Microsoft 365 Updates: August 2021


AMT’s Monthly Microsoft 365 Updates keep you up to date with new features and important announcements from Microsoft. Microsoft 365 has a continuous roll-out of changes. We filter out the announcements that we think will be most relevant to our customers and send them out in an easily digestible form. Here are the Microsoft 365 August updates.

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Windows 365 is now generally available

On August 2nd, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows 365. Customers can now experience the power, simplicity, and security of a Cloud PC through Windows 365. Windows 365 takes the operating system to the Microsoft Cloud, securely streaming the full Windows experience—including all apps, data, and settings—to personal or corporate devices.

Commercial organisations looking for guidance can read the recent blog posts on Getting started with Windows 365 Business (for up to 300 users) and Getting started with Windows 365 Enterprise (for more than 300 users). There is also an introductory Microsoft Mechanics video from Scott Manchester on What it is, how it works, and how to set it up plus a tutorial on the admin setup and management experience.


SharePoint: Title Region Gradient

This new feature will allow SharePoint page authors to remove the background gradient on title region images.

Targeted release (entire org): will rollout beginning in mid-August.

Standard release: will begin rolling out from mid-August and be complete in late August.

SharePoint spaces adds styles for text and annotation icons

This new SharePoint spaces feature enables the creation of immersive mixed reality environments that can be authored and published just like SharePoint pages. The new styles feature for text and annotation icons simplifies creation of consistent and great looking content. Text styles make consistent formatting easy to apply with just a click. Annotation icon styles allow customisation of icon, size, and visual style for icons used to highlight specific content in the spaces 360° tour web part.

Targeted release (entire org): will begin and complete rolling out in late August.

Standard release: will begin rolling this out in late August and expect to complete rollout mid-September.


Spam Notification in Call Toast

Microsoft are thrilled to bring you Spam Call Notifications. This unique, vanguard feature release will enable calls that are likely Spam calls to be identified in the call toast. This is rolling out to Teams desktop and web.

  • All answered or missed calls that are likely Spam calls will be reflected respectively in the call history screen as well.

Viva Connections (Private preview) app visible in Teams

In preparation for broader customer availability, the Viva connections (Private preview) app will now be visible in the Teams admin centre and the Teams app store. At this point, the app cannot be installed or used.

Introducing Background Effects on Web

If you want to change what appears behind you in your video meeting or call, you can either blur your background or replace it entirely with any image you want.

Note: Blurring or replacing your background might not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other people in the call or meeting.

Microsoft expect this rollout to begin in early September and expect the rollout to be completed by late September

Breakout rooms: Pre-meeting room creation and participant assignment

Via this capability, organisers of Channel and Private meetings will be able to perform the following Breakout Rooms configuration tasks before a meeting begins:

  • Bulk creating / deleting rooms
  • Adding / deleting / renaming individual rooms
  • Configuring meeting options for each room
  • Adjusting settings for breakout rooms session (timer, selecting breakout rooms managers and more)
  • Pre-assigning participants via both manual and automatic assignment options

Before a meeting starts, meeting organisers will be able to access a new tab in scheduling form called Breakout rooms that will enable them to pre-create breakout rooms and pre-assign participants.

Resource Specific Consent (RSC) for Chats and Meetings

Resource specific consent (RSC) for chats and meetings will allow participants in group chat and authorized users in meetings to authorise a Teams app (without requiring tenant admin consent) to follow messages exchanged in the meeting, manage members, pin tabs, provision apps, and much more – automatically based on the ongoing conversation in the meeting or any other signal.

The app can do all this anytime during the entire lifecycle of the meeting – before/during and after. All of this, just for that specific meeting. Once the app is uninstalled from the meeting, it loses all access completely.

Microsoft expect this to roll out in early September.

Teams is enabling diagnostic data viewing

In an upcoming release, Teams is enabling support for Diagnostic Data Viewer (DDV), which lets you review the raw diagnostic data from Teams your device is sending to Microsoft.

Microsoft expect to roll this out in late August and expect the rollout to be completed by mid-September.


Nested Replies and Related Features

This new update makes Yammer conversations a whole lot better by providing several new features you are able to experience in Yammer starting now! See below for what’s available to users. This will rollout on desktop, web mobile, and Mac.

When this will happen:

Microsoft will begin rolling this out in early September and expect to complete rollout early October.

  • Nested Replies: Yammer now has one level deep nesting which preserves the context around conversations, by grouping nesting replies to a comment, underneath the comment.
  • Deep linking: Clicking on notifications in Yammer now takes you to the exact message that triggered the notification.
  • Deletion Message: Yammer now allows you to delete content while still preserving the context around the discussion. The deleted content is replaced by a message that states this message has been deleted.
  • Bi-directional Pagination: When you land in the middle of a long thread on Yammer, you will now be able to unroll the conversation in both directions (upwards and downwards pagination).

Now available only on web at the moment.

  • Feed Sorting: You now have the option to sort the community feed which allows recent posts to show up first, ensuring your community feeds are easier to scan.


Whiteboard on OneDrive for Business update

During early opt-in, only the following clients are supported:

  • Whiteboard for the web
  • Whiteboard for Teams meetings
  • Whiteboard on Android

The following clients are not yet supported:

  • Whiteboard on Windows 10
  • Whiteboard on Surface Hub
  • Whiteboard on iOS

Note: Support for Whiteboard in the Teams mobile apps will begin rolling out, but any users who don’t update their client will still be using Azure-based whiteboards.

During early opt-in, if someone is using an unsupported client, they will have the following experiences:

  • On Windows 10, Surface Hub and iOS, the board gallery will not show any whiteboards that are stored in OneDrive for Business.
  • The unsupported client may allow creation of new whiteboards in Azure. These will not be in OneDrive for Business.
  • In a Teams meeting that includes users on mobile or Surface Hub, if someone else in the meeting starts a whiteboard, the user on the Surface Hub or mobile client may see an error message but they can workaround this by opening the whiteboard in the browser.

Microsoft Suite

New people-centric search features coming to Microsoft Search

This new feature, People-centric search is rolling out to Microsoft Search. This update will allow people in your organisation to find content through people, and understand people through their content.

Targeted release (entire org): will begin rolling out in late August and expect to complete rollout early September.

Standard release: will begin rolling out in and be complete in early September.

Announcing PowerPoint modern comments for enterprise general availability

The new modern comments experience will affect files where the first comment was added after your organisation has the tenant admin setting enabled. Existing files with comments will not be affected

Modern comments can’t be read by PowerPoint 2019 or older, including subscription and perpetual versions. End users will be notified about unsupported comments in their presentations, with a prompt to open the file in PowerPoint for the web to review the modern comments. A full breakdown of experience by PowerPoint version is available in the tenant admin documentation.

The new commenting experience answers several popular feature requests and significantly improves collaboration.

  • A comment will now anchor to objects. If users move the object, the comment moves with it.
  • Comments can now be anchored to text. This feature will be rolling out to Production Windows and Mac builds between June and August of 2021. Users on web and Insiders builds may have this feature earlier.
  • Comments in the margins on web. Comments will appear to the right of user’s slides by default on web, keeping their comments closer to their content.
  • Users can now mark threads of comments as resolved. Resolved comments won’t appear in the margin but can still be seen in the Comments Pane.
  • Modern comments can only be edited by the person who created them.
  • Improved notification emails let recipients see the context of the comment and reply directly from the email.