Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2020-34

Welcome to the August 16 – 22, 2020 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

Eleven features were added to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including items for Teams, Exchange, Forms, Microsoft Information Protection, Search, Word and the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

A few events for existing meeting series were added, all in early September. The spotlight event of the week is the “Enabling Remote Work with Microsoft Teams: Back to School and User Adoption with Microsoft Teams” session on Tuesday, August 25th at 9am Pacific.

Highlights from last week’s blogs include a look at four new integrations for Microsoft Teams and Power Automate, an announcement on the support lifecycle for Internet Explorer in Microsoft 365 apps, information on free event support and tech training for educational institutions, and details on new data that shows how the pandemic is accelerating the digital transformation of cybersecurity.

Wrapping up the post are noteworthy items such as data protection updates in Power BI, support for Workbook Link in Excel for the web, suggestions on how to boost the discovery of content within your network’s home feed in Yammer, and how Microsoft is empowering employees to securely work anywhere with internet-first thinking.


OFFICE 365 ROADMAP

Below are the items added to the Office 365 Roadmap last week…

Note: The Estimated Release dates listed below are subject to change. The direct link provided for each item can be used to determine if the estimated release date has been updated since the time of publication.

DescriptionFeature IDEstimated ReleaseDetails
Word: New Feature – Designer in Word for Word for the web63455September CY2020Added: 17 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Word – Web
Designer in Word for the web helps you make your document look and feel consistent by understanding different document constructs and intents. In addition, by providing a variety of document styles you can quickly change the look and feel of your document.
Microsoft Information Protection: Feedback Loop for Trainable Classifiers65763August CY2020Added: 17 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: MIP
Customers can report whether classification hits are accurate or not to further improve classification performance.
Microsoft Search: Power BI results with Microsoft Search in SharePoint and Office.com67103September CY2020Added: 17 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Search
Microsoft Search in SharePoint and Office.com will now include results from Power BI. Power BI results with Microsoft Search in SharePoint and Office.com will allow you to search for Power BI artifacts (reports, dashboards, workspaces) based on keywords to get results list displayed in a new Power BI vertical.
Exchange: Block sending to a Distribution Group when it’s on the BCC line67096November CY2020Added: 18 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Exchange
The high message traffic on some groups can lead to Inbox clutter and noise, especially when many members use Reply All to respond on the thread. To reduce the noise many people will create an Inbox Rule to move incoming group messages to a specific folder. Some well-intended senders will put the group on the Bcc line so recipients can’t Reply All to the whole group. But Inbox Rules doesn’t evaluate any recipient on the Bcc line, so doing so effectively breaks the rule so the message ends up in the Inbox, thus contributing to the inbox clutter the user was trying to avoid. When this feature ships we’ll enable the ability for group and distribution list owners and admins to block sending to a group if the group is put on the Bcc line. If a user puts such a group on the Bcc line and sends the message, it’ll be rejected with a non-delivery report (NDR) saying Bcc’ing this group isn’t allowed.
Microsoft 365 Admin Center: Improving the Message Center user experience67102December CY2020Added: 18 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft 365 Admin Center
We are enhancing filter and search to improve discovery of relevant messages. The list view will also be more customizable and interactive, and the message detail panel will be cleaned up for a better reading experience.
Microsoft Information Protection: Double Key Encryption for GCC-High and DoD67105October CY2020Added: 18 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: MIP, Gov
Coming soon to government clouds, Double Key Encryption from Microsoft allows you to protect your highly sensitive data while maintaining full control of your key. You can protect your data with two keys – your Azure key and your key in the Double Key Encryption service.
Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams and Power Automate – Simpler automation for everyone68120September CY2020Added: 20 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
A new Power Automate app for Teams will make creating and using automation simpler than ever. New workflow templates will be made available and using those templates to build automation will become easier with a simplified editor experience.
Microsoft Lists: Updated Person column experience – built on SharePoint67095August CY2020Added: 21 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Lists
Items within a Person column, in and out of Quick Edit mode, will appear using the new “pill” design format when a person’s photo is displayed. Select one or more people to add to a Person column quickly and they appear with an updated look.
Microsoft Lists: Updated Choice column experience – built on SharePoint67097August CY2020Added: 21 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Lists
Items within a Choice column, in and out of Quick Edit mode for both lists and libraries, will support single, multi-choice, and manual fill as you add items. You’ll see updated formatting right away and can update and remove choice fields and formatting selections previously applied.
PowerPoint for Mac: Record Slide Show Updates67104October CY2020Added: 21 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: PowerPoint – Mac
With new Record Slide Show updates, users can now record presenter video and inking with PowerPoint.
Forms: Group Forms for GCC67106August CY2020Added: 21 August 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Forms, Gov
Recent group Forms will be enabled for all GCC customers. By doing this, when GCC customers access Group forms on Forms portal, they will see the group forms that they have been working recently.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Do you want to get more done in Teams? Receive targeted and timely updates? Access services directly through Teams? Apps let you complete tasks, receive updates and communicate. This session introduces you to the key activities needed to get started with adding applications, bots and connectors in Microsoft Teams today. Through a series of live demonstrations and best practices, you’ll leave this session with everything you need to start using apps in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) See how applications, bots and connectors can help you be more efficient while working in Teams, (2) Select an application, bot or connector for your workspace, (3) Install an application, bot or connector, and (4) Use an application, bot or connector in your workspace.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our ‘Go Deeper’ sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. Learn tips and tricks for managing and organizing work and communications in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Leverage formatting best practices to help get your messages noticed (and responded to), (2) Easily find files, chats and projects, (3) Implement strategies to manage and organize your work, and (4) Simplify your workday. Note: This session was previously called ‘Learn tips for taking Microsoft Teams to the next level – Part 2’.

Have you spent significant time and resources to prepare for a meeting and still felt it wasn’t productive? Have you attended a meeting only to leave feeling like not much was accomplished? Join this class to learn how to make your meetings engaging, productive and effective. Microsoft Teams can help make your meetings worth showing up for. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Use Teams for your entire meeting experience, (2) Record your meeting, making it easy for those who couldn’t attend to get caught up, (3) Keep important meetings at your fingertips by pinning them for easy access, and (4) Assess which audio and video devices are best for your meeting needs.

Whether you are switching from Skype for Business or brand new, join us to learn the basics of how to use Teams to chat with your colleagues and collaborate on projects. Through a series of live demonstrations and best practices, you’ll leave this session with everything you need to start using Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Set up your profile and notifications in Microsoft Teams, (2) Use chat and calling for 1:1 and group conversations, sharing and collaboration in Microsoft Teams, (3) Schedule and conduct meetings in Microsoft Teams, and (4) Align your team and teamwork in Microsoft Teams.

Discover everything you need to facilitate a successful upgrade to Teams. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Understand why a formal plan is crucial for upgrade success, (2) Identify the steps to the upgrade success framework, (3) Recognize common attributes of successful customers, and (4) Create and implement their own upgrade plan. The audience for this session is All (Business Sponsors, IT Admins, User Readiness/Change Manager, Project Lead).

When: Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 8:00am PT | Bring conversations, content, assignments, and apps together in one place with Microsoft Teams. Build collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and connect with colleagues — all from a single Office 365 Education experience. Learn how IT can enable these capabilities for users while maintaining the necessary configurations to align with required organizational business and security requirements. Join us for this webinar to learn: (1) Administration capabilities to enable and govern Microsoft Teams, (2) Allow for frictionless user Teams creation while enforcing business rules and addressing IT concerns, (3) Understand the Teams lifecycle and recommended practices for long term management of the environment, and (4) Security and compliance capabilities for Teams integrated in the Office 365 tools you are already using today. Note: You can also find this session, and more, on-demand here.

When: Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. Join us for Episode 2 to learn about the latest features and functionalities to help educators make the most of Microsoft Teams and how IT pros can secure these features in a variety of environments. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

Determine the most suitable approach based on your current Skype for Business implementation and upgrade goals. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Understand common scenarios and upgrade approaches, (2) Visualize the user experience for each approach, and (3) Determine the optimal upgrade approach for your organization.  IT Admins are the primary audience for this session.

Design a user readiness strategy to help your users love and adopt Teams. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Recognize factors that influence user acceptance and adoption, (2) Define core value messaging for Teams in your organization, and (3) Outline your awareness, training and support activities. The audience for this session is: User Readiness/Change Manager.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our ‘Go Deeper’ sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. Explore ways to determine the best approach for creating workspaces for projects and workgroups. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Determine the best approach for your collaboration needs (chat versus teams & channels), (2) Create workspaces for your team to provide the best teamwork experience​, and (3) Determine best practices in Microsoft Teams​ to enhance productivity. Note: This session was previously called ‘Learn tips for taking Microsoft Teams to the next level – Part 1’.

Join Microsoft Teams experts as we review how you can deploy commonly-used applications directly within Teams, enabling your users to work more efficiently and effectively by accessing everything they need in a single interface. This foundational workshop covers basic capabilities across app management and security. With over 400 out-of-the-box applications available (and growing), you’re sure to find an app, or two, that your team can begin using today in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Identify suitable apps to meet the needs for your organization, (2) Recognize common attributes of successful app deployment, (3) Navigate security and compliance considerations for Teams’ apps, and (4) Determine the next steps to deploy an app to your environment.

Execute your defined upgrade approach as part of your formal upgrade plan. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Recognize the upgrade settings in your O365 tenant admin portal, (2) Understand technical tips and considerations for a successful upgrade, and (3) Apply the appropriate settings in the Portal to execute your upgrade. The primary audience for this session is IT Admins.

Your business needs to control how sensitive data is managed. Join us and explore how to assess your compliance risk, protect sensitive and business critical data, and respond efficiently to data discovery requests. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Simplify assessment of compliance risk, (2) Integrate protection and governance of data, and (3) Intelligently respond to data discovery requests. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

We designed Microsoft Teams to be a virtual office you can take anywhere you go. Work seamlessly and transparently with your remote team and discover greater collaboration and productivity. Join us for this session and explore how to avoid communication sinkholes and do more together, no matter where you are. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Working from home offers the opportunity to maintain your workflow while allowing flexibility in how and where you get your work done. Shifting to a remote worker status can be an adjustment as you look for ways to balance home and work life, maintain focus and be fully productive. Microsoft Teams can help you stay connected to your team while providing access to all of the tools and resources you need to get your work done. Join us to learn tips that can help set you up for success as you transition into a ‘work from home’ scenario. During this session, we’ll share: (1) Guidance for setting up your home environment for work, (2) Best practices for maintaining your workflow while working at home, (3) Tips for staying connected to your team while remote, and (4) Insights for effectively supporting a remote team.

When: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. Let’s talk security in Episode 3. The top challenge IT pros are facing right now is securing data. Join our product expert for a deep dive discussion on identity and authentication. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

Are you still sending an e-mail with an attachment to your teammates when you want to collaborate on a file? How fast do they respond? How do you know if they are working on the file? How do you manage version control? With Microsoft 365 tools for teamwork, you can seamlessly collaborate on files with your team members. Using Microsoft Teams, you can invite your teammates into an environment where they can effectively collaborate and engage in a persistent conversation. Join us for this session and explore how to avoid productivity sinkholes and increase productivity. This interactive 2-hour session will give you the opportunity to test drive Microsoft Teams in a live cloud environment. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and experience how they can work for you. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 9:00am PT | Join us for an opportunity to “Ask Microsoft Anything” (AMA) about upcoming changes to support for Office 2016 for Mac, Office 2010 and Office 2013 connectivity to Office 365 services. To join, simply visit the Office End of Support AMA space at 9:00am Pacific and submit a question. An AMA is a live, online, text-based question-and-answer event similar to a “YamJam” on Yammer or an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. Note: While we’ll only be answering questions in real-time from 9am – 10am Pacific, you can post your questions for the AMA to the Office End of Support AMA space up to 24 hours in advance. We look forward to seeing you there!

When: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. In this special episode, you’ll get a preview of what’s coming up at Microsoft Ignite. Hear about upcoming sessions you don’t want to miss, as well as new resources that will help you make the most of your experience. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

Today’s workforce can work from anywhere, on any device, and on any app. Security teams need to understand threat signals from disconnected products and optimize security with minimal complexity. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Safeguard users from malware attacks such as phishing and spoofing with Office 365, (2) Use the Windows Defender ecosystem to proactively monitor and protect your users, (3) Utilize Office 365 ATP to help protect users from bad links and attachments, and (4) Let machine learning and automation protect users from threats. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

When: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. Join us for a wrap-up of day 1 at Microsoft Ignite. You’ll hear all the highlights and we’ll talk about what’s coming up on day 2. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

When: Friday, September 25, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. Join us for a complete wrap-up of day 1 and 2 at Microsoft Ignite. You’ll hear all the highlights and talk with product experts. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

When: Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. The events industry transformed overnight, and Microsoft Teams played a big part in this transition. In Episode 7, we’ll sit down with members of the Microsoft Teams product group and learn how they are building the future of high-scale communication with Microsoft Teams. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

When: Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. In Episode 8, learn about new Teams deep dive help videos for administrators as well as other resources to get your support teams and help desk up to speed. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

When: Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. In Episode 9, which is one of the most requested episodes, we’ll feature tips, tricks and gotchas on managing guest access in Microsoft Teams. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!


BLOG ROUNDUP

Microsoft Teams can help people stay connected while working apart with capabilities like chat, meetings, and calling, but users often ask how it can help streamline the work they do. Fortunately, Teams and Microsoft Power Automate work seamlessly together to simplify how you and your team work – whether you’re on the Sales team, the Product team, the HR team, or just the office ping pong team. Power Automate allows you to create low-code workflow automation for yourself and your entire team using logic-based building blocks, starting with a trigger that sets one or more actions in motion. The new “for a selected message” trigger is unlocking new ways to drive business processes, starting from a message in Teams. This post provides four examples of how teams are doing this, but the possibilities are endless. Templates are now available for each of these scenarios to help you get started right away! | Related: Trigger flows from any message in Microsoft Teams

We’re announcing that Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) by this time next year. Beginning November 30, 2020, the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11. Beginning August 17, 2021, the remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11. This means that after these dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11. For degraded experiences, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service via IE 11. While we know this change will be difficult for some customers, we believe that customers will get the most out of Microsoft 365 when using the new Microsoft Edge. We are committed to helping make this transition as smooth as possible. Customers have been using IE 11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated than the landscape today. Since then, open web standards and newer browsers—like the new Microsoft Edge—have enabled better, more innovative online experiences. We believe that Microsoft 365 subscribers, in both consumer and commercial contexts, will be well served with this change through faster and more responsive web access to greater sets of features in everyday toolsets like Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, and more.

As we head toward a new school year that will be largely remote or hybrid, educators are faced with new challenges: creating safe and healthy learning environments and designing welcoming, engaging experiences that are accessible for all students. Like graduations at the end of the year, new student orientation is an especially important experience that connects students, faculty, and administrators and sets the tone for the year. With the current need to limit in-person interaction, schools are recognizing that orientation shouldn’t be one single event, but an ongoing program that keeps students engaged. So, how will institutions present all their welcome and informational sessions when classes may be online or hybrid, and when many students may not physically travel to campus? Online events will be their best bet. Starting today, the Microsoft Store team is offering free support to help institutions drive engaging online orientations and help staff and students make the most of their tech for online learning. Just tell us what you need to help your students thrive in an online or hybrid learning environment, and our team of nearly 3,000 talented Store associates will help you get the tech training you need to start the new school year with confidence. | Related: Virtual campus tours in Microsoft Teams make back-to-school feel more familiar | 9 Back to School Updates for OneNote and Class Notebooks – August 2020

The importance of cybersecurity in facilitating productive remote work was a significant catalyst for the two years-worth of digital transformation we observed in the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this era of ubiquitous computing, security solutions don’t just sniff out threats, they serve as control planes for improving productivity and collaboration by giving end-users easier access to more corporate resources. Microsoft recently concluded a survey of nearly 800 business leaders of companies of more than 500 employees in India (IN), Germany (DE), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) to better understand their views of the pandemic threat landscape, implications for budgets and staffing, and how they feel the pandemic could reshape the cyber-security long-term. Among the key insights are data showing that an alarming number of businesses are still impacted by phishing scams, security budgets, and hiring increased in response to COVID-19, and cloud-based technologies and architectures like Zero Trust are significant areas of investment moving forward.


NOTEWORTHY

Following the Sensitivity Labels in Power BI GA announcement back in June, we’re happy to update you about new Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels features available now in production. The updates are: (1) Excel file to inherit the Power BI dataset’s sensitivity label when using a PivotTable connection, (2) Sensitivity labels in embedded reports and dashboards – public preview, and (3) Label inheritance upon creation of new content.

When collecting data from multiple workbooks, it’s often desirable to link directly to the data. Why? It provides a record of where the data was sourced and, if the data changes, you can easily refresh it. This has made Workbook Link support a highly requested feature for our web users. We are excited to announce that Workbook Link support is beginning to roll out to Excel for the web. This was previously only available in Excel for Windows and Excel for Mac, and is an important step on our journey to meeting one of our key goals: “Customers can use our web app for all their work and should never feel they need to fall back to the rich client”.

With the new Yammer comes a new Yammer home feed. This is the place for you to catch up on conversations happening in the communities you belong to today and what’s most important to you. Additionally, one superpower of Yammer is discovery – discovering new communities and new conversations that help broaden your perspective, includes viewpoints, deepens experiences that may not come across you path otherwise directly in your home feed. What we have learned through the years is that our Yammer customers are curious – you want to know what is in your feed and why it’s there. Plus, we know that you want to be able to educate the rest of your organization when they have questions. This post shares some ideas of how to use tools in Yammer to continue to boost the discovery of content within your network’s home feed.

For most people, hybrid working means having employees split time between their home offices and their work offices. That rings true at Microsoft, where most employees are predominantly working remotely in response to COVID-19. The company is currently exploring what the near future will look like, and it’s clear that when employees go back their offices, they will likely be brought back in a thoughtful and deliberate hybrid approach. The digital security team in Microsoft’s Core Services Engineering and Operations (CSEO) has thought through how a hybrid connectivity model would work for employees. They used Zero Trust principles to set up systems that ensure Microsoft employees have access to applications and resources from any location. Employees can be productive from anywhere, whether they’re at home or at the office. Microsoft is embracing Zero Trust by adopting an internet-first model. This approach allows employees to access corporate applications primarily using direct internet connections rather than requiring that an employee initiate a virtual private network (VPN) connection to the company’s private corporate network. Internet-first is a reality due to the security protections that exist to verify an employee’s identity, strong authentication, and device health verification using Microsoft’s mobile device management program, Microsoft Intune.

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