Get started with Office 2016's streamlined sharing options

When Microsoft rolled out Office 2013 it included a sharing screen that let you share a document in all kinds of ways. You could share a link over email, get a sharing link, or post the document directly to a social network or blog.

It offered a lot of functionality, but it was a little on the complex side, especially since there were effectively two options to share via email. Plus, you always had to jump back and forth between your document and the Sharing page in Office’s backstage view—the screen you see when you click File. Ugh.


Microsoft Word 2016

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Get started with Smart Lookup, Office 2016's handy Bing-powered research tool

Microsoft’s newly released Office 2016 doesn’t look all that different from its predecessor, short of a color tweak to the title bar, but it does have a few new useful tricks to help you work more efficiently. One of the most handy is Smart Lookup, a Bing-powered tool that lets you search online for a term or phrase without ever leaving Office. With Smart Lookup, there’s no need to jump over to your web browser every time you need a quick word definition.

To use it, all you have to do is highlight a term or phrase, right-click, and select “Smart Lookup” from the context menu—or at least that’s how it works once you’ve activated the feature. Since Smart Lookup sends data from your desktop to Bing, Microsoft does not turn on the new feature by default.

Activating Smart Lookup is very easy, however.

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Don't want a standing desk? Use Workrave as a break timer to remember to move around

The evidence appears to be mounting that sitting all day is terrible for your health, but what if you’re not thrilled with the idea of standing all day either? Not to mention that shelling out for a standing desk isn’t a cheap proposition—although there are some cheap DIY alternatives.

If standing all day simply isn't in the cards, another strategy is to stand up, move around, and stretch every twenty to thirty minutes. To make sure you stay on that schedule you can use a simple and free utility for PC called Workrave.

The program was designed to help anyone who’s having problems with repetitive strain injuries, but Workrave can also be tweaked to remind you to get up and take a standing break.

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How to open files in Google Drive directly from Office

When Microsoft rolled out Office 2013, the productivity suite promised to be deeply integrated with the cloud. And as long as you were invested in Microsoft services such as OneDrive, it was. But other services you may use to stash your documents in the cloud, such as Dropbox and Google Drive? Well, not so integrated.

Google aimed to improve the situation in July, when it rolled out its own plugin for Office that works with every version of the suite released since Office 2007—including the upcoming Office 2016. The new plugin lets you open items stored in Google Drive directly in Office, similarly to how Office's OneDrive integration works.

Here’s how Google’s plugin works in Office 2013.

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How to quickly jump to often-used Windows app subsections in Windows 10's Start menu

I don’t dive into Windows 10’s Settings app that often, but when I do it’s usually to check two or three things, such as Windows Update or my Wi-Fi settings. An easy way to jump to a particular section of the Settings app is to search for it with Cortana in the taskbar. But if repeatedly typing "Wi-Fi" or "Windows Update" sound tedious, there's a far easier way to jump to oft-used parts of the Settings app. Instead of searching or navigating the Settings app manually, you can pin sections to the Start menu.

This tip isn’t just for the Settings app, however—you can also use it in a limited number of other Windows apps such as Mail and OneNote. For our example here, however, we’ll stick with the Settings app.

Let’s say you wanted to pin Airplane Mode to the Start menu. First, use Cortana to search for ‘Airplane mode’ or navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Airplane mode.

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Turn Chrome's new tab page into a to-do list powerhouse

It’s just one program on your PC, but for many of us the browser is the central tool we use for work, play, and communication. That’s why so many people love Google Chrome and its healthy ecosystem of extensions and apps. Today we’re going to look at one way to turn your new tab page into something a little more productive than you’ve got now thanks to Microsoft’s recently acquired to-do list app Wunderlist.

Wunderlist offers four different free Chrome tools, but the one we’re interested in is called Wunderlist New Tab. As its name suggests this, extension shows your to-do lists every time you open a new tab in Google’s browser. It also displays the service’s typical background photo of Berlin’s Fernsehturm (TV tower).

To get started, download the extension from the Chrome Web Store. Once it’s installed, Chrome will notify you that a new extension wants to take over your new tab page. Tell Chrome to keep the changes.

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How to customize Windows File Explorer's details view

We’ve talked about File Explorer (Windows Explorer in Windows 7) several times before, and if you ask me it’s one of the most important parts of Windows to customize. Unlike a smartphone or tablet, you spend a lot of time diving into your PC’s file system and it’s worth it to get things organized just how you like it.

One good way to do that is to customize a folder’s column order—name, size, type, date modified, and so on—under the details view. It’s really easy to organize columns in the order you’d like instead of just using the defaults. In fact, you can even apply a particular column order that you create to most other folders on your system.

I’ll be showing how it’s done in Windows 10, but it works similarly in Windows 7 and 8.

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