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What’s new: April 2016

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Collaboration got a big boost this month with the initial release of the Skype for Business for Mac Preview, sharing and messaging updates to the Office 2016 desktop client, the ability to create external Yammer groups and more. So did mobility, with the new Calendar Apps for Outlook on iOS and Android, new Project Portfolio Dashboard apps, and support for mobile application management (MAM) and conditional access capabilities for Skype for Business mobile apps. Plus, a new home page is rolling out to all Office 365 users, Safety Tips for email are here, FastTrack is expanding, and Get &Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in for Excel got a host of updates. For teachers, the OneNote Class Notebook add-in now includes LMS assignment and grade integration. And for developers, there are presentations on Office add-ins, 2016 Build, and authentication, Angular 2 and Cordova.

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: March 2016.

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

Introducing Wunderlist, Facebook and Evernote in Outlook on iOS and Android—Get a far better view of your day, week and months ahead with the newly launched  Calendar Apps for Outlook on iOS and Android. With Calendar Apps, you can connect your apps—Wunderlist, Facebook and Evernote to start with—to see all your tasks, events and notes from your digital life in one place: your Outlook calendar.

Outlook on the web makes going on vacations less stressful—Outlook on the web now makes it easier to head out for time away from the office. When you set an automatic reply in Outlook on the web, Outlook offers to: block your calendar so people know you’re away, clear existing meetings on your calendar by declining/canceling them, automatically send a response to incoming invitations while you’re away. These options are rolling out to Office 365 users of Outlook on the web and users of the new Outlook.com.

Add videos, choose your viewing experience and tell your story in more languages on Sway—With the newest features, you can create engaging Sways even more easily. You can now add videos stored in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, YouTube and even your device to Sway. You can choose the way you view a Sway—horizontally, vertically or in the familiar mode. And Sway is now available in 14 more languages.

New to Office 365—Skype for Business Mac Preview, bringing collaboration to the forefront in Office and more—The Skype for Business Mac Preview has begun rolling out, with public availability planned for the third quarter of 2016. Updates to the Office 2016 desktop client enhance collaboration, with new core sharing capabilities, a new document activity feed, presence information and Skype for Business instant messaging available at a glance in documents you’re sharing. You can also now create external Yammer groups, and collaborate more easily with the editing, recording, inking and other improvements in Office Mobile apps on Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

OneNote and Office Lens updates—In OneNote, you can now insert and view content from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Sway and more, right alongside your notes. Updates to the work and school sign-in process in OneNote for Windows let you now sign in to OneNote for the first time using your Office 365 organization ID. Audio recording was added to OneNote for the Windows Phone. New features in OneNote on iOS make it easier to organize notes on the canvas, and Smart Lookup is now available in OneNote Online. Check out the new features of Office Lens, the popular pocket scanner, too.

Office 365 for Business and Education updates*

Take back your time with Delve Analytics—Get a deeper look at Delve Analytics, the Office 365 capability that delivers insights about how you work, helping you work smarter, not harder. Watch the video and read about your Delve Analytics personal dashboard for work, which gives you a summary of how much time you’ve spent in the current week in meetings, on email, in focused work time and working after hours. You can watch a Microsoft Mechanics show to learn about the future of Delve Analytics too.

Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in updates—Excel 2016 includes a new set of features that provides fast, easy data gathering and shaping capabilities and can be accessed through Get & Transform on the Data ribbon. Updates include two new or improved data connectivity features: ODBC Connector, support for selecting User/System DSNs; and CSV Connector, the ability to specify Column Delimiter in the Source dialog. These updates are available to Office 365 subscribers. If you have Excel 2010 or Excel 2013, you can get the updates by downloading the latest Power Query for Excel add-in.

New usage reports for SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and Skype available—New usage reports for SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Yammer and Skype for Business are rolling out now. Along with the new reporting dashboard in the Office 365 admin center, the new usage reports make it easy to monitor your service and identify issues and opportunities. They also give you metrics to use in reporting to management. And they provide both aggregate and user-level information, so you can effectively plan training and communication that helps your users take full advantage of Office 365.

Office 365 security and compliance updates—Customer Lockbox is rolling out to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Office 365 third-party archiving is now available, and you can now reduce eDiscovery costs and challenges with Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery, which helps you investigate and meet legal obligations even more quickly. New security management capabilities are coming to Office 365 with Microsoft Cloud App Security, a comprehensive cloud access security broker (CASB) solution that will also power new advanced security management capabilities for Office 365 to improve IT visibility and control.

Office 365 administration updates—Improvements to the new Office 365 admin center make it faster, easier and more efficient to manage the service. The latest updates include expanded search, a new tile on the dashboard that makes it easy to see the status of your Directory Synchronization (DirSync), new usage reports and additional user list management functionality. With the new features added to the Office 365 admin mobile app, you can now protect your organization’s email, manage license count, manage groups, conference rooms, equipment and shared mailboxes and more.

Email Safety Tips in Office 365—Safety Tips are rolling out in Exchange Online Protection, an additional layer of protection that provides a warning to the user. The Safety Tips are displayed at the top of the email in one of four color-coded categories: Suspicious, Unknown, Trusted or Safe. All four types are included in Outlook on the web; in Outlook clients, desktop and mobile, only the Suspicious safety tip is displayed.

Announcing content viewing for Skype for Business on Android and updates to iOS—You can now view a presenter’s desktop and applications shared in a meeting on your Skype for Business app for Android, and content viewing on the Skype for Business app for iOS has been greatly improved.  iOS and Android users who have Enterprise Voice enabled now have the option to easily switch the meeting to your cellular line in case of weak Wi-Fi or data connection, so you can always stay connected to your meeting.

OneDrive for Business recognized as an EFSS leader and continues momentum with spring updates—OneDrive for Business was recently named a Leader by Forrester Research in “The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise File Sync and Share Platforms, Cloud Solutions, Q1 2016.” Not resting on its laurels, the OneDrive for Business team has added improvements and new capabilities in the sync, browser and mobile experiences, as well as new IT controls for administrators. Watch the video in the post for an overview of the updates.

Introducing a new home page experience for Office 365 users—A new, more intuitive home page experience is rolling out, providing more consistent and unified experiences for work, education and home users across every device and new features for administrators and users. The new home page experience includes a simplified, responsive design, tool tips that highlight new and unused features and easier installation of Office. Check it out.

Updates for the OneNote Class Notebook add-in, including LMS assignment and grade integration—Teachers can now create and grade assignments in their Class Notebook that show up in their Learning Management System (LMS) or the new Microsoft Classroom. Learn how to connect OneNote and your Class Notebook to your Learning Management System (LMS), create assignments and push grades from OneNote to LMS. To see these and other new improvements working together, watch an Office Mix by a teacher.

Announcing new experiences for teachers and students in Office 365 Education—New experiences and updates are coming in the U.S. this summer. Microsoft Classroom provides a single experience for managing all classes and assignment workflow—with teacher and student views. Microsoft Forms lets teachers or students quickly create custom surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more. School Data Sync (SDS) enables class creation and updates in Microsoft Classroom. Learn about these new experiences and the updates to OneNote Class Notebooks and OneNote Staff Notebooks on the way.

FastTrack expanding to help Office 365 customers with end-user adoption—FastTrack, the customer success service for Office 365, is designed to help you move to the cloud and realize business value faster.  User adoption services are being added, providing comprehensive guidance, content and best practices for a successful rollout. End-user awareness kits and end-user training are also being introduced for the most fundamental usage scenarios. Read how the Mott MacDonald Group and the Richland Police Department used FastTrack to help with Office 365 adoption and find out how you can engage with FastTrack.

New Office 365 Project Portfolio Dashboard apps now live—The Project Portfolio Dashboard apps are now available in the Apple and Office app stores. The apps come pre-configured with powerful dashboards that allow business leaders, portfolio managers and project managers to gain insights into resource utilization, project portfolio performance, costs, active risks/issues, key milestones and more. Find out how to download the Project Portfolio Dashboard web app and Project Portfolio Dashboard for the iPad.

First step to the all-new Skype for Business for Mac—The release of the Skype for Business Mac Public Preview has begun. Commercial customers can request an invite to test the Mac client at www.SkypePreview.com. Invitations are being issued to IT administrators to download the client. In the coming weeks the preview will gradually be expanded in three stages leading to public availability, planned for the third quarter of 2016. The initial release lets you see and join meetings. Instant messaging, presence and contacts will be added in Phase 2, and telephony and related features in Phase 3.

Introducing Yammer external groups—You can now include people outside your company in a Yammer group, making it easier for extended teams to work together. External groups allow team members with appropriate permissions from outside your organization to fully participate in projects by providing access to all the conversations and content in the group. Yammer helps maintain the security of your network data by listing all external groups in a distinct section under the Groups menu and using clear indicators in the UI that alert users to the presence of external team members.

More updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in—New or improved data transformation features include: the ability to append multiple tables within a single Append operation, one-click Percentage transform and more. New or improved data connectivity features include: support for jagged CSV files, Exchange connector—OAuth support, SharePoint List Connector—URL validation and more. Improvements to previews were also made. These updates are available to Office 365 subscribers. If you have Excel 2010 or Excel 2013, you can get the updates by downloading the latest Power Query for Excel add-in.

Mobile application management and conditional access now available for Skype for Business Online with Intune—Support for mobile application management (MAM) and conditional access capabilities for Skype for Business mobile apps for online customers is here. These capabilities are delivered through integration with Intune. With the core Intune MAM and conditional access capabilities, you can manage and prevent data loss from Skype for Business apps. Support for conditional access policies with Intune for the Skype for Business iOS and Android apps enables IT to restrict access to the apps from compliant iOS and Android devices only.

Office 365 developer updates

New in Office add-ins, plus IT admin and deployment updates—Get a look at what the updates to the Office extensibility model and Office add-ins mean for IT admins. Watch Jeremy Thake and Jeremy Chapman highlight new capabilities announced at 2016 Build for both developers and users, while demonstrating new deployment options to get add-ins to users directly from the Office 365 admin portal. They also show new capabilities with Office 365 Connectors and how you can integrate your team collaboration experience with third-party services

Episode 090 on the 2016 Build Conference—Office 365 Developer Podcast—In this episode, Jeremy Thake and Richard DiZerega discuss the exciting announcements from the 2016 Build Conference, Jeremy’s transition to Azure Marketing and the future of the show. Listen to the podcast and get the list of weekly updates (code snippets, release notes, developer webcasts and instructions for creating Office add-ins) and show notes.

Episode 091 on Angular 2 with Sahil Malik—Office 365 Developer Podcast—In this episode, Richard DiZerega talks with Sahil Malik about what it means to be a developer with Office 365 and the Office 365 work Sahil has been doing with authentication, Angular 2 and Cordova. Listen to the podcast and get the list of weekly updates (getting started with the Dialog API in Office add-ins, working with Outlook Tasks API, deploying Office add-ins through the admin center and more) and show notes.

The latest news for devs—For the latest dev news, code samples, resources and documentation, as well as help getting started with Office 365 APIs, Office add-ins and more, follow this site.

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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