Gain complete insights with the Visio visualizations in Power BI Preview

Editor’s Note 7/10/2017: Post was updated to clarify Power BI support for the new Visio visual.

Starting today, you can visualize data using Microsoft Visio diagrams from within Microsoft Power BI dashboards and reports. Microsoft solutions work better together—and now, Visio and Power BI work better together than ever before thanks to the new Visio visualization. Any Visio user can sign up for the preview to start using this capability right away. The Visio custom visual is currently only supported in Power BI Service. Support in Power BI desktop and Power BI apps will come soon.

Both Visio and Power BI are highly visual and naturally complementary. With Visio, you can create illustrative diagrams, such as interconnected workflows and real-world layouts, to pursue operational intelligence. On the other hand, Power BI helps you build intuitive dashboards from various visualizations, like charts and maps, to understand complex datasets, measure KPIs and track goals—all to achieve business intelligence. Using Visio and Power BI together, you can illustrate and compare data as both diagrams and traditional Power BI visualizations in one place, driving operational and business intelligence to understand the overall picture.

With this new feature, you can import a Visio diagram from SharePoint or OneDrive for Business into Power BI. The underlying Power BI data is then automatically and intelligently linked to the diagram based on its shape properties, eliminating the need to do this manually. In just a few clicks, and without help from IT, Visio diagrams become yet another interactive Power BI visualization that can help you make informed decisions faster.

Get more out of your data using Visio and Power BI together

Consider this fictitious example: Contoso is a large retailer working to improve its inventory management. Using Power BI, the current inventory per store can be represented in a series of visualizations, including a treemap that shows stock by item (left-side chart in the image below).

Visualization of Contoso inventory with the Visio tree map displayed on the left and the Power BI data summary on the right.

The visualizations are perfect for an all-up view of inventory at this store. But what if Contoso needs more nuanced details, like sales and inventory data for specific clothing racks? What if it needs to understand where each rack is located in the store and how they are positioned relative to one another? Using a Visio diagram of the store’s layout, Contoso can overlay the data in Power BI on Visio’s clothing rack drawings. The resulting Power BI dashboard provides an accurate, up-to-date representation of overall store inventory while also giving it the ability to drill into specific items.

Visualization of Contoso inventory with Visio tree map replaced with color coded item racks linked to the inventory information from the Power BI data summary on the right.

In the animated image above, the treemap was replaced with individual item racks, color-coded and labeled based on inventory levels from Power BI data. When Tea Dresses is clicked in the Visio diagram, you quickly see that sales are very strong, which helps explain why inventory is low. Similarly, when Suit Coats is clicked in the Power BI bar chart, you see the item is well below its sales target and inventory is still high. You also can see that the suit coat rack is located in a back corner of the store, making it less accessible to customers. Based on this information, the Contoso team might decide to use more rack space for tea dresses and less for suit coats, or reposition the racks for greater accessibility.

Visio visualizations in Power BI offer detailed insights for nearly any diagram type, including:

  • Flow charts for identifying interdependencies.
  • Fishbone diagrams for root-cause analysis.
  • Organizational charts for assessing the impact of hierarchies on process decisions and people management.

Visio flowchart illustrating a sample home loan approval process for a bank.

Visio flowchart illustrating a sample home loan approval process for a bank. Using the Power BI charts, the bank sees that actual ticket response times for performing property risk assessments are higher than expected. In the Visio diagram, that process step is highlighted in red and, because it’s so early in the process, could affect other steps in the future if the ticket processing issue isn’t resolved soon.

Fishbone chart showing that poor working conditions.

Fishbone chart showing that poor working conditions—specifically excessive noise and temperature, which are highlighted in red in the Visio diagram—are the root cause of diminished product quality. The diagram relies on the employee ratings of operational categories depicted in the Power BI charts on the right.

Dashboard showing how certain people and departments, illustrated by the Visio hierarchy diagram in the upper left, affect different organizational processes.

Dashboard showing how certain people and departments, illustrated by the Visio hierarchy diagram in the upper left, affect different organizational processes. In this case, the marketing and sales department is over budget on tele sales and tele call efforts, all of which are highlighted in red.

Visio and Power BI are inherently visual tools—each helps you to dissect data in new, meaningful ways. Together, they can uncover even more insights.

Get the preview today and send us your feedback

Sign up today for the Visio visualization in Power BI Preview. Please visit our UserVoice site to submit your suggestions for improving Visio-Power BI connectivity. For questions about this and other features, email us at Lastly, you can follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest Visio news.

—The Visio team


Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I import a Visio diagram saved on my desktop into Power BI?

A. No. You can only import diagrams saved on SharePoint or OneDrive for Business. Because of this, you will need an Office 365 license to use the new Visio visualization in Power BI.

Q. Do I need both a Visio and Power BI license to use this feature?

A. Not necessarily. If you’re creating a Power BI dashboard or report with a Visio visualization, then you will need a Visio license to create and edit the diagram. If you are only viewing that dashboard or report, you will not need a Visio license. The Visio visualization works with the free version of Power BI, so you do not need a license for Power BI.

Allergan embraces growth pharma model, accelerates business with the Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Logo for Allergan, a "Growth Pharma" leader.

Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

With 22 acquisitions in the past five years, it’s easy to see how Allergan is a leading exponent of the new “Growth Pharma” business model. Expanding its diversified portfolio of branded and generic pharmaceuticals by acquiring companies like Botox and Zeltiq Aesthetics, Allergan is pursuing a rigorous growth strategy, rather than investing heavily in R&D. This approach, known in the industry as “open science,” sees the company enriching its intellectual property by acquiring new talent, promising new products and partnering closely with many external stakeholders. It requires an agile, IT-enabled workplace to pull off the rapid employee onboarding and a rich culture of teamwork and creativity to make this strategy work. At the same time, it’s critically important for Allergan to ensure the security of its IP and to remain compliant in this highly regulated industry. So, it’s great news that Allergan chose the Microsoft 365 Enterprise solution to enable this disruptive way of doing business in the pharmaceutical industry.

Here’s what CIO Sean Lennon has to say about the organization’s decision to facilitate a new culture of work at Allergan that securely enables teamwork and creativity for all workers with the help of the Microsoft 365 Enterprise solution:

“As Allergan continues to build its global portfolio of products and services, it’s our role in IT to enable the company’s scalability. That’s why we chose Microsoft 365 Enterprise, because it allows me to deliver a secure technology experience that drives creativity, collaboration and teamwork for the business. So, while employees are working more collaboratively and are empowered to innovate with immediate access to all the tools they need—Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Windows 10 Enterprise—I’m also saving money by consolidating our IT landscape and reducing the burden of on-premises maintenance. It’s always a challenge to maintain a lean IT organization and provide the best tools for enabling the business to achieve its goals, but we’ve achieved the right balance with Microsoft.”

Allergan is making great strides using Microsoft 365 Enterprise as an effective way to consolidate its position at the forefront of business innovation in the pharma industry.

—Ron Markezich

SharePoint Virtual Summit showcases growth, innovations and customer success

Today’s post was written by Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive, SharePoint and Office.

Today, during the SharePoint Virtual Summit, we unveiled the latest innovations for SharePoint and OneDrive, including powerful integrations across Office 365, Windows and Azure. These developments build upon the vision we unveiled last year, and have been delivering on since, with innovations to reinvent content collaboration and usher in a new generation of mobile and intelligent intranets. We also showcased Office 365 customers who are using SharePoint to accelerate their digital transformation.

SharePoint continues to gain momentum

With more than 100 million monthly active users, Office 365 provides the most complete, intelligent and secure service for communications and collaboration. SharePoint plays an important role in Office 365, empowering customers to share and manage content, knowledge and apps to create a more connected workplace.

As customers transition to the cloud, we’re seeing tremendous adoption of SharePoint:

  • More than 250,000 organizations and over 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies now have SharePoint as part of Office 365.
  • In the last year, usage of SharePoint has grown 90 percent, content stored has grown 300 percent and more than 10 million new SharePoint sites have been created.
  • More than 60 percent of SharePoint seats are now online, reflecting the value customers see with SharePoint in Office 365.

We unveiled many innovations across SharePoint and OneDrive. Here’s a look at the four headline announcements.

Share files directly from File Explorer on Windows and Finder on Mac

OneDrive lets you share files securely with anyone—inside or outside your organization. Its deep Office integration, which powers rich co-authoring, allows you to collaborate on these shared files with others in real-time. And it lets you access all your Office 365 files, including your individual work files and files shared with you by individuals, teams and the organization—regardless of whether you’re on a PC, Mac, an iOS or Android device or a Windows phone.

Building upon last week’s announcement of OneDrive Files On-Demand—which lets you work with all your files within File Explorer on Windows 10—we announced today that starting this summer you will be able to share Office 365 files directly from File Explorer on PC and Finder on Mac. The sharing experience has been simplified, so you can share a file or folder with specific people or send a link that enables anyone who needs access, inside or outside your organization. In addition, you can now control how long a link provides access, and you can easily view and modify the permissions you have granted. The new sharing experience is the same, whether you share on the web, in Explorer on Windows 10 and Windows 7, or in Finder on Mac.

Share files and folders with colleagues inside and outside your organization directly from File Explorer on Windows 10 and Windows 7.

Share files and folders with colleagues inside and outside your organization directly from Finder on Mac.

Innovations that we’ve released over the last year and announced today are sparking customers to choose OneDrive over other file storage and sharing solutions. Read “File sharing and cloud storage with OneDrive and Office 365” to learn more.

Inform and engage employees with SharePoint communication sites

As the next step toward ushering in the next generation of intranets, today we announced SharePoint communication sites, coming this summer. A communication site is a beautiful, dynamic site that lets you reach a broad audience to keep the organization informed and engaged. Communication sites look great on the web, on a PC or Mac, on mobile browsers and in the SharePoint app.

Easily create beautiful intranet sites to reach a broad audience across your organization.

While your team site lets you share within your group as you’re working, a communication site lets your group share broadly and communicate its message across the organization. News published on a communication site surfaces on SharePoint home in Office 365 and on SharePoint mobile to all users who have access to the site.

Communication sites can be created in seconds. You can configure the default web parts on your site’s pages to tell your story. You can customize page layout with new multi-column sections and drag-and-drop authoring with a range of richly functional web parts, including an image gallery, interactive Bing maps, videos from a Microsoft Stream channel and a new events web part.

Add the Yammer web part to a communication site to solicit feedback and foster conversation. Yammer adds a conversational layer to the intranet, so you can drive employee engagement and share best practices across the organization, right in the context of a communications site. To learn more about Yammer integration with SharePoint and other Yammer announcements made today, read “New in Yammer—building a more engaged and connected organizationand watch Updates to Yammer—integrating conversations into your SharePoint experiences.

Create custom SharePoint forms with PowerApps and automate approvals with Microsoft Flow

SharePoint enables you, your team and your organization to streamline tasks, automate workflows and integrate processes seamlessly into your work—on any device and from anywhere you work. Starting this summer, you will be able to use Microsoft PowerApps to easily create custom forms that surface right in the context of a SharePoint list or library. Users can then create, view and interact with data using your custom form, rather than default SharePoint forms. This is a significant milestone for both SharePoint and PowerApps, as it empowers any user to drive transformation of team and organizational processes.

Create custom forms inside SharePoint lists and libraries with no code using PowerApps.

We also continue to deepen integration of SharePoint and Microsoft Flow. New built-in approval flows let you send any document for approval with a custom message. The recipient can approve the request directly from a rich, actionable email message, so approval and feedback can be given without leaving your inbox.

Approval flows, built in to SharePoint, send a rich, actionable email message.

Find people, expertise and content with powerful, personalized search

Today, we announced a more personalized search that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence from Microsoft Graph to surface more relevant and valuable results, faster. When you’re searching for knowledge, it may be found in content such as files, sites and news. And it might also be found through your colleagues. Now, your search results will include people whose skills, interests and projects—part of their Office 365 profile—are relevant to your query.

Search results activate people cards, so you can learn at a glance about a person and the content they work on. One more click activates an extended view with richly detailed information from the user’s profile. These enhancements to search are rolling out over the next few months.

Showcasing customer success

These innovations illustrate our commitment to reinventing productivity, so that you, your teams and your organization can achieve more. Today, we showcased customers like DBS, Avanade, Shire and Fourlis who use SharePoint and OneDrive to achieve more. We’re honored to have them join the growing ranks of customers who are sharing their stories of success, including RackspaceThe Hershey Company, NASCAR, Qantas, T-Mobile and many more.

The headline announcements I’ve shared here are but the tip of the iceberg. At the SharePoint Virtual Summit, we announced dozens of innovations that will help you accelerate your digital transformation in the year ahead. To learn more about the new capabilities across SharePoint and OneDrive, and the transformational outcomes they drive, read “New SharePoint and OneDrive capabilities accelerate your digital transformation.”

—Jeff Teper

If you missed the event today, you can view the recording of the SharePoint Virtual Summit.

New in Yammer—building a more connected and engaged organization

Yammer empowers every person in your company with an open space to connect, share and work out loud. With 70 percent annual growth in active groups, there’s greater momentum in Yammer than ever before. Yammer and SharePoint have always been natural complements, because together they deliver powerful connections and discoveries of people, content and information. Today, during the SharePoint Virtual Summit, we unveiled several new capabilities that make it easier to connect and engage through Yammer, whoever and wherever you are in the organization.

Spark conversations on your intranet by bringing Yammer and SharePoint together

Productive conversations can arise from anywhere you do your work. Last year, we enabled a more seamless document sharing capability across the Office 365 suite, including SharePoint, while collaborating in Yammer. You can now enrich your new SharePoint communication sites with a conversational layer by using the existing Yammer embed capability, triggering contextually relevant discussions and increasing the virality of your content.

Over the coming year, we will enhance the integration between Yammer and SharePoint by further improving the way SharePoint content appears in Yammer and making conversations from Yammer render more naturally within SharePoint on the web, desktop and mobile.

Share, view and discuss videos from Office 365 Video and Microsoft Stream

Companies are increasingly looking to use video as an effective way to reach employees and drive engagement across the organization. Now, you can share and play videos from Office 365 Video and Microsoft Stream directly within your Yammer conversations. Yammer already offers high quality, in-line viewing of video uploads or external websites like YouTube and Vimeo. These new integrations with Office 365 Video and Microsoft Stream make it seamless to embed internal videos in Yammer conversations and include security controls and infrastructure to keep valuable information secure.

To share a video from Office 365 Video or Microsoft Stream, copy the URL of the video and paste it into your Yammer conversation either as a reply or post. Yammer recognizes that the URL is a video, adds a playable thumbnail and allows people in the group to watch the video in the context of Yammer. They will also see the number of views and likes. Those who don’t have access to a specific video will be shown a message that the video is private or the user is not authorized.

Whether you are running a monthly Q&A session, sharing an executive message, broadcasting product updates or releasing a campaign, your employees can now share, watch and discuss videos right within Yammer and see tallies of views and likes.

Discuss relevant information from third-party apps and services using Connectors in Yammer

You can now use Office 365 Connectors to bring relevant content and updates from over 90 popular third-party apps and services directly into your current Yammer conversations. Connectors allow you to configure automatic posts to groups from a wide variety of tools, such as news and social media sources like Bing News and Twitter, developer tools including GitHub and PagerDuty, and project management tools like Trello and Asana.

Anyone in the group can add or delete a connector in Yammer, as long as the group is connected to the Office 365 Groups service. Simply click Add or Remove Apps under Group Actions (on the right of your group’s feed) and then follow the instructions on how to add the connector. To learn more about Connectors in Yammer, please visit the support article.

Connectors bring relevant third-party information right to your group. For example, you can set up a connector to deliver a weekly digest of social media posts or articles regarding a specific hashtag or search term. For groups managing the customer experience, you can set up a connector with your organization’s customer support system to escalate important tickets and drive group problem solving.

Keep group membership up to date by enabling dynamic groups in Yammer

Starting today, you can more easily manage groups in Yammer using dynamic group membership. Dynamic groups are Office 365 groups with membership defined as a rule, rather than as a static list of members, in Azure Active Directory. Whether you’re looking to group people based on role, geography, department or any other attribute, once created, these groups update automatically as people join, leave or move within your organization. So you can rest assured that you are including the right people from across the company to engage and collaborate in your Yammer conversations.

To create a group with dynamic membership in Yammer, an Office 365 administrator will need to sign in to the Azure portal, select the Yammer group to configure and set up the membership rules for that group.

Group members are added and removed based on membership rules set in the Azure portal.

This new capability works well for organizations where people often change teams, roles and geographies. For quickly growing companies seeking to bring new hires into group conversations relevant to them, dynamic membership helps to ensure these employees have all the right permissions to find applicable content and make meaningful connections from day one.

For companies looking for a reliable and secure way to engage with the frontline, a group with dynamic membership can be created based on a specific role or location. Group managers can then announce major updates, sending a notification to employees’ mobile apps. Conversely, workers on the frontline can share input and escalate issues knowing they’re connected to the right people back in the central office.

Connect wherever you do your best work with new Yammer apps for iPad, Windows and Mac

Staying connected requires tools that have the versatility to fit your work style. Whether you are highly mobile, moving from meeting to meeting, on the ground talking to customers or jumping from app to app on your desktop, your cross-company conversations should be accessible, highly engaging and easy to navigate. We are pleased to share new Yammer apps for iPad, Windows and Mac.

The Yammer iPad app has been re-launched with a richer navigation and group experience, as well as universal search capabilities.

With great feedback and usage of our current Desktop Notifier, we will also be delivering a more full-featured desktop app for Windows and Mac within the next couple months. The new app will enable automatic sign-in and will have a similar look and feel as the current browser experience. Organizations will also be able to broadly deploy the desktop app through central management.

Learn more and join us for our Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA)

The features and capabilities announced today represent the next steps in Yammer’s journey of empowering people to connect and engage across their organization. With several exciting announcements, we invite you to watch our latest Microsoft Mechanics video:

Also, join us next Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 9 a.m. PDT for a special Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) in the Microsoft Tech Community. Our product and engineering teams will be available to answer questions you have about new features in Yammer. Add the event to your calendar and join us in the Yammer AMA group next week. To keep up with Yammer releases and connect with our product teams on an ongoing basis, please join the Yammer Service Updates External Group.

—The Yammer team


Frequently asked questions

Q. How does embedding a Yammer conversation into my SharePoint site work today?

A. To embed Yammer on a SharePoint page today, edit the page, insert the Yammer feed web-part from the gallery and enter the URL of a Yammer group or topic. Adding a Yammer conversation into a SharePoint page embeds the exact conversations that you see in Yammer. Your group feed in Yammer and the view of the conversation in SharePoint will update concurrently, in real-time.

Q. What is the difference between Connectors and Flow?

A. While Connectors for Office 365 Groups and the first-party app Microsoft Flow both involve integration with various third-party apps and services, there are several differences. Connectors post updates to your Yammer feed from a specified system. Microsoft Flow can post updates as well, and add the ability to automate multi-step workflows involving actions taken across multiple systems. To learn more, visit the Microsoft Flow website.

Q. What are the eligibility requirements for dynamic group membership?

A. Eligibility requires that your group in Yammer be connected to the Office 365 Groups service and your tenant be subscribed to Azure Active Directory Premium. Dynamic groups in Yammer currently have a 100K member maximum. For more details about configuration and eligibility, please visit the support article.

Introducing OneDrive Files On-Demand and other features making it easy to access files

Today’s post was written by Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for the Office, OneDrive and SharePoint teams.

As people create and collaborate on more files, take more photos and work across multiple devices, it’s increasingly important to access your important content, both from your work and personal life—all in one place. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether there is enough storage on your device or if you can access your files on an airplane.

Today, we are excited to share a set of new features that will allow you to see and access all your files on Windows 10, be more productive offline on your mobile devices and quickly share files on iOS.

OneDrive Files On-Demand—access all your files without using up your device storage

At Microsoft Build 2017, Joe Belfiore announced that the new OneDrive Files On-Demand feature will be delivered with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. With Files On-Demand, you can access all your files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on your device. You don’t have to change the way you work, because all your files—even online files—can be seen in File Explorer and work just like every other file on your device.

Files On-Demand also allows you to open online files from within desktop or Windows store apps using the Windows file picker. Simply select the file you want to open in the file picker, and the file will automatically download and open in your app. Furthermore, you’re covered in both your home and professional life since it works with your personal and work OneDrive, as well as your SharePoint Online team sites.

This has been the #1 requested feature for OneDrive on UserVoice, and we’re excited to deliver it in a simple and powerful new way.

You can see that the folder selected in the SharePoint Online team site contains 1.37 TB of content but takes 0 bytes of storage on the disk.

New status icons in File Explorer make it easy to know whether your files are locally available or online files. For files that you need to access when you don’t have an internet connection, you can easily make files or folders always available by right-clicking and selecting Always keep on this device.

Right-click and select Always keep on this device to make files and folders accessible when you do not have an internet connection.

Online files will automatically download and become locally available when you need them. Simply double-click a file in File Explorer or open it from within an app. Your online files will always be visible even if you are offline. Now you won’t have to make tough decisions about which files to sync to your PC.

Double-click an online file and it will automatically download and open.

In addition to users, Files On-Demand benefits organizations and IT admins. Today, when someone syncs a SharePoint Online team site, files are re-downloaded on all synced devices when anyone makes a change. Files On-Demand will reduce network bandwidth by eliminating the need to continuously sync shared files on every synced device as teams collaborate.

Files On-Demand is coming to Windows Insider Preview early this summer and will be publicly available with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Tune in to the SharePoint Virtual Summit on May 16, 2017 to learn more about Files On-Demand and how to create a connected workplace in Office 365 with OneDrive and SharePoint.

OneDrive Offline Folders—save entire folders for offline access on Android and iOS

In addition to Files On-Demand, we want to share a new feature with you to help you stay productive on your mobile device when you don’t have an internet connection, like on those long flights or weekends up at the cabin. OneDrive Offline Folders lets you save folders to your mobile device and open them when you don’t have an internet connection. Changes made by other users to the files while you’re offline will automatically be updated when you have an internet connection again. This new feature is now available on Android devices to Office 365 Personal and Home subscribers and OneDrive business accounts. We expect to roll it out to iOS in the next few months.

Select a folder and click the Parachute icon to make a folder and its contents available offline.

OneDrive for iMessage—quickly share OneDrive files on iOS devices

With OneDrive for iMessage, we made it even easier to share files on your iOS devices by allowing you to quickly share documents and photos with friends and family without leaving your iMessage conversation. Choose to share an entire folder or only a file and instantly preview documents and photos shared with you in iMessage. Update to the latest version of OneDrive and enable OneDrive for iMessage on your device to try today.

Open OneDrive in iMessage and click a file to share it in your conversation.

Let us know what you think. Please share your thoughts and ideas through the Microsoft Technical Community and UserVoice. There’s so much more to come with OneDrive!

—Jeff Teper

Learn more about the insights in Microsoft MyAnalytics

On today’s Microsoft Mechanics, we take a tour of the latest updates to Microsoft MyAnalytics. Catherine Pidgeon shares how to use MyAnalytics to improve work impact and success. From understanding where her time goes, to identifying areas of opportunity and gaining insight into collaboration with her most important groups, Catherine provides a comprehensive tour of current and roadmap features.

Also, today we are announcing the availability of external contacts within your MyAnalytics experience. Now you will be able to stay up to date on how you interact with important contacts outside of your organization. Whether they are customers, partners or external staff—sometimes those you work with across organizations are the most important to your success. Now you can quickly add important external contacts to your MyAnalytics dashboard to stay updated with collaboration insights like total collaboration time, time in meetings, read percent and response time.


Get email digests to have insights delivered right to your inbox

Starting in January, the MyAnalytics email digest will deliver time and network insights right into your inbox. The digest will provide insight into your time and progress against goals to help you identify key trends that might require your action. With the quick insights delivered each week, you will now be better informed to plan ahead and ensure you’re spending your time in ways that are aligned with your goals.


Already have MyAnalytics? Send us your feedback in the comments, on Twitter @_MyAnalytics­ or via the MyAnalytics UserVoice. Would you like to see your own MyAnalytics view? Start up a free E5 trial today at

Frequently asked questions

Q. How do I add an external contact?

A. Use the “search to add” field of the network section in your MyAnalytics dashboard to add external contacts by their full, valid email address.

Q. When will the groups feature be available?

A. The “My important groups” feature is currently in development and will be available for customers in the first several months of 2017.

Q. When will the digest email be available?

A. The digest email will start to roll out to customers in early January 2017.

Q. How is privacy handled within MyAnalytics?

A. Most of the information provided within MyAnalytics is already available to you, such as your time in meetings or your response time to others. In the case that this information is not already available to you, such as the company average time in meetings, the insights are aggregated and de-identified to preserve end-user privacy.

Additionally, organizations have significant controls to ensure that MyAnalytics meets the privacy requirements of their organization. See MyAnalytics for Office 365 admins for more information.

Q. I am an end user in an organization that has MyAnalytics and I want to learn more about it. Are there any reference materials available?

A. To learn more, please visit MyAnalytics tips and stay connected via our UserVoice, Twitter @_MyAnalytics­ and the MyAnalytics group on the Microsoft Tech Community.

Accessibility in Office 365—enabling greater digital inclusion

Today’s post was written by John Jendrezak, accessibility lead and partner director of program management for the Office Engineering team.

Tomorrow marks the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), and this year’s theme focuses on laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities. In honor of IDPD, we invite all Office 365 customers to lay the foundation for a more inclusive digital environment by discovering and using accessibility capabilities built into Office 365.

Create accessible content with Office 365

Office 365 empowers you to communicate information to your colleagues and customers in a variety of ways: documents, presentations, spreadsheets, emails, chats, sways, notes, videos and more. As you communicate, it is important to meet the diverse needs of your audience. Making your content accessible ensures it can be used without barriers by people with varying levels of vision, hearing, cognition and mobility.

Noteworthy new capabilities built into Office 365 to help you with this include:

  • Accessible templates—When you create content starting with an online template in Word, Excel or PowerPoint for PC or Mac, you can now find templates tagged as “accessible.” These are structured to ensure ease of navigation with a screen reader and keyboard and use fonts and colors that are easy to read with low vision or color blindness. In the coming months, we will add more accessible templates not only for Office for PC and Mac, but also for Office Online and Office Mobile applications.

Screenshot of PowerPoint for PCs shows a new presentation being created from an online template by searching for the word accessible.

Hundreds of accessible templates are already available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint for PCs and Macs with more coming.

  • Image description controls—When you use visual objects to communicate information, you need to add alternative text descriptions (alt-text) to ensure this content can be understood by people with visual impairments. To make this process easier, we now offer you controls to add alt-text not only in Office for PC, Mac and Office Online, but also in several Office mobile applications. Furthermore, we are designing ways to make alt-text easier to discover and use. In the coming months, starting with Word and PowerPoint for PCs, we will merge the title and description fields in the alt-text control into a single field so you have no confusion about where to enter alt-text. Also, we will make this control discoverable via the right click menu and ribbon. Lastly, using the Microsoft Computer Vision Cognitive Service, we will offer you automatic suggestions for alt-text when you insert a photographic image that can be recognized with high confidence. Through machine learning, this service will keep improving as more people use it, saving you significant time to make media-rich presentations accessible.
  • Link display name controls—When you include links to webpages or documents, you need to add meaningful display names to ensure screen reader users find it easy to understand the purpose of the links. To make this process easier, we now offer you controls to add display names for links not only in Office for PC, Mac and Office Online, but also in several Office mobile applications. In the coming months, we are introducing a new control called Link Gallery in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for PCs, as well as in several Office Mobile applications. This gallery will show you your most recently used files from SharePoint and OneDrive, as well as any webpage from your clipboard. When you insert a link by selecting it from this gallery, the file or webpage name will automatically be added as the display text, and you can build on this to make it more meaningful.

Screenshot of Word for PCs shows a new control called Link Gallery being introduced in the Insert tab to make it easy to insert accessible links to recent items.

The Link Gallery is coming soon to help you efficiently insert links to recent items in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for PCs. File names will automatically be added as display text for links inserted via this new control.

  • Accessibility checker—Before sharing content, you can run the accessibility checker to find and fix any issues that might make your content difficult for people with disabilities to use. The accessibility checker is now easily discoverable in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for PC applications via the Check Accessibility button under the Review tab. It is also available in Visio for PCs and several Office for Mac and Office Online applications. It not only finds accessibility errors and tells you how and why to fix them, but also links to detailed support articles on creating accessible documents, accessible spreadsheets, accessible presentations and accessible emails.

Watch this short Microsoft Mechanics demonstration to learn more about these capabilities:

Consume content more effectively with Office 365

Office 365 applications receive regular updates to ensure they can be used seamlessly with assistive technologies and ease of access settings, as outlined in our 2016 accessibility roadmap. Also, new settings are built into applications to empower you to personalize your experiences to suit your needs. Earlier this year, we made you aware of key accessibility updates released in the second quarter and those released in the third quarter.

Now, let’s take a closer look at key updates releasing in the fourth quarter:

  • Usability with assistive technologies—If you use Office 365 with a screen reader and keyboard, you might have already noticed significant improvements such as the following:
    • In Skype for Business for PCs, we made it possible for screen readers to give automatic announcements of conversation invites, incoming instant messages and alerts, as well as changes to mute, video and screen sharing states. We also made it efficient to navigate through the main regions of the application using “F6” and take quick actions after selecting a contact by pressing Enter. Learn more about keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business in this article.
    • In OneNote for Windows 10, Mac and iPad, we’re introducing an entirely new design to provide screen reader users a better navigation experience across notebooks, sections and pages. Currently available in preview, this can be enabled in the app settings by following the steps in this OneNote support page.
    • In Office Online, we made it possible to use access keys to navigate through the ribbon efficiently without a mouse. Read the article “Accessibility in Office Online” to learn more about keyboard shortcuts.
    • In Visio, we made it easier for screen reader and keyboard users to work with shapes and navigate diagrams. We also made it possible for diagram authors to define the keyboard navigation order of the diagram and to include alt-text for the following objects: shapes, illustrations, pages, masters, hyperlinks and data graphics.
    • In Project, we recently enhanced accessibility for the following views: Gantt Chart, sheet views, timeline, team planner, usage views and form views.
    • In Office Lens for iOS, we made it possible to capture images with real-time voice guidance through VoiceOver. Learn more about Frame Guide for Office Lens in this blog.

We’ve made hundreds of additional improvements, including making it possible for screen reader users to work effectively in documents with Math equations, comments and real-time co-authoring in Office for PCs. Learn more about these improvements in the following articles: What’s new in accessibility for Word, Accessibility for Excel and Accessibility for PowerPoint.

  • Built-in learning tools—If you have a learning disability such as dyslexia, you can now read content in Word documents more effectively by turning on settings built into Word for PCs in the View > Read Mode. These can read text aloud with simultaneous highlighting, increase text spacing and break words into syllables to promote concentration and comprehension. These controls are already having profound impact on students in classrooms with Learning Tools for OneNote and will be introduced in the coming months in OneNote Online and Word Online as well. We recently introduced them in the latest Office Lens app for iOS as well, enabling you to more effectively scan content in physical documents.

Watch this short Microsoft Mechanics demonstration to learn more about these capabilities:

The Office 365 team is committed to empowering organizations to remove barriers faced by persons with disabilities when accessing digital resources. We are committed to building technology that helps enable equal opportunities for everyone to achieve their goals. We believe that empowerment begins with inclusion, and inclusion requires action from all. Stay tuned to our Office 365 accessibility blog series for more updates to enable greater digital inclusion.

—John Jendrezak

Frequently asked questions

Q. How can I be the first to get the Office 365 enhancements described in this blog?

A. You can be among the first to start leveraging the capabilities described in this post to make your digital environment more accessible by getting Office 365 and signing up for Office Insider or First Release options with Office 365.

Q. How can I confirm that Office 365 applications meet the accessibility requirements for my organization?

A. Review our latest conformance statements that demonstrate how Office 365 applications conform to the accessibility criteria of modern accessibility standards via our pages for WCAG 2.0 AA reports, EN 301 549 reports and U.S. Section 508 VPATs.

Q. How can I get help with accessibility issues?

A. Visit the Office Accessibility Center to find support articles on creating accessible content with Office 365 applications on various platforms or on using Office 365 applications with specific assistive technologies. If you require further assistance, reach out to an accessibility specialist via the Enterprise Disability Answer Desk or Consumer Disability Answer Desk.

Q. How can I give feedback to the Office 365 team working on accessibility?

A. We welcome hearing about your experiences with our products either via @MSFTEnable or via the Microsoft Accessibility Feedback Forum. You can also meet with us in person at our showcase suite at the 32nd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego, California, from March 1–3, 2017.

Merging intelligence with productivity—a demo tour of recent Office app updates

On today’s Microsoft Mechanics, we look at the latest in intelligent Office app experiences spanning PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook and the browser. Ben Walters presents how Office can bring in intelligence via the Microsoft Graph, Azure Machine Learning and Delve to save you time.

Ben kicks off his demonstration with PowerPoint Designer, a new way to automatically design slide layouts when importing pictures or other visual elements. Designer now also works with text-based lists to apply visual formats. Going beyond slide design and formatting, Ben also highlights PowerPoint QuickStarter, which uses the Microsoft Graph to pull in content ideas and photos, creating a great starting point for your presentations.

In Word, we take a look at Word Tap, a new feature that also uses intelligence with Delve to bring in recent content like charts and graphs. Within Word, Ben also shows how machine learning can also help improve writing by looking for word redundancies, jargon, gender-specific language and more.

In Excel, we explore the new Azure Machine Learning add-in to run text sentiment analysis, then use map charts to give a visual representation of data inserted via the Azure Machine Learning add-in.

In Outlook, we’re using intelligence and machine learning to help assess the importance of incoming email via the new Focused Inbox. The MyAnalytics add-in also helps track information about how your email is being read, reply rates and the timing of these activities. For Outlook Mobile, we’re applying intelligence to find important events like flight information using Action Cards; also scheduling calendar events is much easier on the phone using integrated free/busy information with meeting attendees.

In the browser, Office 365 not only uses the intelligence from Delve to surface important content you’ve been working on, but you can also customize the App Launcher to highlight the important apps to you and be directly linked to Office 365 capabilities using the intelligent Tell Me engine from Office 365 Help.

While this is a glimpse of some the capabilities rolling out to Office via First Release and the Office Insider program, there is much more coming. Of course, to see all of this in action, you’ll want to check out today’s show.

—Jeremy Chapman

A lightning tour of the new Microsoft Tech Community

On today’s Microsoft Mechanics, community manager Anna Chu gives a lightning tour of the Microsoft Tech Community. If you haven’t seen or joined the community, it’s the single place where experts in the community can share, collaborate and learn about products and services across Microsoft.

In this demonstration, Anna shows how to sign up to become a member of the community, search for answers to questions, personalize your experience to just the products and services that you want to follow, post new conversations and reply to conversations, view member status and build your community status, and access popular event content within the community.

As you’ll see in this hands-on demonstration, the Microsoft Tech Community is the place to connect with peers, experts and Microsoft staff to follow and contribute to conversations across your favorite Microsoft products, services and events. We’ve recently added communities and spaces for Microsoft Teams and Surface Devices with more on the way.

To get started, sign up at the Microsoft Tech Community. You can also follow the community on Twitter for major news and promoted posts.

—Jeremy Chapman

Take an in-depth look at Microsoft Teams—now in preview

Microsoft Teams is the chat-based workspace in Office 365 that helps teams achieve more together. On the heels of today’s preview announcement, Microsoft Mechanics catches up with Dan Stevenson, principal group program manager for Microsoft Teams, who demonstrates step by step how to get started—from user experiences for chat and collaboration to what Office 365 administrators need to do to enable and manage Microsoft Teams.

Dan explains how Microsoft Teams brings together people, conversations, content and the tools teams need with a real focus on teams, and built around chat. The Microsoft Teams chat workspace integrates with all the familiar Office apps and capabilities, such as SharePoint document libraries, OneNote, Planner, Power BI, team calendar and more.

We walk through the process to launch Microsoft Teams in Office 365 in the browser, how to download the app and everything you can do within the apps for the desktop and mobile. Microsoft Teams works in the browser and apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS platforms. Dan also demonstrates the specifics on how to get Microsoft Teams running using the Office 365 admin center and the controls available for configuring and managing the experience for your organization. Check out today’s show to learn more.

—Jeremy Chapman

Visio updates—advanced design collaboration, data-linked diagrams and cross-platform coverage

In the August Office 365 update yesterday, Kirk Koenigsbauer announced the pre-release of Visio Online and Visio on iPad to enable cross-platform consumption of Visio diagrams. Today, we take a hands-on look at both, as well as updates to Visio Pro for Office 365, from one-step data linking to diagrams, to advanced design and collaboration with the enhanced AutoCAD support.

The Visio team is committed to empowering individuals to create anything visually, teams to collaborate throughout the processes, and organizations to effectively communicate one version of the truth. The three scenarios in today’s Microsoft Mechanics demo highlight Visio’s enhancements as a collaboration platform.

For example, with the improved AutoCAD import, architects, engineers and the operations team can now work together on advanced design originating from AutoCAD 2013 files. Teams can also use Office 365 collaboration features and tools, such as inking and Skype for Business. With one-step data linking, end users and IT professionals can quickly bring their diagrams to life. This helps make sure data-linked diagrams are always up-to-date. You can also surface operational insights on top of real-world processes and plans—enabling your organization to get insights in more intuitive ways. You will be able to leverage these capabilities through the Visio Pro for Office 365 subscription. Give us your feedback and vote for upcoming features in UserVoice.

The data-linked diagrams become even more powerful when shared via Visio Online and Visio on iPad. You can get access to the Visio Online Preview through the Office 365 First Release program; and the Insider Program of Visio on iPad was also just rolled out. You can get started here to sign up. The Insider Program is on a first-come, first-served basis. If you don’t get an invitation after sign-up, check back periodically on Office 365 Public Roadmap for the general availability of Visio on iPad in the App Store. Learn more from our frequently asked questions.

Don’t forget to see all of this in action and hear what’s coming next by checking out today’s show.

—Stella Lin, product marketing manager for the Visio team

Yammer updates—from new user experiences to new IT controls

The Yammer team is continually delivering new capabilities for users and admins as well as deeper integration with Office 365. Today, we take a detailed hands-on look at updates to Yammer for enterprise social—from enhanced security and compliance to greater team productivity. Angus Florance, from the Yammer team, joins me to demonstrate new integrated experiences, including Office 365 Video and Delve. And for admins, we’ll show you new controls for merging networks, managing users and tracking usage.

If you’ve been using Yammer, you would have noticed constantly improving integration with Office 365. It not only shares common sign-in backed by Azure Active Directory and ability to get to Yammer experiences via the Office 365 app launcher, but Yammer also meets the same compliance standards as other Office 365 services.

Along with the work to update and integrate Yammer’s underpinnings, the team has also been advancing user experiences; it’s easier now to navigate conversations and move between unread messages across groups. Real-time notifications, which help you stay on top of activities and mobile experiences are now more robust. On the show, Angus highlights these points in a comprehensive demonstration then shows how external collaboration has been developed with clear indications of internal and external members—such as integrating Office experiences like co-authoring, and sharing content in Delve or Office 365 Video with your Yammer groups.

If you are an Office 365 administrator, there are now more controls. The previous global switch to either enable or disable Yammer is now more granular. You can enforce Office 365 sign-on and control access to Yammer services by user. There are also new controls to merge Yammer networks and new reports to track usage.

To see all of this and hear what’s coming next, check out today’s show.

See you soon,

Jeremy Chapman