12 Posts of Christmas. An image of an iPad surrounded by presents. Text on the iPad says 5 gold things.

12 Posts of Christmas. An image of an iPad surrounded by presents. Text on the iPad says 5 gold things.

Today is a special day. Every two hours from 09:00-17:00 we will send you a new post with information and advice on some of the most useful apps available for mobiles, desktops and laptops. Get ready and read on!

The infamous and notorious Office 365. A collection of office programs featuring the usual suspects, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote. This “brand” can really help you with productivity and you’ve probably used all (ed: or at least some) of these programs at some point in your life. That being the case I won’t waste your time with the details of what’s included in Office 365 but I will try to highlight some of the less obvious features and even some of the “perks” of these programs while working here at UoS.

Impact on your wallet:

FREE!!! Nothing, nada, not a penny has to be spent to use these features.

Where to find it:

Yes, you get them on your computer (probably already downloaded and installed), but did you know you can have them for free on your mobile devices as well? All you have to do are these easy to follow steps.

1. Go to the App Store / Google Play / your mobiles alternative
2. Search for the program you want, be it Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook. Note: Some programs are not available via mobile service
3. Download that app!
4. When you first open the app 1 of 2 things might happen
a. The app recognises that you are already a member of US and therefore have the rights to use the app in full
b. The app requires you to log in. Not: use your university CODE, not your usual email address, e.g. AAA1A11@soton.ac.uk / A.A.AARON@soton.ac.uk
5. Start using that app!

Key Features of Office 365:

I could spend days going over each individual program’s features, and if there is enough demand then I will look at some of them in more detail, but for this session, I will talk about the overall advantages of using the programs in the Office 365 suite.

You have them already! Like I said before, you probably already have these programs on your computer, Mac or PC, so why not have them on your mobile device as well? The download isn’t too large, with Word on iPhone being at 400Mb. The compatibility of doing or reviewing documents on your mobile becomes easier and more fluid. The UI (User Interface) on these apps (on mobile) is actually pretty good as well as giving you just enough power to do the majority of what you want to do without resorting to finding a PC.

What can I do with Office 365?

Sending documents to yourself still requires another app but there are some cool things you can do with these “mundane” applications. Here are a few things that might interest you.

Do a slideshow with OneNote

Have you got OneNote? Check. Do you have a projector? Check. Then you are ready to make your laptop (phones/tablets require a bit more messing around, which I will cover later, hold your horses!) an interactive idea space for brainstorming or saveable lecture notes.
All you have to do to get this started is click View > New Window to open a mirror page. Then, to get Full Page View, click in the double-headed arrow on the right. After that you can use the app as normal, allowing you to use features like the Pen as Pointer to highlight key notes, or writing down student (or team) suggestions and ideas.

HD Powerpoints

If you do a lot of lecture theatre presentations or conferences this can make a difference to the way you present your slides. Typically the default ratio of PowerPoint is 4:3 (LED TV style) but some new projectors can also use ratio 16:9 (1080p). What this basically means is that you can get rid of those annoying black bars on each side of the screen, bigger slides, better picture!
It’s a few steps but do it once and you might not go back. Go to Ribbon (the bar at the top) > Design > Slide Size > Custom Slide Size. Then set the slide size to On-Screen Show (16:9), other sizes should also be available.

Add-ins add everything

In all of these programs you now have the choice of… adding… Add-ins. These are normally independently created tools that give you almost unlimited choices to enhance a document or presentation. Add questionnaires, calendars, live polls, dictionaries, you name it and there is probably a tool for it. These Add-Ins can normally be found in the Insert tab and you can search for more Add-Ins by selecting store (ed: don’t worry they are mostly free!)

by Daryl Peel

All of the posts in this series

1 On the first day… a Post-it in a Plus app
2 What is Articulate Storyline?
3 Podcasting: Voice recorder Pro 7, Bossjock jr, Opinion
4 Padlet walls
5 AppBonanza
Office 365
PDF Expert and Adobe Acrobat Pro
Dropbox, Google Drive, etc
Alfred and Wox
6 Active learning using Panopto recordings
7 7 easy post-processing steps to get your photos to stand out
8 Wirecast play for live streaming
9 Panopto for student presentations and assessment
10 On the 10th day, get organised to keep all your lords a-leaping
11 Hear those pipers piping!
12 TikiTokis

The 12 days of Christmas – AppBonanza – 1. Office 365

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