Office 365 May news—exciting new value coming with the new Surface Pro

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

Earlier today, Microsoft announced the availability of Surface Studio, Laptop and Hololens in China along with the new Surface Pro and Surface Pen coming next month. At our event in Shanghai, Panos Panay showcased new inking capabilities in Office apps that are coming first to Windows and brought to life on Surface. These advances make your digital pen faster, more fluid and more personalized, helping you express yourself with rich, creative content.

Inking is smoother, more personalized and collaborative in Office

Inking has become a primary tool for personal expression, and the digital pen a critical way many people work. We’re continuing to improve and evolve the digital inking experience in Office, helping you create, collaborate and share ideas with ink. Building on our announcements last October, today we introduced new inking capabilities coming first to Windows touch-enabled devices and designed to work best with the new Surface Pen:

Fast, fluid and expressive ink—The new Surface Pen’s industry-leading technology shines when you write and draw in Office apps. With the new Surface Pen, your ink reacts to your unique touch with increased pressure sensitivity of 4,096 pressure points (from 1,024), as well as new tilt functionality that adjusts the thickness and texture of your ink granularly, based on the angle of your pen. Your ink also flows even more beautifully and effortlessly when you use the new Surface Pen in Office apps, with almost zero latency between your writing and the pen. Simply pick up your Surface Pen and start writing more expressively!

Availability: Increased pressure sensitivity, low-latency and tilt improvements for inking will work automatically for Office 365 subscribers using the new Surface Pen on the new Surface Pro (devices sold separately).

A new collaborative whiteboard experience—We showed future inking innovation coming first to the Microsoft Whiteboard app on Windows 10, such as collaborative inking, geometry recognition, table conversion and automatic table shading. Whiteboard is currently available in private preview on Surface Hub, and our vision is to bring it to more Windows 10 devices later this year (including the Surface Studio and Surface Pro, as demoed today) with exclusive capabilities for Office 365 subscribers. This will help you iterate on ideas together with others regardless of the device you’re on. Stay tuned for more!

Microsoft Whiteboard is being shown, including collaborative inking where inking from multiple people is showing up simultaneously with indicators of where each person is inking. Shape conversion, angle recognition, table conversion, and automatic table shading are also being shown.

Microsoft Whiteboard provides a limitless canvas for creativity and collaboration.

Availability: Microsoft Whiteboard is currently available in private preview on Surface Hub devices, and for education customers. It will expand to other Windows 10 devices and more segments later this year, with exclusive capabilities for Office 365 subscribers.

More ink options to express yourself—The pencil texture and ink effects like rainbow, galaxy, lava, ocean, gold, silver and more are coming to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This helps you showcase your creativity in new ways with drawing and writing that pops off the page.

A drawing is being shown in PowerPoint with pencil texture and ink effects used to color in the images.

Express yourself with the pencil texture and ink effects in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Availability: The pencil texture and ink effects in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops are coming in July, for Office Insiders Fast. Both the pencil texture and rainbow, galaxy, gold and silver ink effects were already available in OneNote for Windows 10 (ink effects require an Office 365 subscription).

A digital pencil case that goes where you go—Office apps now include a customizable gallery for your favorite pens, pencils and highlighters, which automatically roams with you across apps and devices. This means your personalized inking tools stay handy wherever you work.

The new customizable and roaming pens gallery is being shown in Word, including customization options showing in a dropdown for a selected pen currently set to the lava ink option.

The new customizable pens gallery roams with you across apps and devices.

Availability: The new customizable and roaming pens gallery in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops is coming with the June Office 365 updates. The new customizable pens gallery in OneNote for Windows 10 is also coming in June for all customers, with roaming coming later this year.

Updates for Office 365 commercial customers

This month, we have updates for our commercial subscribers including new tools for understanding and transforming their organizations, as well as new capabilities and a look at our vision and roadmap for SharePoint:

Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BIThe new Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI combines the intelligence of Office 365 usage reports with the interactive reporting capabilities of Power BI. This means admins can visualize and analyze their organization’s Office 365 usage data, create custom reports and share the insights with Power BI—pivoting by attributes such as location and department. This better understanding of how their users adopt and use Office 365 can help admins drive more targeted end user training and communication.

The dashboard of the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI is being shown in a web browser.

Understand Office 365 usage and drive targeted end user training with the new Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI.

Availability: The Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI is available in public preview for Office 365 commercial customers.

Inform and engage employees with SharePoint communication sites—Introduced at SharePoint Virtual Summit, SharePoint communication sites let you create beautiful, mobile-ready intranet sites. While SharePoint team sites allow sharing of content, knowledge and apps within your group, communication sites let you share resources, news and information with a broad audience, across the organization. Integration with Yammer lets you engage your audience, solicit feedback and encourage best practice sharing. Communication sites are easy to create, customizable and look great on whatever device you use. Learn more about communication sites.

A SharePoint communication site is being shown, including company news, key documents, upcoming events, training videos, an integrated Yammer discussion feed, and more.

Create beautiful communication sites to reach a broad audience across your organization.

Availability: Communication sites in SharePoint are coming to First Release for Office 365 commercial customers starting in June.

Access all your files in File Explorer—Introduced at Build, OneDrive Files On-Demand allows you to access all your work and personal files in the cloud without having to download them to your device and use up storage space. This helps you work the way you’re used to, with all your files—even online files—visible in File Explorer and available whenever you need them.

OneDrive Files On-Demand is being shown, with a File Explorer view showing files in the cloud and on the user’s device, as well as the ease with which a cloud document can be opened.

Access all your work and personal cloud files in File Explorer, without downloading them and using up storage space.

Availability: OneDrive Files On-Demand is coming to Windows 10 Insider Preview early this summer and will be publicly available with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Share from File Explorer and Finder on Mac—Introduced at SharePoint Virtual Summit, a new unified sharing experience for OneDrive lets you share files or folders with specific people right from your desktop, as well as send sharing links to people inside or outside your organization. You can also easily view or modify the permissions you have granted, including how long access will last. Learn more about the unified sharing experience for OneDrive.

The new unified sharing experience for OneDrive is being shown in File Explorer. A file has been selected and a colleague is being granted the desired level of access permissions.

Easily share OneDrive files and folders with colleagues inside and outside your organization.

Availability: The new unified sharing experience will start rolling out to consumers and Office 365 commercial customers in June and July. It will be consistent across File Explorer on Windows 10 and Windows 7, Finder on Mac and on the web.

SharePoint and Microsoft PowerApps integration—As announced at SharePoint Virtual Summit, you’ll soon be able to use PowerApps to easily create custom forms and rich, digital experiences right from within a SharePoint list or library. This will help your company transform team and organizational processes, with users creating, viewing and interacting with data from your custom form or app, rather than default SharePoint forms. Learn more about PowerApps integration with SharePoint.

PowerApps integration with a SharePoint site is being shown, with a new purchase request being populated within a form integrated via Microsoft PowerApps.

PowerApps integration will let your users create, view and interact with data within an app from within SharePoint lists and libraries.

Availability: Custom SharePoint forms built with Microsoft PowerApps will be available starting this summer, for Office 365 commercial customers.

Other Office 365 updates this month

Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office on Windows desktops | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office on Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Current Channel and Deferred Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through First Release. This site explains more about when you can expect to receive the features announced today.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer