AMT’s Monthly Office 365 Updates keep you up to date with new features and important announcements from Microsoft. Office 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 Office 365 February updates.
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StaffHub to Shifts in Microsoft Teams migration update
As previously communicated in September, Microsoft Teams is evolving to include a new set of capabilities that will simplify schedule management and help deliver the tools for every worker to get the job done. As a result, Microsoft StaffHub will retire on October 1, 2019 and investments will be focused on Microsoft Teams. After October 1, 2019 users that attempt to log in to StaffHub will be greeted with a message directing them to download Microsoft Teams.
New Feature: To-Do
Users who opt-in to the Planner integration will be able to see and edit tasks they have been assigned to in Planner within To-Do. These tasks will surface in the “Assigned to me” list, but will also appear in To-Do search results, My Day suggestions, and the Planned smart list (all tasks with a due date). Users may turn off this integration at any time via the To-Do Settings menu.
In order to use this integration in the Outlook Web task module, you must have the New Tasks module enabled.
Microsoft will be gradually rolling this out to customers in April, 2019, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of May 2019.
This rollout is excluded from Office 365 subscriptions in GCC.
Updated Feature: Teams support for Meeting Migration Service
Currently, the Meeting Migration Service (MMS) updates existing Skype for Business meetings when either users move from on-premises to the cloud or when a user’s audio-conferencing settings change. Up till now, the updated meetings have remained Skype for Business meetings.
With this new support, MMS can now convert existing Skype for Business meetings to Teams, and it can also update existing Teams meetings to reflect audio conferencing changes. MMS will be triggered to update a user’s existing meetings in the following scenarios:
- When a user is migrated from on-premises to the cloud (whether to Skype for Business Online or to TeamsOnly).
- When an admin makes a change to the user’s audio-conferencing settings
- When an online user is upgraded to Teams only, or when a user’s mode in TeamsUpgradePolicy is set to SfBwithTeamsCollabAndMeetings
- When you use a PowerShell cmdlet.
Microsoft will be rolling this out to customers starting May 8, 2019, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of May.
Updated release plan for Sharable links in Word and Outlook for Windows and mobile
In April, the permissions for the links in Outlook for Windows and iOS and Microsoft Word will default to the organisation’s Sharing settings in the OneDrive Admin centre, either “Shareable: Anyone with the link” or “Internal: Only people in your organisation with the link”. If your organisation has set sharing to “Direct: Specific people”, there will be no changes to the current experience, only those who already have access to the document will be able to access it.
See Additional Information for more information about setting organisation level permissions in OneDrive and SharePoint.
In addition, when you chose to insert a link in Outlook for Windows or a Word document you will see a new dialogue box indicating that a shareable link is being retrieved.
There is no change to cloud attachments.
New feature: Sign out and authentication error screens to show company branding
Microsoft are updating the sign-out and authentication error pages to show company branding.
If you have configured company branding for the Microsoft 365 sign-in screens on your tenant, your users will start to see these customisations on the sign-out and authentication error screens as well. Microsoft will gradually be rolling this out to all customers in early-May 2019, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of May.
Now use larger, more flexible image types to upload your company logo in the Office 365 navigation bar
Microsoft are modernising the navigation bar customisation to help you represent your brand across Office 365. Now, you’ll be able to upload your custom logo of any file size and of any format via a URL in order to improve the clarity of the logo image that your users see in their Office 365 navigation bar across their Office applications, like SharePoint Online and Office.com. After setting your custom logo you can configure it to point to your company or intranet portal, enabling easy access to your users.
Roll out has begun to Targeted Release organisations. Worldwide availability is expected by the end of May 2019.
Updates are coming to the authentication behaviour on Azure AD (M365) sign-in pages
Azure AD sign-in uses a process, called Home Realm Discovery, to determine where to send a user to authenticate after they enter their username on the sign-in screen. This process will be updated with an upgraded user lookup behaviour. The new behaviour will make intelligent decisions by reading tenant and user level settings based on the username entered on the sign-in page. This functionality will pave the path towards a passwordless future by enabling alternative credentials like FIDO 2.0.
After this change takes place, Microsoft will check to see if the username that is entered on the sign-in page exists in their respective domain before deciding where to redirect the user to provide their credentials. Additionally, this behaviour will introduce new and improved error messaging on the sign-in pages if the username the user entered doesn’t match an account in the respective domain.
Microsoft will begin gradually rolling this out in early May, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by mid-May, 2019.
New Feature: Office 365 Group card enhancements
These new Group card enhancements include: search members, renew groups, approve pending members.
End users will soon be able to search members in the Office 365 Groups hover card that is available on Outlook on the web and SharePoint Online. As well, group owners will also be able to renew groups and approve pending members from the expanded view of the hover card.
No net new functionality is being introduced–the functionalities already exist in other parts of Outlook on the web or SharePoint Online.
Microsoft will gradually roll this out, beginning with Targeted release users, then with Standard release customers, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of June.
Updated Feature: Changes to definition of Files Shared Internally
Microsoft have identified telemetry issues with the Sharing Report that resulted in inaccurate counts for files shared internally and files shared externally. They are making updates that will address these issues and improve report accuracy. Rollout will begin soon.
After the update, “Files shared internally” is the number of files that have been shared with users within the organisation, or with users within groups (that might include external users).
Also, “Files shared externally” might see an increase in the numbers as there are additional events that are being tracked and categorised within external sharing.
Please note that Microsoft are working on changes to further improve clarity over time.
Reminder: Clutter for Outlook is being retired beginning Jan 31, 2020
As announced in Feb 2019, Microsoft will be retiring the Clutter feature from Outlook beginning January 31, 2020. To help users manage their mail and be productive, we are leading with the Focused Inbox experience which provides a similar benefit as Clutter by showing less important and urgent mail in Other.
New feature: error resolution flow for illegal file and folder names in OneDrive
Sometimes files are not able to sync to OneDrive because they have illegal characters in the name of the file, or in the name of the folder the file is in. OneDrive is rolling out an automated fix suggestion that will help users rename the problematic files on Windows and Mac, and thus resolve the sync issue around them.
Microsoft already started gradually rolling this out to all customers in mid-April, and they anticipate roll out completion worldwide by the end of April 2019.
New feature: Favourite People and Notifications in Outlook for iOS and Android
Favourite people will be available for all Outlook for iOS customers whereas for Outlook for Android, only those customers who are using the new native Microsoft sync technology will be able to select people as favourites.
Additionally, for those customers using Outlook for iOS and Android with new sync technology, you will have the option to set your email notifications for Office 365 and Outlook.com accounts based on your favourite people. In addition to setting notifications for Focused Inbox, Focused Inbox and Other or No notifications, you will be able select the option to only receive notifications of emails from the people you select as favourites.
Changing who you tag or the order of your favourite people (add, remove, reorder) will also appear in Outlook on the web.
Outlook for Android contact information will also be updated with details from Azure Active Directory for easy access to the information about people in your organization when you’re on the go. This includes your company reporting structure as well as insight into who the people in your organization work with, powered by the Microsoft Office Graph. You will also be able to easily add your company contact to Outlook for Android.
Feature update: Focus on your active teams
Are too many teams cluttering up your left rail? Over the next few weeks, teams you haven’t visited in more than 45 days will be automatically reordered and moved to the bottom “More” category so you can focus on teams you’re more active in.
This change does not apply to Office 365 subscriptions for Education.
Microsoft will gradually be rolling this out to all customers in early May, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of June.
Updated Feature: New setting in CsTeamsMeetingPolicy to manage meetings chat
Microsoft are updating the way meetings chat is controlled by creating a new, separate setting in CsTeamsMeetingPolicy to manage meetings chat, as a change from previous practice where meetings chat followed CsTeamsMessagingPolicy. They will begin rolling this feature out soon, but will do it in stages to provide time for customers to make any changes.
Prior to this change, it was controlled by the AllowUserChat setting of the CsTeamsMeetingPolicy. After this change, it will be controlled by a new setting, MeetingChatEnabledType, of the CsTeamsMeetingPolicy.
New Feature: Easily add new members to your team
With this feature enabled, team members can request for other users to be added to their team. Simply click on ‘Add member’ and select the users you want to add to your team. This sends a team join request on behalf of the user you’re trying to add. The team owner(s) will get a notification to accept or deny the request.
Microsoft are also adding support for in-app notifications for self-join requests.
Roll out will be completed by the end of the month.
New Feature: Busy on Busy in Microsoft Teams
Busy on Busy is a feature that allows callers to know if a user is already on another call or meeting when contacting them. When a call comes in to a user who is already engaged in a call or meeting, this setting alerts the calling party that the user is busy by playing a busy signal or an appropriate message.
This feature can be enabled using the enable Busy on Busy setting in the Teams Calling Policy. It is off by default and requires administrator action to enable.
Roll out will start for all Teams organisations towards the end of April, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of May 2019.
Changes to Coming Soon in Outlook for Windows
As announced in September 2018, Microsoft introduced a new “Coming Soon” feature that offers a preview of new user experience updates in Outlook for Windows and provides you and your users an opportunity to try the experience and to provide feedback.
This month, Microsoft are rolling out a new density setting to control the amount of space between emails in the message list, as well as spacing around some of the elements visible when composing a message. This setting will show up for customers who have Coming Soon turned on. All of the experience updates that are now behind Coming Soon will be rolling out as the default experience to all Monthly Channel customers in May 2019. These feature updates are not yet available for GCC organisations.
New feature: New Outlook on the web – Search filters
The new Search filters will allow you to search with more specific terms such as folders, From, To, Subject, keywords, date range, and attachment. To use Search filters, go to the Search box and then click on Filters on the right side of the box.
Roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of June 2019.
New Feature: new Outlook on the web (opt-in) – browse rooms
Now when creating a meeting from your calendar, you can search for available meeting rooms in your organisation by clicking on the location bar and then on “Browse more places”. You can search by city or room list.
Roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of June.
This rollout is excluded from Office 365 subscriptions in GCC.
New Feature: Outlook on the web – suggested attachments
It will soon be easier to find and attach a file in the new Outlook on the web. When you go to attach a file, Outlook will use intelligent technology to find the files that are most relevant to the ongoing conversation and the files that you most recently used, providing quick access to them. To see “suggested attachments,” just respond to an email and select the “Attach” paper clip drop down icon. Suggested attachments only supports files stored in OneDrive for Business & SharePoint Online for now.
Rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of August 2019. This rollout is excluded from Office 365 subscriptions in GCC.
Updated feature: Sharing links that block downloads for Office files
Microsoft are updating the feature that lets users create sharing links which block download for Office files. First, they will expand support for “specific people” links. Second, they will allow users to create “block download” links from File Explorer, Office apps, and the rest of the apps which use the common Office 365 file sharing experience.
Microsoft will be gradually rolling this out to Standard Release organisations over the course of this week, and the roll out will be completed worldwide by mid-May 2019.
Updated feature: Structural navigation performance banner
Microsoft are updating the banner for classic sites using structural navigation. If SharePoint Online detects that structural navigation is causing the page to render slowly, site owners will see the following banner and have the opportunity to learn more:
“Slow performance detected. Your site is using structural navigation, which decreases page performance. Learn how to improve performance by using a different navigation method.”
Microsoft anticipate rollout completion by the end of April.
Updated Feature: Role changes: Information Protection Administrator and Privileged Role Administrator
Microsoft are making some changes to the Information Protection Administrator and Privileged Role Administrator roles.
- Information Protection Administrator: Microsoft are updating the name of this role to “Azure Information Protection Administrator” in the Azure portal and Microsoft 365 admin centre.
- Privileged Role Administrator: A Privileged Role Administrator can manage only role assignments today. To reduce dependency on the Global administrator, Microsoft are enabling the additional abilities:
- ability to consent/revoke any delegated or app permissions (incl. permissions to MS/AAD Graph)
- ability to create, update, delete AUs, incl. membership management
Microsoft will begin rolling out these changes in May and will be completed in June.
Updated Feature: Microsoft are changing the default SharePoint admin centre experience
The SharePoint admin centre experience will default to the new admin centre experience. You can switch back to the classic experience as necessary.
Microsoft will be gradually rolling this out in early May and will be complete by the end of May.
New Feature: Audience targeting in SharePoint Online organisational news
Audience targeting for news and highlighted allows page authors and site owners to tag pages and news posts with Azure Active Directory groups, and filter content within these web parts to people within those groups.
Microsoft will be gradually rolling this out to Targeted Release “entire org” customers in mid-April, and anticipate rollout completion by the end of June 2019.
Updated feature: Group-connected team site homepage
Many group-connected team sites that were created in 2016, 2017, or the first half of 2018 were created with just two web parts on the homepage: News and Activity. In early 2018, Microsoft released an update where all new sites started getting four web parts on the homepage: News, Activity, Quick Links, and Documents. They’re now upgrading all existing two web part homepages to show four web parts. This only affects homepages that have not been edited and saved by a user. Homepages that have been edited and saved will not be affected.
This will be rolling out in mid-May 2019 to all SharePoint Online organisations.
New feature: SharePoint Online news and page authors will now receive emails with comments, replies and likes
After this change takes place, when someone comments on a page or a news post, the author of the post will receive an email. If this comment is a reply to a top-level comment, the top-level commenter will also receive an email. Comment emails will be batched so that your users will receive a single email when several comments have been made on the page or news post within a short duration of time. Additionally, the same functionality will apply when users leave a like on a page or news post.
Microsoft will begin rolling this out in early June, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of June 2019.
New feature: SharePoint Online Column formatting – Data bars in Lists and Libraries
After this change takes place, SharePoint Online List and Library users will be able to format Number Columns with Data Bars.
Microsoft are gradually rolling this out to customers now, and the roll out will be completed worldwide by mid-May 2019.
Updated feature: Document Sets in SharePoint Online
Navigating to a Document Set will show a modern experience inside document libraries configured to use the modern experience. Document Sets in libraries configured to use the classic experience and document sets with customised welcome pages are not affected by this change. This feature will begin rolling out in early May, and the rollout will be completed by the end of May 2019.
New Feature: Get schedule API on the Microsoft Graph
The Get Schedule API on the Microsoft Graph is a new Office 365 feature.
Now you can get the free/busy availability information for a collection of users, distributions lists, or resources (rooms or equipment) for a specified time period.
New feature: Full-fidelity shared libraries in OneDrive
Not only can you sync shared libraries from SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams to your PC or Mac using OneDrive, you can now view shared libraries in OneDrive on the web with support for viewing file metadata. Initial capabilities include viewing, sorting and grouping by custom metadata and changing your file view to any previously saved file view.
Microsoft will gradually roll this out to Targeted Release organisations and will be completed worldwide by the end of May 2019.
New Feature: OneDrive – updated “manage access” pane for classic user interface
Microsoft are making it easier for people to manage access permissions, remove individual recipients from shared links or stop sharing overall – all when working within the OneDrive classic user interface. When you go to a file or folder’s information pane and click “Manage access,” you’re taken to a more modern interface to review, add, adjust and remove access to a file – inline with where the file lives – OneDrive or SharePoint. you can also see and manage any and all sharing links that have created on the file or folder.
Microsoft will be gradually rolling this feature out in early May, 2019, and the roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of the month.
Updated feature: Changes are coming to your sign-page – Branding for Sign-out and Authentication Error Screens
Company branding on the Dynamics 365 sign-in page allows tenants to customise the login experience for their users. At the moment, this customisation only applies to the username, password and Multi-Factor Authentication screens. This change is going to extend customisation to the sign-out and error screens as well.
If customers have configured company branding for the Dynamics 365 sign-in screens on their tenants, their users will start to see these customisations on the sign-out and authentication error screens as well. Microsoft will be gradually rolling this out to all customers in early-May 2019, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by the end of May.
Updates coming to the authentication behaviour on Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 sign-in uses a process to determine where to send a user to authenticate after they enter their username on the sign-in screen. This process will be updated with an upgraded user lookup behaviour. The new behaviour will make intelligent decisions by reading tenant and user level settings based on the username entered on the sign-in page. This will pave the path towards a password-less future by enabling alternative credentials like FIDO (Fast Identity Online) 2.0.
This feature will begin rolling out for managed domains (cloud-only) in May 2019 and for federated domains by the end of 2019. If you or your organisation have practices that depend on the old domain level HRD (Home Realm Discovery), it is important that you update the employee authentication documentation, train employees to use their actual username to sign in, and notify your helpdesk of this change. The exact roll out date for federated domains will be dependent on customer feedback.
Office 365 Skype for Business will retire 3DES starting July 10, 2019
Starting July 10, 2019, Office 365 Skype for Business will begin retiring 3DES. This means that all connections to Office 365 Skype for Business using the cipher 3DES will not work. Clients that still require 3DES such as Lync Phone Edition, Lync Mac 2011 and Lync 2010 will not be able to login to Office 365 Skype for Business.
Expect issues connecting to Office 365 Skype for Business services if you are using 3DES from this date onwards. TLS 1.0/1.1 connections without the 3DES cipher will not be affected.
What’s New in the Microsoft Intune Service Update for April
Microsoft have introduced some changes that they’re excited for you to try out, for example:
- Enable Win32 app dependencies
- Scope tags for Apple VPP tokens