Microsoft 365 update for March 2019

Here are some of the latest improvements and new features in Microsoft 365 for March 2019:

What’s new this month:

SharePoint

SharePoint organizational news

SharePoint news allows you to broadcast stories and announcements across the organization. Now, within the news web part you can apply a custom order to your news, meaning you can highlight key content to be more visible among other news items.

Also coming in March 2019 is the ability to make a SharePoint site an authoritative news site. When you post news from these sites, it will propagate throughout SharePoint home in Office 365 or via the news tab on the SharePoint app. You can tell an authoritative news post from others by a color badge on the title.

Page templates

One that I’ve been personally waiting for…page templates! Templates are a really great way of ensuring a consistent design for your intranet or team sites. Initially there will be three page templates – basic, text-centric and visual, but you can also create your own template from an existing page and it will be displayed in the template gallery.

New sharing page in the SharePoint admin center

A new sharing page has been released within the SharePoint admin center. The new SharePoint admin center has been in preview for some time, and more management capabilities are being updated throughout March and April 2019.

Intrazone_Roadmap-Pitstop_Mar-2019_006_sharing-admin-page.jpg

List and library sticky headers

SharePoint list and libraries will now have the column headers pinned at the top of the page. This will prove extremely useful when dealing with large lists and libraries! Column headers will also remain in place when inside web parts.

Find out more:

Microsoft Teams

Customized backgrounds in video chats

As mentioned in the November 2018 Office 365 update, background blur enables you to remove any unwanted distractions from video calls to keep colleagues focused. Later this year you will not only be able to blur but completely change your background.

Live captions/ subtitles

Live captions and subtitles make meetings in Teams more inclusive for attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing, having different language proficiency levels or connect from a noisy location.

Secure private channels

This one is great 🙂 secure private channels are coming to Teams later this year. This will allow you to restrict channel participation and channel visibility without having to create an entirely separate Team.

Yammer in Teams

You can now add a Yammer tab to a Teams channel that will load a specific topic or group feed from Yammer.

Intrazone_Roadmap-Pitstop_Mar-2019_007_Yammer-in-Teams_pt1.jpg

Copy a plan…in planner

You can now duplicate an existing plan to create a new one based off of a previous creation. From the Planner hub, select the Copy plan option in the ellipsis menu.

Intrazone_Roadmap-Pitstop_Mar-2019_009_Planner_copy-plan.jpg

Find out more:

Microsoft Whiteboard

Teams meeting integration

Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams meetings allows attendees in the same tenant to participate in the conversation on any device. The board is automatically shared with all meeting attendees.

Intelligent ink grab and beautification improvements

You can now easily take content from a physical whiteboard and convert it to digital using Ink Grab. Ink Grab converts images of your whiteboard notes into digital ink, making them easier to read and share with others.

Then this is where Ink Beautification comes in. Ink Beautification takes the written notes and makes them easier to understand, erasing a common problem with whiteboard notes – bad handwriting!

Find out more

LinkedIn

Co-author with first-degree connections

Documents being shared in Outlook on the web, OneDrive, SharePoint, Word Online, PowerPoint Online and Excel Online can now be co-authored with first-degree connections from LinkedIn.

This feature is available for targeted release customers now.

Find out more:

Live events in Microsoft 365

Live events in Microsoft 365 is now generally available, meaning anyone can create live or on-demand events using video and interactive discussion across Teams, Stream or Yammer.

Attendees will receive notifications and are able to participate in real time, with high-def video and interactive discussion across all devices. Live Events also allows you to connect with attendees whether they are in Yammer, Teams or Stream.

Once a live event has finished, you can easily make the recording available to access on-demand and catch up quickly, with AI features that automatically transcribes the content and detects who the speakers are to make it simple to search for content later.

Forms Pro

Forms Pro has just been announced in public preview, this new solution allows you to professionally distribute surveys (including custom forms), with extensive capabilities to collect feedback and analyze data.

You can try the preview at https://formspro.microsoft.com/

Security Center

The new Microsoft 365 security center is the place to monitor and manage security across your Microsoft identities, data, devices, apps, and infrastructure.

Some of the new tools include:

  • View security trends and track the protection status of your environment
  • Analyze and take actions to improve your security posture with the all-new Microsoft Secure Score
  • Hunt for intrusion attempts affecting your e-mail, data, devices, and identity

Find out more:

Admin Center

The also new Microsoft 365 admin center simplifies how you manage Microsoft 365 and Office 365 services. The admin center is tailored based on the roles within your organisation, improving task efficiency and providing insights deliver a better experience to users.

Find out more:

Links and resources

Microsoft 365 update for February 2019

Take a look at some of the best bits for the improvements and enhancements to Microsoft 365 throughout February:

SharePoint

SharePoint Migration Tool updates

The SharePoint migration tool now supports migrating content types and managed metadata term stores for SharePoint Server 2013. Global tenant admin permissions are required to do so.

Also, many of the on-premises SharePoint web parts can be migrated into Microsoft 365. Examples being blogs, chart viewer, content search, list form, list view media plus many more.

You can now pretty much migrate every element of a SharePoint site that is most important to you such as web parts, pages and site navigation.

Find out more: full list of supported web parts 
Find out more: new and improved features of the SharePoint Migration Tool

Drag and drop to re-order the left-hand site navigation

You can now re-arrange the order of your site navigation elements with a nice, user friendly drag and drop gesture. This removes the multiple clicks involved in he ellipsis, move up or down options of old. This new gesture also works for dragging/dropping into a sub-navigation location.

Drag and drop the left-hand site navigation

Bulk check in/out

This one I’ve been waiting for awhile for! You will soon be able to check in/out multiple files at the same time form the modern ribbon in a document library.

Bulk check-in/out documents from a modern library

File signals

File signals or status icons are being added into SharePoint to add visual clues regarding the status of a file, such as check-out status, sharing, DLP blocks or missing metadata. This applies to modern lists and libraries.

File signals give visual clues regarding the status of a file

Column totals

A revamp of an old favorite, column totals and subtotals are coming to modern lists and libraries. These totals and subtotals are displayed in the footer. This is a welcome change from the old total count in classic views!

Modern column totals

Add columns between columns and drag and drop

You can now insert new columns in place between existing in and modern list or library view, plus move a column around by simply dragging the header to a new location in the view.


Adding a column between an existing column in a modern SharePoint list or library

Smarter file hover cards

The file hover card gives you a sneak peek into your most important files. Now, as soon as your hover over a file you will be able to see important stats like number of views, who’s viewed and who’s modified. This functionality is now being extended to almost all file types.

This new experience will also appear for files listed in your Shared by Me view.

Find out more: file hover cards are getting smarter and is now available for all file types!

Hover over a file in a SharePoint library or OneDrive folder to see more information about a file

Microsoft Teams

Priority notifications and message delegation

Priority notification alerts will notify a recipient to an urgent message on their mobile and desktop devices and repeat the alert every two minutes for up to 20 minutes, until a response is received.

Priority notifications in Teams

Also coming soon is message delegation. Message delegation enables a recipient to delegate messages to another colleague when they are unavailable.

Message delegation in Teams

Priority notifications are currently in private preview.

Find out more: New capabilities in Microsoft 365 empower healthcare professionals

Microsoft Authenticator

Microsoft Authenticator allows you to receive security notifications for important events on your personal Microsoft Account. When you receive a notification, you can quickly view your account activity to take action if needed.

Microsoft Authenticator can be used to add two-step verification for added security if needed. It supports fingerprint, face ID or PIN authentication.

Microsoft Authenticator

Find out more: Microsoft Authenticator app now sends security notifications

Links and resources

How to provision and deploy the PnP SharePoint Starter Kit part two

Update: The SharePoint Starter Kit is now a solution that’s available to apply from the SharePoint Online Provisioning Service:
https://provisioning.sharepointpnp.com/

This is second part of my two-part series on how to provision and deploy the SharePoint starter kit into your SharePoint tenant. You can read part one below:

How to provision and deploy the SharePoint Starter Kit part one

At this point all the pre-requirement steps should be completed, our Office 365 tenant should have an app catalog site, a dev site collection and a custom user profile service property.

Download the SharePoint Stater Kit

In order to deploy the SharePoint Starter Kit to your tenant you will need to clone or download a copy of the repository. I downloaded a copy of the repository and followed the steps below:

Downloading the SharePoint Starter Kit

Deploy the SharePoint Starter Kit

Now for the fun part…deploying the SharePoint Starter Kit to your tenant! Before you begin, make sure you have run the following cmdlet to connect to your tenant:

Connect-PnPOnline https://contosodemosk.sharepoint.com

  • Change the path in PowerShell to the location where your SP Starter Kit provisioning folder is located

Set-Location -Path C:\sp-starter-kit-master\provisioning

  • Finally, in PowerShell run the following command

Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path starterkit.pnp

Deploying the SharePoint Starter Kit in PowerShell

Once the SharePoint Starter Kit has concluded it will provision 3 site collections as well as other tenant level settings like themes, site designs and taxonomy term sets. You will be able to access all the site collections and web parts deployed through the starter kit in your tenant either through the new SharePoint admin center or through the SharePoint app in Office 365.

References

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-starter-kitSharePoint Starter Kit repository from GitHub

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/spfx/set-up-your-development-environmentsteps to install the required developer tools from Microsoft

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/sharepoint/sharepoint-pnp/sharepoint-pnp-cmdlets?view=sharepoint-pssteps to install PnP PowerShell from Microsoft

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/spfx/set-up-your-developer-tenant – setting up your Office 365 tenant to build and deploy client-side web parts using the SharePoint Framework from Microsoft

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-starter-kit/blob/master/documentation/tenant-settings.mdcreating the new user profile property/ requesting API key to Alpha Vantage from GitHub

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-starter-kit/tree/master/provisioningPowerShell commands and minimal path to success from GitHub

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-starter-kit/blob/master/documentation/common-provision-results.mdPre-requirement steps added from general cascading errors from GitHub

How to share and co-author in Sway

If you start to use Sway within your organisation, you will likely want to be able to co-author and collaborate on each Sway much like normal documents and files within your O365 environment.

The good news is this is very much possible in Sway and the steps below will show you how to do it:

Share your Sway

  1. Before you can see who has co-author abilities on your Sway, you need to first share it with those people and decide what sort of permissions they have
  2. You have the choice of 3 options: specific people or groups, those in your organisation and anyone with a link
  3. To enable people to co-author the Sway with you, select edit
  4. Select the recipients or share the link with those you wish to edit the Sway
    sway-permissions

Under more options, you can optionally choose to set a password for people to access a Sway. This can be required for everyone or only those with edit access.

sway-moreoptions

NOTE: You can share your sway with people outside of your organisation and allow them to edit by selecting the anyone with a link option.

Look who’s authored

Now that you have sucessfully shared your Sway, you will now be able to see who has co-authored it with you:

  1. Open your Sway, click on the Share button
  2. Under the link section you will see a list of authors for this Sway
sway-authors

BONUS

You can also see who is co-authoring your Sway in real time! If you open your Sway whilst others are editing you will notice a little 1 in the Share button.

sway-authors-realtime

File naming restrictions in SharePoint

Firstly, full credit for this information goes to Mischa Oudhof and this sysadmin blog for this really useful post in 2010! I thought i’d write it up here just for my own sanity (and incase that page were to ever not exist) plus add a few extra bits of my own.

So recently a user was trying to upload multiple documents into SharePoint 2010 by copying/pasting using file explorer for the destination library.  When copying across the files they received something like this message:

filename-error

What are the restrictions?

There are a whole load of restrictions when it comes to file name, length, characters within SharePoint. This affects site collections, sub-sites libraries or lists. Here are some of the more general restrictions:

  • File and folder name lengths can’t exceed 128 characters in both WSS 2.0 as WSS 3.0
  • Link list items can’t exceed 256 characters
  • The entire path of files can’t exceed 260 characters

Here are some, more specific restrcitions again applying to site collections, sub-sites, libraries or lists:

  • Can’t be longer than 128 characters
  • Can’t use: ~ # % & * { } \ : < > ? / + | ”
  • Can’t use the period character consecutively in the middle of a file name (blah…blah.docx)
  • Can’t use the period character at the end of a file name
  • Can’t use the period character at the start of a file name
  • Can’t end with:

    .files

    _files

    -Dateien

    _fichiers

    _bestanden

    _file

    _archivos

    -filer

    _tiedostot

    _pliki

    _soubory

    _elemei

    _ficheiros

    _arquivos

    _dosyalar

    _datoteke

    _fitxers

    _failid

    _fails

    _bylos

    _fajlovi

A deep dive into all the potential restrcitions can be found in the msdn blog here.

Things have changed in Office 365…

Microsoft announced in 2017 that the old maxpath limit has been expanded to 400 Unicode code units. Microsoft also announced more URL improvements for the support of # and % characters.

New SharePoint team site

References

http://www.sysadminsblog.com/microsoft/file-name-length-and-character-restrictions-for-sharepoint/  – Original write up by Mischa Oudhof of Sysadminblog.com

Office 365 updates for November 2018

November 2018

Teams: Blur background to improve video call focus

The new Background Blur feature in Teams eliminates potential distractions that might be lurking behind you on video calls and keeps the focus on you. Once you’re in a meeting, select the more options button (that’s the one that looks like an ellipsis), then click Blur my background. You’ll appear nice and clear while everything behind you is subtly concealed.

This feature is currently available in the desktop app for most newer PCs. To find out if it’s available on your device, select more options while in a meeting.

teams_blur_background
Teams: blur background to improve video call focus

Find out more: What’s new in Microsoft Teams

10 new ways for everyone to achieve more in the modern workplace

SharePoint: SharePoint migration tool to migrate your files to the cloud

At Microsoft Ignite several new capabilities were annonced as coming soon to the SharePoint Migration Tool. This tool provides a simple, no cost, and intuitive point and click interface that helps you migrate your existing SharePoint, OneDrive, and File Shares content to SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointmigration/media/a2a20032-f3ea-4248-8dd3-d3f079488503.png

Find out more

New capabilities coming soon to the SharePoint Migration Tool

Download the SharePoint Migration Tool

Release Notes: New and improved features in the SharePoint Migration tool

New to Microsoft 365 in October: Tools to create impactful content and help transition to the cloud

SharePoint: Revamped SharePoint admin center

Microsoft are introducing a completely revamped SharePoint Admin center that draws heavily on our modern design principles. It’s designed to help IT achieve more, so their users can achieve more.

Microsoft are making it much easier to manage Office 365 group-connected sites by allowing SharePoint administrators to manage ownership, change sharing settings, and delete and restore sites.

Admins can now more easily manage existing hub sites, and associate existing sites with a hub site, even in multi-geo scenarios.

Finally, Security and compliance enhancements in the admin center include access control policies for unmanaged or non-compliant devices, idle-session sign-out, and the ability to restrict or allow access from known IP address ranges.

SP_admin_center
New SharePoint admin center with access control

Find out more:

Unleash your SharePoint admin superpowers with new admin center capabilities

New to Microsoft 365 in October: Tools to create impactful content and help transition to the cloud

Office 365: HITRUST CSF Certification

Office 365 has earned HITRUST Certification from the Health Information Trust Alliance, the widely adopted security and risk management framework in the U.S. healthcare industry. This also includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, Cybersecurity Framework certification. The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) helps health organizations address security, privacy and regulatory compliance through a comprehensive, flexible, framework of both prescriptive and scalable security controls.

Office 365 now enables health and life sciences organizations to be trusted data stewards and grow capabilities to transform patient care and experiences.

Find out more

Office 365 Earns HITRUST CSF Certification

Service Trust Portal

Compliance certifications for Office 365

New to Microsoft 365 in October: Tools to create impactful content and help transition to the cloud

Office 365 updates for October 2018

I’ve decided to start creating a roundup of all of the Office 365 news and updates that are released monthly by The Office 365 Guy on YouTube. I thought I would start by summerising those that relate to SharePoint Online, SharePoint on prem, OneDrive, Teams and other associated apps and services from the transcript provided for each monthly video.

Please get in touch if you would like to see a complete roundup of the news 🙂

October 2018

SharePoint: New file template management for document library content types

At long last Microsoft have announced the ability to add document templates to SharePoint document library content types. With this new capability, you can maintain the default templates for things like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint along with any newly added templates and content types specific to your requirements.

Also included is the ability to edit the New menu – to add, hide or reorder the new file options. You can configure the New menu by selecting (or deselecting) which templates you wish to see and by using drag and drop to re-order the templates in the menu.

DocTemplates

You can edit the template directly in the Office client, change the template’s content type or delete the template.

At present this is scoped to a single document library, Microsoft are looking to expand this capability to allow you to distribute and publish content types, with associated templates and metadata definitions, to multiple site collections and libraries in a single transaction – content type hub re-work anyone?

Find out more: Announcing new file template management for document library content types

OneDrive files on-demand for Mac

Microsoft recently announced a preview for an enhancement to OneDrive called Files On-Demand. Files On-Demand for Mac makes it easy to have access to all your files, but only have files you need to be stored locally on the device, thereby reducing the amount of local storage space consumed. Files On-Demand is available to consumer and commercial OneDrive customers, and works across all your personal, work, and shared files in Office 365.

Status icons in Finder make it easy to know whether your files are locally available or online. You can easily make files or folders always available, even when you don’t have an Internet connection, by right-clicking and selecting Always keep on this device.

OneDriveForMac

Files On-Demand for Mac is now available for Office Insiders on macOS Mojave and can also be enabled by running a simple script. Be sure to check out the blog post we link to in the transcript and resources guide for additional information if you’d like to try it out.

Find out more: OneDrive Announcements at Ignite 2018

OneDrive: Super Zoom on iOS

The new Super Zoom feature enables OneDrive on iOS users to use a pinch gesture to zoom in and out of the Photos view. Zoom out to easily scroll many photos at a time or zoom in to get a larger preview of your photos as you browse. This feature is supported on both OneDrive for Business as well as consumer accounts on iOS.

OneDriveSuperZoom

For those of you using OneDrive on Android devices, Super Zoom is already available, but only for OneDrive consumer accounts and should be coming to OneDrive for commercial accounts later this year.

Find out more: OneDrive Message Center Updates August 16th-August 31st

Thats it for this month, but I’ll be back with a full roundup of the news next time!

How to find open with explorer in modern SharePoint libraries

Explorer view in classic SharePoint sites has been a widely used bypass for users actually interacting with SharePoint libraries for a number of years.

Now in some cases that’s for good reason, from being able to upload multiple files easily in older versions of SharePoint to a familiar navigation of nested folder structure.

With modern SharePoint libraries, the old school ribbon has gone the way of the dodo…and so it seemed had open with explorer.

But fear not! If you still use IE you can still use the trusty open with explorer

How to open with explorer

  • Go to the library that you wish to open with explorer
  • On the right-hand side, press the drop-down icon next to all documents
    all-documents2.jpg
  • Press View in File Explorer
    file-explorer

Some weird stuff will then happen, where a classic 2013 version of your SharePoint site/library will open in a new tab and for me I got a message at the bottom of the browser window to allow popups from Microsoft then got another, more serious popup like this (multiple times):

IE-security

I pressed allow to all of these then voila! we have file explorer!

PLEASE NOTE:

File explorer only works for Internet Explorer, I tested in IE11 and it categorically doesn’t work in Firefox, Chrome, Edge or Edge Dev (beta).

Get a list of all SharePoint sites without PowerShell

One thing that has been bugging me recently is being able to get a list of all my Office 365 SharePoint group sites all at once. With the new SharePoint Admin Centre due to be rolled out any time now, this will soon be a solved problem, but i just want a list of all the sites i’ve created now, should be simple right?

An easy way to get a list of all SharePoint Online/ Office 365 group sites

There are ways online to do this using PowerShell, but surely there has to be an easier way…here’s what I did:

  • Navigate to the Office 365 SharePoint group sites landing page
  • Click in the search bar – press enter to start a search
  • In the all results type filter – change to sites
  • Press enter

Bingo! All of your SharePoint sites are now showing, you’ll notice that the classic sharepoint sites and Office 365 SharePoint group sites are both included in the results, which is exactly what I wanted.

Hope this is helpful for someone else 🙂

Fun with PowerApps part 3: my first PowerApp

This is part three in my fun with PowerApps series where I’ll go through my personal experience of creating a new PowerApp from scratch and go through step-by-step for each part of the process…

You can read all parts of this series below:

Part 1: setting up the default gateway
Part 2: creating a data connection

Carrying on from my last post – creating a data connection, we are now good to go and begin to build our first PowerApp!

Just like setting up the data connection, creating a PowerApp can be a really simple thing to do.

However, I’ve found either creating a PowerApp from the SharePoint list or library is really quick and easy, but it doesn’t necessarily give you the most flexibility when it comes to wanting to do it your own way…

Creating a PowerApp

You can create a PowerApp from a list or library literally from the push of a button! Its as simple as:

  • Create your list or library, add all the associated columns and data you wish to be displayed in your PowerApp
  • Press the ‘PowerApps’ button on the list menu, then press ‘Create an app’

  • You’ll then be prompted to create your app, start by giving it a name and press ‘Create

After a few moments your app will be created! It will open in the PowerApps web editor and you should see your list columns and data displaying in your shiny new PowerApp!


You can also take a look at the app in the preview to get a good look at how it operates and how the data is displayed…

Conclusion…

That’s it! Your all set…but if you’re like me you’ll have some questions. Like, what if I want a desktop app and not a mobile one?

Well for that you’ll need to build an app from scratch, I’ll be going over creating a new PowerApp in the next part of this series so hold on as i’ll be posted the next part very soon!