Microsoft Teams is a lot of things.

It’s a video conferencing tool, a team messaging channel, and a tool for in-app co-authoring, just to name a few.

During the pandemic, the popularity of Teams skyrocketed.

You can think of Teams as a virtual office in the cloud. It’s a centralized hub where teams can communicate, collaborate, and manage tasks. There is also an external communication component to Teams.

You can use the app to video conference with anyone. You can also invite guests to a chat channel.

Here are some of the features of MS Teams:

  • Set Up Your Teams/ Departments
  • Add Team Members
  • Set Up Team Channels
  • Set Up Team Tabs
  • Schedule MS Teams
  • Training


Say Goodbye To Owning Microsoft Office

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

In the workplace, some would say there is nothing as important as ensuring your productivity. Working with computers is likely a part of your job to some degree. If you are working in an office setting, you likely spend a large amount of time on computers.

There is no doubt a difference in daily tasks between different fields, but there are also many similarities. No matter your industry, you are likely familiar with Microsoft Office programs. Excel, Word, and Outlook are the most commonly used software from the Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft Office is not cheap. Many businesses will use their current version until it is no longer supported. If 30 users need a new version of Office or a subscription, it has been more cost effective in the past to purchase a copy of the program to use for years until the software becomes unsupported.

This is all going to change. Recently, Microsoft made the announcement regarding the newest version of Exchange Server, their mail server platform.

“This is going to be a version of Exchange that will only be available with the purchase of a subscription,” said Greg Taylor, director of product marketing for Exchange.

This applies to Exchange server, but also applies to Office as they try to move to a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go service. Email hosting and all of your apps are now something you can’t own.

This can result in one of two things, depending on your business. It could be the perfect time to start moving your employees over to the month-to-month model if they aren’t already subscribed.

Alternatively, it can be a burden on someone who will need to switch many users to the pay-by-month model. Microsoft wants the recurring revenue generated in a subscription service, and they don’t mind forcing you into it.

While the announcement came originally involving Exchange server, the end result is the same: Microsoft will make you switch, and it won’t be a choice anymore. For Exchange, 2019 Exchange server will be the last in the line that you can purchase and own.

Once that is out of the support window, you would need to move your licensing to the new subscription model.

As this applies to Office as well, many people may worry about when the changes will need to occur. The changes will not need to be made any time soon if you just purchased, say, Office 2019. You will have a few more years (likely three to four, based on past end of support dates) before you have to pull the trigger.

However, users holding out with Office 2013 will have to make a decision a lot sooner as the security updates end.

The switch to a subscription model is for Microsoft’s benefit. Assuming you used your Office software for five years, you will end up paying more for the new subscription service over those five years.

On the other side of things, you will always have the newest version of Office available to you as every major update and every new version is included.

While it is not an immediate concern, you should start to consider what your Office needs are as time moves forward. Like the rest of the world, Microsoft is always changing.

What Are The Advantages Of Office 2019?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

As an IT service company, we get asked this question almost every day. Now that it’s available, everyone wants to know what Office 2019 is all about. Office 2019 provides a subset of features that Microsoft has been adding to Office 365 over the past three years.

Office 2019 is a local version of Office software, rather than cloud-based. It’s a perpetual release, meaning that you purchase the product once and own it forever instead of paying for a subscription or subscriptions to use it.

Who Will Benefit From Using Office 2019?

Although anyone can purchase Office 2019, this version has been designed for business users. It comes with volume licensing and is best for companies that don’t want to use the cloud-based version of Office. You can also install the Office 2019 app on all your mobile devices, where you’ll have access to its basic features. [Read more…]

10 Tips For Navigating Microsoft Excel

Learn 10 tips to improve your mastery of Microsoft Excel, including tricks for navigating, adding, deleting, renaming and grouping worksheets within a workbook.

Microsoft Excel has become a powerful tool used in businesses of all types. What started (and is still used) as an accounting tool, the product now is ever-present in offices around the world. Mastering some key functions in Excel can help your users work more efficiently.

Here’s a look at 10 top navigation tips.

Use the arrow
If you have lots of worksheets open (Excel lets you have as many as 1,000) in your workbook, it can be difficult to find the one you need. On the bottom left are two black arrows that can be used to scroll through the different worksheets to find the one you need. Click on it and it becomes the active sheet.

You can also use the Ctrl key with the arrows to move to the first or last sheet. Right-clicking on either of the arrows brings up a pop-up window with a complete list of your worksheets. Click on the name and brings you to that worksheet.

Use the shortcuts
The following shortcuts can save you time moving through your workbook:

• Ctrl + Page Down: Go to the next worksheet
• Ctrl + Page Up: Go to the previous worksheet

Right-click to manage worksheets
Right-clicking on any worksheet brings up a list of helpful options. Here you can quickly change the worksheet color, rename a worksheet, or copy or delete it.

Insert a new worksheet
There are four ways to add a new worksheet to your workbook.

• Right-click on any worksheet tab and select the Insert option
• Shift + F11
• Click on the plus sign in a circle on the bottom right of the tab listings
• Go to the Home menu, go to the Cells section, click on Insert and select Insert Sheet

Delete a worksheet
Right-clicking provides you with the option to delete a worksheet. If there’s data in the worksheet a warning will appear.

You can also go to the Home tab in the Cells group and click on Delete and select Delete Sheet. A word of warning about deleting sheets. You cannot undo a sheet deletion.

Rename a worksheet
There are three options, from slowest to fastest:

• Go to the Home tab, click on the Cells group and the Format option. You’ll see a choice to Rename Sheet. This will activate the name box for the sheet
• Right-click on the worksheet tab and choose the rename option
• Double-click on the worksheet tab

Add a tab color
Large workbooks can make it difficult to organize and find a needed worksheet. Adding color tags to the worksheet tabs is a big help. Right-click on the tab, select Tab Color and choose the shade you want.

Move a worksheet
This is a simple tip. To move a worksheet, click the tab and hold. A mouse pointer will appear and you can move the tab to the spot you want.

Copy a worksheet
When you need to copy a worksheet within the same workbook, copying and pasting is not the best option. The copied data often does not look the same and can require a lot of time to fix.

Another option is to again click and hold the tab you want to copy, and hit the Ctrl key. Move to the spot you want to add the copied worksheet and a new tab will be added.

Group worksheets
When you want to add headers and footers or formatting to multiple worksheets, Excel does not have an intuitive solution. Using the Grouping function lets you handle several key tasks that apply to more than one sheet.

These tips will accelerate how fast work is done and give your employees more confidence and control of their Excel work.

Time-Saving Tricks for Microsoft Outlook 2016

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Microsoft Office 365 offers a number of useful tools for today’s busy professionals including some new shortcuts for Outlook 2016. With so many companies now using Outlook as their major email program, Microsoft works to improve its operation with each annual update.

A number of the great features in this program are also found in other MS Office programs. For instance, if you’re familiar with Word, then learning how to use Outlook will be much simpler.

New Changes for Outlook 2016
Using Outlook 2016, you can do a lot more than send and receive emails. You can also manage your calendar, set appointments, schedule meetings, and create/ manage groups.

In addition to being able to set up various types of groups, you can set up groups in Yammer. Yammer has become a central place where teams can exchange files, get updates and have conversations with others. [Read more…]

The Latest Expansions To Office 365 Will WOW You!

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

The availability of productivity apps is astounding. Basic word processors that were the desktop staple haven’t been replaced, but have evolved from requiring installation from a CD-ROM to not even requiring a downloaded program file anymore!

Yes, Microsoft Word, the workplace word processing darling, is accessible online through subscription-based Microsoft Office 365, which has a multitude of integrated apps designed for the flexible workforce.

Create documents in Microsoft Word or spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and save them to SharePoint or OneDrive, send emails through Microsoft Outlook, design innovative presentations with PowerPoint, and the list goes on.

The list of apps that integrate with Office 365 expands every day! Considering Microsoft Office 365 now includes Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Flow, the possibilities are incredible. If you’ve not yet experienced either of these apps, you’re truly missing out. [Read more…]

The Reality Of Microsoft EOL Software

Scott Blake is a Senior Network Engineer with Tech Experts.

As in life, all good things come to an end. This fact is also true in the software world. When a software company decides to move on from outdated versions of its software they schedule an EOL or End of Life date.

This is set to allow businesses and home users time to plan and ready themselves to upgrade to the most recent versions.

With 90% of the world’s computers running some form of Microsoft software, no other company in the world has more of an impact when setting EOL dates than Microsoft.

From Office software suites to operating systems for desktops and servers (and even cross platforms such as Office for Apple-based computers), Microsoft software is everywhere.

This alone is the number one reason for preparing and upgrading before an EOL date is upon you. There is no greater example of this as when the EOL date for Windows XP arrived.

Companies that made the migration to Windows 7 well in advance were able to test their company software and hardware, as well as communicate with their vendors to secure working upgrades to both. Those that didn’t suffered productivity and business loss due to unneeded and unplanned downtime to make the necessary upgrades and changes.

But for the basic home user, this was a time of doubt. Many users didn’t want to (or have the means to) replace all of the outdated hardware or software.

Spending several hundred dollars on new software and hardware just to be able to receive security updates and patches seemed a little excessive to most home users.

However, keeping security and your data safe is another reason to make sure you make migration plans.

In most cases when an EOL date has come and gone, so has any and all support for your software and hardware. Other software and hardware vendors will soon follow suit and discontinue support for their products that are installed on systems running non-supported software, including operating systems.

Anti-virus software companies are usually the first to discontinue their support. After all, if the operating system is no longer receiving updated security patches, it becomes difficult to continue to support their software.

Computer systems running EOL software will become major targets for hackers and malicious malware. Your personal data will be at risk.

The truth is it’s not the intent of companies like Microsoft to be malicious when ending support for their products.

No matter how popular they may be throughout the world, it’s a business decision. For any company to grow, they must keep developing and growing their products.

This development and growth is expensive and requires a large percentage of their resources. Continuing to support outdated software and hardware would limit these resources.

This would cause development overhead to rise and, in turn, make that $39 inkjet printer cost $89 or raise the price of that $119 operating system to $199.

By ending support and moving forward, companies such as Microsoft are able to develop new and exciting hardware and software for both the largest of companies and the smallest home user while keeping prices affordable to all.

Some important future EOL dates to keep in mind:

July 15, 2015
The end for support for Microsoft Server 2003 and 2003 R2

April 10, 2017
The end of support for Windows Vista (all versions)

October 10, 2017
The end of support for Microsoft Office 2007 (all versions)

January 14, 2020
The end of support for Server 2008

October 13, 2020
The end of support for Microsoft Office 2010 (all versions)

Office 365 Or Office 2013: Which Is Right For You?

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
You’ve probably heard a lot of things in the news about Microsoft’s Office 365.

Let’s explain the difference between Office 365, and the traditional version of Microsoft Office you’re used to using on your computer.

Standard versions of Office 2013 are licensed or boxed product. You can purchase a license to this product from any local or online retailer.

Office 365 is a subscription based product. You purchase this license either monthly or annually. You can also use this product on more than one computer and it is transferrable to other computers. This license is not transferrable to another user.

You should know right away both versions of Office will not run on any Windows Operating system prior to Windows 7.

The Office 2013 license is very straight forward: You simply install Office like you always have. However, unlike previous Office versions, you cannot remove it and install it on another computer.

The Office 365 license is much more malleable, and is licensed and sold by version. Office 365 comes in four versions: Home Premium, Small Business, Midsize Business, and Enterprise. Office 365 is licensed per user.

Office 365 Home Premium comes with Word, Excel, Power Point, One Note, Outlook, Publisher, Access, 20 GB of Skydrive cloud storage, and 60 minutes of calling if you have a Skype account. This version is not available to businesses.

Office 365 Small Business includes everything Home Premium has plus Microsoft Lync and business email which will offer 25 GB per month, and many other features.

Office 365 Midsize Business requires an annual commitment. This version will allow you to have up to 300 users. This has everything Small Business has plus Microsoft InfoPath.

Office 365 Enterprise also requires an annual commitment, but there are no limits as to the number of users you can have.

This version has everything that Midsize Business has plus Unified Discovery, Data Loss Prevention, and Role-based access.

Unified Discovery will allow you to search across Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync.

With Role-Based access you can control access and assign it to different groups.

You can create data loss prevention polices and templates for protecting sensitive information. These features will aid in keeping your business compliant with various regulatory requirements.

Choosing your version of Office is pretty straightforward. If you’re a light Office user, or only use a few features of Office then Office 2013 is best for you. You can choose which version you need based on the Office tools that you use.

If your company uses many features of Office, and you want to avoid large upfront software costs, then Office 365 is your best bet.

You will still be able to use Office 365 with no Internet connection. It does require an Internet connection to install and sync, however, and of course for email access.

You can access Office from anywhere using Office on Demand, which is not full-featured, but will allow you to read and edit documents.

Office 365 is the best bet for small and growing companies. You can add and remove new users and computers.

When you upgrade computers you will be able to remove Office from the old computer to install on a new computer.

You will also get more features like business email and calendars, a public website, team sites, web conferencing, and instant messaging.

If your company needs any help making a decision about which version of Office would best suit you, or if you would like help installing and configuring Office, please give us a call. We’d be happy to help.

What To Expect As Office 2013 Releases To The Public

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
The arrival of the new Office Suite is upon us. There are myriad of new features and experiences in Office 2013.

A new Office suite means there are upgrades, new features and tools to learn the locations of. Thankfully Microsoft has done their homework before putting out this Edition of Office.

Microsoft Office will be released later this month. Microsoft has paid attention to what customers want while developing this suite without sacrificing what they need.

Microsoft has mildly changed the user interface to a “Windows 8 Style theme with the option to make slight customizations to make your Office experience more personal.

Office will be available in either a local installation or through Microsoft’s Office 365 service for a monthly fee.

Microsoft has integrated the ability to sign in directly to Office using your Microsoft Account credentials.

This is one of the ways that Microsoft has integrated Office with the cloud. Logging into Office allows you to save any file from Office directly to your Microsoft SkyDrive with the cloud-storage included with all Microsoft Accounts.

You can also add additional locations for online storage or share your documents directly to social sites like: Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Another new aspect of Office is the ability to integrate apps into all products in the Office suite.

You may have been familiar with this feature if you have used Outlook 2010. You may now add apps to one of the programs in the Office 2013 suites.

Also when you launch any one of the programs in the Office suite you will now open a landing page that will ask you what type of document that you wish to create from a blank document to anyone of the many templates included.

Microsoft has released the Application Programming Interface (API) for Office 2013, this will allow software developers to write applications that will integrate directly into Office.

This will give you the ability to customize Office to any company’s specific needs. The developer then has the ability to publish and sell their apps on the Office and SharePoint store.

This gives Office 2013 a flexible lifecycle since the software will be constantly growing and integrating new useful features.

In Office 2013 there is a tool available to measure your usage across the entire Office suite. This will be useful if you need to identify the most used solution or to create macros to increase the workflow that a user can handle.

One of the largest improvements in Office is within Word. Microsoft has finally included in its own software the ability to read, modify and create Protected Document Files (PDF). Until now you were required to download a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader to view PDF files.

Office has been modified to create a more stable user experience. Since you now sign into Office it will remember your preferences, settings, and files.

This will make your Office experience similar on every computer or device that you use. As long as you have saved your documents to the cloud you will be able to access them from any computer with an Internet connection.

If you are interested in upgrading to Office 2013 then please contact us. We can give you a better idea if upgrading is the best option for you or your organization. We can also help you plan and implement the migration if you choose to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013.

Microsoft Office 365: Work Anywhere, Anytime?

Microsoft is coming out with a new product called “Microsoft Office 365.”

This product is being pushed more for the business market and not towards home users as much as their popular “Microsoft Office Suite.”

Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription based web application that essentially gives you your copy of Microsoft Office anywhere you are and at any time, using Internet Explorer and a web connection.

This software is powered by Microsoft’s already popular “SharePoint” collaboration application.

Office 365 doesn’t give you access to all of the applications available in the traditional Office suite – for instance, Outlook isn’t included in the package – yet.

Microsoft Office 365 includes Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft OneNote, and something Microsoft is calling Microsoft Outlook integration.

Outlook integration links a local copy of Outlook that is installed on your PC to the Office 365 suite in the cloud.

One of the best features in Office 365 is the ability to share files and documents on the go through a web interface that acts like a centralized server for your company.

This connection is 100% secure with encrypted data transfers and is password protected allowing only those who know the password to access to your company’s data and files.

This gives you access to the documents that you were working on in the office while you are on the road. And, anyone else in your organization that needs access to your files can use them anytime, anywhere.

Another advantage of using a web based application like this one is that, since it is a web hosted application, you don’t need to install any software.

You can access your documents from any computer with and Internet connection using just your password. The ability to store and work on your documents anywhere doesn’t come without some caveats.

Although Microsoft guarantees 99.9 percent uptime, most Internet service providers don’t. If your entire organization was deployed on the Office 365 platform and your company’s Internet connection went down, you could very well experience a bout of low productivity until everything came back online.

Office 365 and other cloud services are undoubtedly the wave of the future.

If you’d like to explore some cloud solutions for your organization, please give the office a call at 734- 457-5000.