In today’s workplace, there is no such thing as using only one program or software for your day-to-day. Especially at KRT, we use at least three different types: Slack, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Tableau, Google Chrome, and more. When a new update is released, it’s often a hit or miss on whether they help increase productivity. Testing these features requires patience to see if they actually contribute to efficiency. I’ve learned that not everyone shares the same thrill and excitement in testing out the newest features as I do. To save you time, I did the testing and research so you don’t have to! Here are some of the “greatest hits” or “hacks” from the last six months that can help you work more productively.

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Microsoft Outlook

  • Use Mention (@) – Instead of wondering who needs be a part of your email chain, use the @ with people within your organization. It will highlight the person’s name and automatically add them to the “To” line of your email.


  • The email notification can get old and distracting after you receive your tenth email within five minutes. If you need a break from that “ping,” you can turn off the sound notification easily by following these simple steps:
  • Bonus Tip: If you or your organization uses Gmail, I would recommend these hacks.

Microsoft Power Point

Skill levels can range from rookie to wizard when it comes to Power Point. Here’s a nifty new update from Microsoft that could save you time when coming up with new designs or updates to your decks.

  • PPT Designer – A lot of us work with standard templates, but sometimes we need to spice things up with something new. PPT designer uses AI to recommend design ideas, which is great for whenever you’re in a rut. Here’s a step by step guide on enabling designer, if you haven’t done so already.

Microsoft Excel

Excel can be a person’s favorite and/or most complex Microsoft Office tool. However, you can’t deny the versatility of this software that’s been around for 30 years! (Multiplan, the first version of Microsoft Excel was released on Windows in 1987.)

  • Maps – A feature that I used to associated strictly with Tableau, is now on MS Excel. Here’s a step by step guide and GIF to easily implement maps in your next national or international project.
  • For me, I use pivot tables almost daily. I noticed that I’d often use the same settings for many of the same data sets. With this update, you can set defaults, which could save you a lot of leg work in setting them up properly. Here’s the guide on setting it up.

There are tons of other updates – Microsoft continually updates Office 365. In previous iterations, updates were something you applied over time, and now updates are rolled out automatically (and sometimes without warning). If possible, take the time to learn them. Even if they’re not 100% useful for you, you can share them someone else. Make sure you periodically “sharpen your saw,” a phrase that comes from “7 habits of highly effective People” – always take the time to learn your toolkit and improve it.

Will you try these Microsoft hacks? Share your hacks and tips with us in the comments or on Twitter!