When it comes to communication, businesses produce any manner of documents that are read on a number of different mediums, including print or online. The font you use can really make the difference to your documents, when it comes to presentation and readability. It is therefore a good idea to set a default font, based on the type of documents you usually create. If you have Microsoft Word and Office 365, this is quick and easy to do.
Below are steps highlighting how you can change the default font for Word 2010 and 2013, along with a few suggested fonts for different types of documents produced.
How to set the default font in Word 2010 and 2013
The biggest reason setting this default is recommended, is when you create a large number of the same types of document, e.g., blog articles, and want to ensure there is uniformity. When looking to pick a font, you want to choose one that will be easily legible in the medium readers are more than likely to see your content on e.g., on paper or a website. Here are four of the most common font types and what they are best used for.
To sum up: If you are printing material, or it will be printed, use a Serif font. If words are to be presented online, or stored in Word (not printed), use Sans Serif, and for HTML or other code, use Monospace. Most Cursive fonts should generally be avoided in business communication, reserved instead for marketing materials such as posters, flyers and leaflets.
There’s more to Word that you might know. If you would like to learn more about Word, or any of the other programs in Office 365, please contact us today to see how we can help.
It is safe to say that businesses should have a presence on social media. Many choose to be on sites like Facebook, mainly because of the large number of users and higher chance of gaining exposure. There are other networks out there too, like Instagram, that can help further enhance a brand. This is especially the case for companies with physical products who want a better way to visually showcase products or interact with customers.
Instagram is a social network focused around pictures. By downloading it onto your mobile device – Android and Apple iOS – you can take pictures, enhance them by applying various filters and share them on other social media sites, like Facebook, in a short amount of time. With more than 90 million regular users, there is a good chance that some of your customers are using this app.
If your business doesn’t utilize this app, now could be the time to look into it, especially since there have been two recent updates that make the platform more viable for businesses. The first being that you can now take, apply specific filters to, and upload short videos. The second being the ability to embed pictures directly into your website, blog or other online content.
With these new features, Instagram has become an even more valuable tool to businesses looking for another way to expand their social reach and brand. Here are four ways you can utilize it:
1. Run a customer photo competition If your business sells physical products, why not start a photo competition where you encourage customers to take pictures of themselves using your products, and post them on Instagram. If you create a specific hashtag, they can add it to their photo and make it searchable too.
Doing this gives your products and company essentially free advertising, while enabling you to track how people use your products and where. Plus, it also gives you the opportunity to better connect with your customers.
2. Show off your products Instagram has a number of great filters that make photos taken on mobile devices look great. If you are looking for a way to show off your products, why not take pictures of them and share these on Facebook or your website?
With the new video feature, you or your staff can even do short product demonstrations, which you then share on social media. This can be a great way to drive customers to buy into your brand, and may start conversations about your products. If you get lucky, the content could even go viral. Again, this is free advertising for you. Plus, there is no need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for professional photos that are just going to go on Facebook, so why not save yourself a bit of money and use the phone in your pocket?
3. Capture events Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is taken very seriously by many businesses, and can include sponsoring various events. If your company is involved in community action then why not ask participants to take photos using Instagram, and tag your company using a specific hashtag.
You will get free exposure and could get some great pictures that you can share on other social media, or even your website.
4. Easily share pictures on different sites With the recent addition of the ability to embed Instagram pictures into different websites or blogs, you can not only create good looking content, but content that will spark a conversation. If you log into the browser version of Instagram, and find the picture you would like to embed on your site, click on the Share button and scroll down to the bottom-right. You will see the embed code which you can copy and paste on your site or blog.
If you are looking for a good way to expand your brand online, whether it be through Instagram or any other platform, contact us today to see how we can help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.
The modern phone, or smartphone, has become one of the most popular business gadgets, with people in all corporate positions procuring these handy devices. One of the bigger phone systems is Google’s Android, which has tons of popular apps, one of which is found on almost every device – Google Maps. This useful app has recently been updated with some impressive new features.
In early July, Google released the newest version of Google Maps, and with it introduced a number of new features and a generally new interface. Here is an overview of the changes this update has brought with it:
Modified layout The new layout of the Maps app is sleek, and a number of buttons and boxes have been removed to make it feel less cluttered. When you open the app now you see the map of your current location, and across the top is the search bar. Beside the search bar is the navigation button and your profile. You will also notice two buttons at the bottom. On the bottom-right is the compass/static map button. Pressing it turns on the compass and allows the map to rotate as you move your phone. On the bottom-left is a button with three gray lines. Tapping this will bring up the menu.
The menu has a number of options, including: Traffic, Public transit routes, Cycling routes, Satellite images, a link to Google Earth and Settings.
You will notice small changes to the map itself too. For instance, it looks cleaner, with roads highlighted for more effect. You will also see local businesses and points of interest show up as circles on your map. Tapping one of these will slide up a card with more information, a street view, contact information and directions. If you slide the card up you will be able to rate the location and see any reviews. The overall look is really slick.
Improved navigation An increasing number of Android owners are using their device for navigation and Google has gone to great lengths to improve the navigation within the Map app. When you are in navigation mode, traffic will automatically pop up and alternative routes will be highlighted – without you having to inquire about these. The improvements are really useful, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road and use Google Maps as a navigational tool.
Change of ratings for businesses In the past, Google has relied on ratings from sites like Zagat for local business information. These ratings can be a bit confusing, especially since they are scored out of 30. Google has now gone back to a standard 5-star rating system. The Zagat ratings, and those from other sites, have all been converted into a standard, easy to read system. These ratings are also displayed right under the name of the business as both a star rating and number (out of five).
Google has also made it easier for users to rank businesses and write reviews directly from Maps. They can just bring up the card in Maps (search for a business), and scroll down a bit. They can then select how many stars to give a business AND write a review.
For businesses like yours it is now a good idea to encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google+ Local page, or directly from the app.
Offline maps missing The one feature that many users are missing is the ability to download or ‘cache’ maps for use when you don’t have a data or Internet connection. Contrary to popular belief, Google didn’t actually get rid of this feature, they just hid it. If you want to download a map for offline use you can do so by:
You should notice a bar at the top of the screen that says: Pre-loading maps, along with a counter. It could take a minute to download, but when it is finished, you should be able to view this part of the map while offline. If you are looking to learn more about the Maps app or how Android can fit into your office, please contact us today and map out a better future for your business for target customers who find your online.
Ok, we admit it, Windows Phones are not as popular as other systems like Android or Apple’s iOS. But, that doesn’t mean the system is no good. In fact, Windows Phone 8, launched in 2012, is a great system. In order to keep it that way, and improve on it, Microsoft has been releasing small updates, the latest of which has just been implemented. These developments introduce improvements and even some new features.
This latest update, called GDR2 by Microsoft (GRD2 stands for: General Distribution Release 2), brings a number of small features to devices running Windows Phone 8, and was released for most phones on July 22, 2013. So far, this is the second update to the platform this year, and will likely not be the last, with more updates and a new version of Windows Phone 8 – Windows Phone 8.1 – rumored to be launched later this year, or early next.
Here are the main changes GDR2 introduces
How do I know if my phone has been updated? If you are unsure whether you have received this latest update, you can check what version of Windows Phone your device is using by tapping on Settings from the App list, selecting About followed by More Info. Scroll down until you see Software and it would tell you what version you are running. If you have GDR2 installed, it should say: 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78 depending on the phone manufactuerer.
How do I install the update? If you haven’t received the update, you can check and see if it is available by opening the Settings app on your phone and tapping on Phone update, followed by Check for updates. Should the update be available, you will be given a prompt to update and then you can press Download. It is a good idea to ensure you are connected to Wi-Fi before doing this. Once the download is finished, you should see the phone turn off and on again, and the update install. Tap Done when instructed to do so, and you should be updated.
Looking to learn more about the Windows Phone? Why not contact us today to see how we can help.
In late 2011, Google bought the well respected restaurant review guide Zagat. By 2012, Google had tightly integrated reviews from the guide and sites into their Google Maps and Google+ Local services. While there are many restaurant reviews available, the acquisition hasn’t paid off as well as some of Google’s others. In an effort to reverse this, Google has recently launched a new version of Zagat.
The updated Zagat site, launched July 29, 2013 takes the powerful review based service and adds some new features to hopefully make it more interesting and useful to users. Here is a brief overview of the changes introduced with the new site:
While this update or relaunch only focuses on restaurants for now, Gannon Hall, Group Product Manager and Head of Zagat noted: “Over the coming months we plan to expand to 50 U.S. and international destinations and cover shopping, hotels and other places of interest.”
What does this mean for my business?
If your business isn’t a restaurant and isn’t operating in the nine cities currently on the website (London, New York, LA, Houston, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC) these updated features admittedly do not mean much. But, the service is planned to expand to include more businesses, in more cities, in the coming months, this means that Zagat could become more relevant to your business profile.
The reason for this is due to the heavy integration with Google’s other products and services. Because Google uses Zagat ratings to influence its own ranking system, you can bet that Google will put a fair amount of weight behind this. If you are within this reach then you had better make sure your business is review ready.
How to make sure your business is ready to capitalize on Zagat
If you own a restaurant, shop or hotel there are x number of things you should do today to ensure you don’t get left behind.
If you would like to learn more about Zagat and how restaurants or businesses could take advantage of this service, please contact us today.
Take a step back for a minute and observe smartphone users. You will likely see numerous iPhones and Android devices, and even a few Windows Phones. The thing you may also notice is that most users likely won’t switch to another system. However, from time-to-time, new features and phones tempt a certain number to make the switch and move from say an iPhone to a Windows Phone, for example.
If you are thinking of switching from an iPhone to a Windows Phone, here is a brief guide on how you can migrate your important information and tools over to your new phone.
Switch your email
Chances are high that you linked an email account to your iPhone. Regardless of the type of account you have – Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, etc., moving email is pretty easy. In fact, Windows Phone allows you to link almost any email account. Here’s how:
Tap the Settings icon on your Windows Phone.
Select Email + accounts followed by Next.
Tap Add an account along with the account you want to add.
Enter your email address and password.
Tap Next, select Email only followed by Sign in.
The phone will sync with your account and your email should start showing in the email tile on the main screen. If you use other accounts, say a Google account, you can sync these in the same way.
Migrate your contacts
Contacts are an important part of any phone, and you probably want to take them with you, or migrate them over to the new system. You have a couple of options to get your contacts onto your new Windows Phone. The method you use should reflect where you store your contacts.
Contacts linked with an online account – If you have set up your iPhone to sync contacts with an online account like Google or Outlook.com, you can simply follow the steps in the email section above and select Email, contacts, and calendar. Your contacts should show up within a couple of minutes.
Contacts stored on your iPhone – If you have contacts stored on your iPhone, but not linked to an online account, the steps to get them off may be a little complicated. The easiest way is to export the contacts to Outlook on your computer. You can do this by:
Plugging your phone into your computer and opening iTunes.
Selecting your iPhone in iTunes.
Clicking Info followed by Sync Contacts with and selecting Outlook.
If you use Exchange (which is likely at work), sign into your Windows Phone using that account, and your contacts will be migrated over automatically. If you don’t use Exchange, follow the instructions on the Microsoft site here.
Contacts stored on your computer – The easiest way to migrate your contacts from your computer to your phone is through Outlook. Sign into Outlook using a Microsoft account, then drag your contacts from Outlook into the account and sign into your phone using the same account. Your contacts will automatically transfer over. If you have an older version of Outlook, try the Hotmail connector, (instructions on how to transfer files are below the download link).
Import important documents
If you have files that you would like to access on your phone the easiest option is to download these onto your computer first by connecting your phone to iTunes and transferring them off. If these are spreadsheets, presentations or word processing files you should upload them to your SkyDrive.
When the files are on your computer, plug your Windows Phone in using a USB cable. The computer should recognize this and show you a window with options of what you can do with your phone. Select Explore Files and a window will open with the phone’s file structure. Double-click on Documents. Then, open the folder where you downloaded the documents to, in another window. Simply drag the files from this folder to Documents and they will be available on your phone.
Get your apps
At the writing of this article, there is no easy way to transfer your apps over from the iPhone to the Windows Phone. You will have to go into the Windows Store and search for the apps you use. The good news is that many popular apps are available.
Move your SIM card/phone number
Moving to a new phone system can sometimes be confusing, especially in relation to SIM cards. The vast majority of iPhones use micro SIMs, while Windows Phones use regular or micro. If your Windows Phone uses the same size of SIM as your iPhone, you should be able to pull it out of the iPhone and switch it over to your new phone without a problem. If your new device uses a different sized SIM, you will have to go to your mobile provider and ask them for a new card.
The one thing to be careful with is if your iPhone is on a contract. Some mobile carriers have been known to lock the SIM to the device, meaning it won’t work if you switch phones. You will have to go into the mobile carrier and pay them to switch.
In general, moving from an iPhone to a Windows Phone is a painless affair that shouldn’t take a long time, especially if you already sync your contacts, calendar and email online. If you are making the move and have further questions, please give us a call. We are happy to help.
Business continuity is the process of establishing a plan that will ensure that business functions are still available to stakeholders during a time of disaster. It is best to think about it as an action that happens before disasters in effort to reduce or eliminate downtime if these occur. This has become increasingly important to many businesses. A common problem, however, is ensuring that your plan will work in reality.
Here are six tips to help ensure that your business continuity efforts will work.
1. Know your risks When creating a business continuity plan, or updating existing operations, it is a good idea to step back and as a group – with key staff – identify all possible risks to your organization. It’s important to focus on risks both from within and outside the organization. No risk is too small, even if it and issue that could only affect one person or department.
You should also try to detail the consequences and what could happen should these defined risks come to fruition. This will give you a better idea of areas that need to be improved and potential problematic systems or positions. From here, you can also better develop a more solid plan that has a higher chance of succeeding.
2. Ensure your plan matches your business Because business continuity planning can be complex, many small businesses prefer to use ready made plans and templates. The problem with these is that they may not provide exactly what you need – most of these templates are fairly general. While we aren’t saying you shouldn’t use a template, and they can save time and money, you need to be sure that you either find a template that covers your business, or you adapt it to fit your business needs.
Pay close attention to where the plan fits in with your company, the scale of your company compared to the plan, available resources, where your work and how your employees work (remotely, onsite, both, etc.). If these differ from the template or current plan, you should take steps to modify or update your strategy to ensure it meets your needs.
3. Be sure that all staff buy in It is usually pretty easy to get the staff under your command to buy into a business continuity plan – after all, they may have helped modify or come up with the plan. What you have to ensure is that all upper management and stakeholders are not only aware of the plan, how it will work and when it is to be activated, but also support it.
One way to do this is to have a signoff sheet where all managers and key employees sign their names to ensure that they understand and support the plan. If you have holdouts, you should work with them to figure out what aspects of the plan they disagree with and work out if they have better or alternative solutions to bring to the table.
4. Keep your plan up to date A common mistake many businesses make is to develop a great continuity plan, but then not update it. Businesses and the climate around them are always changing. Having a plan that was workable five years ago will likely not meet your exact needs today.
To ensure that your business continuity plan is viable it is recommend that you update it on a yearly basis, or certainly when you undergo a big change in your business. Be sure to pay attention to whom has changed roles, any new systems introduced or retired and any changes to the core business
5. Communication is key Communication is a crucial part of any business. In order to have a continuity plan that actually works, you need to ensure that you communicate with all staff, and that they know not only their roles but who to report to and what to do if they are unable to reach the office, for example.
It is also be a good idea to communicate with those outside of the business who could be affected by a disaster that impacts your company. Generally, all parties involved should know and have access to the plan and be informed of updates or changes. Employees should also see how disasters might affect not only the company and their individual role in it, but people outside of the organization as well.
6. Practice Think of any professional athlete. They didn’t get to where they are today by sitting around and not doing anything. They practiced their sport and took note of what needed to be improved upon, then went and worked on their game. The idea here is that you should practice implementing your plan on a regular basis. The timing depends on your business and propensity to danger. If you have defined a high amount of risk to your organization, it is a good idea to practice implementing the plan once every two to three months. Most organizations should be fine with twice a year.
After each practice, teams should get together for experience sharing to talk about what they noticed worked well and what needs to be improved on. Then changes can be implemented and the plan evolved.
If you are looking to integrate a business continuity plan in your business, or improve on an existing plan, contact us today to see how we can create a viable, workable solution that will minimize negative impact on your business.
Google has many popular products and services that are used the world over. One of the most popular products is its Web browser – Chrome. There are many reasons for Chrome’s success, but users tend to agree that the features have a lot to do with its popularity. Google is constantly working on new ones in order to keep improving the browser. Did you know that some future features are actually available now?
In many Google products, features that Google wants users to test, and ones it is experimenting with, are usually found in Labs. In Chrome, these features and functions are called Flags. You can access Flags by:
When you navigate to Flags, you should see a page open with the nuclear symbol at the top, and a warning message. If you scroll down, you will see the experimental features. Clicking Enable under each entry will turn on the function, and you will have to restart Chrome in order to get the feature working properly. When you click Enable, you should see a white band pop-up at the bottom of the window. Press Relaunch Now to enable the feature.
If you plan on enabling any Flags, you should be aware that these are experimental features that are not fully stable. They could cause your version of Chrome to crash, or become sluggish, and some users have noted that certain Flags didn’t work on their system. Should you notice an increase in crashes after you enable a Flag, you should disable it by going back into chrome://flags, finding the function and clicking Disable.
Five useful Chrome Flags Here are five interesting Flags. The easiest way to find them is to open chrome://flags, hit Ctrl + F (Apple key + F on Mac) and enter the name of the Flag.
Chrome’s Flags include some pretty interesting and useful experimental features that make the browsing experience even better, or at the very least more efficient. If you would like to learn more about how Chrome could fit into your organization, please contact us today.
Let’s face it, as long as computers and devices are networked together, sharing important or private data, people will always try to hack them. One of the best ways to prevent or limit these security breaches is to educate yourself about them or turn to a trusted source that can help support your security needs. Did you know that there is a new threat that breaches computers through the USB port?
While USB threats aren’t anything new – USB thumb drives are well known to be used by some employees to copy and take important files with them when they leave the office – this latest threat is a little different. Hackers have developed a USB stick that can bypass Windows Autorun features and infect your system.
How do these drives work? As you may have noticed, when you connect a device like an external hard drive to your computer via the USB port, Windows will not run, or open the drive. Instead, you will get a window with a number of options, including: Open folder to view files, Download pictures, Play files, etc. The reason for this is because hackers figured out a number of years ago how to put a virus on a USB stick, which when plugged into the computer, would be auto run (started up) by Windows and infect the system.
Hackers have recently figured out how to trick this feature. What they have done is create a flash drive that looks like a USB memory stick. Only, when you plug it into a computer, Windows thinks it’s a plug-and-play peripheral like a keyboard, and will allow it to run. There is memory on the stick, where hackers can write and store a virus or infection, which will then run, infecting the system.
There are four things to be aware of with these drives:
What does this mean for my company? Because these devices are nearly indistinguishable from real memory drives, it is nearly impossible to spot and therefore stop them from infecting systems. Because these drives are currently hard to find and infection rates are generally low, many companies probably don’t have to worry too much. However, you can bet that these drives will probably become more popular in the near future.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be aware of this risk and understand that these drives exist. Some companies have started to take action by disabling USB drives, monitoring what employees plug into their drives and even providing employees with tamper-proof USB drives.
One thing you might have to concern yourself with is if you allow employees to bring in their own drives. In general, if you take steps to ensure that the drives being used are legitimate and approved by the company, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. Of course, keeping your security systems and anti-virus scanners up to date and functioning is always a good idea.
If you would like to learn more about this security threat and what you can do to stop it, including how we can help minimize risks, please contact us today to see how our systems can help you.
Google Drive is Google’s cloud based productivity and storage solution. The best way to think about it is as a file system with productivity suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation creator, etc.) attached. All of this is accessed via an Internet connection, with all files being stored in the cloud. While it is a fairly intuitive system, there are some functions that aren’t inherently easy to figure out. One such example is organizing your files.
Here is an easy way to setup a file system on Drive and how to organize it.
Setting up your files As you know, when you first log in to Drive you will be taken to the My Drive folder. This is where all files, including those created within Drive, will be automatically stored. Pressing the Create button will drop-down a menu allowing you to create a new Document, Spreadsheet, Form, Presentation, Drawing and Folder. When you click on any of these, they will open in a new tab, and you will notice the file appearing in My Drive.
Users who use Drive as the main location to store their documents will likely want to add folders to My Drive in order to keep things organized. Adding files is easy, and can be done by:
The folder should pop-up immediately in My Drive and if you click on the grey arrow beside My Drive on the left-hand menu bar, you should see it under the My Drive folder.
If you want to create a subfolder in the recently created folder, click on it and ensure the folder name is listed below the Search bar. It should say something like My Drive > Folder name. Look for the folder with a + button just above the name and click it. This will add a new folder. You can also click Create followed by Folder.
These folders can be moved just like you do in your desktop, all you have to do is right-click on the folder and select Move to… from the drop down menu. Select where you would like to move the folder to from the window that pops up and click Move. If you have any files within that folder, they will be moved with it as well.
In order to have the best organization possible, it would be a good idea to map out on paper what folders and subfolders you want before creating them, so you know what is needed and can better organize your files.
How to easily organize files Did you know that you can easily move files created in Drive e.g., Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, etc. from the open file? For example if you have a Document open and realize that it’s in the wrong folder, or would like to move it to another folder, you can move it by:
Ensuring that the file you want to move is open.
This makes it easier to move files without having to leave the tab, and saves time while keeping things organized in an efficient manner. If you are looking to learn more about Google Drive and the related apps, or any other Google product, please contact us today to see how our experts can help you.