Browsing Posts tagged Excel

What is Office 365?

Click here to RSVP for the webinar on this topic on Thursday August 13th from 11-noon (eastern)

Office 365 is a subscription based service to the Office programs you know and love. It’s kept up to date automatically, so there’s no software for you to purchase and install. Your subscription gives you access from up to 5 devices, so you can work from your computer, tablet, smartphone, whatever you need.

 

Office applications
There are a couple different ways to use the Office products with Office 365. You have Office Web Apps, which are basically web based versions of the familiar Office products, as well as the full versions. Office Web Apps have a lot of the same functionality, although not all. And of course you will still have the full versions of the Office products available to install on your computer.

 

Email
Office 365 keeps all your emails in sync across all your devices. It’s also easy to share calendars and view scheduling information for people within your organizations.

 

Instant Messaging
Office 365 comes with Skype for Business (Or Skype depending on the subscription you choose). You’ll have individual and group Instant Messaging capabilities, availability indicators, and calling information. Check out our webinar on Skype for Business for more information on these capabilities.

 

Video Conferencing
Skype for Business also offers individual or group video conferencing. It’s fully integrated with Outlook, so creating meetings with links to Skype calls can be done right from your Outlook client. And Skype for Business isn’t limited to people within your organization, you can also communicate with people outside your organization.

 

Collaboration
Share files and collaborate in real time from any device. Working on a presentation or document with a team? With Office 365 you can edit and track other edits easily in one shared file. Version control is easy because everything is in real time.

 

So which subscription do you need? That depends on if you need email, Office, or both. Below is a more detailed table of the subscriptions:

 

 

 

 

Interested in Office 365? Join us for August Office webinar where we’ll demonstrate some of the basic functionalities and discuss the various subscriptions available.

 

I’m at the xChange event in Dallas this week, and Sunday watched the keynote presented by Microsoft.  Now keep in mind that I’ve got a long history of Microsoft presentations. I’ve probably owned over 100 t-shirts from Redmond, and have sat through thousands of PowerPoint slides.  I’ve drank the Kool Aid enough times so that I look like a cross between Microsoft Bob and the Kool Aid guy (nope, not pretty).  So Sunday was just another one.  In too many ways, it seems.

Spoiler alert:  Their products are actually pretty darn good.  That ain’t the problem.

The Microsoft presentation was two-fold.  Actually it was classic Microsoft.  First we’ll get a mid-level exec to get up and talk about what a big year it was (or will be), and how Microsoft’s commitment is to increase/decrease the good/bad thing about the desktop/server environment.  Then we’ll get a technical wonk to get up and demonstrate some aspects about the new stuff that used to get us going “ooh” and “aah.”  Then there’ll be a call to action, wrap up and life is good.  A fine presentation, demonstrating fine features.

Here’s the challenge.  There are two areas that Microsoft desperately wants to compete in.  Cloud services and tablets.  Software/services and hardware/platform.  And although Microsoft has made great strides in the first, there’s still a long way to go.  And let’s not talk about Windows tablets to date, shall we?  They would make the Zune look like…well, an iPad.

So, what’s Microsoft’s answer to these challenges?  A combination of technologies:

  • Windows 8, especially the versions for a full and limited featured table platform
  • Office 2013 (for, um…Office stuff)
  • SkyDrive (cloud storage)

Back to the presentation.  When the wonk demoed the products, he demonstrated primarily the core functionality of the products.  “Look at this new feature in PowerPoint.”  “See how the Outlook keeps the number of open windows to a minimum.”

Seriously?  Yes.  There are some nice new features in Office 2013.  There are nice new features in Windows 8.

But a lot of people, a large, large lot of people don’t care.  These are the people for whom XP and Office 2003 are “good enough.”  The people who got an iPad because “they’re really easy to use.”

People who just want to get their work done.

We’ve all heard end users say “I just use Word for letters and memos.”  So the spinning widget thingie feature that every new version of this stuff includes is really not all that critical.  But:

  • “I want to use Word (for the following examples, Word can be replaced by Excel, PowerPoint, etc) on my tablet.”
  • “I want to use Word on my laptop/desktop.”
  • “I want to access my Word documents that I changed on my tablet from my laptop.”
  • “I want to access my Word documents that I changed on my tablet from a desktop at the library.”
  • “I only want to learn one version of Windows.”
  • “I only want to learn one version of Word.”

You know what the answer is for all these questions and needs?  It’s “Okey-dokey.”  Or as Microsoft would say “The capability exists within the differing layers of application cross-functionality within the diverse and yet tangentially cohesive…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

And we’re not even touching the savings of singular platform from a support standpoint.

This is the cool stuff.  This is the discussion that Microsoft should be having, should be screaming at the public.  “Our tablets can be powerful enough that you won’t need a laptop or desktop.  Or they’ll be more limited, but priced to compete with iPads (and still have a derivative of Word).  And with some licensing (say Office 365), one software license will suffice for several devices.”

And you’ll only have to learn it once.

This is big time stuff.  Standardizing an effective (critical point) tool across several platforms without sacrificing cost, training or productivity.  Incredibly cool.

This point was brought up at the end of the discussion almost as an afterthought.  And it seems that’s the placement of this particular message from Microsoft.

And I just don’t get it.  For years Microsoft has been looking around for the killer app to get back to the top of their game.  And it’s staring them right in the face.

Also, while we’re at it, why did you get everybody used to the concept of “Windows Metro” and decide 2 months before release that it should be called “Windows UI?”  I assume someone high up at Redmond said “Whoa, Metro sounds too much like a branding normal people would understand…let’s throw in a geeky acronym…hey, it worked for Windows NT, right?”

Oy.

Office 2013 LogoBob here.  The next version of Microsoft Office is here.  Mostly.  Sort of.

The first openly available version of the new Office, now officially called Office 2013, made its debut earlier this week.  Some of the key pieces of information about the new version:

  • You can have both worlds.  You can install the Office 2013 Consumer Preview (which is Latin for “Beta”) without removing your Office 2010.
  • A lot of the control/user interface changes are aimed at tablet users (not surprisingly).  Working with your fingers (thumbs specifically) through what’s called “touch mode” is aimed at the tablet folks.
  • You need to have Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) or Windows 8 Release Preview (the latest “Beta” version).  XP or Vista?  Ah, no.
  • A majority of interface changes are for tablet users.
  • Word and Excel can both be used for presentations.  You’ll be able to share a document with another user, even if that person doesn’t have Word or Excel.
  • Images from the web can be put into documents without downloading and saving them.
  • Office will be tightly integrated with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage offering.  For example, a document stored in SkyDrive can be opened by the same user on another workstation and will be bookmarked where the user left off.
  • Right now only Lync and OneNote are actually Metro-based applications.  Everything else still runs under Desktop Mode.
  • Release date?  Um, it’s called Office 2013, so that’s probably a first hint.
  • Thinking of buying Office 2013 when it comes out?  Get ready to download it.  Even stores won’t be carrying discs with the Office software.  You’ll buy a software license key, and then you’ll need to download it.

After using it for a couple of days on my Windows 8 tablet, I can say that it’s pretty stable, but the touch interface is a little…touchy.  More on that as I get more used to it.

Additional information:

Want to see more?  We’ll be demoing it at our annual picnic, Wednesday August 15th.  Plus our next monthly Lunchinar on Wednesday September 19th will feature Office 2013.  For more information on either event, contact John Harrow via email or call at 234.380.1277.

 

For this post I have to thank Scott Barlow over at Reflexion.

Recently I discovered that my Excel 2010 (happens with 2007 as well, apparently) started behaving in a peculiar manner, especially when it came to copying, cutting and pasting. I would get that animation indicating that I had selected a box for the briefest of time, and then nothing.

Unfortunately, the solution (or I should say the cause of the problem) comes from an unexpected source: Skype.

Like many of you, I have found Skype to be fairly useful for voice and audio communication to folks, especially other Skype users. Recently there was an update to Skype called “Click to Call,” which as it turns out is the cause of the problem. Uninstalling this through the control panel solved the problem.

In troubleshooting issues like this, a lot of times we rely on the concept of cause and effect. We see a change in behavior of a piece of software (or hardware, for that matter), and we try to reverse our steps and find out what we last did that caused the issue.

But when the installation of an additional feature to a telecommunication program such as Skype causes a problem in a small, seemingly unrelated portion of a program such as cut and paste into Excel, well that’s hard to track.

But unfortunately, these days everything has to interact and integrate with everything else. Whether were talking about functional integration (program A allows the user to link with program B) or technical integration (program A uses some of the technical features of program B without the user knowing or caring), it’s getting tougher to troubleshoot some of this stuff.

Thankfully, we have the web. And folks like Scott.