Microsoft 365 received several new capabilities that improves user experience, streamlined common tasks management, and enhance identity-driven security measures.
Updates embracing the Office 365 features released to the Office 365 suite of apps and include “a simplified ribbon with focus and collaboration, modern colors and icons to improve rendering and accessibility, and artificial intelligence (AI) powered search that surface relevant information faster.
Connecting Office 365 Groups to SharePoint sites provides a single starting point to find content, team news, and communications with modern pages, libraries, and lists.
In the screenshot below a SharePoint page with a drop down from Settings in the upper right shows a user is about to connect to a new Office 365 group:
Reduce Distractions with Outlook for Android
Joining the existing “Do Not Disturb,” subscribers can now set “timed” or “scheduled” periods for email and calendar notifications to pause. Those with many Outlook accounts, can now customize Do Not Disturb settings for each email address. These features help in reducing distractions.
An animated GIF shows the steps needed to set their Outlook to “Do not disturb:”
Manage Progress in Microsoft To-Do
“Steps” that allows breaking down large project tasks into smaller, incremental steps, now introducing a new ability that allows adding a range of detailed steps tracked through to competition when you create a To-Do item. Also, To-Do lists are now sharable.
Here is an animated screenshot of a user sending a 1:1 invitation link to a teammate:
Dictation in OneNote, Windows 10
Office 365 subscribers can now use hands-free dictation in nine languages by clicking or tapping the Dictate icon and start speaking. Users can also make edits using the keyboard without having pausing the recording.
Adobe PDF Integration in Office 365
This new functionality allows admins to integrate Adobe PDF services into OneDrive and SharePoint for improved fidelity and allow you to combine several files into a single PDF in your document library.
A screenshot below displays PDF documents in SharePoint:
Baseline Security Policy in Azure AD
Organizations can now use a baseline security policy in the Azure Active Directory that enforces multi-factor authentication for privileged accounts. The new policy currently in preview allows customers to opt-in, while at general availability “opted in will be by default with the ability to opt out at any time.”
Block legacy authentication using Azure AD Conditional Access
Conditional access support for blocking legacy authentication that lets organizations to stop users from authenticating to legacy apps. Identity attacks, such as password spray almost exclusively target these older client apps is available now.
Enhance Data Classification Across Organization
Label Activity Explorer in Office 365 provides a quick overview of how the data in an organization has been labeled, allowing investigation of risky or abnormal activities. Now, through the enhanced Data Governance dashboard, new features such as a Data Governance toolbox, links and tools for common data governance tasks, and a single resource for guidance is available, too.
A screenshot of the Security & Compliance Center in Office 365. The user is exploring the Label Activity Explorer in the Data governance dashboard.
Other new features, making ways into the Microsoft 365, including extending the power of Microsoft Teams and new AI-infused capabilities are also available to users now.
Free Version of Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is now available for up to 300 people worldwide in 40 languages. Teams at Microsoft 365, includes the following capabilities plus extra storage, enterprise security, and compliance.
- Unlimited chat messages and search.
- Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetup.
- 10 GB of team file storage plus extra 2 GB per person for personal storage.
- Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
- Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from—including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello.
- Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.
Microsoft notes, that in the past year Teams has grown by over 100 percent, it now has more than 135 million commercial monthly Office 365 users, 200 million Windows 10 commercial devices in use, more than 65 million seats of Enterprise Mobility + Security, and more than 200,000 businesses across 181 markets now using Teams.
Intelligent Event Capabilities in Microsoft 365
Allows anyone to create live and on-demand events in Microsoft 365, which can be seen in real-time or on-demand, with high-definition video and interactive discussion, includes:
- A speaker timeline, which uses facial detection to identify who is talking, so you can jump to a particular speaker in the event.
- Speech-to-text transcription, timecoding, and transcript search, so you can faster find moments that matter in a recording.
- Closed captions to make the event more accessible to all.
Also, rolled out two new features Workplace Analytics solutions and MyAnalytics nudges.
Workplace Analytics solution in preview help teams run efficient meetings, create time for focused work, and respect work/life boundaries. It uses collaboration insights from the Microsoft Graph. Organizations by using aggregate data in Workplace Analytics can identify opportunities for improving collaboration, then share insights and suggest habits to specific teams using MyAnalytics.
A GIF below demonstrates Workplace Analytics:
Nudges powered by MyAnalytics in Microsoft 365, deliver habit-changing tips in Outlook, such as flagging that “you’re emailing coworkers after hours or suggesting you book focused work time for yourself.”
Here is an animation of the new MyAnalytics nudges:
Lastly, Microsoft Whiteboard is now generally available for Windows 10, and enables people to edit, iterate, and work together both in person and in the remote, across many devices in real-time.
“Using pen, touch, and keyboard, you can jot down notes, create tables and shapes, Freeform drawings, and search and insert images from the web.”
A preview on the web and a iOS version will be available soon.
Visio Online is also now available in Microsoft Teams, enabling coworkers to collaborate on diagrams from within their team or channel without toggling between apps.
Update 08/21: Microsoft is making revisions to its Microsoft 365 with a new roadmap that will combine the Windows 10 business and Office 365 roadmaps into a consolidated Microsoft 365 roadmap as of mid-September 2018.
Revealing the plan in the Office 365 Message Center, the company stated last week, “In mid-September, the Office 365 Roadmap will become the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and will move to a new web location. Besides to retaining all the current information and functionality of the existing Office 365 Roadmap, the new site will include Microsoft 365 product features from Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Azure.”
With the new consolidated Microsoft 365 roadmap, users will now be able to search across for terms, like “product,” “cloud instance” and “platform.”
The new roadmap will provide information on the features listed, including whether it’s deploying in “Targeted Release,” preview, specialized cloud instances or worldwide.
Also, as of mid-September, the existing Office 365 URL, will get changed with a new Microsoft 365 Roadmap URL. This is yet to be officially published by Microsoft.