Microsoft 365 monthly update – January 2021

The Microsoft 365 monthly update includes updates and recently recent features across all of Microsoft 365. Press a button to read about an individual technology or continue reading for more. You can take a look back at previous monthly updates here, plus take a look at our weekly roadmap roundup.


In SharePoint: OneDrive settings in SharePoint admin center, 250GB uploads, Lists iOS app, List rules, List form customisation

OneDrive settings move to the SharePoint admin center

All OneDrive admin capabilities, including controls for sharing, access, sync, and storage, are now available from within the SharePoint admin center, consolidating admin tools in one place.

thumbnail image 4 captioned Examine OneDrive usage and activity along with SharePoint storage and site usage. along with SharePoint.
The OneDrive admin center will now be consolidated within the SharePoint admin center.

Find out more:

File upload limit increases to 250GB

Microsoft have increased the upload file size limit for Microsoft 365 from 100 GB to 250 GB – which includes uploads of files into SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive.

Find out more:

Microsoft Lists app for iOS

Microsoft Lists helps you track information and organize work. List is simple, smart, and flexible, so you can stay on top of what matters most to your team and will now be available on your iPhone and soon your iPad.

Microsoft Lists app for iOS.

Find out more:

Microsoft Lists: Rules

Create simple if/then rules, based on changes to list information, to set reminders and send notifications. Users with edit permissions on the list can create and manage rules. Users with read-only permissions can’t create or manage rules.

thumbnail image 7 captioned Click the Automate drop-down menu, and then select “Create a rule” to begin creating rules for your list.
Rules in Microsoft Lists.

Find out more:

List form customisation: footer, header & body text with JSON

You can configure the list form in a list or library with a custom header, footer, and the form body with one or more sections with fields in each of those sections. The form configuration does not change the data in the list item or file; it only changes how the form is displayed to users who browse the list or library.

Anyone who can create and manage views in a list can use form configuration to configure the form with header, footer, and body with sections.

thumbnail image 8 captioned A Microsoft Lists form configured with a custom header (the calendar icon plus text incorporating Title field), a custom layout (expanded left-to-right to show more), and a custom footer (here adding a link to a related site). Small meta-note: this is the list item from our internal roadmap list to track this exact roadmap feature and Chakkaradeep Chandran is our lead PM.
JSON list form customization: footer, header, body text.

Find out more:


In Teams: Approvals, Yammer notifications, task publishing, offline autosend, 10K org-wide team members, Meeting chat moderation, shared calendars, Teams UI Design Kit & Library, Education policy wizard

Approvals in Teams

Approvals in Microsoft Teams enables everyone, from frontline workers to corporate headquarters employees, to easily create, manage, and share approvals directly from your hub for teamwork. You can quickly start an approval flow from the same place you send a chat, in a channel conversation, or from the Approvals app itself. 

Approvals in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Offline autosend

The offline experience for Microsoft Teams chat and channels helps you to continue be productive even without a network connection. Offline autosend identifies when Teams messages are sent or edited while the user is offline. These messages are automatically sent once the device is back online.

Find out more:

Up to 10,000 users in an org-wide team

Administrators who manage tenants that have less than or equal to 10,000 members can now create an org-wide team, which automatically syncs all the tenant’s members with the team.

Screenshot of the Org-wide option to create an org-wide team
Org-wide Teams now support up to 10,000 members.

Find out more:

Meeting chat moderation settings

Meeting organizers can now choose from three chat settings to help create a safe and inclusive meeting environment.

Chats can be “Disabled”, preventing the organizer and participants from using the meeting chat. Alternatively, they can be set to “Only during the meeting”, allowing participants to send messages only during the meeting and the organizer to send messages at any time. Lastly, the default will be set to “Enabled”, allowing chats for all meeting attendees at any time.  

thumbnail image 1 of blog post titled 
							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | January 2021
Meeting chat moderation settings in Teams.

Find out more:

Add a shared calendar to a channel in Teams

You can now create and share a calendar with members of a specific channel. When a channel meeting is created, Teams automatically creates a new post in the channel’s activity feed. If users don’t have notifications turned on, they will see the event when they open the channel’s calendar. Once a channel event is posted, you can add it to your personal calendar.

thumbnail image 2 of blog post titled 
							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | January 2021
Add a shared calendar to a channel in Teams.

Find out more:

Yammer community notifications in the Microsoft Teams Activity feed

Microsoft released the Communities app for Microsoft Teams in 2020, bringing all your Yammer communities and conversations into Teams. Now you will receive Yammer notifications in the Teams Activity feed on web, desktop, and mobile.

You can then like, read, respond to the post, and react with our new inclusive reactions – without leaving Teams.

Notifications coming from your Yammer communities while in Teams.

Find out more:

Task publishing in Teams

Task publishing is now generally available. Your leadership can create tasks centrally at the corporate level and publish them to targeted frontline locations like stores, clinics, or factories. Tasks can be assigned to all frontline teams or specific locations based on customizable publishing characteristics like size or layout.

thumbnail image 9 captioned With task publishing in Teams, leadership can create tasks centrally at the corporate level and publish those tasks to targeted frontline locations like stores, clinics, or factories.
Task publishing in Teams.

Find out more:

New Teams UI Design Kit and UI Library

The new Microsoft Teams UI Kit and Microsoft Teams UI Library helps designers, product managers or developers quickly understand the key design considerations for making quality Teams apps and also simplify the process by providing templates and tools to use.

thumbnail image 13 of blog post titled 
							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | January 2021

Find out more:

Teams Education policy wizard

With the new Microsoft Teams for Education policy wizard, you can easily apply education tailored policies for a safe learning environment. The policy wizard allows you as an IT admin to quickly and easily apply the most relevant set of policies for students at a global (Org-wide default) level and apply a custom policy set to a group of educators and staff tailored to their needs. 

thumbnail image 16 of blog post titled 
							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | January 2021
Teams education policy wizard.

Find out more:

Teams (Government)

The following features have been rolled out this month to customers in US Government Community Cloud (GCC), US Government Community Cloud High (GCC-High), and/or United States Department of Defense (DoD):

  • Together mode: Together mode reimagines meeting experiences to help participants feel closer together even when you are apart. Find out more.
  • Multi-Window Chat: You can now pop out individual Teams chat conversations into a separate window. Find out more.
  • Multi-Window for Meetings and Calling: Users will have the ability to pop out meetings and calling into separate windows to help them optimize their workflow. Find out more.
  • Meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint: You can now save Microsoft Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive and SharePoint. 
  • Simplified way to manage your channel notification settings: Through the teams and channels list or from the channel header, the users can quickly manage their channel notification settings by the means of a new fly-out design.
  • Targeted communications: Targeted communication allows team members to message everyone in a specific role at the same time by @mentioning the role name in a post by using tags. Find out more.


In OneDrive: Full fidelity shared libraries, create shared libraries, exclude specific files from sync

Full fidelity shared libraries in OneDrive web

Not only can you sync these shared libraries from SharePoint and Microsoft Teams to your PC or Mac using OneDrive, you can now view shared libraries with full fidelity from within the OneDrive on the web. This means you can create new documents, pin important ones to the top, add shortcuts to your OneDrive, create views, manage metadata, share and more. 

thumbnail image 2 captioned View, access and manage shared libraries from within OneDrive on web.
Full fidelity shared libraries in OneDrive web.

Find out more:

Create shared library in OneDrive web

It’s now easier and simpler to create new shared libraries from OneDrive on the web. The new streamlined experience backed by an Office 365 group, allowing you to specify the people you want to share with – and the new shared library appears immediately as a new content collaboration space for your team files.

thumbnail image 1 captioned Create shared libraries from directly within OneDrive on web.
Create a shared library in OneDrive web.

Find out more:

Exclude specific files from sync

OneDrive admins can now specify a file name or file extension you’d like to exclude from the OneDrive sync at the device level. This setting lets you prevent the OneDrive sync app (OneDrive.exe) from uploading specific files to OneDrive or SharePoint.  No errors appear for the skipped files, and the files remain in the local OneDrive folder.

So now as a part of “Known Folder Move” if you need to move a Desktop folder which might consist multiple shortcut files, just add .lnk files to the list of the excluded files and prevent them from syncing. End users will be notified about the exclusion in the activity center and will be able to recognize these files with “do not enter” status in the File Explorer.

thumbnail image 3 captioned End user notification regarding the excluded files. This change is visible to end users via a new excluded icon and will not result in a red X error.
End user notification regarding the excluded files. 

NOTE: You can find the new setting in the admx/adml files that ship with OneDrive version 20.201.

Find out more:

Power Apps

In Power Apps: Intelligence in relevance search, Geospatial features GA, source code files, Innovation Backlog, model-driven apps push notifications, Monitor GA, share Dataverse for Teams apps more broadly, simple image control, new model-driven app controls

Relevance search is becoming more intelligent through the infusion of machine learning. Moving forward, relevance search results will improve over time, thus making it easier to find the data you’re looking for.

Some of the new capabilties include:

  • Spelling check
  • Recognizing common abbreviations and acronyms
  • Better understanding through common knowledge & synonyms
"Improve Relevance Search results" setting in Power Platform admin center
Introducing intelligence in relevance search in Power Apps.

Find out more:

General Availability of Geospatial Features in Power Apps

The Power Apps team have announce the general availability of geospatial features in Power Apps, which include both the Address Input and the Interactive Map Component. Geospatial features empower app makers to introduce location-based capabilities into their apps to visualize and update geospatial data using tools they are already familiar with.

New Geospatial features in Power Apps.

Find out more:

Source code files for Canvas apps

The Power Apps team have announced the experimental release of source code files for Canvas apps. Source code of a Canvas app to be effectively managed in GitHub or Azure DevOps.  Diffs, pull requests, and comments can be based on lines of formula text rather than .msapp blob files.

Source code files for Canvas apps.

Find out more:

Innovation Backlog

Innovation Backlog is a new app that’s part of the Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit that gives your business users a place to record and prioritize their wish list of digital innovations. Your teams can use this app to submit ideas for apps and flows and describe pain points with the current process. 

Innovation Backlog - Browse Ideas
Innovation Backlog in Power Apps.

Find out more:

Model-driven app push notifications

You can now send push notifications to model-driven apps using Power Automate! With the updated Power Apps Notifications connector, you can direct users straight to a specified page or section of your app – like the relevant entity view or form.

Model-driven app push notification demo
Send push notifications to model-driven apps using Power Automate.

Find out more:

Monitor in Power Apps now generally available

Monitor enables Power Apps makers to start viewing a stream of events from a user’s session to diagnose and troubleshoot app behaviour during development in Power Apps or to monitor published apps during runtime.

Now generally available (GA), the Power Apps team have introduced a new collaborative troubleshooting capability “Connect User” in Monitor to better facilitate team collaboration and troubleshooting.

Invite Users
Recipient users can use the link to open the Monitor and connect to your Monitor session.

Find out more:

Broad distribution apps within Dataverse for Teams

Previously, apps built on Dataverse for Teams could only be used by other members within a team. The Power Apps team are introducing broad distribution apps within Dataverse for Teams which allows you to take an app that was built within a Teams team and share it with others inside of your company.

This makes it possible for a centralized development team to build an app on top of Dataverse for Teams and then share it with a bunch of users who don’t belong to the original development team.

Built by your colleagues
apps shared with colleagues will appear in the Built by your colleagues section within the Teams app store.

Find out more:

Simple Image control for model-driven apps

The simple image control for model-driven apps consists of a file picker button, thumbnail along with open and delete buttons.  The open button will retrieve the full photo in a new browser tab. This experience simplifies the UI for users and saves additional overhead for displaying the larger images within the form.

Simple image control for model-driven apps.

Also included as part of the simple image control is the preview for our image annotation control, which allows for images to be added to a form and then the ability for them to be marked up with any additional information.

Find out more:

New Toggle & Calendar model-driven apps controls + deprecation of old controls

Two new controls are coming to model-driven apps in Power Apps, plus some older controls are being depreciated. Firstly, the new Toggle control will replace the current Flip Switch control, with many of the properties being the same as the Flip Switch, except for additional support for nulls  “—”.

The new Toggle control will replace the current Flip Switch control in model-driven apps.

The new Calendar control V2 brings a much needed refresh to UCI vs the existing calendar (Calendar Control V1). The new calendar control is also accessible, mobile and allows for items to be created directly from the control.

The new Calendar Control (V2) in model-driven apps.

As well as the depreciation of the Flip Switch and Calendar Control (V1), the Power Apps team will also be deprecating some gauge controls, Linear Slider, Radio Knob, Arc Knob, Linear Gauge; along with the Website Preview control and the MultiSelectPicklistControl (v1).

Find out more:

Power Automate

In Power Automate: Desktop update Jan 21, in-product help, 11 new connectors, import from GitHub

Power Automate Desktop January 2021 update

The January 2021 Power Automate Desktop update has been released with several new features and updates added, including:

  • Variable value viewers available in the flow designer
  • Connection strings can now be built via Data Link Properties in SQL actions
  • Several performance improvements in Power Automate Desktop
  • Internet Explorer automation does not require disabling Protected Mode
Variable viewer dialog
Variable value viewers are available in the flow designer in Power Automate.

Find out more:

In product help for Power Automate

The Power Automate team have announced the availability of a new Power Virtual Agents-based chatbot and contextual help while building flows. A new set of documents by curating customer support asks and community asks to help you learn how to automate with top connectors in Power Automate has been launched that are accessible whilst building flows.

The team have also launched an assistant for Power Automate to aid in authoring workflows in the form of a Power Virtual Agent bot (PVA bot) that provides the next level of assistance for customers in a question/answer interaction format. 

Get contextual help for Power Automate plus the addition of a dedicated chat bot.

Find out more:

11 new connectors for Power Automate

December 2020 saw the addition of 11 new connectors in Power Automatem including:

  • Adobe PDF tools – The Adobe PDF Tools Connector brings the power of Acrobat into automated document workflows without writing any code.
  • Africa’s Talking Voice – Africa’s Talking Voice is a platform that allows developers to build scalable, dynamic, fully-featured voice applications that reside entirely in the cloud.
  • AgilePoint NX – The AgilePoint NX connector opens up two-way communication between Power Automate and the AgilePoint digital process automation platform.
  • Bitvore Cellenus – Bitvore Cellenus is a groundbreaking AI-powered platform that delivers leading indicators of business performance for companies, industries, markets and municipal obligors to the Financial Services industry. 
  • Boomapp connect – Boomerang provides fully automated communication workflows seamlessly through boomapp connect, allowing intelligent messaging on the Microsoft Power Platform, without the end user having to change their behaviour.
  • Cloud BOT – Cloud BOT is a cloud RPA that makes the web automation robot possible with no code. This connector allows you to pass data to the robot, or return data after the robot finished.
  • Expensya – Expensya is a next-generation spend management service for B2B customers, offering the most advanced OCR and Approval Workflows. 
  • Kanbanize – Kanbanize helps managers gain visibility across all projects, connects planning with execution, and guides the continuous optimization of the delivery workflows.
  • LatinShareSHP Permissions – The LatinShare SHP permissions connector allows you to manage SharePoint security in a custom way at the site, list, and item level. Users will be able to assign, remove, and restore permissions to specific groups or users.
  • Power Query Dataflows – Dataflows are a self-service, cloud-based, data preparation technology available in Power Apps, Power BI and Dynamics Customer Insights products and portals.
  • Transform2All – With the Transform2All connector the transformation between data structures can be simplified to a single action in Power Automate.

Find out more:

Import a connector from GitHub as a custom connector

The Power Automate team have announced you can now import a connector from GitHub from the Power Platform connectors repository and deploy the connector as a custom connector all from the Custom connectors page.

Import a connector from GitHub as a custom connector.

Find out more:

Power BI

In Power BI: Power BI Report Server Feature Summary, reports in Teams tabs, reports from SharePoint lists, deployment pipelines API, Power BI in Jupyter notebooks, on-premises data gateway, add/ edit data sources, May feature summary, small multiples, template apps one-click update, new sharing exp, backup/ restore support, goals,

Power BI Report Server May 2021 Feature Summary

This month’s new version of Power BI Report Server is out now with lots of new enhancements, including a new field list, new and improved shape options, and several visual formatting features.

Find out more: Power BI Report Server May 2021 Feature Summary

Power BI reports in Microsoft Teams tabs

The Power BI team are making it easier to find Power BI tabs you’ve used in Team channels. An update to the home experience in the Power BI app for Microsoft Teams will allow users to see a new “In Teams” pivot on Power BI home.

View all the tabs you use in Microsoft Teams.
Power BI reports in Microsoft Teams tabs.

Find out more: View all the Power BI tabs you use in Microsoft Teams

Quickly create reports from SharePoint lists

The Power BI team have announced integration within SharePoint lists. This experience empowers SharePoint list and Microsoft List users to easily explore their list data with just a few clicks. 

Find out more: Quickly create reports from SharePoint lists

Deployment pipelines API

The deployment pipelines tool helps BI teams release content in a fast pace and with higher quality. The Power BI team are releasing a new set of REST APIs that allow developers to automate the deployment of content within an existing deployment pipeline. This includes all the types of deployment that exists today, including selective deployment and deploying all the content in a workspace.

Deployment pipelines API for Power BI.

Find out more: Deployment pipelines – automation and Azure DevOps/GitHub integration

Power BI in Jupyter notebooks

You can now tell compelling data stories with Power BI in Jupyter notebooks. Get your Power BI analytics in a Jupyter notebook with the new powerbiclient Python package.

The new package lets you embed Power BI reports in Jupyter notebooks easily. You’ll be able to export data from visuals in a Power BI report to the Jupyter notebook for in-depth data exploration. You can also filter the report for quick analysis or use bookmarks to apply a saved view.

Embed Power BI in Jupyter GIF
Power BI in Jupyter notebooks.

Find out more: Announcing Power BI in Jupyter notebooks

On-premises data gateway May 2021 update is now available

The Power BI team have announced that we have just released the May update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.82.6).

Find out more: On-premises data gateway May 2021 update is now available

Add and Edit Power BI data sources on Power Platform Admin Center

The Power BI team have announced two enhancements to gateway management operations on Power Platform Admin center. We have added the new features listed below:

  • Edit data source
  • Add data source

Find out more: Add and Edit Power BI data sources on Power Platform Admin Center

Power BI May 2021 Feature Summary

This months Power BI feature summary is out now including a ton of updates for reporting, analytics, modeling and more!

Find out more: Power BI May 2021 Feature Summary

Small Multiples (Preview) – Roadmap Updates

The small multiples preview feature has been turned on by default in Power BI Desktop. The updated version of small multiples includes many updates since the feature was first released in preview back in December 2020.

Find out more: Small Multiples (Preview) – Roadmap Updates

Announcing template apps one-click update

Template apps are marketplace offers which provide Power BI Pro or Premium users with out-of-the-box reports for common data sources. Now, when you install a template app update, you can choose to update the organizational app as well, enabling you to update the app, navigate to it directly, and continue your work!

Announcing template apps one-click update.

Find out more: Announcing template apps one-click update

New sharing experience

The Power BI team have announced a new sharing experience that allows sharing reports via links. Previously in the old experience, we supported sharing reports by granting direct access. For the new experience, reports can be shared via links in addition to direct access sharing.

Graphical user interface, text, application Description automatically generated
New sharing experience in Power BI.

Find out more: Announcing the new sharing experience

Support for backup and restore of Power BI datasets

Now in public preview, Backup and Restore for datasets in Power BI Premium and Premium per User (PPU) lets you use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)Analysis Services cmdlets for PowerShell, and other tools to perform backup and restore operations in Power BI via XMLA endpoints in much the same way as you would for tabular models in Azure Analysis Services (Azure AS).

Support for backup and restore of Power BI datasets.

Find out more: Backup and restore datasets with Power BI Premium (preview)

Query Plan Visual for Power Query Online

Now in public preview, Query Plan visual will allow you to understand what’s happening under the hood of your query with more details than the Step Folding indicator. While Step Folding indicators provide a “check engine light” for every Power Query user, the new Query Plan provides a much more detailed view for advanced users. Similar to how SQL Server’s “” capability can let you see the optimized form of the Query Plan in Power Query Online will let you see how the Mashup Engine will process your query.

Query plan visual for a simple sql query
Query Plan Visual for Power Query Online.

Find out more: Query Plan Visual for Power Query Online

Goals in Power BI

Now in public preview, Goals in Power BI Premium is a data-driven, collaborative, and adaptable way to measure key business metrics and goals built directly on top of Power BI. Goals enables teams to easily curate business metrics that matter most and aggregate them in a unified view.

Goals in Microsoft Teams
Goals in Power BI Premium.

Find out more: Introducing Goals in Power BI

Paginated Reports Feature Summary January 2021

Several exciting updates are rolling out this month for paginated reports,  including  an improved publishing experience in Power BI Report Builder, additional sample reports, Microsoft Dataverse connectivity and much more! 

Additional paginated sample reports are now available.

Find out more:

Power BI Report Server January 2021 Feature Summary

Several new features are included in the January 2021 update to Power BI Report Server, including: visual zoom sliders, custom publish message and ArcGIS for Power BI support, plus more.

ArcGIS for Power BI support.

Find out more:

Step Folding Indicators for Power Query Online

The Power BI team have announced they are now previewing step folding indicators in Power Query Online. These indicators will allow you to understand which steps fold, and which steps don’t. When you make a change that breaks folding, it will become obvious.

This allows you to resolve issues more quickly and easily, avoid performance issues in the first place, and have better insight into your queries.

Step Folding Indicators for Power Query Online.

Find out more:

General availability of read/write XMLA endpoints in Power BI Premium

Power BI inherits a large ecosystem of developers, partners, BI tools, and solutions built over the years. XMLA endpoints provide access to the Analysis Services engine in the Power BI service, allowing customers to leverage enterprise BI tools directly on Power BI datasets.  

Read/write XMLA endpoints introduced many additional enterprise BI scenarios for dataset management, application lifecycle management, governance, complex semantic modeling, debugging, and monitoring— all within Power BI!

Read/write XMLA endpoints in Power BI Premium.

Find out more:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s