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If you were to guess, how many people would you say use Microsoft Office? According to Microsoft, the number is over a billion. While the majority of these users tend to stick with the big three – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – there are other programs included in Office bundles that are equally useful. Take OneNote for example, which is great for taking notes and so much more.

So what is so great about OneNote? Here are five things you may not know about this program:

1. It can do math!

If you are in a meeting where figures are flying fast and furious, or you are struggling with some math and have OneNote open, you can use this program to help. Simply enter the numbers into any blank line in a note, add an = sign and hit the spacebar: e.g., (4587×2)-(3900×4)=. The answer should pop up right beside the formula. If it doesn’t, try using different symbols like the asterisk instead of x.

You can also insert more complex equations by clicking on the Insert tab, selecting Equation followed byInsert New Equation. You can then select, draw or even type the symbols to create your equation.

2. There are some great templates

By default, new notes are created using a white background, or ‘paper’ as it is called in OneNote. However, you don’t have to stick with a white background, as there are actually a plethora of templates you can choose from in order to make your notes stand out.

To change the template click on the Insert tab and select Page Templates. A menu will open on the right side of the screen with the different templates to apply to the note. For some users, the templates may be too much. Try looking at the Insert tab and you will be able to select the page color and the lines.

3. It’s also a great recorder for meetings

If you are in an important meeting and don’t want to miss anything, you can actually use OneNote to record proceedings. The first thing you will want to do is to create a new note and enter the details of the meeting. Then press the Insert tab and select Record Audio. After the meeting is finished, you can stop the recording and it should be saved in the note.

While the audio is recording, you can make small notes that should put a play button beside it. When you press the play button, it should start the recording at the time you made the note.

4. You can access it on almost any device

Many times when you are heading to meetings or appointments, you probably don’t want to take your laptop with you so you can take notes. Luckily, OneNote is available as an app for Windows Phone, Android, iPhone and iPad devices. If you log in with your Microsoft account, any notes you create will be synced and available on any device. Check out the OneNote site for links to the apps that you can download and install on your device.

5. It’s easy to share notes with your colleagues

So many business tasks are now collaborative, you will likely need to share notes from time-to-time. With some note apps this can be a bit of a chore, but on OneNote it’s actually quite easy: Simply press Filefollowed by Share and then Get a Sharing Link. This will generate a link that you can send to people you want to collaborate with. When you press Get a Sharing Link you will be able to set whether people will be allowed to just view or edit your note.

If you choose to allow others to edit your notes, they will be allowed to change everything and have changes sync across all versions of the note in their own version of the OneNote app or in their browser. This makes it a great tool for collaboration.

Looking to learn more about using OneNote in your office? Contact us today to see how our solutions can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

5 steps to stop multitasking

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Established small and medium business owners often have to deal with obstacles along the way, such as their sales and profits levelling off, or their companies not growing as fast as they had in the past. These are common issues that many businesses face. While it can be tough to break through this period of stabilization, there is one tactic that could help: Analyzing your previous data to spot patterns that can help shed light on how your business is doing.

In order to move your business forward and grow, you should analyze and try to interpret the data in your organization. This includes everything from previous financial statements, year-on-year sales figures and numbers, and even KPIs or estimated Vs actual figures. By looking into this data, you will eventually begin to find patterns which can be useful in not only helping you figure out the current state of your company, but in identifying where it is going.

Why should you analyze data for patterns?

Most experts agree that there are four reasons businesses should be analyzing their data:

  • You can better evaluate past performance.
  • You can assess current status.
  • You can more accurately predict future potential.
  • You can make better decisions that will maximize profits and resources.

Essentially, when you track and analyze your data you should be able to spot potentially important patterns that can allow you to make better decisions, quicker, and usually with more accuracy. It is the analysis of patterns that also makes up an important part of Business Intelligence.

What types of patterns should you look for?

Many small to medium businesses generate a wide variety of data, and it can be a challenge to narrow down what data types and patterns to look for. To start with, many businesses focus on three main patterns:

  1. Industry comparisons – By looking at the financial information from other companies in your industry, you can detect overall industry performance and identify any anomalies. For example, if some companies have increased sales and profits, while others are static or decreasing, the more successful businesses may be doing something that you can also adopt in order to improve your sales.
  2. Actual vs planned performance – By looking at your actual and planned sales you can see how the company is doing e.g., were sales lower than expected? If yes, you can begin to look into why. When compared year-over-year you should be able to see patterns emerging that help you resolve issues or take advantage of new opportunities.
  3. Trend analysis – This is comparing current and past performance with the aim of finding out where or how your business has changed. Some examples of patterns are how sales are trending, how profits are doing, and cash flow. From here, you can determine how differences have occurred and what corrections are needed.

How do you analyze data and identify patterns?

Many businesses rely on spreadsheet software, such as Excel, to store, manipulate, and visualize data, to ultimately spot patterns. But this requires a fair amount of effort to establish and maintain, and as the spreadsheets grow, operations can slow down.

One option many businesses explore is utilizing Business Intelligence software, which allows businesses to easily track data and identify patterns, among other uses. There are a wide variety of programs, so if you are looking to begin tracking data and analyzing patterns, try contacting us today to see what solutions we have for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Published on 17th October 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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