LARA MELLOR MICROSOFT TRAINING BLOG

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What is the difference between Importing and Connecting?

What is the difference between Importing and Connecting?

When you are working in Power BI there are a huge range of different sources that you can get your your data from.  When you get your data from a source in Power BI there is sometimes only the option to connect but there is also often a choice to import instead. In...

Adding a Chart to a Project Report

Adding a Chart to a Project Report

As well as using a range of pre-set reports in Project, many of which contain charts already, charts can be added to these or new reports too. Creating a New Report To create a new report there are 2 options. Select New Report from the Report tab, select Blank. Here...

5 New Excel Features

5 New Excel Features

Who doesn’t love a new Excel feature?  A quicker way of working or something that was just very fiddly before.  Here are my top 5 new features over the last few months. Easy Search You will probably already be aware that right clicking on a cell brings up a shortcut...

Creating a customised report in Project

Creating a customised report in Project

In an earlier blog I covered how useful the standard reports are in Microsoft Project but if you have a very clear idea of what you want to create you can instead design your own. What can be included in a customised report? A combination of the following objects can...

Microsoft 365 Copilot Introduction

Microsoft 365 Copilot Introduction

There has been a lot of talk about AI over the last 6 months or so.  Microsoft will be adding its own AI experience to Microsoft 365 too called Copilot.  Just rolled out to most general users.  The cost is a hefty $30 per user per month on top of any costs already...

The Magic of Reports in Microsoft Project

The Magic of Reports in Microsoft Project

When you are using Project much of the setup is very detailed in order to create a Gantt chart where progress of individual tasks can be monitored and the people responsible for these tasks recorded.  However, not all of the reporting needs to be this in depth...

Using Solver for what-if-analysis in Microsoft Excel

Using Solver for what-if-analysis in Microsoft Excel

I always describe Solver as goal seek on steroids!!  If you haven’t come across goals seek before then check out the link to my blog below.  It is much simpler, but less flexible than Solver so a good place to start but if it isn’t able to do what you need then that’s...

Did you know the Data Validation List is now searchable?

Did you know the Data Validation List is now searchable?

I talk a lot on my training courses about the importance of data being consistent and accurate.  Most of the issues that occur when analysing data are caused by this.  This can be caused by a lot of reasons.  There could be different people entering the data in their...

Why do you Merge and Append data in Power BI?

Why do you Merge and Append data in Power BI?

Merging and appending join tables together in very different ways.  Both are accessed from the Power Query Editor.  Depending on how data is supplied to you and what you may want to do with it will determine whether you need to use either of these options.  Merging...

What are Scripts in Excel and how do I record one?

What are Scripts in Excel and how do I record one?

If you have used macros in Microsoft Excel before then you will find that Scripts are similar in a lot of ways.  Both are used to automate repetitive tasks but where macros are desktop based, scripts are cloud based.  Scripts are only available to users with a...

Introduction to DAX Functions and Measures

Introduction to DAX Functions and Measures

DAX functions are like functions in Excel.  There is an overlap with some functions available in both products but there are many functions that are available in one but not the other. DAX functions can be used to create a calculated column or a measure.  Measures are...

Top 3 Reasons to Use Microsoft Excel

Top 3 Reasons to Use Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel, a key component of the Microsoft Office suite, is a powerful tool that has become a staple in the corporate world and beyond. Its versatility and robust functionality make it an essential tool for anyone dealing with data. Here are three of the top...

Searching effectively in File Explorer

Searching effectively in File Explorer

How many times have you saved a file and then not been able to find it again so you recreate it from scratch?  It always makes sense to be careful to store the file in the correct place and to give it a meaningful name but if you still can’t find it then what can you...

When should I use each Visualisation in Power BI?

When should I use each Visualisation in Power BI?

Choosing the correct visualisation type to help others understand your data is vital.  The visualisations should be easily understood by those you are creating the report for and normally show higher level summary data rather than the hundreds or thousands of rows of...

5 New Microsoft 365 Updates

5 New Microsoft 365 Updates

Here are some of the newest additions to Microsoft 365 including setting your work location, viewing meeting information more easily, the new default theme, speaker view in teams meetings and (my favourite) coloured folders.  As with any new features these may not yet...

The Power of Power BI: Unleashing the Benefits

The Power of Power BI: Unleashing the Benefits

In the era of data-driven decision making, businesses are constantly on the lookout for tools that can help them harness the power of data. One such tool that has been making waves in the business intelligence community is Microsoft’s Power BI. Originally released in...

Read Aloud in Microsoft Outlook

Read Aloud in Microsoft Outlook

Read aloud is an accessibility feature in Microsoft Outlook.  For individuals with visual impairments this can be a huge benefit but it is also useful when proofreading as you sometimes notice things that are wrong that you miss when skim reading.  It also enables you...

3 Conversation improvements in Teams

3 Conversation improvements in Teams

Conversations have been a great place to communicate with your team members since teams began but over the years there have been many changes that have been made.  The latest 3 don’t change the functionality of team conversations but does improve productivity with...

Creating a Word Template including Cover Pages and Tables

Creating a Word Template including Cover Pages and Tables

Many of the blogs I create are inspired by questions that come up in training sessions.  This one is a little different.  I had a request from a client to modify a template that had already been produced for them.  It had all the design input they needed but didn’t...

3 Ways to Sort your data in Excel

3 Ways to Sort your data in Excel

It’s always good to have choices when you are working in Excel.  There will be times when one option is better than another depending on exactly what you are trying to do.  So here are 3 ways to perform your sort. Any of these methods can be used to sort text,...

Collaborative Meeting agendas in Microsoft Teams

Collaborative Meeting agendas in Microsoft Teams

Having an agenda for a Teams meeting can really help give the meeting structure and purpose.  Allowing any person invited to the meeting to be able to edit the same agenda before or during the meeting is a much more time efficient way to work.  This feature is new to...

Top 5 Outlook Calendar Timesavers

Top 5 Outlook Calendar Timesavers

Calendars are an integral part of Microsoft Outlook and the calendar is such a useful tool for setting up meetings and appointments.  We all want to find a way to save time and these 5 shortcuts could be just what you are looking for.  They are not the most...

Adding the Canva App to Microsoft Teams

Adding the Canva App to Microsoft Teams

I have been using Canva for many years now and found it super useful for creating graphics for social media.  But imagine having this available directly from Teams.  Without leaving the Microsoft Teams environment you can nip into Canva and start collaborating with...

WRAPROWS and WRAPCOLS Functions in Microsoft Excel

WRAPROWS and WRAPCOLS Functions in Microsoft Excel

These are a couple more of the new dynamic array functions.  They both take a list of data and transform it into a block of data with a maximum number of values in each row or column respectively. This would be useful if you had a list of people and wanted to divide...

Working with Avatars in Microsoft Teams

Working with Avatars in Microsoft Teams

Sometimes when you are in a meeting you don’t really feel like turning on your camera but turning it totally off seems a bit impersonal.  Avatars are a halfway house.  Avatars have been around in many products for quite a while but have only recently become available...

3 New Teams features you might have missed

3 New Teams features you might have missed

Microsoft continues its updates to Microsoft team meetings by rolling out more new features over the last few months.  Here are 3 of the latest. Assign seats in Together Mode Together mode has been around for a while now and gives you the ability to sit people in an...

Using the Timeline View in Project for the Web

Using the Timeline View in Project for the Web

The timeline view in Project for the Web allows you to see a pictorial representation when each of the tasks will take place in a Gantt Chart view.  It enables you to see the flow of the project more effectively than the other views available. Adding new tasks New...

The Loop App

The Loop App

The Loop App is in Public Preview at the time of writing.  If you have not come across Loop before it enables you to create and update information in a mix of places and everywhere it is used updates automatically.  This makes it a great way to allow individuals to...

Top 5 PowerPoint Hints and Tips

Top 5 PowerPoint Hints and Tips

Microsoft PowerPoint is a fabulous presentation tool but you can spend hours just getting it to look as you want.  Here are my top 5 hints and tips to help produce fantastic slides in no time at all!! Reset Layout When you have been provided with a slide where the...

Working with the Board view in Project for the Web

Working with the Board view in Project for the Web

The board view in project for the web is a great place to look at your project plan with your tasks grouped in different ways.  This can help give you clarity on the jobs each person has to do, the priority of the tasks and so much more. Navigate to the Board View...

Why do dates not work properly in Microsoft Excel?

Why do dates not work properly in Microsoft Excel?

This blog arises from comments I get quite regularly when talking about dates in Excel.  Why do they not sort or filter correctly?  Or, when I try to format them it doesn’t work?  All will become clear when you understand how dates operate. How should I type in dates?...

What are Header Icons in Power BI Desktop?

What are Header Icons in Power BI Desktop?

Header icons are often overlooked when using or producing a Power BI report but it is important to understand the implications of ignoring their impact for the end user. Where are Header Icons found? Header icons sit at the top right of each visualisation by default...

Working with the Grid View in Project for the Web

Working with the Grid View in Project for the Web

The grid view is a table containing information about the tasks that need to be performed to complete a project.  The columns visible can be customised depending on what is most useful to see.  The project can be structured using summary tasks and milestones. Adding a...

5 top time saving tips when emailing in Outlook

5 top time saving tips when emailing in Outlook

Here are some top tips to speed up your way of working in Microsoft Outlook.  I’m sure that most of these actions you have already been using but hopefully these tips will make the process much quicker and more efficient. Add emails to a calendar This is useful if you...

How to access frequently used files more quickly in Teams

How to access frequently used files more quickly in Teams

There are always going to be files that we need to access more frequently than others and if we can find a quick way to access them then this is going to save us loads of time in the long run.  Here we will look at 2 options that will help.  These are Pin to top and...

What is Project for the Web?

What is Project for the Web?

I recently ran a course on Project for the Web for a client who was unsure about what it could actually do so I wondered how many others are in the same position.  So here is a quick overview of how it can help you to plan your projects successfully. Project for the...

How to create a planner task from a conversation in Microsoft Teams

How to create a planner task from a conversation in Microsoft Teams

You will often find that you have a lot of conversations taking place across a lot of team channels.  Much of this these will be for information only with no action required on your part or may be actionable really quickly and then you don’t need to worry about it...

5 Simple Time saving tips in Word

5 Simple Time saving tips in Word

There are loads of complex features in Word but it’s often the simplest things that can have the biggest impact on our day to day productivity.  Here are 5 really quick wins that you may not be aware of. Show/Hide This icon shows and hides unprintable characters which...

What is a Gauge in Power BI?

What is a Gauge in Power BI?

Gauges are a nifty visualisation that can show whether a target has been met or not.  This is really powerful to know and showing this is such a visual way can have a huge impact on the understanding of the data.  They can even be set up to change colour on this basis...

Sharing a file directly from Word

Sharing a file directly from Word

If you are working in Microsoft Word and then you realise that the file needs to be shared with someone else then you do not have to open up Outlook or Microsoft Teams to share it.  This can be done seamlessly from Word. Sharing the file rather than attaching it in an...

How do I find the email I’ve lost?

How do I find the email I’ve lost?

This is something that I get asked over and over again.  Sometimes it’s because you just have too many emails to try and hunt through, or it may be that you have filed it away in the wrong place so it’s’ not where you expect it to be or even that you have accidentally...

How can Power Automate help me work more efficiently?

How can Power Automate help me work more efficiently?

Power Automate is one of the apps in Microsoft 365.  It is designed to speed up things that you are doing regularly by creating a flow.  This can be run automatically when something else happens, it can be run on a recurring basis such as once a week or manually when...

Status Messages in Microsoft Teams

Status Messages in Microsoft Teams

Setting a status helps others you are working with to know whether you are available or not and therefore how quickly you are likely to be able to answer any messages that are sent.  A status message can be used in addition to provide more information and, if...

Why should you use Categories in Microsoft Outlook Tasks and Calendars?

Why should you use Categories in Microsoft Outlook Tasks and Calendars?

Categories are a much overlooked feature in Outlook and can make a huge difference to your productivity if utilised in the right way for your needs.  It can be used in most areas of Outlook but not the To Do app.  The To Do app is rolling out to Microsoft 365 clients...

How to collaborate effectively using Microsoft Teams

How to collaborate effectively using Microsoft Teams

This blog comes about after a session with a client where they had their information all over the place.  Much of it was duplicated which is a recipe for disaster as one document gets changed, the other one doesn’t and you no longer know which is correct.  They even...

Working with Custom Fields in MS Project

Working with Custom Fields in MS Project

Microsoft Project is a project planning tool.  Behind the scenes there is a database that holds all the information for the plan.  Although you cannot create new fields in Project there are plenty of customisable fields that can be used for anything you may require. ...

Bookable Times in Outlook Online

Bookable Times in Outlook Online

Do you find that you sometimes want to give people several options of times to book with you but are fed up with the backwards and forwards email communication required to make that happen?  Then bookable times could be exactly what you have been waiting for.  You can...

Teams Meetings Toolbar has a Redesign

Teams Meetings Toolbar has a Redesign

Microsoft Teams Meetings has had many features added over the last few years but recently a redesign of the toolbar landed.  Several of the options that were tucked away have now been moved so they are more accessible and the long “more” menu has sub menus making...

Creating a Customised Table in Microsoft Word

Creating a Customised Table in Microsoft Word

Often when tables are created in Word they are fairly standard with each row containing the same number of columns.  If you are looking to create something that is more bespoke then using the Draw Table option may be more effective than having to spend a lot of time...