No matter which sector or industry you are in, chances are you’re using the Microsoft suite to some degree. In fact, you may have used Microsoft to create the resume you used to apply for your job. Microsoft Office platforms have become a part of our daily lives, whether for email, calendar, communication, or collaboration purposes. The use of some of their tools only increased during the pandemic.
There are 1.2 billion Microsoft users worldwide. Many of them use multiple products at one time, along with other digital platforms. How can you streamline your efforts to make the most of various Microsoft accounts?
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Managing Multiple Office 365 Accounts
One Microsoft 365 subscription can be used across multiple devices. However, what can you do if you want to use multiple accounts on a single device? For example, if you have a work account and a personal account - or if you have multiple accounts for different clients. Traditionally you would need to log in and out to go into separate accounts, but there are easier ways.
You would begin by creating a separate Office 365 account. For professional Office 365 uses, your administrator will be the one to set up multiple accounts for you. They’ll issue a username and password to take care of this. If you have your own small business, you’ll purchase licenses when you sign up for an Office 365 Business plan. Each account will be able to install Office 365 on up to five devices, but employees, contractors, or other staff will only get one login.
Luckily, for personal accounts, things get a little more flexible. Yes, you can buy a one-person plan, but if you have others in your household, the annual plan is a better deal, giving you separate accounts for up to six people. That means you could, theoretically, create multiple accounts for yourself or another family member and use each for different purposes.
Shift lets you set up all your Microsoft accounts to operate simultaneously. All you have to do is download Shift, then add each app and login as separate shortcuts. You’ll choose a color to go with each login and provide your username and password for each.
The best thing about Shift is that once you’ve logged in that first time, you won’t have to input your username and password again. Each day, you’ll simply toggle between the apps and usernames you need to access, working in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even Outlook without a hiccup.
Related Article: How to Manage Multiple Office 365 Accounts
Managing Multiple Microsoft Teams Accounts
Virtual communication and collaboration has increased in recent years. The pandemic in particular made it essential to be able to work together without being in the same room. One of the top video conferencing tools is Microsoft Teams (included with Office 365 subscriptions). Many professionals end up working with multiple Teams accounts. For example, many agencies use the Teams platform to work with several different clients. In some cases, that may mean that you were added under an account issued by those parties, which means you’ll have to log in using that ID, not your primary one. Keeping up with those accounts can be challenging, but Shift makes it easy.
Simply go to Shift and click on the plus symbol in the bottom-left corner and choose “Add Application”. Type “MS Teams” into the search field. You’ll then enter your account username and choose a color to add the app to your toolbar. You’ll need to repeat the above process for each account, searching for Teams and inputting your account name. For each account, you’ll be asked to log in with your username and password, but once you’ve done so the first time, you’ll rarely have to do it again.
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Managing Multiple Microsoft Outlook Accounts
One in seven people use Microsoft Outlook for their email and calendar. It gets even more confusing since there are several versions of Outlook available including the desktop version, the Outlook Web App, and the webmail version on Outlook.com where users can sign up for free Outlook accounts. The desktop version and webmail service offer more flexibility for users, but it does mean there’s more to manage. That means you need to learn how to manage multiple Outlook accounts, and sometimes across multiple platforms.
Adding multiple Outlook accounts to Shift is a great way to get all of your Outlook accounts in one place. Outlook accounts can be added as primary email accounts in Shift. Once you’ve added additional accounts in Shift, you’ll be able to view all of your email accounts side-by-side in the upper left-hand corner on the sidebar in Shift. You also stay logged into all of your email accounts at once. It’s also a breeze to toggle back and forth between different Outlook accounts without having to add all of your email addresses into a single Outlook account or having to worry about setting up email forwarding.
Here are other tips for managing multiple Outlook accounts. (You can read a more in-depth guide from our previous article specific to managing multiple email accounts.)
- Have “to do” and “follow up” folders - and use them. You should create a structure of folders to organize incoming email. Create new folders under your inbox folder, including a “To Do” folder (we suggest creating two more folders under that one, one for “follow up” and one for “someday”). As soon as new emails arrive, move them to the appropriate folder.
- Use the task list instead of cluttering your inbox. Even if something doesn’t require an immediate response, you may want to set a reminder to complete the associated tasks at some point. Drag the email and drop it on Outlook’s task list icon, then add a due date and set a date and time to receive a reminder. Save the task.Once the task is complete, make sure to mark it so that it drops off of your list.
- Try the Clean-Up function. This feature allows users to drastically reduce the emails in their inbox in just one click. The clean-up function removes all email replies that are duplicated in a later thread, allowing you to read a single thread instead of dozens of individual emails. From inside your inbox, click the "Clean Up" button, and select "Clean Up Folder."\
- Set rules to automatically sort emails. Every day your email inbox gets flooded with automatic notifications, spam, or irrelevant email threads that you don’t care about. Use Outlook’s rules function to automatically send those emails to where they should be (whether that’s trash or a different folder). You can also use rules to better prioritize emails as they come in. For example, you can set rules so that any message from your boss goes immediately into your to-do folder, or that emails from vendors go straight into a vendor folder that you created.
- Use Quick Steps. This is a more advanced feature, but it allows users to automatically perform long strings of actions based on a trigger. For example, if you’re responsible for managing invoices at the end of each month, Quick Steps can help you automate this process. If you normally review invoices and then forward them to your accountant and set a reminder to follow up the next week, the last two of those steps can be taken care of with Outlook. Click “Create New” in the Quick Steps section of the Home ribbon and set up a “forward” step. This will set up a workflow where these emails automatically go to the next recipient in the process. Then you can create a task with a due date and reminder.
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Managing Multiple Outlook Calendars
Similar to the email platform, Outlook’s calendar option offers flexibility for multiple accounts. Many people, such as executive assistants, manage their own accounts along with an account for others. If you have more than one account, things can get a little tricky if you’re not intentional. As you add calendars, make sure you have a process for managing them all.
To create additional calendars, there are a few things you can do. You can create a secondary calendar of your own, whether for business or personal reasons. Here are the steps to follow to create an additional calendar using your primary Outlook account:
- Go to the Folder tab in your main Outlook calendar
- Go to the New group and choose New Calendar
- Name your new calendar
- Under Select where to place the folder, choose Calendar and OK
- You’ll now see the new calendar you created when you look at your calendars in the navigation pane
It’s also possible for someone to share a calendar with you. If you have a second calendar you want to manage, you can use this feature to share the calendar with your primary account. To share a calendar, follow these steps:
- In your calendar view, select Share at the top of the page
- Enter the name or email address of the person you want to share your calendar with
- Choose the access level of the user: Can view when I’m busy, Can view titles and locations, Can view all details, Can edit, or Delegate
The best way to get around the issues with Outlook Calendars is through the use of an app like Shift. With Shift, you set up each calendar as a separate shortcut, logging in only once to get things in place. Once you have each of your calendar accounts set up, you can move between them effortlessly throughout the day.
With this solution, you won’t have to worry about multiple calendars slowing down your system. You can set up a separate shortcut for each account you manage and toggle between them. This means you can check your work calendar, school calendar, personal calendar, and any calendars you manage for other people without ever having to log out or worry about how much bandwidth each account is taking up.
Related Article: How to Manage Multiple Outlook Calendars
Managing Multiple OneDrive Accounts
Microsoft OneDrive is a powerful tool that provides cloud-based storage for your files. People find it a convenient way to share files and access documents on more than one device, and with other people. If you are using OneDrive accounts, you might have to switch between them for various reasons. Doing so can be a bit tricky, though.
Again using Shift, you can add each of your OneDrive accounts to the dashboard. Simply name the shortcut and choose a color, and all of your accounts will be side by side. When you need to switch from one account to another, all you’ll need to do is click the appropriate icon.
One thing that Shift users really love about using the platform with OneDrive is that you stay logged in. Instead of signing out under one account and signing in under a different one, you can simply toggle back and forth with the click of a button. You can still sync your accounts to keep files updated with the most recent versions, but you will also have the option of keeping files on separate accounts. This means that you can streamline your OneDrive use using Shift, in order to make the most of your file storage.
Related Article: How to Manage Multiple OneDrive Accounts
Shift - For Productive Email & App Management
All of the various Microsoft Office products are supported by Shift and easy to search for and add to the platform. Even better, you can use Shift for all of your apps beyond Microsoft Office. You can set up your other often-used apps as shortcuts in your Shift dashboard, including Gmail, Trello, Zoom, and many of the other solutions you might use throughout the day. If you have separate accounts for any or all of those apps, you can log in separately just as you learned about here for your Office 365 apps. Learn more here about all of the communication and messaging apps available for integration in Shift. Shift is the desktop app for streamlining and collaborating across accounts and workflows. Download it today and start working smarter instead of harder.