Office Online Server April 2017 release

Editor’s note 12/04/2017:
For customers whose licenses qualify for OOS but do not have access to the Volume License Servicing Center, the following actions are possible: 

  • VL or Open customers can contact their Support Center.
  • Direct customers can submit a request from their Office 365 admin center or contact support.

 

We are excited to announce our second major update to Office Online Server (OOS), which includes support for Windows Server 2016 as well as several improvements. OOS allows organizations to provide users with browser-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, among other capabilities offered in Office Online, from their own datacenter.

In this release, we officially offer support for Windows Server 2016, which has been highly requested. If you are running Windows Server 2016, you can now install OOS on it. Please verify that you have the latest version of the OOS release to ensure the best experience.

In addition, this release includes the following improvements:

  • Performance improvements to co-authoring in PowerPoint Online.
  • Equation viewing in Word Online.
  • New navigation pane in Word Online.
  • Improved undo/redo in Word Online.
  • Enhanced W3C accessibility support for users who rely on assistive technologies.
  • Accessibility checkers for all applications to ensure that all Office documents can be read and authored by people with different abilities.

We encourage OOS customers to visit the Volume License Servicing Center to download the April 17, 2017 release. You must uninstall the previous version of OOS to install this release. We only support the latest OOS version—with bug fixes and security patches available from Microsoft Updates Download Center.

Customers with a Volume Licensing account can download OOS from the Volume License Servicing Center at no cost and will have view-only functionality—which includes PowerPoint sharing in Skype for Business. Customers that require document creation and edit and save functionality in OOS need to have an on-premises Office Suite license with Software Assurance or an Office 365 ProPlus subscription. For more information on licensing requirements, please refer to our product terms.

New basics training to get the most out of Office

Today, we are rolling out six new training courses covering the basics of using Office. Like any subject—math, chemistry or video games—even when you understand more advanced concepts, you can stumble over the basics. We looked at what customers struggled with, both novice and expert alike, and Office Basics was born. Whether you work with Excel, Word, PowerPoint or another Office app, you can learn a lot in these short videos, like how to sign in to Office, rename files, add comments or insert hyperlinks.

Watch this short video for more information:

What else do you want to see in the Office Training Center? Let us know in the comments.

LexisNexis speeds up legal document drafting and review with Office 365

LexisNexis 1LexisNexis and Microsoft Office have teamed up to equip legal professionals with a comprehensive document drafting and review solution that they can use while on the go. Lexis for Microsoft Office eliminates the need to toggle back and forth between document, research and proofreading tools as the full toolset is in one place.

Law firms of all sizes, including corporate legal departments and government agencies, are accelerating their productivity by reducing document drafting time. Learn more about the partnership and integration at Betterwith.Office.com.

Track your Office knowledge and skills with Office Training Roadmaps

Today, we are releasing Office Training Roadmaps to help your company set training expectations and track progress for six Office apps. The training roadmaps help you quickly find what you need to learn and are available both online and as printable posters for Office 365, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word and Access 2016.

Track your Office knowledge 1

Also, if you or your company needs help getting started with Office apps, we have expanded our Quick Start Guides to include Excel, Outlook and Sway. All of these free resources can be found at the Office Training Center.

—Lesley Alexander-McVie, program manager for the Office Learning team

FastTrack collaborating with partners to reach thousands of customers each month

Today’s post was written by Parri Munsell, managing director of Microsoft Office Partner Marketing.

Microsoft FastTrack is our customer success service designed to help organizations realize business value faster with Office 365. As we start 2017, FastTrack is growing faster than ever with the help of Microsoft certified partners. Collaborative efforts between FastTrack and partners are now helping more than 4,000 new customers every month drive usage and adoption.

We have found that customers who actively engage with both FastTrack and a Microsoft certified partner are the most successful in deploying Office 365 quickly, and in extracting the most value from their software investments. FastTrack can assist customers with data migration, provisioning services and mapping Office 365 capabilities to business goals. Microsoft partners complement the FastTrack experience with full on-site support, often providing additional value-added services such as change management consulting, local environment analysis, mitigation of any issues prior to the cloud transition, and long-term engagement with business stakeholders to drive value through the entire organization.

NGA Human Resources is just one customer example of a how a company can leverage the expertise of both their local partner and the FastTrack team to maximize their success. “We got stellar support from the Microsoft FastTrack team throughout a rush deployment where we migrated 8,000 employees and huge amounts of data [to Office 365], including data from Google Docs, to avoid an expensive contract renewal with Google,” says chief information officer Russell Sheldon. Plus, the effective change management policies suggested by Microsoft partner Content and Code expedited adoption of the Office 365 services, ushering in a new era of individual productivity that adds up to a happier, more efficient global workforce. The result is that NGA HR is innovating new ideas to drive business and respond faster to customers—on a global scale.

New Welcome to FastTrack guide

To help customers understand the benefits associated with leveraging FastTrack with the help of partners, we are introducing the Welcome to FastTrack guide, which outlines each stage of a customer’s journey, from initial envisioning of the project through driving value throughout the organization. We’re seeing some innovative partners embedding FastTrack into their offerings to ensure that their customers get the most out of their solution in the fastest possible time.

Fastrack 1

Our ongoing investment in customer success

As customers make the digital transformation to the cloud, we offer a wide variety of services and digital resources. More than 800 FastTrack engineers are available to work with customers and their certified partners, providing expert advice and remote guidance. When additional expertise is needed, Microsoft collaborates with partners to provide those services. To date, the Office 365 Adoption Offer has made available to customers almost $50 million in partner benefits, enabling thousands of organizations to receive local support from a certified partner of their choice. This offer continues to be available for customers who purchased Office 365 between February 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016.

We’re excited to see customer success growing on a global scale because of the collaboration between FastTrack and our partners.

Customers can visit FastTrack.microsoft.com to learn more about FastTrack resources or go to the Microsoft Partner Center to find a Microsoft partner to help them with migrations to the Microsoft Cloud.

Get information about current FastTrack offers and eligibility requirements—and start building a collaborative relationship with Microsoft FastTrack and the certified partner of your choice today.

More LinkedIn Learning Office training courses now available

Today’s post was written by Peter Loforte, general manager for the Office Modern User Assistance team.

We are continuing to bring training courses from LinkedIn Learning to our Office Training Center with more than 20 new courses on working with Word and PowerPoint. There are more than 60 new videos to help you quickly get up to speed on Office—whether you need to learn about tracking changes in Word or designing PowerPoint presentations.

With the previous releases from LinkedIn Learning for Outlook and Excel—you now have free access to over 170 LinkedIn Learning videos. They can be found alongside the hundreds of courses in our Office Training Center.

Take a sneak peek at our introduction to PowerPoint:

Survey—mastering your productivity in 2017

January is all about making resolutions and being an even better version of yourself in the new year. Since so many of us pledge to be more productive, we teamed up with Levo—the network for millennials in the workplace—to sponsor the “Mastering your productivity in 2017” survey. We polled 1,500 Levo community members and asked them about their productivity habits and challenges.*

Mastering your productivity in 2017—interactive survey results

What’s the #1 challenge to being productive? What’s most helpful when it comes to productivity? Are happiness and productivity related? We looked at all this and more. Explore the results from the survey in the interactive Power BI data visualizations to see what we discovered. Simply click the forward > or < back arrows at the bottom of the report to display results of a question and then click the different age filters to find out how attitudes about productivity change by age. (Since some respondents didn’t provide their age, we included a filter to represent this group.) To clear the filters and see all responses, click the button twice. Click the icons in the lower right-hand corner to share the report or view it in full screen. To see a larger version of this report, click here.

How can you achieve more this year?

Based on the survey results, here are five tech tips to help you work smarter in 2017:

#1—make your tech work for you (not against you)

Technology should help you be more productive instead of getting in the way. When information comes at you from every angle and every device, it’s distracting. It is not surprising that people under 30 found distractions—like social media—to be their #1 challenge to productivity.

Instead of letting distractions slow you down, let technology help keep you focused. Work can be overwhelming (especially with that overflowing post-holiday break inbox), but organizing and prioritizing go a long way. Don’t try to tackle everything at once—use the Focused Inbox in Outlook to separate your inbox into two tabs. Emails that matter most to you will be in your Focused tab, while the rest will be close by—but out of the way—in the Other tab. As you move email in or out of your Focused Inbox, Outlook becomes even better at knowing your priorities over time. This helps you manage the tasks that matter most and organize your time.

A clear inbox is great, but a clear mind is even better. Meditating daily can reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep and cognition—all of which can help you work smarter. With Meditation apps like Headspace, it’s easy to find time for a daily practice. Try making meditation a part of your day by blocking off time on your Outlook calendar.

#2—tally accomplishments, not just to-dos

Rethink how you use and incorporate to-do lists. To-do lists remain ubiquitous because they’re a simple and personal way to organize our thoughts. Ninety-two percent of survey respondents found that creating to-do lists is most helpful when it comes to being productive. But making a list for the sake of it won’t accomplish much. Prioritizing your to-dos can help you learn what you care about, what your purpose is and what you want to accomplish in your career or your life.

OneNote makes it easier than ever to keep track of your to-dos, projects and goals. By integrating your project list directly into your OneNote notebook using the “to-do” tag, Office makes it easy to keep your daily tasks, ongoing work and long-term goals all in one place.

#3—rise and grind

As saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm.” In fact, everyone claiming to be a “night owl” might just be fooling themselves. Believe it or not, 69 percent of respondents say their mornings are their most productive time of the day. We know it can be tough to get going in the morning, so try easing into the day by meeting over coffee. With the Starbucks for Outlook add-in, it’s easy to schedule meetings at your favorite Starbucks.

#4—lighten the lift

Having trouble getting started on the first drafts of your projects and presentations?

Conquer the blank canvas with QuickStarter—a new intelligent service that lets you go from the blank canvas to a great working outline in seconds. Just type your presentation topic into PowerPoint or Sway and watch the magic as QuickStarter brings your presentation to life by pulling in carefully curated outlines for any topic, including recommendations on information to include, categories to consider and associated images.**

Need help with your research paper?

Researcher in Word helps find reliable sources and incorporate content from the web right within your document. Plus, it properly formats citations, which means no more hours spent manually formatting the bibliography. Thanks to Editor, you now have your own digital writing assistant to help you with the finishing touches. Going beyond basic spelling and grammar checks, Editor uses machine learning and natural language processing to make suggestions to help you improve your writing—so you can spend less time reviewing and more time creating.

#5—perfect your productivity habits

Create better work habits with the help of Microsoft MyAnalytics for Office 365 Enterprise E5, which gives you the insights you need to focus on what matters most. Understand where you spend your time across people, meetings, email, focus time, after hours and adjust for higher impact. Gain insights into how you engage with your network to stay up to date on your most important relationships and priorities.

Why work on being more productive? Because becoming a more productive person can make you happier. Our research revealed that 93 percent of respondents feel that productivity is important to their happiness. A productive day is a happy day, which is why our goal is to give you the tools you need to make accomplishing your goals a little bit easier.

Related content

Notes:
*Survey of Levo community members conducted online, commissioned by Microsoft Office, 1,500 participants, October 2016, actual percent at +/- 2.3 percent at 99 percent confidence level.
**QuickStarter is available today in Sway on the web, in English within the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Education customers using Sway have a slightly modified version to meet the needs of educators. QuickStarter in PowerPoint on Windows desktop is coming to Insiders this winter and to Office 365 subscribers in 2017.

The new Office.com gets first major update

Editor’s note 12/29/2016:
This post was updated to reflect the latest design for the Office 365 application tiles.

Back in April, we started rolling out a new Office 365 home page experience that provided a redesigned environment for commercial, education and home users to collaborate and work across every device. The update also delivered improved access to recent files and folders and introduced a new platform for faster delivery of innovative features.

We’re now rolling out new changes that will greatly increase the ease of navigating apps and improve access to frequent and recently opened documents. These changes started rolling out in December and will continue through early 2017.

home-final

Get back to your online documents

We know that your best work can take time, so we improved access to your unfinished documents. Users will now see additional controls within the “Recent documents” list to let users filter by document type across Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Have a document that you go back to frequently? Pin it to the list so it’s always just a click away.

office-homepage-update-02

Know what’s coming up

We made it easier to see what’s coming up at a glance. Get an in-depth view of the day’s meetings and quickly respond to or join Skype for Business calls with one click. Enhanced people pictures help you build stronger connections with coworkers and help you keep track of your different teams and projects.

office-homepage-update-03

Stay on top of tasks

Create, view and complete tasks directly on Office.com that stay in sync across Outlook on all your devices. Need to add more details to a task? Double tap to open in Outlook Tasks to add additional details.

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What’s next

We’re constantly developing and improving the Office 365 experience, so be sure to let us know what you think! We read every piece of feedback that we receive as we work to make your Office 365 experience the best it can be.

—Tom Batcheler, @TomBatcheler, senior product marketing manager for the Office 365 team

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I re-order or re-size the app tiles?

A. Office.com organizes the app tiles based on which apps are used most frequently. We do not currently offer the ability to re-order or re-size the app tiles. We are evaluating additional options to make app navigation even quicker.

Q. Will I be able to turn off the online documents, upcoming or tasks sections if I prefer not to see the content?

A. Office.com does not currently allow you to turn off this content. However, you can collapse the card containers to hide content that you do not want to see. We are evaluating additional customization, such as being able to turn on and off certain cards.

Q. Can I turn off or hide the install button?

A. These upcoming updates have no impact on the install button.

New Office 365 ProPlus deployment guide for IT pros now available

The Office 365 ProPlus deployment team has been working hard to give IT pros the tools they need to successfully deploy Office 365 ProPlus in various scenarios. We recently released a new guide focused on making your organization’s ProPlus deployment a success.

The Preferred Practices for Office 365 ProPlus Deployment guide was created for IT pros by a team of Office 365 deployment experts. The guide is available for download in the Office 365 onboarding resources at fasttrack.microsoft.com and features actionable guidance and real-world scenarios, including:

  • Recommended guidance for discovery of applications.
  • Preferred deployment scenarios and practices.
  • Recommended approaches for channel management.
  • Reporting capabilities for licensing and usage.

The Preferred Practices guide walks you through the phases of deployment.

Here’s a sneak peek at each phase, and what you can expect to find in the respective section of the guide:

Assess—Deploying Office 365 ProPlus requires planning—just like any other large-scale Office client deployment. Learn about key infrastructure components and app compatibility discovery processes, as well as tools to help you understand the scope and remediation needs of Office 365 ProPlus.

Plan—Planning is a key component of your migration to Office 365 ProPlus. Consider several items when creating your deployment plan to understand constraints and meet the goals of the project.

Deploy—Learn more about the three deployment options—Enterprise Managed, Locally Managed and Cloud Managed—available for delivering Office 365 ProPlus to your users’ devices.

Manage—We’re continuously improving Office 365 ProPlus. We’ll walk you through how to handle managed and unmanaged deployment scenarios, patching and channel updates and ongoing management and maintenance.

We’ll continue to update this guide as new features and deployment capabilities are released by Microsoft. And we’ll also collect feedback from customers, partners and Microsoft deployment experts to continually refine these practices, so please reach out to us with any thoughts.

Get the guidance you need from a single comprehensive source. Download your copy of the guide today.

—Chris Hopkins, senior program manager for Office 365 ProPlus deployment, and Brian Canady, associate architect for Microsoft Services

Road realities—how to support your road warriors with tech

The road warrior travels from city to city, meets with potential clients and attends conferences and industry events. And their travel requirements don’t seem to be slowing down. According to the Global Business Travel Association, spending on business travel reached record-breaking levels of $1.2 trillion in 2015, and is expected to rise to $1.6 trillion by 2020.

Your road warriors bring your products and services into new markets, diversify clientele and strengthen existing relationships. They’re helping your business grow—now more than ever.

Doing their jobs from the road, however, can prove very difficult without the right productivity tools. So, how do you know if they have what they need?

Start by understanding the common challenges they face. Whether it is hosting meetings, collaborating with colleagues or meeting deadlines, you can make sure they are set up for success.

Here are four productivity fears that often strike business travelers while they’re on the road:

Did I forget to save files from the company server before traveling?

Secure file access shouldn’t be a privilege for in-office employees only. Being able to tap into the company server to access important resources is a basic requirement for most jobs. For employees who are on the move, it’s critical to have such access anywhere, anytime. Whether in a hotel lobby or a cafe, they should be able to connect to Wi-Fi and get their work done. When company documents are secured in the cloud, your employees can continue with business as usual, from virtually anywhere.

Will time away impact day-to-day communication?

For road warriors, productivity is dependent on seamless communication and collaboration with in-office teams. Without face-to-face interaction with colleagues, employees can sometimes feel disconnected—and the ability to connect in multiple ways can make all the difference. Secure video conferencing and messaging tools can bridge the communication gap, allowing business travelers to chat with team members and conduct online meetings on the fly.

Can we successfully collaborate while I’m in another location?

Teamwork is essential to business, whether your employees are on the road or huddled in a conference room. Business leaders must consider the value of technology that lets business travelers create, co-author and share documents in real-time. These abilities enable teams to accomplish tasks and meet deadlines together, from virtually anywhere. Now, with technology for sharing and collaborating remotely, it’s easier than ever.

What happens if I lose my connection to the internet?

Travel often happens during business hours. While on a train or 30,000 miles in the air, your road warrior still needs to email, build sales decks and meet deadlines. But sometimes technology falters and they could lose internet connectivity for minutes or even hours. At times like these, they can rely most on tools that save their work (documents, presentations and even email files) onto a hard-drive while offline and upload upon reconnection. While they’re offline, they can continue to read emails, compose drafts, edit files—and keep making work happen.

The productivity of your traveling employees is only as good as the technology that supports them. As a business leader, you have the power to provide technology that helps them do their jobs while on the road.

4 things about hosting virtual meetings you can learn from TED Talks

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With more than a billion views, TED Talks are clearly doing something right. So, what is it that makes them such a success? Here are four tried and true techniques that some of the most viewed TED Talks have in common.

  1. They’re the right length—While there are talks up to 60 minutes, the average and most well-known length is 18 minutes or fewer, as reported by Forbes. When facing pushback on this length, TED Talks founder Chris Anderson often guides speakers to fit within the time limit by quoting President Woodrow Wilson (according to Forbes): “If it’s a 10-minute speech, it takes me all of two weeks to prepare it; if it’s a half-hour speech, it takes me a week; if I can talk as long as I want to, it requires no preparation at all. I am ready now.” Concise and strategically planned presentations are key.
  1. They focus on the right topic—Choose a topic that’s meaningful to you, that you’re knowledgeable about, and you’re comfortable talking about in depth. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, your audience won’t either. Having something worth saying is more important than stage presence and confidence in public speaking, Anderson explains to Forbes.
  1. They use top-notch presentation skills—While having something worth saying is key, you still need presentation skills to back it up or your presentation may fall flat. Even though you might not be presenting in person, being personable and accessible is essential. According to research by the Science of People regarding the most viewed TED Talks, audiences liked the speakers just as much with the audio on as they did when the volume was muted.

They also discovered the more hand gestures, the more successful the talk. They reported that the bottom TED Talks had an average of 124,000 views and the speakers used an average of 272 hand gestures during the 18-minute talk. The most-viewed had an average of 7,360,000 views and used an average of 465 hand gestures.

  1. They’re conversational—Scripts are comforting because they help you feel like you know exactly what to say, but planning word-for-word comes off as impersonal. Instead, create an outline with talking points to allow for natural vocal variety. The Science of People discovered a direct correlation between vocal variety and Ted Talk views.

Take your virtual meetings to the next level

Now you know what elements to leverage to make your virtual meetings powerful, dynamic and interesting to attendees. Pair these with the features available in Skype for Business to set your virtual meetings apart. Also, check out The Ultimate Meeting Guide and learn how to run meetings that people want to attend.

Get your message across with Pickit add-in for Microsoft Office

Pickit makes it easy for Microsoft Office users to tell impactful stories by leveraging specially curated photos. Today, they announced their new image collection, “Talk Like a Rosling,” which features inspired content from statistician and presenter Hans Rosling and the latest project from his team at Gapminder—Dollar Street.

Learn more about the partnership and how you can use Pickit and their new collection at betterwith.office.com.