7 Microsoft Office Tips 

The world’s personal computers all run Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Likewise, many professional lives revolve around Microsoft Office. What was once simply Microsoft Office apps has ballooned into a huge ecosystem. Microsoft Office 2016, the latest version of Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and more, is joined by an increasingly large line-up of mobile apps and services that attempt to help everyone be more productive.

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Here are some basic Microsoft Office tips to get you started or better acquainted with the widely used solutions for creating documents, managing data and communication.

You Can Rent Office Instead of Owning It with Office 365

The biggest hurdle that Microsoft has always faced with Microsoft Office is its price. Simply put, the world is now used to free and cheap software. Buyers of new PCs almost never expect that they’ll need to pay more than $100 to get a basic copy of Microsoft Office 2016. In fact, most people don’t even realize that Microsoft Office isn’t something that comes with Windows for free.

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Read: What is Office 365 – 3 Things to Know

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This is where Office 365 comes in. Office 365 turns Office into a subscription service. Essentially, you’re able to rent Microsoft Office – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Outlook and Publisher for as little as $6.99 a month for a single person. Office 365 also has a more expensive family plan that starts at $9.99 and includes access for 5 different users.

Consider Office 365 as a back up plan or temporary fix if you aren’t comfortable paying for Office 2016 fully now, but would like to in the future. You can use it as your main way of getting Office too, but know that it stops working if you decide to stop paying.

Pay Attention To What’s Included

Office for Android tablets.

Office for Android tablets.

If you’re sticking to Office 2016, it’s important for you to understand what you’re getting. Office 2016 comes in different versions. Some apps are exclusive to some versions. Others are available in every version. Here’s a breakdown.

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Office 2016 Home & Student can only be installed on a single PC or Mac. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are all included. Office 365 Home and Personal include these apps, plus Outlook, Publisher Access, Office Mobile access, 1TB of storage and an hour of Skype calling to landline phones. When the next version of Office arrives, Office 2016 users won’t get a free upgrade to it. Office 365 users will, provided that their subscription is still active.

Office 2016 Home & Business includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook and can only be used on a single PC, despite its $206.99 price tag on Microsoft’s website.

Office Mobile is Available Everywhere

How to Use Microsoft Office on iPhone (20)

Office Mobile is a relatively new addition to the Office line-up. Divorced from Office 2016, these apps allow users to take most of their Microsoft Office experience with them on a smartphone or tablet. The first of these new versions to appear was made specifically for the iPad. Since then, they’ve spread to Android and Microsoft’s own Windows.

The Office Mobile apps don’t include every feature of Microsoft Office 2016, but do pack each app’s basic functionality. Users can read as many documents, view presentations, or edit as many spreadsheets as they want with Office Mobile. Editing a document, presentation or spreadsheet is free in Office Mobile, provided that your device’s screen size is smaller than 10.1-inches. Any bigger and you need an Office 365 subscription to get the apps working.

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Browse Office Templates To Find Something That Works Better For Your Projects

Even those that are well acquainted with Microsoft Office often skip past anything involving Templates. Simply put, most people would rather create a blank document from scratch built specifically for their project. That makes sense on some level.

On another level, you’re wasting time formatting and fixing when you could already be finished creating your document. The Office Mobile apps and Office 2016 all offer templates that have been tested in the real world. Download them and change them to your liking, but don’t ignore them. You can browse Office Templates on the web or directly from Office 2013 and Office 2016.

Use Office Online In a Sticky Situation

The mobile apps and Office Online have much less features than the desktop apps that users get with an Office 365 Subscription.

The mobile apps and Office Online have much less features than the desktop apps that users get with an Office 365 Subscription.

Sometimes, you’re out of options. Maybe you’re on a computer that’s owned by someone else. Maybe all the allowed installs of your Office 365 account are taken up by other devices. No matter the reason, Office Online is the ultimate backup plan.

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Available free through the web, Word Online, PowerPoint Online and Excel Online allow you to collaborate, edit and create documents absolutely free. It then saves them automatically to your OneDrive account or gives you the option to download them when you’re back on your personal PC. It’s perfect for computer labs and study rooms where there might be a PC, but you don’t have time or aren’t allowed to go installing applications and extras.

Head to OfficeOnline.com to use Microsoft Office Online.

Sync to OneDrive and add a Microsoft Account

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Holding Office 2016 together with Office Mobile and Office Online is a big task. You could manage all of your files individually, or you could just use a single Microsoft Account and let OneDrive take care of everything.

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service. Users get 15GB of storage free to keep documents, pictures, videos and more. Once uploaded, the service handles all of the leg work. You don’t have to worry about having multiple versions on different PCs that could get out of sync. You don’t have to worry about carrying a flash drive with your latest documents loaded on it either.

You don’t have to settle for OneDrive if you don’t want to. Many Office apps support Dropbox’s cloud storage services too.

Take Advantage of Office Discounts

If you’re in school or teach at a school, don’t forget to take advantage of the Education Discounts that Microsoft offers through the Microsoft Store.

Office University unlocks four years of Microsoft Office 365 for $75. Office Home & Student 2016 is just $134.99, not the $149.99 it usually sells for. Note that there are systems in place to ensure that you are a student or teacher.

Good luck with Office 2016 and Microsoft’s entire suite of Office apps.