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What Are the Best Ways to Give an Older PC New Life?

By IT Management, Productivity No Comments

Purchasing a new computer is a big investment. Many small businesses and home PC owners end up struggling with older systems because they want to get as many years out of them as possible.

Have you found yourself banging on your keyboard in frustration? Have you tried every tip and trick you found online, only to still struggle with a slow PC? 

There are some promising upgrades you can do that will cost much less than the price of a new computer, while making your PC feel like new again. 

Here are some of the options you can try to improve the performance of an older computer.

Upgrade to a Solid-State Drive (SSD)

Prices for solid-state drives have come down quite a bit in the past few years, making them an affordable upgrade that can breathe life back into an older PC that might be slowing down.

Unlike hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs do not have any moving parts and use a flash memory that allows for a quicker response time. You can improve your time to boot and your experience when searching files, opening applications, and other activities. 

Some of the advantages of upgrading your computer’s hard drive to SSD include:

  • SSD read/write speeds up to 2500 MB/second compared to HDD at up to 200 MB/second
  • SSD access time of 0.1ms as compared to HDD at 5.5-8.0ms
  • SSDs use between 2-5 watts of energy compared to HDD at 6-15 watts

Increase the RAM (Memory)

One upgrade that is very low-cost and can mean a significant increase in performance is a memory upgrade. If your PC was one of the cheaper ones that only had 4GB of RAM when you bought it, you likely have trouble opening too many tabs in your browser or using any graphics-heavy program.

Upgrading your RAM, if your PC has available memory slots, to 8GB or 12GB can make it seem like you have an entirely new computer due to the big increase in speed.

Upgrade the Graphics Card

If you play computer games or work in any type of video, imaging, or 3D software, an outdated graphics card can ruin your experience. 

Instead of replacing your entire computer, just upgrading the graphics card to a more robust model can improve your PC’s performance and give you several more useful years from it.

Replace Your PC Cooling System

Heat is an enemy of your computer’s internal parts. If your cooling system is getting worn out and not working the way it should be, then excess heat can be building up inside your device.

When this happens things can get strange, with programs crashing or your system rebooting on its own.

If you suspect excess heat may be an issue, have your computer’s fan and cooling system checked out to see if it needs replacing.

Connect an External Monitor to a Laptop

If you’re working on a laptop and having a hard time multi-tasking due to limited screen real estate, consider getting an external monitor rather than replacing your entire PC.

Monitors are just a fraction of the cost of computers, and having a screen twice the size of the one on your laptop can make all the difference in the world and improve productivity due to the additional screen space.

Replace Your Keyboard

Older keywords can stick, lose keys, and have the writing rubbed off the keys, making it more difficult to tell a “prt screen” from a “delete” button. If the performance of your PC is hampered by a frustrating keyboard, an upgrade can be a very inexpensive way to improve your equipment.

Get an External Hard Drive

Computers can slow down and be more difficult to use when the hard drive fills up with data. Over the years, files build up, and many users never take the time to go through and delete those that are unnecessary.

Buying an external hard drive can allow you to offload files that may be slowing you down, while still keeping them easily accessible.

Another benefit of an external hard drive is that it’s portable and can easily be carried between home and work and used in both places.

Get a Professional Computer Tune-Up

Those free PC cleaner tools you find online aren’t going to give you the type of tune-up that a professional IT provider can give. We will go through things like the Windows Registry, duplicate system files, internal errors, and more to clean up your system and remove all the “junk” that has built up over the years.

We can also do a maintenance check for things like failing parts, and provide expert guidance on your most impactful upgrade options. 

Get Help Improving Your Computer’s Performance Today!

Don’t struggle with an older PC! We can help you with cost-effective upgrade options that will fit your system and budget perfectly.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

person using black laptop computer

These Google Search Tips Will Save You Tons of Time!

By Productivity No Comments

Over 2.4 million searches happen every minute on Google. It’s often the first stop people make when they go online.

We search daily for both personal and work needs, and often searching out the right information can take a lot of time if you have to sift through several irrelevant results.

One study by consulting firm, McKinsey, found that employees spend an average of 1.8 hours daily, or 9.3 hours each week, searching and gathering information. This can be a productivity sinkhole as more web results keep getting added to the internet every day.

One way you can save time on your personal and work-related searches is to learn some “secret” Google search tips. These help you narrow down your search results and improve productivity by helping you find the information you need faster.

Search a Specific Website Using “site:”

Sometimes you need to find information on a specific website. For example, you might need to locate a government statistic that you know is out there but can’t seem to bring up on a general search.

You can use Google to search keywords on a specific website by using the “site” function.

In the search bar use the following:  site:(site url) (keyword)

This will bring up search results only for that one specific URL.

Find Flight Information Without Leaving Google

When you need to access flight information, you’re often on the go. Either getting ready to head to the airport or waiting for someone to arrive. Having to load multiple site pages in your browser can take valuable time. Instead, get your flight results directly from Google.

Just type in the flight number and the name of the airlines, and you’ll get a listing of flight information without having to click to another page. You can even tab to choose flight info for that same flight on different days.

Look for Document Types Using “filetype:”

If you’ve just been tasked with coming up with a presentation on sustainable energy, it can be helpful to see what other people have done on the same subject.

Searching websites can give you a lot of details to sift through but searching for another PowerPoint presentation can provide you with even more insight into how others have distilled that information down into a presentation.

Google has a search function that allows you to search on a file type, so instead of webpages showing up in your results, files of the file type you searched will appear.

To use this function, type in the following: filetype:(type) (keyword)

In the case of wanting to find a PowerPoint on sustainable energy, you could use the following in the search bar: filetype:ppt sustainable energy.

All the results will be PPT presentations.

You can also use this function for other file types, such as:

  • DOC
  • PDF
  • XLS or XLSX
  • SVG
  • and more

Narrow Down Timeframe Using the “Tools” Link

One frustration is when you’re looking up something like a population or cybersecurity statistic and you end up with results that are too old to be relevant. You can spend valuable time paging through the search results, or you can tell Google what time frame you’d like to search.

To narrow your search results by a specific timeframe, do the following:

  • Enter your keyword and click to search.
  • Under the search bar, click the “Tools” link.
  • Click the “Any time” link.
  • Choose your timeframe.

You can choose from preset timeframes, like past hour or past year, or you can set a custom date range for your results.

Locate Similar Sites Using “related:”

When you’re researching a topic online, it’s often helpful to find similar websites to the one you are viewing. Seeing related sites can also be used if you’re trying to find a specific product or service online and want to do some comparison shopping.

Google can provide you with a list of related websites when you use the “related” function.

In your search bar, type the following: related:https://website.com

One more way that you can leverage this search tip is to look for competitors by entering your own website URL in the search.

Get Rid of Results You Don’t Want Using “-(keyword)”

Non-relevant results are one of the main timewasters of online searching. You have to page through results that have nothing to do with what you really want to find, just because they use a related keyword.

For example, say you were searching the Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans. But in your search results, you keep getting pages related to the movie the Wizard of Oz. You could eliminate those irrelevant results by using the negative keyword function.

Just type: (keyword) -(keyword)

Basically, you are just putting a minus sign in front of a keyword that you want to exclude from your search. In the example above, you would type: ruby slippers -oz.

Looking for More Ways to Boost Productivity & Save Time?

IT consultants aren’t just for large projects, we can also help you boost productivity in your everyday workflow to make your life easier.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Microsoft OneNote

How OneNote Can Streamline Team Collaboration (And Four Tips to Make the Most of This Program)

By Microsoft, Productivity No Comments

OneNote is a digital note-taking tool that comes with plenty of benefits for users. But what you may not have realized yet is how powerful this app can be for enhancing team collaboration.  

Note-taking.

This is an essential part of day-to-day operations for many business owners, managers, and teams. After all, people can’t rely on their memory alone to recall everything that gets talked about each day. Especially when it concerns important matters. 

When it comes to note-taking, traditional methods such as pen and paper are effective but take too long. But modern-day businesses need something that allows them to work faster. That’s why they opt for digital solutions like OneNote.

OneNote is a productivity tool that leverages cloud and Microsoft technologies to make information capturing, storage, and sharing a breeze. 

Think of OneNote as a hub for all notes that allows you to organize them in many ways. It even allows pinning multimedia documents next to simple text. 

So, if you’re looking for a robust digital note-taking tool, OneNote may be the solution for you. 

Keep reading to discover the numerous ways in which this tool can be helpful for you and your business. 

Why Should You Rely on OneNote?

OneNote is not just a powerful tool for note-taking. It’s also a useful tool that allows you to perform various functions for easy information processing. 

Some of its main benefits include:

Benefit #1. Promoting Real-Time Collaboration

OneNote is part of Microsoft’s fully-cloud based Office 365 suite. This means OneNote users can share files with other team members or clients in real-time. Multiple people can view and edit their notes simultaneously, allowing for a seamless collaboration anytime. 

A great thing about real-time editing is that you can track all changes to the file. You can even restore the previous version of a document in case of accidents.

Businesses that run in multiple locations can benefit from this feature as well. It’s because people located across the country can work on the same project without affecting team collaboration. 

Simply put, there’s no need to trade emails and waste time waiting for responses – managers can have an easy time collaborating with their team instantly without ever leaving the office. 

Benefit #2. Securing Sensitive Information

Doing business online and sharing sensitive data comes with security risks. This is especially true for notebook software. Fortunately, OneNote comes with a set of security features that protect your data from being exposed to third parties. 

For example, you can lock specific sections with passwords while having all your information secured with 3DES encryption at all times. And if your password-protected documents remain inactive for a long time, the software will automatically lock them to prevent data leaks. 

Benefit #3. Integration With Other Software

Like other Office 365 suite apps, OneNote has great integration abilities. You can sync your OneNote with Outlook to send email information directly to the app and vice versa. 

What’s more, you can integrate this software with non-Microsoft apps as well. Some notable plugins include Zapier, Slack, Trello, Evernote, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many others. And all your essential apps will be synchronized, allowing your team to be more productive each day. 

Benefit #4. Project Management

OneNote has dozens of uses for general business. However, it’s especially suitable for project management. 

Project managers often deal with issues such as team member misunderstandings, communication delays, or project bottlenecks. But thanks to Microsoft’s note-taking tool, many of these issues are quickly alleviated. 

Project management can become more straightforward. It’s because OneNote makes it easy for the manager to track each team member’s achievements. They can update timelines, check off completed tasks, or assign new ones with ease. 

Take OneNote to the Next Level 

If you have never used OneNote before, you may be interested to learn about some tips to help you get the most out of the software.

Tip #1. Creating Quick Notes

Quick Note is a great feature that lets you write down a thought when you’re out having lunch or away from the office. 

Imagine being in the store and remembering you haven’t responded to an important email. You can take your phone, open the One Note app, and create a Quick Note reminding you of this task. 

The next time you open OneNote on your computer, you’ll see the message there. 

This feature is similar to Sticky Notes, as it lets you jot down any idea or thought in a matter of seconds. All your notes will be saved in the “Unfiled Notes” section of your “Quick Notes” notebook, a place where all your notes are saved by default. 

Tip #2. Searching Across All Notes

Searching for notes becomes more challenging as time passes. If you’re an active user, you can find yourself storing hundreds of notes in a matter of months. But don’t worry, as there are tons of options to organize your notes as well as search for it. 

OneNote has a built-in search option to make note finding easier. 

All you need to do is click on the magnifying glass or hit “Ctrl” (or “Command” for Mac) + “F” on your keyboard and look for a phrase or word. The software will go over all your typed, handwritten, and even picture notes. 

You can further narrow the search by selecting the drop-down arrow and choosing the desired option. You’ll see all matching results highlighted in your notes. 

As you find the note you needed, you can close the search by pressing “X” on the right-hand corner. 

Tip #3. Using Pre-Made Templates

OneNote is designed to have a blank canvas for each new note. And it’s what gives users a whole lot of flexibility. However, you can find this approach to be too basic sometimes. So, why not add some style, structure, and color to the app?

Thankfully, there are tons of pre-made templates to choose from. You can download a template with decorative backgrounds, to-do lists, planners, and more. 

Note that you can use the templates only on new OneNote files. The ones that already contain text won’t work since most designs require content to appear in a specific place on the page. 

If you need to add a template to your existing note, simply create a new one, then copy the existing text over. 

Tip #4. Scanning Documents from Your Smartphone

Do you need to take notes from a scanned document? That’s not an issue for OneNote. You can use the Microsoft Lens: PDF Scanner App (available for Android and iOS) to take high-quality scans of multiple documents using your phone and upload them to OneNote. 

Become the Master of Note-Taking

Digital note-taking tools have helped thousands of workers and managers become more productive. OneNote is one such software that seems to have it all – abundant features, flexibility, and ease of use. 

Whether you’re a business owner who wants to boost your team’s performance or a project manager that needs better tracking of the project timeline, OneNote has something in store for everyone. 

If you’d like to learn more about how this powerful tool can help you make your business better, feel free to reach out to us. We can have a 10-15-minute chat about this topic. 


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

person holding silver iPhone 6

The 7 Effective Features to Maximize Your Productivity on Google Drive

By Productivity No Comments

Google Drive is more than a file-sharing platform. It allows you to streamline your work in ways you never thought were possible. Learn how it can help boost workplace productivity. 

Did you know that something as simple as organizing your business is crucial to success?

The truth is that dealing with messy files and folders is of no help to you or your colleagues and clients. Instead, it keeps you unproductive and negatively impacts your business in so many ways. 

Fortunately, Google Drive can be of great help in this area. Especially when it comes to improving workflow in a business. This suite of apps has tons of features that can help the whole team be more effective at handling their workload. 

For example, you can organize your folders on a cloud platform starting with 15GB worth of space, do file backups, share files, etc. You can also share your PDFs, audio, photos, slides, and important work files in one place. 

Overall, you can maximize your productivity on Google Drive by tapping into several handy features. This article lists 7 of them.

The 7 Features

Feature #1.  Sharing Files While Controlling Access

Google Drive has robust sharing capabilities that allow for work collaboration. All you need to do is click on a file or folder you wish to share and create a shareable link or invite others to access that file. 

What’s more, every file and folder on this platform has its own sharing link that’s highly customizable. You can also determine user permissions for each item – whether the person with access can only view or can edit or comment. 

Additionally, you can add a time limit for file or folder access. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the user who has access to your file or folder on Google Drive. 
  2. Locate their email address and hover over to the right-hand side. A clock icon will appear. 
  3. Enter the expiration time. 

Feature #2.  Publishing Files to the Internet

Google Drive is among the best platforms out there for publishing files online. You and your team can access the uploads from anywhere in the world so long as you have an internet connection. 

A great thing about published files is that they sync to all devices that use the Drive app. This means the files you uploaded to your computer will be visible on your phone app and vice versa. All it takes to access those files is signing into your Google account. 

Feature #3. Voice Typing

  1.  Voice Typing

If you need to upload a written file on Google Drive, you can use Google Docs and dictate the text instead of typing. This will save you a lot of time when working with both short and longer files. 

So, how can you use this feature?

  1. Navigate to “Tools” on your Google Docs file. 
  2. Click on “Voice typing” from the dropdown menu. 

You can use words such as “period” and “next line” to let the recorder know how to organize your speech. Once you’re done recording, proofread your text to finish. 

Feature #4. Assigning Tasks to Employees With Comments

Google Docs makes it easy to tag a person and assign them a task for a specific file section. Whether they need to revise, proofread, manage sources, or rearrange their work, you can easily let them know what they need to do by adding comments. 

Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Open the file that needs task assigning on Google Docs. 
  2. Use your mouse to highlight the part that needs reworking and right-click on it. 
  3. Select “Comment” for the Comment section to appear to the right of the highlighted text. 
  4. Type “+” or “@” then a person’s name to tag them in that comment. You can also tag people by entering their email addresses. 

The tagged person will then receive a notification about this action and be invited to open the file. 

Feature #5. Using Templates

Google Drive supports free templates for all account levels. You can use Google Sheets, Docs, or Slides, all loaded with hundreds of templates for different project types. 

To choose or look for templates, open the tool and click on “Template Gallery” or use the search box to find templates that fit your project. 

You can also access these tools from your Google Drive – go to the homepage, click “New,” and select a file type you want to work with (slides, docs, or sheets). Then choose “From a template” to choose between templates offered by Google Drive. 

Additionally, you can use Google Forms templates to design event invitations and surveys in a matter of minutes. Simply visit Google Forms and choose from the template gallery. You can choose between Contact Information, RSVP, Party Invite, Event Registration, and other templates. 

Feature #6. Sorting Your Files by Size 

Google Drive sorts your uploaded files and folders by recently added or modified files by default. This is useful because it gives you quick access to files you work with often. 

But if you want to free up some Google Drive storage, you may want to sort the files according to their size and delete the ones you don’t use often that take too much space. 

You can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Navigate to Google Drive and click on “Storage” at the bottom of the left-hand side menu. 
  2. From here, you’ll see a list of files sorted by size, with the largest ones first on the list. Click on an unnecessary file and remove it from your Drive by clicking on the Trash Bin icon. 

Make sure to delete this file from the Trash folder to clear up space on your cloud. 

Feature #7. Doing Advanced Search

Maybe you’re searching for a document with specific keywords appearing in multiple files. In this case, you can use the advanced search on Google Drive. The platform allows you to filter your results by location, file type, owner, shared with, date modified, and more. 

All you need to do is click on the “Search Options” icon at the far right of the search bar. 

Get the Most Out of Google Drive

Organizing your files is crucial to making you and your employees more productive in running your business. And Google Drive more than proves its worth in this aspect.

Google Drive is a great tool that comes with numerous features to help you organize your files and folders, share them with the world, assign tasks, exchange valuable information, and more. 

The seven features mentioned above will help you streamline your work processes and make file creation, sharing, and search more straightforward. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Google Drive can help you improve your business, I’d be happy to tell you about it. Get in touch with us today to have a 10-15-minute chat on this topic. 


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

clear hour glass on white table

Timeless Methods of Improving Your Productivity – Here are 7 Things You Can Do to Be More Productive

By Productivity No Comments

Low productivity can be a massive obstacle to growing your business. Luckily, there are many ways to solve this problem.

Many people struggle to finish the task at hand. No matter how long they’ve been in the business, productivity seems to evade them regularly. 

And this probably happens to you, too, even if you’re an experienced business owner. 

Your to-do list is long… but you can’t focus when you try to get down to work. 

You try to concentrate… but you can’t make any headway. 

You might have been doing something all day… but none of your tasks are finished. 

Simply put, you’ve been busy but not productive. 

Luckily, there are many methods to get out of the slump. You need to work on your productivity, and this article will provide some of the best ways to do so. 

7 Methods to Boost Productivity 

Method #1. Improve Your Focus

When you have many obligations, you can easily get overwhelmed by the sheer number. As a result, you end up sitting idle and unable to do anything. 

Instead of tackling many things at once, choose the most important task. Hone in on it, and don’t let anything else distract you. Your mission should be to complete the job to make your day successful. 

Once it’s out of the way, you’ll get a powerful sense of accomplishment that will drive you to keep going. 

Method #2. Don’t Forget the Importance of Good Sleep

One of the main reasons affecting your productivity is a potential lack of sleep. Working while feeling sleepy is counterproductive, and the only way to combat it is through this:

Get some sleep. 

Experts recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep every night to improve workplace productivity. It lets you wake up fresh and ready to take on your office assignments. 

Furthermore, avoid going to work as soon as you get out of bed. Prepare yourself mentally for about half an hour before starting your workday. 

You should also figure out your ideal bedtime. Most people go to sleep early and wake up early, but that may not be effective for you. You’ll need to determine the most suitable timing. 

Method #3. Give Intelligent Planning a Shot 

Intelligent planning teaches you how to boost productivity by enhancing your time management. Research suggests your working intervals shouldn’t last more than 1.5 hours. Rest periods should be distributed between, allowing you to recharge your batteries. 

That said, trying to leave work early might be tempting, but it’s usually counterproductive. You skip your rest time, and job quality plummets. 

To remain productive and focused throughout the day, clear your mind by doing exercises. They can improve your performance while benefiting your mental and physical health massively. 

Some of your best options include yoga and a short gym session. They help reset your brain and fill you with positive energy to help you handle the rest of your workload. 

Method #4. Get Rid of Distractions

Another great way to increase productivity is to weed out distractions, such as chatting with your team members and surfing the web. The urge might be strong, but you’ll need to resist it to enhance your workplace efficiency. 

To do so, turn off computer and smartphone notifications. You may still encounter some interruptions, but they won’t be caused by social media or other trifles. 

Method #5. Do the Most Challenging Tasks First

Most productive days start by taking care of the most difficult task first. 

You’re at your best in the morning, which is the perfect time to address the biggest problem for the day. It’s during this period where your mental energy surges and you’re more likely to produce innovative ideas to solve tough challenges. 

After tackling the most complex tasks, the rest of the day will be much easier. You’ll be left with routine activities (e.g., checking and answering emails) that require no creative efforts. 

Method #6. Don’t Work Without a Break

This might sound counterproductive, but you need to take breaks during your workday. Remember, you’re not a machine that can work non-stop and produce impressive results. And if you try to be like one, your productivity is bound to plunge. 

To avoid mental exhaustion and productivity lapses, get up from the desk and stop working for a couple of minutes. 

As previously mentioned, you can perform a few exercises to refresh your energy. Another option is to have a cup of coffee or go for a walk. You should return more focused and ready to complete your tasks. 

But don’t go overboard with your breaks. Try to limit them to about 30 minutes and avoid watching YouTube or going to entertaining websites. It can lead to further procrastination and less productivity. 

Method #7. Learn to Delegate

Everyone needs help, even the most skilled business owner. 

So, delegating your assignments should be a staple of your workday, as it helps you save time and remain productive. Best of all, it allows you to focus on complex duties that can make or break your business. 

The easiest way to delegate duties is to assign them to trustworthy team members. 

After entrusting your responsibilities, don’t supervise your workers closely. Otherwise, you may start micromanaging them, which may cripple their motivation and confidence. 

Instead, provide your employees with all resources necessary to complete the task and let them work in peace. If possible, teach them how to automate the assignment using modern technology. 

Again, this can help take your productivity to new heights by enabling you to deal with essential duties only. 

Don’t Let Your Workplace Performance Suffer 

Running a company is satisfying, but you need to perform consistently to obtain the best results. Hence, your productivity should remain high, and we’ve given you the seven best ways to increase it. 

The key takeaway is to eliminate distractions, take appropriate breaks, and tackle the most daunting tasks early. Don’t forget to allocate some of your workload to your team members and get a good night’s sleep to keep a sharp focus. 

For more tips on staying productive in your office, contact us today. Let’s arrange a 10-15 non-salesy chat to figure out the biggest productivity challenges your business faces and how to overcome them. 


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Young person using a wireless keyboard to work on a document in Microsoft Word on a large desktop monitor

Improve Your Workplace Productivity With Microsoft Word: 11 Tips To Make the Most of This Program

By Productivity No Comments

Microsoft Word is an indispensable part of most business environments. It has numerous features that can help you boost productivity.

Microsoft Word is one of the most popular office programs in the world. It allows millions of people to complete their duties more efficiently. 

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced user, you can use the software to create many different documents. The list includes business letters, resumes, flyers, marketing newsletters, labels, plans, employee reports, and seminar documents. Best of all, you can print and share them within seconds. 

It’s easy to see why most companies rely on Word. But the reality is, many people haven’t tapped into the full potential of this tool. It’s chock-full of features that can help you be more productive, yet not a lot of people know about them.

This article will provide 11 tips on making the most of Microsoft Word to enhance your workplace productivity. 

The 11 Tips

Tip #1 – Switch to an Online Workspace

One of the best things about Microsoft Word is that you don’t have to install it on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. The office.com website allows you to sign in with your Microsoft account and use Word Online, the online version of this program. 

This is especially useful for people with limited storage on their devices since Word can be hefty. It uses around 1.2GB of storage space for Mac and 2.10GB for Windows. 

It provides the same functionality without taking up space on your device. 

Tip #2 – Collaborate Efficiently

Word allows you to edit the same documents simultaneously. You only need to save your file to your OneDrive account, use the Share function, and send it to your colleagues. People who receive the link can then edit the file with Word Online or the desktop app.

Tip #3 – Integrate With Dictate

Businesspersons do a lot of writing throughout the day, including responding to emails and creating presentations. This can cause both physical and mental fatigue. Using speech-to-text can be much easier, and this is where Dictate comes into play. 

This Microsoft Garage add-in for Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook converts what you dictate to writing with advanced speech recognition technology. As a result, your fingers can finally take a break from all that typing. 

Tip #4 – Establish Editorial Control

The Track Changes feature in Word enables you to monitor all the edits in your document. You can find it in the Review tab, and clicking it allows you to see all changes other users made. 

Best of all, you can also accept your employees’ suggestions so that you don’t have to do all the work. 

Tip #5 – Use Linked Notes

Facing deadlines is no fun when you can’t find the motivation to compose your articles. The best way to get around this problem is to keep your thoughts in OneNote. This program allows you to compose quotes and thoughts to keep your articles spotless. 

To further improve your experience with this program, be sure to use Linked Notes. 

Linked Notes enable you to place OneNote to the side of your screen. You can create Word articles and take your notes in OneNote simultaneously. This way, you can stay organized and focused.

Tip #6 – Research With Smart Lookup

Word’s Smart Lookup feature lets you perform online research while working on documents. Consequently, there’s no need to type in your query in a different tab. 

To do it, highlight a word or phrase, right-click it, and choose Smart Lookup from the following menu. Word will then perform a Bing search and display the results in the right section of your display. 

Tip #7 – Protect Your Vision With Convenient Zooming

One of the biggest obstacles to productive work is eye strain caused by sitting too close to your screen. To resolve this issue, use the zoom feature. 

Look for the slider in the lower-right part of your document to find the ideal setting, or press the Windows and Plus keys on your keyboard. Use the setting that feels most comfortable to you, as it can help prevent eye fatigue. 

Tip #8 – Incorporate Icons

Your documents need to be readable. Since most people focus on your images and headings, you should give them some artistic value. 

Word’s Icons will help you accomplish this. They are a simple way to draw the reader’s attention to crucial information without cluttering your document. With it, you can help improve the readability of your files, meaning readers – whether you or a teammate – won’t have to look for distinct words or phrases.

Tip #9 – Format Your Files

The Styles section comes with ready-made text formatting options to help customize your documents more easily. Furthermore, you can add your own styles or frequently used ones. 

By saving your preferences, you can incorporate them anytime without manually formatting your documents.

Tip #10 – Look Up and Use Images Faster

With Word, you don’t need to open a web browser to find the perfect photo for your files. 

Just place your cursor in the section where you wish to insert an image, navigate to the Insert tab, and choose Online pictures. Select the suitable image to add to your file, and it can become more visually appealing instantly.

Tip #11 – Edit Your PDFs

You might think that you need to download and install PDF editing software to edit your PDF files, but that’s not the case. 

Word has a convenient PDF editing feature that lets you quickly change your documents. This can save you a lot of time and prevents you from installing potentially malicious apps.

But before you start, note that you’ll need to convert your PDF file to a format compatible with Word. 

Stay on Top of Your Duties With Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a must-have if you want to improve communication and collaboration in your business. It allows you and your team to create documents easily to facilitate correspondence with crucial clients. 

But while using Word, be sure to utilize the above features to speed up document creation. You’ll then be able to work more efficiently and switch to other tasks faster. 

That said, there are more ways for you to increase productivity when using Microsoft Word. To find out more tips, feel free to contact us. We can have a no-obligation chat about it. 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Tips, Tricks, Tips And Tricks, Lifehack, Tip Of The Day

Enhance Your Server Management with These 8 Tips

By IT Management, Productivity No Comments

You may have state-of-the-art servers, but their efficiency can diminish over time. Managing them is key to optimizing your business operations. 

Numerous organizations rely on servers for various IT functions, such as applications, emails, hosting websites, and data storage. 

Although many companies have turned to cloud-based services using remote data centers, many enterprises still depend on in-house servers. As such, they need to ensure their devices remain in tip-top condition

That’s where server management comes into play. 

Managing your servers can streamline the performance of your team by allowing them to complete complex tasks faster. Plus, it can enable them to detect problems early on before they get out of hand and compromise your business. As a result, the risk of experiencing operational setbacks is drastically lower. 

But the only way to make the most of your server management is to perform it correctly. And to help you do so, this article will share nine tips on improving your server management. 

The Eight Tips

Tip #1 – Mount the Servers Properly 

Small businesses often need to prioritize immediate concerns over long-term plans because they need to work on tight budgets. This is particularly evident in terms of server management. 

When you first set up your servers, it might be tempting to connect them near your workstations. However, this can harm your hardware. 

Mounting your servers in racks is a much better solution. It can shield them from accidents in high-traffic areas, tripping hazards, spills, and dirt. 

Furthermore, server racks can help keep the hardware safe by organizing it in an accessible area that facilitates management and cleaning. They also limit the exposure to regular wear and tear in the office. 

Another critical consideration is to plan for the future when installing your servers. 

When selecting a rack mount, be sure there’s enough room to expand your hardware. Unless your office is tiny, having half-empty racks is preferred to tearing them down and redesigning them a few years down the line. 

Tip #2 – Separate Your Servers from Your Main Area

Depending on the type of servers, they can get quite noisy when in operation. On top of that, they can comprise valuable hardware. So, you’ll want to separate them physically from the working premises. 

If you can’t afford a designated server room, invest in secure rack mounts with integrated sound reduction. 

Tip #3 – Take Care of Your Hardware

Hardware maintenance plays a pivotal role in server management. Without dependable hardware, your productivity can plunge. 

To avoid this scenario, you need to monitor the essential components of your server: 

  • CPU (Central Processing Unit) – Your CPU is the core of your servers, performing all calculations for running programs. You need to constantly monitor it to prevent overuse. If it operates near 100% of its power, your team members can’t carry out additional tasks due to slowdowns. It may require chip upgrades or performance tuning to alleviate the stress. 
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) – This is the working memory of your server, as it runs faster than hard disks. The more RAM you have, the higher the performance of your device. Closely monitor its usage and add more memory when it gets close to its full capacity. 
  • Hard drive – The hard drive is the permanent storage of your servers. It saves your data and programs, but its performance can diminish with overuse. Proper hard disk management entails keeping track of the available space, deleting unnecessary files, installing new drives, or including cloud-based solutions.

Tip #4 – Employ Frequent Cooling 

You expect your servers to perform fast, but the only way to ensure this is to provide optimal conditions. That said, you should primarily focus on cooling the servers. Excess heat can dramatically decrease their lifespan. 

The best practice here is to make sure your cooling device operates outside your building. 

Additionally, if you experience a power outage or central air doesn’t work at night, you need a cooling solution that can run on backup power.

Tip #5 – Manage and Maintain Your Software 

Software used for your server requires regular maintenance, too. The key is to perform regular updates and delete old software to enhance performance. Your servers will operate better, and there will be fewer vulnerabilities cybercriminals can exploit to access your network.

Tip #6 – Arrange the Wiring Neatly

The amount of wiring in your server setup can be overwhelming, especially if you have no technical experience. Sorting out the mess doesn’t only improve cleanliness, but it can also help boost the performance of your server viability for future upgrades. 

Keep in mind that whenever you’re removing, rearranging, or installing your cables, label and group them neatly. Doing so helps prevent clutter. 

Tip #7 – Pay Special Attention to Security

As previously mentioned, servers can be susceptible to cyberattacks. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a secure system. Here’s what you should do: 

  • Install and update antivirus software. 
  • Repel unauthorized traffic with firewalls. 
  • Use robust access control software or sound password policies and instruct your users to change them regularly. 
  • Encrypt external networks and data storage. 
  • Incorporate SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tools. 
  • Analyze and implement security logging measures to understand potential threats. 

Tip #8 – Back up Your Data

The final part of robust server management is backing up your data regularly. After all, loss of information can be disastrous, harming your reputation and losing your customers. 

Besides backing up server software and hardware, you should also have a backup for your power supply to prevent data losses during power outages. Moreover, you can integrate with various tools to expedite backups, recoveries, and status monitoring. 

Look for software that covers both your IT architecture and operating system. It needs to work across systems and applications you currently have or plan on installing. Additionally, it should diagnose server issues efficiently with powerful analytic capabilities. 

Server Management at Its Finest

Managing effective server operation involves several key considerations, from monitoring system temperature to updates and data backups. Even though this can be an arduous process, it’s integral to optimizing your server performance and eliminating security concerns. 

If you need help in optimum server management in your business, we’d love to help you out. Contact us and let’s have a quick, no-obligation chat about it.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Google

Enhancing Office Productivity With Google Chrome: The 12 Best Extensions To Improve Your Workflow

By Productivity No Comments

Working from your computer or smartphone is convenient, but it can also be distracting. To maintain productivity, you should install effective Google Chrome Extensions. 

Google Chrome is arguably the most popular browser on the planet. It’s best known for allowing faster loading of websites, optimized performance, and an intuitive interface. As a result, it can help your team complete their daily duties much faster. 

However, it raises the same concern as other browsers – ample room for distractions. 

Your team members can easily switch to YouTube videos or social media, lowering their productivity. And it can often get out of hand, preventing your staff from meeting deadlines and reducing customer satisfaction. 

That said, you can help your employees get back on track and maintain productivity. All you need to do is incorporate practical extensions into your browser. 

This article will list the 12 best Google Chrome extensions that can help increase office productivity in your business.

The 12 Extensions

Extension #1 – BlockSite

BlockSite can enable your team to stay focused by blocking harmful or distracting websites. This extension is perfect for team members who tend to drift away due to all the online activities that seek their attention. 

Some of the web pages you can block access to with BlockSite include social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But if you don’t wish to block them completely, you can limit access to them during breaks. 

Extension #2 – AdBlock

AdBlock is one of the most widely used extensions for Google Chrome. More than 10 million users rely on it to remove most ads by preventing them from showing up on their screens. 

It can also help your team avoid malware-ridden ads, improving their experience in turn by increasing browsing speed.

Extension #3 – LastPass

Remembering your passwords can be extremely challenging. Thankfully, LastPass can provide an efficient solution. 

LastPass is an effective alternative to your browser’s built-in password manager, generating new passphrases whenever you log into a web page. 

In addition, the extension can synchronize passwords across various devices, providing easy access to accounts, credit cards, and form filling. 

Extension #4 – Evernote Web Clipper

Although Chrome has a convenient bookmark feature, Evernote might be even more powerful. You can use Evernote Web Clipper to save your internet content for later viewing.

This extension enables you to easily save your web content and transfer it to your account. With just a few clicks, you can obtain images from any website, create summary links, save a distraction-free version of web pages, and make annotations. 

Extension #5 – Pocket

Another effective way to track your online content is through Pocket. This extension can also let you save articles, web pages, and videos for later use. 

Whenever you come across interesting content, hit your Pocket extension and you’ll automatically save it on all your devices. You’ll then be able to access it whenever you want, even if you’re offline. 

Extension #6 – Momentum

Momentum isn’t a standard extension. Rather, it’s a custom-made page to replace your default landing page. 

It has a robust, personalized dashboard with a beautiful scenic background, inspirational quotes, weather reports, widgets to favorite sites, and to-do lists. Therefore, it doesn’t just help enhance productivity – it can also motivate your team members to keep grinding. 

Extension #7 – Google Keep

Google Keep is a powerful extension that can allow your team to organize their data neatly. Its primary purpose is to help users create to-do lists and take notes. It also works great for saving pages, images and adding notes to them. Plus, it can make voice memos to simplify notetaking. 

To further improve note organization, users can market them with colors and labels. This way, there’s no time wasted when looking for crucial notes.

Extension #8 – Clockify Time Tracker

Monitoring workplace performance is critical, and Clockify Time Tracker is the ideal extension for this. 

As the name suggests, it tracks time spent on specific activities. Your staff can later use the results to analyze their productivity levels and determine their weaknesses. 

The extension lets users schedule break intervals, operate in pre-set work periods, detect idle time, set reminders, and integrate with more than 50 business apps. 

Extension #9 – StayFocused

If you want your team to stay away from distracting websites but don’t want to remove them altogether, StayFocused may be the answer. 

This extension can help your employees avoid distractions by limiting the time they can spend on them. 

What’s more, StayFocusd comes with a handy Nuclear Option. It sets the time during which your team can’t access certain websites. Once you activate this option, there’s no way to deactivate it until the time expires. 

Extension #10 – Noisli

The main purpose of Noisli is to enhance your team’s productivity. It allows you to select the sound combination your staff finds most inspiring. This can include falling rain, storms, wood noises, wind, crickets, fire crackling, and coffee shop chatter. 

Noisli can be particularly useful if your team works in open offices where background noises often cause distractions. 

Extension #11 – Hypercontext

Hypercontext is an extension that can help teams maintain high performance by combining engagement measures, quarterly priorities, and weekly meetings. 

The platform enables you to create collaborative, one-on-one meetings, access conversations starters, and elicit feedback from each team member. You also get a feature that can help limit social media distractions and encourage your staff to prepare for their meeting. 

Extension #12 – Todoist

Todoist is a straightforward yet helpful task manager. It can help users monitor their projects and tasks by delegating or organizing them from your browser. 

This extension is a terrific option for tracking multiple deadlines. After all, it can set due dates and help you prioritize specific tasks accordingly. 

Take Your Productivity to New Heights with Google Chrome

Streamlining office productivity isn’t just about providing your team with cutting-edge computers and advanced software. It also has to do with installing appropriate extensions on your web browser. 

We’ve given you many options for Google Chrome with this article. It’s now up to you to decide which ones work best for your company. Remember that by incorporating them into your business, your workforce should become more efficient. 

Give us a call if you want to find out other tips to help boost employee productivity. We can have a non-salesy chat about it.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.