What’s new: May 2016

This month brought a new OneDrive app for Windows 10 on your PC, a new editor for Outlook 2016 for Mac, updates to Outlook and accessibility enhancements. For business, there’s a new tool for helping resolve Office 365 issues, the GigJam Invitation Preview and the integration of PowerApps and SharePoint, plus updates to Skype for Business, Office 365 administration and SharePoint. Security and compliance improvements include a new Office 365 datacenter region in Canada, enhancements to eDiscovery and new features and accreditations. Teachers can now use ClassPolicy to help manage the OneNote Class Notebook Collaboration Space. And for developers, there are new updates and scenarios for the Class Notebook APIs, the Skype for Business App SDK Preview is available and the SharePoint Framework is advancing toward First Release this summer. See what else is new and what’s on the way.

Leave us a comment to let us know what your favorite new feature is. If you missed last month’s updates, see What’s new: April 2016.

Office 365 Personal, Office 365 Home and Office 365 University updates

New editor coming to Outlook 2016 for Mac—The new editor, with enhanced formatting support, began rolling out in May. When you insert a picture in an email message, new handles make it easy to resize and rotate the picture. You can pull up a context menu to manually resize or reposition the picture and open a full task pane with editing controls. You also now have access to a richer set of fonts, font colors and bullet and numbered lists—plus enhanced font editing and hyperlink dialogs.

Try the OneDrive app for Windows 10 on your PC—The new OneDrive sync client comes pre-installed on Windows 10 PCs, so you can easily access your synced files through File Explorer. The new OneDrive app is a touch-friendly complement to sync that lets you open, edit and share any of your personal or work files without having to sync them to your device. The app also provides additional features previously only available in the browser experience. Download the app.

Accessibility enhancements in Office 365 for people with vision impairments—The Accessibility Checker, currently available in Office for PCs, is coming to Office for Mac and Office Online by the end of the year. Two enhancements in Office 365 help ensure that people with vision impairments can work seamlessly with built-in accessibility settings on every device: the addition of high-contrast themes in PCs (to make the ribbon and dialogs more visible) and several improvements to Office 365 usability with screen readers on mobile devices. Find out about these and the many more accessibility enhancements on the way.

Updates to Skype for Business, Outlook, SharePoint and more—Commercial customers can now chat in real-time while collaborating in Office Online documents stored in the cloud, and Skype for Business chat is rolling out within Outlook on the web. Outlook updates include watch face support for Outlook for Android Wear, OneDrive and Skype for Business integration in Outlook for iOS and Android, and automatic loading of files attached to Skype Meeting requests in Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web into the Skype Meeting document bin. Read about these and the enhancements to SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Visio Pro for Office 365 customers.

Office 365 for Business and Education updates*

SharePoint—the mobile and intelligent intranet—The future of SharePoint includes the new SharePoint mobile app, a new SharePoint home in Office 365, modern team sites with Office 365 Groups, responsive page authoring and updates to document libraries and Lists. SharePoint integration with Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow is on the way, helping automate your teams’ processes, especially while on the go. Watch the video to see the mobile and intelligent intranet in action and read the post to get the details.

Announcing simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration for Office 365—Find out about the great new capabilities coming for file management in Office 365 across OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, and the new ways to share and collaborate on files on any device. Watch a video on effortless file sharing and learn about Discover view for both the OneDrive Android app and browser experience, plus the bold vision for increasing the discoverability and visibility of your files, providing you with a means to measure the impact of your files with embedded analytics.

Announcing the integration of Microsoft Flow into SharePoint Online lists and libraries—Flow is a new workflow tool that enables business users to create automation to receive notifications, sync files and get data between apps and services—on-premises or in the cloud. Follow the walkthrough to see how you can quickly copy new members from a MailChimp member list to a SharePoint Online custom list based on approval via email. In an upcoming release, Flow will be integrated directly into your SharePoint lists and libraries. See what else is on the way.

Announcing the integration of PowerApps and SharePoint—The integration of PowerApps within the SharePoint modern experience for custom lists and the ability to create new apps in PowerApps from a web browser will both be available in the coming months. Find out how to create an app for a list from directly within the SharePoint list experience. Apps created this way show up as views that can be shared and launched from within the new SharePoint modern list experience, and you can run the apps across all your devices. Sign up for PowerApps today.

Office 365 administration updates—With the latest updates to the new admin center, you can: customize your dashboard, customize the Office 365 experience for your end users, access additional usage reports while complying with compliance requirements, edit more user details simultaneously and quickly forward a user’s email. Try out the new features and see for yourself how the new admin center makes it easier, faster and more efficient for you to manage Office 365.

Office 365 datacenters available in Canada—A new Office 365 datacenter region is now available in Canada, adding in-country data residency, failover and disaster recovery for core customer data at rest to customers in Canada. Both Office 365 and Microsoft Azure customers in Canada can now benefit from enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with in-country data residency, including data replication within Canada.

Security and compliance update—New security features and capabilities include: Email Safety Tips in Office 365, new regions and capabilities for Office 365 Import Service, the ability to automate time-consuming eDiscovery search tasks and advanced Office 365 compliance for Yammer. In addition, Office 365 is now accredited for the Cloud Security Gold Mark in Japan and, along with Azure, it’s the first hyperscale cloud service provider to receive Spain’s National Security Framework. Get the details on these updates plus a recent case study on the Office 365 data loss prevention solution.

New tool for helping resolve Office 365 issues—Office 365 service availability typically exceeds 99.9 percent, but if an occasional issue occurs, you now have an automated assistant to help you troubleshoot—and resolve—the problem. The Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 is an easy-to-use app that asks you some simple questions, tests for some of the most common Office 365 support issues and attempts to implement resolutions on your behalf. Find out how it works and how to install it.

Announcing the GigJam Invitation Preview—a new way to work—The GigJam Invitation Preview is now available to everyone who signed up for early access on the GigJam site. GigJam helps you spontaneously and immediately involve others inside and outside your organization in your work. You summon all the live information you need, divvy it up by circling what you want to share and crossing out what you don’t, and control what others can see or even co-work with you in real-time. Watch the videos to see how GigJam can change the way you work, and find out how you can sign up.

New enhancements to Office 365 eDiscovery further simplify the eDiscovery process—Save time and more easily perform investigations and eDiscovery from one central location with the latest eDiscovery enhancements to the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. These enhancements enable you to work on eDiscovery cases without leaving the Security and Compliance Center, preserve vital information with Case Management Holds, create more granular searches and export data results faster—in a single PST export—and with improved security, such as support for two-factor authentication.

Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in updates—The new or improved data transformation features include the ability to: remove blanks via the Column Filter menu, convert duration values to years, keep duplicates, rename queries directly from the Queries pane in the Query Editor and more. The new or improved data connectivity features are support for Command Timeout in the UX and the ability to disable Privacy Level prompts at the machine level.

Use ClassPolicy from AssistX to help manage the OneNote Class Notebook Collaboration Space—With ClassPolicy, teachers using their OneNote Class Notebooks with Office 365 Education can now: easily divide a class into any number of groups with any number of members in those groups, automatically create a section for each group created inside the Class Notebook Collaboration Space, automatically set permissions to view and edit all Collaboration Space sections for the groups, automatically set student permissions for groups, and dynamically set restrictions on each group. Find out how to enable this functionality.

Office 365 developer updates

The SharePoint Framework—an open and connected platform—The SharePoint Framework—planned for First Release in summer 2016—is a Page and Part model that enables fully supported client-side development, easy integration with the Microsoft Graph and support for open source tooling. It will be available to existing SharePoint sites, and you’ll be able to host client-side web parts developed with the new SharePoint Framework. Watch a video about the SharePoint Framework and read about the new SharePoint Page experience and the plans to align to a simple programmability story across OneDrive and SharePoint.

Communicate directly with customers via Skype for Business inside your mobile apps—The Skype for Business App SDK Preview is now available for download. This new SDK enables developers to seamlessly integrate instant messaging, audio and video experiences into their custom iOS and Android applications. The initial focus of the SDK Preview is to power “remote advisor” solutions that enable consumer mobile and tablet applications to communicate with Skype for Business organizations. Businesses can leverage the power of their existing Skype for Business Server and Skype for Business Online infrastructure to reach customers never before reachable.

Teacher Only spaces, Collaboration Space lockdown, subgroup creation and more with the new Class Notebook API updates—The Class Notebook APIs allow IT admins, partners and others to automate the creation and updates of OneNote Class Notebooks across a school or district. To make it easy for IT admins and partners to try out these new APIs, there’s a simple, new web tool to test the APIs. And check out the many new updates and scenarios for the Class Notebook APIs, including: a Teacher Only section group, Collaboration Space lockdown, permissioned groups within the Collaboration Space and custom permissions for feedback and grading workflow.

The latest news for devs—For the latest dev news, code samples, resources and documentation, as well as help getting started with Office 365 APIs, Office add-ins and more, follow this site.

Please note that some of the updates may take time to show up in your Office 365 account, because they’re being rolled out to customers worldwide.

—Andy O’Donald @andyodonald


*Not all updates apply to every Office 365 plan; please check the individual post for specifics.