Microsoft

Mark’s Microsoft Monthly: what did we learn in December?

By 31st December 2019January 8th, 2020No Comments
Graphic to show Mark's Microsoft Monthly December updates

After a flurry of new features following the Microsoft Ignite conference last month, December has been somewhat quieter – though still with some great updates of course. Let’s start with Teams.

Microsoft Teams on Linux

Microsoft Teams is now available for Linux users in public preview. This enables high-quality collaboration experiences for the open source community at work and in educational. The Microsoft Teams client is the first Microsoft 365 app coming to Linux desktops, and will support all of Teams’ core capabilities.

2019 has been another incredible year in open source, and Linux continues to be at the heart of all the growth and innovation. I’m really excited about the availability of Microsoft Teams for Linux. With this announcement, Microsoft is bringing its hub for teamwork to Linux. I’m thrilled to see Microsoft’s recognition of how companies and educational institutions alike are using Linux to transform their work culture.

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at The Linux Foundation

Captions helps include more people in meetings

Live captions in Teams meetings has arrived. This was keenly anticipated and a valuable accessibility feature. We have already been using live captioning to make an impact during PowerPoint presentations and now it’s extended to Teams, meetings can be more inclusive and engaging. Live captions are really easy to use:

  1. Join a meeting
  2. Click More actions
  3. Click Turn on live captions

All audio is almost instantly captioned in the bottom left hand corner:

Screenshot to show captions in Microsoft Teams meetings

Learn more in this Microsoft post including four great tips to get the most out of this feature.

Adding others to private meeting chats

For chats created in association with a meeting, this new feature will let you “Add participants” in the meeting chat header. And users who are already part of the chat thread will be able to add more users to the meeting chat. This functionality already exists in group chat and it will work in the same way.

Another small, but welcome chat update is that meeting chats will now be muted by default until you either send a message in the chat or join the online meeting. This means you can reduce notifications and still keep track of the conversation.

Want to introduce Teams to your organisation?

Microsoft offers a free crash course in their Microsoft Teams eBook that will give you some high-level topics to get you started. IF you would like our support to make your Teams launch a success please get in touch.

Improvement to Microsoft meeting rooms

The Microsoft Teams Rooms December update includes best practice, a Microsoft Teams Rooms app update and introduces five beautiful new pieces of kit to improve the audio and visual.

There have been a few minor Teams user interface tweaks this month. Let us know if we’ve missed any:

In Teams channels the ‘Conversations’ tab is now ‘Posts’.

Screenshot to show tab in Channels for conversations is now called Posts

You can hover over the Team Icon/Avatar and see the total number of members in the description of the Team. You will also note the two/three (members/owners views differ) icons at the bottom:

Screenshot to show hover over for Teams channels information

To the right of the main workspace, the ellipsis in the top right shows more options relating to the Team:

Screenshot to show icons list for Microsoft Teams channel

Chat tabs are now in a list (and you can use the Teams icon to view, add and remove participants):

Screenshot to show the chat tabs in the list

The icon bar below a new conversation has new message extensions: you have the option to add Stream and Praise. The ellipsis reveals more options including Forms:

Screenshot to show icons in a bar below Microsoft Teams conversation

The icon bar below a new conversation has new message extensions: you have the option to add Stream and Praise. The ellipsis reveals more options including Forms:

Screenshot to show icons in a bar below Microsoft Teams conversation

In Teams for Education switching from list to grid view just got easier – select the cog icon bottom left of the list view. You can also access this via the Settings option under your profile picture and then select Grid or List from Layout.

There is also New file viewer that gives you more space to view and edit content within Teams. With simplified headers in the file content viewing experience for Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents, there’s simply more space on your desktop.

Updated guidance from Microsoft

With the release of private channels, Microsoft has updated their guidance for organizing Teams, channels and private channels. Their Coffee in the Cloud series (where they share useful content on topics from the modern workplace) has a new video with “…guidance on how to structure your teams and channels in Microsoft Teams. Learn about how to leverage private channels to streamline your team creation.”

Where does all that ‘stuff’ go?

If you’ve ever wondered where the ‘stuff’ you have or see in Microsoft Teams goes, wonder no more. The savvy Tom Morgan has produced a great blog post on ‘Where is everything in Microsoft Teams stored at rest?’ Learn where your messages, images, files, meetings, contacts and more really live.

Chromium Edge

Have you been testing the new chromium-based Edge browser? It’s almost ready for release so catch up on ZDNet’s article or read Microsoft’s update information for the roll out.

A welcome update for Microsoft Forms

Now you can use a ‘File Upload’ feature in Microsoft Forms, that’s just arrived. The files can be up to 1GB and could be useful to get around issues like forms that are sent to shared inboxes. You can also use the file to connect to a workflow backend giving you a smoother, sharper way to aggregate, monitor and manage your responses.

Screenshot to show file upload in Microsoft Forms

Because our learning never ends

Did you know that Microsoft is moving more and more content onto their Microsoft Learn website? “Whether you’re just starting or an experienced professional, our hands-on approach helps you arrive at your goals faster, with more confidence and at your own pace.” That’s enough to get us interested in finding more. And if you fancy dipping your toe in the water, we recommend the Microsoft 365 Fundamentals – around four hours of quality content spread over a very manageable nine modules.

What to watch out for next

Starting January 14, the Teams desktop client will be added to existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus on the Semi-Annual Channel. And look out for updates on these too:
1. Teams meeting co-opetition with Cisco and Zoom
2. Improved Teams calling and meetings for Citrix virtual environments
3. Welcome a new colleague into Teams options
4. @Tags in Teams.

Want to keep learning about Microsoft Office 365? Watch what’s new every month in the Microsoft’s regular YouTube update.

Follow Mark Thompson on Twitter.