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New Office training courses from LinkedIn Learning

Thu, 09/22/2016 - 13:00

Today’s post was written by Peter Loforte, general manager for the Office Modern User Assistance and Localization team.

In our continuing effort to provide better help to our customers, we’ve partnered with LinkedIn to provide an array of new LinkedIn Learning training courses to help you get more out of Office.

The new courses are available today and focus on helping you get the most out of Outlook 2016 and Excel 2016. Learn how to use Outlook 2016 to set up an email account; send, receive and organize messages; add a signature; manage contacts and calendars; manage meetings; and collaborate and share with others. Get started with Excel 2016 by learning how to enter and organize data, create formulas and functions, build charts and PivotTables, and use other time-saving features.

These courses are freely available and can be found alongside the hundreds of courses and videos in the Office Training Center.

If you’re interested in exploring the breadth of content from LinkedIn Learning (formally, you can get one month of free, special access to LinkedIn Learning, which includes thousands of courses and videos.

Here’s a peek at some of the new Outlook courses in the Office Training Center:

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.

—Peter Loforte

The post New Office training courses from LinkedIn Learning appeared first on Office Blogs.

Exelon selects Customer Lockbox for Office 365 to power up data security and privacy

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:00

Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

Utilities operate in highly regulated environments, so it’s not surprising that these organizations have data security and privacy top of mind as they plan their move to the cloud. That’s why I’m thrilled to see Exelon—a Fortune 100 company and leading United States competitive energy provider, with one of the cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets—taking a leadership stance with its journey to the cloud.

The company will be using Microsoft Office 365 to drive their digital workplace transformation to enhance productivity and collaboration, while saving time, resources and infrastructure costs.

Jay Cavalcanto, vice president of cloud and infrastructure engineering at Exelon Corporation, credits Customer Lockbox for Office 365 as the primary driver that gave the company the confidence to adopt the cloud productivity services it has wanted for some time. Adding Customer Lockbox for the entire workforce of 45,000 gives Exelon unprecedented control over their data in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. And, should a Microsoft engineer need access to data to resolve an issue, Exelon has the final say over the approval process.

Exelon employees will use Office 365 to collaborate and work productively anywhere on any device throughout their locations across the Unites States. Jay’s comment represents what many companies in regulated industries are thinking about as they embark on their own transition to the cloud-first world:

“We wanted to avoid expensive and time-consuming upgrades, but cloud computing remained out of reach until we could demonstrate control over who accesses our data. We were reassured by the level of transparency we get with Microsoft cloud services, exemplified by Customer Lockbox, which gives us explicit authorization into who accesses our content during service operations.”

Exelon anticipates great benefits from its transition to the Microsoft cloud platform, and I look forward to watching them transform their business.

—Ron Markezich

The post Exelon selects Customer Lockbox for
Office 365 to power up data security and privacy
appeared first on Office Blogs.

What is the weakest link in your security?

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:00

Here’s a sobering realization: You can have the most sophisticated computer security in the world and it won’t always protect you. Everything you rely on to keep your confidential data secure can be accidentally undone by one employee—in a matter of seconds. That’s because hackers, more and more, are attacking the weakest link in your cybersecurity—your end users. It’s called social engineering. And it’s a serious problem.

It’s not new. This form of attack has been around longer than computers themselves, but as networks have become harder to break into manually, it’s seen a huge resurgence.

What does social engineering look like?

It can take many forms. It relies on your end users’ carelessness, lack of awareness and sometimes their human kindness to get information that helps hackers sneak into your networks or even your physical location.

Here’s one common tactic: An everyday user is home on a well-deserved day off. They get a call from the office. The caller ID says it’s John from IT. He tells the employee that he needs to update the security features on their computer. It takes all day to install, so it’s best to do it when they are out. Only, he needs their credentials to sign in to the machine and start the updates. Sounds innocent enough, only that wasn’t John, and now a hacker has credentials and an access point into your network. And that’s just the start.

How do you protect your organization?

The largest hurdle to overcome is general lack of awareness. Most employees just don’t have a good understanding of how and why they might be targeted. For example, more than two billion mobile apps designed to steal personal data have been willingly downloaded.

So, in addition to hard security measures, education and ongoing reminders are paramount to limiting the effectiveness of a social engineering attempt. How can you implement this training? And what else should you be doing?

Download the new e-book, “Insider’s Guide to Social Engineering,” and find out how to protect your weakest security links. Also, watch the latest episode of Modern Workplace, “Data Defense: An inside look at your secure cloud,” where you’ll see firsthand how the latest Microsoft datacenters seamlessly make trillions of transactions every day to help make your organization safer and more efficient by leveraging the power of cloud computing.

The post What is the weakest link in your security? appeared first on Office Blogs.

Announcing the availability of Office 365 Project Time Reporter

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:00

The Office 365 Project Time Reporter iOS app announced last fall is now available in the Apple Store. This app enables team members to submit timesheets and report progress on tasks tracked in Project Online.

With the Office 365 Project Time Reporter on your iPhone, you can add new assignments or non-project work to your timesheet or create new personal tasks in the Timesheet view. Timesheets can be saved, allowing you to return later and send in for approval. You can also keep track of your current or overdue tasks in the Tasks view, filter and sort tasks to find the right ones, and submit status updates.

Want to learn more? Read “Getting started with Office 365 Project Time Reporter” for more information.

Android and Windows Phone versions of the app will also be coming to the Google Play Store and Windows Store soon.

Ready to install the Office 365 Project Time Reporter iOS app? Download it from the Apple Store to get started!

The post Announcing the availability of Office 365 Project Time Reporter appeared first on Office Blogs.

GigJam expands support for interaction styles and content types

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 09:00

Today’s post was written by Vijay Mital, corporate vice president, Ambient Computing and Robotics.

GigJam helps you get work done across your network by sharing just the slice of information you want, with who you need—both inside and outside your company. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added two major capabilities to the GigJam Preview.

GigJam expands support for interaction styles and content types

First, we added the ability to share slices of images, documents and live line-of-business information with people who aren’t online at the time of sending and expire that information in 24 hours. Second, we added the ability to redact arbitrary content from images, PDFs or slides, ensuring that an object in a picture, a text block or a particular bullet doesn’t even go over to the recipient.

Imagine you need to get input from a new supplier on part of a proposal, but they are in an all-day meeting. With GigJam, just summon the proposal and the opportunity information from your CRM system, redact the budget details they don’t need to see, and send it over to “view for 24 hours.” The recipient can come back later to review and annotate the information. Of course, if you both happen to be online together, you can let them edit the record directly on your behalf.

What if you want to get an opinion on an architectural drawing from a peer at another firm but don’t want to disclose client information? With GigJam, simply cross out the client details on the image and beam it over. Similarly, what if you want to share a past creative concept with a new client, but don’t want to reveal the prior product information shown in the image? Just pull the image into GigJam, cross out the part you don’t want shared and then have a focused discussion without showing sensitive or irrelevant information.

With these new capabilities, GigJam—a product coming to Office 365—helps you work across your full spectrum of network relationships, information types and working styles. Whether it’s a close colleague, an occasional partner or even a gig economy resource, now you can spontaneously and safely give them precisely the information they need to work with you.

You can get the preview at the GigJam website or from the iOS App Store. Visit the GigJam UserVoice community to tell us about your experiences or suggest new capabilities.

—Vijay Mital

The post GigJam expands support for interaction styles and content types appeared first on Office Blogs.

Office 365 news roundup

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 09:00

Integration and interoperability are two ideas we spend a lot of time thinking about and working on at Microsoft. Together, they add up to one essential outcome: providing a seamless, unified user experience across multiple applications, platforms and devices. That’s something we are committed to offering you and our other customers with every new Office 365 feature, update and improvement.

We recently announced the pre-release of Visio Online and Visio on iPad, which will enable cross-platform consumption of Visio diagrams and empower more people to create, collaborate and communicate visually. We also introduced a number of key updates to Visio Pro for Office 365, such as one-step data linking for diagrams and advanced design and collaboration with the enhanced AutoCAD support.

In addition, we recently announced a new guest access feature for Office 365 Groups, making it easy for you to collaborate with customers, partners, suppliers or consultants outside your organization by including them as members in an Office 365 group. We also announced three new usage reports—for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online—to provide you with additional insights about how end users in your organization are using and adopting Office 365, and where additional training or support may be needed.

As another part of our cross-platform work, we introduced a host of Outlook calendar improvements for iOS and Android. The Interesting Calendars feature will allow you to subscribe to external schedules, such as those for your hometown sports teams or favorite TV shows, and add those events to your calendar automatically. Other new Outlook calendar features for iOS and Android let you arrange and update meetings on the go, include maps and directions with your event details, and use icons to make it easier to see at a glance what you have scheduled.

Finally, we continued to expand our deep commitment to make Office 365 the world’s most trusted cloud service for productivity by announcing the general availability of Office 365 from multiple local datacenters in the United Kingdom. The new U.K. facilities join our other regional datacenters in Japan, Australia, India and Canada. Local datacenters add in-region data residency, failover and disaster recovery to help address the legal, regulatory and compliance needs of customers in government and highly regulated industries, such as banking and healthcare.

Learn more about Office 365 and how it can help you improve productivity and collaboration in your business.

Below is a roundup of some key news items from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Ministry of Defence switches to the cloud as Microsoft opens first U.K. datacenters—Find out why the Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom decided to trust the security of its sensitive data to Office 365 and Azure, and the new U.K.-based Microsoft datacenters.

HP to deploy and use Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM in six-year agreement—Discover why HP chose to go with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in part because of the close integration with Office 365.

Going beyond the ordinary—using Office 365 to thrive in a global market—Learn how using Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud technologies adds up to enhanced collaboration and global growth for one accounting firm.

Carhartt—building a durable, agile workplace with Office 365—Find out how Office 365 is helping this leading clothing manufacturer dress for success on a global scale.

Can Skype and Office 365 Replace Traditional Enterprise Phone Systems?—Discover why a growing number of enterprise organizations are choosing Skype and Office 365 for telephony.

10 ways Office 365 can streamline your CPA firm—Learn how Office 365 can help CPA firms and other small and medium-sized businesses increase productivity at a flexible cost.

Qantas embarks on digital transformation journey with Office 365—Find out how Qantas Airways of Australia is using Office 365 to connect its global workforce and provide better customer service.

The post Office 365 news roundup appeared first on Office Blogs.

The art of words—what JFK can teach us about speech writing

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 09:00

Today’s post was written by John Evans, lecturer at Stanford University.

As a congressman and senator, and later as the president of the United States, John F. Kennedy kept a coconut on his desk. The coconut was old and dried. Etched across its husk was a simple message: “11 Alive. Need Small Boat.” “11” was a designation for Kennedy’s patrol boat, which he commanded in the Pacific during World War II. One night, after the patrol boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, killing two of his crewmembers, Kennedy had risked life and limb to take his crew to safety on a nearby island, where, lacking pen and paper, Kennedy had improvised a distress signal, the coconut. Kennedy eventually flagged down a local fishing boat and gave them a coconut, which they took to a nearby Allied naval base. For his cunning and valor, Kennedy received the Navy Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart, two distinguished war decorations. But what Kennedy displayed for the rest of his life was the coconut.

I offer this brief and popular anecdote as a way to begin thinking about what JFK can teach us about writing, and how we can learn to communicate effectively by his example. During his life, Kennedy was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and an articulate conversationalist. But where his gift for communication really stood out was in his speech writing. Working alone and in collaboration, on deadline and off the cuff, often even dictating his speeches while doing other things, Kennedy was a masterful communicator.

In a chaotic and information-saturated age, Kennedy’s most famous speeches offer a model for how to make one’s thoughts heard and understood. Kennedy communicated clearly and with power. Whether addressing the nation at his inauguration or offering his view of world peace at a university, in testimony to a beloved colleague or challenging the nation to send a person to the moon, Kennedy wrote speeches that captivated the national imagination: to serve, to spread freedom throughout the world, to embrace a destiny, to seek peace.

How did he do this? No doubt, there was some magic in his method. But much of Kennedy’s method can be understood. As a writing teacher, I look to Kennedy’s method with fascination. As in much of literature, I see a mix of the wonderful and the practical, and in the practical I see a path forward to following his example. As the poet T.S. Eliot once quipped, “Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.” There is greatness to steal in Kennedy, and it begins with a few simple tricks common to all effective writing.

Cultivate your voice

It is surprising to think now but writing didn’t come naturally to Kennedy, especially in his speeches. Throughout his early public life, Kennedy was criticized for sounding “young,” “cold” and “impatient.” In reality, those adjectives described him very well. Because he sounded “like himself,” he drew criticism. But Kennedy did not let these early struggles define him. He learned to cultivate a voice that projected an image at least slightly different from the “real” Kennedy: an erudite man of letters, rather than the C student whose teachers had often noted his reluctance to work hard at the things that did not inspire him.

Kennedy was a passionate student of politics. He studied the great presidential speeches of the past. He consulted an old notebook from his student days filled with quotations from famous speeches, plays and works of literature. Kennedy rode on the shoulders of these great writers by quoting them liberally in his speeches, and even sometimes asking them to write for him. Kennedy hired a speech coach. As Election Day approached, Kennedy’s speaking voice became deeper and more sonorous, nearly a full register lower. He spoke slowly and confidently, and often poetically, making a beautiful tempo while using many poetic devices. As his writing became more literary, Kennedy’s style became positively “presidential.” In what is one of the great historical examples of the chicken-and-egg conundrum, Kennedy’s speeches became exactly what he had always envisioned: great pieces of rhetoric that moved audiences and the nation.

Write with meaning

Kennedy wrote hundreds of speeches during his presidency, but regardless of the topic, all of Kennedy’s speeches meant something.

The historian Thurston Clarke calls this meaning the “hidden heartbeat of Kennedy’s speech.” Through the choice words he used to talk about the nation, Kennedy gave the nation a youthful and positive idea of itself at home and in the world. He inspired an ideal of service to others. He invoked a deep religious strain of the American character that believes in a higher purpose. He affirmed the worth of every life. He strove for peace. He summoned the wisdom of the founding fathers and the ideals on which the nation was (more or less) founded.

Is it any wonder that, as Clarke notes, “Ask not what your country can do for you…” moves so many listeners, then as now? That it has become the message of the Kennedy presidency itself: to serve, to spread freedom throughout the world, to embrace a destiny, to seek peace?

Unlike other, less memorable inaugural addresses, Kennedy steps to the podium knowing what he wants to talk about. He knows what it means. And, at the end of the speech, he finds a memorable line to bring the two together.

Be poetic

Kennedy is remembered as an accomplished wordsmith, whose beautiful speeches often sounded like great poetry. His speeches sounded like poetry because they used poetic devices that made his writing musical, surprising, energetic, vivid to imagine and easy to remember. These devices also made the speeches beautiful to hear, read and re-read—so much so that high school students from across the country regularly translated his speeches into Latin and Greek, and then mailed them to the White House.

Some of his most frequently used—and easily imitated—poetic devices are:

Blank verse—Like the soliloquies of Hamlet or Milton’s descriptions of Eden, Kennedy speaks in a loose, unrhyming iambic pentameter called “blank verse.” “Blank verse” is a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poetic line. It lasts about as long as the average breath can sing or say a line, and so, it sounds musical and formal to the listener. Blank verse is especially poetic because it supports complicated sentences, words and ideas. Blank verse is also the format in which three-fourths of poetry in the English language has ever written. So, to hear it, is to unconsciously hear so many beautiful and famous poems before it.

Metaphor/image—Kennedy’s images are often arresting and memorable. This is because he uses images that connect to each other in a speech—images that stick in the minds of his listeners long after the speech has ended. Consider this lovely comparison of the waxing and waning of the tide with the inevitability of high and low points in international relations, from later in the “moon speech”:

“However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.

Or, from the inaugural address, his lovely figure of exploration as fellowship, to explain the possibilities of what the United States and Soviet Union might do together as allies, rather than as enemies:

“Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.

Lists—As his speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, noted in his memoirs, time and again Kennedy preferred to work in lists. Kennedy believed that using simple lists made points memorable, because they were easily repeated. Sometimes, those lists followed the “rule of three,” or “tricolon,” making sure to use three images, arguments or examples.

Other times, Kennedy made longer lists by using “anaphora”: repeating one word several times to expand a list and continue an over-long sentence well past the rules of grammar.

Kennedy often used the classical literary device, “chiasmus,” to invert the word order in a sentence and make a new meaning.

Consider how Kennedy uses the rule of three and chiasmus to begin his inaugural address:

“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom, symbolizing an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change.”

Interestingly, Kennedy rarely used poetic devices during important national addresses, when he needed to share information directly and efficiently. The most famous example of this absence of poetic devices is his announcement of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That speech uses only one metaphor, though it is quite memorable:

“We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth.”

—John Evans

The post The art of words—what JFK can teach us about speech writing appeared first on Office Blogs.

Episode 108 with Chakkaradeep Chinnakonda Chandran on the SharePoint Framework and SharePoint WebHooks—Office 365 Developer Podcast

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 08:29

In episode 108 of the Office 365 Developer Podcast, Andrew Coates talks with Microsoft Program Manager Chakkaradeep Chinnakonda Chandran about the SharePoint Framework and SharePoint WebHooks.
Download the podcast.

Weekly update

 Azure AD

 Office 365 Dev


Show notes

SharePoint WebHooks

SharePoint Framework

SharePoint Developer Contributions

MS One API Guidelines

Got questions or comments about the show? Join the O365 Dev Podcast on the Office 365 Technical Network. The podcast RSS is available on iTunes or search for it at “Office 365 Developer Podcast” or add directly with the RSS

About Chaks

Chakkaradeep, known as Chaks to his friends and colleagues, works as a program manager for the SharePoint Developer Platform. His team, SharePoint Portals, Publishing and Platform (SPPPLAT) is focused on delivering the robust SharePoint development framework for both Microsoft and customers to build modern experiences in SharePoint. Chaks works with his team to design, build and deliver an extensible developer platform that will let both first- and third-parties configure, extend and customize the portal experiences in SharePoint. Chaks is very passionate about SharePoint and has been since 2007. He has pursued his career as a developer, consultant and now a PM working extensively in SharePoint. He is a gadget freak and stays abreast of the latest technology trends (products and services) and evaluates them as much as possible. Outside of work, you can find Chaks exploring the Pacific North West taking beautiful photos.


About the hosts

Richard is a software engineer in Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) group, where he helps developers and software vendors maximize their use of Microsoft cloud services in Office 365 and Azure. Richard has spent a good portion of the last decade architecting Office-centric solutions, many that span Microsoft’s diverse technology portfolio. He is a passionate technology evangelist and a frequent speaker at worldwide conferences, trainings and events. Richard is highly active in the Office 365 community, popular blogger at and can be found on Twitter at @richdizz. Richard is born, raised and based in Dallas, TX, but works on a worldwide team based in Redmond. Richard is an avid builder of things (BoT), musician and lightning-fast runner.


A Civil Engineer by training and a software developer by profession, Andrew Coates has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft since early 2004, teaching, learning and sharing coding techniques. During that time, he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web, on mobile devices and most recently for Office. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two almost-grown-up children and is a cricket umpire in his spare time. Andrew sometimes blogs at and you can find him on Twitter at @coatsy

Useful links


Yammer Office 365 Technical Network

The post Episode 108 with Chakkaradeep Chinnakonda Chandran on the SharePoint Framework and SharePoint WebHooks—Office 365 Developer Podcast appeared first on Office Blogs.

Office Lens comes to Windows 10 and adds Office 365 support

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 09:00

The new Universal Windows Office Lens app gives your Windows 10 PC, tablet, phone or even HoloLens scanning superpowers. Whether you need to share your latest ingenious napkin sketch or grab the text from a photo or screenshot in your pictures folder, Office Lens makes it simple to automatically crop and re-use your content in OneNote, Word or PowerPoint.

Once your content is captured and saved to OneDrive, it becomes searchable from your Windows PC through the power of Optical Character Recognition, so you’ll never misplace a key idea again.

Office 365 and OneDrive for Business support for Windows, Android and iOS

With the latest updates for Office Lens for Windows 10, Android and iOS, you can securely save your scans to your work or school Office 365 accounts. Whether you’re collaborating over OneNote, need an image on your OneDrive or need to re-create a document in Word, Office Lens brings your content securely to your Office 365 experience. Just sign in to Office Lens using your company, organization or school email address and capture to your heart’s content. Your scans will benefit from the easy sharing and security afforded by Office 365.

Get Office Lens for free today: iOS | Android | Windows

—The Office Lens team


The post Office Lens comes to Windows 10 and adds Office 365 support appeared first on Office Blogs.

5 project management software features your team isn’t using

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 09:00

From built-in templates and familiar scheduling tools, to instant collaboration and easy access across devices—it’s no secret that the right project management software can increase productivity for project managers (PMs) and their teams— making it possible to execute projects quickly and easily. But are organizations overlooking some of the less-obvious tools available to them?

According to a recent study, the most-coveted project planning tools include file sharing, time tracking, email integration and Gantt charts. No surprise there. But which helpful tools are organizations least likely to utilize? Interestingly, video chat, real-time chat, social media integration and mobile access are apparently the forgotten ones of project management software. But with communication cited as the most important aspect of successful project management, are PMs missing out on a gold mine?

Here’s a closer look at five untapped resources and how they can help in executing projects easily and more efficiently:

1 & 2. Video/real-time chat—Choosing project management software with integrated communication tools enables project team members to collaborate using voice, video or chat from within the project. How critical is that to the team’s success? A Project Management Institute (PMI) report found that one of the top causes of project failure reported by companies is poor communication. Having the ability to communicate in real-time with team members down the hall or across the globe using tools designed to transmit your critical conversations quickly and securely could be the key to a project’s success.

3. Social media integration—Social media has moved beyond just Facebook updates and tweeting the latest trends—to boosting the level of communication among teams and project stakeholders. Research has found that using social media facilitates “small talks” which, in turn, “supports familiarization to help build rapport and create a more nurturing, supportive, collaborative and trusting environment.” So why not take advantage of those benefits to help drive a successful project? Using software with enterprise social capabilities like dedicated Yammer newsfeeds in SharePoint, for example, can be useful for communicating with colleagues in real-time on project details.

4. Mobile access—Using software that’s available on Windows, iOS and Android is critical in ensuring that everyone can update tasks on their device of choice and view timelines and reports on the go. With time tracking listed as a highly critical component of successful project management, it’s important to find a solution that allows team members to submit updates on the go. Improved time and task entry gives project managers instant visibility to make informed decisions faster.

5. Sponsor-friendly settings—Among projects labeled as “high-performing,” more than 80 percent have actively engaged sponsors. Time and time again, research has shown that having an executive sponsor supporting a project from start to finish is critical to success. While a sponsor will not be part of the day-to-day tasks, they should have enough access so that they can lend support to the team when needed by staying on top of the project’s progress and benefits—and going to bat for it whenever possible. That said, having software that allows your Project Management Office (PMO) or sponsor to manage Project Portfolio Management (PPM) settings without additional assistance is important.

With more and more teams working remotely, even globally, communication skills and time management are more critical than ever. Having access to tools that let stakeholders manage on the go and share the latest updates, conversations and project timelines quickly through a dedicated project site keeps everyone connected and informed. Learn more about achieving greater visibility into project performance, as well as reducing budgets, increasing savings and more.

Related content

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Sharing made simple— adds support for Google Drive and Facebook photos

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 09:00

The essential role of email has always been the ability to easily share ideas and information with anyone in the world. Whether it’s working with your classmates, arranging a vacation or planning a global product launch—email is a staple of modern communication.

In recent years, one of the biggest advancements in Outlook has been the ability to share and edit files stored in the cloud right from your inbox. OneDrive has long been integrated across Outlook and comes preconfigured with every Outlook account. In addition, our Outlook mobile apps support Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. And early this year, we announced support for Box and Dropbox in as well.

Today, we added three enhancements to make sharing simple. First, we extended the cloud storage capabilities for by adding support for Google Drive. Second, we added the ability to share your Facebook photos from Outlook. And finally, we made it easier to find files and photos buried in long email conversations.

Outlook makes accessing your Google Drive easy

Outlook users on iOS and Android have had the ability to access their Google Drive files for some time. We are bringing the same capability to Whether you are using Outlook on the web or our mobile apps, your Google Drive files are just a click away.

Adding your Google Drive is simple. First, begin a new message and then click or tap the attachment icon. Next, select Google Drive and enter your account credentials. Once added, your Google Drive appears as a source when attaching files. You can browse and select your files from either a list view or as thumbnails.

You could always edit Google file types with a shared link—but previously it would open the file in a new tab. Now, when you receive a Google Doc, Slide or Sheet, you can open the file within Outlook. Just like photos and Office file types, the Google files open in Outlook next to your message window so your work flow is not disrupted. And, as with Google Drive links, if you have edit permissions, you’ll be able to edit using the full functionality available on Google Drive—again, all without leaving Outlook.

Editing Google files from within Outlook.

Have a lot of photos on Facebook? We have you covered

We want to make sharing your Facebook photos as easy as possible in Outlook. The steps for connecting a Facebook account are the same as with Google Drive—simply click or tap the attachment icon from within a new message and enter your credentials.

Once connected, you’ll be able to browse and attach your photos. Your photos will be organized just like they are in Facebook: “Photos of me” are the ones that you’ve been tagged in and “My photos” are the ones you’ve uploaded.

So, whether you want to share a photo with someone outside your circle of friends or are emailing someone not on Facebook, sharing is easy.

Easily add your Facebook photos in Outlook.

Finding attachments in long conversations is now a breeze

When you’re in a long email conversation, it can be hard to find which message has the attachment you want—especially when several attachments have been added along the way.

We want to make it as easy as possible to find a specific attachment in a conversation. At the top of every thread, you’ll now find an attachment icon. Click it to open a drop-down list of all the attachments in the conversation. Simply select the file you are looking for and open it—you don’t have to click though each reply or expand the thread.

It is now easier to find attachments in long threads.

Share your feedback

At Outlook, we’re constantly making updates based on your feedback. So if you have feedback or ideas, we’d love to hear from you via UserVoice.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which Outlook accounts can use these features?

A. These features are available to all consumers accessing migrated accounts via the web. In addition, the attachment feature will also be available to all Office 365 commercial subscriptions that include Outlook on the web.

Q. When will these features be available?

A. We will be rolling out these features over the next few weeks.

The post Sharing made simple— adds support for Google Drive and Facebook photos appeared first on Office Blogs.

Announcing the #ExcelWorldChamp Competition

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 14:30

Microsoft is excited to announce the Excel World Championship competition—#ExcelWorldChamp! Millions of people rely on Excel to get things done faster and make their lives easier. We want to meet all of you Excel fans and see what you can do.

The Excel World Championship participants will show their skills and creativity as they work through questions focusing on:

  • Data management
  • Data visualization
  • Formula writing

From October to November 2016, Microsoft will run four rounds of Excel tests for residents of select countries. Only the top competitors in each round will make it through to the next level—until ultimately there is one Excel Champ from each country! Prizes for the country competitions vary. Residents of countries without a dedicated competition can compete in our open international competition.

In early 2017, the country champions and the international winner will compete against each other for the title of “Excel World Champ” to win a grand prize trip to Seattle, Washington, to meet with Excel product leads and help provide feedback for the next Excel features.

Round One begins October 3, 2016! For more details on the competition rules, eligible countries and registration, check out the Excel World Championship website.

—The Excel team

The post Announcing the #ExcelWorldChamp Competition appeared first on Office Blogs.

New usage reports for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:00

Since the first rollout of the usage activity dashboard in March, we’ve continued our work to provide you with a better reporting experience. Many of the old usage reports have now been migrated to the new admin center. Today, we are happy to announce three new usage reports for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online, which provide you with additional insights about how end users in your organization are using and adopting Office 365.

Here’s a look at these new reports for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online:

SharePoint Online activity report

The new SharePoint activity report provides you with details about how users in your organization use SharePoint Online team sites to store and collaborate on files. You can use the report to see which users are active on SharePoint and engage with files stored within team sites—a file is counted as active if it has been created, modified, deleted, shared internally or externally or synced to clients. You can also see which users sync documents back to their local machine and if they share documents internally or externally. In the future, we’ll update the report to reflect additional actions that users can perform in SharePoint, such as page visits. This is a user-centric report complimenting the SharePoint Online team site usage report that you can use to access details per team site.

The usage activity dashboard has been updated with a new card that provides you with a high-level summary of the user file activity within all your SharePoint Online team sites. You can use the card to get a quick understanding of the total number of files across your SharePoint site and how many of these files were edited, viewed, synced (using any client), shared internally or externally. The bar graph shows how many of your users are engaged in file activity in comparison to the number of users you have assigned a SharePoint Online license to. This is a key indicator for adoption and allows you to identify the need for additional end user training and communication.

OneDrive for Business activity report

The new OneDrive for Business activity report enables you to understand which users are using OneDrive in your organization within Office 365. Together, with the already available OneDrive for Business usage report, you now have a holistic view of how your users are leveraging OneDrive to store and collaborate on documents. The report shows how many files a user is actively engaging with across OneDrive accounts in your organization and which users sync files back to their local machine. The report is helpful to identify users that might need additional training and communication around how OneDrive can help them to store files and collaborate with others, or users that need support.

Mailbox usage report

The new Mailbox usage report—together with the already available email activity report—provides you with a complete picture about how your users are using their mailboxes. You can easily see how many mailboxes are actively being used in your organization, how many items are stored in each user’s mailbox and how much storage space these items take up. The report also allows you to identify which users have a mailbox that is close to reaching the maximum storage limit and might need help to delete or archive items.

A completely new reporting experience

These three new reports are an important step in our mission: Make it easy for you to understand how your users are using—or not using—Office 365, so you can quickly identify issues and areas your users need more training in.

Before creating the new usage activity dashboard, we spent much time talking to customers to fully understand your reporting needs. It became apparent very quickly that you wanted more granular and more actionable reports that provide you with user-level details across all main Office 365 services. Based on your feedback, we revamped the whole Office 365 usage reporting experience and launched the new usage activity dashboard that provides you with an improved reporting experience.

In the new dashboard, we’re consolidating reports to reduce redundancy and make it easier for you to find the information you’re looking for. As a result, you won’t find a one-to-one relationship with the old reports, but improved or brand new reports such as the Office activations, the Yammer activity and the SharePoint activity reports. To make the transition easier, we’ve created a help article that provides you with detailed information on where you can find the information from the old reports in the new admin center.

More to come

In the coming months, we’ll add more reports focusing on Office 365 Groups, Yammer groups, clients used per product, i.e., email or Skype, and Office 365 licenses.

We know you’re all waiting for the Power BI content pack, which will allow you to gain richer insights by enabling you to pivot your organization’s Office 365 usage data with user-level data, like region or department. We’re currently working on the last details, and it will start rolling out later this fall.

Our fall plans also include providing new public APIs that will enable you to programmatically access the usage data and integrate it into custom applications, like a company reporting portal.

Let us know what you think!

Please try the new reports and provide feedback using the feedback button on the site. Or join us in the Admin Center group on the Office 365 Network to let us know any questions. Your input is extremely valuable to us as it helps us to prioritize our work, improve the existing reports and identify additional reporting needs. You can access further details about the reporting dashboard and the new reports on Office Support.

—Anne Michels @Anne_Michels, senior product marketing manager for the Office 365 Marketing team

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Introducing Outlook’s new and improved calendar on iOS and Android

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:00

Whether you’re planning your next dinner date or an upcoming meeting with teammates, the Outlook team’s mission is to provide you with the best calendar app out there. Today, we’re happy to share that it’s about to get even better on iOS and Android—with new features and a better overall experience to help you manage and make the most of your day.

Here’s a look at what’s new:

Stay connected with Interesting Calendars

A few months ago, we introduced Calendar Apps to let you connect your favorite apps—Wunderlist, Facebook and Evernote—to your calendar. Our goal? To give you a complete and clear view of your day with your events, tasks and notes in one place.

Today, we’re taking this idea one step further by adding Interesting Calendars, which allows you to subscribe to your hometown sports team’s calendar and see the events automatically pop up in your calendar. TV shows and more will be following soon.

Interesting Calendars is available today to Outlook for iOS users with an Office 365 email address (coming soon to Android). Users with an email address will be able to subscribe later this year, with Gmail and other accounts to follow.

Add some personality to your agenda with event icons

Try typing “coffee” or “lunch” next time you create an event and see what happens in your agenda view—the keywords automatically trigger an icon that matches your event title. Icons come in handy when you want to scan your day quickly and see what’s coming up. Also, they’re fun.

For Sunrise users, we even added new icons on top of our regular list. Let us know once you’ve found them all.

Know where you need to go with maps in event details

Don’t want to get lost on your way to your next appointment? Just start typing a location next time you create an event, choose one of the handy suggestions (powered by Bing) and Outlook will include a map with your event details.

Now, before your next event, you can simply tap on the map in the event details and get directions from your favorite maps app.

Schedule in a snap with improved date and time pickers

As we continue to bring more of the Sunrise design expertise to Outlook, we updated our date and time pickers so that scheduling is easier than ever. Our new design provides a simpler, more intuitive way to choose the date and time when creating a meeting—matching how Outlook works on the web or desktop. You can try this out today in Outlook for iOS, and it is coming soon on Android.

Update meetings on the fly with recurrence editing

Recurring meetings can be edited from your mobile device. Now you can adjust the time, location, attendees or even delete the event if necessary while on the go. Outlook confirms if you’d like your changes to apply to the individual instance or all the meetings in the series. We will be adding the ability to create recurring events in an upcoming update.

Make meetings on the go easier with Skype for Business

Following our Skype integration, you can now create Skype for Business meetings directly from your phone. When creating a new event on your Office 365 calendar, the option to add a Skype meeting is now included. Simply tap the Skype Meeting toggle and Outlook includes your company’s Skype information in the description of the event. When the meeting arrives, you’ll also be able to join the call with just a tap.

And there’s even more to come!

Let us know what you think of our new calendar features! We’re not stopping here in our quest to provide you with the best calendar experience on iOS and Android. If you have other ideas for what would make the calendar experience even better for you, let us know right from Outlook by going to Settings > Suggest a Feature.

—Javier Soltero

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will I see the Skype for Business toggle in my calendar?

A. The ability to add Skype for Business details to your meetings invitations is rolled out to about 75 percent of users. All users should see it soon. The Skype for Business option will only appear for those with an Office 365 email address.

Q. Is the Interesting Calendars feature for Outlook for iOS and Android different from what was released for Office 365 and accounts last month?

A. No, this is the same feature. The ability to subscribe to Interesting Calendars was released for Outlook on the web earlier this month for Office 365 and new accounts. Today’s update allows users to subscribe to new interesting calendars from iOS and Android. Regardless of where you subscribe, the calendars will show up in any version of Outlook.

The post Introducing Outlook’s new and improved calendar on iOS and Android appeared first on Office Blogs.

The Office Small Business Academy September webcast—“Up Your Marketing Game: Social Media Secrets”

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 09:00

Social media is the ultimate equalizer in marketing. There are plenty of low- and no-cost ways to promote your business online. But how do you break through the noise? Find out when you register now for “Up Your Marketing Game: Social Media Secrets,” airing September 27 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET.

Watch this preview:

Join our featured guests to get tips for an easy, effective social strategy you can live with—and your business can’t live without.

  • Associate director of strategy and social media at Inc., Stephanie Meyers, has five things you can do today to improve your web presence, and the keys to turning online engagement into results.
  • Co-founder and chief experience officer of Loot Crate, Matthew Arevalo, will tell us how his company mastered the art of community building and conquered social customer service. He’ll also share the one thing you need to do to increase your word-of-mouth marketing online.
  • New this season, we’ll demonstrate tips and tricks from the show you can start using for your business today. In this episode, stylist and owner of The Constant Stylist, Constance Turman, shows us how she uses Office 365 to organize her content and keep up with her growing social presence.

Sign up for free!

For more information, visit the Office Small Business Academy home page.

Related content

For additional insights, check out our free e-books:

The post The Office Small Business Academy September webcast—“Up Your Marketing Game: Social Media Secrets” appeared first on Office Blogs.

Football season is here! Outlook helps you track the games that matter

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:00

Football season has started, and that means warming up the grill, pulling out the jersey and having friends over for the big day. But keeping track of the games you care about can be challenging. With over 100 college teams, 32 pro teams and a host of bowls, playoffs and championships, staying on top of the season can be tough. Outlook and Bing make it easy.

In August, we announced Interesting calendars in Outlook on the web to help track a range of events, and we’ve got you covered for football. Whether it’s your college alma mater, the pro team you’ve followed since you were a kid or key games in your fantasy league, it’s easy to stay on top of the action simply by adding all the games for your favorite teams to your calendar.

To add your team’s schedule to your or Office 365 calendar simply:

  1. Log in to Outlook on the web.
  2. View your calendar and then click Add calendar.
  3. Select Interesting calendar.
  4. Select Sports, the sport category and then your favorite team.

From your inbox, display your calendar, select Interesting calendar and go from there.

Once added, your events are synced across all your devices and automatically updated if there is a change in the schedule. There’s a lot of football between now and January—we want you to know when your team is playing next.

Share your feedback

Outlook is a customer-obsessed team. If you have feedback or ideas you would like to share, please let us know via UserVoice.

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will this feature be available?

A. You can start adding your team’s games today.

Q. Which regions can access Interesting calendars?

A. Users in North America. We’ll be adding more regions over time.

Q. Which users have access to these features?

A. These experiences are available for users with Office 365 subscriptions that include Exchange Online and those users with new or upgraded accounts.

Q. Where will I see the events?

A. Once a team’s schedule has been added to your calendar, the games will sync across all your devices that use the same account.

The post Football season is here! Outlook helps you track the games that matter appeared first on Office Blogs.

4 must-haves in setting up a business email like an IT pro

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:00

Email haters, beware! A recent survey has proven that email is the top tool used for communication at work and will increase in importance during the next five years. The survey also showed that employees spend 3.2 hours each day checking work-related emails. A separate study by The Radicati Group declared that an average of 122 business emails were sent and received per user per day last year.

What does all this data mean? It’s a good reminder that email is, and will continue to be, a mission-critical application for any business—whether small or large. When setting up a business email solution, there are many factors to consider, especially if yours is a small or midsized company targeted to grow in the next few years.

To find the best email service for your business, only consider those that meet the following must-have criteria:

  1. Hosted email solution—There are two main options for business email setup: in-house and hosted email. For many businesses, the total cost of ownership related to in-house email does not make good financial sense. It might mean imposed storage limits, which are inconvenient to your employees, and it translates into your company being responsible for upgrades and backups.
    However, when you use a hosted email solution, email hosting services take the burden of operation from your IT team’s shoulders. Hosted email service for business users also can provide dynamic storage options and scale to meet your company where it is in its growth cycle.
  2. Adequate server space—Depending on how large your company is and how much email storage it needs, you will need to choose between shared and dedicated hosting. Many small companies start with shared hosting—which means your physical server is used by multiple tenants—because it is extremely affordable and still provides all the benefits of email hosting services, including security, reliability and privacy. When that shared server space is no longer enough, companies can scale up to dedicated email servers for business. There is often more customization available with a dedicated solution too.
  3. Mobile access—In today’s fast-paced business world, compatibility between your email solution and your workers’ mobile devices is crucial. Not only is it necessary for your employees to be able to access their business emails when away from their desks, it’s also important that you consider an email solution with mobile calendar and document sharing capabilities. In addition, make a selection that is consistently upgraded for mobile technology and allows for syncing with other devices.
  4. A solid provider—When selecting an email service for business purposes, the “who” is just as important as the “what.” Choose a company you can trust, with years of proven experience providing superb email hosting services. Specifically, look for a provider with a strong uptime guarantee, high reliability and fantastic security. The provider’s email solution should make your employees’ jobs easier, including features such as integration between the calendar, contacts and files; a shared calendar feature; and 24/7 support from experts.

It’s fairly evident that email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Organizations should take great care when setting up a business email solution in order to increase efficiency and have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Related topics

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Episode 107 Office Dev Ops with Max Knor—Office 365 Developer Podcast

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:00

In episode 107 of the Office 365 Developer Podcast, Andrew Coates talks with Max Knor, Microsoft program manager, about Dev Ops in an Office Developer context.

Download the podcast.

Weekly update

Dev Ops related

SharePoint Framework related

 Other Office Dev related

Show notes

Got questions or comments about the show? Join the O365 Dev Podcast on the Office 365 Technical Network. The podcast RSS is available on iTunes or search for it at “Office 365 Developer Podcast” or add directly with the RSS

About Max Knor

Max Knor is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft. He spends life travelling the world supporting Global ISVs with the implementation of Azure-based cloud solutions. He does a lot of Continuous Delivery, Docker Containers, Automation, Service Fabric and DevOps these days. And loves building home-automation systems with Arduino. Visit his blog at

About the hosts

Richard is a software engineer in Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) group, where he helps developers and software vendors maximize their use of Microsoft cloud services in Office 365 and Azure. Richard has spent a good portion of the last decade architecting Office-centric solutions, many that span Microsoft’s diverse technology portfolio. He is a passionate technology evangelist and a frequent speaker at worldwide conferences, trainings and events. Richard is highly active in the Office 365 community, popular blogger at and can be found on Twitter at @richdizz. Richard is born, raised and based in Dallas, TX, but works on a worldwide team based in Redmond. Richard is an avid builder of things (BoT), musician and lightning-fast runner.


A Civil Engineer by training and a software developer by profession, Andrew Coates has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft since early 2004, teaching, learning and sharing coding techniques. During that time, he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web, on mobile devices and most recently for Office. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two almost-grown-up children and is a cricket umpire in his spare time. Andrew sometimes blogs at and you can find him on Twitter at @coatsy

Useful links


Yammer Office 365 Technical Network

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Introducing guest access for Office 365 Groups

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 06:00

Sometimes you need to work closely with customers, partners, suppliers or consultants outside of your organization, and you need collaboration tools to make this possible. Today, we are pleased to announce the new guest access feature for Office 365 Groups—the group membership service that provides a single identity for teams in Office 365. The new guest access feature gives you the ability to include people outside of your company in an Office 365 group.

We are rolling out guest access functionality in phases. Starting today, group owners can add guests to a group in Outlook on the web. Once added, guests receive a welcome email, are granted access to group files in SharePoint Online, begin receiving email messages and calendar invites sent to the group, and can access the group in Office on the web and the Outlook Groups mobile application. They also have automatic access to cloud-based file attachments. Guests have the option to leave the group at any time and visual indicators remind all members of guest participation in the group across all Outlook experiences.

Guest access works for any email accounts including corporate and consumer domains (such as or If the guest email identity is associated with a Microsoft account (such as Office 365 or accounts, for instance), the user is directed to a sign-in page to identify themselves. If the guest doesn’t have a Microsoft account, they will be directed to a sign-up page to create an account.

Learn more Get the latest on Office 365 Groups at Microsoft Ignite

Hear more about guest access in Office 365 Groups at the “Collaborate outside of the firewall with Office 365 Groups” session at the Microsoft Ignite event, September 26–30 in Atlanta. Sessions will be available online following the event. See our Sway for a complete list of Office 365 Groups sessions at the event.

—Christophe Fiessinger, @cfiessinger, senior program manager for the Office 365 Groups team

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Now teachers can include live code demo in OneNote

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 09:00

Calling all teachers! We made programming easier to teach with the ability to embed executable code snippets from into OneNote. is a powerful tool that allows teachers to create live executable code examples in the cloud with zero setup time needed. It supports more than 30 major coding languages and more with highly customizable, simple and easy-to-use IDE-like features.

Now, teachers using OneNote can easily put code examples created in into a OneNote notebook as an embedded object with two simple steps:

First, create your code examples in and then copy the Share Link.

Next, paste the Share Link into a OneNote page. Now, the executable code snippet is part of the lesson plan.

Feel free to try it out today and don’t forget to send us feedback and ask questions at OneNote UserVoice or tweet us at @msonenote.

—Fanguang Kong, product manager for the OneNote team

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