Microsoft Excel Turning Figures into Visuals

Anyone who has ever made a PowerPoint presentation will know that the old line about a picture being worth a thousand words is as true in 2015 as it has ever been. But whilst PowerPoint was cutting edge not so long ago, things have moved on. Information is communicated quicker, more effectively and more memorably if it is delivered directly in the right format and in the most relevant mode.

You could try singing your sales figures in the style of a song and dance star, but whilst it would undoubtedly be memorable as a performance, the chances are no-one would actually remember the figures – and in any event getting all the right people in the same room together takes precious time to organise and is incredibly inefficient.

Business information needs to be distributed to decision makers quickly and effectively. The time it takes to put together and set up a presentation can be the time it takes for the actual data at the core of that information to become outdated. Speed of delivery as well as clarity of presentation has never been more imperative.

Intelligent business dashboards

Recognising that imperative, leaders in the field of business information management Bilbeo are marketing a state of the art dashboard of key performance indicators that deliver close to real time data throughout a business. The benefits of the immediacy of information and the clarity of its exposition that Bilbeo’s dashboard deliver promise to free business managers from the reliance on slow, inefficient and often hard to analyse information streams.

As a solution that is malleable to every individual client’s requirements Bilbeo’s Intelligent Business Dashboard draws on the Excel spreadsheet data to present a detailed and ongoing picture of how each aspect of a business is performing. It allows managers to keep their finger on the pulse of all of the key performance indicators of their business on an hour by hour basis. Being able to access what is in effect live data cross all aspects of the business allows for more fully informed and more agile decision-making and hence better responses to changing circumstances.

Maximised transparency

The attractiveness of Bilbeo’s offering – as opposed to the generation of an in-house BI solution is that it entails the bare minimum of set up time. Translation of existing data to the dashboard by means of means of a unique data mining algorithm means it is immediately operable with none of the resource implications that bespoke solutions entail. And by turning figures into visuals it renders the information instantly accessible to everyone.

Because the dashboard brings business information to the surface so starkly it offers transparency right across an organization. All departments are able to see not only their own KPIs, but also those of others, thereby identifying bottlenecks as they form – rather than post hoc in terms of their effects – and driving ownership throughout the organization, fostering and maintaining shared organizational goals.

Running a business, and explaining how each component of it interrelates, will never be the same again. Monthly meetings with set piece PowerPoint presentations are in the process of being made redundant. Business Information technologies are increasingly distributing the information that was once delivered in those meetings as a real-time stream of readily accessible, easily readable information. In 21st century business there is simply no place for the old song and dance routine of reporting out of date numbers.

Microsoft Office 2016 Officially Confirmed For September 22nd Release

Microsoft has finally has announced a September 22nd release for the latest version of Office and intends to implement a more vigorous upgrade schedule:

“Consistent with Windows 10 approach, the new Current Branch for Business update model delivers three cumulative feature updates per year, while continuing to offer monthly security updates. You’ll see the first Current Branch for Business build in February 2016—which is effectively the same feature set as the September 22nd release, but with four additional months of security updates also included.”

There are a number of enhancements throughout Office 2016 including the background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) which helps to control network traffic when deploying new updates. On another note, you can easily recover loss information using Data Loss Prevention and employ Multi-factor Authentication. Currently, there’s no indication of the standalone office pricing but it could be fairly substantial as Microsoft tries to sell its subscription-based Office 365 software package. Also, with so many free options from Google Docs and Libreoffice, it’s difficult to get most consumers to purchase a genuine version of Office 2016.

Some power-users have also complained about Office 2013 user-interface so it will be interesting to see how-received the latest GUI is.  Personally, I’ll stick to using a combination of LibreOffice for local files and Google Docs for cloud sharing documents.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

The Top 10 Features of Microsoft’s Office 2016 Mac Preview

Microsoft is finally releasing a new redesigned version of its Office suite for Mac this year. The new suite is the first refresh of Microsoft Office for Mac since 2011, a 5 year gap during which Microsoft did not release any new version for Apple’s operating system.

The new Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook apps aim to bring the Office suit in par with the Windows version in terms of design and functionality. Being a preview version means that the apps are not perfect. However, Microsoft states that it will only use the user feedback to make a few minor tweaks and improvements, which leads to believe that the final product will be more or less how it looks and feels now.

The top 10 features of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac, as highlighted by Mashable, includes a Full Screen View Support, clearly emphasising that Office 2016 for Mac is truly built for Yosemite and can switch from windowed to full screen, compared to its predecessor which could not.
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Microsoft has also made some design changes and redesigned the Ribbons, making a consistency between both Windows and Mac version. These are now the same on both operating systems.
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The suite now lets you share your documents with easy through the Sharing button in the upper right corner. Documents shared via link can even be opened directly from the email.
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Sharing a document with a collaborator now allows you to have Threaded Conversations within comments in Word and Powerpoint. Though it is not as good as in Google Drive, it does show that Microsoft is moving forward into the right direction.
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Microsoft has also included a new Formula Builder in its latest version, making it easier to use Excel’s formula functions in your work.
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Powerpoint has also received an improvement in terms of transitioning, having Microsoft adding a variety of Transitions and a separate panel for managing animations within the presentation.
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One key feature most people using a Mac and frequently require Powerpoint will find extremely useful is the Presenter View, which lets users see the entire slide deck, note, and a timer, while an external display beams the current slide to the audience.
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Microsoft has also added a nifty feature, namely Removable Palettes, for those who desire to customize the Office apps view to better suit their needs
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The OneNote app has not been forgotten as well, having it come with a Tags function which makes it easy to quickly categorize notes by topic.
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Lastly, Outlook has suffered some minor improvements as well, having added the Conversations feature which allows users to sort their inbox by conversations, in addition to date, attachments, priority level and other categories.
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Microsoft’s Office 2016 Preview for Mac can be downloaded from here.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Microsoft Releases Android Keyboard for Excel

The Microsoft Garage, an initiative to support extracurricular projects by the company’s interns, employees, and teams, has released an Android tablet keyboard developed specifically for use with Microsoft Excel.

Keyboard for Excel includes a 10-key numpad, a tab button, plus a series of symbols commonly used to create formulas in the spreadsheet program.

Though the keyboard was developed for use with Microsoft Office for Tablets, it does not support Google’s Nexus 7 device. The keyboard also lacks autocorrect and gesture-based typing.

Source: The Next Web

Microsoft Is Looking To Rebrand Its Web Apps Into ‘Office Online’ Soon

There were rumors about Microsoft rebranding their Office Web Apps suite to Office Online, which does indeed make sense since it is an online service and the name is also not so complicated (for most) as the latter.

According to Ubergizmo, Microsoft has apparently posted the Office Online suite as a comparison product on their “compare” page, which means that the rebraded Office Online suite might be closer to launch. The Office Online suite looks to be next to other Office product offerings from Microsoft, such as Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 University.

It looks like Microsoft Online could be the answer to its competitors, such as Google Docs, Spreadsheet, and so on, essentially a free Office environment which can help people build their presentations and documents on a web browser. Microsoft’s Office Web Apps has been available since 2010 but was not so known as Google’s alternative, therefore this might be the way Microsoft attempts to make people more aware of its product and make it easier to work with.

Beside the name change, Microsoft is also changing the name of the apps contained within the suite to make them more Office friendly. Therefore the applications will be rebranded to Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online. Also, Microsoft is said to make available a variety of templates to aid customers in their work.

A launch date has not been revealed yet, though Microsoft is likely to release the product soon based on the comparison availability on its website.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Real-Time Co-Authoring Added To Microsoft Office Web Apps

Microsoft responded with its own significant updates to the company’s Web-based Office applications after a major, free update to Apple’s iWork productivity suite for Mac, iOS and Web. More specifically, Microsoft announced that it has now added real-time co-authoring to its suite of Office Web Apps, allowing users to contribute to and edit documents simultaneously. The collaboration tools are now available for Microsoft’s Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and Excel Web App.

“New real-time presence helps you see where your co-authors are working in the document so that you don’t create conflicts as you edit,” the company said in a blog post. “Additionally, the new ability to see changes to text and formatting as they happen will help you and your co-authors stay on the same page as your ideas develop and evolve.”

Word Web App has also been improved with new formatting controls, including headers, footers and page numbers. Documents now automatically save and reflect collaborative updates, and the Web-based word processor includes find and replace functionality. Microsoft has also added a new table styles feature, that offers users a number of preset options. And page breaks can now also be inserted into Word Web App for more document control.

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Significant updates were also issued to Microsoft’s Excel Web App, such as sheet protection, which prevents users from selecting or typing in protected cells; status bar aggregates, which show values for multiple selected cells; and reorder sheets, allowing users to quickly move sheets into a desired order. Excel on the Web has also added the ability to drag and drop cells and rename workbooks. And Microsoft has promised that it has “much more in the pipeline,” with additional features expected to be added in the coming months, greatly expanding the functionality of its Web-based productivity suite.

Apple’s iWork platform has been enhanced to work across the Web, on a Mac, and on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. In revamping the suite, Apple was forced to change or remove a number of key features, though the company has indicated that a significant number of them will return within the next six months.

Thank you Apple Insider for providing us with this information
Video courtesy of Apple Insider