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What’s new: October 2014

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October featured updates pretty much across all Office 365 services. First was the launch of Office Sway, the first completely new Office experience in over a decade. Students and teachers can look forward to updates for OneNote, a new class notebook app, Office Mix and more. Office 365 small and midsize business customers have new subscription plan options, security and protection services released plans for tons of new innovation rolling out now and in the first half of 2015. And communication on Mac OS X got better with a new Outlook for Mac app, and an updated Lync for Mac. Leave us a comment to let us know what your favorite new feature is. If you missed last month’s updates, see What’s New: September 2014.

Office 365 Personal, Office 365 Home and Office 365 University updates

Office Sway – A brand new app to the Office portfolio. Say hello to Sway! Sway is an entirely different way to express yourself and bring your ideas to life. When your ideas are born, you want to explore, visualize and share them—quickly and easily, wherever you happen to be, and on whatever device you have. You want your ideas to be understood. Sway helps you do just that. It’s a new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas, from your phone or browser.

OneNote + Chegg Study – A new Clip It button, right next to any Q&A, saves all the answers into OneNote. From there, students can use OneNote to build their study guides, study with friends and take notes.

OneNote class notebooks -The app creates OneNote class notebook, which is organized into three areas: Student notebooks: Private notebooks that are shared between the teacher and each individual student. Teachers can access these notebooks at any time, but students cannot see each other’s notebooks; Content library: A place where teachers can handout course materials to students; Collaboration space: A space for anyone in the class to share, organize and collaborate.

PowerPoint Online spellcheck improvements – To help you deliver great, error-free presentations we added spell check to the PowerPoint Online editor. We previously utilized the browser spell check for PowerPoint Online, but we switched to the high quality Office spell checker. When you are editing text in PowerPoint Online, misspelled words are flagged with a red underline.

Outlook.com supports sharing large OneDrive files – OneDrive now supports up 10 GB single files. Outlook.com lets you share large files with the Share from OneDrive feature.

Office Mix updates – Three new features have been added based on customer feedback. First you can now record an Office Mix “Live” as you’re presenting. Second, we’ve improved Office Mix editing to make it easier for you to record yourself by enabling pause and resume so you can take breaks while recording. Third, we added search to the Office Mix Gallery to help you find mixes in an ever-growing gallery of community content.

Office Online app launcher – We’re starting to roll out the new app launcher for our consumer services—namely Office Online, Outlook.com and OneDrive. Outlook.com users have been switching apps this way for quite some time, so today’s change represents a small visual change. However, the exciting news is that now launching apps is the same whether you’re working or tending to your personal life.

OneDrive for Office 365 subscribers now includes unlimited storage – OneDrive for Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, and Office 365 University will now provide users unlimited storage.

OneNote for OS X and iOS updates – Now you can add files from your favorite cloud storage service to OneNote on your iPhone or iPad. We added support for adding, changing and removing section passwords from any Apple device. On iPhone, you can now rearrange your pages. In OneNote for Mac you can now open and sync notebooks stored on SharePoint Server.

Office 365 for business updates*

Office 365 Business, Business Essentials, and Business Premium – Three new subscription plans are available for small and midsize businesses. The new plans offer more flexibility for mixing and matching plans across Office 365 and support up to 300 users each.

One-Time Passcode for Office 365 Message Encryption – Previously, when you received a message encrypted with Office 365 Message Encryption, you could view the encrypted message only by using a Microsoft account. Now, with the addition of the One-Time Passcode capability, you can view an encrypted message you receive without having to sign in with a Microsoft account. If you have a Microsoft account, you now have the option to view an encrypted message by selecting one-time passcode instead of signing in with your account.

Share OneDrive for Business files with Outlook Web App – Two new ways help you share files with OWA. First, when you send an email in OWA, you can easily insert a link to a file on your OneDrive for Business cloud drive instead of attaching the file itself. Second, when you send an attachment from your computer or device you can now automatically upload the file to your OneDrive for Business cloud drive and share the file as a link to that location.

PowerPoint Online spellcheck improvements – To help you deliver great, error-free presentations we added spell check to the PowerPoint Online editor. We previously utilized the browser spell check for PowerPoint Online, but we switched to the high quality Office spell checker. When you are editing text in PowerPoint Online, misspelled words are flagged with a red underline.

Improving Outlook Web App options and settings – Going forward, when you click an item in the drop-down menu or the Options link, under the gear icon, you’re taken to a new interface, where all the options and settings are now available in a single, streamlined, navigation tree on the left

Instant messaging options in Lync 2013 – A new IM tab in the Lync Options dialog lets you Hide Pictures in IM, a customer requested option.

Office 365 app launcher – The app launcher offers a customizable single point of access to the applications you use daily. Simply click the top left app launcher icon to open the app launcher—from there you can launch into creating documents, presentations or check Yammer for the latest updates from colleagues. The app launcher enables you to put your important tools where you want them—using the pin and un-pin functionality.

Lync Online client devices report – A new Lync Online client devices report, which tells you how many users in your organization have used one specific type of device to take part in peer-to-peer or conference in a specified month. The metrics in this report are available through PowerShell Cmdlet: Get-CsClientDeviceReport, RESTFul WebService API: CsClientDeviceMonthly as well as a graphical report in Office 365 admin center for client devices.

Project online performance improvements – We have started to roll out performance enhancements to Project Online tenants worldwide, a few common things that will feel much snappier as a result of these investments are: navigating to a specific project from Project Center, interacting with projects on the web, creating and publishing a project, and submitting timesheets. We are also providing new levers to Project Online administrators to further enhance the value for their organizations. These are designed to improve performance when creating projects, working with Project Detail Pages and publishing projects including the option to turn off the creation of Enterprise Project sites and the option to turn off the Task List Sync. We also successfully addressed a few key customer requirements around improved scale by increasing Projects limit per PWA instance to 5,000.

Office 365 help US government customers with IRS 1075 – Office 365 Government now supports customer compliance with IRS 1075, which provides guidance to ensure that the policies, practices, controls and safeguards employed by recipient agencies adequately protect the confidentiality of Federal Tax Information (FTI) and related financial data. IRS 1075 also prioritizes security aspects that include data center parameters such as employee activity, data center contractors, limited entry and IRS safeguard reviews.

Smarter spreadsheet search in Office 365 – You can now gain better visibility into your spreadsheets in Office 365. We integrated the spreadsheet risk assessment concepts directly into the enterprise search capability that’s already crawling your document libraries and cataloging your spreadsheets. This means that you can quickly search for spreadsheets based on properties that help you understand their complexity and business impact.

Lync for Mac update – In this update we’ve added Media Resiliency and Conversation History, as well as additional support for Apple OS X Yosemite.

SSL 3.0 Vulnerability – Starting on December 1, 2014, Office 365 will begin disabling support for SSL 3.0. This means that from December 1, 2014, all client/browser combinations will need to utilize TLS 1.0 or higher to connect to Office 365 services without issues. This may require certain client/browser combinations to be updated.

OneNote for OS X and iOS updates – Now you can add files from your favorite cloud storage service to OneNote on your iPhone or iPad. We added support for adding, changing and removing section passwords from any Apple device. On iPhone, you can now rearrange your pages. In OneNote for Mac you can now open and sync notebooks stored on SharePoint Server.

Office 365 network and performance tuning – Between the Microsoft infrastructure and end users there is the public Internet, the customer on-premises network and Internet connection, and important client application configuration steps. The two new content areas we have focused on are: capacity and other planning for network connectivity to Office 365 and tuning and troubleshooting performance issues connecting to Office 365.

Advanced encryption at rest with per-file encryption – We have rolled out advanced encryption at rest for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business called per-file encryption. Per-file encryption technology encrypts every individual file stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business with its own unique key, and also encrypts each subsequent update to the file with an additional unique key. This granular level of encryption vastly reduces the risk of unauthorized access to the content.

Data loss prevention for Office 365 – Building on the DLP capabilities in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, new options to restrict and block access, user policy education via email, and Information Rights Management options are coming over the next few months. Additionally in 2015 FCI content classification support will be added. The Office apps will also be getting improved DLP notification capabilities sometime in 2015.

Outlook for Mac for Office 365 – The new Outlook for Mac includes: Better performance and reliability as a result of a new threading model and database improvements, a new modern user interface with improved scrolling and agility when switching between Ribbon tabs, Exchange archive support for searching Exchange (online or on-premises) archived mail, Master Category List support and enhancements delivering access to category lists (name and color) and sync between Mac, Windows and OWA clients, Office 365 push email support for real-time email delivery, and faster first-run and email download experience with improved Exchange Web Services syncing.

Office 365 developer updates

Office 365 Reporting Web Service client library – With this client library, you can fetch data from a report, specify a date range for target querying, remember the last record you fetched for continuous data exporting, implement your own record and trace logger processor.

Apps for Outlook.com – Next spring, Outlook.com will support third-party apps that will allow users to be more productive than ever, and will allow developers to share their app with our 400 million active customers. The best part, you can start building your apps now—for Outlook Web App—and they’ll work with Outlook.com come spring 2015.

New Office 365 extensibility for Windows, iOS, Android, and web developers – We announced three new capabilities for developers: general availability of new Office 365 APIs for mail, files, calendar and contacts, new mobile SDKs for native app development, and visibility for developers’ apps through the new Office 365 app launcher.

Please note that some of the updates may take time to show up in your Office 365 account, because they’re being rolled out to customers worldwide.

— Andy O’Donald @andyodonald

 

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*Not all updates apply to every Office 365 plan; please check the individual post for specifics.

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2 comments
  1. Is there a way to change the way new email messages are displayed? I don’t like the OWA feel with the blue bar in the new Outlook. Can I turn that view off and simply have new messages appear in bold?

    • this is regarding the new Outlook for Mac

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