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

By 31st July 2019November 9th, 2020No Comments
Image for Microsoft updates each month

Microsoft Teams has reached 13 million daily active users – an amazing achievement in just over two years! And there’s plenty on offer with their updates to Teams and others in the Office 365 suite.

First, to mark 50 years since the Moon landings, our quote to inspire comes from pioneering programmer Margaret Hamilton:

“Computer science and software engineering were not yet courses to be taught … These were pioneering times. Learning was by “being” and “doing” on the job – as more people came on board, the more I became an “expert” and rose up through the ranks.”


Changes to Teams

The end of June saw a useful update to channel notifications allowing users to fine-tune their updates.

Screenshot of Teams action box to select notification options

Microsoft Teams Room app update is now rolled out via the Windows store cementing its rebrand from a Skype product. This app update includes various client and service features for Microsoft Teams Room devices including theme updates, in-meeting call controls, rate my call and Microsoft Whiteboard.

@-less mentions

Get someone’s attention in a channel conversation or a group chat when you mention them – now with less @. Simply start typing their name with a capital letter to bring up a list of suggestions you can select from. They’ll receive a notification, which they can click to go directly to the point in the conversation where they were mentioned.

Saving bandwidth

Teams desktop app auto-updates will now use lower network bandwidth while still providing the latest capabilities. Great news for busy networks that are often stretched – grabbing back some bandwidth from routine processes like this is a welcome update.

Urgent messages in Teams

Now you can use priority notifications to share urgent messages and time-sensitive information more effectively with Teams. Priority notifications alert someone to an urgent message on their mobile and desktop devices. The alert continues every two minutes for up to 20 minutes until they give
a response. The wording is interesting on Microsoft’s update – maybe they’re thinking of charging for this feature eventually?

Screenshot of instruction box to set a priority notification in Microsoft Teams

Channel cross posting

Microsoft will soon update Teams to give you the option to post the same message across multiple channels at once. It will be a great time saver. You can see the preview and some other updates – live and previewed – in a recent Microsoft blog.

Microsoft Teams for Education

You’ll be seeing your Teams for Education new layout any day now. Will you keep the new view or switch back?

Microsoft brings Kaizala and Teams closer

Microsoft recently rolled Kaizala out across Office 365. Some people have been wondering how it will fit along Teams and this Microsoft blog gives some useful pointers. Certainly updates should help bring similar UX to Kaizala and Teams. And Kaizala seems to extend Microsoft’s ability to connect people within and without your organisation.

Emoticons in Teams and Outlook

Want to bring your Teams channel names to life with emoticons? When you choose <Edit this channel> go to the name, click your cursor where you want the emoji and click the Windows + ; (semi-colon) keys. You can choose an image – or images – to help your colleagues identify that channel. You can use the same process in Outlook categories

Other Microsoft updates

  • Missing shared mailboxes in the Outlook Mobile App? Keep checking, this is rolling out now for mailboxes on Office 365.
  • Has Microsoft given notice on passwords? The latest Windows 10 test build includes a “Make your device passwordless” option. You can read more about going passwordless in ZDNet’s blog.
  • Are you a PowerPoint presenter using a Surface device with a pen? Remember your clicker can be used to progress your slides.
  • Online Pictures in Office has had a make-over and now has a great starting page
  • OneDrive sharing will soon add password protection bringing an extra layer of security to files you have shared.
  • Yammer now allows a ‘question’ type post and the original poster can select a ‘best answer’, helping colleagues learn from that post.

Away from Office 365, Microsoft has opened its first bricks and mortar retail store in the UK on Oxford Circus, London. They certainly haven’t held back and if you’re in the area, you should visit and see how they develop and manage their product info and in-store experiences. After all, it has an enterprise area that’s supposedly dedicated to support, train and grow businesses.

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

That’s a wrap for July. Tweet us if there’s another update you think has been key this month.

Follow Mark Thompson on Twitter