LARA MELLOR MICROSOFT TRAINING BLOG

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10 Ways to Create Consistent Data in Microsoft Excel

10 Ways to Create Consistent Data in Microsoft Excel

Excel is a versatile tool that empowers users to manage and analyse data efficiently. Maintaining consistent data is crucial for accurate reporting, decision-making, and collaboration. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten strategies to ensure data consistency within...

How do I use the Animation Pane in PowerPoint?

How do I use the Animation Pane in PowerPoint?

Animation gives movement to a PowerPoint presentation and the animation pane helps control this particularly if the animation becomes a little more complicated. This blog came about from a training course I recently ran where one of the delegates had struggled to...

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics!

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics!

Charts and graphs are used frequently in Microsoft products such as Excel, PowerPoint, Project and  Power BI but all may not be as it first seems! According to Wikipedia "Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of statistics to...

New features in the New Card Visualisation in Power BI

New features in the New Card Visualisation in Power BI

The Card visualisation has been available since Power BI was first released while Card (new) only appeared in the last few months. This blog discusses the main enhancements available from the Card(new) visualisation and where to change them.  All the options described...

7 New features in Word for the Web

7 New features in Word for the Web

Welcome to 7 new features for Word for the Web in Microsoft 365! Most of these have been available in the desktop version of Word for a long time but as the functionality of the web version improves in M365 more of these features are transferring over.  Here we look...

What is a Data Table in Excel?

What is a Data Table in Excel?

Data Table is a feature under the ‘What-If Analysis’ tools used for sensitivity analysis. It allows you to see how changing input values of a formula will change the output value. Excel offers a one-variable and two-variable data table. This means you can choose any...

New Slicer visualisation in Power BI

New Slicer visualisation in Power BI

Slicers have been available in Power BI for a long time but this new slicer visualisation provides extra features but is not so great for number or date fields. The new slicer uses buttons to enable the data to be selected with extra functionality including changing...

Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)

Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)

Microsoft Copilot was previously known as Bing Chat. It is an AI (Artificial intelligence) chatbot that helps with a huge variety of tasks from summarising information to coding, from searching for information to working with videos and pictures. There has been a lot...

Using Scenarios to compare different situations

Using Scenarios to compare different situations

In many cases when we are trying to project what might happen in the future there are many unknowns that need to be considered.  This is when scenarios in Microsoft Excel can help. Creating many copies of the file or sheet with each showing a different situation is an...

Top 3 New settings in Teams and more

Top 3 New settings in Teams and more

Yet more updates to Microsoft Teams to make it even easier, better and more flexible to use.  Here we will look at changing the chat density, enabling spell check, changing notifications, changing the tenant quickly and adding the people app. Change the Chat Density...

On Object Interaction Preview Feature

On Object Interaction Preview Feature

On Object interaction is a preview feature in Power BI Desktop which provides a new improved experience for working with visualisations. Here is an overview of the main changes that have been made. Enable On Object Preview To use this feature it must first be switched...

Using the FREQUENCY function to group data

Using the FREQUENCY function to group data

Do you find that if you plot your data against individual figures the results you get are not as useful as you would hope?  Would grouping the data into blocks be more useful? That’s what the FREQUENCY function does. This blog not only shows how the function works but...

How to link tasks in Project for the Web

How to link tasks in Project for the Web

There are a few things that can affect when tasks take place in Project for the web but the most vital to understand is links.  These are also referred to as dependencies. Links allow for a dependency of one task on another to be created ensuring that if one task...

What are the differences between Excel Macros and Scripts?

What are the differences between Excel Macros and Scripts?

At first sight these 2 options are very similar.  They both allow users to automate repetitive tasks by running a set of steps that have either been recorded or programmed.  Although these steps may need to be edited you do not need advanced programming skills to...

How to share a Power BI Report

How to share a Power BI Report

One of the brilliant things about Power BI is the ability to share the results with others.  This is done from Power BI Service.  Whatever options are chosen the report still retains its interactivity allowing the recipient to filter, sort, see tool tips and more....

Blogs on Excel functions

Blogs on Excel functions

Over the last few years I have written many blogs about the functions that there are available in Microsoft Excel.  Here I consolidate these into one comprehensive list.  These cover many of the old favourites but also some of the newer ones that regularly drop in...

Adding a Table to a Project Report

Adding a Table to a Project Report

As well as using a range of pre-set reports in Project, many of which contain tables already, tables 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...

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 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 most...

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...