All posts by Melanie Lenz

Microsoft Sway

Sway! Is what’s new this month…. And we are not talking about a dance move 🙂

Do you find your newsletters, informational documents and knowledge articles hard to format and make appealing for your readers? Well you should check out Microsoft Sway.

Sway is a presentation tool that Microsoft developed in 2015 to make quick presentations, newsletters and other forms of informational documentation easy and quick to prepare for your audiences.

It can be used to easily format these documents into something that is quite fancy and doesn’t take hours to prepare. Some users have even started adopting Sway to create presentations and proposals. You can add various forms of multimedia such as pictures, texts and formatting styles, videos which you may want to upload or even embed YouTube into your Sway.

Sway has a couple of different versions and is essentially free to use. You can just sign into www.sway.com with a Microsoft account and start working away but if you have an office 365 account you get a couple of additional features such as removing the banner at the bottom that promotes Sway. This will make it look and feel a lot more professional. You can also add some privacy by setting it to “only my organisation can see this” or if you are preparing those external newsletters then it’s also possible to share your sway.

Sway can be embedded into your public facing website or your SharePoint and is the perfect medium to deliver those scrolling pieces of information to your organisation.

To check out our small Sway click http://bit.ly/2jsvnGY

Written by Saunit

The Windows 10 Creators Fall Update

By now you should all be running Windows 10 (or have at least planned your migration to Windows 10).

Microsoft changed the Windows ‘ecosystem’ when it released Windows 10 and since then they have been deploying major changes as updates that just happen. The latest of these updates has been labelled the ‘Creators Fall Update’ (I know … America has forgotten about the other hemisphere … it’s essentially summer here, America!! Not fall …)

This update brings some very helpful new changes to your computer. The best change for our Office 365 users is the new OneDrive Files On-Demand feature. This allows you to ‘sync’ SharePoint libraries and OneDrive storage but specify what files get ‘cached’ to your computer.

 

What does all this mumbo jumbo mean?

Well, your OneDrive may have 50Gb of files all safely stored in the cloud. Previously you might have synced this with your computer so that you could easily access it via the files and folder structure on your computer. But it meant that you had to have a copy of every file copied from OneDrive to your computer (even that photo library of Great Aunty Betty that you’ll never look at again). This would be a massive waste of space.

Now you can select files and folders to ‘Always keep on this device’ (so they are in the cloud and on your computer). This leaves the other files in the cloud but still just a click away in your file browser. So a green circled tick means it’s in the cloud and on your PC. A blue outline of a cloud means that its stored in OneDrive but you can access it via your PC’s file browser:

 

 

Another new feature is ‘Storage Sense’. Amongst other things it can be set to automatically delete any files in your downloads folder that have been there for 30 days without being changed.

There are also other major changes that you may not notice – they are hidden away in the back end. But they are making everything safer and better for you. For example, there’s a new feature that you can enable called ‘Controlled Folder Access’. That will stop anything considered suspicious from changing the contents of selected protected folders. This means that those ‘cryptoware’ attacks which hold your files to ransom will be stopped in their tracks – dead! You can read more about it here.

You will also find a currency converter built into the windows calculator … now it really is time to get rid of that Casio thing on the side of your desk!

You can check to see if your machine is already running the Creators Fall Version by right clicking the start button and selecting ‘System’. Under ‘Windows specifications’ it should list the version as 1709 (or greater, depending on when you read this). If it doesn’t, you can hit the start button again, then hit the cog icon for settings, press ‘Update & Security’ and then ‘Check for updates’.

 

If all else fails … let us know.

Teams Planner

Following on from our October newsletter were we introduced you to Teams.  We thought we would show you the planner in Teams.  We have really enjoyed using this feature.  We have put a demo together for you based on an Office move (see the November newsletter and our  Office Planner resource http://itengine.co.nz/resources/)

 

You can assign tasks to staff and even create check lists within those tasks

Once tasks are complete you tick them and they disappear off the list

 

You can also move tasks around the screen by dragging and dropping – now its complete I move to completed.

OneNote tips – tip 1

Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breathe OneNote.  It’s probably one of the most unsung heroes of the Microsoft world.  I have used it for about 10 years now and most of my life is now in there… I use it for everything, from Christmas shopping to my Business Strategy plans.  So to get you as excited about OneNote as I am … I have started to write up a few of my favourite features for you.

 

Searching and photos

You can take photos of documents and then do a search on the words within the photo – great for doing research etc (or in my case when I am saving recipes)

 

Meeting organisation

Organise your meetings…. By clicking meeting details – you can automatically insert the details from outlook into your OneNote page –

You can then turn any action items into outlook tasks 🙂

Saving of Emails

And my ALL time best feature EVER is being able to send emails directly to OneNote from outlook, brilliant for if you want to save items to read later… look for the OneNote button in your outlook.  This is my most used feature.  I have a To Read folder and if I get sent any articles that I want to read later I forward them to OneNote.   This not only frees up my outlook, I can save articles and use them for research later on.

 

We will be doing a webinar on OneNote in the next couple of months – watch this space.

Written by Delia (long time OneNote Lover)

The office move – hell, or heaven?

Most people will tell you that they hate office moves (with a passion). Moves are always hard work and often very disruptive. However, with a bit of planning they can be made easier. Over the years IT Engine has done more office moves for our clients than we would care to count. We now have it down to a fine art. We have also had to put our experience into practice for our own move recently.
Before we go further I would just like to do a wee shout out to Apex Electrical, Telesmart and the Office Relocation Company for their efforts when we moved – they were all awesome and made our lives so much easier.
I don’t like to write with a negative tone but there is a fair amount that can go wrong with moves as there are many parties involved. So I am going to list what can go wrong – get it out of the way – then we can move into the positive stuff.

  1. Number 1, and it is the number 1 thing that can go wrong, is the internet connection. You would be amazed at how often a client goes to move into their new premises only to find that the internet connection they were promised is either not there or not working.
  2. Phone lines not being connected.
  3. Contractors not completing the fit out on time.
  4. Cabling not being put in the correct areas for the desks.
  5. Power not being put in the correct areas for the desks.

Right, so now we have that list out of the way … what can we do to combat it?

Internet

The best laid plans can go astray with your internet connection. The best thing to do for your internet connection is to book the install at the new site a least two weeks before you need it – don’t transfer your connection. Start a new one and then arrange for the old one to be cut after you have moved out. Give yourself a good couple of weeks leeway at each end. Even if it means you are paying for two internet connections at the same time, it’s worth it.
Also:

  • Give your ISP at least 6 weeks’ notice of a move.
  • If you are moving in the December/January period be aware of the brown out. This is where there is no work done (ie, new connections put in) from the middle of December to the middle of January.
  • When you put the connection in … TEST it … don’t take the word of the ISP that it is installed. Get your IT provider to check it before the move and make sure all is OK. You don’t want a mad rush on the day.

Phone lines not being connected

VOIP – if you have VOIP system and you can just plug in your phones and they go – then you are OK. Move to the next topic (and refer back to the one above, the internet connection). If you don’t have VOIP I would love to say that I have the magic bullet here, but I don’t. Unfortunately, if you’re moving a physical phone system, then you’re not going to know if it’s all connected until you plug it in. We had a physical phone system, so what we did was divert the phones to a mobile (via our phone provider). Then once we knew everything was OK we diverted them back. This worked well. There was an issue between Vodafone and Chorus which took several hours to get sorted, so having diverts and a backup plan was very helpful.

Contractors not completing fit out on time

Again, you are dealing with humans and humans are fallible. You can tell someone your move date and be assured that everything is going according to plan. But then the movers tell you that there is stuff all over the floor in the new building and they are still cleaning everything (yes this happened on our move date).
In hindsight, and next time, I will ensure all the dates are in writing. However, we have an awesome team – Roland just shot down to Hirepool, got an industrial vacuum cleaner and sorted it out. Rock on, team!
Best thing to do here is be flexible and allow a bit of time for potentially shifting dates.

Cabling and power

Happens to the best of us – you think you have all the points you need then someone moves the desk plan around and whoops! Try and include your IT team as much as possible in these discussions – you will find you have a much better outcome. Also, be aware when moving into older buildings with pre-existing cabling – it’s often damaged or, in our case, it was Cat5 and super slow. So we had to rip it out and re-do it. If you are not sure before you sign the lease, get your favourite cabling person to come in and give it a wee check for you. Then if it needs to be replaced this can often be worked in with the lease.

Other tips

  • It’s best if you can move during the week. That’s because if there are issues with connections (phone or otherwise) these are hard to sort at the weekend when everyone is at home. We did our move over a Thursday afternoon/Friday morning, which made sorting out the phone issue much easier.
  • Prepare your clients. You will find that everyone is very understanding about services not running at 100% if you give them plenty of notice. A really good way to let everyone know is by putting a note at the bottom of all outgoing emails. You can do this by adding it to the signatures – that’s quick easy and efficient.
  • Don’t forget to put a notice up at the old premises telling people you have moved. You never know who might have missed your emails.
  • When packing up your computers cables etc – make sure you get the staff to bag theirs separately and mark the bags. That way you don’t end up with cables everywhere and not knowing what goes where. If you are using professional movers then you will get labels for the boxes. Clearly define every area and desk beforehand so that items can be put in the right place from the outset. It makes it so much easier when unpacking.
  • Consider what you will need and when. When we packed we sorted items into three piles:
  1. can be packed now (won’t need before move)
  2. to be packed one week out (might need before we go)
  3. to be packed the day before.
  • If you have a lot of breakable gear, like we do, you may want to do your own packing rather than risk packers.
  • Have cut-off times, like no coffee machine after a certain time.
  • Thank your team – moving is really hard work – you are packing and cleaning up for weeks! Some pizza and a wine or beer goes a long way. 😊