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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

 

 

Featured post

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

 

Featured post

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 Visio 2016

What’s new in Visio 2016

new-in-visio-2016

What’s new in Visio 2016

Believe it or not, Visio has been around for 20 years! Things have certainly moved on and improved since the first launch. Now, we are eagerly awaiting the release of Visio 2016. In this blog post, we shall be looking at what will be new in the next version.

Tell Me

The first new feature is found across the entire Office 2016 suite, namely the Tell Me bar in the ribbon. Here, users can type in search items or topics to quickly find features and methods to use in Visio 2016.

Tell me

What’s new in Visio 2016

There are a few improvements on already great tools found in the 2013 version of Visio. The first of these is improved shapes. Changes have been made to the following stencils:

  • Organisation chart
  • Network
  • UML
  • Database
  • Workflow and Sharepoint Workflow
  • Timeline
  • Basic Shapes

Themes

Next, updates have been applied to themes and shape effects, while a new feature has been made available, namely Quick Styles, which enables the user to give shapes a more professional look.

New Themes

What’s new in Visio 2016

Co-Authoring

Thirdly, co-authoring allows more than one user to work on a drawing at the same time. On-screen icons show you when someone else is making changes to a drawing. Commenting has also been updated. Comments can be made on individual items and threads let you make multiple comments about a particular shape.

Collaboration

What’s new in Visio 2016

Content refresh in Visio

The Building Plan and Electrical stencils have been refreshed with new shapes so you have more variety to choose from.

Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio

Now enjoy easy access to the Visio Shape Panel using your keyboard. F6 cycles into the shape panel, TAB cycles through the different sections of the shape panel. Arrow keys allow users to navigate between the individual elements. Ctrl + TAB will allow users to quickly switch between STENCILS and SEARCH views.

Quick data linking in Visio

You can link a Visio diagram to Excel data, and then transform your diagram into a dynamic dashboard.

Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files

Visio files now offers Information Rights Management (IRM) features, which provide persistent online and offline protection of e-mail messages and attachments, documents and diagrams. Now you can protect sensitive information such as confidential product information, financial and sales process visuals, research and patent information and customer or employee data that live in Visio diagrams. Because people can now access their files from just about anywhere, large amounts of potentially sensitive information can suffer from information leakage can be a serious threat to organizations. To help prevent information leakage, protect your Visio diagrams with the new Information Rights Management (IRM) features.

 

What’s new in PowerPoint 2016

What’s New in PowerPoint 2016

What's new in PowerPoint 2016

What’s new in PowerPoint 2016

If you are currently using Powerpoint 2013, you will know what a big improvement it is on earlier versions, with some great new features such as the ability to insert pictures and videos directly from websites such as Bing Images and YouTube, and the Merge Shapes tool which allows you to create custom shapes using two or more existing shapes. It is also possible for people to co-author presentations in the 2013 version if you have SharePoint or Office Online. Another improvement is increased functionality in Presenter View.

Well, news from Microsoft is that a new version of Office will be released during Autumn 2015. Microsoft call it Office 2016. There is currently a preview version available for download, which will expire when the official version is released. Microsoft provide a product key for those who wish to download this trial version. The link is:

https://products.office.com/en-us/office-2016-preview

We have had a look at the applications included in Office 2016 and here are some of the new features to be found in PowerPoint 2016:

Tell Me Box

The most obvious new feature is a box in the ribbon which says: “Tell me what you want to do…” This saves you the time you would normally use to look for a specific function within the Ribbon. You can type what you’re looking for in the Tell Me box at the top right corner of the Ribbon, and with “word-wheeling”, which enables results as soon as you start typing, every keystroke refines the results so that you can click on what you’re looking for as soon as you see it.

For example, when you want to change the layout of your presentation, simply type “layout” and Tell Me will give a view of the different slide layouts available. Also, when you click in the Tell Me box, you’ll also see a list of the last five commands you ran from within Tell Me, saving you time getting to the feature you want to use.

Ppt Screen

Real-time co-authoring in PowerPoint

You can now access the presentation sharing function by clicking on the “Share” button next to “Sign in” to the right of the ribbon tabs. Note that in order to share a presentation, it has to be saved to a cloud server or a shared drive. In PowerPoint 2016 you will be able to collaborate on a presentation in real-time. This feature will have built-in technology which simplifies resolving conflicts when co-authoring. You can choose between two versions of the conflicting slides, your changes or others’ changes, instead of sifting through the individual conflicts.

Quick Shape Formatting

This feature increases the number of default shape styles by introducing new “preset” styles in  PowerPoint. The preset styles allow you to choose the intensity of the colour you want to apply, ranging from colouring just the border to filling the shape with very intense colouring.

Presets

Save As Improvements

These improvements streamline the saving process for new files by enabling you to pick a location in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or on your local machine, provide a file name, and then click Save. Saving a file is now as easy as creating one, and it can all be done in the Backstage in PowerPoint.

Insights for Office – Smart Lookup

Already available in Word and Outlook, this is now available in Excel and PowerPoint and helps you learn more about your content by bringing you precisely the right information in context of what you are reading or writing about. With information from a variety of sources like Bing Snapshot, Wikipedia, Bing image search and Oxford dictionary, you can do anything from a quick look up to a detailed exploration without leaving the Office application. Smart Lookup can be accessed by right clicking a word or phrase, through the Review tab on the ribbon, or via the Tell Me box. Insights is powered by Bing and uses the selected text and some surrounding content to get contextually relevant results.

Mexico

Tabs and Ribbon Colours

Joy of joys, PowerPoint 2016 has some great application colour schemes built into Account settings. You can choose from colourful, dark gray, black or white. A big improvement on 2013! Below is a view of the dark gray colour scheme applied to the PowerPoint user interface.

Colours

Touch screen friendly

You may have noticed the “Double tap” suggestions inside placeholders on the slides in this article. This means that PowerPoint 2016 is designed as much for conventional PC’s as it is for tablets and other touch screen devices able to run Office 2016.

New Chart Types

In addition to the existing charts available to use in PowerPoint, there are five new chart types in 2016: Treemap, Sunburst, Histogram, Box & Whisker and Waterfall. These will of course all be compatible with Excel 2016.

Charts

Embedding video code

PowerPoint 2016 now has an easy-to-use and more reliable tool to embed video code links from websites such as YouTube. Simply copy the Embed code from the website, then click Insert – Video – Online Video. Paste the code in the box next to “From a Video Embed Code”. See below.

embed

Apart from these new features, PowerPoint 2016 retains all the tools which have made the previous version great.