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Office 365 Offers Collaborative Workspace, Cloud Computing, More

Office365LogoOffice 365 is NDSU’s cloud computing platform for faculty and staff. It’s webmail, but much more.

After logging in (from the NDSU home page under Online Services then Webmail), NDSU faculty and staff can access a variety of resources. The login defaults to:

Mail – You can access all your folders (click on More under Folders); read, send, delete or file messages.

Click on the blue square icon in the upper left to access other options:

Calendar, People and Tasks – These are similar to the Outlook client on your computer.

OneDrive – This is similar to your U drive -- a personal storage drive. You may choose to keep your documents here rather than on a desktop or laptop so you can access them from anywhere.

OneDrive folders can be shared, and people it’s shared with can edit the documents. However, if the person who created the folder leaves NDSU and his or her account is retired, the shared folders disappear.

Sites – Though the icon is titled Sites, the software is SharePoint. As its name implies, this program is designed for shared files and collaborative work. To create a SharePoint site for any group to work together, go to Request a SharePoint Team Site on the ITS website, complete the information and submit the request. You’ll receive a message from the NDUS Help Desk with a link to your site in

Be sure to click on Share in the upper right and enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the documents with. They each may select Alert Me to get an email every time someone makes a change to a document or adds a comment in the Newsfeed in the site.

Completed documents may be added to the site with the Upload feature, or documents may be created as New. Documents can be edited, and people can leave comments.

The Newsfeed provides for an online conversation.

Learn more about SharePoint on the Microsoft training site or contact Cj Johnson with ITS Instructional Services at (701) 231-6245. Or ask a member of the Extension branding committee or innovation team since those groups are using SharePoint extensively.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Apply for eXtension Innovation Grant by April 17

eXtensionThe NDSU Extension Service has joined the new eXtension at the premium membership level. With a focus on professional development and innovative opportunities, this gives our Extension faculty and staff access to special opportunities, including the chance to apply for innovation project funding.

The RFP website suggests ideas for projects, but the sky is the limit with the goal to have proposals that truly carry out Extension education innovatively.

The one-year grants will range from $25,000 to $150,000. No match is required, and no indirects are allowed.

When eXtension staffers Anne Adrian and Jerry Thomas visited NDSU in March, they said projects that involved multiple states and that try innovations that could then be used by others probably would be looked upon favorably.

Applications are due April 17 so plan now to leave enough time to get your proposal through the NDSU process.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875; and Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specailist, (701) 231-7381

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Print & Copy Now Provides Mailing Services

Print and Copy Services now will process mailings previously completed by the Ag Communication Distribution Center. This means that newsletters, postcards and other mailed pieces will be addressed, sorted and shipped by Print and Copy Services (PCS).

In addition to the piece to be reproduced and mailed, PCS needs the address list in an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is run through an official software program that makes sure each is a complete and accurate address. A report will be sent to you of addresses that need to be corrected.

For postcards and some simple documents, the address can be merged with the document itself, requiring only one pass through the copier. However, some documents require separate addressing by either inkjetting or labeling the pieces.

Costs for these services are $40 per hour for address certification and addressing. However, there’s no addressing charge if the address can be merged onto the document. Often, the postage savings make up for this cost. Also, your office's labor costs are reduced because your staff will not have to print and apply labels and sort each mailing.

Please contact one of us for guidelines on address placement on the document before sending it because the post office requires very specific spacing.

Diane Ness, Print and Copy Services Customer Service Manager, (701) 231-9467; Dawn Long, PCS Customer Service Representative, (701) 231-2000

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Using the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher

When you click on a session or recording link, Blackboard Collaborate checks to see if you have the launcher installed. If you don't, you're prompted to download it.

When the launcher is installed, clicking a session or recording link triggers the download of a .collab file (replaces the current .jnlp file). This .collab file is used to launch your session or recording, and you will not need to download the launcher again.

Scott Swanson, Electronic Media Specialist, (701) 231-7086

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Change Spreadsheet into a Document

Have you ever needed to convert a spreadsheet into a document? I know a lot of us are using Google Forms to collect registrations, feedback, and more. Sometimes answers to open-ended questions can produce lengthy responses that require you to scroll, scroll, scroll in the spreadsheet. This is not reader-friendly.

In another situation, a state specialist was collecting registrations and wanted the registrants to get a copy of the information they registered for. Some of the responses were lengthy and it was a chore to copy and paste from a spreadsheet into a document.

There’s an easy way to convert a spreadsheet into a document by using the “Save as Doc” add-on in Chrome. Before I get to the How-To, there are some things you must do first.

1. Use Google’s Chrome browser.

2. Login in with your Google account.

3. If your spreadsheet is in Excel and not a Google “sheet”, convert it by uploading it to your Google Drive and then opening as a Google Sheet, which is Google’s version of Microsoft Excel.

4. Add the “Save as Doc” add on to your Google Drive

Follow the video below to see how to convert your data in your spreadsheet into a document.

Save as Doc Demo on YouTube (2:33)

Save as Doc add-in in the Chrome Store

Contact me if you need help with this or want to test it out.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 371-6403

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Write the Right Word: All Right!

Leaving letters out of words or running words together is OK for texting, as long as the meaning is clear. But that’s not OK when writing news releases or educational materials such as publications, newsletters or brochures.

“All right” is a phrase that commonly is misspelled. It’s never all right to spell it “alright.” Also, do not hyphenate it unless it’s used as a compound modifier. For example: “He’s an all-right guy.”

Another commonly misused phrase is “a lot.” That also always is two words. “She spent a lot of time trying to decide which dress to wear to the prom.” If you mean to say “give or apportion something,” then the word is “allot.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Books Available to You for the Taking

Thriving on Chaos

Here are some books that have been on my shelves that someone else might find useful. All yours if you want one or more of them. My only request is that you pass the book on to someone else when you’re done with it.

Thriving on Chaos by Tom Peters -- describes a management revolution in a endlessly changing world where excellence must go hand-in-hand with a new imperative: flexibility.

The Art of Winning by Dennis Conner with Edward Claflin -- Practical tips on how to manage people; obtain financing; create team spirit; lead to succeed in business; get along with others; be a better manager, salesman, athlete or spouse.

Rural Communities by Cornelia Butler Flora, Jan L.Flora, with Susan Fey -- Rural America is a complex mixture of people and cultures struggling to survive. This book focuses on various capitals in rural areas; social, cultural, human, natural, political, financial and built.

What My Dad Knew by David Spickler (2004 NDSU Animal Science graduate) -- focuses on the ability to influence. 

Honey, I Shrunk the Farm by Val Farmer -- Some farmers have lost hope and even the desire to live. They are plagued by guilt if they lose their dad's land. They and their families need to know that even with harsh change, the door can open to hope.

Productivity Plus by John G. Belcher, Jr. of the American Productivity Center -- all aspects of productivity, including how to get to top-management commitment, involve and reinforce employees, and measure productivity.

The Executive Odyssey by Frederick G. Harmon -- Learn how to get ahead without being a workaholic and that success is not a lottery but a system; learn techniques on how to prepare for opportunity and even make it work for you.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Mobile Connection with the Lync 2013 App

Microsoft Lync is a valuable communications tool that brings together instant messaging, audio-conferencing and videoconferencing. Those features, plus Lync's ability to integrate with Outlook for contact availability and meeting scheduling, make it extremely useful.

One Lync feature that does not work for us at NDSU is the ability to call-in to a Lync meeting by phone. In the not too distant past, that meant you had to be at a computer to join a Lync meeting, but that has changed.

The Lync 2013 app for Android, iOS and Windows is a great option for connecting to a Lync meeting when you are away from your computer. With the app installed on your smartphone or tablet and a wifi or 3G/4G connection, you can join a Lync meeting from your mobile device.

It's not the same as calling in by phone (you are using mobile data, not calling minutes), but it does provide a mobile connection.

You can join a scheduled Lync Meeting by going to the calendar tab in the Lync 2013 app and touching "Join meeting." If you can't see scheduled meetings in your Lync 2013 app, you can join the meeting by touching the "Join meeting" link in the email message inviting you to the meeting.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Move to Office 2013

MS Word iconAbout 85 to 90 percent of the computers being used in Agriculture and Extension now have Office 2013. Are you still running Office 2010? Now is the time to move to the newer version.

While it is easy to be comfortable with the older Office Suite over time, moving to the new Office Suite has two main benefits.

  • There is greater compatibility and functionality with others who have Office 2013. One of the obvious reasons is in the use of Lync. Lync 2013 has fewer problems than Lync 2010, and it's built right into the Office 2013 software.
  • Microsoft is working on a new version called Office 2016, which is slated to be released late this year. We support the  current version of a software product and the previous version. So if a computer is running Office 2010, support will be coming off when the newest version is out.

Want to move to Office 2013?  Call or email Ag Comm Computer Support.

Jerry Ranum, (701) 231-6395; Jon Fry, (701) 231-7934; Blair Johnson, (701) 231-7896, Desktop Support Specialists

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Save Time & Money on Mailings through Print and Copy Services

Post Card

Print and Copy Services can help you save time and money with mailings.

If your office provides an electronic mailing list (preferably in Excel), we can run it through our software that makes sure addresses are complete and accurate, and saves money on the postage with the sorting and bar coding.

 For postcards, envelopes and other simple pieces, the addresses can be merged directly into the document, so the address is printed on the piece in a single pass, which avoids extra inkjetting or labeling.

Off-campus offices might save even more money by having their projects completed on campus and using the NDSU nonprofit mailing class.

Contact me to talk through your potential projects.

Diane Ness, Print and Copy Services Customer Service Manager, (701) 231-9467

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