You’re probably familiar with Microsoft 365, which is the hybrid cloud version of Microsoft Office, and how powerful of a software suite it is. Some of the best things about it are that not only do you have the ability to have your work visible locally and remotely, but you also get countless features as long as you’re a subscriber.
While you may be a long-time Microsoft Office user, the constant updates and improvements to Microsoft 365 add features and functionality that are sometimes hard to keep up with. This inevitably leads to overlooking new features or updated improvements to features you already use, which while not directly making your experience less productive, certainly doesn’t allow you to be as effective with your Microsoft 365 subscription as you could be. Let’s take a look at some of the best features of Microsoft 365 that you might not know about.
Those of us that have suffered through the various forms and incarnations of voice dictation that have been available for Microsoft products throughout the years are probably wary of any promises of quality dictation, but Microsoft 365 seems to have advanced with leaps and bounds.
The dictate function not only does what it says and gives you a viable way to perform voice-to-text input, but it lets you use it across just about any app in the family that uses text. You will need to call out punctuation specifically, but they have made it incredibly accurate at parsing natural speech, so the input is very intuitive. As a huge bonus, you can even upload recordings and have it create the text from the file, often with only a very small number of manual corrections needed before finishing.
While using Microsoft 365 and Teams is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and allow for instant communication, if you use the mobile apps, you will still receive notifications long after you’ve left the office or closed your laptop.
That’s where the Quiet Hours feature is invaluable, it allows you to set hours that the Teams app will not send you notifications or ping you with @mentions. Best of all, you can customise them to the exact times that work for you, on a day-by-day basis.
Another productivity-boosting feature is Word’s Focus Mode. If you ever find yourself getting distracted by emails or other notifications, Focus Mode will essentially block out any other distractions that might pop up while you’re trying to finish that important report or crucial project outline.
It will suppress flashing toolbar icons and even remove the interface elements you normally find at the top of your Word app. If you need them back, just mouse over the top of the screen, and they come sliding down for easy editing or other needs.
This has been a feature in the Google Apps suite for a while, but it is even more powerful when integrated into Microsoft 365. Now you can edit a document, PowerPoint, or even a spreadsheet with multiple other people, and you can see the changes as they are happening.
This essentially removes the need to ever send documents or files back and forth, running the risk of potentially getting lost in the versions or missing someone’s valuable input.
Using “@metions” is another way that the Microsoft Office suite is making collaboration far simpler than it ever has been before. This is a function that is present in most apps in Microsoft 365, and it essentially allows you to ping a coworker or collaborator, bringing them into a project or conversation. Your @mention will generate an email for them that will lead them to the location of the mention, allowing them to contribute to the project at their leisure without having to send them a message or otherwise privately contact them.
The staple mass communication method for Office users for many years has simply been a large group email or distribution list, but SharePoint brings this level of community to the next level. With every level of Microsoft 365 business subscriptions, SharePoint makes creating an intranet simple and quick and allows you to make web pages exactly as you need them, inviting anyone within your business or organization to see them.
This is a perfect way for entire departments to become more cohesive, and to collaborate with other entire departments. SharePoint is also easily integrated with Microsoft Files, which means it is easier than ever to share all content and documentation you need with just a few clicks and links.
Microsoft 365 Features You Might Have Missed
Microsoft is constantly updating its Office 365 tools and their abilities, and if you aren’t hyper-aware of the updates you may miss some incredibly useful features that can not only make you more productive but can make your existing work much easier.