Office 365 Updates: February 2019

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.

Read January’s Office 365 updates here.

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Office 365

New Feature: Changes to PowerPoint and Word to open files faster 

Microsoft are excited to release a new change to make documents saved to OneDrive and SharePoint open faster.

Rather than always checking for updates for cloud files prior to opening, Word and PowerPoint will open any existing version on the user’s device and then sync updates immediately afterwards. This is already the behaviour today for files saved to local OneDrive and SharePoint sync folders. This change introduces this behaviour for files that are stored on the cloud but not synced to your device in a sync folder.

Microsoft will begin rollout at the end of this month, to be completed in a few months.

Additional information

New Feature: Microsoft 365 Public Roadmap Updates 

Starting in March, Microsoft will begin rolling out the following enhancements and features to the Microsoft 365 Public Roadmap:

  • Last Modified Date: When this update is rolled out, the Last Modified Date will reflect the date information is updated for an individual feature item. This will allow better tracking when information changes for features that are important to you and your organisation.
  • Enhanced RSS Feeds: Currently, when a ‘More Information’ link is not provided for a feature, the M365 Roadmap RSS feed defaults to provide a link back to the roadmap. The RSS feed will be updated to include both a ‘View Roadmap Item’ link, directing users to the feature in the M365 Public Roadmap and a ‘More Information’ link that will direct users to more information when available. Not all features will have a ‘More Information’ link, as upcoming feature information is provided as early as possible and this information is not always available. ‘More Information’ links will continue to be provided in Message Center posts for specific features.
  • Microsoft 365 Feedback Feature: We will be adding a feature to the M365 Public Roadmap which will allow users to share ideas and suggestions on how we can improve the M365 Public Roadmap experience. We look forward to hearing feedback on how we can continue to improve the M365 Public Roadmap experience.

Additional information

Updated Feature: New look for the Office 365 NavBar in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online 

After this change takes place, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, your OneDrive for Business admin centre, and your SharePoint Online admin centre will all be updated with a new NavBar that is aligned with the NavBar experience in and The Office 365 NavBar provides shared features and capabilities that bring together OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Outlook, and simplifies your interaction with the NavBar.

If you’ve done work to brand OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, your settings will remain unchanged. If you haven’t re-branded the NavBar, you’ll notice that the default colour for the apps has changed to blue.

The following are some of the changes you’ll see in the new NavBar:

– In SharePoint Online, the Gear icon now opens a pane to show the same settings options that you’re familiar with. There’s also a new section under settings that takes you to all Microsoft 365 settings.

– In OneDrive for Business “Settings” and “Restore my OneDrive” are now the top selections in the settings pane.

– The help pane in both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online also have a new look. You’ll find the same custom links that you’ve set up, but it’s good to review that the links are working as they may get more attention in the new pane from your users.

This change is not yet available for GCC organisations.

Microsoft have begun gradually rolling this change out to Targeted Release organisations, and the rollout will be completed worldwide by early March 2019.

Additional information

Feature update: Admin centre support updates, including full-page ticket history view and callback scheduling 

The updated support experience will begin rolling out in the first quarter of calendar year 2019, first to targeted release admins, then to all admins. The classic support experience will remain available for a limited time. These features include:

  • Full page ticket history- Review all communications with support directly from the admin centre.

  • Resolution steps- Immediately view service request resolution steps. These details will only show up for service requests that have been created after the new experience has been deployed.

  • Callback scheduling- Receive support directly from Microsoft on your schedule with the ability to request a call from support at a specific time. Add attachments and notes to your support ticket to provide context.

  • User-defined case severity- Define the severity of your issue (Premier A/B/C and Unified is critical/non-critical) to quickly receive the appropriate level of support. Sev A/Critical is limited to Phone cases as this provides you with the fastest option to address the issue at hand.

  • Case History export- Export all cases that were created in the past 13 months.

  • Description character limit increased to 2500 characters- Provide a more detailed description. With this change, the search box will decrease in size as we have now added a larger description box.

  • Intelligent self-serve solutions- Receive immediate help from an automated assistant and find better solutions with improved search, powered by machine learning. Solutions will keep improving as you use them and will draw from an ever-increasing repository including but not limited to service health dashboard, support articles, and diagnostic wizards.

  • Updated Service Request view- Visualise where you are at in the life cycle of the service request.

Outlook mobile supports Teams Meetings 

If your organisation has enabled Teams only, then your users will start to see the option to add Teams when creating or editing calendar events in Outlook mobile. If your organisation is enabled for both Skype for Business and Teams, the option to create Teams meetings will replace the option to create Skype meetings for your users in Outlook mobile.
If some of the people in your organisation still need to create Skype meetings, they can continue to do so from Outlook for Windows, Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the web. Customers who are not using the Outlook mobile sync technology yet will continue to be able to join Teams meeting using the weblink in the meeting description.

If users in your organisation receive invitations to Skype meetings, there is no change to the current experience, they will continue to see the Join button in those calendar events.
Additional information

Microsoft are making a change to non-delivery report notifications 

Currently, when a temporary routing error occurs, we repeatedly attempt to send the message for 48 hours before the system returns a bounce message (or non-delivery report (NDR)) to the sender. This change reduces the Office 365 message expiration timeout interval from 48 hours to 24 hours. By reducing the message expiration timeout interval to 24 hours, senders will know sooner if we were unable to deliver their message, and can respond to the error in a more timely fashion. Note that this will only affect messages queued on Office 365 servers. The message expiration times for messages queued on servers outside of Office 365 are not affected by this change.  

Microsoft will begin rolling this change out on March 20, 2019, and anticipate worldwide rollout completion by the end of April.
Additional information

Feature update: Mobile admin app update, including device management 

The Microsoft 365 Admin mobile app allows you to receive notifications, add users, reset passwords, manage devices, create support requests, and more- all while you’re on the go. This enhancement is related to Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 47918. This rollout does not impact Office 365 subscriptions in GCC. 

A new version of the Microsoft 365 Admin mobile app will be released with the following updates:  

  • Rename the app from Office 365 Admin to Microsoft 365 Admin 

  • Ability to restore corporate devices to factory state 

  • Ability to remove corporate date from personal devices

Additional information

New feature: Open file links directly in Office desktop apps

After this change takes place, when users open links to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files, users can choose to have the file open directly in the appropriate Office app instead of it opening in the browser. For Office file links opened from the browser, the file will still open in the Office web apps. 

Microsoft will gradually roll this out beginning in April 2019, and anticipate rollout completion to take place over the following months.

New feature: Microsoft Bookings – Booking page search indexability 

You’ll be able to control whether your Bookings page can be indexed by search engines. By default, your Bookings page will be indexed, but users and page administrators can now hide Booking pages from search engines. You might want to do this if you don’t want your Bookings page to show up in a Bing or Google search. Please note that if other pages provide links to your Bookings pages, those links will still likely get indexed. 

Roll out has started, gradually, and should be completed by the end of March.      

Additional information 


SharePoint tenant opt-out for modern lists is retiring in 2019 

Microsoft are making some changes to how environments can opt out of modern lists in SharePoint.

In 2016, we introduced a new “modern” experience for SharePoint, bringing extensibility, accessibility, and responsive design to a complete overhaul of the user experience. Since then, modern has been the centre of innovation in SharePoint and OneDrive, although classic mode remains supported and available. Microsoft are making it easier for users to get to the latest feature updates.

Starting April 1, 2019, it will no longer be possible to restrict an entire organisation (tenant) to classic mode for lists and libraries. Lists and libraries may still use classic mode using the granular opt-out switches that we provide at the site collection, site, list, and library levels. Additionally, lists that use certain features and customisations that are not supported by modern will still be automatically switched to classic mode. After April 1, lists and libraries that are in classic mode as a result of tenant opt-out will automatically be shifted to modern. Users will benefit from enhancements and new features such as attention views, PowerApps integration, Flow, column formatting, and the filters pane.

Additional information

Updated Feature: Location Columns for SharePoint Lists 

Microsoft are introducing a new column to SharePoint lists and Libraries: the Location Column. Rollout has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Location Column allows you to add rich location data from Bing Maps or your organisation directory to any SharePoint list or Library. You can then filter, sort, and search by any aspect of the location data such as address, city, or state.

Additional information

Update: Create a Reminder in SharePoint Online 

After this change takes place for your organisation, if you have a custom date column in a list or library, you can now create an email reminder a number of days in advance of the date column selection. 
This feature has been released to Targeted Release organisations.  
Microsoft will begin rolling this feature out towards the end of January 2019, and anticipate rollout completion by mid-February 2019.

Microsoft are bringing new features to SharePoint Online Document Libraries and Lists 

With these new features, you’ll now be able to display column totals and subtotals in the footer of a group of a list/library view. In addition, you’ll be able to check in and check out multiple files at the same time from the modern command bar in the document library. Lastly, Microsoft are adding visual cues about the status of a file, such as check-outs, sharing, DLP blocks, or missing metadata to modern views.

Rollout began gradually to Targeted Release organisations in early February 2019, and the roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of April.

The SharePoint Feedback button is being retired 

For SharePoint users to easily provide product feedback and suggestion, Microsoft have included a footer link to our UserVoice forums. As we’ve continued to update the SharePoint user experience, we want to ensure that the options to provide feedback to one’s administrator or to Microsoft are clear. Starting in late February, they will be removing the feedback button from the footer of SharePoint home and all modern site pages where it currently appears and instead providing options for feedback through the help menu.

New Feature: SharePoint Online gets Sticky Column Headers for Lists and Libraries 

Sticky Column Headers is a new SharePoint Online feature for large lists and libraries. The column headers will remain visible as you scroll vertically or horizontally.  

Microsoft have started to gradually roll this out to Targeted Release organisations and will be completed worldwide by the end of April.

Default SharePoint Admin Centre Experience  

The new SharePoint admin centre will be the default experience for some organisations. The SharePoint admin centre experience, for Office 365 organisations of 50 or fewer licenses, will default to the new admin centre experience.  You can switch back to the classic experience as necessary. 

Microsoft will gradually roll this out to Standard Release customers that have 50 or fewer licenses in late March, and will expand to larger organisations in the coming months. Microsoft will provide further notifications when they make the change for additional organisations. 

Additional information


Updated Feature: Post an Update/Poll/Praise on Yammer Home Feed 

“All Company” will no longer be the default group for posts on the Yammer Home page. For most users, this will make posting easier because they will not need to first remove “All Company” before adding the intended group recipient. Those users who do want to post to “All Company” will need to select the “All Company” group as they do any other group.

Additional information


Outlook mobile introduces a new MailTip for external recipients 

Microsoft will soon be rolling out a new Outlook for iOS and Android capability that helps protect sensitive company information by reducing the risk of inadvertently sending email to recipients outside your organisation.
Outlook mobile will clearly alert you when an external recipient is in the email address list when composing or replying to email messages. This capability will be rolled out with the default setting OFF. On March 4th, Microsoft will change the default settings to ON so that all users will see a small tip, or notification, when there is a recipient in the To, Cc or Bcc lines that are outside their organisation.

Additional information

Updated Feature: New Tasks module in Outlook on the web 

Microsoft are excited to announce the new Tasks module in Outlook on the web as updated Office 365 feature. They’ll begin rolling this feature out in mid-March.

Customers who opt-in to the early version of the new Outlook on the web will see a newly redesigned Tasks experience, powered by Microsoft To-Do. Microsoft will gradually roll this out to Targeted Release customers in March, and the rollout will follow the general release timeline of the new Outlook on the web.

Additional information

Reminder: New opt-in toggle to try the early version of the new Outlook on the web

As we previously announced in September 2018, Microsoft are releasing an opt-in toggle for users to be able to try an early version of the new Outlook on the web as they gather feedback and keep improving the experience. Users can opt-in/out as often as they want. Microsoft began rolling out the opt-in toggle on September 10, 2018 to Targeted Release organisations initially, and they indicated that the rollout would be completed by January 1, 2019.

This message is intended to notify you that they are now beginning the rollout to organisations outside of the Targeted Release program.

Clutter for Outlook is being retired beginning January 31, 2020 

As previously announced in December 2017, on the Outlook blog, Microsoft will be retiring the Clutter feature from Outlook beginning January 31, 2020. To help users manage their mail and be productive, they are leading with the Focused Inbox experience which provides a similar benefit as Clutter by showing less important and urgent mail in Other. 

Additional information

Updated feature: Groups in Outlook – easier membership management 

Powered by actionable messages, group owners will now have the capacity to approve or decline membership requests right inside an email in Outlook for Windows, without the need to navigate to other pages. Approved or declined requests will be visible to all the group owners. Owners can select one or multiple requests to approve or decline. 

Microsoft will gradually roll this feature out over the next few weeks, and will be completed worldwide by the end of March 2019. Organisations in GCC, GCC High, DoD and BlackForest environments will receive this feature update in mid-April.   

Additional information 


Updated Feature: Microsoft To-Do 

The To-Do web app license will soon be licensed as part of Exchange Online.

There are no changes to the To-Do licenses for the downloadable To-Do apps for Windows, iOS and Android, as well as the Microsoft 365 app launcher tile.

Additional information


Feature Update: General availability of 5,000 member teams 

Microsoft are pleased to announce general availability of 5,000 member teams. All new and existing teams can accommodate up to 5,000 members, double the previous limit of 2,500 members. Larger groups can now collaborate effortlessly in a single team and leaders can connect with a broad audience within their organisation. To make it easier to get everyone into one team, Microsoft have also increased the e-mail distribution list import limit by over 10X from 300 to 3,500.

Microsoft Teams desktop app coming to new Office365 ProPlus installs 

After this change takes place for your organisation, Microsoft Teams will be included in the initial user download with other apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel in their Office 365 ProPlus subscription. You will no longer need to separately download and install Teams. This change does not affect any existing users who are already licensed and using the service. 

Microsoft began gradually rolling this change out to Targeted Release organisations in mid-January. On February 25, 2019 the rollout will continue to Monthly Channel, and to Semi-Annual Channel Targeted (SAC-T) subscribers on March 12. Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) subscribers will see this change in July 2019. 

Additional information

Admin policies for managing app permissions and app setup in Teams 

As announced last year, when Microsoft launched the Teams and Skype for Business Admin Centre, they would continue to add additional functionality to enhance the experience. Microsoft are moving app management from the Teams service add-in page to the new Teams and Skype for Business Admin Centre. With the change, you can use app setup policies to customise Microsoft Teams to highlight the apps that are most important for your users. You choose the apps to pin and set the order that they appear. App setup policies let you showcase apps that users in your organisation need, including ones built by third parties or by developers in your organisation. 

Additional information 


New feature: Microsoft Forms Pro Public Preview 

Microsoft Forms Pro is a new enterprise survey capability available in Public Preview on February 21st, 2019.

Microsoft Forms Pro is an enterprise survey capability that helps businesses obtain the feedback they need to make smarter decisions. Powered by both Office 365 and Dynamics 365, Microsoft Forms Pro supports businesses seeking to transform customer, product and employee experiences, as well as other survey needs. Microsoft Forms Pro will be available to Office 365 commercial customers on Feb 21st, 2019 and users can sign up at (not live yet), starting March 14th, 2019.

Additional information