Microsoft 365 update – September 2020

In this month’s update we take an in-depth look at all the recently released features for all the products within Microsoft 365.

SharePointGhosting drag & drop web parts, expiring guest access, Power BI results in search

Teams Performance updates, large gallery view, new meeting pre-join experience, reverse number lookup, Teams phones updates, Teams Rooms updates, reflect extension, Lists in Teams, Whiteboard updates, Walkie Talkie, Teams – RealWear, custom praise badges, share share from chat policy

Teams (Education) “Only Me” admin policy, SEL stickers, presenter mode in Whiteboard, Focus mode, Assignments grading history, SMART learning suite,

Teams (GCC, GCC-High, DoD)Instant channel meetings GCC, custom apps & sideloading GCC, DLP for Teams in Gov Clouds

OneDrive New widget for iOS, updates to comment notifications, mute comment notifications, Surface Duo app

Power Apps Power BI as system dashboard, GitHub actions (preview), Power Platform in Teams, new solution import experience & environment variables

Power Automate 9 new connectors, Power Automate Desktop, UI Flows August update, connection references

Power BIOn-prem data gateway Sept 20 update, new experiences for Teams, feature summary, deployment pipelines, smart narrative, Power BI HoloLens 2, ‘new look’ updates, Power Automate actions, paginated reports updates

Power Virtual AgentsPVA in Teams, health information compliant bots

Project Cortex SharePoint Syntex


“Ghosting” drag & drop effect for web parts

When you are in page edit mode and you choose to move a web part from one portion of the page to another, you’ll now see a ghosting effect of the web part you grabbed, as a reminder of what you’re moving.

New ghosting effect when dragging & dropping web parts in modern SharePoint pages.

Find out more:

Manage default policy duration for expiring guest access

Rolling out now, admins will be able to create policies to revoke guest access to SharePoint sites and individual OneDrive’s after a defined period of time. Site admins will also receive notifications via email of upcoming guest user access expirations.

NOTE: this policy does not apply to guests who already have access to sites, documents, and files before this setting is applied. After a guest loses access to a site, any user with the ability to share content externally can re-invite the guest to each document or item as needed.

Expiring guest access for SharePoint and OneDrive.

Find out more:

Power BI results in Microsoft Search

Microsoft Search in SharePoint and will now include results from Power BI. This means search results will show Power BI reports, dashboards, and workspaces, which can be important content to be discovered.

NOTE: Microsoft Search administrators can disable this feature in Microsoft Search settings through the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Power BI results in Microsoft Search.

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Updates to Teams performance

Microsoft have increased their efforts to improve the performance of Teams to allow it to continue to scale across devices and differing levels of internet connectivity. Here’s a summary of the updates:

  • Offline support in desktop
  • Improved desktop launch time
  • Video rendering optimizations in desktop
  • Battery life optimizations in iOS
  • Low bandwidth optimizations for Android

Find out more:

This feature was rolled out as part of the new multi-window experience. In order to take advantage of this new view, users will need to turn on the new multi-window meeting experience.

Large gallery view in Teams is now available in the new multi-window experience.

Find out more:

New Teams meeting pre-join experience

Microsoft have improved the pre-join meeting experience for Teams meetings including easier discovery of audio, video, and device configurations before joining a meeting.

Find out more:

Reverse Number Lookup Enhancements

As part of the latest enhancements to reverse number lookup in Teams, the caller name will also show up in your activity feed, call history, and voicemail.

Find out more:

New features for Microsoft Teams phones

Microsoft have announced a series of new feature updates to Microsoft Teams phones that are available now in version 1449/

  • Redesigned Home Screen: A new, simple view providing up-to-date information about your calling and meeting activity, reminders of your current and upcoming meetings, and access to quick actions like replying to missed calls and listening to voicemail.
  • Customize Quick Access to Apps: Set the default views for your phone by pinning and re-ordering your apps suited to your needs.
  • Auto accept incoming meeting and call requests: Teams phones can now be provisioned to automatically accept incoming meetings nudges and calls, allowing instant, hands free connection to incoming join requests.
  • Dedicated Teams button: new and upcoming Teams phones will have a dedicated Teams button to quickly launch Teams app on the device home screen.

Find out more:

Teams Rooms updates

Updates for both the Windows and Android versions of the Teams Rooms app, including:

Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows, app version now available

  • Live captions: Meeting participants joining from a Teams Room can now view live captions turned in a Teams meeting. In-room participants can also turn live captions on or off from the center of room console. Captions will appear at the bottom of the meeting experience shown on the front of room display.
  • 3×3 gallery view: Meeting participants can now view up to nine participants in the meeting gallery view, shown on the front of room display.
  • Direct Guest Join with Zoom Rooms (Preview): Teams Rooms and Zoom Room devices can now connect to each other’s meeting services via embedded web technologies. This will reduce the friction you experience when trying to join calls from external partners or clients who may not be using the same meeting service.

Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android, app version now available

  • Pin video: Now you can pin the video stream of a meeting participant from the Teams Rooms device, keeping the pinned user’s video visible in the gallery. This “pinned view” is only applied to the gallery view in the meeting room and not to other meeting participant’s views.
  • Support for structured meeting role and roster controls: Allows meeting organizers to assign meeting roles (presenter and attendee) from the Teams Rooms experience, enabling participants to take specific actions associated with those roles (e.g. mute participants, present content, etc.)

Find out more:

Reflect messaging extension

Managers, leaders or teachers now have an easy way to check in with how their team or students are feeling — either in general, or about a specific topic like work-life balance, the status of a project, current events, or a change within the organization.

IT or Teams admins can install the Reflect extension from GitHub and make it available to their users in the message extension menu.

Reflect messaging extension for Microsoft Teams.

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Microsoft Lists in Teams

Last month Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Lists. Now, Lists can be created directly in Teams as a channel tab.

lists in teams1.png
Microsoft Lists in Teams.

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Microsoft Whiteboard improvements

Microsoft Whiteboard is integrated within every Teams meeting, enabling meeting participants to join in. Recent updates include the ability to add sticky notes and text to a canvas, making it easier to contribute if you’re using a device without a digital pen, and added the ability to move and re-order objects on the canvas through a simple drag and drop gesture.

Hero GIF for enterprise - all features showcased - image 1.gif
Improvements to Microsoft Whiteboard.

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Walkie Talkie for Android

Walkie Talkie is a push-to-talk experience that enables instant and secure voice communication over the cloud, turning your personal- or company-owned Android smartphones and tablets into a walkie-talkie. It reduces the number of devices you need to have while providing clear communication free of radio interference, static and no distance limitations in range. 


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Teams and RealWear integration

Integrations between Teams and RealWear allow field workers to remain 100% hands-free using a voice-controlled user interface while maintaining situational awareness in loud and hazardous environments.

Teams – RealWear integration.

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Customizable Praise Badges

You can now can create customized Praise badges to express their culture and values when recognizing successes and fostering comradery. Praise badges can help improve workplace culture and job satisfaction, from corporate headquarters to Firstline Workers. 

Create a custom praise badge in the Teams admin center.

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Screen share from chat policy governance

Screen share from chat allows you to immediately start sharing your screen in a one-to-one or group chat. This entry point was previously governed by the AllowPrivateCalling policy. If this policy was disabled, users weren’t able to screen share from chat.

This will now be governed by the ScreenSharingMode policy.

Find out more:

Teams (Education)

“Only Me” Admin Policy for all Organizer Meeting Options

IT Admins can apply a policy that defaults “Only Me” to allow only educators (or the meeting organizer) to enter the meeting and keep students in the lobby until the educator admits them. 

Find out more:

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) connections in the digital classroom

Now with Social and Emotional Learning badges in Praise and new SEL sticker pack for OneNote, educators can encourage the development of these critical life skills while in a remote or hybrid learning environment. 

NOTE: The SEL sticker pack for OneNote is available now, SEL badges in Praise coming soon.

praise badges.png
Social and Emotional Learning badges in Praise and the new SEL sticker pack for OneNote.

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“Presenter” mode in Whiteboard

Educators now have the option to choose a presenter mode in Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams. This allows for more flexibility to either present the digital whiteboard with Read-Only access for students, or to allow (or adjust) student access when it’s time to have the whole class collaborate.

“Presenter” mode in Microsoft Whiteboard.

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Focus mode

Now students will be able to hone-in on the materials being presented in their online class. When a teacher is sharing their screen, students can choose “Focus Mode” from the “…” menu so that only the content shows without any distracting videos.

Find out more:

Assignments Grading History

See all of the submission and return history of Assignments in Teams, all in one place. Easily track Assignments over time.

Full view of Grades tab
View Assignment Grade History in Teams.

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SMART Learning Suite

The SMART Learning Suite app gives teachers the power to create, edit, deliver, manage and share interactive lessons directly within Microsoft Teams, enhancing instruction from the platform and workflows they already use.

SMART learning suite in Microsoft Teams.

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Teams (GCC, GCC-High & DoD)

New experience for launching instant channel meetings for GCC

Meet Now buttons in Teams channels have a new home. You will soon find them in the Channel header where you can easily find and launch the meeting.

Find out more:

Custom Apps and Sideloading in GCC

Sideloading and custom (line-of-business) apps are now available in GCC. GCC tenant administrators can decide whether to upload a custom app to their tenant environment and publish it to their tenant app catalog.

Find out more:

Teams Data loss prevention for Government Clouds

Data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities in Microsoft 365 government clouds will be extended to include Microsoft Teams chat and channel messages, including private channel messages.

If your organization has DLP, you can now define policies that prevent people from sharing sensitive information in a Microsoft Teams channel or chat session.

Find out more:


  1. OneDrive: Android – Night time reading mode for PDF viewing. Roadmap ID: 72230
  2. OneDrive: Dialog on First-Time deletion of File(s). Roadmap ID: 70702
  3. OneDrive and SharePoint: Adjusting version retention for PST files. Roadmap ID: 72237
  4. OneDrive: Request Files for GCC High and DoD. Roadmap ID: 72228
  5. OneDrive and SharePoint for Business: Immersive Reader support in OneDrive and SharePoint. Roadmap ID: 81954

New OneDrive widget & home screen for iOS

A new home screen for the OneDrive iOS launched this month. The new home experience will help you quickly pick up where you left off on recent and offline files and easily re-discover memories from the past.

OneDrive widget & home screen for iOS.

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Comment notification updates

Users who create or upload Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any other type of file to OneDrive or SharePoint will now get email notifications whenever someone else leaves a comment on their file.

Find out more:

Mute comment notifications

Microsoft are enabling users to be able to turn off comment notifications for individual files in the details pane. This feature is also incorporated in sharing emails as an actionable message action.

Mute comment notifications in OneDrive.

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OneDrive app for Surface Duo

With the Surface Duo now generally available the OneDrive app is now also available for the device. Surface Duo and OneDrive enhances multitasking with drag-and-drop functionality as well as the built-in PDF editor for book-like reading and mark-up experience.

Drag and drop.gif
OneDrive app for Surface Duo.

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Power Apps

Power BI embedded as system dashboard in model-driven apps (preview)

Power BI embedded as a system dashboard in the Power Apps model-driven app is now in public preview. This enables adding a reference to an online Power BI report or dashboard as a system dashboard. 

Power BI embedded as system dashboard in model-driven apps.

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Power Platform GitHub actions now in preview

Now in public preview, GitHub actions will allow developers to create their own software development lifecycle (SDLC) workflows when building Apps, Flows, Virtual agents, connectors and other assets backed by the Common Data Service on the Power platform.

GitHub actions now in public preview.

Find out more:

Customize Teams with built-in Power Platform capabilities (preview)

Teams customers can make and use custom tabs, personal apps, chat bots, and more using a powerful onboard data platform and approachable low-code tools from the Power Platform.

The public preview of embedded Power Platform capabilities in Microsoft Teams is now open.

Find out more:

New solution import experience with connections and environment variables

The Power Apps team have announced a broad set of new ALM capabilities for importing solutions. In addition to these modern new interfaces, now you can establish connections as well as set values for environment variables while importing solutions.

Environment variables are now generally available.

New solution import experience with connections and environment variables.

Find out more:

Power Automate

Nine new connectors released in September 2020

Last month, Power Automate saw the introduction of nine brand new connectors to the connector line-up, taking the total to 400 out of the box connectors!

  • Azure AD Identity Protection: Azure AD Identity Protection is a tool that allows organizations to discover, investigate, and remediate identity-based risks in their environment.
  • CDK Drive Customer: CDK Drive Customer is an API published by CDK Global and can be used it to search, view and update existing records, or create new customers.
  • CDK Drive Service Vehicles: CDK Drive Service Vehicles is an API published by CDK Global and the connector will help you maintain vehicle details on the service vehicle record and keep it up to date.
  • Cloudmersive Video and Media: The Cloudmersive Video and Media Service was created to enable customers to effortlessly convert videos, audio files, and media between different file formats at scale and on-demand.
  • GetAccept: The GetAccept sales enablement platform can help sales teams close more deals faster with AI powered dealscore and sales coaching, coupled with sales automation and e-signing. 
  • IN-D Payables: IN-D Payables is an AI-based invoice processing bot that can smartly extract things that matter most, like PO number, invoice number, and more, from millions of invoices in no time. 
  • Microsoft 365 compliance: Microsoft 365 compliance solutions help you discover, protect, and govern your data, address regulations and standards, and mitigate insider risks. 
  • MotaWord Translations: MotaWord enables professional translation of your documents into 95+ languages with blazing speed. It’s a pioneer of collaborative translation and works with 18000+ professional translators to empower your business in the international stage.
  • Nitro: Nitro Sign is an eSigning tool that allows you to get your documents electronically signed faster and more securely.

Find out more:

Power Automate Desktop

Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2020 but now in preview, Power Automate Desktop enables coders and non-coders alike to automate processes and tasks across desktop and web applications, bringing the value of Softomotive capabilities directly into Microsoft Power Automate.

How to automate desktop-based tasks with Power Automate Desktop.

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UI Flows August 2020 update

Several updates are included in the August 2020 release of UI Flows, including:

  • Cancel UI flow runs that are in progress
  • Add and edit Image Recognition actions that are part of a Remote Desktop or Citrix recording
  • Native support for recording actions and data from SAP
  • Do Until feature to have more control over how UI flows execute
Add and edit Image Recognition actions that are part of a Remote Desktop or Citrix recording.

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Connection References

Now in public preview, Connection References is a new concept that makes it easier for customers to maintain a level of abstraction between flows and the connections used by them. Connection references are particularly useful when moving flows across environments, updating flow definitions, automating deployment pipelines for secure, and healthy Application Lifecycle Management.

Example of Flows with Connection References.

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On-premises data gateway September 2020 update

The September 2020 update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.58.6) includes updates for the Mashup Engine, .Net Framework, dprecation for Kerberos SSO and more.

Find out more:

New Power BI experiences in Microsoft Teams

The Power BI team have announced new Power BI integrations for Microsoft Teams to make it easier to discover and use data within your organization, including:

  • New Power BI App for Teams that helps you view and work with Power BI content
  • New Teams Search experience to find and open Power BI content
  • New Teams Chat experiences to quickly find and share Power BI content
Using the Power BI app for Microsoft Teams to view a report, find an insight, and start a chat about the data with a colleague.

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Power BI September 2020 Feature Summary

Several updates in this month’s feature summary including updates for analytics, reporting, mobile, service, modeling, data connectivity plus many more!

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Deployment pipelines general availability

Deployment pipelines is now generally available, with some new additional features: incremental refresh support and the creation of pipelines from the workspace page.

Deployment pipelines in Power BI.

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Smart narrative

Now in preview, smart narrative visualizations help you quickly summarize visuals and reports by providing relevant out-of-the-box insights that are customizable.

Using this feature creators can add narratives to their report to address key takeaways, point out trends, edit the language, and format it to fit a specific audience.

Smart narratives in Power BI.

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Power BI App for mixed reality now available for HoloLens 2

The Power BI app for mixed reality is now available, running on HoloLens 2 it is capable of:

  • A unique visual display system which makes holograms even more vibrant and realistic.
  • Improved performance.
  • Completely refreshed ways of interacting with holograms.
Power BI app for mixed reality.

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‘New look’ experience updates

More changes are being made to the ‘new look’ of the Power BI service, including navigation updates to give you more space to work with your content, provided options for report authors to configure their page navigation, updated the action bar for quicker access to common actions, and more.

A new, simplified action bar within Power BI is just one of the ‘new look’ updates.

Find out more:

Power Automate actions for Power BI exports

Two new actions are available for the Power BI connector in Power Automate. Now, you may easily leverage the Power BI export API for either Power BI reports or paginated reports in your Power Automate workflows.

These new actions make it easy for anyone to quickly export their Power BI content in a variety of supported formats and scenarios.

Picture of Power BI actions for Power Automate
Export to file for Power BI Reports (preview) and Export to file for Paginated Reports (preview) are available now.

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Power BI Paginated Reports August 2020 Updates

Several updates are being rolled out for paginated reports in Power BI, including new authentication type support for Azure SQL DB and Azure Synapse, Common Data Service data source support, improved multi-value parameters support for DAX and more.

Relational Query Designer
Common Data Service data source support.

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Power Virtual Agents

Power Virtual Agents within Microsoft Teams (public preview)

The Power Virtual Agents team have announced the Public Preview of deep integration between Power Virtual Agents and Microsoft Teams. Users can easily create their own digital assistants within Teams and make them available to their colleagues to chat with.

And better yet, this functionality is included with your existing Teams licenses and the bot creation experience is embedded within Teams itself – empowering all of your employees to easily build and share bots within Teams.

Power Virtual Agents within Teams (public preview).

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Power Virtual Agents is HIPAA, SOC, ISO, and CSA compliant

Power Virtual Agents is now covered under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) BAA (Business Associate Agreement) and is a Core Online Service in the Microsoft Online Services Terms (OST).

Power Virtual Agents also acquired System and Organization Controls (SOC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) certifications which are required by enterprise customers.

Find out more:

Project Cortex

SharePoint Syntex – General Availability

The first product from Project Cortex – SharePoint Syntex is now generally available. SharePoint Syntex uses advanced AI and machine teaching to amplify human expertise, automate content processing, and transform content into knowledge.

SharePoint Syntex.

Find out more:



Microsoft 365 monthly update – July 2020

In this month’s Microsoft 365 update we take an in-depth look at all the recently released features for all the products within Microsoft 365.

SharePoint Employee onboarding hub, hub visitor permissions, SPMT support for SharePoint Server 2016, Lists rollout, quick edit improvements, image column updates, rename title column, keyboard shortcuts for Pages, block external access via DLP

TeamsMulti-window meeting & calling, “only me” lobby setting, Teams Rooms app, direct guest join, Teams Rooms standard/premium, contextual search, Visio files as tabs, Enhanced device management, Create, manage & deploy chatbots, new BI app, SSO support for tabs, Teams toolkit for Visual Studio, User attribution for bot messages

Teams (Admin)App configuration, Advisor, sensitivity labels in Teams, app lifecycle updates, policy management updates

Teams (Firstline Workers)Time clock on web/desktop, new policy packages, shift activity search

Teams (Education)Large lectures, custom video background policy, delete cross-posts, assignment languages, class materials on Android, student lobby, school data sync team creation,

Teams (GCC)300 participant attendee increase, 9 simultaneous videos, raise hands, PSTN numbers masked, multi-window chat, priority notifications, channel info pane

OneDrive Add to OneDrive, sharing links that block download

Power AppsDataflex, portals caching changes, ThisRecord, monitor mode for model-driven apps, column comparisons

Power AutomateVariable support for UI flows, process receipts/ translate text models in AI builder, loop/ array input support, Office scripts

Power BIOn-prem data gateway July 2020, React component, external tool support, July 2020 desktop feature summary, contact list/ allow contributors to update apps

Power Virtual AgentsManage chatbots in Power Apps, release wave 2

RelatedRemove background noise in Stream, on-demand training, Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Azure Sentinel, universal print


New employee onboarding hub from the SharePoint look book

The new employee onboarding hub is a template provided by the SharePoint team that aims to provide resources, support and general information to aid new starters.

It’s available from the SharePoint Look Book site and takes about 20 minutes to provision.

Find out more:

Centralised management for hub permissions

This optional feature allows hub site permissions to be synced to associated sites. Hub site owners can specify access by individuals, security groups, or Microsoft 365 groups.

Find out more:

SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT) supports migrating content from SharePoint Server 2016 

Now generally available, the SharePoint Migration Tool now includes support for migrations from SharePoint Server 2016. This now means that the SPMT now supports migrations from:

  • SharePoint Server 2016
  • SharePoint Server 2013
  • SharePoint Foundation 2013
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • Network and local file shares
The SharePoint Migration Tool now includes support for SharePoint Server 2016.

Find out more:

Microsoft Lists begins roll out

Microsoft have recently announced the roll out of Lists beginning in July and the new app comes with 8 pre-made templates to choose from.

Microsoft Lists began rolling out in late July.

P.S. if you don’t yet see the Lists app in your list of available M365 apps and you are on first release, open your OneDrive and replace onedrive.aspx with lists.aspx!

Find out more:

Quick edit improvements

Several improvements have been made to the quick edit experience in SharePoint lists. Take a look at them all below:

Fixed row heightWhen in Quick Edit, you will see a new layout option “Fixed Height” within the view drop-down menu.Roadmap ID: 64867
Improved row selectionWhen in Quick Edit, people will see an updated way for selecting single or multiple items in a list or files in a library.Roadmap ID: 64868
Visual updatesIncludes new grid lines, an improved on-hover experience when using your mouse around the grid, themed color bars on the side of list items – including error messaging, a “Create New Item” button at the bottom of quick edit for creating new items inline, and updated column header drop-downs.Roadmap ID: 64871
Sticky columnAs users scroll horizontally across a list in Quick Edit mode, the far-left column remains in place – improving context while viewing and editing.Roadmap ID: 64866

Updates to the image column

Microsoft have improved the image upload experience – including mobile camera support. This is a default column when using the new Asset manager template, and is a column type that can be added to any list or library.

The new image upload experience for lists items.

Find out more:

Rename the title column

You can now rename the default title column in SharePoint and the change will be reflected everywhere – in quick edit, on the associated view, and in the list form.


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Keyboard shortcuts for SharePoint Pages

Much of Windows and Microsoft 365 is navigable via keyboard, and this month, SharePoint pages joined in.

Microsoft have introduced keyboard shortcuts for SharePoint pages. You can see all the available keyboard shortcuts by pressing Shift + ? when editing the page.

When in page edit mode, click Shift + ? to bring up the page keyboard shortcuts.

Find out more:

Office 365 Data Loss Prevention treats files as sensitive by default until fully scanned

You can now enable Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to automatically block external access to new files in SharePoint and OneDrive until they have been fully scanned by the service for sensitive information.

If the file has no sensitive content based on the DLP policy, then guests can access the file. If the policy identifies a file with sensitive content, then guests continue to be prohibited from accessing the file.

To mark new files sensitive by default, you will need to change a tenant property using PowerShell and a cmdlet.

Create and manage DLP policies on the Data loss prevention page in the Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance Center.

Find out more:


Multi-window for meeting and calls

Microsoft have announced that the new multi-window meeting and calling experiences has started rolling out. This new experience is the foundation for not only pop-out meetings and calling, but for Together mode and Large gallery views. 

multi-window meeting and calling.png
New multi-window meeting and calling experiences in Teams.

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New Teams Meeting lobby setting “only me”

A new lobby setting has launched for Teams Meetings that gives you greater control over who can enter your meeting. An “only me” option has been added to the “Who can bypass lobby?” setting.

Once enabled, only the organizer will be able to join the meeting directly. Everyone else, including people from within the same organization, will be sent to the lobby.

Student Lobby option - available now.png
New lobby setting in Teams Meeting Options: “only me”.

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Microsoft Teams Rooms, app version now available

The latest Teams Rooms app is out now! Updates include:

  • Support for video gallery-only layouts: For meeting room configurations with a single front of room display, you can now switch between viewing the video gallery or presented content.
  • Raise hand: During a meeting, you can raise a virtual hand from the center of room console to let people know you want to contribute without interrupting the conversation.
  • Default speaker volume settings: From within the Teams Rooms settings, device administrators can now set a default volume level for in-room conferencing and system speakers.
  • Direct guest join for Cisco Webex meetings and devices: Now Teams Rooms and Cisco Webex meeting room devices can connect to each other’s meeting services via embedded web technologies.
  • Auto-enrollment and device management from Teams Admin Center: Microsoft Teams Rooms have been added to the list of devices that can be managed through the Teams Admin Center.
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Microsoft Teams Rooms, app version

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Direct guest join

Microsoft have announced that direct guest join has reached general availability and is available through the latest Microsoft Teams Room app, version

The direct guest join capability enables meeting room devices to connect to meeting services from other vendors via embedded web technologies.

Direct Guest Join with Webex GIF smaller file.gif
Direct guest join is now generally available.

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New options to enable and manage Microsoft Teams Rooms devices

Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard and Teams Rooms Premium are the new tiers to manage Teams Rooms devices:

  • Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard: Formerly known as the Meeting Room SKU, this enables inclusive meeting room experiences across Teams Rooms, collaboration bars and Surface Hub. Standard provides the necessary licenses for Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business Online, and Intune management.
  • Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium: Includes all the licenses that come with Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard while providing additional value through a cloud-based remote management service.

Find out more:

Contextual search

You can now search for content in a specific channel or chat by pressing CTRL + F. Search results will only contain messages and files found in the selected chat or channel.

Contextual Search in Teams.png
Contextual searching in Teams channels and chats.

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Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels in Teams

Sensitivity labels for Teams, SharePoint sites, and Microsoft 365 Groups is now generally available. You can now associate a sensitivity label with policies related to privacy, external user membership, and unmanaged device access. 

LabelsInAction Teams.gif
Sensitivity labels for new Teams.

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Access and manage Visio files in Microsoft Teams with tabs

With the new Visio as a tab feature, you can create a tab from any Visio file (new or existing) in Teams with a single click. Adding a tab in Teams is now available to all Teams users.

NOTE: Editing is only available for those with a Visio Plan 1 or Plan 2 subscription.

Find out more:

Teams (admin)

Enhanced device management capabilities in Teams Admin Center

New device management capabilities in the Teams Admin Center make it easier to deploy and manage a fleet of devices, with improvements across device set-up, bulk management tasks, and health monitoring. And now you can manage your Microsoft Teams Room devices in the same place as your collaboration bars and IP phones.

Teams Admin Center.gif
Manage Microsoft Teams Rooms and other Teams devices using enhanced device management capabilities in Teams Admin Center.

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Configure apps from the Teams admin center

You can now configure your applications from the same Teams Admin Center portal, without the need to jump between portals to the application store to perform the changes.

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Advisor for Teams

Now generally available, Advisor for Teams is a new onboarding tool that offers recommended plans and a collaboration space for the deployment team to streamline the roll out of all the Teams workloads, including messaging, meetings and calling and Skype for business upgrade workloads. 

advisor for Teams.gif
Advisor for Teams.

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App lifecycle announcements

Microsoft have announced the following new capabilities to ensure that users can more easily leverage the key business apps they use every day inside of Microsoft Teams:

  • Custom apps Submission to Approval: You will now be able to submit Teams apps through any of these clients and trusted sources (e.g.: Visual Studio Code, Power Virtual Agents, Power Apps and more) via our App Submission Microsoft Graph API – streamlining the process of submitting apps directly to the Teams Admin Center for IT admins to review and approve.
  • Custom app publishing: You will be able to leverage a streamlined process to manage – review, approve and publish custom apps directly from the Teams Admin Center. An admin can view the custom apps publishing status, manifest details, and update their status from ‘submitting’ to ‘publishing’ so that end users will be able to access those apps.
Custom app publishing in the Teams admin center.
  • Install app to a team from Teams Admin Center: To create a customized, more productive environment for the users, you can now install an app for any team in your organization.
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Add an app to a team from the Teams admin center.
  • Application monetization and bringing the purchase to Team Admin Center: A new third-party subscription purchase experience will enable you to view and purchase subscriptions associated with the 3rd party Teams apps.
application monetization.png
App monetization in the Teams admin center.

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Policy management updates

Several enhancements in this area to help IT admins assign policies to users in Teams, including:

  • Package batch assignments: now generally available, bulk policy assignment in PowerShell now supports:
    • Policy assignment to O365 groups
    • Batch assignment of policies (up to 5K users)
    • Batch assignment of policy packages (up to 5K users)
  • Changes in Incoming IP video policy: Microsoft are updating meeting policies to allow you to prevent both outgoing and incoming video as needed.
meeting policies.jpg
Changes in Incoming IP video policy.

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Teams (Dev)

Create, manage, and deploy Power Platform apps and chatbots

With the advent of Microsoft Dataflex – a built in relational database for Teams – makers can build, deploy, and manage these apps using Power Apps and chatbots using Power Virtual Agents to simplify and digitize their everyday work.

Create, manage & deploy chatbots from within Teams.

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New Power BI app

The new Power BI app for Teams enables you to access reports and dashboards in Teams to easily find insight in context and collaborate.

This app also helps you make data-driven decisions at scale with confidence and provides new ways to connect insight to action through sample reports, automation, and easy sharing functionality.

The new Power BI app for Teams.

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Single-Sign On (SSO) support for Teams tabs with Azure Active Directory

Teams tabs now support single sign-on (SSO) with Azure Active Directory for both desktop and mobile. Developers can now build their apps to sign-in their users using the same account they are using to sign into Microsoft Teams.

SSO support for Teams tabs.png
Single-Sign On (SSO) support for Teams tabs with Azure Active Directory.

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Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code

Microsoft Teams Toolkits for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code provides developers everything they need to jump start their Teams app development journey. From code through publish, these toolkits provide a frictionless and enjoyable experience building Teams apps.

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User attribution for bot messages

In scenarios where a bot sends messages on behalf of a user, attributing the message to that user can help with engagement, showcase a more natural interaction flow and helps condense the card design.

user attribution for bot messages.png
User attribution for bot messages.

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Teams (Firstline Workers)

Time clock now available on Web and Desktop

Time clock provides a hybrid clock in and clock out experience so Firstline Workers can start their shift from wherever their work is, whether remote or at the job location, all with the geo-fencing capabilities.

Now, employees will be able to clock in and out of Shifts directly from web or desktop with Time clock along with the existing mobile experience.

shift time clock.png
Time clock now available on Web and Desktop.

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New policy packages for Firstline Worker and Managers

Firstline Worker and Firstline Manager policy packages for Teams provide IT administrators with pre-defined policies and policy settings tailored for their entire Firstline Workforce. Policy packages simplify, centralize, and help provide consistency when managing policies for Firstline Workers and managers across your organization.

NOTE: These new policy packages will be available by default in the Admin Center and in PowerShell. 

New policy packages for Firstline Worker and Managers.

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Search for Shifts activities in Teams Shifts Audit Logs

Audit logs for Shifts provides IT admins a unified view and search functionality to help monitor and keep track of activities. Staying on top of employees clocking in and out and making edits to shifts is critical to ensuring smooth and compliant operations.

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Teams (Education)

Allow more students to join large lectures

Beginning in July 2020, Teams meetings are now available for up to 300 attendees (up from 250), with support for up to 1,000 students coming by the end of the year.

When you want to bring in more students or faculty to watch a presentation or discussion, Teams will also support a view-only meeting experience for up to 20,000 participants.

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Roadmap ID: 64225

Student Lobby

To prevent uninvited students in class, Student Lobby – which keeps students in a lobby until invited in by the educator, is now available. This tied to the “only me” bypass lobby feature detailed in this post.

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School Data Sync (SDS) team creation again available

Admins can (once again) automatically bulk-create both Microsoft 365 Group and class Teams for their educators. This helps to save educators time and makes a new team “locked” and inaccessible by students until educators unlock the team.

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Teams (GCC)

Microsoft Teams meeting attendee limit increases to 300 participants (GCC, GCC-High, and DoD)

To help customers meet rapidly changing communication and meeting needs, Microsoft have increased the maximum number of participants allowed in a Teams meeting to 300.

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Increase in the number of simultaneous videos in Teams meetings (GCC-High and DoD)

Microsoft have increased the number of participants who can be viewed simultaneously on the Teams meeting stage from 4 to 9. This new experience optimizes for attendees who have enabled video and places the remaining audio-only participants below the meeting stage.

To provide a high audio and video quality experience, the layout logic will consider user bandwidth and alter the number of videos shown to provide the best meeting experience.

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Raise Hands (GCC, GCC-High, and DoD)

The raise hands feature allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak by toggling the hand icon in the meeting control bar, making it easier to actively participate in meetings.

Raise hands is available for both PC, Mac, and web-based clients to start, with mobile applications quickly following.

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PSTN participant phone numbers masked from external users (GCC)

For those with Audio Conferencing enabled for their Teams meetings, Microsoft will mask the PSTN participant’s phone number to users who have joined from outside of your organization.

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Multi-Window Chat (GCC, GCC-High, and DoD)

You can now pop out individual Teams chat conversations into a separate window, to help them streamline their workflow and more easily move between ongoing conversations.

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Priority notifications in Gov Clouds (GCC, GCC-High and DoD)

Priority notifications alert a recipient of an urgent message on their mobile and desktop devices until a response is received, every two minutes for up to 20 minutes. IT Admins can manage this feature as part of messaging policies in Teams.

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Channel info pane (GCC)

Selecting the “Channel info” icon in the channel header will display summary information related to that channel including the description, a list of recent contributors and members, as well as system messages.

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Custom video background policy

IT admins now have the opportunity to create a custom video background policy for Teams meetings. The setting controls whether users can customize their video background in a meeting.

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Team owners can delete a cross-post

If a student gets a little too enthusiastic and posts inappropriate content across multiple channels, a team owner can now delete cross-posts.

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More languages supported in Assignments

Assignments is growing even more globally inclusive with additional languages supported including Croatian, Estonian, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovenian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

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Class Materials now available on Android

With students working from a variety of devices, including many mobile devices, it’s important that they have access to the core curriculum. To make learning more equitable, the Class Materials folder is now available on Android.

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Add to OneDrive

This enables you to add shared folder shortcuts directly to your OneDrive. Shared folders include content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.

Add to OneDrive.

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Update to sharing links that block download

Microsoft have expanded the list of supported file types that users can create block download links for. This update includes support for PDF files, Images, Audio, and other non-text and non-video file types.

Update to sharing links that block download.

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Power Automate

Variable support in UI flows

Microsoft have announced the availability of variables inside UI flows. With this feature, users can add variables to perform multiple actions within your UI automation. You can use variables for data types such as integer, float, array or string.

For example, you can use a variable to count how many times an operation was performed in a loop. Or you can use variables to create a string array with screen recordings done in a UI flow loop.

The append to array variable action inside UI flows.

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Process receipts and translate text with AI Builder

Two new prebuilt models for AI Builder have been released in preview by Microsoft – receipt processing and text translation.

Receipt processing lets you read and save key information from common sales receipts to automatically pre-populate expense reports simply by scanning photos of your receipts. The prebuilt model uses optical character recognition (OCR) to extract both printed and handwritten text from receipts. You can retrieve valuable information such as the merchant details, transaction date and time, list of purchased items, tax, and totals.

Receipt processing in AI Builder.

Text translation can be used to process text in real-time from different languages from your customers worldwide, for internal and external communications and to keep language consistency in the text data that you store. Now available in preview, no trial or subscription required to try this feature.

Text translation in AI Builder

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Support for loop & array inputs in UI flows

Loop and array inputs are now available inside UI flows. With this feature, you are able to add a loop to your UI automation as a post-recording activity.

You will be able to pass an array object as input variable from an API flow to a UI flow, and then create a loop within UI flow script to perform repetitive action within your UI automation.

Set up array inputs in UI flows.

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Support for Office Scripts in the Excel Online (Business) connector

Now in public preview, Office Scripts are now supported within the Excel Online (Business) Connector. Office Scripts allow you to accomplish a vast array of tasks and complex sequences of actions. Effectively any operation possible in Excel for the Web is now achievable programmatically. 

Run script action (preview) within the Excel Online (Business) Connector.

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Power Apps

Microsoft Dataflex

Microsoft Dataflex, the new name for the Common Data Service is a “low-code data platform for Teams, and provides relational data storage, rich data types, enterprise grade governance, and one-click solution deployment”.

Microsoft Dataflex for Teams is being rolled out as part of existing Microsoft 365 subscriptions, but there is also Dataflex Pro, which offers wider integrations to Microsoft and other non-Microsoft products.

Microsoft Dataflex for Teams.

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Caching changes for Power Apps portals version 9.2.6.x or later

As a part of July release (version 9.2.6.x), the Power Apps team are unifying caching approach for capacity-based portals and add-on portals.

After changes in this release, you won’t have to manually clear configuration entity cache for capacity-based portals. Additionally, high load portals should see improved performance and a reliable data cache refresh.

Caching changes for Power Apps portals version 9.2.6.x or later.

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ThisRecord, As, and Sequence formulas

You can now refer to the whole record in ForAll and other record scope functions with ThisRecord. With this change you can name records with the As operator, allowing you to clarify formulas and work with all the records in nested ForAll and Gallery controls.

The Power Apps teams have also added Excel’s Sequence function to generate a table containing a sequence of numbers, perfect for iterating a specific number of times with ForAll.

ThisRecord in action within a collection in Power Apps.

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Monitor tool now supports model-driven apps

The monitor tool is now available to support model-driven apps. Monitor tool provides a way to view a stream of events from a user’s session in order to diagnose an issue.

The latest build currently supports:

  • KPI for page loads, command executions, and other major events
  • Network request details
  • Warnings for synchronous XHR’s
  • Custom script errors (e.g. onload, ribbon rule evaluation)
  • Form execution event details (e.g. onload, onchange)
  • Form visibility reasons for controls and related menu items
  • Power BI control failure and performance events
Monitor mode for model-driven apps.

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Column Comparison through FetchXML, SDK, and OData

The Power Apps team have announced the availability of column comparison in CDS-based queries. Column comparisons will allow you to use FetchXML, SDK or OData to perform column comparisons for the Common Data Service.  Column comparisons will also work in the Power Apps expression language with CDS version 9.1.0000.19562 or later.

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Power BI

On-premises data gateway July 2020 update

The July update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.51.7) is out now. The latest update includes:

  • OAuth support via the gateway
  • Set your own Azure Relay for the data gateway
  • July  Version of the mashup engine
OAuth support as part of the July 2020 on-premises data gateway.

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React Power BI component

The new React Power BI component supports both JavaScript and TypeScript and will help you embed your analytics in a React web application. Using the React component you can now get up and running quickly with embedded analytics in your application.

React demo application
The new React Power BI component.

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External tool support in Power BI Desktop (public preview)

The Power BI team have announced the public preview of external tool support in Power BI Desktop providing:

  • BI professionals a range of additional semantic modeling features, DAX query/expression optimization and authoring, and application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities.
  • An extensibility model empowering customers to build their own tools to extend the core functionality of Power BI Desktop for their own needs.
External tools ribbon
The External Tools ribbon contains buttons for external tools installed on the machine and registered with Power BI Desktop.

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Power BI Desktop July 2020 Feature Summary

July’s desktop feature summary includes several enhancements to Q&A, gradient legend support, ability to further customize slicer header text and the general availability release for both relative time filter and model view enabled for live connect, plus lot’s more!

Power BI July 2020 desktop feature summary.

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Contact list for Power BI apps & allow contributors to update

Two new enhancements in Power BI that are available now. First, the new contact list for apps makes it easier for app users to get help when they need it and for app owners to receive notifications about the app. 

Also, a new option to allow contributors to update app content helps workspace admins manage access more effectively. A workspace Admin will find the Allow contributors to update the app for this workspace option in the settings pane for a new workspace experience workspace.

Screenshot of the Allow contributors to update the app for this workspace setting
New option to allow contributors to update app content in Power BI apps.

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Power Virtual Agents

Create & manage chatbots from Power Apps

Power Apps users can now access a Chatbots component in the Power Apps maker portal in order to create and manage their Power Virtual Agents bots.

Once you create the bots in your environment, you can easily manage them from the Chatbots > List view.

You can now create and manage chatbots within the Power Apps maker portal.

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Power Virtual Agents 2020 release wave 2 notes available

Information around the features planned to be released as part of the 2020 release wave 2 are out now. Some planned features include expanding capabilities in the authoring experience from deeper Microsoft Teams integration, tools to create richer content, Adaptive Cards capabilities, authentication improvements, improved Power Automate integration, plus more.

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Remove unwanted background noise from videos in Stream

Noise suppression in Stream can be turned on by video owners to allow viewers to isolate speech from other sounds and music during playback.

Noise suppression can be switched on or off for each newly uploaded video.

Noise suppression in Stream.

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On-demand training sessions for SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Yammer, and Stream

A series of training videos covering the recent updates across SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Lists, Microsoft Teams, Project Cortex, Yammer, and Stream  – including information for employees, admins, and developers can be found below:

Microsoft 365 Collaboration [keynote]OneDrive powers intelligent file experiences across Microsoft 365Collaboration & external file sharing across Microsoft 365
Microsoft Lists – Share and track information across Microsoft 365Design productivity apps with SharePoint lists and libraries, Power Apps, and Power AutomateKnowledge and Project Cortex – the Microsoft 365 Vision
Connect the workplace with engaging, dynamic experiences across your intranetThe New YammerMicrosoft 365 Live Events and remote work
Architecting Your IntranetMigration to SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams in Microsoft 365, free and easySharePoint developer overview
Jumpstart your projects with community projects from Patterns and Practices (PnP)Security and compliance in SharePoint and OneDriveView and share all via the “SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Yammer training – 2020-H2” YouTube playlist

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Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Now in public preview, Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP) extends data loss prevention to devices. Building on Microsoft Information Protection, Endpoint DLP extends the existing DLP capabilities in Microsoft 365 to your devices, helping you to meet compliance requirements and protect sensitive information.

An image show how quickly you can ID and detect insider threats.
Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP).

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Azure Sentinal

Several new third-party connectors have been introduced across Microsoft Azure Sentinel to simplify gaining security insights across many leading solutions and partners, including networks, firewalls, endpoint protection and vulnerability management.

Azure Sentinel lets you build a more complete picture of the threats that your organization faces, conduct deep threat hunts across your environment, and use the power of automation and orchestration in the cloud to help free up your security analysts to focus on their highest-value tasks.

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Universal print

Universal Print, a cloud-based print infrastructure that creates a simple, secure print experience for Microsoft 365 customers, is now in public preview.

With Universal Print, organizations no longer need to maintain on-premises print servers or install printer drivers, reducing the time and effort needed by IT to maintain the print environment.

An animated image showing how you can simplify your print infrastructure with a cloud-based print solutio
Universal print in Microsoft 365.

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