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31 March 2015

Excel 2016 In New Tips Series

Excel 2016 iconThe Excel 2016 Preview is out, so I chose to use it for a new Excel course in the kalmstrom.com Tips section. As there are only minor changes compared to earlier Excel versions, this course is suitable for everyone who wants to learn more about Excel.

Popular Tips section
We already have many demos and articles in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, but they are not arranged in a study order. Instead they have often been created after requests from subscribers to the kalmstrom.com Solutions, to help them solve a problem.

Now I have decided to make some more structured tutorial series on Microsoft's new 2016 platforms, and first out is Excel 2016. I use the IT Pro and Developer version of Office 2016 for the video demonstrations. The tutorials are however suitable for everyone who wants to understand Excel better, as the differences between Excel 2016 and 2013 or even 2010 are negligible.

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Excel 2016 from Scratch
I call the series "Excel 2016 from Scratch", because I begin with the very basics: workbook, sheet, columns, rows, cell names. But after that I start using Excel in the way it should be used to really shine - I calculate, in this case on the costs for owning a house.

There are in total 51 tutorials so far, so beside formulas for calculation I have time to cover charts, cell formatting and much more. I hope that the more advanced parts will be useful not only to new beginners who have studied the earlier tutorials but also to people who already use Excel but want to learn more.

Tips articles and extras
Each one of the video demonstrations will have its own article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, where the content of the video is listed and described. Some of these articles will also have extra material in the form of downloadable Excel files to practice on.

next iconSo far ten of the video demonstrations have been edited and published, and ten Tips articles have been written. Each article has a direct link to the previous and next articles in the series, so it is easy to navigate among them.

I have added the first demo to this blog post but I recommend you to instead watch the Excel 2016 from Scratch introduction demo in the first Tips article. Then you can follow the series from there.


New articles will be released each day, and we hope to get another ten ready for you this week. Welcome to learn about the wonders of Excel!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

26 March 2015

Replace Outlook Attachments With SharePoint Links

SP Attach for SharePoint logotypeSending attachments within an organization is not a very efficient way of sharing information. It is much better to use SharePoint document libraries for files that should be shared, and we are now developing a new solution that makes it easy to upload files to SharePoint directly from Outlook: SP Attach for Outlook and SharePoint.

SharePoint better for file storage than Outlook
Outlook has many benefits, but excellent file storage is not one of them! A SharePoint site is safer and gives a better overview over the files, and the SharePoint Search is more powerful than the Outlook Search. SharePoint also has features like version info and alert possibilities, and you can create different views in a document library.

Upload from Outlook
Even if you are well aware of all the benefits of using SharePoint document libraries instead of e-mail attachments, you might not want to have the trouble of first uploading the file to SharePoint and then copy the link and add it to the e-mail. When you are writing an e-mail in Outlook and want to add a file, it is quicker to send it as an attachment than to upload it and paste the link in the e-mail.
Kanban Task Manager in Outlook and SharePoint
With SP Attach you don't have to bother with upload and link. You can attach the file to the e-mail as you normally do, with the "Attach file" button or by drag and drop. Then SP Attach will take care of the upload, and SP Attach also adds the link to the file in the e-mail.

 Compare the steps to upload a file to a SharePoint document library with and without SP Attach:


Without SP Attach  With SP Attach
1. Open the SharePoint site.  1. Attach the file to the e-mail.
2. Open the document library.  (2. Change SharePoint library.)
3. Upload the file to the library.(3. Confirm by clicking OK.)
4. Copy the link to the file.  4. Send the e-mail.
5. Paste the link in the e-mail. 
6. Send the e-mail.

Learn more in the slideshow!
The SP Attach documentation is coming together, and today I can show you the slideshow, which shows how to use and configure SP Attach. The solution is installed and configured on each PC where it should be used, so each user can get just the SP Attach settings that he or she needs.


Most of the development is finished, so I hope to come back soon and tell you about the release of SP Attach for Outlook and SharePoint!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

23 March 2015

WIP Limits In Updated SharePoint Kanban Board

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeI am happy to announce the release of a new version of Kanban Task Manager – again! If you follow this blog you know that the SharePoint version had a major update in January and the two Outlook versions as late as earlier this month.

In spite of the recent releases we have decided to give users one more enhancement: WIP limits. Today the SharePoint version has been updated with this new feature that reveals bottlenecks and helps the team achieve a steady work flow.

Visualize work process
Kanban style task and project management means visualizing the work process by moving cards between different phases or stages. Originally the cards were pinned to a physical board, but the kalmstrom.com kanban boards are virtual and use the latest technology of Outlook or SharePoint. The color coded tasks are moved within or between phases and lanes by drag and drop, Ctrl + arrow keys or with a finger on touch screens.
Kanban board in SharePoint

Limit work in progress
When the different tasks of a project are visualized on a kanban board, it is easy to discover bottlenecks in the process. A warning when there are too many tasks in a phase or lane is a clear signal that something is wrong and action has to be taken, so the new possibility to set WIP (work in progress) limits is an important time saver.

Limit per phase or lane
In the new version of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint WIP limits can be set for all phases and lanes, and when the limit has been exceeded the name of that phase or lane will turn red. Also the number of tasks in the phase or lane will be shown in red.
Kanban Task Manager WIP limit warning

Experiment
When setting WIP limits I recommend you to start with limits on just a few phases or lanes. You probably need to test what is the optimal number of tasks and be prepared to make changes. Note that the WIP limits does not prevent users from adding more tasks, so a level that is set too low will not stop the work process.

Upgrade
kalmstrom.com upgrade iconFree upgrades are always included in kalmstrom.com Subscriptions, so current users of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint are welcome to upgrade their installations.

Try
kalmstrom.com download iconDoes your organization use SharePoint? Do your work teams need a way to visualize and cooperate on projects and tasks? Do managers need a way to quickly get an overview over different projects? If the answer to these questions is Yes, I think you would find Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint useful.

The Kanban Task Manager subscription covers an unlimited number of installations within the subscribing organization, so it can be utilized by many teams. Why not try it? We allow a 30 days trial of the full version of Kanban Task Manager, and I am sure you will like it!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions