5 reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

Is it worth taking advantage of the Free Upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft are offering Windows 10 as a Free upgrade for Windows 7/8 users. Why should you upgrade, is it really worth it? Windows 7 users are decidedly hesitant, after all, Windows 8 removed the Start Menu, Power Button and adjusted how individual Windows closed! Is Windows 10 something to be avoided or embraced? Should you Upgrade to Windows 10?

5 reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

We have come up with 5 reasons why you should, based on our experience from the Training Industry and as a Microsoft Partner. See our video below.

5 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

1 The Start Menu is back

Windows 7 users were outraged about the Start Menu changes in Windows 8, including the loss of the Power Button! Windows 10 has restored the Start Menu. It now only takes up the Full screen space when Windows 10 is used on a Tablet (Mode).

2 Cortana – Digital Virtual Assistant

Search is still at the core of Windows 10, but with the added power of Cortana. A truly digital Virtual Assistant, backed by the power of the Cloud. She can help you to search, manage your schedule and she’ll even remind you to leave earlier if there’s traffic. You may not wish to talk to her on you desktop, although that feature is available. Talking to your computer will still get you odd looks from coworkers.

3 Resized Windows

The ability to click on the X and close Windows is back, a relief to many desktop users frustrated by Windows 8.

4 Control Panel vs Settings

To adjust any setting in Control Panel in Windows 7, meant venturing into a maze of Icons. Microsoft have organised everything into logical groups any simply called it “Settings”. It’s now easier to connect a Bluetooth Mouse, adding a Printer will now take minutes instead of hours!

5 Desktop/Task Views

Windows will Snap when using the Windows Key and an Arrow key shortcut, it will then offer you other open Windows to snap to the other 50% of your screen. You can have more than 2, but this only really works on larger screens. As the majority of users work on only one screen, it can be hard to switch between open Windows/Programs while multi-tasking. Task View allows you to save the Window layout and assign it to different Desktop Views. This is going to be really useful for having Outlook open with Skype for Business, the two Windows I always have open.

We hope you found those 5 points helpful in assisting with your decision to upgrade to Windows 10. If you would like to get the most out of Microsoft Office, we can also help. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss your training requirements.

Microsoft Training – STL




Four benefits of Moving to Office 365

By J. Peter Bruzzese

The recent global recession is still quite fresh in everyone’s minds. From an IT perspective it forced IT administrators to tighten their belts and hold off on upgrades of both hardware and software for quite some time.
The growth of “cloud” solutions (like Office 365) has provided IT teams with another option when considering new hardware and software. Here we’ll take a closer look at the features available, benefits and a key consideration when moving to Office 365.

What is Office 365, and why move to it?

The name is somewhat confusing because it appears to be the next flavor of the Office product suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc…).  In fact, Office 365 is many things, it is a cloud-based, hosted services solution for Office applications, email, collaboration, and more.
Exchange, SharePoint and Lync have moved from a traditional on-premise hosting to Microsoft datacenters (i.e.. their “cloud”). Instead of paying for the software upfront, you pay as a monthly/annual subscription for those services (hence the term Software as a Service or SaaS).

Office 365 has a variety of different packages to choose from and some of them offer the Office Suite as part of the subscription too.  If you choose one of these plans you can put the latest flavor of Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) on desktops/mobile devices.  And there are a variety of other services offered with Office 365 like OneDrive for Business, Yammer, Office 365 Video and more.

There are some key reasons why a move to Office 365 can benefit your organization from the perspective of an IT team getting ready to decide on-premises vs. cloud.  Let’s consider four benefits for moving to Office 365 and one key user consideration for IT administrators.

Four benefits of moving to Office 365:

No-Cost Server Infrastructure:  If you are looking to modernize your server-side solutions the cost of upgrading your existing infrastructure could be exorbitant.  Moving mailboxes to the cloud eliminates that concern and cost.  Microsoft will worry about the hardware and storage, and you can pay as you grow for easy scalability.

No More Upgrades or Fixes:  Much of the stress of an admin is handling fixes and upgrades for solutions to ensure they are patched properly and as secure as possible.  With Office 365 this is all handled for you.

Availability:  Microsoft provides a 99.9% SLA for availability.  Whereas on-premise you would have to have redundant servers on-site and additional servers in an off-site location to provide that level of availability, Microsoft has it all in place from day one to ensure your users have consistent access to their email and other services.

Services Offered:  As mentioned earlier, Office 365 is a mix of different services.  It’s quite amazing really when you consider all the different tools provided.  You can access the services through traditional means (Outlook connected to Exchange Online) or through browser-based connectivity (Yammer or SharePoint Online through your browser).

Upon logging into your portal you are offered a variety of tools to choose from, and the list is growing!  Note the options in the figure below.  OneDrive, Sites, Delve, Video, Office Online (Word/Excel/Point/OneNote) … offering a compelling price/features proposition.

Office 365 App Launcher – benefits of moving to office 365

So we’ve covered four benefits of moving to Office 365, what could the key consideration be? Here it is…


Take a user who has been on Windows XP with Office 2003 for the past 10 years.  Give them a new laptop running Windows 7/8 (v10 coming soon) and Office 2013.  Introduce the user to the new tools for communication and collaboration like Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and so forth.  Instead of praising your team the users vent frustration at the dip in performance as they struggle to process all the new upgrades.

Don’t do that to your people.  Going from the menu structure of legacy Office into the new ribbon interface alone will be an overwhelming task for some.  If you have gone with Windows 8, the new interface is quite a step change (even for experienced users).

Support your people.  You want to give them the latest and greatest and you want them to experience the productivity boost that should come with new hardware and software possibilities.

But you must do so through training first.

Manage the change for users through classroom training, with all the benefits of hands on exercises under the guidance and support of an experienced trainer.  Or even run workshop sessions BEFORE you put that new laptop or desktop in front of them with all the new bells and whistles.

And then you might want to provide 24/7/365 support training through a video portal, which perfectly complements any classroom based training. An eLearning portal with an easy to use interface and short searchable learning clips helps users improve and maintain performance.

We are certainly living in exciting times.  Cloud solutions like Office 365 are offering small-midsize business an opportunity to have enterprise grade solutions right at their fingertips, without all the server side heavy lifting being placed on the IT admin.  The end-users will love the new possibilities opened to them and the increase in productivity through new communication and collaboration tools.  Exciting times indeed!

J._Peter_Bruzzese J. Peter Bruzzese (Office 365 MVP) is the CIO of ClipTraining.com, providers of short, task-based video training through an online portal solution.  He is an internationally published author with over a dozen titles to his credit about Windows/Office/Exchange/etc.  He is a technical speaker for Microsoft and others.  He writes a weekly column for InfoWorld entitled “Enterprise Windows” and is a strategic technical consultant with Mimecast.  You can follow JPB on Twitter @JPBruzzese and email him at jpb@cliptraining.com

For information on eLearning services in the UK, ClipTraining partner and UK distributor, STL, can be emailed at info@stl-training.co.uk

Further reading

Office 365 Training in the ClipTraining Library
Classroom based MS Office training

36.5 Office 365 Features That Will Boost Your Productivity
What’s In & What’s Out In Office 2013
A well-trained I.T. team: Your company’s secret weapon


Forecasting in Excel 2016

Forecasting is important in many circumstances to be able to do effective and efficient planning.

The future electricity needs forecast vital to planning building more power stations; scheduling employees in a call centre next week requires forecasts of call volume; just imaging how much forecasting the planners behind London 2012 Olympic Games must have done. Forecasts can be needed months or years in advance, or only a few minutes beforehand. Whatever the situations or time horizons involved, accurate forecasts are vital part of preparation and planning.

A key step in forecasting is knowing if something can be forecast accurately, or if it is better just tossing a coin. Good forecasts capture the authentic patterns and relationships which exist in the historical data, but do not replicate events from the past that will not happen again.

In all businesses where data are collected and employees make use of the data the capability to forecast may be required. It doesn’t really matter if it is sales figures, expenses, man-hours, growth, market shares etc. to create a budget you need to forecast.

WhatIf Analysis

Excel offer a lot of tools to do accurate forecasts based on historical data and analysis tools as the What If Analysis tools to help predict the future.

Some of the useful forecasting tools in Excel are:

  • For trend analysis you can use the Trend function and to visualize and calculate trends, Excel charts can show trends and the equation for the trend. You can calculate the accuracy of the trend or Excel can provide you with this information in a chart. The Trend function will only return a accurate result if you work with linear data.

forecast trend

  • For forecasting of linear data you can use the Forecast function. The Forecast function can forecast any number of periods into the future.
  • If you work with exponential data you can use the Growth function to forecast and an exponential trends can also be visualized in a Excel chart.

forecast exponential

  • the Solver tool in Excel can be a huge help if you want to forecast seasonal data.
  • The Analysis Toolpak provide us with Exponential Smoothing, Moving Average and Regression which are all tools we need for creating the right forecast model.
  • The Scenario Manager and the Goal Seek tools can be a great help to get a accurate forecast.
  • Excel also has all the options and functions to measure the accuracy of our forecast to make it possible to continuously develop our forecast model to get a very precise forecast.

Forecasting Chart

In Excel 2016 Microsoft has made it much easier to forecast. Microsoft has added the Forecast Sheet tool to Excel. This tool can give you a forecast in few seconds.

In Excel 2016, select your two corresponding sets of data and go to “Data>Forecast>Forecast Sheet”. In “Create Forecast Worksheet” box, choose either a line chart or column chart, pick an end date, and then click “Create”.

Forecast Sheet dialog

For more advanced options click “Options” in “Create Forecast Worksheet”. Here you can set “Confidence Interval” and set how you want Excel to handle seasonality in your data. You can include statistics in your forecast worksheet and change the input range if needed.

Forecast Sheet expanded dialog

In the “Fill Missing Points Using” list, you can tell Excel how to handle missing data. “Interpolation” will calculate missing data.

In the “Aggregate Duplicates Using” list, select how you want Excel to calculate duplicate entries.

 forecastETS function

Best STL offer a Forecasting & Data analysis course where all the different methods & models are explored

Excel is an amazing tool also when you need to forecast.

Charts from a dropdown list

Charts from a dropdown list in Excel

Many people who use Excel can generate a chart or two on their spreadsheets. This is a relatively easy task to perform in Excel. These charts will either sit in data sheets or in their own sheets.

Don’t you sometimes wish you had a button to click in Excel which gives you a list of charts to display on your sheet? Well, I can show you how to do this!

First of all, you will need some charts. It doesn’t matter which types of charts they are. The screenshot below shows an example of a sheet containing data and charts:

Charts from a dropdown list

Once you have your charts up and running, you can begin to build your interactive button. The first thing you need to do is to select the cells which are behind the first chart, as shown below.

Charts from a dropdown list
Sales+Costs Chart

After doing this, click in the Name box (top left next to the Formula bar). In here, give this selection of cells a name, for instance Sales. Do the same for all the other charts you wish to add to the list. These names will be used later to choose the right chart from the list. Now, in a different place on the sheet, or in another sheet, type a list of your chart names you want to display in the dropdown box (see my example below ).

Charts from a dropdown list

Select this list and give it a name (in the Name box again), as shown above. This name will be used to generate the dropdown list. We are now ready to create the dropdown button. Add a new sheet to the workbook and name it Output. Activate the Developer tab in the ribbon. Click File – Options – Customize Ribbon, then tick the box next to Developer in the right hand side box. Select the Developer tab in the ribbon, then click the Insert button.

Charts from a dropdown list

This opens a toolbox from which you select the Combo Box item. Now, in the Output sheet, draw the Combo Box near the top of your sheet with your mouse. Afterwards, press Ctrl+1 (format control). A dialogue box opens as shown below:

Charts from a dropdown list

Click in the Input range box and then type the name which you gave earlier to your list of charts  (I called mine ChartTypes). Next, click in the Cell link box, then click in any empty cell in your spreadsheet. This cell reference now sits in the Cell link box. We shall use this cell later to pick a chart.

The next thing we need to do is to define a name which uses Excel’s Choose function to pick the correct chart from the list.

Step 1: Select the Formulas tab, then select Define Name.

Step 2: Type SelChart into the Name box. (SelChart is my example)

Step 3: Type the following into the Refers To box:    =choose(                                                            Now select the cell you selected for the Cell link box earlier. Next, type the names you gave your charts in the Name box.

=choose(selected_cell,Name1,Name2,Name3)  (selected_cell is the cell you used in the Cell link box earlier. The other names are the names you gave the cell ranges behind your charts.)

Step 4: Click OK.

Almost there! We now need to again select the cells behind each chart, (one chart at a time), then right-click the selection. In the dialogue box, click Copy, then go to your Output sheet. Right-click below your dropdown combo box and select Paste Special – Linked Picture. (See below)

Charts from a dropdown list
Paste Special

Hopefully, you now have an image of your chart in that location on your sheet. Click in the formula bar and type =SelChart (again, this is my example). Press Enter. Do this for all your charts. Now you can create Charts from a dropdown list.