Lotus Connections Plug-ins for Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer (Part 1)

I downloaded and installed the Lotus Connections plug-ins, they installed no problem, this post will cover the Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer integration, I will post part 2 later covering the Lotus Notes integration. Microsoft Office integration, the tools install to Word, Excel and Powepoint, all three integrate with Activities and Profiles, in addition Word integrates with Blogs, and allows the creation of To Do’s in Activities as well.  Once installed you have the Lotus Connections Toolbar in Office A picture named M2 The next step is to configure the plug-in, the only information you need is the URL to Activities, Blogs and Profiles A picture named M3 Once the configuration is done, you can save files to an activity, unlike the Quickr connectors where you save the file to the place, in the Connections plug-in you need to save the file to your hard drive, then you can add it to an activity. A picture named M4 You can also select text within a Document and create a To Do in an activity with that text.  One other feature is the ability to create a new activity from within Word. The next feature is the blog integration, you can type your blog entry in Word, and then post it straight to a blog, it defaults the subject to the first line of text, but it can also be edited prior to posting. A picture named M5 One thing that did not work was formatting from Word did not copy in to the blog, I created a test post with a numbered list, some underline and some bold, the text was all posted to the blog, but none of the formatting made it.  To me there would be two advantages to creating blogs in a word processing tool, as opposed to via the web interface, the first is it does provide a nice off line capability for blogging, allowing you to work on a post and save over time until you are ready to post.  The second would be the ease of formatting your document, so I hope there is a plan to fix this and copy the styling with the text in to the blog. Finally the Profiles integration, which was a little disappointing to me.  You can only search by name or e-mail address so you lose the value of searching by tags, the other thing I would like to see is to be able to hover over a name and see at least some of the profile data, the only thing you can do with the results is click to open up the profile in a browser. A picture named M6 One other note, so now I have the Quickr Connectors, and the Connections plug-ins installed on my machine which leaves me with two Lotus toolbars in Word, Excel and Powerpoint, which creates both clutter, and confusion, I would expect a lot of help desk calls if we deployed this way. A picture named M7 The Quickr Connectors are labeled Lotus Tools, I hope that in the next release there is one installer, and one toolbar for both products, and organizations can customize the install to deploy the pieces they need. Windows Explorer integration supports the ability to right click on a file and add it to an activity A picture named M8 Once you click on Add to Activity the interface is the same as the one pictured above in Word, including the ability to create a new Activity. Overall the integration is nice, definitely some room for improvements as noted above, but certainly a good start.  Stay tuned for part 2 on the integration with Lotus Notes.

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