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About to try the Office 2016 preview - which will be interesting.  Have had trouble trying to install power Query for excel - but that is now included so solves that problem.

In the meantime have been looking at embedding word documents - partly because I am now having to report progress in projects in different places so thought embedding a updates and next steps into multiple documents might help - turns out it is complicated and doesn't work well, particularly in my complex filing system - so looking at extending my use of onenote and linked notes in that to see if that will do it.

Will keep you posted about Office 2106 and the onenote expansions.

Have done no more work on excel which is frustrating - but too much on!

Apart from just having too much to do I have found that my use of outlook task has crumbled under the strain - an ever accumulating list of overdue tasks and more being added by the day!

Having a day's leave today and the weather preventing work on the garden I have been reviewing it and realize that I need to separate out tasks from next steps in projects and manage them separately. That way I only have the next step of a project in outlook rather than the whole list unless I am scheduling a task for a specific period. Future actions I will keep in a project plan in onenote - probably tagged as to do.

I will need to go back to doing proper weekly reviews but that will have other benefits. While I am reorganizing around this - the other aspect is to improve my management reporting - another of those annoying modern necessities.

On that point I have a project at the back of my mind about a collaborative course on the constructive management of modern organisational life - In and Against the Modern Organisation - I wonder if anyone would be interested?

Trying out the Outlook preview app on android, which is developing quite fast and I have moved over totally from my previous app. It is interesting how it has features not avaliable on the normal version, like the ability to insert a number of optional times to meet into an email, together with the standard inserting a calendar.

My friend +Sandra Sinfield commented on my first post - referred to stepping back from e-learning to think about Office.  I think the way forward for many academics is to move forward with both.  What I find exciting about the new developments from Google and Microsoft in on-line document tools is that they break down that distinction even more.

For some years I have been working with academics who do not see themselves as doing e-learning but are interesting improving their work effectiveness. What I stress is that many of the tools that help me to be effective - also enable me to share things with a variety of audiences, from my calendar for arranging meetings to my current documents, bookmarks, reading etc.

Often I use blogs for purely selfish reasons - they are a very effective way of storing information - sharing is an added extra - or is it the other way round, I forget.

As microsoft develops its on-line tools it is catching up with google.  One area of this is the on-line survey tool.  You can set up a simple survey and the results appear in a spreadsheet.

This may be the solution to enabling people to register for my CPD programme and other admin functions.

I would like to get a copy of the form by email as a notification - and am looking into that.

Am learning how to use pivot tables as part of that - very useful, turns a spreadsheet into a simple database.

Since the College where I work has instigated a managed desktop strategy I have had to move over to using microsoft office where previously I have used a variety of tools. This blog is a reflective account of the development of my use of office and other MS tools.

In the past I use gmail and activeinbox as my email and task management system (on the basis that emails are tasks and need to be managed as such.  Some time ago we were banned from using Gmail for work and so over the last couple of years I moved initially to Thunderbird but have now moved to Outlook.

Outlook

I now use outlook for mail, calendar and tasks.  In order to make that work for me I spent some time adjusting the views in tasks.  I use the flagging of emails to add to my to do list.

Email

Outlook works well, address books a bit unreliable as I have my personal contacts and the College address book and it is not clear which is searched for autocompletion of addresses.
Tagging email as tasks works well. 
I still use Followupthen.com to out emails off for a while, and to remind me if I don't get a response to an email.

Calendar

Outlook works well.  I like the way in which I can send a copy of my calendar in an email when arranging a meeting.

Tasks

Outlook works well - although I would like a hierarchical system - although my onenote solution works well and allows for flexibility. 

Onenote

I moved my reflections from evernote to onenote.  Onenote is more structured and I find myself using it more as a bucket for information (my approach to tie management  is influenced by GTD - bucket is a GTD term).

I find it so useful I find myself needing to avoid using it for everything and overloading it!

I like the links to Outlook tasks and for projects have a task list structure in a project management type structure on Onenote and then make each line a task in outlook.

I share some note books with colleagues.

I use the link with Outlook Calendar to make meeting notes for most of my meetings.

I am increasingly using tables and linking them to excel spreadsheets to maximise their use.

Onedrive

I am waiting for the College to set up Onedrive for Business which apparently they will be doing.  In the meantime I am using a personal accounts to:
  • make my current documents available on all devices (we have been using Dropbox at work so I have linked the two using cloudhq.net to syns the two - but we are giving up dropbox and that will cause problems).
  • sharing documents is easy
  • embedding documents into the VLE works very well
  • the online excel survey tool is very good and has suggested a solution to my scheme record keeping problem - will post on that later
Thats enough for a first post!
I will post again on what I am trying to do and what I find works and doesn't.

I have now moved this blog to my wordpress site where it sits under the category Academic practice/using microsoft office