What’s New in Office 365 for March 2020

Today, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is spreading exponentially across the globe. The effects of this pandemic have been devastating. The disease’s high infection rate has caused nations to go on lockdown and citizens to self-isolate. Thousands of people are being laid off from their jobs and the economy is crashing. Those of us who are lucky to continue working are doing so from our homes.

This is also a watershed moment for the way that our entire world performs work.

Companies who have not previously allowed working from home are now forced to facilitate remote work environments for their teams.

While remote access can be provided to on-premises systems, this can be expensive; systems and the people who support them can quickly become overloaded.

Now, more than ever, as the entire world changes before our eyes, it is crucial for organizations to leverage cloud technology.

If your organization needs help to strategize and set up an environment that enables your people to work remotely, Regroove can help you get up and running.

This month, the Victoria Office 365 Users Group held our meetup virtually as a webinar on Livestorm so that we could share knowledge while maintaining physical distance from one another.

To allow time for sessions that address the immediate needs of organizations that are rapidly adopting Microsoft cloud technology, I am updating you on “What’s New in Office 365” via blog post instead of delivering a presentation at the Victoria Office 365 Users Group.

This blog post will highlight changes in Office 365 since the last Victoria Office 365 Users Group meetup in February 2020.

Temporary Changes to Microsoft 365 Services

To support growing demand of Microsoft 365 services, Microsoft is temporarily adjusting how some of their services work (essentially, throttling connection to avoid overload of their systems).

These changes include:

  • less frequent presence checks
  • adjusted intervals in where messaging services show when the other party is typing
  • reduced video resolution
  • OneNote in Teams, in commercial tenants (excluding EDU) will be read-only
  • lowered download size and sync frequency of file attachments
  • some SharePoint backend operations shifted to regional evening and weekend business hours (migration, DLP)
  • there may be delays in file management after new files, videos, or images are uploaded to SharePoint

Read more about Microsoft’s commitment to customers and Microsoft cloud services continuity here.

What’s New in Microsoft Teams

Multi-Window Chat in Microsoft Teams

Multi-Window Chat will enable us to pop our Microsoft Teams chat conversations out into separate windows from the main Teams client.

Timeline: Rolling out to all customers starting in early April and complete by end of May.

Communicate with Skype Users from Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams users will be able to chat with and call Skype users (that is, the consumer version of Skype) by using their email address, and vice versa.

This feature is disabled by default and must be enabled in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Timeline: Rolling out now; complete by the end of April.

What’s New in Microsoft Outlook

Polls in Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft is adding polls to Outlook for Mac, Outlook for Windows, and Outlook on the Web. This functionality will replace the current Quick Poll add-in that provides this functionality.

Polls in Outlook for Mac
Polls in Outlook for Windows
Polls in Outlook on the Web

Timeline: Rolling out in late April and complete by end of May for Outlook on the Web; rollout for Outlook for Windows and Outlook for Mac delayed until further notice.

What’s New in OneDrive for Business

Version History in OneDrive for Windows and Mac

Version History will be visible from the context menu in Finder, File Explorer, and OneDrive Activity Feed, enabling us to download, restore, and delete previous versions of files.

Timeline: Rolling out to customers now; complete by the end of April.

What’s New in SharePoint Online

Audience Targeting in Navigation Links

Site owners will be able to enable audience targeting for links in site, hub site, and footer navigation in SharePoint Online, based on Office 365 Groups and security groups.

Once audience targeting is enabled by a site owner in a SharePoint Online site, any site editor can choose which Office 365 Group or security group menu links are targeted to.

Timeline: Rolling out to Targeted Release customers now; rollout complete in early May.

Themes Supported in the SharePoint Mobile App

The SharePoint app for iOS and Anroid will support customized themes, i.e., the logo and color set in “Change the Look” for sites SharePoint Online.

Timeline: Rolling out to Targeted Release customers now; rollout complete by the end of April.

Edit Metadata from Within the SharePoint Document Library and List View Web Parts

The Document Library and List View web parts allow document libraries and lists to be embedded in modern pages in SharePoint Online.

Previously, in order to update metadata, we would have to navigate to the list or document library.

This update allows us to update metadata from the context of the Document Library and List View web parts.

Timeline: Rolling out currently; complete by the end of April.

Multilingual Publishing for SharePoint Communication Sites

SharePoint Communication Site owners will be able to enable multilingual experiences under Site Settings.

Once multilingual publishing is enabled, site owners can enable translation for pages and news.

Content is not translated automatically. Translators are assigned per language, and are notified via email when there is a new page created or an existing one is updated that requires updating in the language that they are responsible for translating.

Enable Translation in a SharePoint Online Communication Site
Translation Settings for Communication Site Members
Translation Settings for Site Visitors

Timeline: Rolling out to Targeted Release customers now and complete for all customers by the end of May 2020.

New Publishing Commands and Visual Cues in the Site Pages Library

SharePoint Online site users with page editing permissions will see a new publishing button on the command bar and visual cues that a file has changed.

SharePoint Online Site Page Publishing Commands
Unpublished Changes Icon for Site Pages in SharePoint Online

Timeline: Rollout for publish button complete now; rollout for unpublished changes icon complete by the end of April.

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