New in March—rich data types, intelligent search, and expanded datacenters

This month, we rolled out updates to Office 365 that include new data types in Excel, intelligent search in SharePoint, and the expansion of the Microsoft Cloud with datacenters in new geographies. Read on for details.

New intelligent capabilities in Excel

Every day, millions of Office 365 subscribers rely on Excel to perform complex tasks with intelligent tools like Insights and advanced data transformation. This month, we rolled out several updates, which harnesses the power of the Microsoft Cloud, to make Excel even more powerful.

New data types in Excel—Today, we are announcing new, cloud-connected data types in Excel, starting with Stocks and Geography. With added AI capabilities, Excel can now recognize rich data types beyond numbers and text strings. For example, Excel recognizes that “France” is a country and automatically associates it with additional attributes such as population and gross domestic product, using the same technology that powers Bing answers. These attributes can then be populated into different cells or used directly in formulas and stay updated with the latest data. Based on machine learning, these new data types will simplify the process of working with real-world data. In the future, we’ll add organizational data types backed by the Microsoft Graph to Excel—intelligently enhancing your spreadsheets with even richer content.

Expanding capabilities in Excel Online—We also introduced several highly requested desktop features to Excel Online, making it easier to create and edit spreadsheets in your browser. Now, you can insert Pivot Tables and delete rows and columns to analyze and format data. You can also insert images from local storage, duplicate existing worksheets, and change the color of tabs—enhancing your control over the look and feel of your work.

Personalized search and modern communities

New features this month use the Microsoft Cloud to enhance organization-wide search, streamline content delivery, and enable modern communities.

Intelligent, personalized search—Last year at Microsoft Ignite, we announced new search capabilities in SharePoint Online that enable the discovery of people, information, and expertise from across your organization. This personalized experience is now rolling out to all Office 365 subscribers. Using signals from the Microsoft Graph, Office 365 provides tailored search results across content and people based on your work patterns. The redesigned results are easier to explore and allow you to preview files with support for over 270+ different file types without ever leaving the search page. Now, wherever you start your search in SharePoint or Office.com—you’ll see consistent, personalized results powered by the Microsoft Graph.

Image showing the results of an intelligent search in SharePoint.

Introducing SharePoint hub sites—We have begun rolling out SharePoint hub sites to Office 365 subscribers enrolled in Targeted Release. SharePoint hub sites are a new, flexible building block for corporate intranets that bring together news, activity, search, and navigation from across SharePoint team sites and SharePoint communication sites. SharePoint hub sites help you reflect the unique structure of your organization by connecting and organizing content from across SharePoint—based on project, department, division, region, and more—to help Office 365 administrators manage governance and growth over time.

Connect your Yammer community to your intranet—We introduced a new web part that allows organizations to add Yammer conversations and feeds to any SharePoint site or webpage. The new web part enhances control over what content is displayed, with options to show most popular conversations and the ability to curate specific threads to guide the conversation. You can also surface the latest unread conversations specific to the reader. It is designed to work across desktop and mobile, offering new opportunities to embed your virtual communities throughout your organization’s web properties.

Expanding our cloud infrastructure

We opened our first local datacenters in France, announced plans to deliver the Microsoft Cloud from new datacenter locations in the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, and added new cloud options for Office 365 customers in Germany. These new datacenters will help organizations digitally transform with the latest Office 365 services, while meeting their compliance requirements to store customer data in their own country.

Office 365 for U.S. Government—At the Microsoft Government Tech Summit in Washington, D.C., we announced the general availability of Microsoft 365 for U.S. Government, a comprehensive solution that meets the regulatory compliance requirements of U.S. Government agencies and contractors that hold sensitive information. These updates enable government agencies across the U.S.—including Federal, Defense, State, Local, and Tribal—to transform through digitizing citizen services and modernizing workplaces. Additionally, all Office 365 applications and user experiences are accessible by design, helping agencies address the requirements of Revised Section 508 and empowering people of all abilities to achieve more.

Other news

We also released templates for healthcare organizations, rolled out a new design for Outlook.com users, and demonstrated a new vision for engaging employees.

  • New Health Team Huddle templates for developers extend Microsoft Teams to help drive quality and care outcomes by centralizing communication and enabling coordination of treatment plans.
  • Now, every Outlook.com user has the benefit of a faster email experience, smarter inbox, and better personalization.
  • Microsoft Teams celebrated its first anniversary, won Best of Enterprise Connect, and announced a number of new features coming later this year. Teams is now used by over 200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages.
  • At the Employee Engagement Summit, we brought together leaders from flagship companies to explore open communication and teamwork in the modern workplace.

Availability: New data types in Excel are starting to roll out this month in preview to Office 365 commercial subscribers using English language, and are enrolled in the Office Insiders program.