Here’s everything that’s new in Office 365 for June 2016

Microsoft has been steadily updating its Office 365 platform with fixes and features for some time now. Some of the features accompanying Office 365’s monthly fixes and updates are bold and ostensibly noticeable with various UI changes and user flow adjustments while others are more nuanced and subtle.

Fortunately, the Office 365 team tallies its updates and fixes at the end of every month to illuminate the work its engineers and partners have achieved. For the month of June, Office 365 users were treated to the following fixes and features:

Updates to Word, Excel PowerPoint and OneNote

In January, Office 365 users were given new inking capabilities to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on Windows desktops and iPad. The new update also expanded inking on Android devices beyond OneNote to Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Office Insiders.

Office Inking in Word

Office Inking in Word

Beyond the new inking capabilities that came to the Office 365 production suite, Shape Recognition came to Excel on Windows PCs and Excel for iPad, and it will arrive in Excel for iPhone with next month’s inking release.

Even though a lot of focus has been centered around the productive mobility of smartphones and tablets, the Office 365 team has not forgotten about the desktop–they brought the Draw tab and instant inking to Visio for subscribers on Windows PCs.

You can now easily annotate and draw your feedback on complex diagrams and process flows. We’re also addressing a top OneNote for Mac user request with a phased rollout of trackpad-based inking, plus support for third-party stylus- and pen-enabled drawing tablets and displays.”

Updates to Sway

There are two versions of Sway, one that most users know about, mainly being a few web-based version and the more feature rich Office 365 subscription tie-in app. Now, beyond the free version of Sway, Office 365 consumer, work and education subscribers can create more robust, professional Sways and control sharing more granularly with these three new features:

  • Password-protect your Sways—Control who can view your Sways by adding password protection. On top of organizational-level sharing for Office 365 work and school users, anyone with an Office 365 account can add password protection for extra security and peace of mind.
  • Higher content limits—Create longer, more robust Sways containing more images, videos, graphics and more. This is great for longer-form content such as company training, student projects and travel reports.
  • Remove end-of-Sway footer—To customize the appearance of your content, even more, you can now remove the informational footer at the end of your Sways.
Sway Footer

Sway Footer

Updates to Outlook

The Office 365 team is also adding new experiences in Outlook to help users stay on top of their travel plans and package deliveries.

Outlook already automatically adds events from your email to your calendar. Soon you’ll see simplified summary cards for those events in your inbox and calendar, highlighting the most important details. You’ll be able to take quick action to check in for flights, change hotel reservations and track packages. And you’ll get dependable and actionable reminders to stay on top of flight check-ins.

The Office 365 team reports that the updates are rolling out to Office on the Mac and web and should be hitting more platforms soon.

Microsoft’s new Planner service is available

Microsoft Planner has started rolling out to all eligible Office 365 commercial customers worldwide.

Planner introduces a new and improved way for businesses, schools and organizations to structure teamwork and get more done. Teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files—all while visual dashboards and email notifications help with progress tracking. Read more about Planner, including customer stories. Get started with Planner in a few easy steps.

Gigjam makes its debut

GigJam is for people with a co-working mindset. It empowers you to spontaneously and ephemerally involve others in your work. Summon all the live information you need from across apps, then divvy it up by circling what you want to share and crossing out what you don’t. Control what others—inside or outside your organization—can see or even co-work on with you in real-time.

Visit aka.ms/gigjam and the App Store to get started, and share feedback in UserVoice.

More commercially based updates

As Office represents the more productive side of computing for larger businesses and companies managing multiple work flows, assignments, group projects, and cloud-based collaborations around the world, the Office 365 team also delivered a series of updates for its IT professionals.

  • New Deferred Channel build—The second Office 365 Deferred Channel build is now available. This build effectively combines the February Office 2016 release with the last four months of security updates. The Deferred Channel option reduces the frequency of feature changes to the Windows desktop apps and provides IT with extra time to validate add-ins, macros, custom line-of-business applications, etc. Learn more about what’s included in this month’s release in the Office 365 Client Release Notes.
  • Office 365 data centers in Canada and South Korea—Embrace a cloud-first world on your terms. A new Office 365 datacenter region is now generally available in Canada, offering in-country data residency, failover and disaster recovery for core data at rest to customers in Canada. We will also expand the Microsoft Cloud to include a data center region in South Korea. These new data center regions join a growing list that includes Japan, Australia and India, as well as recent announcements of expansions in the UK and Germany.
  • Office 365 Advanced Security Management—Earlier this month, we introduced Advanced Security Management, a new set of capabilities powered by Microsoft Cloud App Security, to provide enhanced visibility and control over your Office 365 environment. Monitor security incidents and identify high-risk and abnormal usage with threat detection. Tailor Office 365 with granular controls and security policies. Gain visibility into Office 365 and other productivity cloud service usage with an app discovery dashboard.

For the month of June, the Office 365 did a monumental job of integrating new features and weaving cross application experiences across various platforms for both commercial and casual users.

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What features would you like to see in future updates to Office 365?