What are you doing with all your business DDK?

time is money

What are you doing with your business D D K?

We have been storing our documents in network shared drives for a very long time. The system of a shared drive works well enough, but is lacking in dramatic ways that ultimately cost you and your business a whole lot of money and time.


You and your business depend on data. Data comes from everywhere and is stored pretty much everywhere. Data stored in spreadsheets. Data stored in databases. Data stored in attachments hidden in someone’s email inbox. OMG Where is all the data? Answer: Everywhere!!!

data sheet

Does this sound like you and your business? Sure, it does. It’s the way we have been storing documents and data for 30 years. Locating a document, or a snippet of data is a wondrous, magical thing that happens every day and no one really knows how.

It’s a wonder that we can locate what we need, when we need it.
I’m convinced that we manage to get things done by sheer will and muscle.
Things get done, simply because they must get done.

What is your business strategy for storing knowledge? The stuff you and your experienced team know, and will know in the future. Do you have a tool-set or process to store and retrieve the vast amounts of knowledge you have amassed? What? You have no means of storing knowledge?

You may feel that gathering and storing knowledge would be nearly impossible, and for that reason you haven’t done so, yet.
That is a good excuse. But I am here to tell you that you can start collecting and using knowledge, and make use of it every single day. Starting now. Using stored knowledge can increase productivity, ensure greater success and save you gobs of time and money.

In my next post, I will share with you 2 easy ways to start gathering and using the knowledge of your team, right away.

By gathering and making knowledge accessible in 2 key ways, you can decrease document and data search time, and increase productivity.

What if I could help you save each person in your organization 10 minutes per week by making your documents, data and knowledge more accessible? Imagine how much money that counld save a  20,  100,  1000 person organization?

time is money

Here is a clue:
The two Cs of knowledge storage: Context and Collections

I’ll explain later. Watch for my next post (Click here to read it now)

Tom Vorves  Collaboration Evangelist

Power BI – Business Intelligence just got Smarter

Power BI


Watch the webinar here: https://youtu.be/nOaeJ9D_9D4

We just conducted the first Power BI webinar at Learn iT! with a full house of on-line attendees. We all had an awesome session of discovery!

Power BI is a great platform of programs designed to put powerful data analytics in the hands of all of us.

The beauty is you don’t need to be a “big data” person to use the tools of Power BI and see the benefits straight away.

All you need is some data, a little training and you can be producing amazing, stunning visuals in no time.

You will produce visuals that allow for better, timely business decisions based on any type of data you can imagine.

Watch for my next post for a link to our next Learn iT! Power BI webinar!!

If you sign up for our next Power BI Bootcamp (Nov 29) before Nov 4 you will get a 55% discount on the price of admission.

Learn more at Learn iT! www.learnit.com

There is a reason it’s called POWER BI.  Come find out for yourself.

Watch the webinar here: https://youtu.be/nOaeJ9D_9D4

Meta Data Labels: SharePoint Libraries vs Shared Network Drives

If you’re not using Meta Data – you’re doing it wrong

Adopting SharePoint into your file sharing ecosystem?
Do yourself a favor and give meta data a long hard look

For many years now we have been using our hard disks and network file shares to store files with 6 labels (meta data):
1. name
2. extension
3. file size
4. creation date
5. modification date
6. folder (path)

The File Name is “supposed” to help you find the file later on. But file names are subjective. We humans are very different from one another and therefore use different naming conventions or no naming convention at all.

How can a team or company effectively establish a filing system that makes sense and helps with finding documents quickly?

Instead of relying solely on a file name to identify a document, SharePoint allows us to create other meta data to describe our documents:

meta data

In addition to the standard 6 meta data, SharePoint documents can be described with other meta data. For example: ‘Related Project’, ‘Owner’, ‘Department’, ‘Status’, ‘Image Type’, ‘Document Type’, or ‘Subject‘ as pictured above.

To learn more about meta data in SharePoint, watch for next week’s blog post about using meta data in SharePoint libraries.

Meta Data Columns are what make SharePoint a far better solution for document storage and retrieval.




4 reasons why collaboration software is such a big deal and why you need to start using it now

Together we can do so much
collaborate with SharePoint
Collaborate with SharePoint

Collaboration software is here to stay. If you have not yet jumped on the collaboration band wagon, you are missing out on some great productivity tools that could help you and your team work better together.

  1. Longevity & moving forward
    Software giants like Microsoft, Adobe, Sales Force are not only selling collaboration software, they are using it as well. Applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint are now being used as Web Apps. More applications are available and many more are being developed.
  2. Inexpensive and easy to use
    Using collaboration software allows small and large companies alike, manage projects, communicate with team members and customers from anywhere in the world. People are shifting away from cluttered email and using collaboration software instead for effective communication.
  3. Platform/OS independent
    Collaboration software such as Microsoft SharePoint runs solely though a browser. So if you use Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Windows or Apple OS, iOS or Android, you can use SharePoint with it’s HTML5 compliant webpages.
  4. Content available everywhere all the time
    With solid authentication tools, collaboration software is securely available from anywhere a team member has access to the internet with almost any browser. Access to documents, discussions and lists is as easy as going to a website address.

Getting started with SharePoint or other collaboration software such as Huddle and Podio is easy and inexpensive. Since so many people, companies, corporations are using collaboration tools more and more, you need to get on board and learn these tools too so you can keep up and be part of the brave new world.

Contact me tom@tomvorves.com if you want more information about learning and implementing SharePoint in your business.

The Keyboard Shortcuts You Need are here

Microsoft Corp Office Web Apps

Microsoft Office Web Apps Keyboard Shortcuts Here are the official links to Microsoft Office Web Apps Accessibility Features, including helpful keyboard shortcuts, tips and tricks. Enjoy.

Keyboard shortcuts in Outlook Online

Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online

Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in OneNote Online

Learn more about Office 365 and Microsoft Web Apps


VLookup – Let’s Learn Together

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 1

VLookup. V stands for ‘Victory’.  Well, not this time. It actually stands for ‘Vertical’. But, once you learn to use this popular function of Microsoft Excel, you WILL feel victorious.

Use VLookup when you have two sets of data that you would like to turn into one. For instance: You may have a list of invoices of products purchased. You may also have a separate list of products on another Excel sheet. The challenge is to ‘marry’ these two lists, bringing the needed information from both lists into a single, complete list.

I have included a link to a file you can download so you can follow along as you read through this blog lesson. For your reference, the completed file is available for download as well.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 2

In this example we will use VLookup to bring the Sales Price from the Products list over to the Invoices list Rate column. We will use the Product Name in the Invoices list to ‘look up’ the same Product Name in the Products list.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 3

Once we find the correct product name, we can ‘index’ over to the Sale Price column and send it back to the Invoices list Rate column. In this case invoice ‘A001’ shows a ‘UPS’ unit was purchased. Take a look at the Products list and notice ‘UPS”, glance over to column 2 and see the price for a UPS is $148. Now we will put the $148 into invoice line A001 under the Rate column.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 4

To start a VLookup formula, we must first reference the cell we want to “look up”. In this case we will look up cell D2 in the Invoice list and compare it to the first column (column 1)  in the Products list. The ‘vertical’ aspect of VLookup refers to the fact that VLookup will start looking from the top of  column 1 in the Products list and continue looking down (vertically) until it finds a match.

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 5

When a match is found, we then instruct VLookup to ‘index’ over to the column we would like to return to the Invoice list. Since we are looking to find the Sale Price/Rate of the Product, we specify column 2. (If we wanted to return the corresponding Product Category we would specify column 3)

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 6

There is one more part of the VLookup we must consider. VLookup has two modes of operation: True and False. Think of this as a question: “Is this a RANGE lookup?” In other words are we looking for a product name that is similar to “UPS”, or are we looking for “UPS” exactly? We are looking for an EXACT match, not a ‘close enough’ match. So in this example, the answer would be FALSE to the question: “Is this a range lookup?”

Vlookup Microsoft Excel

Carolyn, here is the VLookup formula entered into cell F2 of the Invoices list:

=VLOOKUP(D2,‘Products List’!$A$2:$C$23,2,FALSE)

D2 is the relative cell reference we want to look up

‘Products List’!$A$2:$C$23 is the absolute range where VLookup will find the information on the Products sheet in cells A2:C23

2 refers to the 2nd column in the lookup table. This is the column we want to send back to Invoices when a product match is found

FALSE instructs VLookup to find an exact match, not simply a ‘close’ match

Vlookup Microsoft Excel 7Now that you have the formula entered into cell F2, use the Autofill Handle on the lower right corner of F2 (the active cell) and double click (or drag) to copy the formula to the bottom of the list.


If  you downloaded the exercise file for this lesson, you will notice that I have included a ‘Salesperson List’ sheet for you to practice VLookup. Using what you have learned, try to build a VLookup formula to look up the Country of Sales and bring it to the Invoice sheet.

Here is the formula if you want to check your work:

=VLOOKUP(C2,’Salesperson List’!$A$2:$D$17,3,FALSE)

I have included a link to a file you can download, so you can follow along as you read through this blog lesson. For your reference, the completed file is available for download as well.

Enjoy the sweet taste of Victory.

Do you want your SharePoint child to grow up to be Mediocre or Spectacular?


Microsoft SharePoint is all about being able to find content quickly and accurately. It is unfortunate that most don’t realize the importance of 2 key elements before they set up and raise their SharePoint child.  Without these 2 key items, SharePoint will be no more than a shared drive with a slow web interface.  Yikes! Nobody wants that.

To avoid this happening to you and your SharePoint baby, keep tuned in this week and next week as I introduce these 2 key elements that can make you proud of your SharePoint implementation.

I’ll be speaking about one of these two important SharePoint tools at SharePoint Saturday in Sacramento on November 7th, 2015.

If you can’t make it to Sacramento, I will make the seminar available for a short time after the event on my website: www.tomvorves.com.

Watch for my posts over the next few weeks to learn more about the event, but more importantly to learn how to take SharePoint Knowledge that I share with you and turn it into Wise SharePoint decisions that will help your SharePoint environment grow into a mature tool for your enterprise.


Your quest for power. You want it all, and you want it NOW.


Your quest for power. You want it all, and you want it NOW.

For quick access to everything on the Internet:
Place an always-accessible address bar on your Windows 7 Taskbar.

Follow these steps to realize your full-power-potential:

1 Right mouse click on an empty area of your Taskbar


2 Select ‘Properties’

3 Click the ‘Toolbars’ tab and turn on the ‘Address’ option.

Taskbar Properties


Feel the Power of the Internet surging through your fingertips. Wow


Your Cloud with a Silver Lining Has Arrived

Microsoft Office 365: Your Cloud with a Silver Lining and…

It’s Free

After trying different cloud based document services, I have found my favorite online office suite, for now. And the winner is… Microsoft Office 365.

I know it seems counter 2016 to prefer the 500 pound gorilla, Microsoft, over the likes of Zoho Docs, Quip, iCloud or Google Drive. But my digital life is better now that I am using Microsoft Office 365.

With Office 365 I can view, create and edit Microsoft Office documents with my Mac, Windows, iPhone or iPad. I can easily access, edit and create documents from any web browser as well. So when I’m away from my own devices and using another computer, I can log on to Office 365 and have access to all it’s great features, and all my documents.

Google Drive, Apple iCloud, as well as a number of other on-line office suites are just as capable as Microsoft Office 365 offering many of the same great features. So why have I settled on Office 365 as my choice of cloud-based document tools?

Three Huge Reasons to use Microsoft OneDrive and Office 365

First of all Office 365 files are compatible with almost every other computer (including my own) on the planet, making it easy to share my files. Google and Apple have proprietary file formats, forcing me to convert a file to Microsoft Office format just to share it with others. This is time consuming and a pain, to say the least.

Second Office 365 uses the familiar Microsoft Office Ribbon so there is no need to spend time getting familiar with the Office 365 Web Apps as they are similar to the Office applications we have been using for years.

Third the Office 365 cloud features are smooth and rich, giving me access to tools I need every day with a very responsive, elegant interface.

If you use live.com, outlook.com, or hotmail.com for your email (by the way, all three are free) you also have access to the free Office 365 Web Apps and cloud storage through OneDrive.

Log in to your Outlook, Live or Hotmail account and click the icon next to the Outlook.com logo near the upper left side of the window.

If you don’t have an account, what are you waiting for…

It’s all free at www.outlook.com (By the way, I don’t even use the email with this account! I’m here for the free apps!)


Along with the Outlook.com, People and Calendar tiles you will see other new tiles to take you to OneDrive, Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, OneNote, Sway, Delve and other great online tools from Microsoft 365.


Word 365 Ribbon

When you go to your OneDrive app you will find in the lower left side of the window a link that reads “Get OneDrive apps”. This link will guide you through the process of downloading and installing software allowing you to effortlessly synchronize your OneDrive storage with your Mac or Windows computer. Simply drag and drop files to your synchronized folder on your desktop and they magically appear on-line in OneDrive.

OneDrive Apps Link

I really tried to like iCloud but the silver lining was not there for me.. I worked hard to enjoy Google Drive but again the silver lining would not easily extend beyond the Google system. I became bored with Zoho and Quip fairly quickly not noticing any silver at all. After trying hard to hate Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive, I have discovered that this cloud does have a nice silver lining, and I’m loving it.

Visual Storytelling. Make Powerful Presentations

If you use Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote, you know how challenging it can be to present compelling, informative, motivating content. Today, while teaching a group of people about making presentations powerful using thought-provoking visual stories, we ran across a great article on Getty ImagesI would like to share it with you here:  http://curve.gettyimages.com/article/the-power-of-visual-storytelling