Excel 2013 has evolved with the Office 2013 update and offers some great new features to make the Excel world faster and smarter. Here are a few of my favorite features to check out in Excel 2013, and if you are looking to rollout to the new update, check out our training here.
1. Separate Workbooks Appear Side-by-Side:
A convenient new default makes it easier than ever to work on multiple spreadsheets at one time. This new feature gives the user the ability to place windows side by side or work on multiple monitor layout systems.
A snapping feature allows you to click and drag the title bar and place it to the side of the screen you desire until it snaps to the side of your monitor. These types of gestures make it simple for you to place your work where you need them to better fit your needs.
2. Enhanced Charting and Editing Options:
A new enhancement in Excel 2013 is charting. By clicking insert, then recommended charts, Excel will assist you with recommended charts for your data.
You now have access to chart elements, chart styles and chart filtering. These grant you the ability to customize your chart with colors and chose from a preset with live preview of your document all while in edit mode.
One feature I find helpful is the editing tool that enables you to include or exclude parts of the data set to make charts more specific to outcomes.
3. Quick analysis adds more meaning to data:
A smart, new visualization tool in Excel now allows the user to view data in a more intuitive manner. With this update, you can access quick analysis tools.
Examples such as, formatting with color scales, Icon sets, greater than and top ten percentile scales. These scales help dramatically with visualization and analysis of data. Other tools include charts, totals and tables all to give the user a more specific experience within the spreadsheet.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of KeyStone’s favorite features in Excel 2013, and let us know what your’s are.
Microsoft has released their latest update for Windows 8.1 to feature the latest security protection, best drivers and software. Lets take a minute to compare Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 to capitalize the features that will be new to you. I recently read this article, and I think it has some good points to consider. Here I summarize them:
Similarities between Windows 7 and the updated 8.1
The option to switch to the familiar desktop
Works with your mouse and keyboard
Comfortable with Word, Excel, Outlook, and other familiar programs
Reengineered for touch PCs and tablets
Applications from the Windows Store
Mailing Updates, People, and other built-in apps
Sustains your settings and apps on all your PCs and devices
Bing smart search to find interests across the web, apps and your PC
Live updates on the start screen
Faster startup times
One feature that I find extremely helpful in the new Windows 8.1 is the ability to pin an app to the taskbar. This feature gives the user quick access when on the desktop. By right clicking the app of your choice then tapping the Pin to taskbar tool, this will allow immediate access to your most important applications.
Always Remember to Stay Secure
We recommend you keep your PC updated as much as possible for maximum security and efficiency. Make sure you know how to use these features. Proper installation is a key component to an effective update.
With the switch to Windows 8.1, leveraging the many new features across your workplace will require training and education to deliver an effective roll-out and upgrade. For information on our training solutions click here.
Working with calendar view options in Outlook is simple yet very helpful for your daily tasks. Here is a quick article and video to guide you through the steps.
Read the article below for the written version of the video.
Once you have some appointments on your calendar, it’s helpful to be able to view the information in a daily, weekly and monthly view. You can switch between the different calendar views on the Calendar Home tab using the options in the Arrange group.
In the Month calendar view, you can see one month at a time with each appointment shown in as much detail as the space will allow. With the Month calendar view, you control how much of the information you see from little detail appointment information to the text in an appointment.
Excel 2010 has many great features, but I feel this is one of the most important to understand and utilize. Watch the video to learn how to set password protection on a workbook, or review the article below:
When protecting workbooks, it’s important to understand the difference between the workbook structure and the workbook window.
Protecting the Workbook Structure disables a user’s ability to: insert new worksheets; move worksheets; copy worksheets; delete worksheets; hide worksheets; rename worksheets; and view hidden worksheets.
But, protecting the Workbook Windows disables a user’s ability to: change the size the workbook window; move the workbook window; change the position of the workbook window; and close the workbook window.
To protect a workbook, click the Protect Workbook command in the Changes group on the Review tab.
This opens the Protect Workbook dialog. In this box, you can add an optional password. Then, select the protection options you want to enable and click OK. This technique isn’t intended to prevent any user from viewing workbook data. For that level of protection, you need to enable workbook security.
This article and video come from our Excel 2010 Training course. For more information on the course visit this page.
Excel 2013 has lost some familiar features - like saved workspaces, fax templates, and various chart options. Here’s a summary from this article by TechRepublic:
1. Save Workspace is gone - but you can still open previous workspace files (.xtw).
2. Split controls are replaced with Split in the windows group on view tab
3. Blank workbook when launching - replaced by a start screen. This default can be disabled.
4. Change Chart Type now is for all series - you can't change for just one. (workaround possible)
5. Chart Template option missing from Ribbon, but you can still "Save As Template"
6. File Open replaced with Backstage View. Workaround explained in article.
7. Backstage changes include missing Exit command (you can add to QAT or right-click), and no longer creating a new workbook based on an old one using the New command. (different process now)
8. Chart types are reduced - users can't insert a 3D cone, pyramid, or cylinder chart.
9. Fax templates are not included for most apps - but you can still download them.
10. Taskbar changes - now all workbooks in separate windows. (Thank You!)
11. Clip Organizer /Picture Manager are replaced with the Insert Media dialog box and Windows Photo Gallery.
For the most part, it looks like we aren’t losing as much as just having to re-learn. Most of the changed/missing features seem to be present in other forms or locations, and the added features and productivity provide plenty of value in this latest release.
Migrating to Office 2013? Give us to call to find out how we can help reduce your end-user support and ensure a smooth transition.
I am excited to announce that our CEO Larry Cates was featured in SIIA’s Vision from the Top 2013 Publication discussing how customer engagement will significantly change the market and how effective eLearning and OnDemand support can help.
Here are a few of my personal favorite points in the article:
The impact of building a community of engaged users around your software, also has a direct impact on your bottom line through lower customer turnover or “churn” rates, resulting in stronger customer adoption and retention levels.
Successful organizations focus on building a community of loyal members rather than a portfolio of users.
You need to implement a proactive customer communication plan that provides value to your customers (product updates, new features, fun facts), responsive support services, and a clear understanding as to where your customers want to go with your product or service.
Using OnDemand eLearning provides clients with a real-time opportunity to enhance their knowledge, productivity and satisfaction with your products and services.
Effectively distributed eLearning within an OnDemand SaaS environment, linked to your product offering, rapidly engages customers so they build loyalty to your software, rather than detach from it due to a variety of competing influences on their time and focus.
If our customers don’t engage with our evolving solutions, they will certainly feel disconnected and move on to another solution that meets their needs and requirements.
With organizations facing increasing global competition and workers finding their roles expanding, the need for talent development is greater than ever. But, in today’s fast-paced and increasingly virtual workplace, learning a new concept or skill can’t always wait for that two-day class at the end of the month. Workers today require easy access to training whenever and wherever they need it to do their jobs.
http://www.keystoneondemand.com/images/blog/banner-girloncpu.jpg"...employers should take a hard look at training programs with an eye for future workplace needs. To address the skills gap for the next decade and beyond, education and training must anticipate how technological and global changes will impact the evolving workplace."
-Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Vice President and Managing Director, Apollo Research Institute
Organizations are also coming to realize that learning is not a one-time event and that to be an effective learning organization; you need the culture and tools for continuous learning. In fact, in the learning industry research group Bersin & Associates’ The Corporate Learning Factbook® 2012, recognition of the need for “Continual Reinforcement” of learning was one of the key findings. This kind of repeated contact requires a range of formal and informal learning tools—from instructor-led and elearning courses, to online articles, to user-contributed videos and more—in a dynamic environment that is always within easy reach of your workforce.
So...what is the solution?
Just-in-Time learning where learners can access training 24/7 365 days of the year, whenever and wherever they want. You need training that is self-paced with modular learning tools that develop critical knowledge and skills and support ongoing performance in the workplace of today. You need a mixture of articles, videos, activities and quizzes with reporting and follow-up tools.
Check out our tour, and see how you can start creating just-in-time training for your audience.
Creating a Personal File Folder is a little like running a manual archive – but, only the first time. Once the folder is created, you can add and remove messages at will just as you would if you were working with a folder stored on the mail server. Plus, you can create subfolders for your Personal File Folder the same way you create subfolders on your Inbox.
If you’re working on a server environment, in particular, this is a great place to save needed mail messages. You see, anything you save in an Inbox subfolder counts against your total mail storage limit. But, the folders and messages in your .pst file don’t. Watch the video below or continue reading to learn how to create the .pst file.
Video Tutorial and Supplemental Article Below:
To create a Personal File Folder, or .pst, from the ribbon’s Home tab, click the New Items option. Then, at the bottom of the list, choose More Items and then, finally, Outlook Data File.
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This opens the New Outlook Data File dialog. In this box, select Outlook data file (.pst) and click OK. You’ll next be prompted to create a name and a save location for the new offline storage folder you’re creating.
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Notice how the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog opens to the same location that your Outlook archives are saved to. This makes it handy for backing up your data. You can save your .pst file here or in a different location of your choosing. Then, type a name for our personal file folder and then click OK.
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In the Navigation pane, you’ll see your newly created personal file folder. When you click to expand it, you’ll see that it uses its own Deleted Items folder and Search Folders separate from the server. Remember, you can add as many folders here as you’d like.
Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar can be a huge time saver. It is simple and can be adjusted at any time. Read the article below or watch this video to learn how to customize the quick access toolbar.
The Quick Access Toolbar can be found in the upper left corner of each application window right next to the Backstage menu and, by default, contains commands for Save, Undo, & Redo.
However, the beauty of the Quick Access Toolbar is that it is fully customizable. This means you can put any command on here that you frequently use. Just click the drop-down arrow at the end of the Quick Access toolbar and select another listed command to add it to your toolbar.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/48cj1qCB9QVSA1IJ_QN0-44RGmJpa7QK30h7ys-Et7u7m5eWQZ8OThhvP5zt9A_azbfn9MuaJoQL_9NCDWfja0n4oMzuGoBQSSf4QHIapq26ooyJ1ACt For access to additional options, select More Commands to open the program’s Options dialog.
From here, choose a command location from the top drop-down menu, then select a command to Add to your Quick Access Toolbar, or QAT. This works well for commands you want to access by can’t find on the ribbon. For example, PowerPoint’s Combine Shapes and Play CD Audio Track options are not on the ribbon, but are frequently used by power users. These options can be added to the QAT by selecting “Commands Not in the Ribbon” from the drop-down.
For commands you want to add to the QAT that are on the ribbon, it’s probably faster to add them directly from the ribbon. Just right-click any command and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the context menu. Similarly, you can remove any command from the QAT using the context menu.
Finally, the Quick Access Toolbar can be located in one of two places. You can either leave it in the upper-left corner of your window (where it is located by default) or show it below the ribbon. To move the QAT, right-click it and choose your desired location.
Showing the QAT below the ribbon works well for users with a highly customized QAT. A long QAT above the ribbon has a tendency to cut into the active file name in the Title bar.
One final note on the QAT: any customization you set is specific to the program you’re working in. This means, you can have different Quick Access Toolbars in each application.
We have all been in Word working on an outline for a school paper or client project and have become frustrated at formatting rules and spacing for multi-level lists. Word 2010 has made it simple to format these lists-you just have to know how to use the tool at hand. Here is a video that will show you how to format a multi-level list, or choose to read the article below that will guide you through the steps.
Multilevel lists are typically applied to text in a document formatted as an outline. The available multilevel lists are located in the Paragraph group on the ribbon’s Home tab. With the text selected that you want to apply the multilevel format to, select your desired option from the multilevel list options. What’s nice about these multilevel lists is that they can be customized, just like bulleted and numbered lists can be customized.
From the Multilevel list option, select Define New Multilevel List.
Once you have several contacts stored in Outlook, you may need to get them out of Outlook for one reason or another. You can easily do that through an Export, once you’re able to locate the Export option. It takes a little digging.
Watch this video or read the article below to find out how you can export your Outlook 2010 email addresses.
The Export option is available from the Outlook Options dialog. To get there, from the Backstage menu, choose Options. This opens the Outlook Options dialog. Then, on the left-hand navigation pane, choose Advanced. Finally, click the Export button.
That’s the “official” way to export. But, if you’ve learned how to import, you probably noticed that these steps opened the exact same dialog you see from you choose Open, then Import from the Backstage menu. In any case, in this first dialog, choose Export to a file and then click Next.
In the Map Custom Fields dialog, you can define which Contact fields are exported to the file you’re about to create. In the Map Custom Fields dialog, the available Outlook fields are listed on the left and the fields that will be in the exported file are on the right. You’re looking to make sure that each field you need is listed on the right side. If a needed field is missing, it’s a quick drag and drop to make the fix. In this same dialog, use the Next and Previous buttons to cycle through the exported data just to make sure you’re sending all of the data you need.
Once your fields are mapped, click OK to return to the final Export to a File dialog. Click Finish to export the data.
Functions can be intimidating, especially when they are very large. The VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP Functions are a great choice to easily display and organize your data.
When you have very large Nested IF Functions, you may consider using the VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP Functions, instead.
With a VLOOKUP Function, you can enter the data (like a grading scale) into a separate worksheet list and have Excel refer to the list when searching for a value to return. This way, you don’t have to type it all into a long, complicated IF Function. VLOOKUP stands for Vertical Lookup. You use a Vertical Lookup (or, VLOOKUP) when your lookup list contains your data in columns. HLOOKUP stands for Horizontal Lookup. You use a Horizontal Lookup (or, HLOOKUP) when your lookup list contains your data in rows.
VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP are very similar functions; however, they differ in how they search your lookup list. The VLOOKUP Function searches for a value in the first column of a lookup list and returns a value in the same row from another column in the table array. The HLOOKUP Function searches for a value in the top row of a lookup list and returns a value in the same column from another row in the table array.
This means, the layout of your lookup data will determine which of these functions you’ll use.
Here’s what the VLOOKUP function looks like:
The first argument, lookup_value, tells Excel what value are you looking for in the 1st column of your list. The second, table_array, defines the range of your lookup list or table. The third, col_index_number, tells Excel, which column, of all of the columns in your list, contains the data you want the formula to display. This is a literal value. In other words, putting the number “2” in this argument will return the value from the 2nd column in the table array. Finally, the fourth, range_lookup, can only be one of two entries: true or false. If you enter “false,” the lookup will search for an exact match to your lookup_value, while “true” gives Excel a slight break and tells it to find the closest match it can.
Now, let’s put that into action using our grading scale example. I’d like Excel to look at a student’s grade. And, based on the score they’ve received, I’d like Excel to display the corresponding letter grade from the lookup list.
Here’s what my formula would look like in Excel:
PowerPoint 2010 offers many different views for your slide shows. This video and article will tell you how you can view your presentation in the Slide Show View.
Slide Show view is your main presentation delivery view. In this view, your presentation consumes the entire screen area, one slide at a time. However, unlike the other views, you won’t find the option to start a slide show on the ribbon’s View tab. Instead, you need to use the Start Slide Show group on the ribbon’s Slide Show tab.
From this group, you can start the slide show from either the first slide in the deck or from the slide that is currently selected or displayed on your screen, i.e., the active slide. Once your slide show is in progress, simply click your left mouse button to advance to the next slide or ESC to end the show before you reach the last slide.
There’s also a Slide Show option on the lower-right corner of the PowerPoint window, just to the left of the zoom slider that displays your presentation in Slide Show view from the current slide.
Adjusting line spacing is a feature you will use often at home, in the workplace and for higher education assignments. Whether its proposals that need to be double spaced or personal letters that need 1.5 line spacing, this feature is one you will become very familiar with.
You can view this video or read the article below to understand how to use this feature.
In Word 2010, it is easier than ever to adjust line spacing. You can easily find your spacing options right within the ribbon. It is in the paragraph group on the Home tab of the ribbon. Single spaced and double spaced text are both considered variations of Line Spacing in Word.
Since line spacing is paragraph-based, you only need to select the affected paragraphs if you’ll be changing more than one. But, if your adjustment is only for one paragraph, simply clicking inside the paragraph you want to affect is enough of a “selection” before you choose an option from the Line Spacing menu.
If you don’t see the line spacing option you need, you can define a custom line spacing amount in the Paragraph dialog by clicking the Line Spacing Options link in the expanded Line Spacing menu.
In the Paragraph dialog, under Line spacing, set your desired spacing and if required, adjust the “At box”. An additional option in this box is paragraph spacing which is often confused with line spacing. Where line spacing affects the space between every line of text in a paragraph, paragraph spacing affects the space above or below an entire paragraph, regardless of the number of lines in a paragraph.
For instance, you can set your line spacing to single spaced to show the paragraph lines right on top of one another but adjust the paragraph spacing to 12 points of space AFTER each paragraph to give some white space between a document’s paragraphs.
Yes, it is now approaching......that is Microsoft’s update to Windows 8 and “The New Office,” Office 2013. With the drastic visual changes that come with the Metro Style, we are excited to start creating our courses that will help individuals and organizations quickly take advantage of these updates. According to Microsoft, Windows 8 will be released October 26, 2012, and Office 2013 will be released soon thereafter (as it is currently in consumer preview).
As we create our courses, we would love to hear your feedback as to which announced features you are most/least excited about, as well as what you are looking for in possible training materials. Answer our questions here to be a part of our course creation.
What are some of my favorite features?
In Windows 8:
Touch-optimized user interface, referred to as Metro Style interface
A new Start screen
Two touch keyboard options
Metro Style apps
Capability to use your apps on other PCs with Windows 8
New security features
Availability to switch to Windows 7-based apps
USB storage devices with Windows 8, along with their business apps and data
Improvements to DirectAccess
In Office 2013:
A login icon that will indicate if you are logged into online services
Will easily enable file storage and collaboration
A comment thread in Word that enables conversations among multiple contributors to be tracked
The use of the Metro Style
These bullets give you an overview of the many updates in the new products. It is important you start thinking about your roll out now while you still have time to consider your team’s learning curve.
Today we hosted a webinar titled “Five Key Uses of Assessment for a Training Program,” presented by KeyStone’s Instructional Design Manager Amy Holloway. Attendees learned how to provide more effective assessment programs and discovered how our new Assessment and Certification Tool (ACT) can provide value in a training program.
A special thanks to those who provided some great questions and feedback on the new ACT tool. We are always excited to hear what you think and look forward to hearing how this brings value to your training initiatives.
If you were unable to attend, you can sign up to receive a copy of the recording here and we will provide access once it is available.
A few weeks ago we announced our new Assessment and Certification Tool (ACT). Now, we are excited to host a webinar in which this new tool will be featured, titled: “Five Key Uses of Assessment in a Training Program.”
This webinar will take place Tuesday, June 26, at 1pm, and it will be presented by Instructional Design Manager Amy Holloway. To register for the webinar click here.
Why should you attend?
Holloway knows that when you hear the word test, it probably doesn’t have the best connotation, but she is going to show you how these assessments can empower both organizations and the learners. She will touch on the five major questions every trainer should ask when implementing a training program in an organization.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your training program.
Watch the recording to learn how to get a clear ROI with Project Server up and running in ten days...and receive a PDU credit
A few weeks ago we were excited to work with our partners, Project Management Practice Inc. (PMPi), and offer a webinar titled “Project Server Express- In a Box- Clear ROI with Project Server Up and Running in Ten Days.”
Keith Wilson (B. Comm., MBA, MCT, MCTS and published author) presented the webinar and offered over 50 project managers professional development with the option to obtain a Professional Development Unit (PDU) credit.
We understand everyone who wanted to attend was not able to, so we are extending the chance for you to sign up and obtain the recording of the webinar (as well as receive a PDU credit for your attendance).
Project Server is like many Microsoft programs--an extremely useful, productive tool, but only if you have the knowledge to take advantage of its powerful features.
Do you manage multiple projects, coordinate resources across multiple project schedules, or effectively communicate with stakeholders with visibility on cost and schedule status?
Next week, we are sponsoring a free webinar titled “Project Server Express - In a box - Clear ROI with Project Server up and running in ten days.” We are partnering with the Project experts, Project Management Practice Inc., to offer a package that will help you achieve your project goals quicker and more effectively....in just ten days.
In this webinar, Keith Wilson (B. Comm., MBA, MCT, MCTS and published author) will be presenting and providing information as to how you can effectively roll out and manage Microsoft Project Server, and he will answer:
What is Microsoft EPM / Project Server 2010 Solution?
How can it provided value to Project Managers, Project Executive, Resource Managers and Team Members?
Top three reasons I’m excited about Windows 8 (and you should be too)
With the said release of Windows 8 Preview, Visual Studio 11 Beta on February 29, many are talking about Windows 8. Since I have read the developer preview guide, I came up with three reasons I am excited about Windows 8.
1.It is going to have a completely different feel and style that is great for tablets Consumers and businesses alike are using tablets more and more for common tasks. Many employers are now adopting bring your own device (BYOD) policies and enabling employees to bring their own devices into the work environment. Windows 8 caters to tablet users and considers how a finger swipe works vs. a mouse click. A new Start menu with Apps rather than icons and two options for touch keyboards are just some of the items that Windows 8 incorporates to enhance the tablet user’s experience.
2. Windows 8 for business-availability to connect anywhere: According to the Windows developer preview, professionals can provide users with bootable USB storage devices containing a copy of Windows 8. On this USB, they can save their business-specific tools, apps, data and settings. If the user uses the USB, he or she will be able to success those apps and settings on any computer that has capability to run Windows 8.
3. Security and management additions/options: In the preview, Windows 8 is said to have new capabilities through AppLocker that enable IT professionals the ability to create security boundaries/policies which specifically control who is allowed to see which applications. This is a powerful tool we use in our learning platform. By catering the content and apps to specific users, you not only secure your environment but also aid in productivity because your users have what they need, not more nor less.
Feel free to let us know any other features you are excited or concerned about adopting. As we prepare for our Windows 8 Training course, we’d like to hear what you would like us to incorporate.
“I recommend KeyStone's LMS System to all of my clients; it provides outstanding out of the box trainings that minimize IT/HRs trainings, and trainings can seamlessly be captured and published on demand. An easy user interface ensure adoptions from your business teams- allowing for a means knowledge capture and collaboration.”
- Lisa M. Chipetine, PMP
QC Consulting, LLC
This was a testimonial one of our sales representatives recently received. We are always excited to receive feedback from our customers, and one of the things I love about KeyStone is that our users are as passionate about our products as we are. We value their opinions, and it is encouraging to hear how KeyStone OnDemand is making a difference in the lives of those using it.
As Ms. Chipetine pointed out, our platform integrates into your HR/IT training techniques by providing a real-time OnDemand solution for your training needs. Our product makes it easier for you to focus on higher priorities by enabling you the opportunity to create short articles and videos on common tasks that acquire many questions.
We are always excited to hear how KeyStone products are working for our users, so be sure to let us know your feedback or questions at [email protected]
You need Project....but should you get Standard or Professional?
You have realized you need Project 2010, but now you have to decide if you need the Professional or Standard version. I hope these tips help you in your purchasing decision because it is important you invest in the right version for various reasons.
If you are going to be using a project server solution, you need to have Project Professional because it has all the collaboration and collection tools that enable you to save plans in the Project Server. If you are not setting up Project Server, you don’t necessarily need Project Professional, but there are several key features you should be aware of.
In KeyStone’s Project 2010 course, Robert Happy, PMP, pointed out some great practices for PMs in any industry, and I wanted to share a couple of the gems I gleaned from the course in terms of which version of the program to purchase. Here are the three items to consider if you are deciding which investment is better for you:
1. Team Planner View
This view in Professional allows you to manage the right mix of people and workloads in a visual and intuitive manner. It lets you click and drag tasks to resources for easy assignments and resource management.
2. SharePoint Synchronization
This feature in Professional enables you to synchronize your tasks to SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010 directly from Project and receive updates from team members from SharePoint back into Project.
3. Inactivate Tool
This tool in Professional lets you render a task inactive without deleting it from the plan. You can conduct what-if analyses or see the impact on the timeline, resource, or cost if a task or group of tasks were no longer included, with the ability to turn them back on at any time
Again, if you plan on connecting to Project Server, you will need Project Professional for all collaboration tools and functionality. So keep these items in mind as you make your decision on which way to go.
I hope these tips were helpful. For more information on our Project 2010 course and other Project tips, click here.
What do you have to say about our Project 2010 course?
At KeyStone Learning Systems, we always like to have customer feedback on our courses so we know our admins and their learners are offering and taking the courses they need in order to learn software effectively.
“I am about 60% through the Project Server course and really enjoy the structure and content. The organization of opening a topic with an overview slide, jumping out to examples, and the 1 page summaries work very well for me.” -Jay Hauglid, senior project manager at Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
“I have been using KeyStone Learning products since the late 90’s and they have always been top notch. These courses are no exception.” -Jason Blinn, senior project manager at Fox Entertainment Group
We appreciate this feedback and are encouraged to hear the course is helping our customers. Our Project 2010 course includes videos, articles, quizzes and exercises, appealing to all types of learners and encourages learning and accountability.
Great Ways to Get & Stay Organized in Outlook 2010 (Part 1)
Do you ever have the feeling that you spend way too much time in Outlook? If you’re not checking the most recent email that just arrived, you’re searching for one you know you received and it’s somewhere in the 1,478 messages currently stacked up neatly in your Inbox.
It’s overwhelming and, worse than that, it sucks energy and time from your day. But, there are some Outlook 2010 features you can take advantage of to help increase your productivity so you can actually get out of Outlook 2010, allowing you to move along to another program.
1. Start actively using Color Categories: These look innocuous at first, but there’s a great deal of power in categorizing your Outlook items by color. How you categorize is totally dependent on how you work. Maybe you decide to categorize by project, by client, or by urgency. It doesn’t matter so long as you to start to assign categories to email, notes, tasks and appointments. You’ll find available categories and the ability to customize them by right-clicking an Outlook 2010 item. Click “Categorize” from that context-menu and the rest is fairly intuitive. After a short time, you’ll begin to see the colors taking shape in Outlook 2010 and you’ll know what an items pertains to solely by the assigned color.
2. Use Rules to Organize Incoming Messages: I think many of us receive a lot of messages each day that we don’t necessarily need to act upon but that we likely just need to keep a copy of. There are also those messages we receive because we’ve subscribed to a mailing list or regular newsletter. Those non-urgent messages quickly clutter an Inbox. To move them out so you can read them at a later time when you don’t have pressing issues looming, use Rules. Found on the Ribbon’s Home tab while looking at your Inbox, Rules are like little custom macros you create to allow Outlook 2010 to automatically take an action on incoming or outgoing messages based on criteria you set.
3. Take Advantage of Quick Steps: If you don’t quite trust Rules, but you do take similar steps frequently (like forwarding messages to a specific person or group), use Quick Steps instead. When you create a Quick Step (on the Ribbon’s home tab while looking at your Inbox), you define a set of actions you want Outlook 2010 to take whenever the Quick Step label is clicked. This way, you still have a pseudo Rule defined, but you control when it is applied.
Start applying these tips, and I will be sharing more in my next blog post. For more information on our Outlook 2012 course click here.
In review of 2011 we wanted to highlight a few of our favorite new features.
Here at KeyStone, we are always looking for ways to enhance and increase learner productivity through our platform. The below features are great ways administrators can create an effective learning environment for their organization.
1. Share your content: You can now share your KeyStone OnDemand created screencasts on your website, blog or other source.
3. Creating custom content: Unlike many other training platforms, KeyStone OnDemand does not require third-party programs to create content. You can create screencasts and articles directly within the platform. So whether you have HR related needs or employee introduction courses to create, you can create all new content directly within the platform.
4. Customizing the environment to fit your organization: With the platform, you can add your logo as well as your organization’s colors to the platform for seamless integration to your learning environment. You can also create your own “Featured Tip.”
From the moment I downloaded PowerPoint 2010, it was truly love at first sight. Finally, Microsoft delivered to us a presentation program that offered both flexibility and style. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely trashing the previous versions of PowerPoint. But, frankly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to click inside the box that says “Click to add …” to throw in some text. Add a little color using the small amount of design templates and you were pretty much good to go.
But, that’s all changed with PowerPoint 2010. Suddenly, the stakes have been raised and I’ve yet to meet anyone not drooling at the challenge.
So, aside from watching the Five Rules presentation, here are my Top three things everyone should be doing in PowerPoint 2010. Wait – you haven’t watched the Five Rules presentation? Right now, open PowerPoint, click the File tab and from the Sample Templates group, open the Five Rules presentation. Follow the directions and watch the presentation in Slide Show view. Shoot – that means I now have four things you should do in PowerPoint. We can fix that with some creative numbering:
0. Watch the Five Rules presentation
1. Instantly broadcast your PowerPoint presentations
To broadcast a slide show to up to 50 of your closest friends, or anyone else for that matter, you just need a Windows Live ID. If you’ve already set up a Windows Live SkyDrive to share files with others, have a Hotmail account or use Windows Messenger, you already have a Windows Live ID. If not, you can create one the first time you try to broadcast a presentation.
The good news is that only the person presenting needs to have a copy of PowerPoint 2010 and a Windows Live ID. All your participants need is a web browser and an active Internet connection. To start a broadcast, from the Backstage menu, select Save & Send, and then click the Broadcast Slide Show option. This gives you a big Broadcast Slide Show button. Click that button to get started.
If this is your first time using the Broadcast Service, you’ll need to set it up. If you’re prompted to sign in to your Windows Live Account or create one, this is the place to do it. You only have to do it once. PowerPoint will remember who you are the next time you broadcast a presentation. Simply follow the on-screen instructions until you reach the dialog with the Start Broadcast button.
Copy the link the PowerPoint gives you and send it to those people who will be joining your presentation. You can send this link via e-mail or chat message. At this point, you’re actively in broadcast mode. But, your participants won’t be able to see your screen until you launch either Slide Show view or Presenter view.
The final step is to click Start Slide Show in the second dialog. This starts your presentation in Slide Show view. At this point, your participants can see the view that’s on your screen. If you drop out of Slide Show view and back to Normal view, the people watching your presentation still see the last slide you were on and you get access to the ribbon’s Broadcast tab.
2. Add narration to your slides
Often, slide shows are delivered electronically without the benefit of a live presenter. In the past, you could separately record narration and upload individual audio files to each slide. In PowerPoint 2010, you can record narration directly on each slide. PowerPoint will create individual audio files and attach them to each slide.
To record narration on a slide show, you’ll start from the ribbon’s Slide Show tab. Choose the Record Slide Show option, then choose either Start Recording from Beginning or Start Recording from Current Slide.
In the Record Slide Show dialog, you can choose to include Narrations and the laser pointer. Once started, PowerPoint will record your audio voiceover through a recognized microphone for each slide in the presentation. It also keeps track of the slide timings.
Narration recorded in this way plays automatically the next time you’re in Slide Show view.
3. Take advantage of the Animation Painter
Creating custom animation effects on your slide objects is not always a quick process. And, once you get an object animated just the way you want it with added animation, effect options and timing, it can feel a little daunting to start the process all over again with another object in the presentation deck. This is where you can make good use of a new PowerPoint 2010 feature – the Animation Painter. Its option is located on the ribbon’s Animations tab in the Advanced Animation group.
I was recently doing some random Internet searching…for work. I always like to see what the popular bloggers and other trainers are offering up in terms of Office 2010 productivity tips. I actually don’t recommend doing a search like that unless you have a lot of time on your hands which I would assume you wouldn’t if you’re looking for ways to be more productive. But, I digress.
During my search for “Office 2010 Productivity Tips” I encountered an article aptly titled, “Your Top 5 Time Saving Productivity Tips with Microsoft Office?” Ooohhh. I felt a little rush of excitement at what that article might add to my life. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
Prepare to be disappointed.
I was shocked to see just one thing: “Copy & Paste.” Aw man. Copy & Paste? That’s your big productivity tip? Copy & Paste? Seriously? My 80-yr old grandmother could make up something better than that. I won’t reveal the name of the site that I found this on, but suffice it to say their tagline is “Be Productive, Stop Procrastinating.”
Recent reports estimate that 8.6 million people are currently using Office 2010. Can you imagine if their biggest productivity tip was “copy and paste.” And, then it hits me. That’s why we create training. If, when asked the question, “What are your top five time saving productivity tips with Microsoft Office?” your only response is, “Uh, copy and paste” run, don’t walk, to your nearest training course and sit yourself down prepared to learn.
In fact, Microsoft Office 2010 was designed around the very concept of increasing user productivity. In a recent interview, Jennifer Heard, a Microsoft VP, was quoted as saying, “…we've spent billions and billions of dollars researching how users work, how they leverage the technology, and really how they can improve the work they do every day, because it's about increasing productivity and having the ability to expose information in a way that makes sense to the user.#” I’m certain the folks at Microsoft would be horrified to think that “copy and paste” was their greatest achievement in increasing productivity.
I’m sure you’re waiting for me to tell you how I would have answered that now infamous question. I’ll tell you…
Q. What are your top five time saving productivity tips with Microsoft Office?
A. I’m so glad you asked. Office 2010 is leaps and bounds beyond previous Office releases. Admittedly, there is some down time when users first make the switch. After all, the Ribbon does take some getting used to. But, after a couple of months, most users find they are able to do their tasks faster as many features are now available in fewer clicks. I’ve actually seen that down time drop to two weeks if the new version release is timed with targeted, scenario-based training.
But, there are some key product enhancements that really work the way people now work. If I had to pick my top 5, in no particular order, they would be:
1. Customizable Ribbon Tabs: In Office 2010, you can customize the existing Ribbon tabs and even create your own. My favorite place to start is by checking out the options in any program under the “Commands Not in the Ribbon” category. That’s where the hidden gold lies. To see this in action, from any Office program, choose File> Options. Then, select Customize Ribbon in the left Navigation Pane. Finally, under Choose commands from, click the drop-down arrow and choose Commands Not in the Ribbon. Often, you’ll find commands you used in previous versions of Office that you haven’t been able to find on the default Ribbon. Then, add those to any new or existing Ribbon tab. Heaven.
2. Enhanced Photo & Video Editing: Word and PowerPoint always did a fairly decent job of integrating images into their files. But, in 2010, even graphic artists have to be impressed with the available editing options. For both videos and image, you can apply artistic effects, reflections, shadows and more. And, for images, you can remove entire backgrounds. It’s madness and it’s very cool. Plus, it saves me the step of having to sending these edits through a graphic person.
3. Better Integration with SharePoint: Office 2010 offers most consistent and reliable integration with SharePoint allowing more efficient document collaboration across project teams.
4. Simultaneous Document Editing: That’s right. In Office 2010, two can people can work on the same document at the same time. Just be sure to watch the Status bar – it will tell you who is currently working on the document and what they are doing.
5. Broadcast Your Slide Shows: This one is specific to PowerPoint, but it’s powerful. In PowerPoint 2010, you can set up a free account and stream your presentations live, online to up to 50 people at the same time. The limitations to this feature are minimal (like, you can’t stream a video and it doesn’t include a conference call connection). But, the benefits far outweigh any feature limitations. To try this feature out, enlist the help of a friend and hit the Broadcast Slide Show option on the Slide Show tab in PowerPoint. The program will walk you through a quick set up process and in a matter of minutes you’ll have a link you can share with your friend.
If you know the basics of Word 2010 including keyboard shortcuts and the options offered in the Home tab, you will be more productive and efficient in the workplace. As you learn more in-depth features, you will turn into a Word power user, understanding simple ways to complete complicated tasks like mail merge.
Learning mail merge is not time consuming, but it will save hours when trying to produce custom letters by entering in each name manually. This article will focus on the various aspects of mail merge, and help you understand what it actually does.
Mail merge consists of three files: the mail merge main document, the data source file and the merge document. The mail merge main document contains the text and layout that remain the same. The data source file contains the text that change from letter to letter or envelope to envelope and this could include the following: Word Table, Excel Spreadsheet, Access Database Table or an Outlook Contact List. The merge document contains a combination of the mail merge main document and the data source.
In the merge document, there are both placeholders and static text. Placeholders change in each document when printed and include items such as the name of the person that the letter is addressed to. Static text is the text that remains the same in each document. This would include the body copy of the document or the author’s signature.
Once you have all your information ready, Word 2010 makes it simple to go through the Mail Merge process by using the Ribbon and finding the Mailings tab. The tab offers options that are placed in the order that you will need to use them through the process. You just simply start from the left and work your way right to complete mail merge.
While this article provides a brief overview on the mail merge anatomy, the Word 2010 training course provides instructor-led video tutorials on the entire mail merge process.
This week one of my colleagues and I will be attending Elevate 2011 in Atlanta, GA, where we will have a sneak preview of Pardot’s new OnDemand training solution that uses our platform.
If you are going, please stop by to see us at the Pardot training table in the Great Room Foyer and check out the new OnDemand Pardot courses. As Pardot customers ourselves, we are proud to be part of this exciting, new service that will be available in January 2012.
We would also love the opportunity to meet with fellow SaaS-base companies and discuss how we can support their training requirements. KeyStone’s SaaS soltuion, KeyStone OnDemand, helps SaaS companies quickly create and deliver relevant training for their applications, driving adoption and retention.
If you are unable to attend this exciting conference, stay tuned for updates! I will try to put out a daily update as I have time as well as a synopsis upon my return.
Are you clicking and clicking and clicking? Time, time and more time.
Here at the office, there are many shortcuts that we use on a daily basis, but these are the top ten most used Office 2010 keyboard shortcuts we apply. You may already be using them, but if you’re not, you need to.
You don’t realize how time consuming it is to constantly right click and find your solution or navigate the ribbon to copy your text until you take a small amount of time to memorize and apply shortcuts like these for Office 2010.
1. Copy Control + C Command + C
2. Paste Control + V Command + V
3. Undo Control + Z Command + Z
4. Redo Control + Y Command + Y
5. Bold Control + B Command + B
6. Italicize Control + I Command + I
7. Save Control + S Command + S
8. Find Control + F Command + F
9. Print Control + P Command + P
10. Select All Control + A Command + A
These Office 2010 shortcuts are sure to help you if you have not been using them. These are particularly easy to use and apply because they all start with the same key and have one letter.
While this is a great start, understanding more features in Office 2010 and the various ways to use the tools encourages speedy work and effective use of time. This is why we are so passionate about educating users in Office 2010. There are so many features and tools in Office 2010 that can go unnoticed until someone shows you how to use them.
Our Office 2010 Training provides full text and video for each topic, including printable KeyNotes and instant-on video, all available in real-time search. Click here to learn more.
Here at KeyStone, we have relationships with the best trainers in the business. These people operate at
a high level of energy with a true passion for both the software and sharing their knowledge with you
(or, really, anyone who will listen).
So, we asked them:
Q. What are your absolute favorite, jaw-dropping, applause-rendering, show-
stopping tricks that bring the house every time you share them in your
We were not disappointed with the answers and we don’t think you’ll be either.
Our first tip is from Nona, a trainer residing in Virginia, USA. Nona writes:
“The standard "Select All" key doesn't work the way you think it does. Experienced Windows users know
that Ctrl-A is the shortcut key that selects everything in a window or document; the A in Ctrl-A stands
for All. Ctrl-A works this way in every application you can find—except Excel. When you press Ctrl-A in
a worksheet with data in it, you select the current region (that is, all connected cells), not the whole
worksheet. But wait—if you immediately press Ctrl-A a second time, you select the entire worksheet—
unless the worksheet contains a table, in which case your second press of Ctrl-A will select the current
region and the summary rows (typically the headers) of the current table. And if your second Ctrl-A
selects the current table and its summary rows, then you'll need to press Ctrl-A a third time to select the
Our next tip comes from Nicole, a trainer residing in Germany. Nicole writes:
“In PowerPoint 2010 you can now get rid of the background or better “cut out a picture “ as you are
used to doing in Photoshop or Corel Draw. But what is great that you don´t need to click around the face
anymore to cut the background out…you simply need to just draw a line into the area you no longer
need. I really love this new feature in 2010.”
Nicole also likes to show her students how to quickly pin documents they use on a regular basis to the
File tab, on their Recent Documents list. She offers that by just right-clicking any document shown in
the list, you can choose “Pin to list” to always keep the selected document at the top of the Recent
Documents list regardless of the last time it was accessed.
Our final tip is from Alva, a trainer residing in California, USA. Alva shares:
“I absolutely enjoy creating formulas in [Excel’s] Name Manager. [That way] students can use the name
provided for the formula to further manipulate their data in Excel.
Alva’s right on target with this tip. Excel 2010 now allows you to name tables, ranges, cells, and formulas
for future reference. This works fabulously on larger spreadsheets as a name seems far easier to
remember than a complex list of cell addresses and/or ranges.
I wish I could fit all of our trainer’s tips into this article. They are so full of great advice. We would love to hear your tips as well; send us a message.
Part 3: Support your school district’s Office 2010 migration with Office 2010 Training in KeyStone OnDemand
In Part 1, I spoke a little about Office 2010 Training as a key element for a successful Office 2010 Migration. Part 2 focused on helpdesk and support integration to provide support for those common day-to-day problems, even including custom “how to” training for the unique challenges you face in your district or school. Today, I wanted to wrap up with some overall best practices for your Office 2010 migration support.
Best practices for Office 2010 migration support:
1. To maintain productivity and avoid overloading your support teams, it is critical to include an effective Office 2010 Training program (like KeyStone OnDemand) in your rollout. Not only will you increase productivity with Office 2010’s powerful tools, but you will see a drastic reduction in end-user support. An effective training program must provide real-time results to educators, allowing them to get the answers they need when they need them. In addition, it should provide comprehensive coverage, tracking all progress and results for continuing education and professional development.
2. Communication is a big part of change management. It’s a good idea to develop a rollout plan that includes emails and/or other communication to help educators see the value in why you are migrating. Explain the benefits of moving to Office 2010, talk about the time-saving new features, and show them how easy it is to learn to use the new features available to them. Ironically, educators can be one of the toughest crowds when it comes to training... make sure you show them the value of both the new software (e.g. Office 2010) and the training from the beginning to mitigate this challenge. KeyStone OnDemand includes a workflow feature for automated follow up so you can set up a communication plan and schedule it all at once. In addition, KeyStone provides a number of services, including kick-off webinars, to assist you with adoption.
3. One size does not fit everyone. The ability to address the ongoing day-to-day challenges unique to your environment will both reduce your overall support burden and increase adoption of the training, allowing your teams more time to focus on critical support and giving educators more time to spend with students. With KeyStone OnDemand, you can easily capture and share articles and videos. Whether a a quick “how to...” or a complete custom course for professional development, you can create custom content and share it district-wide. Build your own knowledge base and share best practices.
Best of luck with your Office 2010 migration. Whether you are in full swing or planning a future roll out, give us a call anytime with questions and we’ll be happy to help.
In Part 1, I spoke a little about Office 2010 Training as a key element for a successful Office 2010 migration. Other challenges many districts face are the ongoing, repetitive support needs unique to their school or district. Many times, unique processes, software, or internal settings create support challenges that simply can’t be addressed in off-the-shelf training.
This is another area where KeyStone OnDemand provides the complete solution to support your migration.
Built-in helpdesk support features, such as content assignment and built-in support ticket integration are only the beginning. Powerful-but-intuitive tools allow technical teams to easily capture and share custom articles and videos, solving those repetitive, unique K-12 challenges that pop up day to day.
Content assignment allows the easy, fast assignment of both off-the-shelf and custom content to users. That content can then be accessed in the learning platform, or even emailed as a link. Both users and support can add these items to a user’s Quicklist for easy reference later. Now when an educator calls with a support challenge, you don’t have to choose between the critical IT task you were on and walking down to the classroom. Quickly search for the topic you need, assign the video and/or article to the user, and let them know you can provide more help if they still need it after viewing the training.
Built-in support ticket integration helps your users learn to go to KeyStone OnDemand first for common day-to-day challenges. If they still need help or can’t figure something out, they can submit a support ticket from directly in the learning portal. This allows IT teams to stay focused on critical objectives and evaluate support items for level of priority when they come in.
The really powerful feature here is the ability to quickly and easily create custom “how to...” videos and articles for professional development without the need for software or special developer skills. Instead of walking down to the classroom each time someone calls or trying to talk the person on the phone through an issue for the fortieth time that day, simply capture the instruction the first time and post it. Instantly, your custom professional development is now available via real-time search for the whole school or district (even up to complete courses with knowledge checks and certificates).
Support your school district’s Office 2010 migration with Office 2010 Training in KeyStone OnDemand
Part 1: End-User Support
This year I’ve been talking to many schools about Office 2010 and other Microsoft software migration.
One of the biggest challenges is the increased end-user support that has already overworked technical teams while dealing with strained budgets, reduced manpower and the host of technical support issues that come with any rollout of this magnitude.
First, real-time search results help teachers and educators find the answers they need right away, in the classroom or even at home. If they need to set up a parent-teacher meeting in Outlook 2010, animate a PowerPoint 2010 presentation for the classroom or even set up an Excel 2010 Pivot table showing student scores progress over the course of the year – all they have to do is search for the topic they need. With a choice of both instructor-led video and step-by-step instructions with screenshots that they can print out, learners of all levels can find training that fits their learning style.
Then, whether using the real-time search, or browsing through the complete beginner-to-advanced Office 2010 Training titles, each topic or lesson is tracked, giving the educator credit towards course completion, including a personalized certificate. Built-in exercises encourage users to practice what they’ve learned, and built-in knowledge checks provide instant feedback.
Teachers have 24x7 access throughout the year to the fully hosted solution, allowing them to browse the course at any time. Whether looking for answers to common problems like figuring out how to use the Backstage feature in Office 2010, or just brushing up on knowledge and learning a new skill, teachers can add to their professional development and find what they need without having to call the helpdesk.