–Lync Conferencing Tips

    An earlier Tip o’ the Week featured “ 5 Golden Rules ” for OCS and Lync conferencing, and those tips still stand. If you host or participate in a Lync conference, you can dial-in to the meeting from a phone as well as joining from your PC – eg for Microsoft-hosted Lync conferences, attendees can find...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #136 – Inbox tips for Outlook 2013

    If you’ve taken the plunge and started using Office 2013, you may be getting used to the subtle but impactful changes to the way some information is displayed, particularly lists of emails in your inbox. Outlook 2010 has a colourful Ribbon, emboldens folders where you have unread email, and shows everything...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #91 – So you're OOF? Meh.

    Now that Outlook, Exchange and Lync all provide a way of showing that someone is Out of the Office (aka OOF, not OOO ), it should be no surprise when you send email to someone internally, that you get an Out of Office message. Outlook’s tool tip tells you they’re out, Lync’s status icon shows the small...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #92 – Take and Share better meeting notes

    Be the scribe OneNote is a great audit tool. When you’re in meetings with customers and partners why not offer to take the notes on your tablet, slate or laptop and then when the meeting is done simply save the notes as a PDF to create a simple, (almost) non editable version of the notes that you can...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #23: Viewing Excel sheets side by side

    Toni Kent from Microsoft UK’s partner group once again provides the inspiration for this week’s tip. Everyone loves the side-by-side windows feature of Windows 7, where you can dock windows to the sides of your monitor by dragging them (or pressing ÿ+→ or ÿ+←). But sometimes it doesn’t appear to work...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #17: Broadcast PPT to customers & partners

    Many Microsoft folks have experienced the joys of scheduling Live Meetings with customers and partners, where they get an email or meeting request with lots of links, asking them to install software on their PC before they try to join the meeting. How often do the attendees not manage to click the right...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #44 – Making Outlook show only email from external senders

    This tip came about after one reader asked if there was any way to highlight email, in Outlook, that came from a set of external addresses [in short, it kind-of is, but it’s not so straightforward] . There’s a more universally useful tip lurking beneath, though – how can I hide all...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #144 - Office 2013 Templates

    A short and sharp tip this week, courtesy of Louis Lazarus , concerning the way the New Office handles template files… and how to configure search in Outlook 2013 to be a bit more fullsome. See more templates online , and now, over to Louis… When you create a new document in Office 2013 with Word, Excel...
  • Blog Post: Sometimes, you know you didn't pay enough

    ... (and sometimes you probably suspect you paid too much) A common trait in western cultures is the eye for a good deal - you know, getting two-for-the-price-of-one, or thinking that it's worth buying something because it's on sale and you'll save 25%, rather than because you really need it or wanted...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #102 - When did someone really put something in their calendar?

    I've been thinking about writing this tip since the ToW started almost exactly two years ago (yay!) but for various reasons, competitive advantage amongst them, I've held off. I figure it's now time to relent and share. genesis The tip concerns the differences in Outlook between appointments, meetings...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #154 - Outlook 2013 searching - reprise

    Sometimes, the best bits of content benefit from revisiting, improving or just being done in a different way. It was good enough for Sgt. Pepper , and a mainstay of any self-respecting 1970s concept album (try and hear the Supper’s Ready lyrics at the end of the Squonk reprise in Los Endos , for example...
  • Blog Post: Exchange in the cloud or on the ground?

    Following the price cut on the desperately-in-need-of-renaming BPOS services recently, I’ve been talking with a few people about the where the tipping point might be for running Exchange in house vs using some form of hosted provision. There are plenty of reasons why a hosted offering makes sense...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #29 – Filtering email to reduce the noise

    Anyone who gets lots of email will appreciate the importance of Outlook rules. Most rules run on the Exchange server, but some (like rules which move messages to a PST folder on your PC) will run client-side. In Outlook 2010, the Rules settings are available from the File menu (or Backstage ). Over the...
  • Blog Post: ZDNet sings praises of Office Communications Server beta

    Like probably millions of other people, I get the daily ZDNet Tech Update Today (since long before RSS brought news feeds to the masses...) and was floored a little by David Berlind's column today. I think David's a good commentator - normally sails between the points of sycophancy and fundamentalism...
  • Blog Post: Outlook 2007 signatures location

    Following my post about .sig files , I had cause to dig around looking for where Outlook actually puts the Signature files. I came across a post which Allister wrote a little while ago, but it's such a useful little tip that it's worth repeating... Basically, Outlook 2007 offers a nice simple editor...
  • Blog Post: Batch-convert Office files to 2007's Open XML format

    A customer asked me the other day if Microsoft was ever going to build batch-conversion facilities to take old format files that live on a network fileshare, and convert them to the newer XML-based formats - his reasoning was the sometimes considerable reduction in size when saving as .DOCX or .XLSX...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #112 – Change Outlook’s startup folder

    Productivity gurus wax on about how gaining and maintaining control of your never-ending to-do list starts with the way you prioritise, and how you build discipline in working through your task list rather than being distracted by less important “stuff”. So, why is it that we stick with...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #189 – Outlook View Tips

    Outlook 2013 introduced some changes to the way the standard inbox view is presented. It’s basically a good thing , though if you have a lot of email and a small screen, it will certainly reduce the number of items on your default view. This means that once an email is (say) 15 from the top on your mailbox...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #96 – Reining back Outlook’s file size

    Outlook likes to cache lots of information on your PC – which is generally beneficial. All of the email in your mailbox, for example, is already on your hard disk, so when you open a message or an attachment, it can open it quickly. This is a Good Thing . In fact, it’s the reason why Office 365 works...