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The Electric Wand
Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.
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The Electric Wand
Tip o’ the Week #295 – Outlook 2016 tweaks
Office 2016 for the PC is nearly here. Many Office users have been already running a preview version, detailed here , but according to Julia White , the rollout of the final 2016 release will begin on 22 nd September. With many new capabilities that might appeal to IT admins, and with distribution increasingly...
18 Sep 2015
Tip o’ the Week #291 – A few handy date handling tips
Sometimes, the Tip o’ the Week is all about one topic, and sometimes it’s a theme that spans several things. Today’s is just such a smörgåsbord of stuff, spanning a number of apps that are concerned with dates. Windows 10 dates This is not a new topic for ToW – the swish new Alarms & Clocks app that...
21 Aug 2015
Tip o’ the Week #282 – Delay your mail
There are several techniques to delay sending messages, something that could be considered good practice – according to Harvard Business Review, for example, bosses who send email late in the night are causing lots of stress as people feel obliged to respond immediately. A counter-argument would...
10 Jul 2015
Tip o’ the Week #275 – Prioritising External Email
Do you suffer from email overload ? The temptation is to get dragged into dealing with all the nonsense internal emails and corporate spam, but it’s worth trying to prioriti(z)|(s)e email from external senders, excepting the genuine bulk guff that you can spot quickly and delete. Here’s a simple Outlook...
1 May 2015
Tip o’ the Week #271 – Finding your Friends
Sometimes, people don’t want to be found . That’s maybe understandable if you’re a sweary unemployed pugilist , but often, you’d like to locate your friends and colleagues and you’d like them to find you. Start by letting people see your calendar – in days gone by, the norm in Microsoft Outlook and Exchange...
27 Mar 2015
Tip o’ the Week #264 – BCC people to a meeting
There’s a great deal of etiquette bound up in email communications – and it varies by culture and sometimes by country. Some people politely make the point of always addressing the recipient in an email, and in thanking them at the end, whereas others apparently look on it as a badge of honour to contain...
6 Feb 2015
Tip o' the Week #259 – Manage your Christmas Cards in Outlook
Happy New Year ! For many of us, time to chuck out trees, and pack away any and all decorations, never to be seen again until December ‘15. Before you recycle the cards you may have received over the holiday season, here’s a quick way of using Outlook to make the job of sending your cards that bit easier...
2 Jan 2015
Tip o’ the Week #251 – Toasting a new email message
You got a new email – hurray! Back in the early days of using email, it was expected practice for your email program to play you a little fanfare, pop up a message box to tell you that you’ve got mail, put an envelope in your system tray etc. In the last decade, nobody in most companies needed to know...
21 Nov 2014
Tip o' the Week #231 – Linking LinkedIn and Outlook, look!
LinkedIn has been going for over 11 years and has resurged in user base and usefulness after seemingly getting really popular initially, and then fading a bit (remember Friends Reunited , anyone? – somebody should come up with Fiends Reunited.com , though there are many such strange things already on...
25 Jul 2014
Tip o’ the Week #227 – Moving around Outlook
What’s the most-used application on your PC? Maybe it’s your web browser (IE, of course), but if you’re a corporate email slave like many of us, then it’s quite likely to be Outlook. As you spend so much time in the application, it’s worth getting to know how to move around it a little more efficiently...
27 Jun 2014
Tip o' the Week #223 – Clear your inbox
Some people live a disciplined existence and manage to keep a very tidy desk, their to-do list at the end of each day is empty, and their inbox is clean. Many others aspire to be so organised but either convince themselves that they’re too busy to tidy everything up, or they try hard but just don’t quite...
18 Apr 2014
Tip o’ the Week #214 – Trouble connecting Outlook at home?
If you see Outlook behaving strangely while working at home, there are a few things you might want to try. Symptoms include steadfastly refusing to connect to the server, even though everything else appears to work fine. Or connecting fine for email but hanging when you need to do something “real time...
4 Apr 2014
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...
21 Mar 2014
Tip o' the Week #135 - Outlook 2013 Calendar first look
You may have seen news of Office 2013 (aka “Office 15”) , and if you’re a committed early adopter, you might even have started using the preview. It’s possible to run Office 2013 alongside an existing install of Office 2010 using “ Click To Run ” application virtualisation technology, so there’s perhaps...
31 Aug 2012
Using Outlook Search Folders to filter only external mail
Following on from my recent post about search folders, I got a few questions and comments via mail. One, from Christian, asked if it was possible to use a search folder to filter out only mail which came from "outside" - eg Only show me the last day's mail from external senders , thus filtering out all...
9 Jan 2007
Outlook 2010 beta and E.164 number format updater
Well hello again; it’s been a while. Normal service should now infrequently resume. I thought I’d update the instructions of a previous post, after I was showing someone how to use my old “ Contacts updater ” application to make all their Outlook contact phone numbers be E.164 compliant. (see blogs passim...
7 Oct 2009
The lost art of the .sig
Whatever happened to elaborate and amusing '.sig's? It used to be common practice to have a signature with some kind of witty/pithy quote appended at random to every email. Nowadays, the autosignature that most email programs can insert (such as Outlook's ability to have multiple autosigs , which vary...
30 May 2007
Tip o’ the Week #1– New Mail desktop alerts
In an attempt to resurrect this blog (again… I know, I know…), I’ve decided to repurpose some “Tip o’ the Week” emails that I’ve written and published for an internal Microsoft audience. Some of the internal ToW’s are very specific to Microsoft so I’ll probably skip them. Others will need polishing up...
31 Dec 2010
The lost art of the OOF
Some time ago, I posted about how the ".sig" has faded from grandeur. I'd like to add the somewhat terminal dryness of the OOF message to that list, and propose a solution. OOF is a Microsoft term for Out of Office. It should really be OOO, but is stuck in the days of the predecessor to MS...
30 Dec 2007
Tip o' the Week #184 - ActiveSync account limits
Various people have commented on issues they’ve had whilst setting up new PCs, especially after the upgrade to Windows 8.1 Preview. The upgrade process is a lot like a reinstall which happens to remember a bunch of settings, and one of the side effects is that it sets up the Mail (and associated Calendar...
16 Aug 2013
Tip o' the Week #37 - Quickly create a new task
If you’re super-efficient and use Outlook’s tasks functionality a lot, here’s a tip that might help you create a new task in double-quick time. Obviously, you can create tasks directly from Outlook itself (clicking on the New Items ribbon menu option, by pressing CTRL-N when you’re in the Tasks view...
17 Jun 2011
Bulk update Outlook Contacts' phone numbers to be E.164 compliant
Here's a quick & dirty tool I put together for Outlook to be able to update all the phone numbers of contacts to make them E.164 compliant. It relates back to a post a while back around the challenges of formatting numbers 'correctly', particularly important once you get into using click-to-dial...
30 Nov 2007
Tip o’ the Week #143 – Share your calendar externally
Organising our home lives is increasingly done digitally, from keeping in touch with friends and making arrangements over social networking, to just the basics of communicating intra-family – how many readers have multiple laptops or <cough> “ tablet type devices ” (soon to be Surfaces for Microsofties...
26 Oct 2012
Tip o’ the Week #36 – Using bookmarks in long emails
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” ~ Thomas Jefferson Brevity . That’s one, important, word. Better to write a short, thorough email, than to overwhelm with info no-one will ever read (something a few folks in Redmond have yet to appreciate, perhaps...
10 Jun 2011
Outlook 2007 caches other people's calendars
In the default modus operandi , Outlook 2007 likes to be in cached mode when running against Exchange, which is generally a *good thing*. Cached mode means there are (by and large) fewer occasions to go back & forth to the server, as it operates by synchronizing a local copy of the mailbox down to...
13 Dec 2006
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