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What’s new: October 2015

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The Office 2016 launch in September was followed by a steady stream of improvements in October. The Skype for Business iOS app is here, and the preview of the new Skype for Business voice and meeting capabilities is now more widely available. FastTrack evolved from an onboarding service to a customer success service to help you realize business value faster with the Microsoft Cloud. Compliance updates include enhanced service organization controls (SOC) audit reports and the launch of local datacenters in India. OneNote inking is better than ever, Sway and Office Lens got enhancements and mobile updates, and the new Office was updated as well. For developers, there’s new on-demand video training, updates from the PnP team and more.

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 2015.

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

Sway supports OneDrive for Business and adds mobile updates—Now when you sign in to Sway.com or Sway for Windows with Office 365 work and school accounts, you can access your OneDrive for Business account from the Insert tab, making it easy to add content stored in OneDrive for Business to your Sway creations. Updates to Sway for iPhone and iPad—such as faster preview and more grouping and navigation options—help you quickly create and share polished, interactive content on the go.

OneNote inking (digital handwriting) better than ever—OneNote on iPad now supports writing with the Pencil by FiftyThree stylus. You can take the notes, lists or sketches you made in the FiftyThree Paper app and send them to OneNote. OneNote for iPad Pro now supports the Apple Pencil stylus. A new feature, Ink Shape Recognition, is coming in November for iPad, iPad Pro and the OneNote Windows 10 app. For Surface users, a new Surface Pen and Pen Tip kit are now available.

Office Lens adds Office 365 support for iOS and enhanced business card scanning and storage—The pocket scanner app just got even more useful for business professionals, teachers and students. Office Lens for iPhone users can now share enhanced documents more securely using Office 365 work and school accounts. All Office Lens users for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone can use the Business Card mode to convert business card information into digital contacts in mobile address books.

Updates to the new Office—Office 2016 launched just last month and already new features are being delivered. Skype voice and video integration in Office Online and Outlook.com was expanded, so you can now see and speak to your Skype contacts. An Office Online extension for Chrome was introduced to give you a quicker way to access and create Office documents on Chrome. And improvements were made to Office on Android apps and the overall Visual Basic Editor (VBE) in Office 2016 for Mac.

Office 365 for Business and Education updates*

Office Delve adds Praise, Favorites and new ways to create content—With Praise (rolling out now to First Release U.S. customers), you can send publicly viewable praise to colleagues. With the new authoring canvas (rolling out now to eligible commercial customers), you can easily create multimedia-rich pages in SharePoint Online. Favorites, which gives you a new way to save information from across Office 365, is available now in the Delve mobile app for iOS and rolling out in the browser experience to First Release customers.

The new Visio is here—Visio 2016 starter diagrams, hundreds of smart shapes, one-step data linking, Information Rights Management (IRM) for compliance and much more make working visually faster and easier than ever. With Visio 2016 diagrams, everyone can easily define business processes, document best practices and visualize the future of initiatives. Using Office 365, you can share Visio diagrams with everyone and communicate one version of the truth to drive organization-wide alignment.

Top teacher-requested features coming to OneNote Class Notebooks—Based on teacher and staff feedback, OneNote Class Notebooks are getting three new capabilities, enabling you to: easily remove a student’s or co-teacher’s permissions from a OneNote Class Notebook; add groups of students (such as a class list) to a OneNote Class Notebook; and grab updates in group membership from your school directory. These improvements are rolling out to education customers in the coming weeks and will be released for OneNote Staff Notebooks soon.

Preview of new Skype for Business voice and meeting capabilities in Office 365 is expanding—The PSTN Conferencing preview is now available in 14 more countries, and the Cloud PBX preview is available worldwide. For users of the PSTN Calling preview in the U.S., number portability has been enabled, and for Cloud PBX customers worldwide, voicemail has been enabled. Soon several IP phone models will become available for preview with Cloud PBX, and a call quality dashboard will be added.

The evolution of FastTrack from onboarding service to customer success service—FastTrack is changing from a one-time benefit to an ongoing benefit and expanding to offer customized support and resources for envisioning, onboarding and driving business value. FastTrack now consists of best practices, tools, resources and personalized remote assistance available through a new web experience (FastTrack.microsoft.com) and the FastTrack Center.

Office 365 services now delivered in India from local datacenters—With the launch of three new datacenters in India—in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai—Office 365 becomes the first global commercial cloud service to provide productivity and collaboration services from within India. With the new datacenters, businesses in India receive the Office 365 security and compliance capabilities, as well as the added benefit of data residency, which is important to organizations in regulated industries.

The Financial Services Compliance Program is rolling out to all eligible customers in financial services—The Financial Services Compliance Program, which extends the standard Office 365, Azure, Intune and Microsoft Dynamics service contracts, provides an additional level of service to help fulfill regulatory needs. It includes: direct access to Microsoft security and compliance staff; information, data and reports related to meeting your unique regulatory obligations; and the ability to request paid one-on-one time to address key questions.

Skype for Business iOS app now available—The new app is now available in the iTunes Store. iPhone users with Lync 2013 will automatically get updated to the new app. iPad users with Lync 2013 need to download the app from the iTunes Store. With the new app, you can join a meeting in one touch, use full-screen video for a more immersive meeting experience, set up multi-factor authentication for enhanced security, and more.

Enhanced service organization controls (SOC) audit reports—Office 365 SOC audit reports have been enhanced with two new trust principles, Processing Integrity and Confidentiality. Controls and test results were also added around data transmission and encryption, security development lifecycle, data replication and data backup. These reports are designed to provide transparency into Office 365 security and compliance controls and the results of control tests as noted by independent third-party auditors.

Office 365 Developer updates

Dev Digest for October—This month’s highlights include code samples that show off the new Office.js APIs, an update to the Office 365 Unified API preview for how you access users’ OneDrive for Business, lots of exciting news from the Office 365 Developer PnP team, on-demand video training for setting up the ASP.NET MVC web application and building the iOS or Android mobile apps from scratch, upcoming hackathons and more. As always, get the list of new and updated dev documentation, code samples, add-ins, Office Dev podcasts, patterns and practices, blog posts, Office Store news and upcoming events.

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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