M365 Monthly Update: July

We know it’s hard to keep on top of all the new updates to Microsoft 365, it can be tricky for us too. The surprise of waking up in the morning and the interface to your favourite app has changed or there’s a great new feature that everyone seems to be using except for you.

So to help you stay in the loop we’ve rounded up the latest updates from July that we think you should know about, why you need to know about it and when it’s coming.

1. Microsoft Lists

What’s new:

Microsoft Lists is a Microsoft 365 app that helps you track information and organise your work. Lists are simple, smart, and flexible, so you can stay on top of what matters most to your team. Track issues, assets, routines, contacts, inventory and more using customisable views and smart rules and alerts to keep everyone in sync. Also with ready-made templates, you can quickly start a list where ever you are.

Why is this important:

People across the world have been using SharePoint lists for years to help capture and automate information. Microsoft lists takes this to another level with new experiences, capabilities and a modern mobile interface that makes it accessible to any business user. Microsoft lists follows in the Power Platform by empowering end users to solve real business problems as they go.

When is it coming:

Starting: late July, for targeted users

Completing: mid-October for general availability

2. Together mode in Teams

What’s new:

Together mode is a meeting experience coming to Teams that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class. Together mode makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction. This update comes with a host of new Teams features so stay tuned.

Why is this important:

If you have recently run a large virtual meeting or online workshop, you will know that it is nearly impossible to keep everyone focused and engaged. The latest research confirms that people find remote working more mentally challenging with fatigue setting in around 30-40 minutes into a meeting. New features like together mode can help teams to stay connected and better negotiate the difficult times ahead.

When is it coming:

Starting: later this year (no set timeline)

3. Information pane and pinning posts in Teams

What’s new:

Selecting the “Channel info” icon in the channel header will open a new Information pane that displays a channel summary. This will include, description, members, recent contributors. Users will also be able to pin channel posts to this pane.

Why is this important:

The new pane makes it easier for your users to find new and relevant information in a channel, quickly view recent posts and important pinned updates.

When is it coming:

Starting: early July,

Completing: mid-July

4. Review mode for OneDrive and SharePoint

What’s new:

When people share documents with Open in review mode only selected, recipients who open the document in Word for the web will be limited to adding comments or leaving tracked changes in the document.

Why is this important:

This new feature helps to prevent unintended edits or accidental deletion of content. One of the biggest concerns for users new to M365 when sharing documents is that someone will mess up their work, or in some cases, compromise its integrity. This new feature gives you piece of mind whilst promoting collaboration.

When is it coming:

Starting: late April,

Completing: end of July

5. Smart links for OneDrive and SharePoint

What’s new:

Any long url to a file stored in OneDrive and SharePoint will automatically shorten to the name of the file and will include an icon that indicates the file type. Your users will be able to see this conversion as they compose an email.

In addition, users will be notified if recipients cannot access one of their links, and they will have the opportunity to address any issue prior to sending the email.

Why is this important:

Long links are ugly to deal with for anyone. For users new to M365, they can be confusing and wanting to be avoided. These new updates make it more user friendly to share links and for recipients to more easily identify links and document types. Flagging any potential access issues before it’s too late can also have a hugely positive impact on adoption and user experience.

When is it coming:

Starting: mid May,

Completing: end of July

6. Background noise suppression for Microsoft Stream

What’s new:

Noise suppression can be turned on by a video owner, and allows viewers an option to isolate speech from other sounds and music during playback. Noise suppression can be switched on or off for each newly-uploaded video.

Why is this important:

We have long been able to add and edit visual effects to our videos and video calls from custom background to blurs, and sometimes the audio can be neglected. This new feature gives some love to video audio as it drowns out the annoying background noise, which is great for accessibility and more generally for a better experience. This also may not be far from an in-meeting feature too.

When is it coming:

Starting: mid June,

Completing: end of July

7. Contextual search coming to Teams

What’s new:

Teams users will soon be able to search within a specific chat or channel in both the desktop and web Teams clients.

Currently, Teams users are unable to search within a particular chat or channel. With this new Contextual search experience, users will be able to search within a specific chat or a channel by pressing Ctrl+F (Windows)

Why is this important:

Teams is a great place to collaborate with your colleagues but can feel overwhelming with so many Teams and chats. Searching has never been more important to surface the information you need quickly. With this update, you’re able to perform a laser focus search on a specific chat or channel.

When is it coming:

Starting: late June,

Completing: mid July

8. Some updates to O365 you may have missed

Excel

Ideas in Excel empowers you to understand your data through natural language queries that allow you to ask questions about your data without having to write complicated formulas. You can:

– Try suggested questions

– Ask your own questions

– Customise your ideas

PowerPoint

You can now access thousands of royalty-free images at your disposal across M365 so you can brighten up documents, presentations, workbooks and emails in Office – hassle free. Along with an increased icon selection, personas, cutout people and stickers.

9. Office.com make over

What’s new:

The layout and application navigation for the Office.com home page and the Office app in Windows 10 is changing. The apps will now feature on the left hand side for easy access.

Why is this important:

Not as important or as exciting as some other updates, but this new layout looks slick and modern. It can help new users to M365 find the apps they are looking for quicker, where previously the layout was confusing for newbie users.

When is it coming:

Starting: mid June,

Completing: late July

10. Cortana Briefing email

What’s new:

The briefing email is a personalised brief in Outlook with important information on upcoming meetings and outstanding tasks, so you’re prepared for the day ahead. If there is relevant content, users will receive the Briefing email at the beginning of each workday. After this feature rolls out, your end users will receive an automatically generated Briefing email (from Cortana) unless you disable the feature for your tenant.

Why is this important:

This update harnesses the power of AI using Cortana to help users start their day on track by surfacing information on upcoming meetings and outstanding tasks, as well as protecting time for independent work.

When is it coming:

Starting: early August,

Completing: end of September

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