My Favorite PDF Reader is Word

Long Live Clippy – Forever in our Hearts

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Word is my favorite PDF reader.


Microsoft Edge?

Standard Windows 10 ships with Microsoft Edge as the default PDF reader. It’s nice not having to purchase or download extra PDF reading software, but for me reading a PDF in a web browser does leave something to be desired. First, it’s difficult to markup or edit a PDF in a web browser. Second, I don’t like getting the PDF I’m reading mixed in with all my other open tabs. Third…actually I don’t really have a third – two strikes is enough.

Usually, I read PDFs because they are documents sent to me from a colleague or a customer. I want my open documents grouped with my other open documents (WORD documents), not my endless supply of browser windows.

Make Word Default PDF Reader!

This is actually pretty simple. If you right-click on a PDF, you can choose how to open the file. If word doesn’t appear as an option, you can select choose another app.

From the choose another app screen, if Word does not appear you can find it by clicking more apps. Once selected, you can mark Always use this app to open ..pdf files to set Word as the Default.

As you can see below, setting Word as the default PDF reader creates a slightly different document icon to distinguish between .doc word documents and .pdf PDF documents, though both will be opened in the Word application.

Opening the PDF in Word has the same look and feel of opening a standard word document. As a user, you can make comments or edits like working with a Word document and then save those additions as a new document.

Apparently this functionality has been available since Word 2013. I’m just seven years late to the party. Better late than never, right?

Pin D365 Finance Workspaces to Your Taskbar

On the topic of Hunter Bars, a somber farewell to The Big Hunt in Washington DC.

Longtime readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of Workspaces. I’m such a fan, I gave an entire Workspace Presentation at last year’s User Group Summit.


Why Workspaces?

Here is my pitch for Workspaces:

If bookmarking the D365 Default Dashboard, in order to perform an action you need to 1) Open your browser 2) Go to D365 Default Dashboard and then 3) Goto the D365 form where you will perform your action.

(eg yourcompanyd365url.operations.dynamics.com/),

Bookmarking specific workspaces, utilizing the workspace’s tiles, listpages and links gets you straight to the action you want to perform. Your steps are now 1) Open your browser and 2) Go to the D365 form where you will perform your action.

(eg yourcompanyd365url.operations.dynamics.com/?mi=VendInvoiceWorkspace),

Default Dashboard

Vendor invoice entry workspace


Why Pin Workspaces to Taskbar?

Advancing this concept, Edge makes it easy to pin a workspace to your taskbar. If I click on the purple finance and operations logo on the far right of my taskbar, the vendor invoice entry workspace opens immediately.

The steps are now 1) Go to the D365 form where you want to perform your action and 2)…profit!


How to Pin Workspace to Taskbar

The Edge browser makes this easy. Go to your desired workspace and click the ellipsis on the top right of the Edge Browser. Select more tools, and then click pin to taskbar,

Pin Vendor invoice entry workspace to taskbar


Advanced Concepts

Limited navigation

If you add “&limitednav=true” to the end of your workspace URL, the menu item on the left disappears (zoom into the two Vendor invoice entry workspace screenshots above and look at the urls to see the difference). This gives you a few more pixels to work with (a small benefit), but also cuts down on distractions in the workspace (a larger benefit, possibly).

I like using this limited navigation with the pinned workspace because makes the D365 workspace feel more like a desktop application.

Change Icon

If you hold shift and click on the pinned shortcut in your taskbar, you can select properties to change the icon (the pinned website’s favicon is the shortcut’s default icon). This can be helpful if you want to pin multiple shortcuts to your taskbar and easily distinguish between them. The new icon image must be in .ico format – fortunately there are multiple sites that make it easy to convert standard jpg or png images to ico.


Happy Hunting…


Get Your Free Trial of Dynamics 365

Microsoft has made it simple to to spin up your own 30-day trial environment of D365.
Many thanks to Rick, friend-of-the-blog, for walking me through the steps.

– Trials.Dynamics.com –

Goto https://trials.dynamics.com, click on desired D365 product and provide work email/phone number.

You currently have the ability to startup a trial of D365 Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Business Central, Human Resources, Retail, and (of course) Finance and Operations.

Agree to the terms and conditions, and decide whether or not to opt into marketing messaging.

Kudos to the restraint of the marketing team leaving the opt-in checkbox unselected by default. If your organization belongs to a Microsoft 365 tenant, you can proceed straight to spinning up your trial environment. The process may take up to 30 minutes from here. If your organization does not have a Microsoft 365 tenant, there will be a few more steps.

Once the environment is created, you will receive an email from Lifecycle Services.

The “Click here to start” link will take you to your new trial environment.

The environment will come preconfigured with D365’s legendary Contoso default data. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner user of a 30-day trial environment. Have any questions about what to do from here? Ping me in the comments:)

A Bicycle for the Mind

1895 tall frame Kenwood Path Racer cycle

In this interview with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, he notes that technology companies are more frequently utilities (how do I get this car to show up now?) or entertainment (how do I get this show now?), and less a bicycle for the mind as early tech-visionaries dreamed for the future of computers.

I’m starting a new project, which has required a lot of new learning. As a result, I’m reflecting on the tools I use to augment my learning.


OneNote

I don’t have a photographic memory. To compensate, I use OneNote a lot. I have OneNotes for projects, I have personal OneNotes, I even have a big OneNote where I document new D365 functionality I’m learning. The process of notetaking helps me concentrate on the subject matter – as an added benefit it builds searchable knowledgebase. I like to think of well structured OneNotes as an investment in my future self.


Teams

I wrote about Microsoft Teams in April (see here and here), but the product has continued to approve this year. Teams are a great place to collaborate in groups, share files, and keep stakeholders up to date. Not to mention its power as a scheduling/meeting/video-conferencing platform.

Add OneNote to a Team

Following up on my love on OneNote, the only thing better than making OneNotes for yourself is making OneNotes as part of a group. In Teams, a OneNote can be added to a tab for easy group access. The OneNote can be edited within Teams, as well as opened for editing in the OneNote desktop app.

Click the plus sign to add a tab

Search for the OneNote application, then select the specific OneNote to be added

The OneNote can now be accessed through Teams

Clicking Open in Browser, the OneNote can also be opened in the desktop app.

Hooray.

I like having access to the OneNote through the desktop application because the features are a bit more robust and I can always bring up the OneNote application using the Win+Shift+N hotkey.

Sync Teams Files to Computer

As mentioned above, Teams are a great way to share files. As in many social situations, Teams can sometimes fall victim to oversharing. (I’m sorry, but I don’t want to discuss your foot fungus problems during the company holiday party, now suddenly I’m the bad person?). I’ve seen many Teams develop a file folder structure so complicated they require their own Indiana Jones map for navigation. However, no matter how large the file structure, usually the contents of only one or two folders are relevant to me.

Instead of digging through the folder structures every time I want to review those files, syncing the relevant folders or files to my computer is an easier solution.

On the Files tab of the Team, click Open in SharePoint

From SharePoint, click Sync

Select the particular files or folders to sync

The synced files and folders can now be accessed through File Explorer

File explorer can be quickly accessed using WIN+E. Depending on OneDrive settings, synced files can be saved to the computer’s hard drive for offline access. Changes to synced files will save on the files accessible to the Team.


Other Bicycles for the Mind

Two other tech tools I’m interested in right now are Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain knowledge management system and the Roam Research notetaking tool. I’m pretty busy studying for my current project, but I’m looking forward to exploring both when I have some available time in the future.

Speaking of studying – shoutout to Quizlet. Learning new terms from a glossary: boring. Learning new terms from flashcards: fun. I’ve found Quizlet makes it easy to upload and review new terms/definitions, and the mobile app makes it convenient to practice on the go.