Ben M. Schorr is a Senior Content Developer at Microsoft. Previously, he was a technologist and the Chief Executive...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
Microsoft products assist lawyers daily in document review and communication. In this episode of New Solo, host Adriana Linares talks to Ben Schorr, senior content developer at Microsoft, about the different tools Microsoft provides and how they lend themselves to a successful law firm. Their conversation includes Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, and Outlook. They also discuss resources you can use to learn even more about Microsoft products.
Ben Schorr is a Senior Content Developer at Microsoft. He was a Microsoft MVP for more than 19 years and involved with management and technology for more than 25.
Running Your Firm with Microsoft
Intro: So you are an attorney and you have decided to go out on your own, now what? You need to plan and you are not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on ‘New Solo.’ Tune into the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm, here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hello and welcome to ‘New Solo’ on Legal Talk Network. This is Adriana Linares, I’m your host. I’m a legal technology trainer and consultant and love helping lawyers and law firms use technology better.
We have a great guest on today, Mr. Ben Schorr, who works for Microsoft. But, before we get started, I want to make sure and thank our sponsors.
First, I want to say thank you to PerfectIt. PerfectIt is a legal specific proof reading software that locates mistakes that neither spell check, nor the most eagle-eyed lawyer can find. Try PerfectIt free from HYPERLINK “http://www.intellegentediting.com” intellegentediting.com.
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Now that we’ve gotten that other way we can introduce Ben Schorr.
Ben Schorr: Hey Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Do you think your wife will be offended that I call you Beni Boo Boo?
Ben Schorr: I don’t know she’s ever heard you call me that before.
Adriana Linares: Well, I don’t imagine she’s going to be listening to our podcast. So maybe over dinner casually you can tell her that that’s my nickname for you and it means nothing other than we are good pals.
Ben Schorr: Oh, see if can work it in.
Adriana Linares: And we are good pals, because we’ve known each other for a really long time. Do you remember where we first met or when we first became pals?
Ben Schorr: Not specifically, it was through TECHSHOW.
Adriana Linares: Me either. Yeah, it was definitely through TECHSHOW. At the time you were a technology consultant with your company and you’ve had a lot of life changes and relocation, you’ve got a cool new job. Do you want to tell everybody about where you came from and how you got where you are today?
Ben Schorr: Sure, sure. Well, I’ve been in Legal Tech since — I think you were in kindergarten. I started out in Los Angeles in the late 1980 as an IT guy with a law firm there, moved over to Hawaii, in the mid 1990 somethings to take on an IT position with a law firm in Honolulu. Spent probably a little over 25 years in IT, professionally I am a half of it in-house at law firms and the other half as an independent consultant. Mostly with my firm, my former firm Roland Schorr & Tower which is still going strong, just without me these days.
And about a year ago, almost exactly a year ago, the nice folks here at Microsoft who I had worked with for many years said, we’ve been working with you for a really long time, why don’t you come and work for us? And I said, yeah, okay, sure.
So, here I am now, coming to you from Building 35 on the Redmond Campus in beautiful Redmond, Washington and I am a senior content developer here which means that it’s my job to help people be more productive with Microsoft Office.
Adriana Linares: And that’s why we have you here today. On top of the fact that you just have a lot of really great experience with lawyers legal. I wanted to spend some time really going through some tips and ideas and suggestions when it comes to Microsoft Office. I’ve had a lot of guests lately that our practitioners and especially talking about the business and their practical side. So I wanted to go back to where my roots really are which is in technology and training and helping lawyers, so thought, I’d ask you to come on and we can talk about Microsoft, let’s talk about Microsoft subscriptions, and maybe if there is anything new and exciting that lawyers might not know about or might not have realized that is part of Microsoft, we can sort of dig into all those things.
So the first thing I want to make sure and ask you to help us with is, let’s start with talking about Office 365. This is a subscription-based service. There’s still a lot of confusion about what that means in the different pricing structures and sometimes I’ll say to someone, well, Office 365 is like the greatest thing that ever happened to us in a business environment and especially to law firms of just about any size, and then I have to launch into an explanation, and I bit you can do it a lot more succinctly than I can.
Ben Schorr: Well, I’ll try. So, yeah, there is a lot of confusion around Office 365, especially with the licensing. One of the most common misconceptions I hear is that people think Office 365 is just web-based app. It’s like Google’s G Suite, for example, if you could think it’s just web apps, and there are web apps for Word and Excel and PowerPoint, Outlook and so forth. But actually Office 365 gives you more than it, actually it does still give you the same locally installed Microsoft Office apps that you’ve always had. Office 2016 is our current version, and that’s for both PC and Mac. So that’s one thing that people don’t always get, is that you are not just getting the web version or don’t always understand. You’re not just getting the web version you are getting the same locally installed app you’ve always had. You do not have to be connected to the Internet in order to use them. So, you can still use them on a plane or somewhere where you don’t have good connectivity. So that’s one of those common things.
Adriana Linares: Right. So, it’s the full blown version —
Ben Schorr: Yup
Adriana Linares: — of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint?
Ben Schorr: Publisher, Access, it depends a little bit on the subscription you get as to which apps are included, but yeah, Publisher, Access, sway, I am trying to think what else is in there these days.
Adriana Linares: But the four main things that we care about in legal are going to be with every subscription for the most parts.
Ben Schorr: Absolutely.
Adriana Linares: You are going to get Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Ben Schorr: Yes.
Adriana Linares: And I am a person that has two desktops, two laptops, and an iPad. So, one of my laptops is a Mac. My other three machines are PCs and then I have an iPad. With my subscription, that I pay — I think I’m in the $8 a month subscription.
Ben Schorr: Yup. It sounds like you are getting the Pro Plus plan.
Adriana Linares: Okay, so that one is called Pro Plus.
Ben Schorr: It sounds like it.
Adriana Linares: How many places can I install the full-blown versions of those four core products that I use?
Ben Schorr: So, with the Pro Plus plan for each user, you can install up to five computers, and so you maybe paying, let’s say, I don’t know if it’s – I don’t remember if it’s $8.25 a month or something like that or $8.50 a month.
Adriana Linares: $8, not $850.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, $8, right. There is a decimal point in there, yes, exactly. So, for each user you can install an up to five devices and those can be PCs and Macs; PCs or Macs. So, you may have a PC on your desk, a Mac at home, a laptop in your bag. You can install the same license on all three of those devices plus two more for that $8 a month or $12 a month or $15 or $5, depends on which plan you’ve got.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ben Schorr: But yes. So, up to five devices per user, and so in my office, obviously my software is provided by Microsoft, but still, in my office I have 1, 2, 3 PCs to my left here, I’ve got two Macs to my right, I’ve got a couple other devices in here, and I could install in all of those devices with the same license.
Now the other thing that’s really nice about it with all those multiple installs is, you don’t have to keep track of product use anymore because your license is associated to a free Microsoft account and if you have a Hotmail email address or an Outlook.com email address, which a lot of people do or Live.com email address, that’s a Microsoft account, and so, if you don’t have one you can sign up for one really easily, it’s just like signing up for any free email address. You don’t have to use it for anything other than managing your licenses if you don’t want to.
Adriana Linares: Right, so every time I get a new PC, and I want to, let’s say I’m going to decommission my PC laptop, I go — I log into my account, my Microsoft account using that Microsoft account email that like you just said, I don’t have to use for anything other than logging into Microsoft, and in there I can go in it, it’ll show me a list of the four-five machines that I’ve used my license on and I can say, okay, revoke access on that PC because I’m about to give it to my mom, and then I go to my new PC that I just bought and I simply log in into my account and it will download the software and install it and make that license available on that new machine. It’s very easy.
Ben Schorr: Exactly right.
Adriana Linares: Okay, all right, so that’s good, so let’s hope that helps a little bit with understanding the subscription-based, and I think that the different pricing structures is, if you need Microsoft Exchange, so if you’re a lawyer with a secretary, a partner, a paralegal or if you are more than one literally a true solo and you need to be able to share your calendars and your contacts and be able to share Outlook information easier, then you can do it without it, then you need I think the $12 a month and up version. I think it’s — is that about right?
Ben Schorr: Yeah, I think it’s $12.50 a month, if I recall correctly, it’s called Business Premium. Business Premium is good for up to — last time I checked it was up to 300 users, so more than enough for most of our audience.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Ben Schorr: And that includes, that gives you Exchange Server, that gives you SharePoint if you want to do cloud storage or documents and collaboration gives you the full Office 2016 Suite and it’s $12.50 per mailbox, which is to say — let’s say you’re in a — you’ve got you and a paralegal and a secretary, legal assistant, I would say, so that would be three mailboxes. So you’d be looking at, 38 or something like that dollars a month for the whole thing and that does include the full Office 2016 for up to five devices per user.
Adriana Linares: Right, per user, that’s the key there. Okay, well, good.
Ben Schorr: Per user, so you’ve got 15 devices in that firm basically. Plus, you also get a terabyte of OneDrive for Business storage per user, so you get three terabytes of cloud storage included in that.
Adriana Linares: And I was just going to say, tell us a little bit about what you get as far as OneDrive goes because everyone’s used to — let’s say everyone’s used to Google G Drive, what is it called Google?
Ben Schorr: I think they are calling it G Drive these days.
Adriana Linares: G Drive and Dropbox and then along with your subscription if you’re paying the $8 or the $12 a month you get Microsoft’s version of that file storage syncing and sharing service which is called Microsoft OneDrive, and of course, saving documents in and out of it is easy because it’s integrated right into all of the Microsoft applications.
Adriana Linares: That’s right, yeah, and important to know that in this case we’re talking about OneDrive for Business as opposed to our consumer-grade OneDrive product. The OneDrive product is perfectly good too, but OneDrive for Business sort of ratchets things up just a little bit, especially when it comes to security and capabilities OneDrive for Business is HIPAA certified, has a number of other security and compliance certifications as well, and it lets you do a lot of interesting things like share files or folders with other people if you want to, by default none of it is shared, it’s just for you, but you can very easily with just a couple of mouse clicks, say I want to share this folder with my paralegal or I want to share this folder with an expert witness I am working with or with the client or whoever. So you have the ability to do that, and they don’t have to have Office 365 licenses in order to access the folders you share with them.
Adriana Linares: So if I want to share with a client it would be very easy.
Ben Schorr: Exactly.
Adriana Linares: And then tell us a little bit about security, and everyone always wonders, well, it’s cloud-based, it’s Microsoft or My Documents encrypted, is it secure, everyone’s freaking out about the cloud, so tell us a little bit about that?
Ben Schorr: Sure, so with OneDrive for Business the files are encrypted both in transit and at rest. They are encrypted in our data center and they’re also encrypted in transit, and if you synchronize to your local machine then they are as — on your local machine they are as encrypted as your local machine is, which is to say if you’re running Windows 10 you probably have BitLocker enabled which is our local encryption, if you don’t, you can easily enable it in Windows settings, it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything and that’ll encrypt your local hard drive. And so, assuming your local machine is encrypted as well, of course, you don’t have to sync these files to your local machine.
I hear that a lot, users say, well, a terabyte of OneDrive is great, but I only have a 250 gigabyte hard drive in this laptop and I don’t want to fill it up, so you don’t have to synchronize your files or you don’t have to synchronize all of them, you can pick specific folders if you want to synchronize them to your local machine or you could choose to synchronize your entire OneDrive for Business if you have the space.
Yes, so the security of, it is I say encrypted in transit and at rest and the other thing that’s pretty nice about it is you can turn on, and I strongly recommend you do, multi-factor authentication which, is to say that if you log into it, it can require you to use either an Authenticator app which generates a constantly-changing code or it can send you an SMS text message with a specifically generated one-time code, and you can also set it up so that on machines you use all the time, like for example, my desktop at the office I have it set up so that it doesn’t ask me for codes all the time because it’s got pretty high corporate security, so I don’t have to do the second factor and the desktop at the office, but on my laptop because that one travels with me, and who knows, maybe somebody tries to steal it in an airport or something. If I try to log in from my laptop, it will ask me for the second factor or so. So you do have that extra security you can turn on, which I strongly recommend.
Adriana Linares: I do too and I know that two-factor authentication can be like a real pain for us, but I do it with every possible service tool or solution that I have that has it, and I’m always happy that I do. I want to backup on just one quick thing to explain to our users because I mentioned BitLocker all the time too, and this is a good security tip for you whether you are a PC or a Mac user and we’ll real quick talk about the difference between the two. So when you log on to your laptop and you’re using just your password to log on, you’re not necessarily encrypting the contents of the hard drive at that point, so when Ben said you can use BitLocker, which is our built-in encryption service, what Microsoft did a few years ago is they started including in the operating system a service called BitLocker, so if you go and search on your PC the word “BitLocker” not Bitcoin, but it’s called BitLocker it’ll take you into Settings, you should see it in there, and it allows you to basically flip a switch that encrypts the hard drive.
If you’re a Mac user you’re going to look for a service called File Vault. So on Macs it’s called File Vault, it’s also in preferences security, it’s very easy, you flip a little switch, that encrypts the hard drive of those devices, and what that does is, if you do lose your laptop in an airport and someone who’s savvy enough to take out the hard drive can look at all the files on the hard drive because when you remove a hard drive from a laptop or a PC it’s basically like a USB stick. If that hard drive hasn’t been protected it can be plugged into any other computer, like a USB stick, and the files can be seen and viewed.
So Ben, question for you, sort of explaining that BitLocker for PCs and File Vault for a Mac, it used to be that BitLocker didn’t come with every offering of Microsoft like it was a home version because there was some sort of hardware requirement. Is BitLocker now coming with all versions of Microsoft or do we have to tell our listeners to make sure they do some hocus pocus to their machines or get a certain version.
Ben Schorr: I believe it is now on all versions.
Adriana Linares: Okay, good.
Ben Schorr: Although I’m not on the Windows team so it’s possible, it’s taken about that, but I’m pretty sure that it’s on all versions now. But realistically, I strongly would encourage the audience for business use to have the pro version anyway, but if you do happen to have a home version I think it’s on there now.
Adriana Linares: Okay, so the tip is, look for BitLocker on your PC. If you don’t see it on there that means that you either have an older, not necessarily outdated, but maybe an older version of Windows and you might want to just get with your local IT person and try to get that fixed, and that’s really important whether it’s a device that you carry with you or you don’t.
I’ve had law firms that have been broken into their actual offices and their entire PCs were stolen and they weren’t encrypted and then we get into these crazy breach notification laws that states have, and we don’t want to get into all that now, but please do be safe and secure with your files.
Listen, Ben, quick thing, before we move on to our next segment I’ve got to take a quick break to hear a message from a couple of our sponsors, we’ll be right back.
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Adriana Linares: Okay, welcome back. So before we took a break we were chatting with Ben about Microsoft Office subscriptions and options there as well as encouraging everyone to make sure you encrypt your hard drives on your desktops and your laptops and your PCs or Macs, whatever it is. So what I want to do next is spend a couple minutes talking with Ben and picking his brain about Microsoft Office 2016 which is the latest and newest version and we’re going to sort of break down some of the best tips for Outlook, Word, Excel, and maybe a little bit on PowerPoint but I know Outlook and Word are most used. I swear I have not had a drink yet — our most used products. Ben, Office 2016 is the latest version, is 2018 looking us down in the eye?
Ben Schorr: Hold on, I think I have something I’m supposed to read here. We have nothing to announce around that at this time.
Adriana Linares: Okay, great, so that’s fine.
Ben Schorr: But it is important to know especially for Office 365 subscribers, the days of every three years you get a new big box down it — you get onto your computer store and buy a box of Microsoft Office, I mean, those days are kind of long behind us now and we actually update — we ship new features on all the apps in Office for every platform every month, pretty much a month.
Adriana Linares: Right, so updates are coming all the time.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, exactly. So the Office 2016 that you got six months ago is not the same as the Office 2016 you have today if you are an Office 365 subscriber because you’re getting not just security updates but you’re getting new features, we ship new features constantly.
Adriana Linares: Right, and I love that, that’s one of the reasons I encourage people to get the subscription, it’s because you’re constantly getting updates, they’re automatic. Sometimes you have to click to install them and sometimes it just says, hey, we added some new features and here they are, and it’s not important just because they’re adding new features but those security updates are obviously incredibly important.
Ben Schorr: Very much so.
Adriana Linares: So let’s start by talking a little bit about Outlook. So I love Outlook, I live and die by Outlook, it is for me my number one information manager –
Ben Schorr: Me too.
Adriana Linares: And I think some tips and suggestions for people, things that they might not realize Outlook can do, maybe some email management tips would be great, tell me a little bit about the difference, maybe between Outlook for the Mac and Outlook for the PC, like there are certain things I can’t do on my Mac and Outlook, and that can be a little bit frustrating when you do want to work in both. So, let’s just talk about some tips that are going to be the same whether you’re on a PC or a Mac in Outlook?
Ben Schorr: So our Mac products are younger than our PC products, and so, we get people all the time. I hear people say, well, why did you take this feature out of Outlook for Mac? Well, probably we didn’t take the feature out, it probably never had that feature yet to begin with, but it’s hopefully coming. In many cases our Mac team is — and the other thing to understand is that the products on Mac and PC are developed by related teams of course, but not always by the exact same developers, and so, in many cases the feature parity isn’t quite there yet.
So there are a lot of features that are in both of course and the Mac clients just like everything else are getting better every month. Probably one of my favorite features that I use, because I get a ton of email, like most of us do, is ignore conversation.
Adriana Linares: Ooh, that’s a good one, people love that one, tell us about that.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, I get included on a lot of lists, I get included on a lot of — luckily at Microsoft we’re pretty good about the reply all storms, but every now and then you get pulled into some thread that you really don’t care about, and so it’s nice to be able to use ignore conversations on the ribbon, you’ll see it under – it probably says “Ignore” I believe on the – it does on the Windows ribbon, I think on the Mac it does as well, but you can also use a little bit of Ctrl+Del if you want to use it off the keyboard. What that’ll do is that will not only delete all of the messages you’ve received in that conversation so far, but it also will add that conversation to sort of a black list of sorts for the next days so that any future emails you get in that conversation will just automatically get deleted so that you don’t have to get your Inbox cluttered up with people discussing something that you don’t care about and that you can’t seem to get off the list.
Adriana Linares: Right, so the example I always use for that is I’m down here in Florida and generally when there’s a Florida-Florida State game or a rivalry of some sort in an office somebody always starts an email about the Florida-Florida State game, and I went to Stetson, we didn’t have a football team I don’t care about the football teams. So I want to be able to just annihilate those messages because I know they are never going to become important messages about business or a client because the entire law firm is involved. So the Ignore button allows me to flag that message to just go straight into my deleted I always get an attorney that says to me, well, what if I delete or ignore something I didn’t mean to?
My answer to that is, you are going to ignore that email long before Microsoft gave you that button, so we might as well just take advantage of it.
Ben Schorr: That’s true. You can’t actually ignore a conversation if you want, you just have to go to your deleted items folder and find one of the messages from the conversation and then you can unignore it if you realize later that you needed to.
Adriana Linares: Right, like if somebody stops in the hall and says, hey, you didn’t say anything about such and such in that message and you go, what message? And then they say, well, it was in the FSU thread, you go, oh my god. Related to that is — go ahead.
Ben Schorr: No, I was going to say what I usually do is I usually put my hand on my chin and say, yes, I’m still thinking about that. It makes me seem wise.
Adriana Linares: So wise. Tell us a little bit about sort of the cousin to that feature which is the Cleanup.
Ben Schorr: Oh sure, so we obviously see a lot of people whose Inboxes or subfolders have gotten completely out of control. I want to brag too much about how few emails are on my Inbox at the moment, but I’ve seen – when I was working as an independent consultant I often got called in to help people with Outlook, and I’ve seen attorneys with more than 60,000 in their Inbox.
Adriana Linares: Just to say 60,000 is a good number.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of times, and at some point it becomes so unwieldy that it’s a burden to where things are scrolling off, it’s out of sight, out of mind. It’s like Google. If you do a search on Google or Bing very few people go past the first or second page of results. It’s kind of the same thing with emails. If you don’t see that email in the first or second screen of emails you’re probably not going to scroll 300 emails down the list to find it unless you’re specifically searching like very specifically searching.
So having that that Inbox be a little bit less cluttered is very helpful and what the Cleanup feature does is it’ll go through all the messages in the folder including subfolders if you tell it to do that, and it will look for messages that are cumulative basically. So you know how we — when you reply to a message you often quote the message before that which may be quoting the reply before that, which is quoting the reply before that, well, you may have all four of those messages in your Inbox but you really only need the most recent one because all the previous ones are quoted already.
So Cleanup will go through and it will send all of those other messages, all those extraneous messages to a folder of your choosing, now I choose Deleted but I’ve seen Paranoid users who are like, well, I better not do that, and so you can set up an archive or a cleanup or a — you can set up some subfolder that’s going to be just a holding pen for all those messages that got cleaned up just in case and tell it to do a cleanup of your Inbox, it’ll move all those extraneous messages to whatever fold are you designated and then your Inbox will be substantially thinner probably.
Adriana Linares: A little weight loss for the old Inbox.
Ben Schorr: Big time.
Adriana Linares: I like to tell people when we talk about this feature that it removes duplicates but they have to be exact duplicates, so if in the exchange like you and I are going back and forth and in one of the replies I attach a document, send it to you, then you reply, it’s not going to remove/clean up the message that has the attachment on it because it’s not a true duplicate text-wise. So it’s got some intelligence built behind it. I don’t want people to freak out when they use it. It really does, just remove. Delete the ones that — if you were sitting there and going back and saying, well, I’ve got that one up above, I got that one up above, it’s included in the message up above, you would delete it.
Ben Schorr: Right, and you can also tell it to not move like if you’ve flagged a message for follow-up or if you’ve categorized the message you can tell conversation cleanup to not move any messages that you’ve done that with.
Adriana Linares: Great, that’s a great tip. Tell us a little bit another one that I know people love hearing about and not many people know about is date calculations and calendar.
Ben Schorr: Oh yeah, date calculations, so natural language dates are really important, a really handy feature to be able to use, a lot of people get frustrated because they need to either it’s for a task or they are flagging something for follow-up or maybe it’s an appointment on the calendar and they want to say, well, I want to do this next Thursday but I don’t know what next Thursday is so then they have to pull up the calendar or look at the screen, the date navigator, to figure out the next Thursday is the 18th, okay, great.
Well, you actually don’t have to because you can use natural language dates in Outlook and that includes just typing “Next Thursday” or “Next Thu” for example, and Outlook will automatically calculate and put the correct date in for you. You can also tell it to do relative dates. So, for example, frequently when I set up a task I may say I want to do this task in two weeks, but I don’t necessarily know what two weeks from today is off the top of my head.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ben Schorr: So what I can do is in the date field I just put “2 W” and it’ll actually automatically calculate what two weeks from now is. That’ll also work for days or –
Adriana Linares: And that works — so let’s say I get a notice and I’ve got to do something 30 days from May 15th, if we go to May 15th and open up an appointment and the date in the Start field is May 15th and you put in “2 W”, so you just overwrite where it might say 5/18/2017, you sort of highlight it and overwrite it with 2 W hit Tab or Enter.
Ben Schorr: Or 30 D in this case.
Adriana Linares: Okay, or 30 D, yes, thank you.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, either way.
Adriana Linares: I am glad you are listening. Or 30 D, or I usually just put 30 Day, like whatever like you said natural language works and it counts calendar days, it includes the weekends and it doesn’t know holidays and court dates or anything like that, but it sort of does it. I’d like to tell people it does it the old-fashioned way so if you had a desktop calendar you put your big old finger on the 15th and you start counting 1 and you jump to the 16th and that’s how Outlook does it.
So do not call me and Ben telling us that Outlook calculated a date wrong and you missed a deadline because Outlook is not going to calculate wrong. You are going to put it in wrong.
Ben Schorr: The other thing I love about it is that and this is really handy when you’re early in the month is when you’re putting a date in for that month, so for example, I have an appointment somebody asked me the day about a meeting on the 24th of this month. Well, all I have to do — I don’t have to type-in May 24, 2017 because it’s already May, all I have to do is put in 24 and Outlook will assume, I mean, this month, and so, if I just put in 24 then May 24th, now of course as we get later and later in the month that doesn’t work quite as well.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ben Schorr: But, yeah, early in the month you can just put in the day, you don’t need the year or the month and it’ll just put it in for this month. That’s pretty handy.
Adriana Linares: And then how do I go backwards, so let’s say I have a Statute of Limitations that’s going to run out on August 15th and I want to calculate 45 days before August 15th to tickle something on my calendar, how do I tell it to do that?
Ben Schorr: Actually that’s a really good question. I’m not sure.
Adriana Linares: Oh, I know I can answer. Okay. Thanks for throwing me one, Ben, now I can look like the smart one. So you’re going to go to the 24th of August, make sure it says 8/24/2017 and again you overwrite it and you simply type-in 45 days before and hit Tab or Enter and it’ll count backwards.
A lot of people try the Minus sign, -45 don’t do that, it goes to the year 1945, but the best thing to do is open up a calendar appointment in Outlook and just try these things, test it, you can also, of course, Google it to get all the exact terms and different tips and tricks for calculating dates.
Well, yes, Ben, I feel you have something to say.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, I just tested it and I hope this is in our shipping product and I’m not giving away any secrets, but it turns out that in the Due Date field you can actually type 30 days before 12/7/17 and it’ll calculate it.
Adriana Linares: Oh good, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ben Schorr: You actually type that out 30 days before whatever date.
Adriana Linares: Oh, so you don’t always have to go to the day, you can just type out the date.
Ben Schorr: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Oh, nice.
Ben Schorr: I didn’t know that worked either until I just now tried it.
Adriana Linares: See, that’s how some of us figure these things out ourselves, so we just go in there and try it. So definitely try it, it’s very handy, and of course, honestly, for me the fastest way for me to calculate a date these days is to ask Siri on my iPhone.
Ben Schorr: Or Cortana.
Adriana Linares: She always knows. Or Cortana, we can talk to Cortana too. Oh, let’s take a quick break and hear a couple more messages from two more sponsors and then we’ll come back and talk a little bit about Word and see if we can cram some Excel and PowerPoint in there, we’ll be right back.
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Adriana Linares: Okay, when we left you Ben and I were just throwing around a couple of Outlook tips and now let’s talk for a few minutes about some good Microsoft Word tips.
Ben, I wanted to ask you I’ve noticed something really cool with Word where it’s not just correcting my grammar anymore as far as literal incorrect grammar usage, it’s also making suggestions on making my writing better, and I’m sure other people have noticed that feature, do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Ben Schorr: Sure, so that’s something new we’re doing, it’s called Intelligence Services and that can be enabled or disabled depending if you decide you don’t like it in Options in Office, and what it does is it sort of takes the grammar checker to a new level where it’s going to suggest — it’s going to let you know if you’re — if Word thinks you’re being using too much passive voice or if you should be more concise things like that, it lets you also use the Editor function which some of us are used to you type a word in Word and you right-click it and you can choose synonyms or translate, but now Word actually gives you a much deeper level of information about that word in many cases including context, and that’s really helpful, especially if you have a word like one that people get wrong a lot with “affect” or “effect” with an A or an E, and so if you type one of those in and right-click on it you can — it’ll give you a little bit of a — here’s when you would use this one versus the other one maybe you meant the other one, and so you can use some of those features to improve your writing we hope.
Now the other thing that I get a lot of questions about with this is that it’s either doing too much and it’s annoying people or it’s not doing enough, they wish it would do more and so I wanted to point out that if you go into File Options-Proofing you can configure all of the autocorrect and grammar options, you can turn things on or off, you can tell it, don’t correct me on this or please do show me frequently confused words, don’t show me frequently confused words, things like that. So File Options-Proofing is a place that you should probably go to play with those settings if you want to tweak them a little bit to make them better for you specifically.
Adriana Linares: And in there one of the other tips that I always give is, under File Options-Proofing you’ll notice that by default Word does not spellcheck things in all caps.
Ben Schorr: Right.
Adriana Linares: So you want to uncheck the box that says Do not spellcheck all caps. So for those of you who have called the helpdesk saying, my spellcheck is broken it didn’t find the for Es in Agreement, I mean, yeah, instead of the three it’s because that’s checked and in legal we do use a lot of caps so you want to go and remove that. So really a good tip for you whether it’s just in Word or Outlook or any program that you’re using, spend a few minutes under File Options looking at all of the different options that you have turning features on and off and enhancing your use with these tools because a lot of people say to me all the time, “I hate when Word does that” and I think, wow, you are in an abusive relationship because that program is owning you, and if you just spend a few minutes going into those tools options you can turn a lot of that off.
Ben, tell everybody, if you would please, a little bit about one of my live and die for features, which I still can’t believe I have to teach people about because it’s been around so long and that is the totally awesome and amazing Clipboard and how to activate it?
Ben Schorr: Oh yeah, sure. So a lot of people of course are used to Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V or Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V for cut-and-paste which lets you copy and paste text from place to place within a document or from another program to a document or vice versa, it’s actually one of the most used functions in Word is pasting text, that’s why if you look at the ribbon in Word, the very first command on the very first tab is Paste.
Adriana Linares: It’s got a pull position and it’s big.
Ben Schorr: Yes, and that’s because it is the most used button, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that that Clipboard is a lot deeper than they might expect. We’ve seen users all the time will get frustrated especially if you’re doing a lot of copying and pasting. I’ve seen users who, they copy they paste, they copy they paste, okay, well, that’s — they wish they could do this a little bit more efficiently, so you may notice on the Clipboard group which is what we call those sort of groups on the ribbon. The Clipboard group to the right there’s a little tiny icon, it’s a little hard to see, we call –
Adriana Linares: Just so you know, Ben.
Ben Schorr: Yes.
Adriana Linares: I call those when I’m doing training I want to know you officially call those because I refer to them as the insultingly small button in the bottom right hand corner of a group.
Ben Schorr: Oh, okay. Yes, we call them the eye test. No, I’m just kidding. They are officially called Dialogue Launchers, and so, if you click on that insultingly small eye test button in the bottom right corner.
Adriana Linares: I will start calling it that.
Ben Schorr: You will get the — it’s the Dialogue Launcher, you click on that and it opens a dialogue box with a little — or a Task Pane with a little bit more functionality, and the one that’s on the Clipboard group will open the Clipboard Pane on the left hand side and that Clipboard can hold up to, I believe, it’s items and it does –
Adriana Linares: I think it’s 24.
Ben Schorr: Is it 24? Okay, it could be.
Adriana Linares: But tell them to raise it 30 please.
Ben Schorr: I will see what I can do with that. By the way, suggestions like that can be given to us at user voice where we accept those. It’s our suggestion box. So with the Clipboard every time you copy so you select something and copy it, it gets put on that Clipboard and you’ll see it on that list.
Adriana Linares: Yes.
Ben Schorr: Well, what’s cool about that is then when you want to paste that into a document you can select from the list and so you don’t have to necessarily paste the last thing you copied, you could paste something you copied five things ago, all five of those things are going to be on your — all eight of those things are going to be on your how many they were are going to be right there on that list and you can paste them in repeatedly so you could paste the same thing over and over or you could paste things out of order the first thing could get pasted third and so forth and so on. So the Clipboard just gives you a much deeper well of things that you can copy from and paste from.
Adriana Linares: I love that and the Clipboard is shared across all your Microsoft products so if you open up an email in Outlook that you are composing and then expose the Clipboard you will see all your clippings there.
Ben Schorr: Yep and Excel and PowerPoint do, yep.
Adriana Linares: Hey, when’s the Mac going to get that? That would be great.
Ben Schorr: We have nothing to announce around that at this time.
Adriana Linares: So for you, Mac users, I’m sorry the Clipboard doesn’t live, but I do have an add-on for my Mac that I use called, I was going to tell you, it’s called CopyClip. So for the Mac you can get a third-party tool. There’s many of them. I just happened to use one called CopyClip, and it’s system-wide on the Mac, and then for Windows the Clipboard is also system-wide but it really is amazing so you can share it across all your different applications.
Ben, I know that a lot of awesome development had gone into Excel and PowerPoint over the last couple of versions of Office I know — I feel like those got the most love over the past two upgrades. Are there any really cool specific tools that you know are helpful for attorneys to know about when it comes to Excel.
Ben Schorr: So with Excel there’s a lot of stuff in there. We did a lot of work around Pivot Tables, which can be a really handy way to analyze data. There’s a lot of interesting data connection stuff so you can connect to your billing system or you can pull in data from CSV files, you’ve always been able to do that but now I think it’s a little easier to do and you can also do a lot more of interesting analysis on the data without having to be a data scientist yourself and so you can see trends and you can see things are moving in the numbers.
And so, I really encourage people to especially if you have a practice where you work with numbers a lot, and believe it or not, most of you do, to get comfortable with Excel, and one of the things I wanted to point out is it’s not just for Excel but on our site at support.office.com we have a tremendous amount of free video training, text and video training where you can go to learn about things like that. So if you want to know about Pivot Tables, for example, I know that Chris Smith who sits right next door to me in fact has some terrific content on support.office.com about Pivot Tables to make it easy for people to use it.
So with Excel a lot of the new content or a lot of the new features are around data analysis, of course.
Adriana Linares: And visualizing data, right?
Ben Schorr: Visualizing data, yeah, we’ve got some new chart types, things like that. Yeah, it’s really — it’s really come a long way and it’s gotten so much easier for average people. A lot of people fire up Excel when they see that big empty grid of cells and they get a little intimidated, but don’t be, it’s gotten a lot easier to work with.
Adriana Linares: And you know what a — I think a good tip is and I’ll sort of tell people what I tell people and then you can expound on it a little bit is when somebody comes to me and they say, hey, I need to learn formulas because I’ve got to do a budget or a GL or I really want to figure out how to do a loan calculation. I say, I look at them in the eye and I go, do you think you are the first person that has to figure out the formulas for an amortization table? I go, you are crazy. If you’re just doing some very typical business functions you can go search in the Microsoft gallery of templates for a lot of spreadsheets that are incredibly sophisticated and already have all the formulas built into them, so like when somebody says, it’s an office manager, she calls and says, I wonder if there’s an easy way for me to do a construction budget for our build-out. I say holy moly, go search, and there’ll be thousands of templates in there. You could even take a wedding budget.
So a lot of them are — they’ll be like a wedding budget, a personal vacation budget. You can go in there and pull a wedding budget if you like the way it looks and just change the categories from food to construction, from trinkets and flowers to desks and chairs, so tell us a little bit about where those templates in the gallery come from or the template gallery come from and just talk a little bit about that because I think that’s an area that most people don’t even think to go to.
Ben Schorr: It’s true, so there are a ton of templates built in, some of them come with the product, though you’ve already got them when you install, but there’s a lot more that are actually available online through our website and actually you can go to templates.office.com where you can find templates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, all of them Most of them are free, certainly all the ones we’ve developed are free. You also find some third-party templates there. I think they have been created by other people. Some of those are free and some of them aren’t, but it tells you before you try to download it or access it, it should tell you if it’s free or not. I believe they are mostly free.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one to pay for, so mostly free; and are those somehow vetted through some sort of Microsoft spamware, malicious, because people are going to say, oh –
Ben Schorr: They are, yeah.
Adriana Linares: You guys always tell me not to download from the Internet and here you are telling me to download templates but they’re coming directly through a Microsoft filter of some sort.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, everything you’re going to find at templates.office.com has been vetted and carefully looked at.
Adriana Linares: Great.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, so that should be fine. Stuff you download off the general web obviously is anybody’s guess, but the things you get from templates.office.com or through — in Excel or Word or PowerPoint when you click File-New there is a search box right at the top where you can search for things, and including templates, and so all of those templates come through our template service as well.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Ben Schorr: And so they are all pretty stable that way.
Adriana Linares: And I think that’s a great place just to talk for a minute about PowerPoint to go and look for new design templates for PowerPoint. We’ve been — many of us looking at those same templates with the scales of justice, the waves in the background for many years and there are thousands of beautifully designed PowerPoint templates out there that are professionally designed including the fonts that get used and the colors that get mixed into the templates, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time working on design and colors because it’s been done for you.
Ben Schorr: Right, the other thing I wanted to mention about that in PowerPoint especially is our new Designer feature, which is part of those Intelligent Services, that for example, when you insert a picture onto one of your slides assuming you have the Intelligent Services enabled, which you probably do.
Adriana Linares: And Office 2016 for that?
Ben Schorr: And Office 2016, yes.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Ben Schorr: It’s part of a — you have to be an Office 365 subscriber because it’s one of those features that’s shipped since the last time we put Office in a box and so with the Designer feature it’ll open up a pane on the right-hand side that shows you a bunch of suggested layouts for how you might want to put that picture on the — and integrate it with the rest of your text and basically layout your slide to make it look more professional, and you can just pick one of those layouts. You don’t have to, of course, you can ignore those suggestions and just use your own thing, but if you like any of the suggested layouts that it offers you there you just pick it and it automatically lays it out that way for you, which is a really nice way to make your deck look very professional, but also to make it look a little bit more distinctive so that you’re not necessarily trapped just in the template that you’re using so you’ve got whatever design template you’ve chosen and then you insert a picture you can make that particular slide stand out a little more, which is nice.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. So the last thing I will ask you, Ben, is something that I get asked all the time when people say, where can I learn more about these products, where can I get Microsoft training aside from calling me, to get some training, where do you suggest people go to watch those videos? I think you mentioned it earlier, but that’s close up with reminding people of some good resources for learning more about Microsoft products.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, we have a lot of content available at support.office.com both video content and articles other things like that, even within the products I would encourage you there’s a new thing at the top that says Tell me what you want to do, that’s our Tell Me box.
Adriana Linares: I feel Clippy.
Ben Schorr: It’s not, it’s a –
Adriana Linares: Come on. It’s like Clippy reborn again born again born again.
Ben Schorr: Not exactly. Clippy was a little more proactive. This is sort of the evolution of the old help pane which wasn’t super-helpful always but we’ve really spent a lot of time and effort getting this tool a little bit better because what it’ll do is a lot of people think when they type that in all they’re going to do is, is get a link to an article, but they won’t always. So for example, if you say, if you go into Word and say, if you type like insert a watermark, for example.
Adriana Linares: I’m going to do compare documents and see what it tells me, compare documents, compare two versions. Oh, look at that, okay, go ahead, yeah it’s very — legal blackline, ooh.
Ben Schorr: Yeah, so instead of just giving you a help article on how to do it it’ll actually show you in the product how to do it. In some cases, it depends on what you are asking of course, and so, that’s another really good way to get help and to learn about how to do things in the product, and sometimes it can be handy, even if it’s something that you kind of know how to do but maybe the way you do it doesn’t feel very efficient to you. Typing that into Tell me what you want to do, may show you a different better way to do what you’ve been doing. That can save you some time and make it work a little better.
So those are my two main suggestions, of course, at support.office.com, you’re also now going to find a lot of links to LinkedIn Learning which used to be called HYPERLINK “http://www.lynda.com” lynda.com, many of your listeners will know.
Adriana Linares: Sure.
Ben Schorr: We bought LinkedIn and so we also gained HYPERLINK “http://www.lynda.com” lynda.com, which is now again LinkedIn Learning, and so they have a lot of great video training content available there and some of it we make available through our support site for free, there are a few resources there that are available free as well.
Adriana Linares: Well, that’s awesome. Ben, thank you so much for your time today. Before I let you go do you want to tell everyone where they can find, friend or follow you on the Internet? I know you have so much knowledge and information to share people might want to keep an eye on maybe your tweets or anywhere else you might publish information?
Ben Schorr: Sure. On the Twitter I’m @bschorr, that’s probably the best way to keep up with what’s going on, and I also have if you are a Facebook user, I maintain a Office for Lawyers Facebook group where I post usually once a day a link to a nice Office tip, some of which come from our very own Adriana Linares, of course. So yeah, if you’re a Facebook user you might check out that Facebook group, which is open to all.
Adriana Linares: All right. Well, Ben, thank you so much again for taking time out of your busy, busy work schedule over there at Microsoft for talking with us and helping us, I really appreciate it.
Ben Schorr: Always a pleasure.
Adriana Linares: And for all you listeners who want to learn more make sure you visit HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com and don’t forget to follow us or subscribe on your favorite services. That brings us to the end of our show. I’m Adriana Linares. Thank you so much for listening. Make sure you join us next time for another great episode, and remember, you’re not alone, you are New Solo.
Outro: Thanks for listening to ‘New Solo’ with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice, solo, here on Legal Talk Network.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always consult a lawyer.
Christopher Anderson: I bet you didn’t think about running a business when you were in law school, but now that you have your own practice, you are constantly looking for tips on marketing, accounting, practice management and so much more. I am Christopher Anderson and you can get expert business advice on my podcast, ‘The Unbillable Hour’, found on HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com, iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
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