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5 reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

Is it worth taking advantage of the Free Upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft are offering Windows 10 as a Free upgrade for Windows 7/8 users. Why should you upgrade, is it really worth it? Windows 7 users are decidedly hesitant, after all, Windows 8 removed the Start Menu, Power Button and adjusted how individual Windows closed! Is Windows 10 something to be avoided or embraced? Should you Upgrade to Windows 10?

5 reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

We have come up with 5 reasons why you should, based on our experience from the Training Industry and as a Microsoft Partner. See our video below.

5 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

1 The Start Menu is back

Windows 7 users were outraged about the Start Menu changes in Windows 8, including the loss of the Power Button! Windows 10 has restored the Start Menu. It now only takes up the Full screen space when Windows 10 is used on a Tablet (Mode).

2 Cortana – Digital Virtual Assistant

Search is still at the core of Windows 10, but with the added power of Cortana. A truly digital Virtual Assistant, backed by the power of the Cloud. She can help you to search, manage your schedule and she’ll even remind you to leave earlier if there’s traffic. You may not wish to talk to her on you desktop, although that feature is available. Talking to your computer will still get you odd looks from coworkers.

3 Resized Windows

The ability to click on the X and close Windows is back, a relief to many desktop users frustrated by Windows 8.

4 Control Panel vs Settings

To adjust any setting in Control Panel in Windows 7, meant venturing into a maze of Icons. Microsoft have organised everything into logical groups any simply called it “Settings”. It’s now easier to connect a Bluetooth Mouse, adding a Printer will now take minutes instead of hours!

5 Desktop/Task Views

Windows will Snap when using the Windows Key and an Arrow key shortcut, it will then offer you other open Windows to snap to the other 50% of your screen. You can have more than 2, but this only really works on larger screens. As the majority of users work on only one screen, it can be hard to switch between open Windows/Programs while multi-tasking. Task View allows you to save the Window layout and assign it to different Desktop Views. This is going to be really useful for having Outlook open with Skype for Business, the two Windows I always have open.

We hope you found those 5 points helpful in assisting with your decision to upgrade to Windows 10. If you would like to get the most out of Microsoft Office, we can also help. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss your training requirements.

Microsoft Training – STL

MicrosoftTraining.net

 

 

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National Rail Strike – June 2015 – Latest News

Updated – Monday 1 June 2015

National Rail Strike Suspended!

The forthcoming industrial action for this week and the next has been suspended.

More information can be found here.

Again we would like to thank our customers, suppliers and our colleagues for going the extra mile and helping with contingency measures.  All this preparation has meant that were the strikes to go ahead we would have been ready to run all planned 21 training events during the strike days.

Updated – 29 May 2015

Industrial action due to affect National Rail services- 2 strikes on 4-5 June & 9 – 11 June 2015

The RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union have decided to strike over 24 hours from 5 pm June 4th to 5 pm June 5th and 48 hours from 5 pm June 9th to 5 pm June 11th.

As stated on our previous notice page, we are taking additional measures to ensure all our courses run on the days affected. As before we hope the strikes will be averted but will prepare regardless.

Our commitment – courses never cancelled

In the last 10 years we’ve only had 27 out of 12,364 courses disrupted!  As you can see it is a rare event and we are confident that our training delivery will not be disrupted with these latest rail strikes. We are going to great lengths and costs to ensure all our logistics run as well as possible.

As we have done in the past, should our contingency measures fail, we will reschedule the course with delegates agreement and offer a free course.

Your options:

  • Come along as planned safe in the knowledge we will be prepared
  • If you face travel disruption, you can reschedule your course, please see options and fees here.

We understand that should the strikes go ahead provision will be made by Network Rail for rail ticket refunds, please see links below.

Useful resources:

Our status page

Latest national rail strike information from Network Rail

Network Rail status page

follow #IndustrialAction

BBC – Network Rail workers to go on strike in June

Featured post

National Rail Strike – Latest News

UPDATE – 21 May 16:40

Planned industrial action has been suspended

Good news, the planned strike has been called off!

Many thanks to all our customers and staff for the support in ensuring we were prepared to deliver all our planned events!

Good news training team, you don’t have to spend Monday night in a hotel. 😉 enjoy your long weekend.

Regards

STL

Industrial action due to affect National Rail services on Monday 25 & Tuesday 26 May 2015

The RMT have announced that Network Rail workers are to stage a 24-hour national rail strike from 5pm on bank holiday Monday in a dispute over pay.

As with any potential disruption to our training schedule, we are taking additional measures to ensure all our courses run on the day affected (Tuesday 26th May). Whilst there is a possibility that the strike may be averted we will assume it is going to happen.

Our commitment – courses never cancelled

Again we are committed to running all our planned courses. In the last 10 years we’ve only had 27 out of 12,364 courses disrupted!  As you can see it is a rare event and we are confident that our training delivery will not be disrupted with this latest rail strike.

As we have done in the past, should the worst happen, we will reschedule the course with delegates agreement and offer a free course.

Your options:

  • Come along as planned safe in the knowledge we will be prepared
  • If you face travel disruption, you can reschedule your course, please see options here.

It is our understanding that should the strike go ahead provision will be made by Network Rail for rail ticket refunds, please see links below.

Useful resources:

Our status page

Latest national rail strike information from Network Rail

Network Rail status page

follow #IndustrialAction

BBC – Network Rail workers vote to strike…

Featured post

Best in Class Training – Be delighted not just satisfied

Our new homepage goes live.

(April 10 2015) We have brought some firsts and plenty of innovation to our industry over the years. This has led to frequent “flattery” from imitators in our market and we feel it is time to provide even more proof to our claims.

To this end you will find our new homepage features proven performance. You can not only drill-down into our own record on performance – you can see what our customers say. Check out independent reviews and browse over 40,000 customer feedback testimonials.

We will continue to set the bar for quality, value and transparency in our market and wish our imitators the very best of luck. We thank our customers for helping us make a difference as a training partner and look forward to forging new long term mutually beneficial relationships.

Kind regards

All at Best STL

 

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Four benefits of Moving to Office 365

By J. Peter Bruzzese

The recent global recession is still quite fresh in everyone’s minds. From an IT perspective it forced IT administrators to tighten their belts and hold off on upgrades of both hardware and software for quite some time.
The growth of “cloud” solutions (like Office 365) has provided IT teams with another option when considering new hardware and software. Here we’ll take a closer look at the features available, benefits and a key consideration when moving to Office 365.

What is Office 365, and why move to it?

The name is somewhat confusing because it appears to be the next flavor of the Office product suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc…).  In fact, Office 365 is many things, it is a cloud-based, hosted services solution for Office applications, email, collaboration, and more.
Exchange, SharePoint and Lync have moved from a traditional on-premise hosting to Microsoft datacenters (i.e.. their “cloud”). Instead of paying for the software upfront, you pay as a monthly/annual subscription for those services (hence the term Software as a Service or SaaS).

Office 365 has a variety of different packages to choose from and some of them offer the Office Suite as part of the subscription too.  If you choose one of these plans you can put the latest flavor of Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) on desktops/mobile devices.  And there are a variety of other services offered with Office 365 like OneDrive for Business, Yammer, Office 365 Video and more.

There are some key reasons why a move to Office 365 can benefit your organization from the perspective of an IT team getting ready to decide on-premises vs. cloud.  Let’s consider four benefits for moving to Office 365 and one key user consideration for IT administrators.

Four benefits of moving to Office 365:

No-Cost Server Infrastructure:  If you are looking to modernize your server-side solutions the cost of upgrading your existing infrastructure could be exorbitant.  Moving mailboxes to the cloud eliminates that concern and cost.  Microsoft will worry about the hardware and storage, and you can pay as you grow for easy scalability.

No More Upgrades or Fixes:  Much of the stress of an admin is handling fixes and upgrades for solutions to ensure they are patched properly and as secure as possible.  With Office 365 this is all handled for you.

Availability:  Microsoft provides a 99.9% SLA for availability.  Whereas on-premise you would have to have redundant servers on-site and additional servers in an off-site location to provide that level of availability, Microsoft has it all in place from day one to ensure your users have consistent access to their email and other services.

Services Offered:  As mentioned earlier, Office 365 is a mix of different services.  It’s quite amazing really when you consider all the different tools provided.  You can access the services through traditional means (Outlook connected to Exchange Online) or through browser-based connectivity (Yammer or SharePoint Online through your browser).

Upon logging into your portal you are offered a variety of tools to choose from, and the list is growing!  Note the options in the figure below.  OneDrive, Sites, Delve, Video, Office Online (Word/Excel/Point/OneNote) … offering a compelling price/features proposition.

collaborate_office_online

Office 365 App Launcher – benefits of moving to office 365

So we’ve covered four benefits of moving to Office 365, what could the key consideration be? Here it is…

Training

Take a user who has been on Windows XP with Office 2003 for the past 10 years.  Give them a new laptop running Windows 7/8 (v10 coming soon) and Office 2013.  Introduce the user to the new tools for communication and collaboration like Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and so forth.  Instead of praising your team the users vent frustration at the dip in performance as they struggle to process all the new upgrades.

Don’t do that to your people.  Going from the menu structure of legacy Office into the new ribbon interface alone will be an overwhelming task for some.  If you have gone with Windows 8, the new interface is quite a step change (even for experienced users).

Support your people.  You want to give them the latest and greatest and you want them to experience the productivity boost that should come with new hardware and software possibilities.

But you must do so through training first.

Manage the change for users through classroom training, with all the benefits of hands on exercises under the guidance and support of an experienced trainer.  Or even run workshop sessions BEFORE you put that new laptop or desktop in front of them with all the new bells and whistles.

And then you might want to provide 24/7/365 support training through a video portal, which perfectly complements any classroom based training. An eLearning portal with an easy to use interface and short searchable learning clips helps users improve and maintain performance.

We are certainly living in exciting times.  Cloud solutions like Office 365 are offering small-midsize business an opportunity to have enterprise grade solutions right at their fingertips, without all the server side heavy lifting being placed on the IT admin.  The end-users will love the new possibilities opened to them and the increase in productivity through new communication and collaboration tools.  Exciting times indeed!

J._Peter_Bruzzese J. Peter Bruzzese (Office 365 MVP) is the CIO of ClipTraining.com, providers of short, task-based video training through an online portal solution.  He is an internationally published author with over a dozen titles to his credit about Windows/Office/Exchange/etc.  He is a technical speaker for Microsoft and others.  He writes a weekly column for InfoWorld entitled “Enterprise Windows” and is a strategic technical consultant with Mimecast.  You can follow JPB on Twitter @JPBruzzese and email him at jpb@cliptraining.com

For information on eLearning services in the UK, ClipTraining partner and UK distributor, Best STL, can be emailed at info@microsofttraining.net

Further reading

Office 365 Training in the ClipTraining Library
Classroom based MS Office training

36.5 Office 365 Features That Will Boost Your Productivity
What’s In & What’s Out In Office 2013
A well-trained I.T. team: Your company’s secret weapon

 

What’s New in Excel 2016?

 

Whats new in Excel 2016

Here’s what’s New in Excel 2016

With the launch of Office 2016 in the Autumn of 2015, you may be wondering about the new features in 2016 and what’s changed. With Excel at the core of many businesses, it would help to have all of the new features explained. We have compared the different versions of Excel and come up with a quick overview of What’s New in Excel 2016.

Changes from Excel 2013

The main changes between Excel 2016 and 2013 are associated with the Business Intelligence (BI) features. They can be located on the Insert and Data tabs and include several new chart types, a Power Maps tool and a Forecast Sheet feature. There is also a new Get & Transform section for creating and working with queries.

The Tell Me box

‘Tell Me what you want to do’ on the Home ribbon is now available across Office 2016. Type what action you would like to take and you get some useful tips to help you get started. ‘Tell Me’ remembers what you have asked and further actions to try.


New Chart Types

On the Insert tab there are several new Chart Types available only in Excel 2016.

Waterfall
Box & Whisker
Treemap
Sunburst
Histogram – Pareto

Waterfall

Being able to create a Waterfall chart with one click will amaze anyone who has attempted to create such a chart in previous versions of Excel. It would have involved a lengthy work around using formulas, recolouring bars, white boxs and adjusting the scale.

Recap: A Waterfall Chart, sometimes called a ‘flying brick chart’ is a way of visualizing a series of positive and negative data such as monthly cash flows. The bars appear to fly or float between the start and end columns giving the impression of a waterfall or a bridge.

Suppose you have the following data and wish to display it in a Waterfall Chart:

What's New in Excel 2016? - Waterfall

 

With Excel 2016 you click in the data and choose Insert, Waterfall from the Waterfall and Stock Chart button.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Waterfall2

Some formatting is needed but most of the work is done.

See How to create a waterfall chart with Excel 2010

Treemap

This is a brand new chart type and a great way to visualize hierarchies of data.

Suppose you have PivotTable data based on car sales. A Treemap can’t be created directly from a PivotTable so you will have to copy as values to another location. Now click in the data and choose

Insert, Hierarchy Chart, Treemap

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Treemap3

Sunburst

Another way to display this type of data is with a Sunburst chart.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Sunburst

Box & Whisker

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Box Whisker

The Box & Whisker chart is used to show statistical information about a set of data. The line in the middle indicates the median value (middle value) while the bottom and top of the boxes represent the spread of the data from the first to the third quartile (25thpercentile to the 75th percentile). The lines extending vertically (whiskers) shows the spread of data outside this range.

Histogram

From the same data you can now easily create a Histogram chart.

 

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Histogram

Right clicking on the axis and choosing Format Axis allow you to change the number of bars (bins) or the bin width.

Pareto Chart

A Pareto chart displays a series of figures as a combination of a cumulative line chart and columns chart sorted in descending order.

Pareto Sorts your Bars: Highest first. This highlights which Bars have the biggest impact/return. This will influence your decision on where to assign your resources.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Pareto

To create a Pareto chart, click in the data and select

Insert, Recommended Charts, Pareto

 

Power Map

Now available on the Insert tab is Power Map. Click inside some data containing locations and a map is inserted onto a separate sheet as a new scene. Click the Add field button and Add Category to represent the data graphically.

The following graph can be created from data shown.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Map1

Click Layer Options to control bar thickness and height.

Power Map can also detect post codes. This UK map shows the location of training events based on post codes which have been hidden on this sheet.

Tip: To hide cells in an Excel worksheet Select the range of cells Right Click, Format Cells Select Custom and type ;;;””

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Map2

The pie charts represent the number of events broken down by each course.

The maps are initially inserted onto a new sheet but can be copied back to an Excel worksheet by selecting a copy image button.

With Power Map you can even create a video to show a series of changes to a map over time.

Forecast Sheet

New to Excel 2016 on the Data tab is Forecast Sheet. This automatically creates formulas to make a forecast of your existing data.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Forecast1 What's new in Excel 2016 - Forecast2

 

Suppose you have monthly sales pivot data for two years and wish to predict the next 12 months taking into account seasonal patterns if there are any. To create the sheet, click a cell in the table data and select:

Data, Forecast Sheet

In the dialog box set the Forecast end date and click Create.

Next you will see a new sheet with forecasted data and a graph including upper and lower levels of confidence for the forecast.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Forecast4

 

Time Grouping in PivotTables

When creating PivotTables in Excel 2016, data containing date fields the dates will be grouped automatically.

Opening up Excel Workbooks with the New Charts on an Older version

What happens if you are using Excel 2013 or 2010 and open an Excel 2016 workbook containing the new chart types or maps?

Rather than see the new chart you will see is a text box with a warning not to save your workbook into the older file format.

 What's new in Excel 2016 - Save 2013

You may need to PDF workbooks containing the new chart types or cut and paste them as pictures if you want people with previous versions of Excel to view them.

What’s new for Excel 2010 users?

There are many people currently using Office 2010 and for those considering upgrading there will be even more new features to explore. Previously only available as Add-ins, Power Pivot, Power Query and Power View can now be accessed directly from the Excel 2016 ribbon.

Those who make use of these Business Intelligence tools will be working in new ways with Excel Tables and Table connections. Others will discover Slicers can be used with Tables as well as with Pivot Tables and many will find useful and fun ways to use Data, Flash Fill.

We wish you a happy Excel 2016 upgrade!