What’s new: April 2015

The April Office 365 updates includes new apps, integrations, security capabilities and opportunities for developers, along with enhancements to existing services and apps. There’s a new pocket scanner app for iPhone and Android phones and, for business users, there are new apps for automatic data insights, company videos, and personalized search and discovery. Improvements to OneNote, Office Mix and Sway make doing research and creating presentations easier than ever, while improvements to Outlook, Delve, and Power Query help keep you productive at work. Plus Skype for Business is here, the first partners are bringing add-ins to Outlook, and public previews of Data Loss Prevention capabilities in SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Office 2016 applications are on the way. A new email filtering service, now in private preview, is expected to be available this summer. 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 2015.

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

Office Lens comes to iPhone and Android—Office Lens, one of the most popular free apps on Windows Phone, is now available on iPhone and Android phones. What makes it so popular? It’s a capture app that turns your phone into a pocket scanner and it works with OneNote. Use it to take pictures of receipts, business cards, menus, whiteboards or sticky notes, then let Office Lens crop, enhance and save to OneNote. Just like that—the images you captured are accessible across your devices.

Office Online and Dropbox on the web are now integrated—The latest step in making it easier to work with your Office applications and Dropbox is here. Now, when you’re working in Office Online you can add your Dropbox account to easily browse, open and edit Office files with Office Online. You can also save files created in Office Online directly to Dropbox. The same integration is available from Dropbox in a web browser. You can access Office Online directly from the file you’re viewing, open it, and start editing using Office Online.

OneNote updates—Clip it to OneNote is a new feature in Bing Image Search that lets you organize images and links that you’re researching into your personal online notebook. And you now have the option to hide spelling errors in OneNote Online. When you’re brainstorming and don’t need to proof, you can hide those red squiggles that highlight spelling errors, so you can focus on content. As always with OneNote, all your notes are on all your devices.

Enhancements to Office Mix­—Office Mix just added two new ways to help you deliver compelling presentations and better engage your audience. With Slide Notes, your notes are displayed at the top of your screen. It’s like having a teleprompter for recording your mix, so you can focus on connecting with your audience, rather than worrying about memorizing your delivery.  And with closed captioning, you can make your mixes easier to see, hear and use.

Sway is now collaborative—Sway lets you create polished content in a new and interactive way to share with others. And now you can work on Sways together in real-time, from class projects to business reports to vacation recaps. It’s simple. Share an edit link with anyone you want to work with. They click the link, log in and start editing. You can track who is editing and control access. You can make a copy your Sways now, too, to preserve your original, create a template, or customize a presentation for your audience.

Sway updates—The recent improvements to Sway help you create even more engaging presentations. You can now create interactive charts, and you can use the new Focus Points to tell Sway what to focus on in your images, so you can bring what’s important in your images into focus. Plus there’s a new option for formatting your content and it’s easier to embed Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files from your OneDrive or PC/Mac. Sway for iPhone v1.3 got updates too, including improved sign-in and accessibility.

Office 365 for Business updates*

Introducing Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection—Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is a new email filtering service that provides additional protection against specific types of advanced threats. ATP extends the Exchange Online Protection by providing protection against unknown malware and viruses, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs, and rich reporting and URL trace capabilities. Currently in private preview, ATP is expected to be available this summer as an optional service for Office 365 commercial customers.

Skype for Business is here!—The new Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) rolled out as part of the April monthly update for Office 2013, and Skype for Business Online is rolling out to Office 365 customers worldwide. If you currently use Lync Online in Office 365, the new Skype for Business user experience will appear for you in the coming weeks. If your organization needs more time to prepare for Skype for Business, administrators can switch between Skype for Business and the traditional Lync user interface.

New BeyondCore Apps for Office for automatic data insights—Analyze and present data insights in a flash! BeyondCore’s App for Excel helps you discover the right questions to ask of data and how to interpret insights accurately. It automatically evaluates data in Excel workbooks and provides curated graphs and narrative explanations that point out the statistically significant insights. You can export the insights to a PowerPoint presentation or Word document, and then customize these reports using the BeyondCore App for Word and App for PowerPoint.

6 updates for Power Query for Excel—A Power Query for Excel update is now available and is packed with lots of new features, including: a new Navigator dialog that gives you search capabilities and more, the ability to create new queries from the Query Editor, a new Launch Editor button on the Power Query ribbon tab, additional filter options for Date/Time columns in Query Editor, support for specifying a port number when connecting to a database, and performance improvements. Download the updated Power Query today.

Office 365 now supports larger email messages—up to 150 MB—The maximum message size has increased to 150 MB. The default maximum message size is still 25 MB, but Office 365 administrators can now set the maximum message size to the size that’s right for their organization, from 1 MB up to 150 MB. And you can customize the maximum message size for any and all your mailboxes however you see fit. You can make the changes in the Exchange Admin Center or use Remote PowerShell.

Enhanced non-delivery reports (NDRs) in Office 365—Over the next months, NDRs generated by Office 365 will be enhanced to make it easier for ordinary users to understand and fix message delivery problems. The NDRs will explain the problem and why it’s happening in everyday language, with clear instructions on how to fix it.  An additional section of the NDR for admins and tech support provides an in-depth explanation of the problem and solution, often with technical details and links to more information.

Outlook updates for iOS and Android—Improvements continue to roll out. Outlook’s People section is now a complete address book—an alphabetical list of contacts from all your email accounts. To find people who are not in your contact list, you can now use Directory search, both in People or when you’re composing an email. Scheduling is easier with the new three-day calendar view, and searching your email is faster now that your search term is highlighted in the message list. More features, like mobile device management, are on the way.

Outlook for Android comes out of preview— Since the preview was released in January, Outlook for Android has been updated 17 times to meet the high bar the team set for this app—that is an update a week! A big part of that work focused on improving performance and stability, along with work on localization and accessibility. The team also focused on delivering features to add value, match the iOS version, and respond to your feedback. They’ll continue this pace of updates to make the app better each week in response to your feedback.

New Office Delve People experiences in Office 365—New enhancements to Office 365 leverage Delve for easier people-based discovery and greater self-expression. The enhanced personal profile helps you find, connect and collaborate with the right people. Blog, the new section added to your profile, makes it easy to express yourself in your organization—just click start writing. Delve mobile apps for Android and iPhone are available now, too, so connecting, discovering and sharing information is easy, even on the go.

Office 365 Video begins worldwide rollout and “gets mobile”—Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content. It’s now rolling out to all eligible Office 365 business customers worldwide. The new Office 365 Video for iPhone app gives you the power of video on the go, more responsive portal pages deliver a great user web experience across devices, and with the new HTML-5 player you can play videos no matter which device you’re using.

Enhanced transparency and control for Office 365 customers—Three new capabilities significantly enhance customers’ visibility into actions taken on their content and control over access to their content in Office 365: the ability to employ user-interaction logs as security and compliance signals that provide monitoring, analysis and data visualization; a Customer Lockbox to explicitly control access to your content in the very rare instances when a Microsoft engineer logs in to the Office 365 service; and advanced encryption of email.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint Online/OneDrive and Office 2016 applications—The public preview of DLP for SharePoint Online/OneDrive for Business is on its way for eligible Office 365 tenants later this quarter. With the new capabilities, you can easily create policies to remediate violations and empower your users with policy tips and notification emails—just like you do today with DLP in Exchange. Later this quarter, DLP capabilities will also be available in the public preview of Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint. With these capabilities, users can be notified in real time about content they’re working on, right within the Office applications.

Office 365 developer updates

New ways to build with the Office platform, reach more people—Developers can extend Office apps using add-ins to expose their custom capabilities to users and connect to Office 365 through open APIs. New capabilities to develop new integrated experiences that enhance productivity for Office users include: Office Graph API, Excel for iPad support, add-ins for Outlook.com, unified APIs for enterprise and consumer, simpler API endpoint access, Skype Developer Platform, and more.

First partners bring add-ins to Outlook.com—Uber, Boomerang and PayPal are bringing add-ins to our 400 million active Outlook.com users this summer, leveraging the new unified consumer and commercial Outlook APIs. The Outlook APIs create an open platform for developers to easily build add-ins for Outlook.com and Office 365 users that simplify everyday tasks, helping them get more done without switching between applications. More third-party partner announcements are on the way.

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.