Top 10 Microsoft Features

May 24, 2019 | Excel Hints and Tips, Outlook Hints and Tips, PowerPoint Hints and Tips

I often get asked what are the wow moments that people get in the Microsoft training courses I run?  Those features which you didn’t realise were there so you were working in the dark! These are often not the most complicated features but the actions that are performed on such a regular basis that they make a huge difference.

Format Painter

Image of format painter
  • The Format Painter is available in most of the Microsoft packages and allows the formatting from one part of a document to be repeated elsewhere.  If that’s not clever enough then double-clicking on it enables it to be used over and over again.


Image of the show/hide icon
  • In Microsoft Word the Show/Hide icon shows unprintable characters such as when the enter key has been pressed or a page break inserted.  It helps you to see what has been going on in the document behind the scenes!!


Image to turn on the ruler
  • Still in Word, turning on the ruler helps you see where tab stops, indents and tables have been applied.


  • Animation in Microsoft PowerPoint easily allows items such as bullet points to appear one at a time.  This makes presenting much more structured.
Image of the animation ribbon

Flag for Follow Up

Image of the flag option
  • In Microsoft Outlook when you hover near the right side of a message a ghosted flag symbol appears.  When you click on this it flags the message to be followed up.  This can be searched for or alternatively can show in the To Do bar if that is switched on.  It’s a great way to keep track of what you still need to deal with.


  • Autofill in Microsoft Excel enables similar calculations and patterns in numbers, dates and text to be completed by dragging on the cross that appears when you hover over the bottom right of the cell.  This is much quicker than filling it in manually or copying and pasting which is the alternative.

Flash Fill

Image of flash fill
  • Flash Fill is a new feature available from Excel 2016.  If data is entered in a new column and Excel thinks there is a pattern related to existing data then the rest of the column can be completed by pressing enter.  It doesn’t always get it right but when it does it is amazing and often prevents the use of formulas which regularly the only alternative.

Absolute Referencing

  • In Excel the function key F4 fixes the cell when autofilling by putting in dollar signs.  This saves a lot of time compared to typing them in manually.

Freeze Panes

Image of the freeze panes icon
  • Another Excel one!!  Freeze Panes keeps headings fixed at the top or left of the screen but did you know it can also be used to freeze both rows and columns together?

Print Titles

Image of Print Titles icon
  • Final one!!  Also in Excel!  Print Titles repeats the headings at the top or left of every printed page.  This is not something you should try and do manually.

Have a look to see if any of these a tools could be of use.

Want to learn more about any Microsoft products then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Courses I run.