Something going wrong? Try SAFE mode

This works for all Office products. When things go wrong or the application starts very slowly, or gets hung while starting or misbehaves in any way, it is worth trying starting it in SAFE mode.  How do you do that? Simple.

Press CTRL key while clicking on the Office Application Icon. It will ask you if you want Safe mode. Choose Yes.

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Another method is to use a command-line switch – more useful to techies. Press Windows Key and R. The run dialog opens. Write the application name followed by /safe and press Enter. For example:

winword /safe

Here are the exact application names for all products:
winword, excel, powerpnt, outlook, mspub, msaccess, onenote

Benefits?

It opens the application with no customization. All your custom settings are replaced with default settings. No add-ins are loaded. This usually makes the application start very quickly. And now you can troubleshoot which item or setting is causing the problem.

Starting in safe mode is NOT a permanent solution. It is usually the first step in troubleshooting causes of application instability or crashes.

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What did I learn today: For Demo Warriors Only: Clear Outlook Categories

This article is relevant only for people who conduct demos or training on Outlook. During demos we create custom color categories. These categories remain customized for the next demo as well. Ideally I would want the categories to have default names (Red Category, Blue Category and so on). How to clean all of them quickly just before the demo? Simple.

Start Outlook with the Startup Switch /clearcategories

<office installation path>\outlook.exe /clearcategories.

This DOES NOT remove custom categories which have already been applied to Outlook items like mails, appointments or tasks. These have to be removed separately. But it does remove the custom descriptions. Now the category dialog looks like this.

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Simplified file sharing with Outlook Web Access

As we know by now, sending mails with attachments is generally a bad idea. We also know that storing the file on the cloud – using OneDrive and sending a link is a more convenient option. We refuse to change our behavior in spite of knowing the benefits of the new way of sharing. So Microsoft changed its product to suit our lack of flexibility.

Now you create a new mail, click on the Attach button, choose the file from local PC as usual – and NOW Outlook Web Access asks you a simple question. Do you really want to ATTACH the file or should I store it on OneDrive and send a shared link? You just have one click to decide that. Just choose the OneDrive option and you get all the benefits.

Simple, effective – yet ignored. Start using it!

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Irritating = Extremely Useful: Why does Outlook not show pictures in some messages?

Well, you must have seen this thousands of time by now.

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Pictures are not downloaded. That is obvious. What is NOT obvious is what has MY PRIVAY to do with it? The mail was sent by someone else – including the pictures in it. So how does it affect my privacy?  Read on to find out the logic and the action you should take.

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Best Practice: DO NOT put Out of Office message if you are away on official work

Out of Office is a common habit. We put it when we are not on our desk. But in today’s world of mobility, internet availability and smart phones, it should be used ONLY when you are really on LEAVE.

I have seen people pout OOF message when they are traveling on official visit, in off-site, undertaking training programs and so on. That is NO LONGER a valid reason for putting OOF message.

I do agree that your response will be delayed in such circumstances. But there are two related arguments in this context.

Firstly, people do not expect lightning fast responses in general. If you respond in few hours, it is ok. And whatever official work you have, meetings, flights, etc. you will get a break. And what do you do in the break? Check mails. So DO NOT bother to set OOF.

Secondly, even if you are in some so called engaging activity, most people are checking emails during off-sites, training programs, and even during customer meetings.

In short, use OOF with discretion. Period.

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