Microsoft 365 monthly update – October 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: Hub to hub site association, new templates, modern term store, edit images, calendar view in List web part

Hub to hub site association

Microsoft are adding the ability to associate a SharePoint hub site to another hub site, with a primary benefit to expand search results across multiple hubs in your organization. When hubs are associated with each other, content can be searched for and displayed on hubs up to three levels of association.

thumbnail image 2 captioned SharePoint hub sites can be associated to other hubs (up to three levels of association) and what site content will appear in search for users searching on any of these sites.
SharePoint hub sites can be associated to other hubs (up to three levels of association) and what site content will appear in search for users searching on any of these sites.

Find out more: Associate a SharePoint hub site to another hub to connect search experiences

New SharePoint Site templates – for retail, healthcare and non-profit

This update will bring four new SharePoint site templates to retail customers, non-profits, and healthcare organizations. All allow organizations to better track, manage information, and collaborate.

thumbnail image 3 captioned Select your template during site creation to customize your site to align with your business objectives and desired outcomes. Shown above, Volunteer site (left) and Retail (right).
New SharePoint Site templates – for retail, healthcare and non-profit.

Find out more: SharePoint Look Book

Modern SharePoint site-level term store

Microsoft have updated the experience when creating and managing site-level taxonomy terms; this matches the previously updated, central term store in the SharePoint admin center. It’s now easier to navigate your taxonomies and create and edit terms when classifying & discovering your Syntex and SharePoint content.

thumbnail image 4 captioned Updated SharePoint site-level term store.
Updated SharePoint site-level term store.

Find out more: Create, configure, and manage groups and term sets

Edit images in SharePoint and OneDrive

You are now able to

rotate, crop (both freeform crop and fixed aspect ratio crop) and flip your images – horizontally and vertically. This update also includes options to adjust the light and color saturation of your images. Now it’s easy to make those transformations with adjustments for brightness, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, and color saturation.

thumbnail image 5 captioned Trim out unwanted parts of an image to bring more focus to your subject
Edit images in SharePoint & OneDrive.

Find out more: OneDrive’s new photo editing features and more

Calendar view in the List web part

The SharePoint List web part in Microsoft 365 allows you to display a list from your team or site on a page and customize it with your own title, view, and even size. And now, if you have created a Calendar view for your list, it will show properly in the List web part.

thumbnail image 6 captioned Use the List web part with Calendar view to showcase upcoming information as a calendar - as shown above for The Intrazone team site home page for upcoming episodes.
Use the List web part with Calendar view to showcase upcoming information as a calendar.

Find out more: Use the List web part


Teams

In Teams: New features for teams meetings, all New Whiteboard, live transcript unscheduled meetings, breakout room manager support, breakout room pre-meeting room creation/ participant assignment, Presenter Mode ‘Standout’, Visio viewer, purchase apps, 1:1 Calling Safari, operator connect, calling plan expansion, chat supervisors delete messages, admin center updates

Teams (Education)

Teams (Government)

Teams

New features for Teams meetings

Users can now assign roles from the scheduling form and see the order of raised hands to ensure that all the voices are heard. Also, we’re revamping the mobile overflow menu to prioritize key actions, like viewing chat and adding a notification drawer for in-meeting system messages, so users can preview, collapse, and clear all notifications with one tap.

Teams client showing updated user interface and experiences. Meeting attendee can use the scheduling form, order raised hands, use mobile overflow menu.
Assign roles from the scheduling form, see order of raised hands, plus hide your own video.

Find out more: What’s new in Microsoft 365

All-New Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams

The Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams has been completely rebuilt to provide a rich visual collaboration workspace. With 40+ new customizable templates, ability to insert images and shapes, and 8 new reactions, you can bring people together in a rich visual collaboration workspace. Available now in Teams desktop, web, and mobile. 

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
The All-New Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more: Welcome to the new Whiteboard!

Live Transcript in unscheduled meetings using Meet Now and Channel meetings

Live Transcript is now available for unscheduled (ad hoc) and Channel Teams meetings. For ad hoc meetings, you will be able to download the transcript from the chat screen after the meeting. For Channel meetings, you can view the transcript under the Recordings & Transcripts tab. To enable this feature, make sure the Allow Transcription policy is turned on.

thumbnail image 2 captioned Live transcript of an ad-hoc meeting
Live Transcript in unscheduled meetings using Meet Now and Channel meetings.

Find out more: View live transcription in a Teams meeting

Breakout Room managers support

Microsoft have added the ability for a meeting organizer to extend the management of breakout rooms to presenters. By taking control from breakout rooms management panel, appointed presenters will be able to perform breakout room operations as managers or meeting organizers, and join rooms as a breakout room manager. Only participants who are named as presenters can be appointed as breakout room managers.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
Breakout room managers in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more: Presenter support in breakout rooms

Breakout room pre-meeting room creation and participant assignment

Organizers can now perform breakout room configurations and participant assignment tasks before the meeting starts via Teams desktop app. You can create rooms in bulk, add or delete individual rooms, configure meeting options, adjust session settings like timer, and pre-assign participants via both manual and automatic assignment options.

NOTE: At this time, only invited attendees – up to 300 participants, will be available for pre-assignment.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
Breakout room pre-meeting room creation and participant assignment.

Find out more: Pre-meeting room creation and participant assignment in breakout rooms

Presenter mode ‘Standout’ in PowerPoint Live

Presenter mode “Standout” allows you to overlay your video feed on the PowerPoint presentation slide during a Microsoft Teams meeting. The experience works for both PowerPoint Presenter View and PowerPoint SlideShow view. Now you can easily direct your audiences’ attention with hand gestures and facial cues, while leveraging features such as notes, slide view, and inking.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
Presenter mode ‘Standout’ in PowerPoint Live.

Find out more: Presenter Mode ‘Standout’ for PowerPoint Live

Visio Viewer in Microsoft Teams

his capability enables both users with and without a Visio license to complete simple tasks on Visio files stored in Teams, like commenting, sharing, printing, downloading their Visio diagram as an image or PDF, and more—all from within Teams.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
Comment, share, print, and more with Visio Viewer in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more: free visio viewer

Enable Teams users to purchase Teams apps through the Teams store

Microsoft Teams users have now the ability to purchase third-party Teams app subscriptions from the Teams store.

Screenshot of purchase licenses manage apps page.
Purchase third-party apps for Teams.

Find out more: Purchase third-party apps for Teams

1:1 Calling in Safari Web Browser

Users can now initiate a 1:1 call with another Teams user while using Teams on Safari. Users can initiate a 1:1 call from the Calls App or from the Call button in the header of a 1:1 chat.

Find out more: Safari browser support

Operator Connect general availability

Enabling PSTN services on Teams becomes simpler and seamless with the general availability of Operator Connect. You can bring your existing operator PSTN service and phone numbers from a growing list of operators. Save on hardware and management costs and benefit from shared support and reliability. 


	
	
	 
	
	
	
				
		
			
				
						
							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
Operator Connect in Teams Calling.

Find out more: Operator Connect general availability and new Microsoft Teams Phone features to modernize calling

Microsoft Teams Calling Plans expansion

With Microsoft Teams Calling Plans you can make Microsoft your operator and provide PSTN service to your users without on-premises equipment. We are expanding our coverage by adding five new calling plan markets – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Croatia – bringing our total to 33 markets.

Find out more: Microsoft Teams Calling Plans

Admin Center improvements

Admin notifications for Custom app submissions – When a developer submits a custom app for IT admin approval, admins will receive a notification in a dedicated Teams channel, so they can review and take next steps to publish the app.

Admins can use cloud shell from Teams admin center – Admins can open Azure cloud shell from Teams admin center inline and run powershell scripts from browser.

Export Teams list from Teams Admin Center – Administrators can export Teams list as a csv file from Teams admin center.

Teams Admin Center interface Improvements

Microsoft have introduced 4 new improvements to the interface to make IT admin work more simple and intuitive. The left navigation bar is important for admin to navigate and easily find the things they are looking for, and the new left navigation bar organizes the Teams Admin Center into more closely related features, making it easier to find relevant and related tasks.

Also the home page got much more customized to admins immediate needs, enabling them now to drag and drop important items in the home page. Microsoft have also improved the login to work without third-party cookies and login popups and we have increased the timeout period for inactive sessions to 24 hours allowing admin to reuse existing browser sessions. An additional improvement is the simplification of the ‘User interface for External access’ page as admins can now easily select one of the four external access configurations that best fits their organizational needs: Allow all domains, or specific domains, Block specific domains while allowing everything else, and Block all domains

Teams (Education)

Chat supervisors can delete messages

Learning online can be personal, engaging, and socially enriching when educators and teachers use Teams chats, channels, and meetings to stay in touch. However, online learning can also present unique student safety challenges. This feature, designed with our Teams for Education users in mind, allows chat supervisors to delete inappropriate, off-topic, or other messages in a Teams chat.

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							What’s New in Microsoft Teams | October 2021
Chat supervisors can now delete messages.

Find out more: Chat, teams, channels, & apps in Microsoft Teams

Suggested Replies in chats – suggested replies presents users with up to three recommended responses to choose from in the context of a chat. This functionality will be enabled by default for teachers and faculty, and completely disabled for all students.

Data reports after Teams meeting class – If a teacher has used Forms polls in a Teams meeting class, a summary report for all the polls used in this meeting will be generated and shared with teacher.

Teams (Government)

These features currently available to Microsoft’s commercial customers in multi-tenant cloud environments are now rolling out to our customers in US Government Community Cloud (GCC), US Government Community Cloud High (GCC-High), and/or United States Department of Defense (DoD):

New assignment experience in modal window for breakout rooms – Participant assignment is now moved from the breakout rooms’ right panel to a separate window that pops up when selecting Assign Participants. 

Presenter mode in desktop or window sharing – Standout, Reporter and Side-by-side Presenter modes are now available when sharing your desktop or window in the Teams desktop app.

Present from PowerPoint to Teams – ow, even though you may not be in the same room as your audience, we believe your flow to present should be as easy and intuitive – clicking the Present in Teams button in PowerPoint is the only step you need to present the deck in your Teams meeting! 

Prompt to set Meeting Options for Large Teams Meetings in Outlook for Windows – Teams users in Outlook for Windows will now be prompted to set meeting options when creating a Teams meeting with 40 or more participants or 10 or more distribution lists. 

Together mode – Together mode reimagines meeting experiences to help participants feel closer together even when you are apart.

Improved experience for sharing content in a meeting – The new share content experience helps presenters find their desired content more quickly and easily. Windows are consolidated into a single bucket to provide a concise view and all PowerPoints are automatically organized to present with PowerPoint Live.

Live Transcript in unscheduled meetings using Meet Now and Channel meetings – Live Transcript is now available for unscheduled (ad hoc) and Channel Teams meetings. For ad hoc meetings, you will be able to download the transcript from the chat screen after the meeting.

Guest access support on mobile for DOD – Teams now supports Guest Access between tenants inside the DoD Cloud.

Guest access support on mobile for GCC-High – Teams now supports Guest Access between tenants inside the GCC-H Cloud.

Guest Access – Teams now supports Guest Access between tenants inside the GCC-High Cloud. You can invite users in other GCC-High tenants to collaborate on documents in Teams channels, resources, chats, and applications while still maintaining control over your data.

Teams device management in DoD – Tenants in the DoD environment can also manage their Teams devices from the Teams admin center. Admins can now control the entire lifecycle of their Teams devices which include an increasing variety of supported device types – IP Phones, Collaboration bars, Teams displays, Teams Meeting Room devices.


Power Apps

In Power Apps: icons rollback, multiple portals in Dataverse, custom help pane GA, App.StartScreen, large file/ image support, Dataverse search

As part of 2022 Release Wave 2, the Power Apps team had deprecated business recommended icon and tooltips as they were not discoverable and didn’t provide a modern usability experience for viewing extended field information.

Based on customer feedback, we’ve reverted this change and it continues to work today as it did in 2022 Release Wave 1. The team are working to enable makers the ability to show / hide descriptions for a particular field and customize the description per form by way of icon button and callout.

Business Recommended Icon and Tool Tip Icon rollback.

Find out more: Business Recommended Icon and Tool Tip Icon Rollback

Create multiple portals in your Dataverse environment

The Power Apps team have announced they are lifting the 1 portal type limit per environment, allowing the creation of multiple portals of the same type within an environment (no per language limit). This feature provides the following capabilities :

  1. Dataverse starter portal and portal from blank
  2. Customer self-service, Partner portal, Employee self-service, Community, Customer Portal – Coming soon!
Create multiple portals in your Dataverse environment.

Find out more: Create a Dataverse starter portal

Custom help pane in model-driven apps generally available

Custom help pane feature gives your model apps a custom in-product help experience that is tailored to your app. It is now announcing general availability. With this update, there will be better stability and permanence of the experience. 

Custom help pane in model-driven apps generally available.

Find out more: Create guided help for your Unified Interface app

App.StartScreen: a new declarative alternative to Navigate in App.OnStart

The Power Apps team are going to provide new declarative alternatives for all the things you do in App.OnStart.  Not only will your apps load faster and give a better user experience, but it will be easier to write and debug them too.  Declarative means that you continue to tell us what you want to happen, but you don’t need to tell us when or how

For example, an Excel spreadsheet describes a set of dependencies between cells (what), it doesn’t say when they should be recalculated or in what order (when and how), that is Excel’s job.  Going declarative relieves a lot of the tedium of keeping state variables up to date.

Find out more: App.StartScreen: a new declarative alternative to Navigate in App.OnStart

Large file and Image support in Power Apps canvas and UCI generally available

The Power Apps team have announced GA support in Power Apps for Dataverse large File and Image data types.  Files up to 128MB and Images up to 30MB are supported.   The File and Image data types have been widely used during the preview period.  However, there were various limitations on the size of files and images and scenarios supported in Power Apps. 

The sizes supported by Dataverse and Power Apps were different and the mobile scenario was not supported.  Those limitations are now removed and Power Apps (canvas and UCI) now align with the sizes available in Dataverse.  Large files and images now work in mobile scenarios as well.

GA release of Large file and Image support in Power Apps canvas and UCI.

Find out more: GA release of Large file and Image support in Power Apps canvas and UCI

Relevance search is now Dataverse search to emphasize that all data within Dataverse is searchable. The new Dataverse search name is visible in the Power Platform Admin Center. Dataverse search is enabled by default for all production environments. Dataverse search remains an opt-in feature for non-production environments and environments using their own encryption key.

Dataverse search enabled by default.

Find out more: Configure Dataverse search for your environment


Power Automate

In Power Automate: Power Virtual Agent chat bot in Power Automate, copy to clipboard, Desktop update, Process advisor Application Analytics & Automation Recommendation GA, 21 new connectors

Power Virtual Agent Chat bot available across all pages in Power Automate

Power Virtual Agent Chat bot has been such a popular addition to Power Automate enabling users to ask questions in natural language to get help right in the product. The bot can answer your general questions like How do I share a flow or even specific questions like Why is my flow running slow. With this change, the bot is made visible across all the pages in Power Automate (for e.g. Flow, Process Insights, AI Builder) and you can engage the bot from anywhere in the product.

Power Virtual Agent Chat bot available across all pages in Power Automate.

Find out more: Power Automate Cloud Flows October Updates

Copy To Clipboard for solution flows

Copy to Clipboard is a really useful feature on the designer while you are building your flows, especially when you are creating control logic (for example switch, conditions) and wish to duplicate the actions or set of actions in branches easily. The flow designer now has a streamlined experience for solution flows that enables copying and pasting actions for flows across solutions.

Copy To Clipboard for solution flows.

Find out more: Power Automate cloud flows update

Power Automate desktop – October 2021

The October 2021 update of Power Automate for desktop (version 2.14) has been released, take a look at the updates below:

Sensitive variables in Power Automate for desktop – With this feature, users are now able to mark any variable as sensitive. The values of sensitive variables will not be visible in the flow designer during debugging, while they will also not be logged in the desktop flow logs, for runs triggered by the portal or the console. Find out more.

Data loss prevention policies are now applicable to Power Automate for desktop (Preview) – Administrators will be able to apply data loss prevention policies to desktop flows, in order to secure their organization’s data. Find out more.

DLP policies in Power Automate for desktop

Support older versions of Internet Explorer – Power Automate for desktop will be able to support web automation with Internet Explorer v5 to v8, apart from v9 and above which were already supported so far. Find out more.

New capability to save an Excel workbook as XML Data – Users will now be able to save their Excel workbook as XML data (.xml), either through the ‘Save Excel’ or the ‘Close Excel’ action, via defining an XML map within the Excel file. Find out more.

Save Excel as XML Data

Breaking forward compatibility of older versions of Power Automate for desktop – New desktop flows that will be created (or past flows that will be saved) in the new release, will not be able to be run or opened by older installations of Power Automate for desktop. Find out more.

Process advisor Application Analytics & Automation Recommendation now generally available

Gain deeper insights and take action in optimizing and automating your process with Process advisor Application Analytics and Automation Recommendation features, which are now generally available.

Find out more: Process advisor Application Analytics and Automation Recommendation features are now generally available

New 21 connectors in August and September

21 new connectors were released for Power Automate throughout August/ September. They include solutions and tools for inventory management, IT operations, document management, threat identification, gamification and much more. 

Find out more: New 21 connectors in August and September


Power BI

In Power BI: Azure Purview GA, on-prem data gateway, desktop feature summary, streaming dataflows, new auth options for migrations, unused artifacts, next-gen premium platform GA

Power BI and Azure Purview now generally available

Azure Purview is a unified data governance service that enables organizations to easily create a holistic, up-to-date map of their data landscape, including on-premises, software as a service (SaaS), and multi-cloud platforms­, with automated data discovery.

With Power BI integrations, data consumers are empowered to find valuable, trustworthy, sensitive data, and provide end-to-end data lineage for analytics users to build and trace key business metrics to the origins of the data.  Recent integrations between Azure Purview and Power BI are now generally available.

Search and browse Power BI assets with Power BI and Azure Purview.

Find out more: Microsoft Power BI and Azure Purview better together – now Generally Available

On-premises data gateway October 2021 update

The Power BI team have just released the October update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.101.16). This version of the gateway will ensure that the reports that you publish to the Power BI Service and refresh via the Gateway will go through the same query execution logic/run-time as in the October Power BI Desktop version.

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

Power BI October 2021 desktop feature summary

This month’s Power BI desktop feature summary includes additional functionality and performance improvements for DirectQuery, optimization for the SWITCH function, new Bitwise DAX functions, and general availability of the Premium Gen2 platform for premium capacities, plus lots more.

Find out more: Power BI October 2021 Feature Summary

Power BI Streaming Dataflows October Update

Streaming dataflows allow authors to connect to, ingest, mashup, model, and build reports but based on continuous streaming, near real-time data. This is done directly in the Power BI service with beautiful, drag and drop, no-code experiences. Two new features were announced this month:

  • Streaming support for Azure blobs
  • Using static data with streaming dataflows
Streaming support for Azure blobs.

Find out more: Power BI Streaming Dataflows October Update

New authentication option facilitates migrations to Power BI Premium

The Power BI team have announced that XMLA endpoints on Premium Per User (PPU) now support Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentication with service principals. This authentication option enables administrative applications to perform automated maintenance tasks and unattended service-level operations by using their own app identities, which is often a requirement for migration of existing tabular data models from Azure Analysis Services and SQL Server Analysis Services to Power BI Premium.

Power BI Streaming Dataflows October Update

Streaming dataflows allow authors to connect to, ingest, mashup, model, and build reports but based on continuous streaming, near real-time data. This is done directly in the Power BI service with beautiful, drag and drop, no-code experiences. Two new features were announced this month:

  • Streaming support for Azure blobs
  • Using static data with streaming dataflows
Streaming support for Azure blobs.

Find out more: Power BI Streaming Dataflows October Update

New authentication option facilitates migrations to Power BI Premium

The Power BI team have announced that XMLA endpoints on Premium Per User (PPU) now support Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentication with service principals. This authentication option enables administrative applications to perform automated maintenance tasks and unattended service-level operations by using their own app identities, which is often a requirement for migration of existing tabular data models from Azure Analysis Services and SQL Server Analysis Services to Power BI Premium.

Find out more: New authentication option facilitates AAS migrations to Power BI Premium at a low price point

Power BI Unused Artifacts API (preview)

As part of the Power BI teams ongoing focus to enhance visibility at the tenant level, they have announced the preview availability of the new Unused Artifacts API, which enables Power BI Admins to uncover potentially unused artifacts in order to more efficiently manage resources. The initial version of this API returns a list of datasets that have not been used within 30 days for a specified workspace. Successive revisions will include additional artifact types such as reports and dashboards.

Find out more: Power BI Unused Artifacts API (preview)

General Availability of next-gen Premium Platform

The Power BI have announced the general availability of the platform that powers Power BI Premium experiences. With this release, Power BI Premium meets a milestone in its evolution, becoming a world-class capacity-based Analytics SaaS product powering mission-critical, enterprise-grade analytics solutions.

After a year in preview, the next-gen platform is now battle-proven to meet the demands of the widest range of analytics solutions: from self-service business datasets to centrally curated and distributed pixel-perfect reports and anything in between.

Find out more: General Availability of next-gen Premium Platform


BONUS! Even more updates!

Congratulations if you have made it this far through the monthly update! For getting to the end you will be rewarded with other related titbits from around Microsoft 365…

Microsoft Loop

Microsoft Loop is a new app that combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across applications—enabling teams to think, plan, and create together. Microsoft Loop has three elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces.

Find out more: Introducing Microsoft Loop

All-in-one digital contact center solution

A new all-in-one digital contact center solution, powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Teams, brings together traditional contact center, unified communications, and customer service capabilities into a single, integrated software as a service (SaaS) solution.

Microsoft expands Dynamics 365 Customer Service to an all-in-one digital contact center solution leveraging the power of Microsoft Teams.
Streamline the contact center experience.

Find out more: What’s new in Microsoft 365

Official communities are now available in Yammer

Now you can designate your most important communities as “Official” to show that they are company-endorsed within the network. Official communities offer a way to guide employees to the correct communities when they are searching for answers by using a familiar ‘verified’ icon represented by a check mark. Network admins designate official communities in your organization, and the benefits of clarity and trust follow for end users.

thumbnail image 8 captioned Official Yammer community – the “Leadership Connection” with blue checkmark icon showing.
Official Yammer community – the “Leadership Connection” with blue checkmark icon showing.

Find out more: Official communities are now available in Yammer


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