As an Office 365 user, you are familiar with the many basic tools that help your organization work more efficiently and smarter. But there are many tools built into Office 365 that you may not be using. Below are ten lesser-known Office 365 apps that can streamline your work processes and boost your organization’s productivity even further.
#1. Microsoft Planner
If you have Office 365, you have a built-in project management solution. Microsoft Planner provides a hub for team members to create plans, organize and assign tasks, and manage progress through dashboards. It also provides a centralized place to share files and provide visibility to the whole team. Planner provides the central location for all of the work involved in a plan. It allows your team to easily create new plans, organize and assign tasks with start and due dates, share files, instantly chat about project or tasks, and receive updates on progress. For each plan, there is a board where you can organize tasks into buckets, for example, for a marketing launch or a product release plan. You can also attach files to tasks, collaborate on those files, and chat about tasks without switching between apps. Tasks can be categorized based on status of the team member responsible. With Planner, all of your team’s discussions and deliverables stay with the plan instead of in disparate applications. The visual interface enables you to view information by person, due date, project or bucket, or calendar.
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#2. Microsoft To Do
Do you have so many personal and professional to-dos that your often forget to complete them? Is your current organization system keeping you from being as efficient as possible? Microsoft To Do can help. Microsoft To Do is a list maker and task manager that lets you manage your to-do list online and share the lists with colleagues, family, and friends. With Microsoft To Do, you can create tasks, break them into management steps, add notes or files to them, group them by topic or project, and sync them between Outlook and To Do. Whether you need to organize your tasks for work or home, To Do helps you organize and simplify your plans. To Do is free and available on all your devices. You’ll increase productivity and decrease stress levels.
#3. Microsoft Forms
Are you looking for an easy way to poll your employees or customers? With Microsoft Forms you can create a form—such as a survey, poll, or quiz—and invite others to respond to it using almost any web browser or mobile device. You can get real-time results as they’re submitted, use built-in analytics to evaluate responses, and export results to Excel for additional analysis or grading. Microsoft Forms is included with Office 365 and comes with the security, privacy, and compliance features you expect from Microsoft.
#4. Microsoft Bookings
Are your employees spending too much time managing customer appointments? Microsoft Bookings can help. Bookings is a scheduling tool that allows your customers to book appointments with your company online, saving time and resources for other projects. With Microsoft Bookings, you can customize appointment details and booking requirements, and specify service providers to streamline the booking experience for you and your customers. Bookings is integrated with your Microsoft 365 or Office 365 calendar to help your customers quickly find available times and avoid double-booking. With Bookings, you’ll spend less time scheduling and more time meeting with customers.
#5. Microsoft OneNote
Have you ever taken notes on paper only to misplace them later? Microsoft OneNote can help. Like having your own digital notebook, OneNote is a note-taking program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. You can type notes or record audio on your laptop, sketch or write ideas on your tablet, or share your notes, sketches, and ideas with others over a network or the Internet so you can collaborate on them later.
#6. Microsoft Power Automate
Do you want to streamline certain tasks and processes within your organization so your employees can focus their attention on more value-added activities? Now you can with Microsoft Power Automate. Power Automate, formerly Microsoft Flow, is a built-in online tool within the Office 365 applications and add-ins that enables you to create automated workflows between apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, and collect data.
#7. Microsoft Stream
Microsoft Stream is an enterprise video service that lets employees upload, view, and share videos securely. You can share recordings of meetings, presentations, training sessions, or other videos that aid your team’s collaboration. With access managed by Azure Active Directory, Stream is secure, enabling you manage who views your video content and determine how widely to share within your organization. Stream also helps you organize content into channels and groups so it’s easier to find. It also works with other Microsoft applications, such as Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, and Yammer.
#8. Microsoft Whiteboard
One of the drawbacks of online meetings versus physical meetings is that you can’t hop up from your seat and start whiteboarding in order to keep track of the conversation. But with Microsoft Whiteboard, you can use a whiteboard in an online meeting just as you would in a physical meeting. And when your meeting ends, there is no reason to transcribe the whiteboard or take a photo of it. Whiteboards can be saved in the cloud, where they can be accessed by any of your team members.
#9. Microsoft FindTime
Most of us spend a lot of time trying to arrange meeting times via back-and-forth emails. But with Microsoft FindTime, a free Outlook add-in, that process is a thing of the past. FindTime allows you to quickly find the best time to meet with others. It identifies potential meeting times by looking at free and busy data for your attendees. FindTime then creates a poll that is automatically sent via email to attendees, who vote on their favorite times or suggest new ones. Outlook auto-schedules the meeting based on the votes.
#10. Microsoft Search
If you spend time searching for files data source by data source, Microsoft Search is for you. Search enables you to perform one search across all sites for which you have permissions. Simply enter your search in the bar at the top of Office 365. Search brings together results from data sources in Office 365, including SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Exchange Server. Search will display only the results that you are permitted to see based on permissions settings. It even suggests results based on your previous activity in Office 365.
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