Microsoft is one of the leading tech companies when it comes to updating its apps to improve user experience on a regular basis. The updates come so frequently that even avid 365 users might not be aware of all the new features that could improve and streamline their day-to-day working operations. Here at Synergy-UK, we’ve put together a handy guide on some of the best features to emerge from Microsoft in the last month. All of these features are currently available to Microsoft users.
The @ mentions feature allows you to quickly tell team members about relevant tasks, allowing them to easily see the most important bits of information contained in an email message. There is also a filter that you can use that allows you to sort your inbox to see only messages you’ve been mentioned in. This was added into Microsoft Outlook in 2017, and many have found that, although a very useful tool, there are also times when the suggested list of names may get in the way. This is because every time you type the ‘@’ symbol in a message, a huge suggested list of names appears, inviting you to add them into the message, much like a ‘tag’ on Instagram. Previously, some users found this to be slightly annoying in that it might cover a huge section of the page each time. Now, Microsoft has updated the feature, allowing you to stable the @ mention suggestions. To disable the feature, go to File > Options > Mail and then under Send Messages, you’ll see it says “Suggest names to mention when I use the @ symbol in a message” check box. Untick the box and click OK.
Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds have been hailed as the company’s answer to Apple’s AirPods. Although, there are a few key features that distinguish the Surface Earbuds from the AirPods, or any other similar competitor products. Firstly, they are disc-like in appearance and have an earbud on the inside rather than an elongated stalk, like AirPods. The Surface Earbuds connect to any device via Bluetooth, and you can even use Microsoft’s Swift Pair for Windows 10 to use one-tap pairing. On the outer disk of the left earbud is a touch panel that allows you to control various settings by tapping and swiping, such as volume, or skipping a song. The most impressive feature of the Surface Earbuds is that they allow you to control your PowerPoint presentations. In order to do this, simply connect the earbuds to the Surface Audio app on Windows 10. Once they are connected, launch your PowerPoint slide show and right-click on the slide. Under “Surface Earbuds Settings”, choose “Use Gestures to Control Presentation”. This will allow you to swipe forward and backwards on the left earbud to move through the slide show with ease. You can even play or pause any video you have embedded in the slideshow, by simply double-tapping the left earbud.
AI functions have been active across the Microsoft 365 suite for a while now. For example in Word’s Spelling and Grammar feature, but the AI used in Microsoft Word is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Similarly to the popular spelling and grammar tool Grammarly, we are now seeing Word offer suggestions for the use of more concise and inclusive language, and even being able to calculate how long a document will take to read. Word AI is now also able to decode acronyms, useful for many different types of industries. Due to the transition to a more tech-enthusiastic way of life, acronyms are used more often than ever. Word’s handy AI-powered proofreader will now help to identify and clarify any acronym you come across in a document and try to define it based on how others use it.
We’ve seen a huge shift from office-based working to home-based working over the past year, and Microsoft Teams has become a fantastic tool for team collaboration and communication. Microsoft Teams already has a widely-used chat-based workspace, but this will soon expand to accommodate instant voice communication. The new Walkie Talkie push-to-talk feature will allow you to use your smartphone or tablet as a walkie-talkie. You simply need an internet connection via data or Wi-Fi.
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