This month, as communities around the world move from “remote everything” to a more hybrid model of work and life, I’m excited to let you know that many capabilities from past announcements are reaching public preview or general availability. We can’t wait to get these, as well as some new updates, into your hands as we swiftly release new tools to further enable remote and hybrid work.
A couple of highlights: We’re releasing some much-requested features in Microsoft Teams for our education community. These include expanding the Teams grid view to 7×7 (more on that below). Also, Microsoft Graph Connectors are now available to help you connect disparate systems and make content more accessible. Some of your favorite app improvements are also now available on more platforms—including Presenter Coach on Android and Polls in Outlook for all devices. And finally, new privacy settings in Edge and Microsoft Search provide IT with the flexibility to help you meet compliance requirements without impacting productivity.
Expand your view of participants and more with Microsoft Teams
See more faces and break out in groups during meetings—This month, we announced new features for Microsoft Teams to help you create a more engaging, connected, and collaborative meeting experience. Coming to preview soon, we are expanding the Teams grid view to 7×7, which will accommodate up to 49 participants at once on a single screen. And coming this fall, Breakout Rooms will allow meeting organizers to split meeting participants into small groups to enable ideation, brainstorming, learning, and discussions.
Create recurrent surveys in Teams—We’ve heard from many of our customers that they’d like an easier way to manage routine surveys in their Teams channels—including sending “pulse surveys” to employees on a regular basis. We’ve listened to this feedback and today we’re releasing new workflows for common scenarios like employee sentiment, employee issues and challenges, and employee health status. These new workflows include templates and the ability for users to choose frequency and set reminders for each Teams channel, making these surveys easy to get started and manage going forward. To get started, click Create a workflow to automatically collect response in the Forms tab and select Scenarios.
Keep the focus on you during video meetings—This month, we released new custom background effects in Teams, one of our most requested features. Now, you can customize your background by uploading one of your own images or choosing one from the collections of backgrounds available online. This feature is available to all users.
Keep up with your work and personal life in one place—In March, we announced several new features coming to Teams to help you connect, stay organized, and collaborate with family and friends. Managing responsibilities across work and life can be challenging, with many of us relying on multiple apps and standalone tools to stay on top of it all. You can now create groups to plan trips with friends, connect in group chats or video calls, collaborate over shared to-do lists, coordinate schedules, and more—all in one place. We’re excited to announce these features are now rolling out to Microsoft Teams mobile app users in preview.
The power to organize and connect with family and friends, all in one app.
Connect information across apps
New updates to Microsoft 365 make it easier than ever to find the information you’re looking for.
Make more data searchable with connectors—Microsoft Search indexes all your Microsoft 365 data to make it searchable for users. With Microsoft Graph connectors, your organization can index third-party data hosted on-premises or in public and private clouds, so they appear in your Microsoft Search results. We’re delighted to announce that customers in Targeted Release can now begin deploying Microsoft Graph connectors. To get started, select the Connectors tab on your Microsoft 365 admin center > Settings > Microsoft Search page (must be an admin and signing in from your tenant).
Find answers with natural language queries across apps—It’s no secret that asking simple, everyday language questions is easier than adapting your query to the “language” spoken by a given app, search engine, or other user-interface. We’ve been hard at work innovating in natural language across Microsoft 365 apps and services. We’re excited to share several new experiences that demonstrate our progress. In Microsoft Word, you can ask questions related to the document and get answers based on the contents of the document. In Outlook, short responses are suggested based on the context of the message. Next, Excel users can now perform an analysis by asking plain language questions. Finally, SharePoint users can now see an “At a glance” summary of a document’s content. All are now generally available.
Create and share content more easily
This month we announced new features across your favorite Microsoft 365 apps.
Hone your public speaking skills with PowerPoint Presenter Coach for Android Mobile—Last fall, we announced Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web. Today, we are excited to announce that it’s now generally available on your Android device—in both the PowerPoint app and in the new Office mobile app. Presenter Coach uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide on-screen guidance on your pacing, use of inclusive language or profanity, and use of filler words and culturally insensitive phrases. To get started, simply open any presentation in your PowerPoint stand-alone app or Office Mobile app, tap on the more options menu (three dots), tap rehearse with coach, and tap start rehearsing when ready.
Additionally, PowerPoint Live for PowerPoint for the web is now generally available. This new feature helps presenters deliver a more personalized presentation experience to each audience member, enabling viewers to connect from their device and move through slides at their own pace, provide instant feedback with live reactions, and enable live subtitles in their preferred language.
Experience the redesigned Yammer and other new capabilities—The new Yammer experience, built on our Fluid UI, is now in public preview. We’ve also added several new “All Company” community experiences based on customer feedback during private preview. Now, admins can change the name and cover photo to reflect their organization’s branding. And to help keep the group focused on corporate communications, you can now restrict who can post, to prevent users from adding unrelated posts. Finally, you can host live events and announce questions, polls, and praise with notifications to the entire “All Company” community—making it easier to share corporate updates, safety news, and other critical messages. Microsoft 365 Global Admins can configure access to the new Yammer preview through the Yammer admin portal by enabling the preview toggle.
Easily create polls, collect votes, and view results within an email—Polls are a way to quickly get a consensus from groups, but managing add-ons or including links to outside platforms can reduce response rates and effectiveness. Fortunately, Outlook users will soon be able to create a poll within Outlook without the need to find and install an add-in. Outlook on the web and Mac users will see this feature generally available this month, with Outlook for the Windows desktop app coming next month.
Create Visio diagrams in Excel with ease—This month, we’re announcing three new features to enhance the Visio Data Visualizer add-in experience. First, you can now access category-specific templates for basic and cross-functional flowcharts, plus organization charts directly in Excel. Next, single sign-on (SSO) integration allows users already signed into Excel to avoid a secondary sign-on to access the add-in. Finally, we added localization support that allows users to create diagrams in all of the languages already supported by Visio. These features will be enabled by the end of June.
Build database diagrams more easily and save diagrams as images in Visio for the web—This month, we’re announcing two new capabilities in Visio for the web. First, you can now design your database diagrams in Visio for the web. And to help get started more easily, we’ve provided a few starter diagrams to represent different scenarios for both Crow’s foot and Chen’s notation. To get started, visit visio.office.com, select the preferred diagram template, and start modeling your systems or databases.
Also, we’ve added the ability to save diagrams as an image file in Visio for the web. The Download as Image feature enables users to save time and easily customize the export of their Visio diagrams as image files for easy sharing with everyone—including those without a Visio license or subscription.
Stay secure and manage privacy
We’re committed to making Microsoft 365 a secure, end-to-end productivity solution. To meet that, we continuously add new built-in capabilities that help you improve your security posture, deliver more control over privacy, and automate routine tasks. This month, we’ve added new capabilities to help IT admins more effectively secure their organizations against malicious documents and manage privacy settings in Edge and the Microsoft Graph.
Verify documents are safe before they’re opened—Although opening documents in Protected View helps minimize risk from documents originating outside the organization, users often exit this protected sandbox to save time. We’re excited to announce that Safe Documents, which automatically checks against known risks and threat profiles before allowing documents to open, is now generally available. This built-in feature helps secure your organization against malicious content while delivering a more seamless, productive experience for end users. Safe Documents is now available worldwide to all customers with Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 Security.
Manage the types of data that sync for Edge users—Sync capabilities in Microsoft Edge allow users to sign in and get quick access to their personal data when using multiple devices or shared devices. However, some organizations might need to limit syncing of specific data—such as passwords—to meet compliance or company policy requirements. A new policy in Microsoft Edge allows IT professionals to precisely manage the types of data that sync for users—such as favorites, settings, addresses, extensions, and more. Check out our documentation on how to implement a policy to exclude data during sync.
Fine-tune your privacy settings for the Microsoft Graph—As the amount of data being generated in Microsoft 365 continues to grow, we’re continuing to invest in privacy controls that put you in control of your data. We’re pleased to announce a set of robust new privacy settings that provide the ability to configure the generation and visibility of Graph-derived insights, between users and other items in the Graph (such as documents or sites). These new settings will enable organizations to disable item insights for all users or just a subset of users. These new privacy capabilities will be available to everyone this summer.
Manage Microsoft 365 Groups more efficiently—We’ve released several updates to help streamline the management of Microsoft 365 Groups. First, we have enhanced the team creation experience with an updated user interface and improved error messages. Group information, including the Group ID, name, alias, and description, can now be exported as a .csv file using filtered properties or search results. Also, email addresses for a Microsoft 365 Group can now be edited, enabling group names to continue to evolve as needs change. Finally, you can now restore a deleted group directly from the Deleted Groups page. Visit the Microsoft 365 admin center to check out the new Groups management capabilities.
Also new this month
- Forms for Excel is now generally available, making it simple and easy to collect info from users in the same organization. New features include metrics such as response time, responder name, images, videos, themes, and branching logic.
- We also introduced Money in Excel, a dynamic, smart template and add-in for Excel that allows you to securely connect your bank, credit card, investment, and loan accounts to Excel and automatically import your transaction and account information into an Excel spreadsheet.
- FastTrack has updated and improved the guides in the Microsoft 365 admin center to help customers save time on their configuration and deployment tasks. We’ve also released a new Remote Work Setup guide to help reduce the strain on your VPN infrastructure and optionally set up remote access for desktops and apps. Check out the new setup guidance page to get started.
All of the features and releases above reflect our commitment to building tools and experiences that enable our customers to be productive and secure while working and learning from anywhere. We will continue to listen and work towards releasing new experiences that meet your needs as situations continue to evolve.