Office 365 Groups is becoming a backbone of team collaboration: here’s what’s new for April

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www.office.com/setup Blogs: Compared to last month, the Office 365 Team has a ton of new features and enhancements for Office 365 Groups available in the April 2017 update. Christophe Fiessinger details all of the newest additions of the April 2017 update to Office 365 in a new blog post. With over 80 million daily users, Microsoft built Office 365 to deliver the tools needed to enhance efficiency and productivity on one manageable platform.

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www.office.com/setup Blogs: Office 365 Groups is quickly becoming a backbone of team collaboration using any app they need to use, including Outlook, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Planner, Yammer, OneNote and Microsoft Teams. Office 365 Groups helps enterprise users communicate and collaborate across all of these applications in the easiest way possible.

Starting today, the Office 365 Team added more enhancements in an effort to help IT admins to more easily manage Office 365 Groups.

  • Restore deleted groups—If you deleted an Office 365 group, it’s now retained by default for a period of 30 days. Within that period, you can restore the group and its associated apps and data via a new PowerShell cmdlet.
  • Retention policies—Manage group content produced by setting up retention policies to keep what you want and get rid of what you don’t need. Admins can now create Office 365 Groups retention policies that apply to the group’s shared inbox and files in one step using the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center.
  • Label management—With labels, you can classify Office 365 Groups emails and documents across your organization for governance, and enforce retention rules based on that classification.

Fiessinger also pointed out some new features and enhancements on the way for Office 365 Groups in the next few months. Office 365 Groups will be adding a new expiry policy, Azure AD naming policy, default classifications and classification descriptions, and classifications available when creating or modifying a group across Office 365 applications.

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Fiessinger announced on Twitter that an AMA session on the Microsoft Tech Community will take place on April 13, 2017, at 9:00 AM PDT to discuss these and current and future Office 365 Groups admin features, enhancements, and updates.

Microsoft Forms gets more useful for educators with these new updates

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www.office.com/setup Blogs: It seems educators are still a major demographic for Microsoft as evident by their continued support and development for classroom use. Today, the Office 365 blog announced that teachers will enjoy three new features available for Microsoft Forms and even a new integration for educators using OneNote.

www.office.com/setup Blogs: In an effort to build up the already useful Microsoft Forms, commonly used for tests, quizzes, and polls, the Office team has released these useful additions:

  • Customizable forms and background images – Teachers can upload their own images to the background of forms. The theme colors also automatically adjust to match the background image, similar to the option for Windows 10 desktop themes.
  • Other Forms portal – A convenient hub for collecting forms that have been shared with the user, so links available to them will be easily accessible. These forms will show title, creator name, number of responses, and if they are still active or not.

While these additions are a welcome addition to Microsoft Forms, they pale in comparison to the added ability to embed forms into OneNote Online. While it might appear simple, the ability to create quizzes and integrate them into a OneNote Class Notebook will help teachers compile quizzes and results all in one place, a feature that educators have been begging for.

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To embed a form into OneNote Online, go to the Insert menu, click Forms, and select a form from the list.

These are just another example of how UserVoice has been important in the development of Microsoft software. If you have feedback for Forms, don’t hesitate to share your opinion. Who knows what the next feature might be?

Latest Sway update adds audio recording, more

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Microsoft’s digital storytelling app Sway is getting a big update today with several new features inspired from user feedback. The first addition is audio notes, which was the “the top request from educators” according to the Office team. Audio recording is only supported with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome for now, and you can see how it works in the image below.

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Sway also allow users to add closed caption files to video or audio cards: you can find the option by expanding the card using the Details button and then clicking the “Add closed caption” button. Users that read your Sways will be able to easily turn closed captions on and choose their preferred language.

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This latest update also brings some interface improvements such as a new navigation view, an autoplay option (including settings for delay) for Office 365 subscribers as well as a view counter for authors. “We officially started the view count on March 13, 2017, so if you see “No data,” this means that the Sway has not had any viewers since that date,” explained the Office team

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It’s great to see that Microsoft is regularly improving Sway by listening to user feedback, and if you have more suggestions for the Office team you can share them on the dedicated UserVoice page.

Windows 10 news recap: Windows 10 Mail to get improved Gmail support, Redstone 3 arriving in September and more

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Welcome back to our Windows 10 news recap. We are continuing the trend of our weekly “Windows 10 news recap” series where we go over the top stories of the past week in the world of Microsoft’s flagship operating system.

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Focused Inbox, more coming to Gmail accounts in Windows 10 Mail and Calendar

The built-in Windows 10 Mail and Calendar app is adding additional features for Gmail account holders. Gmail users, currently in the Windows Insider program, are now able to use Focused Inbox, as well as track packages and travel, as well as improved inbox search.

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Windows 10 “Cloudbook” minimum specs leaked

Microsoft is working on a competitor to Google’s Chromebooks, known as Windows 10 Cloudbook’s for now. Now, the minimum specs for these new Windows 10 devices have been leaked, showing that they’ll be slower than Google’s equivalent.

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Dropbox UWP app gets Project Neon redesign on Windows 10

With Project Neon design flowing through apps such as Groove Music, Dropbox has now brought the new design language to its UWP app.

Redstone 3 coming in September; Microsoft commits to Windows 10, Office releases twice a year

Microsoft has announced that Redstone 3, the next major iteration of Windows 10, is to arrive in September. In addition to this, the company has committed itself to 2 major releases of Windows 10 and Office per year, arriving in March and September of each consecutive year.

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That’s all the top Windows 10 news for this week – we’ll be back next week with more!

Microsoft introduces To-Do and a lot more in a busy April for Office 365

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www.office.com/setup Blogs: As April is soon coming to a close, the Office team has once again published its monthly recap of all the new features that shipped to Office 365 users this month, and the list is pretty big. The most important release may well be Microsoft To-Do, Microsoft’s new task management app that is expected to replace Wunderlist in the near future. The app is now available in preview on the web, Windows 10, iOS and Android, but it’s already pretty solid.

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Windows 10 users also saw the Skype UWP finally go out of preview this month. The latest version now uses the Compact Overlay windows that are now available for UWP apps in the Windows 10 Creators Update, but the app definitely remains a work in progress. It ships with Windows 10 (and Windows 10 Mobile), but power users may need to keep using the legacy Skype desktop app for now, which is more versatile.

The Skype UWP app can now use compact overlay windows.

In other Skype related news, Skype Translator added Japanese speech translation support this month, and Skype users can also learn how to cook with the brand new “Heston bot” inspired by legendary Chef Heston Blumenthal. Who said that Skype was just a messaging app?

Some people may still find it difficult to consider iPads as productivity devices, but Microsoft obviously does: the Office iOS apps work great on the iPad, and this month Powerpoint users may have seen that Designer is now available in the mobile presentation app. “Now when you’re on the go with your iPad, you can get professional design options for slides with images and certain types of text,” shared the Office team.

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Moving now to new features restricted to Office 365 commercial customers: the first important addition this month was Outlook Customer Manager, which is now rolling out to all Office 365 Business Premium subscribers. This new feature is available in Outlook on Windows desktops, iOS and the web, and gives you automatic reminders about customer inquiries, suggested company information from Bing as well as integration with Microsoft Flow.

Outlook users will also be pleased to learn that Office 365 Groups are now supported in Outlook for Mac, iOS and Android. “Now you can view your groups list, read and respond to group conversations, add group events to your calendar and more in Outlook on every platform,” explained the Office team. The new Groups integration is currently rolling out to these new platforms, but we remind you that it was already available on the web and the Outlook desktop app on Windows.

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Another new feature worth mentioning is the integration of Office 365 groups in the Office desktop apps on Windows, making it easier than ever to edit documents in your frequently used groups. You can see how it works in the image below:

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You can now access your frequently used groups directly within Office apps.

As for new security features, the Office team announced this month several security and compliance updates for Office 365 customers:

  • Office 365 Threat Intelligence is now generally available, helping customers identify cyber security threats by leveraging the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph.
  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) Safe Links is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint to protect users from clicking malicious links.
  • A new Data Loss Protection (DLP) policy management page also provides easy access to app permissions, device security policies and content protection policies.

Last but not least, Microsoft announced earlier this month an expansion of the Office 365 Enterprise K1 Plan, which will now provide better value to frontline workers. The new plan includes additional products such as StaffHub, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business and remains at $4 per user per month. The new capabilities will begin rolling out to customers in the next several weeks, Microsoft said.