Profit and loss data modeling and analysis with Microsoft Excel Blogs: Accounting and Finance Professionals have a new learning resource. The Profit and Loss Data Modeling and Analysis with Microsoft PowerPivot in Excel article, Excel workbook samples, and sample Access database provide scenario-based data modeling and analysis help for self-service BI with PowerPivot and Power View.

The scenario describes how Finance professionals at Contoso Ltd. create a PowerPivot data model, Excel PivotTables, and Power View reports to analyze budget, forecasting, and other profit and loss account metrics, such as:

  • Aggregate, or value measures such as sums and averages for currency and headcount.
  • Comparison measures such as year-over-year, year-to-date, and variance for cash flow and headcount.
  • Performance, or ratio measures such as percentage, cost per head, and rate and volume variances–all of which calculate on different combinations of value and comparison measures.

Extensive details of over 80 DAX formulas are provided, as well as tips for creating highly efficient and fast performing data models. The Excel 2013 version of the sample workbook also provides several dynamic Power View reports.

To learn more, download the whitepaper.

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What are the differences between office 2010 and 2016? Blogs: The best comparison I’ve seen if by an Internet Hosting and infrastructure provider called Sherweb that provides a side-by-side review of updates:

The Interface changes more noticeably from Office 2010 to 2013 then to 2016. And the BIG change in Office 2016 is it’s integration with online and teamwork features. On upgrading to 2016 we immediately exploited Outlook’s now integrated ‘Clutter’ feature and began to make use of the integration of ‘Groups’ that was absent before.

In Office 2013 and now 2016 the availability of the ‘Recent Items’ list is a small feature that we find ourselves using all the time, particularly to attach a file to an Outlook message.

PS We routinely try to make the move from one Office version to another a bit easier by installing the ‘old reliable’ Office 2003 menus from a company called UBit.

This small, fast, and light add-in makes a new [Menu] tab available in all the later office versions that lets folks be productive while learning what’s new at their own

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Elizabeth Nofs

What Are the Differences between Microsoft Office 2010 and Office 2016?
The posts, below, have many bits and links that outline the new options that were added to each version of Microsoft Office. I appreciate the information and the useful resources. It is interesting to note that each author has some feature in MS Office that caught their attention.

What Changed for Me
The big difference was the switch from desktop computers to devices: Phones, Tablets and iPads. Almost 60% of all computing is now done on a hand-held device, not a desktop PC. Microsoft bought Nokia, the phone company, and all of the Touch Screen patents that Nokia owned.

Bigger Ribbons
The Ribbons definitely changed from Microsoft Office 2007 to 2013. The Ribbon is almost twice as big, so that I can click with my fingers, instead of my mouse.

Word 2007 Home Ribbon

Word 2013 Home Ribbon

New Quick Clicks
The Quick Clicks provide rich options right next to whatever I am editing-Picture, Chart, Text-without having to scroll up to the top of a very little screen.

Excel 2013 Chart Style

Excel 2016 Quick Analysis

If you look at the bottom of Microsoft Excel, you can see the plus (+) sign by the Tabs. Doesn’t that remind you of the (+) that you use on your SmartPhone to add a new Contact? Hello, New Tab

Consume or Create?
In class I make a distinction between consuming information:
I read it on my SmartPhone.

…And creating knowledge:
I analyze the data and publish the findings professionally.

The Computer Mama’s Work Stations

My Humble Opinion
I believe that Microsoft is seeking the right pathway with their flagship product Microsoft Office. The options in Office 2016 are integrated with the business version of Microsoft Office 365. Being part of a server, especially an Exchange server, puts a lot of business savvy into the hands of a small business. These tools were very expensive to deploy and maintain in my own office: hardware, setup, support.

I am looking forward to the next steps.

Good question. Thanks for asking.

Elizabeth Nofs, the Computer Mama

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Microsoft Teams: 7 things you need to know Blogs: The new Office 365 component for collaborative communication is Microsoft‘s long-promised answer to Slack.

Microsoft unveiled its long-rumored collaboration tool Wednesday at an event in New York. Dubbed Microsoft Teams, it’s a forthcoming Office 365 component that adds a group chat tool to the company’s megaprofitable office suite.

Teams is squarely aimed as a competitor to Slack, the upstart web-based software that has challenged email’s dominance in the many small groups and large corporations that have adopted it over the past few years.

After the unveiling of Teams at the event, anchored by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, I received a guided tour of the software. Here’s what we know so far.

It’s a lot like Slack

When viewing demos or screenshots of Microsoft Teams, you could be forgiven for confusing it with a new version of Slack. The user interfaces look extremely similar, and it uses the same general “channels” and individual/small group chat design language.

At first glance, Microsoft is hardly reinventing the wheel here. Instead, it’s utilizing a lot of its existing strengths in Office (online applications), Azure (cloud-based file management), Skype (online communication), Exchange servers (data management) and security, all of which are pulled together in a new group chat application.

Teams also incorporates plenty of other familiar Slack features, including in-line animated GIFs and assistant bots, including one (“WhoBot”) that’s designed to find individuals in your organization based on their specialties or assignments.

It supports threaded conversation

teams-thread.jpg -
“Showcase artists” thread within the “Art and Media Festival” channel

John Falcone/CNET

A common complaint among Slack users is the app’s dearth of email-style threaded conversations. In other words, any discussion within a channel is completely jumbled with another. (Slack has said it’s been testing threaded conversations since at least April, but the feature has yet to appear.) By contrast, Teams will support threaded conversations on day one.

It’s a free add-on for Office 365 enterprise subscribers

Teams isn’t exactly free, but if your organization is already an Office 365 subscriber it won’t cost anything additional. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’ll just pop up on your desktop the day it launches. Like any Office component, it’ll be up to your company’s IT department whether or not to deploy it to users in the organization.

… but it’s not available to non-business Office subscribers

Did you purchase a “one and done” Microsoft Office software download? Are you an individual or family subscriber to Office 365? Sorry, no Teams for you. The new software is strictly aimed at the enterprise/business market.

That’s a big departure from Slack, which is essentially a freemium web-based tool that’s available to any ad hoc group who chooses to sign up for it. (Customers can then convert to a paid Slack subscription, which offers more features and options.) So if you’re a family or other small group, don’t expect to use or try Microsoft Teams.

Teams works on all major platforms

Microsoft has, or will have, apps for Windows 10, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and even browser-based web clients. Assuming the web client is robust and works on Chromebooks, that should cover all but a few outliers.

teams-iphone.jpg -
The Teams app running on an iPhone

John Falcone/CNET

Teams supports third-party plug-ins

ZenDesk (customer service software) and Asana (a popular project management tool) have already said they’ll be working to integrate their services with Teams.

Teams will be officially available Q1 2017 — but you can try it now

Microsoft is targeting the official launch of Teams by the end of March 2017. But a preview of Teams is available now — again, though, only to enterprise customers. At the bottom of this Microsoft page, the company notes that “IT admins can turn on Microsoft Teams as part of your Office 365 plan,” and offers an instructional video.

On the same page, Microsoft also highlights a free Office 365 Business Premium trial offer, which would allow participants to use the Teams beta as well.

Microsoft Teams’ tricks should make Slack nervous (CNET Update report)

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“They Said What!?!”: Handling Inappropriate Comments on Yammer Blogs: As a Customer Success Manager, I am often asked, “How do we regulate or prevent offensive posts?” or “What do I do if someone makes a very inappropriate comment?” Fortunately, the very openness that sparks these concerns is what makes Yammer such a safe forum for businesses. With Yammer, user self-regulation and admin moderation drive appropriate, accountable posting, which eliminates the need for censorship.

But, sometimes people post offensive things and when this happens Yammer admins and champions can be unsure of how to address the comments and the poster.  This blog post was actually inspired by just such a situation, and the admirable manner in which this network administrator handled her dilemma. The head of Business Technology Advancement  at a major transportation company brought a compelling customer story to our attention on the Yammer Customer Network (YCN) when she asked her Community Management peers for advice. It seems that one colleague targeted another with a crude comment, which was only noticed after it was broadcast to the company via the daily digest email. Naturally, Employee Relations were not pleased, so the network admin set out to discover how other companies handle similar situations.

To the average Community Manager used to employee relations headaches, the initial responses on Yammer were unexpected.  Other Community Managers replied that they were able to resolve similar situations with minimal intervention, but more surprisingly, they didn’t encounter inappropriate content very frequently at all. As one Community Manager for a large network remarked, “We’ve found that it’s VERY rare for anyone to post anything that could be considered offensive – the fact that everyone’s name and photo is next to their post is an effective self-policing measure.” Violations of a network’s usage policy are not trivial, but through transparency, user education, and gentle enforcement, network admins can effectively manage these occasional instances.

Based on advice from this lively YCN thread, the network admin was able to quickly resolve the specific problem by going to that poster directly. But the larger takeaway was the decision to create and implement guidelines for dealing with difficult conversations in the future.

How to Handle Inappropriate or Offensive Posts

There are a number of ways that users and admins can address the problem and prevent future situations:

  • Talk to the Poster: Go to them privately and directly to explain why it’s inappropriate, and suggest they delete the post themselves.
  • Delete the Post: Admins can delete any post they deem violates their company’s code of conduct, at any time. Doing so will avoid drawing additional attention to the comment or person at hand, and allow you to address the misconduct in a private manner.
  • Reaffirm your Usage Policy: As Microsoft CSM Steve Nguyen commented, “This might be a good time to reinforce your usage policy with the broader network. This will serve as a gentle reminder to everyone, without calling attention to the specific post at hand.” Here’s a sample usage policy that you can adapt for your network.
  • Monitor Keywords: Admins can use this feature to track sensitive content. When a user posts a message that includes a monitored keyword or phrase, all Verified Admins are notified. Learn more about this feature on Page 14 of our Admin Guide.

Ultimately, it pays to have a plan for your organization. Work with your Yammer community managers and champions, as well as Human Resources and Employee Relations teams to develop a system and policy that works for you.

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Introducing a new user experience feature in Access web apps: Cascading Controls Blogs: You asked, we listened! It’s just the nature of shipping software in a “services world” with Office 365: When we hear your feedback, we can respond with new features that fill your needs. In the case of Access 2013, we heard loud and clear from our first Access 2013 web app users that we needed to implement Cascading Controls as a part of our custom web app feature set.

It used to be a 3-year wait for new features in Office. However, because we are increasing the speed of our ship cycles, we are proud to announce that as of now, Cascading Controls are available to all of our Access 2013 Office 365 customers! The changes are on the server side which means you do not need to update your Access client program at all. This update is available immediately for customers using Office 365 with Access Services so look for this feature within your web apps and try it out.

How do Cascading Controls work?

It’s a common scenario. The app developer wants to make the options in a control, such as a dropdown, relevant to the option chosen from a different control. For example, you might want to associate company names with people names in a business contact database, or maybe you’d like to connect the make, model, and trim level for cars in a product database. These scenarios are now possible in Access 2013 custom web apps for SharePoint for Office 365 users.

Consider the following scenario of an app tracking a consultant’s projects. When entering a new project, you want to choose a company for whom the project will be completed and the contact for that project at that company. If you have lots of contacts at different companies in the app, you might want to see only a list of the contacts at that specific company. To enable this scenario, use a List Details or Blank view that has more than one combo box or autocomplete control. In the following screenshot, you can see a sample List Details view of a Projects table.

Screenshot of a List Details view in Access client designer -

In this case, the Company autocomplete control will be the parent control and the child control will be the Contacts combo box. Note that the parent control can be an autocomplete or a combo box control, but the child control must be a combo box. For the child control, click the Data callout to see the list of properties available for the control. When you specify a Row Source (can be either a table or a saved query) for the control, additional properties appear, including a property called Parent Control. In the following screenshot, you can see the new Parent Control property at the bottom of the property list. - Screenshot of the Data property options for a combo box control. Parent Control is shown highlighted.

The dropdown list for the Parent Control property will display only the names of autocomplete and combo box controls defined on the current view. Select the control you want to be the parent from the dropdown list. In the example screenshot below, we selected CompanyAutoComplete. After you select the appropriate control for the Parent Control property, Access displays an additional property called Related Field. Select the field from the dropdown list on this property that serves as the “linking” element between the parent and child controls and Access will take care of the rest. - Screenshot of the Data property options for a combo box control. Parent Control and Related Field are shown highlighted.

When you view your web app within your browser at runtime, Access Services disables the child control until you select a value from the parent control. In the following screenshot, you can see that the Contact combo box initially is not an active control.

A screenshot of a List Details view open in a web browser.

After you select a value from the Company autocomplete control, Access Services activates the Contact combo box, filters the list to only display those contacts associated with the Company in the parent control, and then allows you to select an appropriate contact. If you select a different value from the Company autocomplete control, Access filters the Contact combo box again to only display those contacts associated with the new value in the Company autocomplete parent control.

We hope you enjoy this new Cascading Controls feature within Access web apps for SharePoint that opens up more scenarios for your custom web apps built on top of Office 365. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

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