Back
Office 365

What’s new: September 2015

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share via OneNote Share via Email Print

Office 2016 is here! That’s the big news, but a host of new apps, tools, features, integrations, services and previews arrived in September too. Check out Snip, an exciting new tool for screen captures. For Office 365 for business, there’s a new Office 365 Admin Center Preview and the next-generation sync client for the updated OneDrive for Business is now in preview. There’s also a new Office 365 Import Service, a new experience called Office 365 Planner, and a new service feature, the Office 365 Service Trust Portal. Invite, which helps you easily organize meetings on the go, and Outlook Groups are the new mobile apps. Several posts this month highlight what’s new for Excel 2016 and Project 2016. Others focus on helping admins prepare for, manage and deploy the new Office. For education users, security features were added to Office 365 Education, and the developer community saw the launch of a new Yeoman generator for building Office add-ins. 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: August 2015.

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

Introducing Snip, a new tool to help you get more done in Office—Why just show when you can show and tell in three easy steps? Snip is a new way to perform the familiar task of snipping—capturing material to paste in email, documents or notebooks. With Snip you can capture anything on your screen, add audio narration or inked notes, and then paste the annotated snip, send it as a URL, or save it as an MP4 video. Teachers and students have already caught on to how useful Snip is. Try it yourself and see how much more productive you can be. Download Snip today.

Office updates for the iPad Pro, iOS 9 and WatchOS 2—New features for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Translator have been developed to take advantage of these recently announced Apple enhancements. The new features include multitasking on iPad, inking on iPad, intelligent search on iPad and iPhone, wireless keyboard support for iPad and updates to Outlook and Translator on Apple Watch. The updated apps will be available when the new iPad Pro, iOS 9 and WatchOS 2 are released. If you install the apps now, you’ll get the new features when the updates are published to the App Store.

OneNote adds support for iOS 9 and iPad Pro with multitasking, Spotlight search and Apple Pencil—Support was added for several new features of iOS 9. With Split View you can have OneNote open side-by-side with another app, with Slide Over you can open OneNote atop another app, and Spotlight makes searching your notes much faster. Improvements were added, too, including better UI support for Arabic and Hebrew in iOS 9 and the option to have your page list on the right or left side of the page. And in November, Apple Pencil and iPad Pro support will arrive.

The new Office is here!—The worldwide release of Office 2016 for Windows on September 22 marks a milestone in delivering new value for Office 365 subscribers with a focus on collaboration, apps that work for you, a perfect pairing with Windows 10 and security features businesses will love. It also marks a new model for delivery, which delivers more frequent updates with new features and improvements. Office 2016 for Mac as a one-time purchase option was also released, along with several new and enhanced Office 365 services. Find out how the new Office takes the work out of working together and read highlights of the new apps, Windows 10, Mac users and enterprise.

Office 365 for Business & Education updates*

New security features for Office 365 Education—New features were added to Office 365 Education to help schools meet their security and compliance requirements in the age of collaborative, cloud-connected teaching and learning. In addition to the basic services—Office Online, 1TB of OneDrive storage, Exchange email and Skype—Office 365 Education now includes advanced features such as Legal hold and eDiscovery to help you find and analyze content, Rights Management Services for access control, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to help you identify, monitor and protect sensitive information in your organization. Office 365 Education is free to all academic institutions.

Power Query integrated into Excel 2016—If you often import data into Excel or you need to shape your data before you analyze it and build reports, your get-data experience in Excel is now a lot easier. With Excel 2016, Power Query is no longer an add-in. Power Query technology is integrated into Excel 2016 as part of the Data ribbon, under the Get & Transform section. Power Query enhances the self-service business analytics experience in Excel by simplifying data discovery, access and collaboration. Learn about the new capabilities and try them out for yourself.

Announcing the Office 365 Service Trust Portal—The Office 365 Service Trust Portal (STP) is a new service feature in Office 365 designed to provide deeper information on how Microsoft manages security, compliance and privacy. Insights from this portal help you evaluate how Office 365 maintains compliance with your regulatory requirements and how you can mitigate the risks with moving to Office 365. Through STP you can get direct access to a variety of compliance reports and trust resources, such as Office 365 SOC 1 / SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402, Office 365 SOC 2 / AT 101, and Office 365 ISO 27001 independent audit reports. Find out how to access STP and what it can do for your organization.

Updates to Power Query add-in for Excel 2010 and Excel 2013—The ability to provide a custom query in MDX or DAX when importing data from Analysis Services was added. This allows users to leverage their existing MDX or DAX queries from other tools, instead of having to build them from scratch in Power Query. Improvements to the Navigator dialog include the ability to resize and to multi-select items. Query Editor improvements include easier query group creation and deletion, the ability to extract steps from a query, and updated query icons so they now reflect the type of query.

Send now more widely available—Send is the app that feels like texting and works like email. Send for iPhone became available for Office 365 business and education customers last July, and now Send for Android is available in preview. Also, Send for iPhone and Send for Android are now available in app stores in the UK, Brazil and Denmark as well as the U.S. and Canada. With these updates, even more people can take advantage of Send’s simple, quick text message-like experience when connecting with co-workers, customers and classmates on the go.

Office 365 Import Service—migration to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business just became easier—Office 365 Import Service makes migrating documents to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business faster and simpler. You save time when migrating your data to Office 365 by having the option to copy it to hard drives and ship them instead of using the network to upload large amounts of data. And to simplify the process, a free tool is available to package up your on-premises SharePoint or file share content and prepare it to be imported into Office 365.

New Office 365 Admin Center Preview—To empower administrators to achieve more, the Office 365 Admin Center has been updated to be more intuitive, informative, scalable and insightful. The dashboard and the way you access the tools were simplified, so it’s easier to complete common tasks like adding users or resetting passwords without leaving the dashboard. Not all features are available yet, but you can get a sneak peek in the Office 365 Admin Center Preview, which is rolling out to First Release customers now.

New ways to get the Excel business analytics features you need—The analytics power of Excel 2016—including rich charts and visualization and new data analysis capabilities in Power Pivot—is now available to all Excel 2016 users, no matter which Office plan you purchase. More advanced analytics functionality comes with the premium plans of Office 2016, features such as advanced analytics and modeling capabilities with Power Pivot, connectivity options with Power Query, and collaboration. Plus, there are new ways to get the premium Excel features for Office Professional 2016 users and small business users using one of the Office 365 Business plans.

Seamless real-time communication on the web with Skype, Skype for Business and Microsoft Edge—The Object Real-Time Communications Community (ORTC) API preview for Microsoft Edge is now available in the latest Windows Insider Preview release. The ORTC API preview for Edge is the latest result of a close, ongoing collaboration between the Windows and Skype teams. What does this mean? For developers, it means new ways to build innovative real-time communications into your web-based experiences. For people using Skype and Skype for Business at work or at home, it means calls and meetings on the web will soon get even easier and more seamless.

Admin tools, guidance and resources for Office 2016—This post is a one-stop shop for the tools, guidance and resources admins need to prepare, deploy and manage Office. Find out about improvements to the upgrade and installation experience, the new deployment and management options, and the newly added support for DLP across the Office 2016 apps, multi-factor authentication and other mission-critical control capabilities. New events, tools and resources are coming in November with the kickoff of a new IT- and developer-focused event series, the Microsoft Cloud Roadshow, which will offer free 2-day technical trainings in 12 cities around the world for topics spanning Office, Azure and Windows.

Admins for small and midsized businesses—get ready for Office 2016—Find out what to expect now that Office 2016 has been released and what you need to do. The Office 2016 release for Office 365 introduces a new model for managing and deploying updates, a model primarily for larger enterprise customers that reduces updates to every four months. Small businesses running Office 365 Business will continue to receive regular monthly updates. When Office 2016 is released for Office 365, you’ll receive an email offering you two choices for updating to Office 2016, at your convenience or with automatic upgrades rolling out over several weeks.

The new Office is here!—The worldwide release of Office 2016 for Windows on September 22 marks a milestone in delivering new value for Office 365 subscribers with a focus on collaboration, apps that work for you, a perfect pairing with Windows 10 and security features businesses will love. It also marks a new model for delivery, which delivers more frequent updates with new features and improvements. Office 2016 for Mac as a one-time purchase option was also released, along with several new and enhanced Office 365 services. Find out how the new Office takes the work out of working together and read highlights of the new apps, Windows 10, Mac users and enterprise.

Introducing Office 365 Groups in Outlook 2016 and the Outlook Groups mobile app—Office 365 Groups, the new cross-suite service that enables people to create public or private groups, launched last year. With the Office 2016 launch, two new capabilities are being introduced—Groups in Outlook 2016 and a new mobile app called “Outlook Groups”—that offer a better way to get work done with others and a number of benefits compared to traditional distribution lists. Creating a group is easy and new colleagues can also join existing groups and quickly get up to speed. Find out more about Outlook Groups and the app and how easy they make it to create and join groups, even on the go.

Introducing Office 365 Planner—Office 365 Planner, a new Office 365 experience, gives you a simple and highly visual way to organize teamwork. It makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress. You can use Planner to manage a marketing event, brainstorm new product ideas, track a school project or organize coursework, prepare for a customer visit or just organize your team more effectively. Office 365 Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers starting in the fourth quarter of this year. Find out more, including which Office 365 plans are eligible for Planner.

New app to organize meetings on the go—Invite—Organizing group meetings can be tricky—especially when you’re on the move, trying to coordinate several different schedules on a small screen. A new app, Invite, greatly simplifies this process: you suggest times that work for you and invite attendees; they select all the times they can attend; and you pick the time that works best after everyone has responded. Invite is available for iPhones in the U.S. and Canada, and is coming soon to Windows Phone and Android phones. The app works best with Office 365 business and school subscriptions, but it also works great with any email—Outlook.com, Gmail and Yahoo Mail included.

Office 365—project and portfolio management (PPM) for the mobile-first, cloud-first world—Several apps and add-ins are being acquired for Project Online from Sensei Project Solutions, Inc. and Projectum ApS, winners of the 2014 and 2015 Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) Partner of the Year awards respectively. The mobile apps are Sensei Task Master™, Sensei Project Dashboard™, and Sensei Portfolio Dashboard, and the add-ins are Project Financials and Project Snapshot. These additions to Project Online, plus Wunderlist and Office 365 Planner, give you cloud-based solutions to manage everything from simple tasks to the most advanced projects, programs and portfolios, anywhere, on any device.

ExpressRoute for Office 365 now generally available—Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet. This direct connection offers more predictable network performance, an SLA for guaranteed availability and additional data privacy, all of which are important as more organizations depend on Office 365 for document collaboration and communications. ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators: British Telecom, Equinix, Tata Communications, TeleCity Group and Verizon.

What’s new in Project 2016—Read about the significant updates to Project Professional, Project Pro for Office 365 and Project Online in this release. Project 2016 delivers some of the most requested capabilities: resource management and resource capacity planning. The enhancements supporting these key capabilities are new resource engagements, a brand new experience for resource managers, and capacity heat maps. Other improvements and new features include improved timelines, Tell Me integration and full support for Office add-ins. Project 2016 is immediately available online as part of Office 365.

Deployment scripts for Office 2016—The Office Deployment Scripts for IT Pros community project that began last month helps IT pros with Office client deployments using PowerShell to streamline the process. All of the scripts are available on the GitHub repository. This month’s updates include the addition of a folder structure to help find useful scripts quickly and easily, a wiki to the repository with information designed to provide context for using these scripts in real-world situations, Office 365 ProPlus Configuration XML Editor, the Generate-ODTConfigurationXML PowerShell script, the Update-Office365Anywhere function and more.

Likes and @Mentions coming to Outlook on the web—Soon you’ll be able to use Likes and @Mentions in your workplace email. The new Like feature in Outlook on the web gives you an easy way to visibly endorse a specific email and call it out as worthy of attention. When you’re collaborating in email, Mention makes it easy to call out a specific person for an action or request, or to add a person to an existing thread. Like is rolling out now to Office 365 eligible First Release customers and is expected to start rolling out broadly to eligible Office 365 commercial customers in late October. Mention will begin rolling out to First Release customers in mid-October and broadly to eligible Office 365 commercial customers in mid-November.

Meet the new OneDrive for Business—This is the most significant set of OneDrive for Business updates ever released. First and foremost is the new rock-solid sync client, now in preview. The new client offers improved reliability, selective sync, a new deployment option and more. The preview is rolling it out in stages to make sure the setup experience is smooth and reliable. The next-generation sync client is just one of the many enhancements in this release, which also include a new, simplified browser experience, new sharing options, new mobile app features, critical new IT controls and extended developer options. See how much more you can do and achieve with OneDrive for Business.

Office 365 Developer updates

Dev Digest for September—Read this month’s exciting news, which includes the launch of a new Yeoman generator for building Office add-ins, the general availability of the custom file handler add-ins, and the arrival of Office UI Fabric, a responsive, mobile-first, front-end framework for developers, designed to make it simple to quickly create web experiences using the Office design language. And check out the schedule of onsite conferences and training events for the next six months, so you can prepare for upcoming events. And, as always, get the list of new and updated dev documentation, code samples, Office Dev Show episodes, patterns and practices, blog posts, Office Store news, plus the latest in developer marketing—the newest customer-evidence video touting partner solutions, showing how a Seattle cloud-integration company uses the D&B Business Solutions Excel add-in to more quickly qualify their customer leads and close deals.

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

——————————————————————————–

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

Top