How to Automate Microsoft Office Tasks with IFTTT Recipes

A superb batch of Microsoft Office recipes recently appeared on the site of serial web-service linkers, IFTTT. The recipes, developed by Microsoft with the aid of IFTTT, focus on connecting Microsoft Office services to, well, everything else on the web. And they haven’t skimped on the recipes either, now with over 50 working connections and more set to arrive.

We’ll take a quick look at eight of the best Microsoft Office connections from the ever-expanding IFTTT recipe book.

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT is an abbreviation of “If This Then That,” and is pronounced like “gift” but without the “g.” They specialize in connecting web services using simple conditional statements, giving rise to the name. For example, a user might create a recipe statement consisting of “if I upload this image to Instagram, then upload that image to OneDrive.” Starting as an exclusive web operation, IFTTT expanded first to iOS, shortly followed by Android.

The Microsoft Office IFTTT Channel

In July, just before the Windows 10 release, Microsoft quietly announced the launch of an Office 365 channel on IFTTT. The channel initially focused on Mail, OneDrive for Business, Calendar, and Contacts, but has since expanded to encompass more and more Microsoft productivity tools. A number of actions for the customizable action app Do are also part of the IFTTT automation system. You can choose from over 50 recipes, but here are our top picks.

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1. Add a New Contact to a Twitter List

IFTTT Office Contact Twitter List

Each time you add a new contact to your Office 365 contact list, if you provide the right information, IFTTT will add them to a predetermined Twitter list. Handy if you meet people on the go, are passionate about updating your digital rolodex, or meticulously follow your contacts on social media. A friend of mine who runs a PR company thinks this is marvelous!

2. Create a New Task in Todoist when You Receive a High Priority Email

IFTTT Outlook Todoist

I’ve only recently started using this recipe, but it has certainly helped my email prioritization in that short time. I use Outlook, and it is nice to have a running record across my desktop and phone of what I need to remember to email while on the move.

3. Send an Email when there is a New Post in a Subreddit

IFTTT Reddit Outlook

This recipe is great for keeping up with quiet subreddits, but can quickly get out of hand with anything busier than a few posts a day. I trialed it with /r/soccer, and quickly hated myself. On the other hand, I trialed with /r/coys (my football club subreddit), and found I could engage more with new and rising posts.

4. Archive Photos you Upload to a Facebook Page with #onedrive in the Caption to OneDrive for Business

IFTTT Facebook Business OneDrive

This is another one I haven’t used too much, but has been handy keeping track of images for the two Facebook Business Pages I take care of. While the action isn’t really that amazing, it does mean the business owners and myself won’t reuse an picture in a hurry, so long as we check the OneDrive for updates.

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5. Send Email with Your Current Location

IFTTT Do Outlook

This is a Do button recipe. Well, not a recipe, a single action performed by a button. This button sends an automated email from Outlook with a scheduled message that also delivers the coordinates of your location. Can be handy in meetings, or if you’re out and about driving, or if you get extremely lost and no-one can find you. No idea where you are? Email the office to send bagels to your location.

6. Send a Note to the Entire Office that Food is Here

IFTTT Do Outlook

Another Do button that will probably make you the office hero, though potentially not a hero of productivity. The button sends a short note to your entire Office 365 contact list (or a personalized list), letting them know your take-out order has arrived. This can also be customized to fire everyone in the office, or give everyone a raise. Use carefully!

7. Download New Songs You Like to OneDrive

IFTTT Soundcloud OneDrive

This recipe downloads any new song you “Like” on music publishing platform, SoundCloud. Helps you keep track of the myriad tunes you might browse through in one evening, organizing them into one neat little OneDrive folder. Users should note this service only works with tracks marked for public download.

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8. Raining Tomorrow? Add a Calendar Reminder to Take an Umbrella

IFTTT Weather Calendar

One of the simplest but potentially day-saving reminders of all: it’s going to rain later, so remember to take your umbrella. So many times caught without, so many days in the UK where my dreadlocks turn into the most efficient towels you’ve ever seen. If only I’d set-up an IFTTT recipe…

Office IFTTT Automation Roundup

These are just eight of the 50+ recipes available to you in the Microsoft Office channel. It’s great to see Microsoft embracing IFTTT to offer regular users choice in their web applications. For instance, I’ve never used Yammer, other than to trial features. However, I use Slack for work, and my friends and I have a channel, and linking these to Microsoft Office services saves a little time here and there, each day.

Let’s hope Microsoft keep their productivity up and whip up a few more recipes for us to play with.

What are your favorite Microsoft Office IFTTTs? Does it speed up your day, or is it just a nice little tool to play with? Let us know what you think below!

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