Microsoft 365 Updates: January 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 January updates.

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SharePoint page authoring – new first run experience

The first time that SharePoint users (who have permission) create a new page or news post, they will see an opportunity to take a product tour. Users will learn how to pick a template, add/edit sections and web parts, title their page, and choose a title image.


First run

SharePoint spaces to be available by default in new menu

Users with appropriate permissions to create content on a site will see an additional entry for creating a Space in the +New menu on all SharePoint sites.

SharePoint spaces

As with pages, SharePoint site owners will continue to have the option to turn off the spaces feature for their sites using the Manage Site Features page or using PowerShell cmdlets described below.


Start ‘Meet Now’ from Outlook desktop client

Users who

  1. Have both the Teams desktop client and Outlook desktop client installed on a Windows machine, and
  2. Also have the Teams add-in enabled in Outlook

will see a new Meet Now button in the ribbon of the Calendar Tab in the Outlook.

Clicking on the Meet Now button will launch the meeting in Teams client.


Teams Meet Now button in Outlook

Task publishing feature for frontline organisations, now available in Microsoft Teams

Task publishing lets companies create tasks centrally at the corporate level and publish those tasks to different frontline locations like stores, factories, and clinics. You can publish to all teams or choose specific locations based on customisable characteristics like size or layout.

For example, leadership for a nationwide retailer can create tasks for the reopening of their stores, send that list to only the affected store locations, and then track progress against the tasks at those locations. Managers on those store teams can easily assign tasks to individual employees. Meanwhile, the frontline Workers at those store locations will see a simple list of the tasks assigned to them whether they log in backstage or use a personal or company-issued mobile device.

You will not see any changes in your admin or end user experiences unless you take steps to enable task publishing. With task publishing, your organisation can publish task lists targeted to specific locations (teams) across your organisation to define and share a work plan to be completed at those locations.

  • Frontline workers have a simple mobile experience to see tasks assigned to them. They can attach photos to show their work when appropriate and mark their tasks as completed.
  • Managers on the recipient teams can review the published tasks and assign individual tasks to team members.
  • People on the publishing team, such as corporate or regional leadership, can create task lists and publish them to specific teams.
  • Publishers and managers can view reports to see assignment and completion status of tasks they’re tracking.

Introducing History menu in Microsoft Teams

By hovering over the backward and forward navigation buttons, users will be able to see recently visited locations in Microsoft Teams. The history menu makes it easier to navigate to previous locations, such as nested tabs and documents.

Teams history

Microsoft Teams revised In-meeting Share Experience

In Microsoft Teams desktop client on Windows and Mac, users will see a new design when sharing their screen, window, Whiteboard, or PowerPoint during meetings, as shown below.


New in-meeting Share experience.


New in-meeting Share experience.

(Updated) Microsoft Teams: Profile menu update, relocating profile menu links to a new menu in the title bar.

The Me Menu will be focused on account management, with account and tenant switching moved to level one of the menu.


Settings, Zoom Controls, Keyboard Shortcuts, About, and Check for Updates is moving from the Me Menu to a new menu in the title bar.


Microsoft Teams will queue sent messages when offline

Currently, should a user attempt to send or edit Teams messages while offline, Teams labels those messages as a failure. Once the device is reconnected, Teams prompts users to retry or delete the messages.

In phase one of this update, Teams messages that are sent while a user is offline will be queued on the local device. Teams will automatically send the messages when the device resolves connectivity issues within 24 hours.. However, if the message remains in an unsent state for more than 24 hours, the message will fail and Teams will prompt the user to resend or delete the message.

In phase two, Teams applies this same capability to editing messages that are in a queued state.


Outlook on the web – Message reminders

After Outlook assesses that a user might have forgotten to respond to or follow up on emails, the user might start seeing these messages brought to the top of their inboxes. If applicable, a maximum of one email will be brought to the top of the user’s inbox at a time.

Users can disable this in Settings/Layout/Message reminders.


Yammer reactions are now inclusive

Users can open the skin tone modal by clicking on the Choose skin tone for reactionslink found in Settings on the Yammer suite header.


Choose skin-tone for reactions link


Users can then select their preferred skin tone in the skin tone modal.


Inclusive Reactions now available

After selecting their preferred skin tone, the user’s selected skin tone preference (only seen in ‘like/thank’) is displayed when they hover over the like button.

Skin-tone shown in reaction picker.


After the user reacts, their skin tone preference is reflected in 1. the action bar and 2. the summary view.

Action bar view.

Featured Inclusive Reaction tone

Summary view.

Summary view

The default generic unrealistic yellow reaction hand color is used in the summary view when:

    • The user has not reacted
    • The user has not selected a skin tone preference

Choosing a skin-tone is optional. If users don’t wish to pick a skin tone, the ‘like’ and ‘thank’ reactions will continue to appear in the default generic unrealistic yellow reaction.


Updated text formatting (bold, italic, underline) available in Microsoft Forms

Consistent with Office 365 products, users can format text by using either a floating tool bar or keyboard shortcuts.

In the editing canvas of the form, designers can use the text format toolbar inline whenever they are composing text content.

Text editing


Microsoft Lists app for iOS

When available, users will be able to download the iOS app from the App Store. With the Lists app, the user can:

  • Create new lists easily via templates.
  • Get to any lists—including lists they’ve already been using–from the recent, my list, and favorite sections or via search and deep links.
  • View lists, even in an offline state
  • Organise data using sorting, filtering, grouping.
  • Edit data on the list using mobile-friendly controls
  • Add new data to lists
  • Share lists as per organisation rules

Microsoft Lists and SharePoint Lists: column settings in grid view

The Lists “Grid” view (previously Quick Edit) will now allow users to pin a column to the filter pane, format the column, show/hide columns, and hide their column(s). Before this update, users were required to exit Grid view to accomplish these common tasks.

Screen cap