January 2018 Office 365 Updates
Welcome to the Office 365 update for January 2018.
In the next 10 minutes I’ll be giving you a quick rundown of the latest Office 365 updates, with the goal of helping you get the most out of your investment.
On December 5th, Microsoft began rolling out the Whiteboard Preview app, a freeform digital canvas where people, ideas, and content can come together for creative collaboration. This new tool is built for anyone who engages in creative, freeform thinking. It’s designed for teams that ideate, iterate, and work together both in-person and remotely.
The whiteboard’s limitless surface ensures that imagination has the room to grow and provides space for everyone’s ideas. You can collaborate with teammates, whether they’re across the hall or in a different part of the world. You can see where everyone is on the board and the updates they’re making, whether they’re adding images, putting up sticky notes, or creating diagrams.
Microsoft Whiteboard employs intelligent ink that recognizes your freeform drawings, turning them into standard shapes, so it’s easy to create great-looking tables, diagrams, and flowcharts. And unlike traditional whiteboards, the app automatically saves your boards, so you can pick up where you left off or share links to your boards, so others can build on top of your work. No need to take photos of your canvas or email photos to others when you need to get them up to speed.
The Whiteboard app is available today from the Office Store. Give it a try and see how easy it is to collaborate in this creative, new way.
Have you ever had a great PowerPoint presentation that you’ve wanted to share with a customer as a video so it plays automatically rather than having them open it up in PowerPoint? Or perhaps your customer is on an older version of PowerPoint that may not display all your slides as you intended.
It’s quite easy to share a high-fidelity version of your PowerPoint presentation as a video, and while PowerPoint has had the ability to export to High Definition video for a while, the Office Team recently added the ability to export to 4K Ultra-High definition, so your presentation will look fantastic on any monitor, no matter what the size.
Remember, you can record and time voice narration and add laser pointer movements in your video. Slide animations and transitions translate perfectly and if your presentation contains an embedded video, that video will play correctly within the finished MP4.
If you’d like additional details and tips on turning your PowerPoint presentations into videos, read the support article I link to in the transcript.
In the December update, I announced we were moving the transcripts that accompany these videos to the new Office 365 Guy Blog on TechNet. One of the options we considered before making that decision was to use Sway. For the time being, we decided to go with a blog rather than a Sway because it gives us more of an opportunity for dialog with you, our viewers.
Sway is Microsoft’s digital storytelling app, designed for creating beautiful, professional presentations that you can release easily on the Web. Did you know that Sway has an extremely handy import function? If you have content in Word or PowerPoint, you can import into a new Sway with just a few clicks. When we imported a transcript from a previous video during our tests, the results were very clean and the hyperlinks were still intact.
While we were experimenting with Sway, the Office Team implemented a refresh of the user interface. To make it easier to create and preview your Sway content, there are two new tabs called Storyline and Design. With Storyline, you can structure your Sway and create content with Cards and insert media, just like you always have. Clicking on Design lets you preview, make light edits, and use Styles to change the look and feel of your Sway. As you can see, all the same tools and features are there, they’ve just moved to the right side of the screen.
We keep discovering new uses for Sway. Give it a try at Sway.com and I think you will too.
I host a Microsoft internal Yammer group on this series. So I was surprised, and pleased, to see the Yammer team has recently released new reporting that empowers community managers like me to understand the activity happening in their Yammer groups.
Up until now, Yammer usage metrics have been available in the Office 365 admin center, which is something our IT organization hasn’t felt it appropriate to grant me access to. Now, insights for public groups can be accessed by anyone in your network by navigating to the View Group Insights link under Group Actions from the group’s news feed. Note that Insights for private groups are restricted to only members in that group.
Group Insights provides an overview of activity for the last 7 days, 28 days, and 12 months. It shows you:
How many members and non-members are active in the group,
The number of people who have posted messages, read messages, or liked messages, and
Trends of whether activity has been going up or down over time.
These insights enable you to track your engagement with content from campaigns or initiatives hosted in Yammer. It clearly identifies spikes in activity over the course of the year, month, or week so that you can report back to leaders and optimize efforts.
For additional details, read the article and the FAQ on the Yammer Blog.
Microsoft recently introduced a new, secure, external file sharing experience. While I love the convenience of being able to share files stored on OneDrive or SharePoint with people inside my organization, I usually want a bit more security when sharing those file with people I collaborate with outside my organization.
Now, when sending secure links to outside recipients, they’re sent an email message with a time-limited, single-use verification code when they open the link. By entering the verification code, the user proves ownership of the email account to which the secure link was sent.
For added security, IT administrators can specify how often external recipients must get a new code and re-verify their email address. This ensures ongoing protection for all files and folders shared with external recipients.
As organizations embrace digital transformation, it has never been more important for IT to ensure that employee and customer data is protected and handled appropriately.
Microsoft eDiscovery is a powerful tool that helps organizations analyze data across Office 365 to identify information that they have stored about a person or topic. Recent enhancements to Advanced eDiscovery enables Office 365 E5 subscribers to use a new content import capability to upload and analyze documents from outside Office 365. This extends the benefits of Advanced eDiscovery beyond Office 365, providing organizations with a single way to discover and manage compliance-related content across the organization.
As much as I wish it were true, not every Microsoft product planner and developer follows the comments section of my YouTube video series. That means they are most likely not seeing the many great feature requests and product feedback you, the viewers, are posting there.
What they do monitor, however, are the numerous virtual suggestions boxes for Office-related products and services. The best way to make voice heard and your vote count is to visit one of them and provide your feedback while there. I could not find an official list, so I’ve compiled a rather lengthy unofficial list of these resources. You can find it at the same place I make the transcript available. That’s the Office 365 guy blog at http://aka.ms/o365update-blog.
That’s all we have time for. Remember to send your feedback or success stories to [email protected].
I’m Jim Naroski, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you again soon!