The Electric Wand

Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.

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  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #246 – The least-used key on your keyboard

    The computer keyboard will probably be with us for many years to come – it’s just such an efficient way ( once you get used to it ) of text entry, that it’s hard to imagine it’ll be replaced entirely with gestures or by speech . There are some pretty obscure keys on the standard PC keyboard though –...
  • 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 #233 – When I'm moving windows

    As the nights are already drawing in , UK domestic interest in international football has long waned to background tolerance (apart from tabloid cannibal fever ) , massive new TV sales and beer supply forecasts drop to any normal summer level, we must amuse ourselves in other pursuits. Maybe, perusing...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • 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: Tip o’ the Week #152 – Zoom, Zoom!

    If you ever see someone make a presentation or give a demonstration, who says “ you can’t see this, but… ” or “ this is an eye test, but… ” then you have to ask, well why are you showing it (or trying to)? Better still, throw things at them and make a jolly good scene. If you’re presenting, don’t use...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #11: SharePoint alerts

    Some of us use RSS, many of us use SharePoint, but all of use email. Did you know that you can combine these three great technologies to keep you up to date on what other people are doing? Most areas of SharePoint allow you to request to be alerted when things change – in this picture, for example, we...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #39 - Multi-monitor with Win7

    If you sit at a shared desk with a monitor on it, but are content to just use your laptop screen, then this tip is for you. Also, if you use your laptop and display the same image on both its internal panel and an attached external screen, listen up. Multi-mon in Windows 7 – the ability to extend your...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #22: Sync SharePoint data into Outlook

    This week’s tip comes from a reader: over to Microsoft UK’s Rob Orwin… In order to help my forecasting, I synchronise the appropriate documents to my Outlook so that when I send and receive they are automatically updated. To do this I simply: 1) Go to the SharePoint site where...
  • 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 #113 – Add context to your Lync status

    One of the biggest cultural impacts of using Instant Messaging and UC technology in a business context is the way that people tend to check the status of someone before contacting them. It’s a relatively rare occurrence to get an internal phone call out of the blue if both parties are online: usually...
  • 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 #120 – The colour of time

    This week’s tip is a lovely little Windows app, recommended by Ceri Morris . It’s a little like the sunrise alarm clocks which start your day by gently lighting the room, or the sleep alarms which gradually fade out the radio instead of a sudden silence in place of music. This free application, called...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #3: IE8 usage tips

    This week, we’re all about Internet Explorer. IE9 will be with us in a while, but in the meantime make sure you get the best out of IE8. ZDNet’s Ed Bott published a nice overview of some of the good usability functionality, when IE8 came out: read here . Here are a collection if tip-ettes to make your...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #175 – a ‘tastic OneNote add-in

    Regular ToW readers might recall a previous mention of an add-in to OneNote which provides useful additional functionality, perhaps most notably OneCalendar – which gives you a calendar view, with the titles of OneNote pages which were edited on that day… hover over the title to see a preview of the...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #121 - Networking with Lync

    This week, we have a semi-rehash of earlier tips ( #51 and #67 ), based on some investigation work that’s been done inside Microsoft’s own IT group. If you’re going to join a Lync call (especially if you’re using video or app sharing, using a Roundtable/Polycom CX5000 device etc), then best practice...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #77 – Saving docs straight to SharePoint

    Here’s a simple tip inspired by Luke Debono , who was asking how he could save directly from within an Office application to our departmental SharePoint site, using Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010. Now, if you open a document from a SharePoint site then you might get to view/edit it in a browser...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #110 - Tracking Outlook responses

    Most of us regular Outlook users are well-versed in the Request/Response model of doing things other than email. Take an appointment in your own calendar: add an invited attendee or two, and you've created a meeting . What's different? The meeting invitations were sent out and the list of attendees is...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #69 – Keep your favourites and Office settings synchronised

    We covered using Windows Live Mesh to synchronise OneNote files between computers in ToW #52 , but overlooked one really simple but useful check-box capability – the ability to sync your IE favourites between PCs, and to sync your Office settings too. Jamie Burgess suggested this would be worth covering...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #30 – Sending emails from the past

    Following on from ToW #9 , regarding delaying sending email, this week’s episode was asked for by another reader, since he eagle-eyed-ly spotted that the email was send on one date but didn’t arrive in his inbox until a week later. Aha! Now, it’s possible in Outlook to set that a...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #196 – Change Outlook meeting duration

    It’s seemingly an irrefutable law that when you book a meeting for an hour, it takes an hour. Or what might happen is some people are still rocking up at 3 or 4 minutes after the start, and others start packing up 5 minutes before the end because they have another meeting to go to. Others yet will start...