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Office 365 Centralized Deployment GA, New Immersive Reader, Planner App for iPhone, Android

The Centralized Deployment service in Office 365 is now generally available, allowing administrators to easily deploy Office web add-ins to individual users, groups or an entire organization — either from admin center or by using PowerShell scripts.

With the service, “add-ins that are built within an organization for internal use, or from Office Store or Microsoft AppSource,” can be deployed using Centralized Deployment to tenants worldwide.

Office add-ins help Office users to personalize their work experience and streamline data access. Now, with this service simply open Office applications — such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint on Windows, Mac or Office Online — to see add-ins installed on ribbons. That allows organizations large and small to easily extend Office with high-value services across all platforms.

In the image below, you can see Office 365 admin center displaying a list of add-ins that can be deployed using Centralized Deployment:

Central deplyment of Office 365 add-ons
Central deplyment of Office 365 add-ons

Microsoft Planner mobile app is now available for iPhone and Android, enable teams to organize and assign tasks, share files, get updates and chat, and view and update plans on the go.

People new to Planner can access the web app via tasks.office.com to start and build plans. Existing users can access Planner through web and mobile.

As of today, Planner is available to customers with Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Business Premium and Education subscription plans.

Microsoft also plan to add “push notifications, ability to create new plans from the mobile app and integration with Intune” in the coming months.

Microsof Planner App for iPhone and Android
Microsof Planner App for iPhone and Android

Side-by-side images of the Planner mobile app on the iPhone (left) and Android (right).

Get the Microsoft Planner mobile app for Android and iOS.

Immersive Reader, which uses techniques proven to help people read more effectively, is being expanded to now 14 languages, across new apps and platforms, and geographiccally.

With today’s release, its’ now available for Outlook.com, Outlook on the web and OneNote Windows 10 app. With ‘Read Aloud’ feature now support 14 new languages, while the Syllables, which shows the breaks between syllables to help with decoding, is being added to four languages.

The ‘Parts of Speech’ feature that identifies different types of words, is now being enabled for various apps and in several languages.

Immersive Reader brings increased accessibility to Outlook on the web
Immersive Reader on Outlook on the web

The Immersive Reader in Outlook on the web or Outlook.com can be launched using any of the following ways:

  • On any received message, select the Reply all drop-down and then select Show in immersive reader.
  • Right-click any message and select Show in immersive reader.
  • From the main message view, click the … and select Show in immersive reader.

With June OneNote Windows 10 app update, it’ll be available via View menu and will be pre-installed to all customers. A red square highlights Immersive Reader button located under the View menu.

Immersive Reader in OneNote Windows 10 app
Immersive Reader in OneNote Windows 10 app

In addition, the company has also announced ‘Try it out,’ an updated and enhanced capability on the recently redesigned Microsoft Learning Tools landing page, that allows anyone to try out Immersive Reader without having an Office 365 ID or a Microsoft account.

And finally, for OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in, a new Japanese dictation, plus bug fixes and other small improvements are launched.

The tool available since February, on Word Online and OneNote Online, includes the following features:

  • Read Aloud—Reads text out loud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining the reader’s focus and attention.
  • Spacing—Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users with visual crowding issues.
  • Syllables—Shows the breaks between syllables to enhance word recognition and decoding.
  • Parts of Speech—Supports writing instruction and grammar comprehension by identifying verbs, nouns and adjectives.

Check out the Learning Tools language support page to see all currently supported languages for the Immersive Reader. And, try it out through the updated and enhanced landing page for Learning Tools.

On Wednesday, Microsoft has also released a new Office Insider build to Fast users, bringing the build to 8201.2025, containing mostly improvements for Excel and Outlook, along side PowerPoint, that now allow adding closed captions to videos in presentations.

Here’s what’s new for Excel 2016:

  • Enhanced data import functionality Easily import and shape data from various sources. Manage workbook queries and connection with the Queries & Connection side pane, and share queries with others via ODC files.
  • Keep the copy Copy your cells and , before you paste, you can still do other tasks like typing or inserting cells.
  • New data transformation: Add Column From Examples In the Query Editor, create a new column by providing sample values. As you type, Excel detects the required transformations and shows a preview of the new column.

New in Outlook 2016:

  • Improved attachment options When attaching files to an email, you can more easily select whether to add it as a cloud file or as a traditional attachment.
  • Quickly access the groups you use the most Groups you’re most likely to interact with now appear at the top of the list.

A new Outlook build for Mac Insiders on the Fast ring, versioned 15.36 (170530) bring a range of fixes and improvements such as:

  • New sidebar: Delete All now works properly for folders in All Accounts
  • New sidebar: After deleting an account, unread counts for folders in All Accounts are properly updated
  • Templates: Template files sent via email now open correctly
  • Send later: Reply and forward headers now show actual delivery time instead of scheduled time
  • When switching from Kerberos to another authentication method, the new method is now used instead of Kerberos
  • Performance has been improved for Empty Cache for folders and bulk permanent delete

Also, released today is a new Office Insider Preview build for iOS — version number is 2.2 (170530) — that introduces a new feature, letting users to save a document or spreadsheet as a PDF in Word and Excel.

In addtion, users can now open more types of files in Excel, including those contain binary template files. While in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, users will now be able to choose whether the Apple Pencil selects or inks by default.

And, in Visio, now choose “iOS Document Provider to view Visio files no matter where they’re stored.”

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