Microsoft 365 monthly update – April 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.


SharePoint

In SharePoint: Immersive reader, audience targeting for events, site templates, iPad support for Lists, InTune policies for Lists, visualize Lists with Power BI

Immersive reader for SharePoint pages and news posts

Immersive Reader, currently built into Word, OneNote, Outlook, Teams and other Microsoft apps, will soon be available for SharePoint pages and news posts.

Immersive Read is now available for SharePoint pages and news posts.

Find out more:

Audience Targeting for Events Web Part

You now have the ability to target specific audiences per event within the SharePoint Events Web Part. Meaning you can target specific events to different audiences – aligning with in-place options to personalize your intranet experience.

thumbnail image 3 captioned When you turn on audience targeting, you can make it so certain events within the Events web part appear, or don't, for certain people and/or groups.
Audience Targeting for Events Web Part.

Find out more:

SharePoint site templates

This new SharePoint release of scenario-based site templates will help you expand what’s possible with content, pages, and web parts while helping you quickly get started building your own site. Each template contains pre-populated content and web parts that are fully customizable to meet the needs of your organization.

NOTE: This currently does not include a way to save a customised site as a template, to create custom site templates (aka site designs, or site scripts click here).

thumbnail image 4 captioned You'll find Microsoft-provided templates when you create new sites in Microsoft 365, alongside any custom templates you may have deployed.
SharePoint site templates.

Find out more:

iPad support for Microsoft Lists for iOS

Microsoft have announced Lists for iOS now supports iPad. AKA, no more Lists at 2x. You’ll get a beautiful native experience to track, manage and share your information.

thumbnail image 5 captioned Microsoft Lists for iOS on an iPad, showing the main home screen with Search, and Favorites and Recent lists (left), and working on an individual ‘New Candidates’ list (right).
iPad support for Microsoft Lists for iOS.

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Manage Microsoft Lists for iOS using InTune app protection policies (APP)

The Microsoft Lists iOS app is now configurable as a public app in Intune app protection policy (APP) through the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.  This allows app to be targeted to ensure that the data accessed is protected by app protection policies.

Find out more:

Visualize List data with Power BI

Microsoft have announced the arrival of a new guided experience in Lists that will make it easy to create business intelligence reports in Power BI using your list data as your source.

  • NOTE: Users with a Microsoft 365 E5 license or Power BI Pro license will have access to the full report authoring and viewing experience.
  • Users without either of those licenses will be prompted by Power BI to sign up for a 60-day free trial of Power BI Pro when they attempt to save a new report or edit or view an existing report. Users with a Power BI free license may only visualize their list data but cannot publish nor view reports.
Visualize list data with Power BI.

Find out more:


Teams

In Teams: Breakout room retention/ participant reassignment, invite-only meeting options, Polls updates, creation/ expiration policies, audio permissions, external presenter in Live Events, custom backgrounds in iOS, casting, product feedback, native notifications, app updates, preconfigured website tab, app customisation, new reports, frontline worker updates

In Teams (Government): Meeting options updates, audio permissions, Planner labels, update Teams Rooms app, out of office

Breakout room retention/ participant reassignment

Organizers can now reassign participants even when rooms are opened. Previously, you could only reassign when rooms were closed. Breakout room assignments also now persist over multiple sessions. These features are useful for efficiently managing discussions and ensuring the right participants are in each breakout.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | April 2021
Breakout room retention and participant reassignment is now available in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Invite-only meeting options

A new meeting setting is now available in Teams meeting options that automatically sends those who were not originally invited by the organizer to the lobby. For example, if an invitee forwards a meeting invitation to a colleague, when that person tries to join, they’ll be directed to wait in the lobby until the host selects to admit them. 

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | April 2021
New invite-only meeting options are now available in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Polls in Teams meetings has advanced capabilities for expanded options, intelligent suggestions and analytics

Attendees and guest attendees on mobile devices can now participate in Polls in Teams meetings. Also, discover intelligent poll suggestions to prepare relevant poll questions quickly and analyze responses to take swift action post-meeting.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | April 2021
Polls in Teams meetings has advanced capabilities for expanded options, intelligent suggestions and analytics.

Find out more:

Enhanced meeting creation and expiration policies

For added security and compliance, Teams meetings and join links are disabled for users whose scheduling permissions have been revoked. Previously, a user could continue to reuse their old meeting join links after their scheduling capabilities have been disabled. This policy update automatically expires those old meeting links so they can’t be reused.

Screenshot of the Renew Now button to renew a team in team settings
Team expiration and renewal in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Improvements to audio permissions settings for attendees

As a meeting presenter and organizer, you can now manage attendee audio permissions with greater flexibility. Attendees no longer need to request to speak for you to allow them to unmute, and you also have the ability to prevent individual attendees from unmuting.

Allow attendees to unmute toggle
Improvements to audio permissions settings for attendees in Teams Meetings.

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External presenter support for Live Events

For Live Events created in Teams, you can allow anonymous users who do not have an Microsoft Service Account (MSA) or Azure Active Directory (AAD) identity to be a presenter. You can now also manage a live event as a Producer in a separate Teams window, so you can simultaneously support the event, while still collaborating with others on Teams.

Select Allow external presenters under Invite presenters
Allow anonymous presenters in a live meeting.

Find out more:

Custom Backgrounds on iOS for Teams meetings

Custom backgrounds are now available on iOS. Select from Microsoft provided backgrounds or one of your own directly from your iOS mobile device. Now you can make your video meetings more fun and personal while you’re on the go.

The options available for backgrounds on mobile video
Custom Backgrounds on iOS for Teams meetings.

Find out more:

Teams casting from Android and iOS Teams App

For quick ad-hoc meetings that don’t require a formal scheduled meeting, users can leverage Teams casting to wirelessly connect to a Teams Room and display content from their mobile device. Users can broadcast their screen and share content stored locally on their device or accessible via Teams or OneDrive.

Tap Displays
Cast content from a mobile device to a Microsoft Teams Room.

Find out more:

Product feedback tool in Microsoft Teams

Teams automatically reviews the feedback that you submit, and provide help documentation related to the topic, if available. Additionally, once enabled by Teams administrator, you have the option to share your email address when submitting feedback in Teams, to allow for Microsoft to follow-up with you.

Windows 10 native notifications in Teams

You can now choose the style of your notifications: built-in Teams or Windows native notifications. The latter brings a suite of benefits, like respecting focus assist mode which enables you to avoid distracting notifications when you need to focus, and integrating with Windows 10 action center to helps you review your notifications in one place. If you have a Windows build 10.0.17763.288 or higher, you can make this change in Teams notifications settings.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | April 2021
Windows 10 native notifications in Teams.

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Update to Microsoft Teams mobile app on Android and iOS

Visual updates: The Teams mobile app has a new visual look and feel that delivers new headers, icons, and styling along with the ability to automatically switch to dark theme when you set your device to dark.

Organize chats in mobile app: In the Teams mobile app, you are now able to pin chats and filter the Chat list. This is great for when you quickly want to get back into important conversations! Pinned chats are also rolling out on Android shortly.

Emoji library and GIFs in mobile app on Android and iOS: In the Teams mobile app, there is an expanded library of emojis, and the ability to trim GIFs directly in the app.

Visual update to Microsoft Teams mobile app on Android and iOS.

Find out more:

Preconfigured website tab in Team Templates

As an admin you can now add a URL of your choice to the website tab in a team template. When the end-user creates a team using the pre-built template, it will include the preset website you specified, making it easier to distribute standardized content to the entire organization.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | April 2021
Preconfigured website tab in Team Templates.

Find out more:

App customization and branding

App developers are able to specify if they want to provide the option for their customers to customize the app. If the developers provide this option, admins are able to customize app properties like app name, descriptions, icons and more to deliver a branded app experience right within Teams.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | April 2021
App customization and branding in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

New usage reports

Teams user usage report: The Teams user usage report provides you a view into your Teams activities and usage. You can generate insights and metrics on a per-team and cross-team basis to understand your interaction with peers and across the organization. 

Anonymous user usage reports: As a Teams admin you have the option to anonymize user data, protecting user privacy while viewing, downloading, sharing, and accessing the Teams usage report data. Once enabled, personally identifiable information like username, email addresses, and Active Directory IDs are anonymized.

Screenshot of the Downloads tab showing exported reports to download
New usage reports in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Updates for frontline workers

Time Clock APIs: New APIs (Application Programming Interface) for Time Clock allows integrations into your organization’s Time & Attendance system. to enable rules for how early or late someone can clock-in/out and new processes like a health screening survey that must be completed before clocking-in for the day. 

Learn more

Shift Settings & Permissions: With the Teams Shifts Policy, an organization can now allow users who aren’t the owner of a Teams site to be able to edit and manage Shift schedules, approve swaps, and authorize time off requests. 

Learn more

Enhanced tasks publishing capabilities: Microsoft have enhanced task publishing so operations and corporate teams can more clearly manage and plan their task distribution to frontline locations. As a member of a publishing team you can now see separate Drafts, Published, and Unpublished sections to easily see which task lists are at which stage of their lifecycle. 

Learn more

Teams (Government)

Manage meeting options
Organizers are now able to modify the user experience across desktop, mobile, and web by using the new Meeting Options to customize their meeting safety and security settings. Meeting Options can be accessed in the Teams meeting invitation details in Outlook and Teams Calendar. Available in GCC-High.

Invite-only meeting options
A new meeting setting is now available in Teams meeting options that automatically sends those who were not originally invited by the organizer to the lobby. For example, if an invitee forwards a meeting invitation to a colleague, when that person tries to join, they’ll be directed to wait in the lobby until the host selects to admit them. This helps prevent those uninvited from joining the meeting. Available in GCC. Learn more

Enhanced meeting creation and expiration policies
For added security and compliance, Teams meetings and join links are disabled for users whose scheduling permissions have been revoked. Previously, a user could continue to reuse their old meeting join links after their scheduling capabilities have been disabled. This policy update automatically expires those old meeting links so they can’t be reused. Available in GCC.

Improvements to audio permissions settings for attendees
Meeting presenters and organizers can now manage attendee audio permissions with greater flexibility. Attendees no longer must request to speak for the organizer or presenters to allow them to unmute, and presenters and organizers can prevent individual attendees from unmuting instead of all attendees at once. Available in GCC. Learn more

More labels in Planner
Labels are a quick, visual way to categorize similar tasks in Planner and we’ve increased the number of labels to help you get even more organized. You can now add up to 25 labels in all different colors to your tasks in Planner web, mobile, and in Microsoft Teams. Available in GCC, GCC-High and DoD. Available for GCC, GCC-High and DoD. Learn more

New way to update the Teams Rooms app
You can now use Teams meetings and calling functionality in your Teams Rooms on Windows. IT Admins can easily perform a manual update. Simply download and run an offline app update PowerShell script to your Teams Rooms devices. Follow the steps in this article to get started. Available in GCC-High.

Out of Office Setting
Let others know that you are not available by scheduling your Out of Office in Teams. During this time, your presence status changes to “Out of Office” and your status message is displayed when someone reaches out to you via chat. Additionally, your Outlook calendar and automatic replies are updated accordingly. Available for GCC.


OneDrive

In OneDrive: PDF Bookmarks on Android, Page rotation for PDF viewing on iOS and Android, 64-bit OneDrive, Dialog on First-Time deletion of File(s)

Bookmarks for PDF viewing on Android

etting back to your important PDFs in your mobile devices just got easier. Use the new bookmark option in OneDrive for Android to add bookmarks to your important content so you can pick up where you left off. 

Now when you open a PDF on your Android device you would be able to add or remove bookmarks by  tapping the bookmark icon (on the top of your screen)  or by long-pressing anywhere on the page you want to tag. 

thumbnail image 3 captioned Access bookmarked pages in the thumbnail view
Bookmarks for PDF viewing for OneDrive on Android.

Find out more:

Page rotation for PDF viewing on iOS and Android

You can now leverage the page rotation tool to rotate one page or multiple pages so you don’t have to switch your device’s screen orientation when reading a document in OneDrive.   

thumbnail image 4 captioned Rotate PDFs on iOS and Android
Page rotation for PDF viewing in OneDrive for iOS & Android.

Find out more:

64-bit OneDrive (Public Preview)

64-bit OneDrive sync client for Windows is now available as a public preview! You can now for use with OneDrive work, school, and home accounts.  

Find out more:

Dialog on First-Time deletion of File(s)

When a user deletes a file(s) for the first time, they will be shown a dialog to educate them that their file is in the OneDrive recycle bin where it can be restored. This will show up on subsequent deletes until the user checks the box stating they do not wish to see it again. Admins can turn off this notification all together with a group policy setting.

Dialog on First-Time deletion of File(s) in OneDrive.

Find out more:


Power Apps

In Power Apps: Azure File Storage/ Excel Online (Business) Connector upgrade, F&O apps ISV Studio, data source environment variables, code components in Portals, mixed reality components GA, quick actions

Updates to the Azure File Storage and Excel Online (Business) connectors

Microsoft have announced improvements to the Azure File Storage and Excel Online (Business) connectors to make them more useful and robust. Additionally, the features between these two connectors have been re-arranged for greater clarity and ease of use.

Azure File Storage Connector: The Azure File Storage connector allows users to interact with their files in an Azure Storage account. Microsoft have removed the “blob” designation from this connector. This designation blocked Power Apps users from getting at the actions available for the connector. 

Excel Online (Business) Connector: The Excel Online (Business) Connector allows users to work with Excel files in document libraries that are supported by Microsoft Graph (OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Sites, and Office 365 Groups). 

Find out more:

F&O apps now available in ISV Studio

The ISV Studio team have announced the release of F&O application telemetry in ISV Studio! ISV Studio is a technical benefit of the ISV Connect program and is designed to be the platform that allows an ISV to monitor the success of their published apps by providing telemetry into:

  • Usage analytics (Monthly/Daily/Weekly active usage)
  • Total Installs by Tenant/Date/Geo
  • Install Failures (Power Platform/D365 CE only)
F&O apps now available in ISV Studio.

Find out more:

Data source environment variables

Microsoft have announced a vast new set of capabilities that provide enterprise grade application lifecycle management for the data sources that canvas apps and cloud flows connect to. Environment variables are a powerful tool for a variety of ALM scenarios as they allow you to externalize input parameters from the components that use them.

Environment variables are now natively built into authoring experiences across canvas apps and cloud flows as well as solution authoring and solution import experiences

Data source environment variables gif
Data source environmental variables in Power Apps.

Find out more:

Code components within Power Apps Portals (preview)

Support for code components within Power Apps portals is now available with portals version 9.3.3.x and package version 9.2.2103.x. as these updates are rolling out. In this preview release the feature provides support for Field type of code components allowing fields on portal forms to be replaced with code components.

Code components in Power Apps Portals.

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Power Apps Mixed Reality Components General Availability

Microsoft have announced the general availability of mixed reality (MR) features in Power Apps, which include the View in 3D, View in MR, View Shape in MR, and Measure in MR components. You are able to leverage low-code development to drag-and-drop these mixed reality capabilities directly in your apps today from the Media and Mixed Reality sections of the insert pane.

Power Apps Mixed Reality Components General Availability.

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Quick actions are now customizable in model-driven Power Apps

Quick actions are commands that help you complete your task without losing context of your work. New capabilities released around search, starting with a search bar in the front and center of model-driven Power Apps. This search bar is powered by Dataverse relevance search, that shows results as you type and has robust intelligence built in.

For usability reasons, quick actions are capped at FIVE commands per table. Quick actions show up only in the context of search – alongside suggestions and in results page on the primary column.

Quick actions in model-driven apps.

Find out more:


Power Automate

In Power Automate: Dataverse integration, Direct purchase RPA, trigger flows from Power BI, AI Builder update, Power Automate Desktop update, 11 new connectors, process advisor updates

Changes to Power Automate’s native integration with Microsoft Dataverse

The Common Data Service (current environment) connector, featuring a native integration between Power Automate and Dataverse, will now be known as Microsoft Dataverse, and appear with the new icon and color shade as shown below. Now we know that old habits die hard – and that’s why you will still be able to search using the old name for a while. Lastly, the names of triggers and actions, and their options and descriptions will be updated to match the revised terminology.

The new Microsoft Dataverse connector.

Find out more:

Direct purchase on Power Automate RPA attended is now available

You can now directly purchase the Power Automate per user plan with attended RPA for yourself, or even for all members in your team without need to be an M365 tenant/org admin! Anyone who has a valid organization email account is now able to purchase RPA directly.

Power Automate per user plan with attended RPA.

Find out more:

Trigger flows from Power BI reports

There is now a new way in which you can combine Power BI data and flows by allowing users to manually trigger a flow from any Power BI report. This new capability uses the Power Automate visual in Power BI and a new “Power BI button clicked” trigger on the Power BI connector.

Get the Power Automate Visual
Trigger flows from Power BI reports.

Find out more:

AI Builder April 2021 update

Several new additions have been announced for Microsoft AI Builder which improve document automation capabilities and extend Microsoft’s footprint across products and geographies.

  • Improved table extraction in form processing
  • Support of table data in document automation
  • Identity document reader public preview release
  • AI Builder in Teams
  • Availability in India, France, Germany, and UAE
Improved table extraction in form processing in AI Builder.

Find out more:

Power Automate Desktop April 2021 update

Several new features and updates are included in the April 2021 update for Power Automate Desktop:

  • Refresh button is available in console
  • Save as new flow functionality is available in the flow designer
  • The action copying mechanism has been improved
  • Desktop recorder now supports image-based recording
  • Improved interaction with Java-based apps and applets
Save as functionality
Save as new flow functionality is available in the flow designer.

Find out more:

11 new connectors released

11 new connectors have been released for Power Automate, offering connectivity to services that offer company financial data insights, IoT devices, and task management – taking the total number of connectors available on the platform to near 500.

Find out more:

Process advisor updates

Several enhancements to Process advisor in March 2021 to improve process creation including a guided first run experience, recording improvements, manage activity names plus more.

Guided first run experience in process advisor.

Find out more:


Power BI

In Power BI: On-premises data gateway, April 2021 feature summary, Charticulator visual, object-level security, new sharing experience, Dataflows update, Power BI Premium per user GA

On-premises data gateway April 2021

Microsoft have announced the April update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.79.6). This release includes:

  • Test single sign-on (SSO) configuration
  • GA -SSO for Refresh and DirectQuery
  • PowerShell enhancements
  • Compatible with the April PBI desktop

Find out more:

Power BI April 2021 Feature Summary

In this month’s Power BI feature summary there are updates for the preview Power Automate visual, previews for Small Multiples and DirectQuery for Power BI datasets and Azure Analysis Services are getting some new features plus lots more!

Power BI April 2021 Feature Summary

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Charticulator visual (Public Preview)

Microsoft have announced a new custom visual in AppSource: the Microsoft Charticulator visual. Previously to use Charticulator, a user would flip between the web app at charticulator.com and Power BI (PBI). Now, users can create a wide range of custom chart designs right within PBI using our brand-new Microsoft Charticulator custom visual.

Announcing the new Charticulator visual (Public Preview).

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Object-Level Security (OLS) is now generally available in Power BI Premium and Pro

Object-level security (OLS) enables model authors to secure sensitive tables or columns from report viewers– sensitive data, for example includes personally identifiable information (PII). This added layer of security prevents users without the appropriate access levels from discovering business critical or sensitive personal information. 

Configure object-level security using the tabular editor.

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New sharing experience for Power BI reports

Sharing reports in Power BI will be as easy and familiar as sharing in Office. Microsoft are introducing a new sharing capability in Power BI that will allow reports to be shared via links in addition to direct access sharing.

New sharing experience for Power BI reports.

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What’s new in Dataflows April 2021

Several new features have been announced in Dataflows allowing users to more seamlessly ingest, prepare, and refresh data that can be widely reused by others across the Power Platform and Azure.

Dataflows authoring page
Terminology updates for Dataflows.

Find out more:


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