How To Work With Apps For Office In MS Word 2013

How prepared are you for that first written assignment of the school year? It may still be early, but it’s always a good idea to stay one step ahead of the game.

Now we all know that writing research papers and essays is one thing, but to do it effectively is another. If you’re a student struggling with the writing aspect of your papers, then  you know what we’re talking about. This is why MS Word is as powerful as it is, offering tools that make it more than just a text editor. It strives to help you as much as possible with any task you may have.

But if you’re finding that despite this, MS Word’s core functionalities aren’t as advanced or intricate as you need them to be, the program will still give you powerful options with Apps for Office 365.  If you’ve been using Office 365 for the basics and haven’t explored these apps yet, here’s your chance.

Much like Google Docs and Sheets Add-ons, Apps for Office are basically mini programs that can add features that go beyond Microsoft Office programs, like MS Word. These apps are used directly right within your document. They can add a ton of extra functionality that not only helps you get your writing done faster, but helps you get it done better, as well.

To begin, you can find the app functionality through the Insert tab on the ribbon. To insert an app into a Word document,

1. Go to the Apps section of the Insert tab on the MS Word Ribbon.

2. To search and add new apps, click on Store and browse through the available apps listed by category.

Accessing Apps Store

3. Once you find an app, click on it.

4. Activate the app by clicking on Trust It in the information box.

Activating Wikipedia App

The app will then appear on the right hand side of your Word document. You can change this once you’re inside the app if you like though. To access apps you already have, simply click on My Apps and select the app you need from the list.

Selecting App From List

You’ll get a lot of extra functionality from just a few apps, making MS Word that much more powerful. To give you an idea, here’s a short roster of some pretty cool apps for MS Word that can really raise the bar for your document creation process. All of these can be found in the Office store.

TaskIt is a great app to have. It’s a to-do list that sits directly within your word document. This is perhaps one of my favourites. It helps in breaking down large writing projects, staying on track, or itemizing your thought process. You’ll always know exactly what you need to do.

Creating To Do List

Wikipedia makes this roster because, lets face it, who doesn’t check the site for background information? It’s the perfect tool for doing a quick reference check while you write. Either highlight a word in your document or simply type your search term in. The Wikipedia article is displayed right within your document.

Lucidchart, the popular data viz tool, gives you a great option for creating diagrams, mind maps and flowcharts for your document. You need to have an account or sign in with social accounts like Google or Facebook to use it, but it’s well worth it for those who are either regular users of the tool or need an indepth visualization on the spot.

The Bookmarker comes in handy if you need to reference or get back to a certain webpage or resource. You don’t have to resort to pasting ugly links in your document that skew the overall character or word count. The app will list all of your bookmarks in one panel without having to junk up your document.

Creating Bookmarks In Word

Pro Word Cloud will create a word cloud from the selected text within your document. You can adjust features like the font, colours and layout, selecting the size and number of words you want in it. This is great for creating visuals for your content or in publications like ebooks or eguides to sum up a concept or emphasize connections between ideas.

QR4Office is a neat app. It lets you insert and generate a QR code in your document. Customize your information and the QR code image itself. Then all you have to do is insert it. If you’re creating research content for a special cause or that’ll be shared publicly, this is a perfect way to help increase your sharing potential.

Creating Word QR Codes


In addition to Microsoft Word, the Office store has all kinds of different apps for other Office 365 programs like PowerPoint and Excel. There are a lot of apps to browse through, so you’re bound to find that one handy app that’ll make your written work go more smoothly–no matter what the content!


27 Microsoft Excel Experts Predict The Future Of Excel In Business Intelligence

With over 750 million users worldwide, Microsoft Excel is the traditional tool of choice for presenting and analyzing data.

And now, it’s in a position to be the new BI tool of choice, as well. With Excel 2016, Microsoft announced some forward thinking built in Business Intelligence (BI) features. In the age of big data, this is huge.

This announcement, however, raised many questions in the field of big data manipulation. Is Excel powerful enough? Can it manipulate the amount and types of data businesses deal with today? Does Excel have a future in Business Intelligence workflows?

In the search of answers to these questions, we rounded up renowned MS Excel experts and picked their brains on it. We asked them one visionary question:

Where do you see the future of MS Excel in Business Intelligence Workflows?

And here is what they shared with us:

1. Purna Duggirala – Chandoo // @r1c1

Purna DuggiralaThere is a running joke in BI communities.

“What is the most used feature in any business intelligence solution?”
It is the Export to Excel button.

Jokes aside, Excel continues to be the #1 platform when it comes to analyzing data, finding information, preparing charts and presenting them to decision makers. In that sense, I see Excel playing a strong role in BI workflows in future.

Excel continues to be the #1 platform when it comes to analyzing data, finding information, preparing charts and presenting them to decision makers. In that sense, I see Excel playing a strong role in BI workflows in future.

– Purna Duggirala

With the addition of features like Power BI (Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Power Maps etc.) that naturally integrate with Excel, analysts, reporting professionals and BI people are finding Excel more relevant for full-length BI implementations.

In order to remain the favorite analytics app of everyone, Excel needs to do what it is amazingly good for. These are – offer a sandbox-like environment where anyone can play with data and come up with information, keep the Excel software offerings clean & simple (with the addition of Power BI, buying and using Excel has become a complex process), give users competent & compatible Excel apps for tablet & phone devices and include features to do powerful data analytics processes with one-click (as against a complex set of formulas, pivot tables & manual steps that many analysts do now).

Long live Excel.

2. Ken Puls – Excel Guru // @kpuls

Ken PulsI personally see Excel as THE future of Business Intelligence workflows.

No matter how many systems a company has, how big they are, or how many millions of dollars have been spent on them, the reality is that the majority of data is exported to Excel before decisions of serious consequence are made. I’d go so far as to say that there are only a handful of finance departments in the world who don’t run their critical decision making analysis through Excel.

With the increasingly diverse toolset being added to Excel — Power Query to source and clean data from disparate dirty sources, Power Pivot to aggregate those disparate sources into business intelligence models, Power View to create dynamic dashboards from those models and Power Map to tell the data story on a geo-spatial plane – it’s very clear that Microsoft is investing heavily to make Excel the Business Intelligence tool of choice.

I personally see Excel as THE future of Business Intelligence workflows.

– Ken Puls

The killer for Excel today is not the fact that it isn’t the best out there for building business intelligence, it is the fact that far too many users are ignorant of the vast amount of capability that was added in the last five years. The attitude of “Excel can’t do that” is still pervasive and relied upon by its competitors to sell THEIR products.

My advice to anyone looking at building business intelligence systems today and considering switching to a competitor’s product: find a business intelligence expert who REALLY uses Excel. Ask them what can be done. Chances are you already own the software that will do it all, you’re just not aware of how.

3. Bill Jelen // @MrExcel

Bill Jelen

The new Power BI Desktop offering from Microsoft will make it easy to create powerful dashboards that you can share to various end points such as iPads within your organization. The easiest way to get data into Power BI is from an Excel file, so Excel continues to be the most important component in the Power BI workflow.

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9 Handy IFTTT Recipes To Automate Office 365 Tasks

When you have the Internet, your productivity can increase drastically. It all depends on how you use it.

If you constantly work on the Internet, then you probably already know all about IFTTT (If This Then That), the online service that automates your daily tasks by connecting popular web services that you use every day.

And IFTTT recently got Office 365 signed on as a service. Now a few of your favourite Office 365 apps are available as IFTTT channels: OneDrive, Mail, Calendar, and Contacts.

Knowing how often you use Office 365 yourself, you can imagine what kind of automated tasks are possible.

We’ve already covered the basics of IFTTT.  So this week we thought we’d help you start up your collection of Office 365 IFTTT recipes for some of the most simplest and common tasks you do on a daily basis.

Remember—if you don’t see a recipe that works for you, you can always create your own when you sign up to IFTTT.

Office 365 Contacts Reminder

Create A Calendar Reminder To Follow Up With Newly Added Contacts In A Week

Networking can be considered an art, which admittedly sometimes, requires help in not only remembering people, but proper networking etiquette, as well. Set a calendar reminder to follow up with new Office 365 contacts when you add them on.

Create A Task Card In Trello For Each Of  Your Meetings

Sometimes your schedule can be too hectic to remember the standard follow up tasks–esecially for meetings. Well, if you’re a Trello user, there’s a recipe that will allow you to create task cards reminding you to follow up with meeting notes.

Weather Office Calendar Reminder

Add A Calendar Reminder To Bring An Umbrella

Hate it when you get caught in the rain? If you aren’t in the habit of checking the weather forecast, this neat little recipe can  check in for you. It can give you an automatic Office 365 Calendar reminder to take your umbrella if rain is predicted for the day. Don’t ever get caught unprepared ever again!

Send Your Team A Note That Food Has Arrived

Who doesn’t love group lunches at the office? In workplaces where everyone is spread out among departments, you can save yourself a trip around the office and instantly inform your co-workers that their food has arrived. This “Do” Button Recipe isn’t your traditional “if this, then that recipe.” Instead of combining two actions, you use a single “Do” button on your phone to send an email to their inboxes.

Get A Notification When You Receive A High Priority Email

If you’re expecting an important email, you don’t have to sit around and wait for it. With this recipe, you can get iPhone notifications when you receive a high priority email in your Office 365 Mail inbox. This is a great way to free up your time and let IFTTT keep an eye out for you.

Save Gmail Attachments IFTTT

Archive Incoming Attachments From Gmail To OneDrive

If you’re a Gmail user, this recipe will interest you as it neatly bridges the gap between Office and Gmail. You can save attachments you receive in Gmail to your OneDrive account, allowing you to create an online database that makes it easy to store and find any important files you receive.

Download Liked Tracks From SoundCloud To OneDrive

Where would your productivity be without your music? If you’re a SoundCloud user, you can collect your favourite music and access it directly from your computer with this recipe that lets you download liked tracks on SoundCloud to OneDrive.

Save Your Instagram Photos To OneDrive

If you love taking pictures or are into photography, then you’re probably posting your shots to Instagram on a regular basis. With this recipe you can automatically save your Instagram photos to OneDrive and create an instant backup of all your photos.

Facebook Photos OneDrive IFTTT

Save the Facebook Photos You’re Tagged In To OneDrive

Can’t keep track of the Facebook photos you’re in? Just connect the Facebook and OneDrive channels to stay on top of it. This recipe lets you save any Facebook pictures that your friends tag you in. It’s a neat and easy way to start your own collection of photos with your friends.

There are a ton of other channel combinations you can use with Office 365. It’s just a matter of making the connections between the services you use on a daily basis.

Got your own suggestions? Help expand on this list by sharing some of your own recipes.


11 Awesome Data Visualizations Way Ahead of Their Time [Infographic]

In this day and age of big data and information overload, data visualizations are, hands down, the most effective way of filtering out and presenting complex data.

A single data visualization graphic can be priceless. It can save you hours of research. They’re easy to read, interpret, and, if based on the right sources, accurate, as well.  And with the highly social nature of the web, the data can be lighthearted, fun and presented in so many different ways.

What’s most striking about data visualizations though is that they aren’t as modern a concept as we tend to think they are.

In fact, they go back to more than 2,500 years—before computers and tools for easy visual representation of data even existed.

Curious to see how data visualizations developed over time?

Below is an infographic that highlights 11 unique data visualizations from across different—yet significant, periods in history. It includes the first world map created by Anaximander, the elaborate Catalan atlas commissioned by King Charles V of France, Dr. John Snow’s map of cholera deaths in London that helped in combating the disease in the second half of the 19th century, and so on.

From ancient Greece and Medieval France to Victorian England and 19th century Sweden, these data visualizations and creators were ahead of the times, innovating the way in which information could be presented.

Whether they knew it or not at the time, these creators helped to develop an essential modern-day tool that is now invaluable to the world of statistics. Take a look.

Embed this infographic on your website:

Embed this infographic on your website:

How To Turn Chrome Into A Notepad

Among the many things you do online in a single day, we bet that taking down a note or two is somewhere at the top of your list. Was it for research? Recording a reference number? Brainstorming? Whatever the reason, having a scratch pad at arm’s length is a necessity.

One trick that can solve that problem—turn your browser into a note pad. It may sound odd, but it’s entirely possible. For this tip, we tried it in Chrome, and we have to admit that this is a neat little trick everyone should have handy.

All you have to do is copy and paste this single line of code into your browser’s URL bar:

data:text/html, <html contenteditable>

Then hit enter. Click on the blank tab window that shows up and start typing away. Testing it on the latest Chrome build, it worked out great.  You can even bookmark the URL and call it up anytime for instant access.

Chrome Browser Notepad

This tip originally comes from Jose Jesus Perez Aguinaga, web engineer and Javascript developer, who shared this tip on his blog,, a few years ago. And it still works.

Right off the bat, you can get a good idea of how this can make things easier for you while you’re on the web. As a writer, student or researcher, you can use this as a distraction free writing tool or quick text editor.

You don’t have to install a plugin or open another application. And without having to worry about any formatting frills, you can get in a good chunk of writing without having to leave the browser.

The one drawback, however, is that if you close the tab, you’ll lose all your notes. If you jot down reminders or to-do lists which you don’t need afterwards, then this shouldn’t be a problem.  In fact, it may even be convenient as you can skip over the usual dialog reminding you to save the file.

But if you do need those notes, then you can easily save them before closing the tab.  To do so, just use Chrome’s “Save page as…” function from the menu and save it as an HTML webpage. You should then be able to access the file in any browser.

If you hated the hassle of opening up a second app just to copy-paste or record something, try this out. This little trick will help simplify the process and speed things up.