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.

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

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.

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

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

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

Inking is smoother, more personalized and collaborative in Office

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft Whiteboard provides a limitless canvas for creativity and collaboration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updates for Office 365 commercial customers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Office 365 updates this month

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

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

Announcing the public preview of the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI

Since March 2016, the usage reports in the Office 365 admin center have been providing admins with insights about how users adopt and use the various services in Office 365. Today, we’re pleased to announce the public preview of the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI, which enables customers to get more out of Office 365.

The content pack combines the intelligence of the usage reports with the interactive analysis capabilities of Power BI, providing rich usage and adoption insights. With these insights, admins can drive more targeted user training and communication that helps them transform how their organizations communicate and collaborate, enabling a truly modern workplace.

Insights you can act on

Office 365 gives users the freedom to work from anywhere and the services they need to be more productive and collaborative. Sometimes, however, people need a helping hand to get started with Office 365. For example, if someone doesn’t use Skype for Business, they might not know how to get started using Skype or understand how they can leverage it to communicate better. In either case, the IT department might want to connect with this person to provide them with more information or training resources.

The new Office 365 adoption content pack gives you a cross-product view of how users communicate and collaborate to help IT admins provide more targeted user communication. When you better understand how employees use the various services within Office 365, it is easy to decide where to prioritize training and communication efforts. The content pack lets admins further visualize and analyze their Office 365 usage data, create custom reports, share insights and understand how specific regions or departments use Office 365.

Gain deep insights on usage trends

The centerpiece of the content pack is a pre-built dashboard, which provides IT admins with a cross-product view of how users are accessing the suite of products within Office 365. For most of the metrics, the content pack provides data for the last 12 months, so you can easily see how usage is trending and has evolved over time.

The dashboard is split up into four main areas: Understanding adoption, Communication, Collaboration and Activation. Each area provides you with specific usage insights.

Understanding adoption area—Offers an all-up summary of adoption trends that helps you understand how users have adopted Office 365. You can easily see how many licensed users actively use the various Office 365 services, what combination of products are popular within your organization, and analyze adoption trends for individual products.

Communication area—Highlights the services that people use to communicate, such as Skype for Business, Exchange and Yammer. You can see which communication methods are used most by users and drill into details to understand if there are any shifts in how employees use the various tools to communicate.

Collaboration area—Shows how people in your organization use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint to store documents and work together—including how many users are active on their own accounts versus accounts owned by others. This information is a good indicator to understand if people use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint primarily to just store files, or if they are also using these services to share content and collaborate with others.

Activation area—Helps you understand Office 365 ProPlus, Project Pro and Visio Pro activations in your organization. You can easily see how many users have activated the products, enabling admins to ensure that users have the latest versions of Office applications. The report also provides information about the type of device users have activated the products on, helping admins understand what devices are popular in their organization and how many users work on the go.

Access richer usage insights

Every organization has unique questions around usage and adoption. The content pack helps answer these questions, enabling you to pivot, analyze, customize and share the information.

Analyze usage by department, organization or location—Many of you want a full picture of how specific departments or regions use Office 365. To enable these advanced analytics scenarios, the content pack combines the usage data of users with their information in Azure Active Directory (AAD). You can pivot the reports by AAD attributes like location, department or organization information.

Leverage built-in filters to get insights relevant to you—On many reports, contextual filters allow you to easily slice and dice the data available, for example, to understand adoption trends for individual products.

Quickly find out who your power users are—The content pack includes a user activity report for each service to identify power users. These users typically have very thorough product knowledge and can help train other users. They can share how they are using the service, how it helps them every day to be productive, and offer tips on how to get started. Power users can help lead the digital transformation in your organization by example. The user activity report also lets you identify users that have yet to use a particular product. Armed with this information, you can be very targeted in your adoption campaigns.

Customize the content pack—The dashboard and the underlying reports are templates to help you quickly get started with the content pack. The true power of the content pack lies in the underlying data. We want admins to have full control over their data, so we have made sure that you can customize the content pack and structure the charts based on your organization’s needs.

There are three ways to customize the content pack:

  • Take one of the pre-built visuals and modify it—by removing information or by changing the visual format, for example.
  • Create a brand-new visual by leveraging the underlying data sets.
  • Connect to the pbit file in Power BI Desktop, which enables you to bring in your own data sources.

Share the content pack—Using the sharing capabilities of Power BI Pro, you can easily share the dashboard with people both inside and outside of your organization, such as business stakeholders or your leadership team.

Importance of your feedback

We’d like to thank each one of you who participated in the limited preview and who provided feedback on the early versions of the content pack. Over the past several months, we have received numerous pieces of feedback that have helped us identify gaps and ensure that the content pack provides you with actionable insights. And it’s great to hear how it’s already helping many of you to derive even more value out of Office 365:

The adoption content pack is one of the best Office 365 admin tools for us. It gives us a clear picture of how our organization uses Office 365, and it allows us to get really targeted in our user training efforts, as we know exactly how each user uses the products—or often more important—does not use the products yet.”
—Customer feedback

Get started with the content pack

The content pack is available to all customers free of charge. You’ll only need the free Power BI service to connect to the content pack—use your Office 365 admin account to sign up. You can also customize the dashboards and reports with the free Power BI service. To connect to the content pack, you first need to enable it in the Office 365 admin center. On the Usage Reports page, you will see a new card at the bottom of the page where you can opt in to the content pack. This step kicks off a workflow that generates your historical usage trends. This data processing task takes between 2 and 48 hours, depending on the size of your organization and how long you’ve been using Office 365. After data preparation is complete, it’s ready to show in the content pack. Please follow the steps described to connect to the content pack for your organization.

Please note that you must be a global admin or a product admin (Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint) to connect to the content pack.

Learn more

You can find additional information about the content pack, including FAQs, in the following support articles:

If you have questions, please post them in the adoption content pack group in the Microsoft Tech Community. Also, join us for an Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) session, hosted by the Microsoft Tech Community on June 7, 2017 at 9 a.m. PDT. This live online event will give you the opportunity to connect with members of the product and engineering teams who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Add the event to your calendar and join us in the adoption content pack in Power BI AMA group.

Let us know what you think!

Try the public preview of the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI and provide feedback using the feedback link in the lower-right corner of the Usage Reports page in the admin center. And don’t be surprised if we respond to your feedback. We truly read every piece of feedback that we receive to make sure the Office 365 reporting experience meets your needs.

—Anne Michels, @Anne_Michels, senior product marketing manager for the Office 365 Marketing team

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

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.

Social selling—using social networks to grow sales on the next Small Business Academy

Social selling: The death of the cold call as we know it? Register now for the next episode of Office Small Business Academy, “Social selling—Using social networks to grow sales,” airing May 23, 2017 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET, and learn how to leverage social channels like LinkedIn to nurture customer relationships and build your pipeline.

Watch the preview:

Featured guests include:

  • Regional sales manager of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, Susan Dettmar, will reveal how to get the most out of your social strategy with proven best practices from the field.
  • President of Heinz Marketing, Matt Heinz, will share common mistakes to avoid and how you can use signals from social networks to engage prospects in a meaningful way.

Plus, see a demo of Outlook Customer Manager, a new business app included in Office 365 Business Premium. Automatically organize customer information and track deals in progress—all from your Outlook inbox.

Sign up for free!

For more information, visit the Office Small Business Academy home page.

Related content

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

Automatically create process diagrams in Visio from Excel data

Today, we’re excited to announce Data Visualizer, a new Visio feature that automatically converts process map data in Excel into data-driven Visio diagrams. This update, which is available to Visio Pro for Office 365 users, helps reduce manual steps while giving business analysts even more ways to create process diagrams in Visio.

Automatically create process diagrams from Excel data

Diagrams don’t always start in Visio. They often begin as hand-drawn sketches or—in today’s data-driven age—in Excel. Using Data Visualizer, business analysts can represent process steps and associated metadata in a structured Excel table and quickly convert that information into a visualized Visio diagram. You can do this by either using a premade Excel template or an existing spreadsheet of your own design. The premade templates—there’s one for basic and one for cross-functional flowcharts—provide a sample mapping table to populate with diagram metadata. The table includes predefined columns for process step number, description, dependencies, owner, function, phase and more. You can also customize the table with your own columns to meet specific business requirements.

Once the table is populated, Visio’s wizard helps you complete the remaining steps to transform your Excel data into a Visio process diagram. If you customize the premade template or create one of your own, the wizard helps you map certain flowchart parts, like swim lanes and connectors. The resulting diagram is linked to the Excel table, so if the underlying process data is modified, the diagram updates accordingly. Likewise, shape modifications in Visio are preserved if the Excel data changes.

Additionally, analysts can save their Visio diagrams and the underlying Excel mapping table as a single package using the “Export as a Template Package” feature. These packages can be shared and reused by others, eliminating the need to recreate the same diagram from scratch while encouraging process consistency across the organization.

No matter your preference—whether creating diagrams from a template or your own spreadsheet—the underlying Excel data travels with the related Visio Pro for Office 365 file, helping ensure your team always has the latest diagram version.

Start a free trial of Visio Pro for Office 365 to try Data Visualizer today, and visit our support page for step-by-step instructions to create your first process diagram from Excel data.

Please visit our UserVoice page to submit suggestions for new capabilities, and follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest Visio news.

—The Visio team

Outlook Customer Manager now rolling out worldwide with enhanced capabilities

The Outlook Customer Manager provides an easy way for small businesses to track and grow customer relationships from right within Outlook. Today, we are pleased to announce the Outlook Customer Manager is now rolling out to all Office 365 Business Premium subscribers worldwide, and is also now available for Outlook on the web and Outlook for iOS. In addition, we’ve enhanced the Outlook Customer Manager to help you manage customer relationships more effectively, including intelligent reminders and integration with Bing, Cortana and Microsoft Flow.

More ways to access Outlook Customer Manager

Last November, we released Outlook Customer Manager for Outlook for Windows desktops and since then we have been working to expand the service across platforms. Today, we’re excited to announce the availability of Outlook Customer Manager for Outlook for iOS and Outlook on the web.

We know that access to customer information is often useful when you’re on the go. The Outlook Customer Manager add-in—now available in Outlook for iOS—gives you a quick view of a customer’s information or a deal in progress. To get started, under Add-ins, next to your email in Outlook for iOS, just tap the Outlook Customer Manager add-in. The standalone mobile app for the Outlook Customer Manager will allow you to take a detailed look at all your customers and deals, and will be available in the iOS App Store in the coming weeks.

Quickly get to customer information with the Outlook Customer Manager add-in for Outlook for iOS.

In Outlook on the web, just click the Outlook Customer Manager icon to see a quick view of customer information, such as emails, meetings, calls, notes, files, tasks, deals and deadlines. Over time we will add more functionality, including a detailed view of all your customers and deals.

Now view customer information in Outlook on the web.

Additionally, Outlook Customer Manager is now available in 39 languages, so you stay on top of your customer information in many more ways.

Get automatic reminders for emails containing customer inquiries

Within the busy day of a business owner, it’s easy to miss important emails from customers—especially when you’re heads down attending to urgent tasks. Outlook Customer Manager helps you stay on top of customer inquiries by understanding requests made in email. When an email arrives, Outlook Customer Manager looks to see if it contains a request for a meeting, information or a file, and automatically creates a reminder for you on the Today page.

Get timely reminders on the Today page.

Auto-fill customer business information with suggestions from Bing

Outlook Customer Manager lets you associate all the people you deal with from a company together, to give you one view of information coming from various sources. But spending time to set up up-to-date information on a company can keep you away from more important work. To save you time, Outlook Customer Manager now suggests company information surfaced from Bing. If you accept a suggestion, the business address, website and other information found online are automatically added to the company’s profile in Outlook Customer Manager. This feature is currently available to users who have chosen English-US language setting in Outlook.

See company information suggestions from Bing.

Let Cortana automatically schedule meetings with customers

Setting up a meeting with customers can be time-consuming—often taking more time than the duration of the meeting itself. Leveraging the new Microsoft incubation project, Outlook Customer Manager now offers you the option to let Cortana, your personal digital assistant, arrange meetings on your behalf, so you can focus on more productive work. The first time you try this feature, Outlook Customer Manager will walk you through the Preview sign-up steps. You’ll see this capability if you’re in the Office First Release program.

Delegate meeting scheduling to Cortana.

Add Outlook Customer Manager to your business workflows

Maintaining consistent customer information across the various apps your business uses can be a hassle. We made it easy to connect to Outlook Customer Manager using Microsoft Flow, so you can automate repetitive multi-step workflows needed to manage customer information. For example, with a few clicks, you can ensure that new subscribers who sign up for your newsletter in MailChimp are automatically added as business contacts in Outlook Customer Manager. To help you get started, we created a few templates.

Add Outlook Customer Manager to your workflows with Microsoft Flow.

Get started with one click

Getting started with Outlook Customer Manager is easy. We’re now rolling out to Office 365 Business Premium customers worldwide and expect to be fully rolled out in the next few weeks. You’ll know the service is available for your Office 365 account when you see the Outlook Customer Manager icon on the home tab in Outlook for Windows—just click the icon to get started.

Start with one click in Outlook—no download or installation needed.

Learn more

We put together the following resources if you need more information on Outlook Customer Manager:

  • Join us for an Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) session, hosted by the Microsoft Tech Community on May 9, 2017 at 9 a.m. PDT (UTC-8). This live online event will give you the opportunity to connect with members of the product and engineering teams who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Add the event to your calendar and join us in the Outlook Customer Manager AMA group.
  • Read this support article.
  • Check out the video:

We are excited for you to begin using Outlook Customer Manager to stay on top of customer relationships and grow your business. As you use Outlook Customer Manager, please tell us what you think by providing feedback in our feedback forum.

––Vivek Kumar, product marketing manager for the Outlook team


Frequently asked questions

Q. When will Outlook Customer Manager show up in my account yet?

A. We are actively rolling out the service in all regions, and expect to be fully rolled out in the next few weeks. The Outlook Customer Manager icon will appear on the home tab in Outlook for Windows as soon as it is rolled out to your account. You may want to make sure you have the latest Outlook installed from your Office 365 account.

Q. When will I see the option to schedule meetings with Cortana?

A. This feature is currently only available for a limited number of users in the First Release program. We will fine-tune this feature with preview feedback before releasing it broadly. You can help us improve the experience by trying it under preview and providing feedback.

Q. Where can I get more information and give feedback?

A. Please see this support article for more information. You can share feedback with us in our feedback forum.