New in Office 365 security and compliance—June update

Recent updates for security and compliance include enhancements to Advanced Threat Protection, eDiscovery, Advanced Data Governance, Advanced Security Management and expanded support for Windows Information Protection. Read on to learn more about these updates.

Enhancements to threat protection visibility and controls

Office 365 Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) were designed to keep your organization protected against cyber-attacks while supporting end-user productivity. The Office 365 team continues to enhance both EOP and ATP by offering deeper insights and more flexible controls. This month, we are introducing the following new capabilities:

Threat Protection status report—New reporting for ATP and EOP that adds visibility into malicious emails detected and blocked for your organization. This supplements the recently introduced reports in the Security & Compliance Center for ATP Safe Attachments.

The Projection status report is displayed in the Security & Compliance Center and is showing information associated with ATP safe attachments, Anti-malware engine, ATP safe links and ZAP.

Threat Protection status report.

Enhanced quarantine capabilities—Now all emails classified as malware from both EOP and ATP are quarantined. This builds upon the existing quarantine experience by allowing administrators to review and delete emails from quarantine.

New ATP Safe Links Policy features—Four new features build upon the Safe Link policies.

  • Per-tenant block list—Provides the administrator the ability to block specific URLs.
  • Email wildcarding for domains and handles—Enables you to save time by writing partial domain/handle names.
  • Split Safe Links policies—Allows Safe Links policies to be customized for specific user lists in the organization, including groups, individuals and divisions.
  • Expanded character limit for URLs—Enables blocking/allowing URLs with longer character lengths.

Window displaying how to enter a URL so that it is blocked across Office 365.

Safe Links Block URL list.

Additional details on these new features can be found in the Microsoft Tech Community, as well as on the EOP and ATP product pages. EOP is offered across our enterprise E1, E3 and E5 suites. ATP is offered as both a standalone SKU or as part of E5.

New features streamline your compliance process using Office 365

Businesses around the world must be able to keep and protect important information and quickly find what’s relevant to continue to meet legal, business and regulatory compliance requirements. At Microsoft, we know how demanding and complex compliance can be and have recently released several new eDiscovery and Data Governance features in Office 365 to support your compliance needs. These features include:

Optical character recognition in Advanced eDiscovery—Extracts text from image files or objects within the files, significantly reducing the amount of manual remediation work required to analyze image files.

Rights management (RMS) decryption in Office 365 eDiscovery—Automatically decrypts RMS-encrypted email messages at export time when you choose the MSG Export option.

Unified case management—Provides a consistent user interface spanning the eDiscovery capabilities in Office 365, from core to advanced, which helps to reduce potential human errors by streamlining eDiscovery case definition and eliminating several steps in the process.

Image that displays two windows illustrating how the unified case management works in Advanced eDiscovery.

Unified case management in Advanced eDiscovery.

Visit the Microsoft Tech Community for more details about the new eDiscovery features. Unified case management and RMS decryption are included with Office 365 E3. Optical character recognition is included with Advanced eDiscovery in E5.

Announcing general availability of Supervision capabilities in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance

Many organizations have the need to perform supervision of employee communications. This need stems from internal security and compliance guidelines, or from regulatory bodies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In both cases, failure to have a demonstrable supervision process in place could potentially expose organizations to liability or severe penalties.

To address this need, we’ve released the new Supervision feature in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance. Supervision covers not only email communications, but also third-party communications streams, such as Facebook, Twitter, Bloomberg and many more. Visit the Microsoft Tech Community for more details about the general availability of Supervision.

Image shows the Security and Compliance window, with Identify the content to be reviewed feature selected with the conditions to review added.

Supervision policies in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance.

Supervision is part of Office 365 Advanced Data Governance, which is available as part of Office 365 E5 or the Office 365 Advanced Compliance SKU.

Windows Information Protection now supports Office desktop applications

In August, we announced our support of Windows Information Protection (WIP) for Office mobile apps on Windows tablets and phones, to help prevent accidental business data leaks while letting users maintain control over their personal data by designating content as “work” or “personal.” We’re pleased to announce we have expanded support for WIP to include the Office 365 ProPlus desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Skype for Business. This will help provide more comprehensive protection of your business data on Windows 10 devices. To read more about WIP, check out our Microsoft Tech Community blog.

SIEM connector—now available for Office 365 Advanced Security Management

A year ago, we announced a way for you to get greater visibility and control over Office 365 with Advanced Security Management (ASM). Since then, we have added new features to help you better determine shadow IT activity. We also enhanced control over third-party apps connected to Office 365. After these updates, we started hearing that some of you were looking for a way to export alerts to other systems that are integrated into your existing workflows. Today, we are releasing a solution that supports centralized monitoring of ASM alerts with your security information and event management (SIEM) software. Integrating with an SIEM allows you to better protect Office 365 while maintaining your organization’s security workflow, automate your security procedures and correlate between your cloud-based and on-premises events.

There is no additional cost for an SIEM connector for ASM; you just need to have Office 365 E5 or the ASM add-on. To learn how to setup the ASM SIEM connector, please read “SIEM integration with Office 365 Advanced Security Management.”

Image displaying the first Configure SIEM agent configuration window with the Alerts enabled.

Configuration screen for ASM SIEM agent.

Join the Security, Privacy and Compliance Tech Community

These new features help broaden and enhance the scope of security and compliance capabilities within Office 365. Join our Security, Privacy and Compliance Tech Community to further evolve your organization’s security and compliance with these services and learn and contribute to security, privacy and compliance best practices. The Tech Community is a great resource to communicate and learn from your peers—as well as offer your insights on the growing importance of security, privacy and compliance.

—Office 365 team

Outlook 2016 for Mac is adding your most requested features

Outlook for Mac is adding several highly requested features for Office 365 customers, including the ability to send an email at the time of your choice and request delivery notifications and read receipts. These additions deliver on four of our top 10 requested features, and are designed to help you get more done quickly and stay in control of the day ahead.

A big part of our prioritization of new features and enhancements comes from the votes and feedback we receive from you at our Outlook UserVoice site, and the input we get from our Office Insiders. We thank you all for your feedback and are excited to hear what you think of our new additions!

Here’s a look at what’s new.

Send your emails when you want

The best time to write an email and the best time to send an email may not always align. With our new Send Later feature, you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time. Once you are done drafting your email, click the drop-down next to Send and then select Send Later. Choose the date and time to send the email and the message is saved to your Drafts folder. When the scheduled time comes, the email is automatically sent—you don’t even need to have Outlook or your computer open!

Outlook for Mac toolbar is displayed with the Send Later button highlighted.

This feature is available to Office Insider Fast users today and coming to Office 365 subscribers in July. For more details, see Can I delay or schedule the delivery of email messages in Outlook 2016 for Mac?

Use read and delivery receipts to track your emails

Sometimes you need to be notified that an important email has been delivered to and read by your recipient. Outlook for Mac now supports both read and delivery receipts. A delivery receipt confirms delivery of your email message to the recipient’s mailbox, but not that the recipient has seen it or read it. A read receipt confirms that your message was opened.

Outlook for Mac toolbar is displayed with the Request a Delivery Receipt and Request a Read Receipt options displayed. The Request a Delivery Receipt option is selected.

In Outlook for Mac, the message recipient can decline to send read receipts. For more details, see Request a read receipt or delivery notification.

Spend less time writing emails

Sending the same email over and over again? Email templates are great for sending messages that include information that infrequently changes from message to message. Compose and save a message as a template and then reuse it when you want it. New information can be added before the template is sent as an email message. For more details, see Can I create email templates in Outlook 2016 for Mac?

Stay on top of your day by creating calendar events and tasks from emails

Emails contain the important information you need to get things done throughout the day. Often, however, those tasks need to be scheduled as part of your day to get completed on time. You can now drag and drop emails directly to your calendar to reserve that time. The subject of the email becomes the calendar subject, and the body of the email goes in the notes field.

For those of you who are task users, you can do the same thing. Drag the email to your task view to create new items.

Improving the account setup experience

We’ve simplified the Add Account experience in Outlook for Mac. Previously, you needed to know details about what type of account you have (e.g., Office 365 or Exchange, IMAP or POP). Now you can simply enter your email address and Outlook detects your account settings and guides you through the process. And if you’ve signed in to other Office apps before launching Outlook for the first time, you will be asked if you want to add that account automatically. For more details, see Set up Outlook on your Mac.

Image shows steps for the improved account setup experience in Outlook for Mac.

How do I get all these new improvements?

The Send Later feature is available to Office Insider Fast users today on version 15.36 (170606) and will be available to all Office 365 subscribers in July. The Request a Delivery and Read receipts, email templates, and creating calendar events and tasks from emails additions are available today to all Office 365 subscribers on version 15.35 (170610). The improved account setup experience is available to all Outlook Mac users on version 15.34 (170515).

Let us know what you think of our additions! If you have other ideas for what would make Outlook for Mac even better for you, let us know on our Outlook UserVoice site.

—The Outlook team

Announcing OneDrive support for the Files app in iOS 11

OneDrive makes it easier for you to access your files, and we are continually working to ensure you have the best OneDrive experience on every platform and every device. OneDrive already supports many iOS capabilities, including OneDrive for iMessage, the Share extension, and Apple Pencil and split-screen support on iPad. Today, Apple announced the new Files app at WWDC for iOS 11, and we are excited to announce support for the new app and its file management capabilities. OneDrive integration with the Files app will make it easier for you to access your content from any Apple device and will provide a better file management experience on iOS for your personal and work OneDrive and SharePoint sites. We will share more details when iOS 11 releases.

—The OneDrive team

The humble checkbox

Today’s post was written by Sarah Bau, a Year 4/5 teacher for Our Lady Grace School in Australia.

I love a good checklist. There’s something very satisfying about making a list and checking off each item as I go. The humble checkbox is one of the first things that I discovered about OneNote—and it’s still one of my favorites.

When I began using the OneNote Class Notebook, I quickly realized that my students also get a lot of satisfaction out of checking off tasks as they finish them. Breaking tasks down into smaller sections, each with its own checkbox, helped my students with planning difficulties—such as those with autism, dyslexia and processing disorders. Projects or inquiries, which went over several lessons, became less daunting to these students because they could reopen their OneNote at the start of each lesson and see exactly where they were at a glance.

My students also became more proficient at checking over their work. One student hit upon an idea, which I had her teach to the rest of the class. Once she completed a task, she went back and unchecked all the checkboxes, then she went back through her work and rechecked all of the boxes to make sure that she hadn’t missed anything! This idea quickly took off, and I saw a dramatic decrease in the number of times where I had to tell a student, “Please go back and do this section; you skipped it.”

But I really hit checkbox gold when I began incorporating them into my assessment rubrics. We have a big emphasis on making learning visible at Our Lady of Grace School, so rubrics are always given to students with the initial assignment information. We go through the rubric at the start of the unit. Students have their own copies to look over as they work. I have taught them to refer to the rubric throughout their assignment so that they can make sure they are on track and have given themselves the best opportunity for success. Changing the layout of the rubric slightly allowed me to add the checkboxes. The students were then able to self-assess their work as they went—ensuring that they had met each assessment criteria.

My students use these rubrics in a variety of ways. One of my students told me that he makes sure that he has covered each assessment criteria to a “C” standard (average), and then goes back over his work and attempts to improve upon each assessment criteria—beginning with the criteria that are worth the most points. This student was just eight when we had this conversation! Not only is he using rubrics and checkboxes in a sophisticated manner, but he is also using the checkboxes as a time-management tool!

With my encouragement, students are permitted to have another student give them feedback on an assignment before submitting their work to me. They copy their page to the Collaboration Space, where another student reads and assesses their work using a copied and pasted rubric. The student attaches their peer assessment to their own work and attempts to make improvements before submitting to me.

When I assess their work, I copy and paste the rubric into my Assessment notebook, adjust the checkboxes as necessary and write a comment. I then take a screenshot of the whole lot and paste it back into the student’s page. This way there can be no “accidental” changes made to the checkboxes after I have assessed, and I have a record in my own OneNote that cannot be tampered with.

I give my students time to review their completed assessments and to set goals on which areas they will work to improve in their future work. As OneNote allows students to sign in to their OneNote Class Notebook anywhere, I encourage my students to share their learning achievements with their parents at home. Parents and students love the accessibility of OneNote and the prompt feedback that it provides. Using checkboxes in rubrics with OneNote has enabled my students to become independent in their learning, proficient at peer assessment, better at time-management skills and reflective in their own learning. Not to mention they have the added satisfaction of checking off work as they complete it!

—Sarah Bau

Join our #OneNoteQ TweetMeet on the first Tuesday of every month to learn from the OneNote experts on Twitter. Visit the Microsoft Education blog for details.

Improving People in Outlook for iOS and Android

Editor’s note 8/7/2017:
This post was updated to reflect that these improvements have been made available in Outlook for Android.

Outlook for iOS and Android is on a mission to help you accomplish more with your email and calendar while on the go. With our latest release, we’re addressing one of our most highly requested features with improvements to our People experience.

You now have the ability to add and edit contacts right from Outlook on iOS and Android. We’ve also completely redesigned the contact card to show more details—including latest conversations and shared files—and enabled easier calling and messaging with your contacts.

Here’s a deeper look at what’s new.

Add or edit your important contacts while on the go

With our latest update, you can now add and edit contacts for and Office 365 accounts (support for Google contacts coming soon).

To create a new contact in Outlook, simply go to the People tab and tap the + sign. You can also add a new contact directly from a message or event by tapping the name of a person and then tapping Add Contact. Lastly, you can also use the search bar in the People tab to find and add contacts from your company directory.

Once you’ve added a contact, you can edit their information by opening the contact and tapping the Edit button. Any changes made in Outlook for iOS and Android will be synced and available across all versions of Outlook.

Left: new contact information displayed on a device screen. Right: contact details displayed on a device screen.

View details about your contacts at a glance

The contact card has also been redesigned to put your contacts’ key details front and center. Tap on any name in your messages or events to access phone numbers, email addresses and other details, like Skype IDs, along with your contact’s picture. Tapping a phone number will allow you to choose between calling, messaging or FaceTiming your contact.

The new contact card now also displays your recent conversations, shared attachments and any upcoming meetings you have with that person.

Save contacts to your device

While you can fully manage your contacts in Outlook, you can also save your contacts to the default Contacts app on iOS and Android. This allows you to easily see the name of a contact when you receive a call or text message from them, and view all of their contact information directly in the built-in Contacts app.

Due to the underlying capabilities of iOS and Android, how this works differs slightly by platform.

On iOS, Outlook provides a one-way push of contact information from Outlook to your phone. All newly added contacts and changes should be made in the Outlook app, and these changes will sync to your built-in Contacts app and your email service. However, edits made in the Contacts app will not sync back to Outlook or your email service, and will be overwritten the next time Outlook syncs to the Contacts app. You should avoid making edits in the Contacts app. To enable Caller ID with your Outlook contacts, navigate to your account within Settings and tap Save Contacts.

On Android, Outlook is able to fully synchronize with the Contacts app. Therefore, users can choose to add new contacts or make changes in either the Outlook app or by using the built-in Contacts app on Android. Changes made in either location will sync back to your email service. To enable full contact sync on Android, navigate to your account within Settings and tap Sync Contacts.

If you’d like to remove the contacts at a later time, you can toggle the switch in Outlook and they will be removed from your address book.

Got a feature request?

Let us know what you think of our new People experiences! If you have other ideas for what would make Outlook even better for you, let us know right from Outlook by going to Settings > Suggest a Feature.

—The Outlook team

Immersive Reader comes to Outlook on the web and the OneNote for Windows 10 app, and expands its global reach

In February, we announced the availability of the Microsoft Learning Tools Immersive Reader on Word Online and OneNote Online. As a result of customer demand, we are pleased to announce that Immersive Reader is now available for, Outlook on the web and the OneNote Windows 10 app. Immersive Reader includes a view that utilizes techniques proven to help people read more effectively, such as:

  • Read Aloud—Reads text out loud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining the reader’s focus and attention.
  • Spacing—Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users with visual crowding issues.
  • Syllables—Shows the breaks between syllables to enhance word recognition and decoding.
  • Parts of Speech—Supports writing instruction and grammar comprehension by identifying verbs, nouns and adjectives.

In addition to the Immersive Reader rollout across new apps and platforms, we are also adding new language and geographic availability for the Read Aloud, Syllables and Parts of Speech features. This expanded language support—coming to Word Online, OneNote Online, Outlook on the web and the OneNote Windows 10 app—will allow more customers across the world to experience the benefits of both the Learning Tools and the Immersive Reader. For the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in, we are launching Japanese dictation, plus bug fixes and other small improvements. See all of the details at the Learning Tools language support page.

And finally, we are excited to announce the availability of Try it out—an updated and enhanced capability on the recently redesigned Microsoft Learning Tools landing page. Try it out allows anyone to quickly and easily try out the Immersive Reader, without needing an Office 365 ID or a Microsoft account. We hope these announcements enable more people to read in a way that works best for them, and we look forward to hearing impactful stories from more of you, such as this story about empowering students to read in a new way.

Immersive Reader brings increased accessibility to Outlook on the web

In talking with customers, a common request we heard was to bring the same Immersive Reader capabilities of Word Online and OneNote Online to those accessing Outlook via the web. Starting today, the Immersive Reader will begin rolling out to and Outlook on the web worldwide.

There are several ways to launch the Immersive Reader in Outlook on the web or

  • On any received message, select the Reply all drop-down and then select Show in immersive reader.
  • Right-click any message and select Show in immersive reader.
  • From the main message view, click the and select Show in immersive reader.

The new Immersive Reader for Outlook on the web and will be available in many languages and countries. Visit the Learning Tools language support page to learn more.

Immersive Reader comes to the OneNote Windows 10 app

Since the release of Learning Tools for OneNote Desktop, many customers have asked for these same capabilities in our OneNote Windows 10 app. With the June OneNote Windows 10 app update, the Immersive Reader will be available to all customers via the View menu and will be pre-installed.

In the OneNote for Windows 10 app, a red square highlights the Immersive Reader button located under the View menu.

The new Immersive Reader in OneNote Windows 10 will be available in many languages and countries. Visit the Learning Tools language support page to learn more.

Expanding the global reach of the Immersive Reader

Since the Immersive Reader rolled out to Word Online and OneNote Online in February, customers all over the world asked us to expand these capabilities to more languages. Today, we are pleased to announce that Read Aloud is now available in 14 new languages and geographies, including:

  • Arabic (Saudi Arabia)
  • Czech
  • English (Ireland)
  • French (Switzerland)
  • German (Austria)
  • German (Switzerland)
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Romanian
  • Slovak
  • Thai

In addition, the Syllables feature is being added to four languages: Hungarian, Indonesian, Romanian and Slovak.

Finally, the Parts of Speech feature for German, Italian and Dutch will be enabled for Word Online, OneNote Online and Outlook on the web in the next few weeks. Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Brazilian Portuguese languages will be available later this summer.

Visit the Learning Tools language support page to see the current list of languages for the Immersive Reader.

Try it out—the updated and enhanced landing page for Learning Tools

With the recent interest and popularity of the Learning Tools and the Immersive Reader, we wanted to allow anyone to quickly try out the functionality through any web browser and experience all its benefits and features. We recently updated our Learning Tools landing page with the Try it out function that immediately launches the Immersive Reader. You can also put your own custom text in and try it out. The new Try it out feature supports 39 languages, so people from around the world can immediately experience the Immersive Reader.

Image shows "Try it out" button displayed on the Learning Tools landing page. Image is linked to the Learning Tools landing page.

Japanese dictation language added to the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in

Support for Japanese dictation on OneNote Desktop has been added, in addition to bug fixes and stability improvements to the add-in. You can grab the latest version (v1.3) of the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in on the Microsoft Learning Tools page.

In the OneNote Desktop, the Japanese dictation option is selected under the Dictate menu.

You can download the Learning Tools at Send any feedback to or reach out on Twitter: @OneNoteEDU.

—The OneNote team

Announcing the Microsoft Planner mobile app for iPhone and Android

We are pleased to announce that the new Microsoft Planner mobile app is now available for iPhone and Android phones. Starting today, current Planner users can use this companion app to view and update their plans on the go, addressing feedback we’ve heard since the launch of the Planner web app. For people who are new to Planner, you can first get started by visiting Once you’ve created your plans in the web app, you can view and update those plans in the mobile experience.

Planner is available to customers with Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Business Premium and Education subscription plans. Current Planner users can download the app for Android and iOS.

Side-by-side images of the Planner mobile app on the iPhone (left) and Android (right).

In the coming months, we plan to add push notifications, the ability to create new plans from the mobile app and integration with Intune.

For other feature requests, please visit our UserVoice page and submit your idea. And as always, visit the TechCommunity page to communicate with other Microsoft Planner users and the product team.

To get the Microsoft Planner mobile app, leave a suggestion or ask for help, follow these links:


Frequently asked questions

Q. What is Planner?

A. Planner provides a simple, visual way to organize teamwork. The Planner mobile app enables your team to organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on and get updates on progress.

Q. How can I access Planner?

A. If you’re new to Planner, you can access the web app via to start and build your plans. Existing users can access Planner through both the web and mobile experiences. If you don’t have an eligible license of Office 365, please visit our product page to learn more about which subscriptions include Planner. If you have an eligible license and would like to learn more about Planner, please visit our support page.

Q. Which features are coming next?

A. Updates including push notifications, the ability to create a plan and Intune integration are coming soon, and we look forward to hearing your feedback about how we can improve the Microsoft Planner mobile experience.

Q. Where can I learn more about the functionality of the Planner mobile app?

A. Please visit iPhone support and Android support to learn more about features and functionality of the mobile app.

OneNote Class Notebook assignment and grading support comes to Blackbaud and eSchoolData

Over a year ago, we launched the OneNote Class Notebook add-in, with assignment and grade integration, connected to a Learning Management System (LMS) and Student Information System (SIS). Teachers from all over the world have connected OneNote Class Notebooks with their systems. We have heard requests for additional LMSes and SISes to be supported. The OneNote Class Notebook now integrates assignments and grades with over 40 LMSes and SISes—with more on the way.

With today’s OneNote Class Notebook add-in update, we are rolling out new LMS assignment and grade integration for Blackbaud onCampus and eSchoolData. To see the full list of committed education partners, please visit our OneNote Education Partners page. This page also has helpful training videos demonstrating how Class Notebooks integrate with each of the different LMSes and SISes.

Additions and improvements for the Class Notebook add-in, version, include:

  • Assignment and grade integration with Blackbaud onCampus.

Additional developments include:

  • Assignment and grade improvements for Google Classroom.
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements.

For details on how to attach your OneNote Class Notebook to a LMS or SIS and create assignments and grades, see “Class Notebook add-in getting started guide.”

As usual, please send any feedback you have directly to the team at!

—The OneNote team

Updated portal and new languages for Microsoft Forms

Today, we’re introducing several updates to Microsoft Forms, including improvements to the Forms portal, more languages and right-to-left reading support.

Microsoft Forms portal improvements

We are introducing significant improvements to the Forms portal page. With the new design, users will see a snapshot of each form, which includes the form title, background image and number of responses. The new search box, on the upper right corner, will help users quickly find a form either by its title or owner’s name.

Image shows an updated Forms portal page, displaying snapshots of each form and the new search box.

Updated Forms portal page.

Image shows a Forms portal page with the search results for forms with “quiz” in the title.

Search in Forms portal page.

More languages and right-to-left reading support

With this update, we’re introducing 26 new languages to Forms—bringing the total to 68 languages. We are also enabling RTL (right-to-left) reading support for Hebrew and Arabic users, so users can create and respond to forms, as well as view forms results.

Image shows a form using right-to-left reading support.

Forms RTL (right-to-left) reading support.

Create your own form or quiz

Educators can easily create a new form or quiz, add questions, customize settings, share their forms and check on the results. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign in and create a new survey form or quiz form.
  2. Adjust the settings for the form.
  3. Share the form with others.
  4. Check the form results.

Learn more about using Forms

To learn more, see Copy a form, Delete a form, Share a form or quiz as a template and Share a form to collaborate. Many other top tasks and answers can be found on the What is Microsoft Forms? page, and on the Forms FAQs.

Also, read “Individualizing instruction with the new Microsoft Forms” by Laura Stanner, Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert.

We want to hear from you

When teachers talk, we listen. We’re committed to listening to users on how we can keep improving Forms for your everyday use. Please send us feedback on our UserVoice page, where you can vote on other users’ suggestions or add your own ideas on how we can serve you better.

—The Forms team

How to make toast using OneNote

Today’s post was written by Cathy Quigan, Digital Learning Technology teacher at Sacred Heart Girls’ College.

I teach Digital Technologies from Year 8 to Year 13 at a girls’ high school with 700 students. As part of the curriculum, I teach everything from basic document formatting and spreadsheets to programming, web and game design. I try to give the students a broad base of skills, so each year focuses on a different project of the student’s choice. At the beginning of the year we discuss issues that are relevant to them—such as how the work that they do is recognized by the school—and we come up with ways we can address these issues using IT skills. The solutions are always varied, so that at any given year level, I can be teaching up to three very different sets of skills.

In addition, due to the lack of students choosing technology as a subject, I have several classes with different year levels in the same computer lab, at the same time. For example, in one class I have Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students, who have a variety of skills. Currently, my Year 10 students are working on projects that involve word processing and graphing survey results, Year 11 students are learning to construct a basic program and Year 12 students are designing print media and websites.

My Year 12 students are spread across two different classes. I have two students in my mixed class above, and I teach the rest of these students at the same time as my Year 13 students, at a different time.

It becomes clear then that teaching and learning in my classroom needs to be organized and individualized.

OneNote allows for this.

Each year group has a OneNote Class Notebook set up with tasks to complete either individually or in collaboration with others.

These OneNote Notebooks contain resources and instructions, allowing students to work independently, at their own pace. Year 12 students, who work in separate classes, all have access to the same teaching and, seeing as all the discussions and group work is recorded (either in written or audio form) in the Collaboration Space, no one misses out on any of the teachable moments.

Another benefit of the OneNote Class Notebook is that I can store resources like tutorials, links and how-to guides, so that students can access them at their own pace as and when they need them.

This allows them to be self-sufficient while I work with other students.

Using OneNote to make toast

However, the one thing that I try to make sure of in my classes is that not all the tasks are computer-based. While accessing resources and working independently is an important skill, it can get boring. I ensure that I include some tasks that require the students to be physically active, talking and/or collaborating. This allows them to engage with each other and the content in a more authentic way. And this is how they learned to make…

In this activity, Year 11 students used OneNote to deconstruct a problem into small steps. This is a well-known activity that is often carried out using Post-it notes. However, with two other year groups working in the same space, OneNote allowed the students to work collaboratively but, at the same time, quietly. This activity was their initial introduction to programming, although they were not yet aware of this. Following some confused looks and wondering whether I had lost my marbles, their first task was to draw the steps for making toast individually on a page in the Collaboration Space.

They then had to work together, in the Collaboration Space, without speaking, to put together the best sequence of steps to explain how to make toast.

This allowed them to identify any issues (bugs) in their thought processes and to identify where the process could be more efficient. It also forced them to improvise and communicate in different ways instead of their normal verbal cues and hand gestures. Students began to get an idea of clarity and efficiency in giving instructions.

At different points throughout all the activities, we give feedback. Given the nature of the mixed class, this is not always possible to do face-to-face, so we use Microsoft Forms embedded in OneNote to record their thoughts and come back to discuss them later.

The second task they completed focused on giving instructions. Students had to give clear instructions for others to follow to make their way through a maze. In this way, they gained understanding of the “language” that computers “speak” before being introduced to any specific terminology.

For this activity, each student drew a maze, as above, in the Collaboration Space. A second student wrote out the directions to get through the maze using only arrows.

A third student read these instructions out loud while the others drew them. We took to the chalk and pavement, as it was right outside my classroom window, so I could still supervise. But this would have worked equally well if carried out in OneNote using Surface Pro or another digital inking device. Even (dare I say it…) on paper!

Completing this activity was a great time for feedback. Realizing that they have drawn different shapes even though they have received the exact same set of instructions and working out why this happened is key to understanding programming. Commands must be specific and precise if they are to be followed accurately by an inanimate computer that has no understanding of nuances.

It is only at this point that the students began to actually look at coding. Using Sphero robotic balls and Lightning Lab on their mobile phones, the students converted their instructions into block-based Oval programming language.

This allowed them to see their instructions in action. They got to see the blocks of code and the kinds of instructions a computer will need to complete a set task, in this case, directing the Spero around the maze. Over time, by comparing different sets of instructions, they also learn the value of efficiency in programming.

It also boosted their level of engagement. Who wouldn’t like to play with robotic balls at school and call it “learning?” I didn’t need to refocus their attention very often.

The assessment for this course required the students to construct a basic program for a specified task. They decided to choreograph the Spheros to a piece of music. They used the Collaboration Space to collate their planning so that they all had a record of what they needed to construct.

Students wrote their individual programs themselves and came together to test the movement.

They went from programming novices to a coding choreographers in a matter of weeks with very little coaching from me. Having resources and activities prepared in OneNote made it easy for the students to thrive in the mixed-level classroom. The students were engaged, autonomous and motivated. And it all started with making toast.

—Cathy Quigan

May 2017 updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in

Excel 2016 includes a powerful set of features based on the Power Query technology, which provides fast, easy data gathering and shaping capabilities and can be accessed through the Get & Transform section on the Data ribbon.

Today, we are pleased to announce three new data transformation and connectivity features that have been requested by many customers.

These updates are available as part of an Office 365 subscription. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, find out how to get these latest updates. If you have Excel 2010 or Excel 2013, you can also take advantage of these updates by downloading the latest Power Query for Excel add-in.

These updates include the following new or improved data connectivity and transformation features:

  • Split Column by Delimiter—automatic detection of delimiter character
  • Combine Files—ability to select sample file to use
  • DB2 Connector—option to specify Package Collection

Split Column by Delimiter—automatic detection of delimiter character

When splitting column by delimiter inside Query Editor via Home > Split Column, Excel will automatically detect and populate the Delimiter field in this dialog, based on text pattern detection in the data preview rows. Note that you can still change the delimiter if needed, but this automatic detection saves a few clicks in many cases.

Combine Files—ability to select sample file to use

This month, we continue making incremental enhancements to the Combine Files experience. One of the common areas of recent feedback has been to add the ability to select a file from a folder to use as the sample file to select objects and specify any custom transformation steps (if needed).

With this release, we added a new control in the file preview dialog to allow you to choose a file available in the selected folder. The default selection is the first file found—however, this can now be easily customized by users.

DB2 connector—option to specify Package Collection

The DB2 connector window now includes an option to specify the package collection to connect to within a given DB2 server. This new option, available under the Advanced Options section in the DB2 connector dialog, can only be used with the Microsoft IBM DB2 driver.

Learn more

—The Excel team

Note-taking made easier for everyone—redesigning OneNote

Today, we are excited to announce that we updated the design of OneNote for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android and OneNote Online. These design features, rolling out over the coming weeks, include three key areas of focus:

  • Enhancing usability for those who use assistive technologies.
  • Simplifying navigation controls.
  • Creating consistency across devices.

View this video with audio descriptions here.

Enhanced usability for all

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “We will focus on designing and building products that our customers love and that are accessible to everyone and built for each of us.” In this update, we focused on making OneNote more usable for those with disabilities—such as vision and mobility impairments. We interviewed hundreds of people and analyzed product telemetry to understand how to improve keyboard shortcuts and the screen reader experience. We’re excited to share a vastly improved user experience in these two areas.

Now you can more easily use OneNote with keyboard shortcuts.

Simplified navigation

We worked with users to learn how we could improve the navigation layout—especially for larger notebooks with more sections. Now, the navigation controls are all in one area on the left-hand side of the app. This allows users to easily switch between their notes and dramatically improves usability with assistive technologies. With the new consolidated and simplified design, screen readers can easily navigate through the app to help those with disabilities. In addition, content is front and center—helping students to focus and avoid distractions.

Screenshot of OneNote’s new design showing the navigation all on the left hand side. The columns are labeled from left to right: Notebooks, Sections, Pages.

Consistency across devices

Today, OneNote users often use a range of devices. Having a cohesive user experience across all screens makes it simple for users to jump from one device to the next. With this update, regardless of what device someone is using, the experience will be the same—allowing users to capture thoughts, jot down notes and get things done more quickly. This update is also exciting for schools, where device variety is increasingly common. Students will now be able to easily transition between their home and school devices, keeping them focused on their school work. Steve Sawczyn, a OneNote user with visual impairments emphasized the benefits, “I love that between devices it just works, so I can focus on taking notes and not logistics. This is truly awesome and empowering.”

Image of OneNote across three different devices: Computer, tablet and phone. Screen shows that OneNote is a consistent experience and available across multiple devices.

OneNote is available with a consistent experience across devices.

The new redesign for OneNote is rolling out for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android and OneNote Online over the coming weeks. Check out our help article for support and to learn more about the specifics of OneNote’s update.

To get OneNote for free, leave a suggestion or ask for help, follow these links:

—March Rogers, OneNote director of design