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Taking construction to new heights with Office 365

Today’s post was written by Patrick Wirtz, Innovation Manager at The Walsh Group. The chief innovator at a large-scale construction company untethered himself from his desk and now keeps the lines of communication open, regardless of his location. Read about how he uses Office 365 and Office 365 ProPlus to share ideas through easy access to information and resolve issues from anywhere. I didn’t set out to get involved in construction. As a technologist, I could have ended up in just about any industry, but I took an internship at The Walsh Group 13 years ago and have never looked back. The Walsh Group is a Chicago, Illinois–based firm that handles general contracting, construction management, and design services for large-scale projects like airports, bridges, and highways. As Innovation Manager, my job is to implement new processes and technologies in a continuous effort to improve quality and trim timelines. My role includes identifying opportunities for improvement, researching and selecting the solutions that best fit our particular needs and business culture, and supporting my colleagues as they incorporate the innovations into their work practices. The efficiencies I strive to achieve may come from advanced building materials and computer-assisted construction techniques. They also result from providing ways for employees to work smarter, which is what we did when we adopted Microsoft Office 365 and Office 365 ProPlus. The move to Office 365 about a year ago transformed my daily work experience. There’s no such thing as a typical day in my line of work, and that’s what makes Office 365 so important. It gives me the flexibility to leave my desk behind and be out where I need to be, because wherever I am my tools and data are there, too. Of course, people say that about other cloud-based tools, but nothing else I saw provided the same enterprise-class capabilities, service, and security as Microsoft. We knew about Google’s offerings, but they seemed subpar to us. Aspects like authentication just weren’t where we needed them to be, and Google didn’t provide the integration with cloud-based Microsoft Office tools. I mean, did we really want to take Word and Excel out of employees’ hands? It just didn’t make sense to go with Google. I need to communicate with our 5,000+ engineers and tradespeople who work on approximately 150 job sites to learn about their current work processes and where there is room for improvement. It used to be difficult and disruptive to get in touch with them because they had to leave what they were working on and return to a trailer or regional office for email. Today, we’ve condensed those communication lag times because everyone in the field has Office 365–enabled mobile devices that give them access to email from anywhere on a job site. I like using presence functionality to see who’s around and how they want me to touch base—email, phone call, instant message, conference call, etc. With Office 365 and ProPlus, I have a consistent work experience, whether I am checking email from my home computer first thing in the morning, using my Windows Phone on a building site to get a quick answer from an available resource, or contributing to project plans from my Surface tablet in an airport terminal. I now can be on job sites or visit universities to see what innovations they’re working on about 30 or 40 percent of my time. That’s where things have really changed for me. But even though I’m away from the office nearly as much time as I’m in it, our new tools have made me more accessible to everyone in the firm. Information is more accessible now, too. I can be face-to-face with construction crews or researchers and still have secure access to all my data. That’s saying a lot in our firm, because our data includes really sizable designs, drawings, proposals, and other mailbox-clogging files. Everyone wanted to continue to share those files electronically, but they started to use Dropbox as a workaround and that rang IT alarm bells because it wasn’t managed or secure. It was a relief for me to offer them OneDrive for Business instead, which lets them still work the way they want to work but do so in a secure, sustainable way. It’s made a real difference for us. Whether my day calls for meetings at our central office, job site investigations, or information-gathering business travel, I am more efficient and effective thanks to the new options in my communications toolbox. For the Walsh Group, Office 365 is certainly one innovation that’s helping us build a brighter future. For more success stories about people like Patrick Wirtz, read other real-world testimonials on the www. whymicrosoft .com website.

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Taking construction to new heights with Office 365

Optimized for iPad: Office scenarios

Derek Snook is senior program manager lead for Office Shared Features. Hello again from the Office for iPad ® engineering team! Check out our previous post , and thanks for all your feedback. Please continue to give us feedback so we can keep fine-tuning Office for the iPad! During the initial development of these new apps, we looked across the capabilities of Office and considered what it means to get work done on the iPad: working on the go, the touch interface, the iPad screen size, and its different modes, such as when the keyboard appears on the screen. I want to highlight a few examples of how we adapted Office features with the iPad in mind. Work easily with Office documents offline and online An important goal for our team was to make sure it was easy to go back and forth between Office documents on the iPad and on other devices, whether you’re working offline or online. When you sign in to Office for iPad with either your Microsoft account or your organization’s Office 365 account, you’re greeted by the document list, with options for getting to your Recent documents, creating New files, or using Open to find another document to work with. With OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint your files roam wherever you go, and the Recent list shows the files you’ve opened or edited most recently, whether you were working offline on a PC or Mac, on Office Online, or on a mobile device. Check out Office 365 Personal to learn about the newest way to activate Office for iPad for document editing and creation. We knew working offline would be important on the iPad. One customer, in response to our previous blog post , put it this way: “A great feature to add would be an easy way to save files to the iPad to work offline…Am I missing a trick??” Yes, you can do that! When you’re working with Office for iPad and you’re connected to the network, in your Recent documents tab you’ll see “Downloaded” with a date and time under that file. The green checkmark in the file icon also means “Downloaded” for offline use. If you see that your file has been downloaded, you can go offline and edit the file offline, and the next time you open that Office app with an Internet connection, your changes will be synced back to the cloud. Search your documents more easily A frequent action in Word and Excel is to search documents or spreadsheets for specific text. With Office for iPad, we wanted to make it easy to see as much of the document as possible while working with search tools. We approached this by creating a slim Find bar with familiar options. When you tap the magnifying glass in the top right of the Command bar, the Office Ribbon slides out of view and is replaced by the Find bar, which allows for more space to view your content while searching. On the left of the Find bar is a settings menu, which includes search tools such as Find & Replace and Match Case. The Find bar remains slim and unobtrusive while you navigate through your work. When you’re done, tap the document and the Find bar slips away and the Ribbon commands return into view. Build and modify formulas faster with the Formula keyboard Excel is great for creating tables of information and numbers you want to track and understand. When you use formulas in Excel, a spreadsheet can become a powerful analysis tool. Creating or modifying formulas means working with numbers, symbols, and data references in your worksheet. Typing a formula on the iPad keyboard can be slow, since the language of formulas uses many different symbols. To help out, we added an optimized Formula keyboard for quick access to the common building blocks of formulas. This special keyboard also makes it easy to rapidly add rows of number values to a list, even if you’re not using formulas. Using the keyboard can save you time when you need to build new formulas to track or analyze your data or you need modify your favorite formulas. And it’s easy to use. When the keyboard appears on screen, you just tap the switcher in the upper-right corner of the keyboard to switch between the standard keyboard and the Formula keyboard. The Formula keyboard includes several keys with a dark notch in the corner. Pressing and holding these keys reveals a menu of related symbols or options, giving you more tools right at your fingertips. You can switch between the normal keyboard and the Formula keyboard anytime you’re editing a cell. Use the newest slide transitions With PowerPoint, you can bring slides to life through animations and transitions. PowerPoint for iPad ® plays back these animations and transitions beautifully. Some of these effects make use of complex 3D transformations and particle physics, and we worked carefully to tune the performance and appearance of these effects on the iPad hardware. PowerPoint for iPad includes the newest transition effects found in the PowerPoint family, and we think you’ll like what you see. My favorite is the Curtain transition, a great way to open your slideshow, or to wrap it up before you take a bow. Easily control the layout of your documents Adjusting tab stops and table columns in Word gives you greater control over document layout. With Word for iPad ® , we adapted the ruler to make these adjustments easy by using your finger. You turn on the ruler from the Ribbon’s View tab. Drag tab stops to adjust their position, and double-tap a stop to change its alignment. Tap elsewhere in the ruler to add a new tab stop, or drag a stop off of the ruler to remove it. When you select a table, the ruler will display the column markers for you to adjust. To the future We’re planning updates to Office for iPad right now, and to help us keep improving it, we’d love to hear your feedback on how we adapted these features, as well as your suggestions for what you’d like to see next. Please stay in touch right here on this blog, and say yes when our apps ask you to send us information to help improve the product. —Derek Snook  

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Optimized for iPad: Office scenarios

The Garage Series for Office 365: New user experiences with Groups, attachments and Office 365 mail

This week the Garage Series hits Austin, Texas and the Microsoft Exchange Conference. We kick off the series on location with Garage Series alum, Steve Chew, to continue last week’s conversation about Groups and show group collaboration in action with new email experiences, group experiences across Office 365, inline editing using Office Online within Outlook Web App and a sneak peak of the upcoming OWA for Android app. Last week, Christophe Fiessinger introduced the concept of Groups on the show. In that case we were filming live at SharePoint Conference and focused mainly on the new experiences in Yammer and SharePoint. Fast forward to the Microsoft Exchange Conference in Austin a few weeks later with this show where we focus on the Groups experience in mail. Both these vantage points highlight the great thing about Groups – whether you prefer communicating via social, collaborating in sites or sharing information and calendars in mail, Groups are consistent throughout Office 365. When you take the concepts of Groups beyond the browser, the benefits even extend into mobile platforms — like OWA for iPad or the upcoming OWA for Android. We demo both of these in the show and take a look at Groups experiences within the OWA for iPad and OWA for Android apps. Of course we don’t stop there. Steve also shows the new embedded video player in Outlook Web App and Office Online editing of mail attachments directly within OWA. To see all of this in action, you’ll want to watch the show. Next week, we’ll take a closer look at OneDrive for Business with engineering lead, Michael Connolly. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next week, -Jeremy Chapman More resources The evolution of email blog Garage Series Video Channel Garage Series Season 1 Blog Archive Follow @OfficeGarage on Twitter Office 365 Garage Series App for Windows Phone About the Garage Series hosts By day, Jeremy Chapman works at Microsoft, responsible for optimizing the future of Office client and service delivery as the senior deployment lead. Jeremy’s background in application compatibility, building deployment automation tools and infrastructure reference architectures has been fundamental to the prioritization of new Office enterprise features such as the latest Click-to-Run install. By night, he is a car modding fanatic and serial linguist. Steve Chew @ChewOnEmail is a senior technical product manager in the Exchange group at Microsoft. His primary focus is on collaborative inbox scenarios for Outlook and Outlook Web App.

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The Garage Series for Office 365: New user experiences with Groups, attachments and Office 365 mail

Join the Office 365 webcast April 24: Apps for Office comes to Access Web Apps

Join us Thursday, April 24 at 9am PT/12pm ET to learn about Apps for Office, a new technology for extending Office applications that you already may have seen in Excel, Word and Outlook.  Now that this technology is in SharePoint apps created with Access, we’ll show you cool Apps for Office (like Maps and Charts) in Access Web Apps and how to build and use them.     Add this meeting to your calendar now, then at the scheduled time, click the Lync meeting in your calendar join the call. Presenter: Andrew Johnson and Gary Devendorf are engineers on the Microsoft Office Access product team. Office 365 support webcasts are a critical program for relieving support issues and encouraging foundation technical readiness. Webcasts are free of charge and are a great opportunity to have conversations with Microsoft employees and get your questions answered. If you have questions regarding this webcast, please contact the Ignite team. For more information on future Office 365 support webcasts, visit the Ignite website .  

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Join the Office 365 webcast April 24: Apps for Office comes to Access Web Apps

Privacy authorities across Europe approve Office 365 privacy commitments

Vijay Kumar is a senior product manager for Office 365. When you make a decision to entrust your data to a cloud services provider for productivity services, privacy—along with security and compliance—is uppermost in your mind. With Office 365, we are continually developing technologies and best practices to enhance privacy in our services. Beyond this, we make contractual commitments to protect your privacy as an Office 365 customer. On April 10, in a blog post by Brad Smith, our General Counsel, we announced that our contractual commitments for Office 365 and for our other cloud services for business, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Windows Intune, were recognized as meeting the rigorous standards of European Union (EU) privacy law. This ensures that you can use Microsoft Office 365 and move data freely through our cloud from Europe to the rest of the world. Why is this such big news? Because Microsoft is the first—and so far the only—cloud services provider to receive such approval from the Article 29 Working Party, which consists of representatives from each of the 28 European Union data protection authorities (DPAs) and the European Commission and plays a critical role in global privacy law. Find out more about this news and how it benefits you by reading the blog post Privacy authorities across Europe approve Microsoft’s cloud commitments by Brad Smith, our General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs. For more information about the Article 29 Working Party and data protection regulations and agreements, read this list of frequently asked questions . Privacy is a key tenet for Office 365. Please visit our Office 365 Trust Center , where we share important information regarding security, privacy, compliance, and other topics related to earning and maintaining your trust in Office 365. –Vijay Kumar

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Privacy authorities across Europe approve Office 365 privacy commitments

Join us Tuesday’s for our webinar on Office subscriptions and Office 365 Personal

With the new Office 365 Personal , you can install the latest desktop version of Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, on 1 PC or Mac, in addition to 1 Windows tablet or iPad — so you can use all the features offline as well as online.  We’ll also talk about the benefits of getting an Office subscription, including Office 365 Home. Many of the things talked about will relate to business customers too. Click the link below or go to http://aka.ms/offweb for more information on how to join the series. Join online meeting https://join.microsoft.com/meet/dougt/F274WBQZ If you are on Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will join via the free Lync Web App. For other computers, you may need to call in for audio: 888.320.3585 , Conference ID: 84172528. A video of the webinar will be posted shortly after the webinar. You can add the  webinar series to your calendar . What you will learn at Tuesday’s webinar What you can do with Office 365 Personal Why Office 365 Personal and not Office 365 Home? Skype, extra online storage, and other benefits of subscribing Start a doc at your work PC and finish on your iPad at home References for this webinar Get Office 365 Personal  (home page) Get Office 365 Home  (home page) Office on mobile devices (iPad, Android, etc.) Office 365 Personal announcement and comparison chart (blog post) Get started with the new Office (home page) Get the most out of your Office 365 Personal subscription  (video) Install Office using Office 365 Personal  (how-to) Install Office 365 Personal on a Mac  (how-to) Office 365 for Business (home page) –Doug Thomas

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Join us Tuesday’s for our webinar on Office subscriptions and Office 365 Personal

Webinar: Office subscriptions and Office 365 Personal

The webinar is now over. We will post the video in a few days ion this page. With the new Office 365 Personal , you can install the latest desktop version of Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, on 1 PC or Mac, in addition to 1 Windows tablet or iPad — so you can use all the features offline as well as online.  We’ll also talk about the benefits of getting an Office subscription, including Office 365 Home. Many of the things talked about will relate to business customers too. What you will learn at Tuesday’s webinar What you can do with Office 365 Personal Why Office 365 Personal and not Office 365 Home? Skype, extra online storage, and other benefits of subscribing Start a doc at your work PC and finish on your iPad at home References for this webinar Get Office 365 Personal  (home page) Get Office 365 Home  (home page) Office on mobile devices (iPad, Android, etc.) Office 365 Personal announcement and comparison chart (blog post) Get started with the new Office (home page) Get the most out of your Office 365 Personal subscription  (video) Install Office using Office 365 Personal  (how-to) Install Office 365 Personal on a Mac  (how-to) The “What’s New ” with Office 365 blog posts All versions of Office for personal/home use (chart) Office 365 for Business (home page) Go to http://aka.ms/offweb for more information on how to join the series. –Doug Thomas

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Webinar: Office subscriptions and Office 365 Personal

Office 365, operated by 21Vianet, becomes generally available in China

Guest Author: Qi Lu, EVP Applications and Services This week I had the privilege of announcing the general availability of Office 365 in China, operated by 21Vianet, from our launch event in the heart of Shanghai. Microsoft has more than 20 years of experience delivering our products and services to China. Now through our unique partnership with 21Vianet, we are delighted that we are able to offer Office 365 from local data centers within China. This announcement follows the general availability of Microsoft Azure, operated by 21Vianet, announced last month . It is very exciting to take another significant step to help customers in China take advantage of cloud productivity services including Office, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online plus specialized services like Visio Pro for Office 365 and Project Pro for Office 365. China is rapidly adopting cloud services – The Shanghai government, for example, is an early adopter of Office 365 operated by 21Vianet. Led by the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information, different departments of the Shanghai government explore the advanced productivity capabilities provided by Office 365 operated by 21Vianet in order to improve efficiency and build a service-oriented government. In addition, Office 365 operated by 21Vianet is used by the Shaanxi government to set up their IT infrastructure and foster regional growth in the Xi Xi’an new area. Commercial customers ICBC Leasing, Cigna & CMB, Dongfeng Renault, TCL were all at the Shanghai launch event as early adopter customers. Educational institutions are also benefiting from Office 365. For education, it provides a range of teacher-student learning solutions that increase collaboration and accelerate achievement. This week we also announced a new partnership with the China Education and Research Network (CERNET), the largest national academic Internet backbone provider in China, to deliver Office 365 to universities and colleges across China. CERNET serves more than 1,800 universities and colleges, and more than 20 million end users in China. In partnership with Microsoft, they will build a team to provide deployment, training and support to Office 365 technology to CERNET membership institutions and 3 million users in the next year. The launch of Office 365 operated by 21Vianet – together with Azure – provides customers in the market with the full power of public cloud services from Microsoft and we look forward to the journey ahead. – Qi      

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Office 365, operated by 21Vianet, becomes generally available in China

Join the Office 365 support webcast April 22: Getting started with Project Online

Join us Tuesday, April 22 at 9am PT/12pm ET to learn how to get started with Project Online. We’ll take you step by step, from signing up for a new subscription or adding a subscription to your existing applicable SharePoint Online subscription, right through to your first steps working in Project Online with resources and projects.  There will also be a quick overview of features you can expect to find with Project Online and the different subscription offerings available. Add this meeting to your calendar now, then at the scheduled time, click the Lync meeting in your calendar join the call. Presenters: Aik Chen and Brian Smith are both Escalation Engineers on the Project support team. They have supported Project Server for as long as it has existed and now also support Project Online. Aik and Brian will address some of the most frequent issues they’ve seen in the early stages of adopting Project Online. Office 365 support webcasts are a critical program for relieving support issues and encouraging foundation technical readiness. Webcasts are free of charge and are a great opportunity to have conversations with Microsoft employees and get your questions answered. If you have questions regarding this webcast, please contact the Ignite team . For more information on future Office 365 support webcasts, visit the Ignite website .          

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Join the Office 365 support webcast April 22: Getting started with Project Online

Champion Solutions Group customers find Office 365 more productive, robust and cost-effective than Google Apps

Today’s guest blogger is Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, an award-winning Microsoft Gold partner that helps small and medium enterprises develop cloud strategies and deploy cloud solutions. Founded in 1979, Champion has 22 offices in 11 states and is the parent company for MessageOps, which focuses exclusively on helping customers move seamlessly to the Microsoft Cloud. The two companies have helped hundreds of customers migrate to Office 3 65. At Champion Solutions Group, we focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that range from about 250 to 2500 seats. We have helped hundreds of business, education and government customers migrate a total of about 700,000 seats to Office 365. As part of our work, we have helped many customers migrate to Office 365 from Google Apps, including several who previously had left Microsoft for Google. In working with our customers, we focus on operational efficiencies, making sure the organizations that adopt the Office 365 platform really make the most of it. Just because you migrate to Office 365 doesn’t mean you’re done. That’s Day One. There’s still Day Two (how you set everything up) and Day Three (how you collaborate and leverage the power of Office 365). We help our customers with all three stages. Why customers choose Office 365 over Google Apps For organizations that switch from Google Apps to Office 365, the number one reason is that they find Office 365 is easier to use and offers greater productivity than Google Apps. Because it is enterprise-grade and much more business-focused than anything Google can offer, customers also say that Office 365 is more robust than Google Apps. As an example, one of our customers is a large grocery chain on the East Coast, with more than 10,000 users in many different locations. When the company decided to abandon Google Apps and adopt Office 365, the top two reasons were the usability and robustness of Office 365. In fact, one of the main reasons the company finally decided to switch to Office 365 was that employees complained so much about Google Apps. They said it was very cumbersome and didn’t work for them. They just didn’t find Google Apps as productive as Office 365. Choice is another important factor for many organizations when they are considering different cloud solutions. When we ask our customers why they choose Microsoft over Google Apps, many say that having a choice of cloud, on-premise or hybrid solutions gives them the flexibility to meet their business needs. With Google, the cloud is the only option. Customers like having a productivity solution they can tailor to their business. Office 365 is more cost-effective than Google Apps There’s an immediate cost benefit to customers who choose a cloud solution. They save money on the initial capital outlay, and they can convert those savings to operational investments, but the cost-effectiveness of any solution is about more than the initial price tag. When customers are choosing a cloud solution, they ask questions about productivity, security, and how well it works. Microsoft provides positive answers to all of those questions. In our experience, the productivity suite that Microsoft delivers with Office 365, compared to Google Apps, makes it the “right way” for most organizations.  Over the long term, Office 365 is often the most cost-effective choice. The bottom line What we offer our customers when we help them migrate to Office 365 is a way to transform how they work, to innovate, and to come up with better ways to make a difference to their customers. Once our customers begin to understand and use the full capabilities of Office 365, they report a significant increase in productivity, with their employees doing a tremendous amount of work from almost any location, on any of their devices, and being much more collaborative.

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Champion Solutions Group customers find Office 365 more productive, robust and cost-effective than Google Apps