Empowerment is vital in creating a thriving work environment. When we think about empowering everyone, it is essential to understand what may be holding people back. As a business leader, you could ask, “What is holding them back from achieving more?” When equipped with the proper tools, individuals can quickly reach their full potential and beyond. Here are seven tips and tools to overcome the limits of time, place, and complexity.

One— Take notes on any device or platform with OneNote

OneNote is a digital notebook that is a perfect solution for creating, organizing, searching, and sharing notes online. It stores your notebooks in the cloud, so you can access your work from anywhere and share it with your colleagues at any time. OneNote works on any device or platform, which means it is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and the web.


  • Users can write or type anywhere, clip content from the web, or drop-in content from your Microsoft Office documents.
  • Stay on the same page by sharing ideas with your team or planning meals with your family.
  • Users can scribble notes by hand and express insights with shapes and colors. A stylus or fingertip is the only tool you need to make your vision a reality.
  • Take handwritten notes and convert them to text later while highlighting what is essential.
  • Since OneNote is a member of the Office family, users can pull information from Outlook or embed data directly into an Excel sheet. You can export notes as PDF or send notes as an attachment in an email.

Two— Easily edit and share projects and presentations from anywhere with PowerPoint

When users share files through OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Office 365, they can invite people to share the presentation from within PowerPoint or send a PDF or PowerPoint file via Outlook. Your team can co-author the same presentations at the same time from anywhere.

How to Share Your Presentation via OneDrive or SharePoint

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and click the Share tab on the far-right side of the menu ribbon.
  2. If you have not saved your presentation to OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Office 365, you will be prompted to do so now.
  3. Choose ‘Save to Cloud,’ enter a file name, and choose a location to save your presentation.
  4. Once you save your presentation to a shared location, you can invite others to work on it.
  5. In the Invite people box, enter the email addresses of the individual or group of people you want to give access to the document.
  6. If you already have their contact info stored, you can enter their name.
  7. If you are sharing with more than one person, use semicolons to separate the names or email addresses.

Note: You can also send your presentation as an attachment to an email message.

Three— Collaborate in real-time with Skype for Business

Your team can collaborate with others when creating documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. Use Office 365 and Skype for Business to co-author and edit documents while in a meeting or instant messaging. Your team can chat with collaborators in real-time and view presentation activity, all from the top-right corner of the screen. Everyone who participates in the co-authoring session can see changes in real-time.

Four— Transfer calls with Skype for Business

Users can transfer a Skype for Business call to their smartphone, another person, or phone number. For example, if you need someone else to handle the call, you can transfer it to them. Or if you need to leave the office, but you would like to continue the conversation, you can transfer the call to your cell phone.

How to Transfer a Skype for Business Call

  1. Click the Call Controls button in the call window.
  2. Click Transfer, type the number or enter the number in the text box. The Transfer Call window appears.
  3. Choose one of your numbers, such as your mobile phone, from your Skype for Business account.
  4. Click Transfer.

Five— Quickly split column data with Flash Fill

Filling in much repetitive information in Excel takes up an unnecessary amount of time, hindering productivity. The AutoFill feature can help significantly. But when you need to split a single column of data into multiple columns quickly, Flash Fill is the ultimate time-saver. Flash Fill recognizes patterns in your data and completes the data set accordingly.

How to Split Column Data with Flash Fill

The Scenario: You have a list of names that is not formatted the way you need it, or you need to split it into categories such as the first name from an email address.

  1. Start by typing the first name the way you want it (into the First Name column).
  2. Then, start typing the next name into the next cell down, and Excel provides a preview of the names formatted the way you want.
  3. Press Enter and Flash Fill will fill-in the names for you.

Note: Flash Fill works best on consistent data and does not work on mistyped text (e.g., inconsistent capitalization, like “nAnCy”). Once the data is filled-in, Flash Fill provides a drop-down box with various options you can apply to your data.

Keep in Mind: In Excel 2016, the Flash Fill feature is turned on by default and automatically fills your data when it senses a pattern. But if it is not working as expected, you can turn it on by clicking the File tab, then Options. Click on Advanced and check the Automatically Flash Fill box.

Six— Bring your data to life with Quick Analysis in Excel

It used to take a bit of work to analyze your data, but now it only takes a few steps. You can instantly create different types of charts, including line and column charts, or add small graphs; You can also apply a table style, create PivotTables, quickly insert totals, and apply conditional formatting.

How to Visualize Your Data with Quick Analysis

  1. Select the cells that contain the data you want to analyze
  2. Click the Quick Analysis button image button that appears to the bottom right of your selected data (or press CRTL + Q).
  3. In the Quick Analysis gallery, select a tab you want. For example, choose Charts to see your data in a chart.
  4. Pick an option, or point to each one to see a preview.

Note: You might notice that the options you can choose are not always the same. That is because the options change based on the type of data you have selected in your workbook.

Which Analysis Feature Should I Use?

If you are not sure which analysis option to pick, here is a quick overview:

  1. Formatting: Highlight parts of your data by adding things like data bars and colors. You can quickly see high and low values, among other things.
  2. Charts: Excel recommends different charts, based on the type of data you have selected. If you do not see the chart you want, click More Charts.
  3. Totals: You can calculate the numbers in columns and rows. For example, Running Total inserts a total that grows as you add items to your data. Click the little black arrows on the right and left to see additional options.
  4. Tables: Make it easy to filter and sort your data. If you do not see the table style you want, click More.
  5. Sparklines: Add tiny graphs that appear alongside your data. They provide a quick way to see crucial trends.

Seven— Discover geospatial patterns with 3D Maps

With 3D Maps, get access to the popular 3D geospatial visualization tool that allows you to discover patterns in your data as it relates to location, time, and geopolitical context.

The popular 3D geospatial visualization tool, previously named Power Map, has been renamed 3D Maps and is now available to all Excel 2016 customers.

How to Create Your First 3D Map in Excel

First, access 3D Maps and other visualization tools by clicking 3D Map on the Insert tab, and then, begin prepping your data.

  1. In Excel, open a workbook that has the table or Data Model data you want to explore in 3D Maps.
    – If you do not have data to explore yet, try downloading one of our sample data workbooks.
  2. Click any cell in the table.
  3. Click Insert > 3D Map,
    – (Clicking 3D Map for the first time automatically enables 3D Maps.)
    – 3D Maps uses Bing to geocode your data based on its geographic properties. After a few seconds, the globe will appear next to the first screen of the Layer Pane.
  4. In the Layer Pane, verify that fields are mapped correctly and click the drop-down arrow of any incorrectly mapped fields to match them to the right geographic properties.
    – For example, make sure that Seattle is recognized as a City in the drop-down box.
  5. When 3D Maps plots the data, dots appear on the globe.

For best results with 3D Maps:

  • Use data in an Excel table or (preferably) a Data Model you created in Excel
    or by using Power Pivot.
  • If the data you want to use in 3D Maps is stored on external servers, you can connect to it from Excel and add it to the Data Model.
  • 3D Maps does not support hierarchies (groupings of data fields) that you create in the Data Model.