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Neil Malek

Principal at Knack Training

Principal at Knack Training

Neil Malek is a software instructor and consultant who partners with businesses and organizations to identify and close skill gaps, making their teams more effective and efficient. After twenty years of teaching, he believes that fun, real-world practice is the most functional way to build a practical skillset. With clients like Ernst & Young, Lockheed Martin, and the Chicago Bulls, he has consistently delivered the most impactful, high-energy, and enjoyable courses those businesses have offered their workforce.

Neil is Principal at Knack Training, a US firm focused on Microsoft Office, Power BI, and collaboration with Microsoft 365.

  • Excel Power Tools: Spreadsheet Clean-up with Power Query

    The critical starting point for a successful spreadsheet is clean, accurate, and up-to-date data. The most effective and fastest way to accomplish this task is with one of Excel’s newer features – Power Query.

    With Power Query, we can clean up a spreadsheet (or CSV, or PDF) that has huge problems. We can automate getting the latest version of data from a standard location. We can even combine dozens of files together in seconds. Power Query is easier to use than macros!

    Learning Outcomes

    • Extracting data from various sources
    • Performing transformations on dirty data
    • Combining and comparing data
    • Setting up automated refreshes of external data
  • Project Management with Microsoft 365

    Microsoft 365 is the modern cloud collaboration suite that includes SharePoint, Teams, and several other applications. What many people miss is that these applications can be integrated seamlessly and easily to solve complex problems.

    In this session, the complex problem we’ll solve is project management. Project management includes planning, putting the plan into action, and measuring progress – and each of these stages can be handled by Microsoft 365 applications working together.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Create a project team within the Microsoft 365 environment and manage membership and roles
    • Plan and organize tasks to work toward the ultimate goals of the project
    • Administer the handling of project-based documentation and notes
    • Automate the workflows associated with your project
  • Masterful Hacks for Microsoft Teams

    Microsoft Teams and the other Microsoft 365 applications are flexible tools that can be tweaked, integrated, and customized in hundreds of ways.

    Learning Outcomes

    In this session, you will learn how to optimize Teams for your daily use:

    • Integrate Outlook, Teams, and OneNote to collect, organize, and share information quickly and painlessly
    • Program common actions into a custom workflow with Power Automate
    • Optimize Teams communication with tags and channels
    • Build a library of templates for your Team
    • Customize the common settings in Teams to make every meeting flawless


  • File Triage: Quick Fixes to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Frustrations

    If you’ve ever spent hours – or perhaps days – ‘cleaning up’ a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, this session is for you. There are incredible tools, tricks, and shortcuts in each of the major Office applications that can resolve complex problems in seconds, if you only know how to use them. In this 90-minute block, we’ll handle formatting, layout, and even the dreaded ‘dirty data.’

    Topics include:

    • Using Styles and Style Sets to control Word formatting
    • Leveraging Section Breaks for document layout issues
    • Creating macros in Word to automate clean-up
    • Tackling problematic data with Flash Fill
    • Crushing exhausting requests with Power Query
    • Using Tables for automatic updating of data analysis
    • Controlling presentations with Slide Masters and Slide Layouts
    • Implementing a standard color scheme across the Office Suite
    • Converting exhaustive lists into engaging graphics


    (90 minutes)

  • Outlook Inbox Organization and Automation 

    Many professionals are chained to their inbox – every new email has to be handled at that moment. Managing the flow of information through the inbox, and ultimately being able to retrieve it, act upon it, and share it appropriately, is exhausting. There are several tools in Outlook that, used effectively, can create an elegant, automated organizations system.

    • Folders vs. Search 
    • Automated Email Handling 
    • Interface Customization 
    • Planning and Organizing 


    (60-180 minutes) 

  • Outlook + OneNote: A Perfect Pair 

    There are so many places where Outlook comes up short – finding important information later, keeping robust meeting minutes connected to the meeting details, providing rich detail for contacts and assignments you work on throughout your day – and OneNote makes each and every one better.

    OneNote is a free application you can install on every device you own, and access essential information in seconds from anywhere – and hardly anyone uses it!

    • OneNote Fundamentals 
    • Sending Emails to OneNote for Archiving 
    • Robust Meeting Minutes and Task Details 
    • Sharing Essential Information Anywhere, with Anyone 


    (60-180 minutes) 

  • Essential Excel: Best Practices, Shortcuts, and Templates 

    Whether you’re an executive, an administrator, an accountant, or a business analyst, everything works better when you use Excel the way it’s meant to be used. Nearly all our headaches with a spreadsheet can be tied back to sloppy data and poor navigation of the file. In this session, we focus on best practices around data layout, building a smart spreadsheet, and simple shortcuts that shave minutes of work every time we open a file. Not only that, but we can make our spreadsheet bulletproof by preparing it properly.

    • The 15 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts 
    • Data Layout, Tables, and Automatic Calculations 
    • Cleaning up Sloppy Data
    • Data Validation, Conditional Formatting, and Templates 


    (60-240 minutes) 

  • File Triage: Work Smarter, Not Harder 

    In the three essential Office file-creation programs (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) there are a set of tools and best practices that can shave hours off your workload every week. By either preparing the documents properly ahead of time, or using some quick-fix tools after the problems arise, our files can be clean, consistent, and professional – with very little effort on our part.

    • Microsoft Word Styles and Templates 
    • Microsoft Excel Data Validation and Number Formatting 
    • Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Masters and Layouts 
    • Advanced Find and Replace Options 


    (120-240 minutes) 

  • PowerPoint Power Tools 

    If you’re going to bring an audience together to watch a live presentation, there had better be a return on that investment. Our PowerPoint presentations tend to bore audiences to tears, but that’s not PowerPoint’s fault. PowerPoint has incredible features that can be brought together in an almost infinite set of combinations, to make our presentations truly compelling.

    • Hidden Slides, Hyperlinks, and Custom Shows 
    • Chart Animation Tricks 
    • Zoom and Morph Transitions 
    • Creating Compelling Takeaways 


    (60-180 minutes) 

  • Jill Jakulski, Ph.D.

    Thank you so much, Neil. I’ve found your videos and website resources so informative and helpful. Sadly, when I’ve felt I needed something more or different I’ve tried to find books but they never seem to be worth the money I pay for them. With all sincerity, your straight-forward, comprehensive approach tops any resource I’ve found to date! Thank you so much for your help!

  • Rhonda Scharf

    If there was ever a person put on this earth to teach you how to use all your software and make you feel you can do it easily, then it is Neil. Calming, reassuring, and patient, as well as really smart!

  • Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce

    Professional development instructor Neil Malek of Knack Training presented to a full house at the June Technology Forum. His subject, Techniques for Maximum Effeciency, drew one of the largest crowds since the forum’s inception.

  • Chloe Stewart

    Neil is an absolute pleasure to work with. His extensive knowledge of various technologies illustrates his value as an instructor, and Neil never hesitates to spend time working with us individually.

  • Eileen Behr

    Neil Malek has gotten the highest marks of any instructor that has taught here at SRI. They said he was phenomenal.

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