Try these quick tips to save time in Office Online

A young female student sitting outside cross-legged, working on her Windows laptop.

Over the last year, we’ve had so many opportunities to collaborate with educators and watch their important, day-to-day work in classrooms all over. It’s been a lot to take in, but if there’s one thing we just couldn’t miss, it’s how busy their day can get under the weight of zillions of tasks.

Educators working with Office Online, which is part of Office 365 for Education, have already seen how it can enhance the educational experience for their students learning the 21st century skills needed for working in a modern and collaborative world.  So whether you’re a tech pro striving for efficiency or are just looking to save more moments for your students in class, have a look at these tips and time-saving tricks for Office Online:


Excel Online


Format as Table 


Managing and analyzing your grade sheet or lab results can become more effective and easier using Excel table. By formatting your data as a table, your filtering is enabled in the header row, so you can easily filter or sort your data quickly. In addition, the data will be formatted as banded rows, allowing you to better distinguish between different rows.

  1. Select any cell within the range of cells you want included in the table.
  2. On the Home tab, click Format as Table.
  3. If you want to use the top row of the selected range as table headers, check the My table has headers box.
  4. Once you click OK, Excel formats your data range as a table.




If you need to calculate the average grade for your class or add the results of the science class, let Excel Online do the math for you. AutoSum is a one-click tool that can performs different calculations with your data.

  1. Select a cell next to the numbers you want to analyze.
  2. On the Home tab, click AutoSum and press Enter.
  3. You can apply any different functions by clicking the arrow next to AutoSum and selecting the desired function.


Flash Fill 


Have you ever had to convert your student emails into a list of their first and last names? Or have you found yourself typing repetitive information manually? With Flash Fill, you can get that time back and have it fill your data quickly based on an example.

  1. To use Flash Fill, enter a couple of examples of the output you’d like to fill and keep the active cell in the column you want filled in.
  2. On the Data tab, click Flash Fill and watch your data being quickly entered for you.


PowerPoint Online


Insert Online Picture  / Online Video 


Media content is always more appealing than pure text in a presentation, but the process of looking for the right imagery can take time out of your preparation, especially if you need to download large photographs or videos before putting them into the slide. With Insert Online Picture / Online Video, you can search and filter for the image you need with PowerPoint Online directly, or quickly access billions of videos straight from YouTube.

Insert Online Pictures:

  1. Go to the Insert tab in the top ribbon.
  2. Click on Online Pictures.
  3. Search by keywords.
  4. Filter image by Size, Type and Color.
  5. Pick one and hit the Insert button.

Insert Online Video:

  1. Go to the Insert tab in the ribbon.
  2. Click on Online Video.
  3. Search by keywords from YouTube.
  4. Pick one and hit the Insert button.


Crop Picture 


This comes in handy if you want your in-document images to be of a precise size or position to match the rest of your work.

  1. Select the picture.
  2. Go to Format tab in the ribbon.
  3. Click Crop and input the exact size you want of the picture.
  4. Adjust the picture position with your mouse cursor if necessary.


Design Ideas 


For some of us, it’s not that easy to make a slide look pretty and professional without asking a visual designer for help. With Design Ideas you don’t need to ask and can save time to boot.

  1. Insert a picture/online picture into your document.
  2. The Design Ideas option will pop out from the right with options based on your theme and color for you to choose.
  3. Go to the Design Tab and click Design Ideas if you want to check the options again.

We hope these tips save you and your students some time while you work with Office Online. Microsoft engineers and the educators we work with all have more to share in the future, so keep an eye out for additional guides coming to the Microsoft Education blog. In the meantime, follow @MicrosoftEDU on Twitter for more updates and be sure to share your hacks using #ClassHack. And if you haven’t tried Office Online at all, remember Office 365 for Education is free for students and teachers.