Newsletter Archives

  • Why not to use Outlook (new)

    OFFICE

    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    Underdeveloped and overhyped, a truly new Outlook is coming. But it’s not yet a proper replacement for either the Windows or Mac version of Outlook.

    As usual, Microsoft is hyping a product that’s still a work in progress. I’ll explain the dirty little secrets behind Outlook (new) — that’s one of its names — and why serious Outlook users should not touch it yet.

    Outlook (new) is now replacing Windows Mail and Calendar apps in new Windows 11 installations. Existing Mail/Calendar app setups will continue to work.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.44.0, 2023-10-30).

  • Sometimes it’s the little things

    Final setting up that new Windows 11 in the office and sometimes you forget the little things.

    Like disabling ‘Backstage’ view in Word and Excel.

    What is Backstage? It’s something that takes one more click per opening of a document out of your life that is slightly annoying.

    File, options, scroll down to the bottom and we uncheck that box.  We want to launch straight into word or excel and not into a ‘start screen’ view.

    So what do you do to customize the launching of your applications?

  • Tame your tech: Office

    OFFICE

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    We all have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft Office.

    Chances are, Word is not the first word processing program you started with. It’s the one that took over and became the de facto standard, dominating the market. (If you work in an attorney’s office, it’s possible you’re still using WordPerfect, because the company did excellent marketing to that segment.)

    My first — and, quite frankly, still the easiest — word-processing program was pfs:Write. Back when Lotus 1-2-3 was our go-to spreadsheet, pfs:Write was our go-to word-processing program. But, alas, today’s article won’t wax poetic about an old piece of software. Instead, we’ll once again try to tame technology that wants to do things its way, not your way.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.50.0, 2022-12-12).

  • Microsoft rolls out macro blocking again

    Microsoft announced they are once again beginning the rollout to block macros in Office files downloaded from the Internet.

    Personally I would make sure that you aren’t using any Office macros in files that you haven’t removed the “mark of the web”. Remember to right mouse click a file, go into properties and see if there is an “unblock” button. When in doubt you can upload a suspicious file to www.virustotal.com just to be sure it’s not a malicious file.

    Updated July 20, 2022: We’re resuming the rollout of this change in Current Channel. Based on our review of customer feedback, we’ve made updates to both our end user and our admin documentation to make clearer what options you have for different scenarios. For example, what to do if your users have files on SharePoint or files on a network share. Please refer to the following documentation:

    If you ever enabled or disabled the Block macros from running in Office files from the Internet policy, your organization will not be affected by this change.

    Thank you.

    VBA macros are a common way for malicious actors to gain access to deploy malware and ransomware. To help improve security, we are changing the behavior of Office applications to now block macros in files from the internet. Learn more in this blog post.

    This change only affects Office on devices running Windows and only affects the following applications: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word.

    Key points:

    • Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 88883
    • Timing: We will communicate a new timeline via Message center.
    • Action: Review and assess impact

    How this will affect your organization:

    Previously, it was possible for end users to enable these macros by simply clicking a button on the Trust bar.

    Now, with this change, once a user opens an attachment or downloads from the internet an untrusted Office file containing macros, a message bar displays a Security Risk that the file contains VBA macros obtained from the internet with a Learn More button.

    VBA Macros Blocked Trust Bar
    View image in new tab

    The Learn More button goes to an article for end users and information workers that contains information about the security risk of bad actors using macros, safe practices to prevent phishing and malware, and instructions on how to enable these macros (if absolutely needed).

    What you need to do to prepare:

    Enterprises should evaluate their use of macros in files obtained from the internet to determine how this new default behavior will affect their users.

    To learn more about how to get ready for this change and recommendations for managing VBA macros in Office files, read this article for Office admins.

  • The annoyances of the default behavior in Teams

    Microsoft Teams. It’s an app I use occasionally. But I don’t want it to auto launch. I want it out of the way and only launched when I want it. But Microsoft clearly doesn’t agree with me. It’s even more annoying when I’m setting up Office and I haven’t logged into Teams to then go into the settings and tell it to go away.

    Fortunately there is a way you can disable the auto-launch even if you don’t have the login to Teams.  And while you are there…. check out the other items autolaunching and disable accordingly.

    Method 1: Disable from Task Manager

    You can disable Microsoft Teams from Task Manager and it will not start up automatically:

    1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc key to open Task Manager.
    2. Go to Startup tab.
    3. Click on Microsoft Teams, and click on Disable.

    Method 2: Change settings

    You can the settings in Microsoft Teams and see if that helps:

    1. Launch Microsoft Teams.
    2. Click on the Profile icon on the top right corner and click on Settings.
    3. Scroll down and clear the checkbox for Auto Start Application.

    Method 3: Modifying Registry

    You can delete the entry for Microsoft Teams from Registry and check:

    Note:  Important this section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs.

    Follow the steps to take backup of registry.

    1. Press Windows key + R, to open Run dialog box.
    2. Type regedit and click on OK.
    3. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    4. On the right pane, right click on the registry entry for Microsoft Teams and select Delete.

    So what annoys you about auto launching programs and which ones do you delete?

  • November 1 – basic auth is really being shut off

    PK reminded me of this the other day:

    New minimum Outlook for Windows version requirements for Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Tech Community

    What is it?

    Microsoft is finally (after a delay due to the pandemic) shutting off “basic” authentication to Microsoft 365. So if you have an older Outlook that you are using to access Microsoft 365 this will impact you as there is no longer any grace period. Basic authentication is older, less secure way of passing usernames and passwords to the hosted email.  Attackers go after basic authentication and can gain access, thus it’s EXTREMELY good that they are FINALLY shutting this off once and for all. But that said, it doesn’t make it easier for you if you love Outlook 2010.

    But I don’t have Microsoft 365, what do I care?

    Ah but do you have your email through a service like Godaddy which these days uses Microsoft 365 on the back end? I’ve also seen some ISPs offer their email through Microsoft 365.

    Bottom line if you use an older Outlook – like Outlook 2007 or 2010 you need to migrate off of those desktop versions if you connect to Microsoft hosted email.

    Remember if you are not a fan of the newer Outlook there are other options including the web based version of Outlook but be aware that Thunderbird may not work, especially in a business setting.

    How can I know what my ISP uses?

    I’d check their help forums (yea, I know that’s not a great answer), or ask here and we’ll see if we can figure it out for you!  I’ll remind you again in the newsletter when it gets closer to November 1.

  • Sliding over to LibreOffice — or not

    PRODUCTIVITY

    Sandra Henry-Stocker

    By Sandra Henry-Stocker

    LibreOffice is a great replacement for Microsoft Office.

    It provides a very similar set of applications. All are top-quality, easy to use, versatile, and well supported. This includes tools to create documents, spreadsheets, slide shows, databases, drawings, etc. LibreOffice and MS Office are similar enough that you’re likely to get off to a fast start when you first use any of the apps. LibreOffice is also completely free — no initial price tag and no monthly fees.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.27.0 (2021-07-19).

  • Tasks for the weekend – July 3, 2021 – Taming Word

    Youtube Video here

    Recently Word (and Outlook) has added a new feature that it “predicts” what you are typing and urges you to hit tab to speed it up.

    If this annoys you, for Outlook click on File then on Options then on Mail then on Compose messages then uncheck Show text predictions while typing

    For Word, click on File then Options then Advanced, Under Editing Options, check the box for “Show Text Predictions While Typing” to enable the feature and click “OK.”

    For Outlook on the web, go to Settings then to View all Outlook settings then to Mail then to compose and reply, and uncheck the option “Suggest words or phrases as I type” under text predictions

    Note this is not new but dribbling out to the various versions of Office.

  • Office current branch triggers Outlook Bug

    @b pointed me to several threads in the answers forums where in Version 2104 ” quite a few home users and companies have found that Version 2104 (Build 13929.20296) of April 29 introduces a bug which causes To: field autocomplete dropdown to go up off screen instead of down. Not everyone is affected; It probably depends on screen resolution and text scaling”  He said he has that version but is not seeing the bug. Rolling back to the prior version 2103 (Build 13901.20462) of April 23, does seem to work for everyone (including Office 2019).

    This is why I recommend moving back to the semi annual branch  where you don’t get quite as many bugs.

    You can read the threads here:

    Outlook 2016 Autocomplete is doing something weird

    Outlook 2019 autocomplete view changed after update

    Outlook 2019 Address Autocomplete Broken

    You seeing anything?

  • So can you fix line spacing please?

    You can always tell when the Microsoft marketing department comes into full swing. There is something in the news that makes you raise an eyebrow.

    Today’s edition is “Microsoft wants to know what font you prefer as the new default for Word”. You can even vote on it.

    Seriously. You can read about it on the Thurrott blog or straight from their site.

    I have always said that Word can take 10% of your time to compose a document and 90% of the time to get it formatted and printed. Here’s some things I’d love to have Microsoft work on before a new font:

    Stop autocorrecting certain things like HSA into HAS. If I typed in HSA because it’s an accounting term for a Health savings account, I really meant HSA.  You need to be smarter about autocorrect. Many times you are not helpful.

    My fellow peeps often fondly remember PFS write.  It allowed you to type and got out of the way. There needs to be a PFS write mode – something that would make it not autocorrect, not try to be helpful in formatting and numbering and just let us type.

    Numbering: OMG the number of times I have to fix formatting of bulleted lists because things get indented in such weird ways that make no sense.

    Line spacing: Sometimes Word is just possessed in how it things you want things spaced. Often we need things double spaced and oh no Word thinks I want instead EXACTLY  18.5PT stuff that pops up every now and then? The number of times I have to use the format paint (the paintbrush icon) to copy the format that works to a place where it’s not …. well just say I’ve done it a lot.

    What about you? What drives you insane about Word?

  • Record and transcribe conversations directly into MS Word

    OFFICE

    By Lance Whitney

    So you recorded the audio from that important video meeting, and now you want to turn it into text.

    There’s no need to buy an expensive speech-to-text app. If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, Word for the Web now offers a quick and convenient option — Transcribe — for converting both live and pre-recorded conversations into a text-based record.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.49.0 (2020-12-14).

  • SetUp Guides for Microsoft 365 – request for feedback

    Are you an IT Admin that sets up Microsoft 365 / Office 365 services? If you are, @mikebailey2000 is looking for feedback on SetUp Guides.

    Mike’s a Microsoft Program Manager. It’s great to welcome his interest in the opinion of our members.

    Please, head over to Mike’s first post here at AskWoody, wish him a very warm AskWoody welcome, and help him to improve the setup guides. He explains the limitations on accessing the documents.