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Microsoft Office

Automation That Makes Your Life Easier—Excel Tips and Automated Meeting Notes

By | Accounting Software, Microsoft Office | No Comments

Whether you have a love-hate relationship with technology or are a fan of all things gadgets and geeky, we guarantee you’ll appreciate these ideas to make your workdays easier. From automated meeting tasks to Excel tips to recover unsaved files, these time-saving tips are sure to make your workday easier and more productive.

Automated Meeting Tools Help You Focus

Video conferencing has become the new normal, both in part to the pandemic and to the prevalence of the technology in the workplace. With almost all new computers issued with excellent webcams, it makes sense to meet via a video conference with many clients and coworkers.

But with video conferencing comes so-called “Zoom fatigue” (or GoToMeeting, WebEx, or whatever video conferencing technology you’re using). It’s exhausting to stare at a screen for hours on end, focusing on participants’ information and taking copious notes. Task switching, such as stopping to take notes during a meeting, results in lost attention and focus. According to Psychology Today, the average person can lose up to 40% of their productivity from rapid task switching.

The solution? Automated meeting tools take some of the pressure off you to take copious notes during calls. These tools can:

  • Sync with Google and Outlook to automatically record meetings on your calendar
  • Transcribe the dialogue from a meeting
  • Assign a speaker to the dialogue (with your help to identify the names of the speakers at the start of the call).
  • Highlight, edit, and add images to transcripts, such as charts and graphs
  • Share the output as Word documents or PDFs

Call transcripts enable you to focus on the speaker rather than on taking down what’s being said. It’s a game-changer for busy professionals who conduct many videoconferences each week.

A few technology solutions for meetings we invite you to explore include:

  • Otter.ai
  • Fireflies.ai
  • Rev
  • Sonix

Note that some offer a free trial or free basic service while others are paid plans. Otter.ai, for example, allows a certain number of minutes of recorded meeting transcription per month, then prompts you to bump up to the paid plan.

Excel Tips to Recover Unsaved Files

Oh no, it’s happened again! You’ve been working on the end-of-quarter budget when bam—the power blinks out. It’s just for a moment, but long enough to reboot your computer. When you log back into Excel, the file you’ve worked on for the past hour seems to be gone.

Autosave, a feature in many Microsoft programs (including Excel), can be a lifesaver for those times when computers act up or power goes out. You’ll need to toggle it to “on” within the particular program you are using—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or others.

But what if you accidentally closed the Excel file before ever hitting “save”? Here’s how to recover the file:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel.
  2. Click the File tab on the task ribbon at the top of the screen.
  3. Click Recent.
  4. Scroll to the end of the list. Click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks.
  5. The Open window appears. Click Open. You will see the file contents.
  6. Click on Save, name your file, and save it to the desired destination.

Another common scenario is closing a file before saving the last changes you made to it. The file may already be saved to your computer, but the last changes weren’t saved.

You can recover those changes by following these steps:

  1. Open Excel.
  2. A Document Recovery pane should appear. Within that pane should be the name of the document you were working on with unsaved changes.
  3. Choose the file you wish to recover.
  4. Open the file. Check to make sure the changes are on the document.
  5. If the changes you made are there, click Save.

Now you can breathe a sigh of relief and finish that report.

The Right Software Makes a Big Difference

The right software can make a big difference to your productivity. Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

New Features in Microsoft Word Worth Noting

By | E-Learning, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word, Nonprofit, Technology | No Comments

Ah, Clippy. Remember Clippy? The happy, bouncing paperclip was once the icon of Microsoft Word, that ubiquitous program that transforms how the world works.

With over 1.2 billion users of Microsoft Office – that’s one in seven people worldwide – it pays to note changes to the popular and familiar program. The Journal of Accountancy recently reported many updates to Word, some of which are quite useful for accountants.

You won’t need Clippy to report on these features. We’ll look at them together with the top features presented here.

New Features in Microsoft Word 2016

The following features are available in Microsoft Word 2016 except for the “Draw” updates (the last item which is only available in Office 365). For those considering an upgrade to Word 2016, the new features may offer enough of an incentive for you to choose Word over any other product out there. Hey, with 1.2 billion users, you know it’s compatible with the software used by most of your clients, colleagues, members and donors!

  1. Tell Me: The Tell Me feature or Tell Me What You Want to Do enables you to locate commands or tools without having to hunt through the various ribbons and dropdowns. It eliminates the need to know or guess where tools are – you can access them immediately.
  2. Improved Version History: Microsoft seems to have taken a cue from Google Docs by saving a unique version of each document when you save it to your OneDrive. This enables you to access previous versions to pull into the current version.
  3. Real-time Co Authoring: You no longer must shuffle documents back and forth by email. Instead, collaborate in real time on a Word document. Do this through OneDrive or SharePoint. I It does take the best of Google Docs and brings it into the more robust Microsoft product. Thanks to the cloud, you and others on your team can avoid the nightmare of sending different versions by emailing files and instead, collaborate, review and edit together in real time.
  4. Simple Sharing: A new “Share” button enables you to quickly Share documents using OneDrive or SharePoint so you don’t have to save, export, open your email, upload the document and then save. Just add a colleague’s email and you can share it instantly.
  5. New Draw Tab: The new Draw tab offers more tools than ever before, a great addition to the Microsoft suite of features. The new drawing and inking tools allow you to customize your document markups. You can use your finger on a touchscreen or move inked items like shapes once they are in place. These new features are only available to Office 365 subscribers but are expected to be standard in the next iteration of Word.

If you create a lot of custom reports using Microsoft Word, you’ll like the new Shapes features too. For example, Shapes now comes with preset transparent boxes, so you can place them over background text or images. This makes it easier to use shapes like callouts.

What about Mac users? Microsoft Word may be used on Macs, and some prefer the features in Word to Mac Pages. If you create more detailed and customized reports or use your word processing software to build marketing documents like brochures, you may wish to test Mac Pages or a full-fledged graphic design program that works along with Word. Microsoft Publisher comes as part of some packages of Office; it’s fine for beginners but may not offer enough flexibility for advanced graphic design. It is, however, compatible with Word documents, so if you compose text in Word, it is easier to import it into Publisher than into some other graphic design package.

Upgrading to Word 2016 is easier than ever with cloud-based subscriptions that offer flexible packages for home, student, and office use. And although Clippy may be a thing of the past, the new functions are way more fun than an animated paperclip.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.