Microsoft 365 Updates: November 2020


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 November updates.

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New Feature: Manage how long guests can access SharePoint Online and OneDrive documents

One of the strengths of SharePoint and OneDrive is that it facilitates sharing and collaborating among peers, not only within an organisation but also with people outside the organisation (guests).

In order to better manage sharing, tenant admins will be able to create a policy to revoke guest access to SPO sites and individual OneDrives after a defined period of time. With this policy, you can limit guest user access; thus guests who are no longer active partners will not retain indefinite access to documents and files.

  • This policy is not retroactive; it does not apply to guests who already have access to sites, documents and files.
  • The policy applies to a user’s access to a given SPO site or individual OneDrive. When the access period reaches your policy threshold, such as 10 days, then the guest loses access to all content in that site. Guest access expires on a site-by-site basis, determined by when the guest was granted access to each site, whether that is an SPO site or an individual OneDrive.
  • After a guest loses access to a site, any user with the ability to share content externally can re-invite the guest to each document or item as needed.

SharePoint site administrators can extend access at any time, up to the limit of the tenant policy. For example, if the tenant policy is 10 days, and today is the 10th of the month, the SharePoint site admin could extend access for an external guest to the 20th of the month. There is no limit on the number of time a site admin can extend access.

SharePoint site administrators will receive e-mail notifications advising of upcoming guest user access expirations.

Use SharePoint tab to add pages, lists or document libraries to a channel in Teams

Once available, Teams users will be able to pin their SharePoint content; pages, news, lists and document libraries using the SharePoint tab.

Introducing SharePoint Portal Launch Scheduler

The Portal Launch Scheduler makes it possible for you to manage a phased rollout for a new SharePoint site. It also provides an automatic redirect for existing sites if needed.  During each of the waves, you can gather user feedback and monitor performance during each wave of deployment. This has the advantage of slowly introducing the portal, giving you the option to pause and resolve issues before proceeding with the next wave, and ultimately ensuring a positive experience for your users.

This allows admins and site owners to verify that customisations, external sources, and other processes have been tested at the right scale. It ensures the site is performant upon launch and lowers the potential number of users impacted by any issues. If you are moving from an existing portal to a new portal, the Portal Launch Scheduler will allow you to redirect users between portals and eventually block users from accessing the former portal.

With the PowerShell cmdlet, you define the type of redirection; expected number of users; new site URL; and existing site URL (if applicable).

You can separate your security groups into waves and also schedule those waves. Managing site launch details for high-traffic portals like company-wide sites and HR portals is important when monitoring site quality and performance.

SharePoint site header updates

For all sites created after the updates, the default site header for new SharePoint sites will be the compact header instead of the standard header.

Modern SharePoint site owners will see updated options in the Change the Look panel for Headers (image below).

  • A minimal header uses a reduced height to provide quick visual access to content
  • An extended header layout includes an optional background image, expanded site logo widths, and options on site logo alignment
  • Control all aspects of how your site logo appears across SharePoint with a site logo thumbnail and a site logo
  • Easy to toggle site title label visibility on or off


Teams Meetings: End of meeting notification

Once available in your tenant, Teams will inform participants when there are five minutes remaining during any scheduled private or channel meeting. The notification will appear on screen for 10 seconds and disappear without any user action. This is an informational notification and will not automatically end the meeting.

Announcing Forms Polls in Microsoft Teams meetings

This feature is available on Teams desktop (Windows and Mac, version and Teams on the web.

Any meeting presenter can add the Forms app as a tab in the Teams meeting.

Before the meeting, the presenter can create draft polls. During the meeting, the presenter can create and launch polls that any attendee can view and answer. All attendees will be able to see the results in real time, and respondents can respond to a poll after the meeting if the poll has not been closed.

Attendee view of Teams meeting poll that has been launched
attendee view

After the meeting, meeting presenters can evaluate responses in the meeting tab; export responses to an Excel workbook; or review responses on the web in the Forms app.

Teams custom meeting images

Teams admins will be able to upload a custom logo for display in the Teams meeting lobby and pre-join screens. This feature is completely optional for your organisation.
New meeting lobby

Introducing macOS notifications is Teams

Should your users wish to change notifications of Teams messages from the Teams app to the native Mac OS notification system, they can do so in the Teams Notifications settings:
Native notification

Meeting chat moderation settings

Once available, meeting organisers will be able to set the “Allow meeting chat” setting within the Meeting options. This will enable them to manage participants ability to chat prior to, during and after a meeting.

Note: There are 3 options for this setting:

  1. On (default): allows chat at any time.
  2. Off: will make meeting chat read only and no one can send messages in chat including the organiser.
  3. During the meeting only: participants can send message during the meeting only and the organiser can send messages all the time.

Office 365

Exclude specific files from OneDrive file sync

This setting lets you prevent the OneDrive sync app (OneDrive.exe) from uploading specific files to OneDrive or SharePoint. For example, you can exclude .lnk files to avoid syncing new shortcut files. No errors appear for the skipped files, and the files remain in the local OneDrive folder.

In File Explorer, the files appear with a “do not enter” icon in the Status column.
File explorer

This change is visible to end users via a new excluded icon and will not result in a red X error.
Sync warning