Microsoft has recently announced some new improvements coming to its Office 365 web productivity client. Because the client is cloud-based, Microsoft can simply update it on its end, and the changes will roll out to all its users automatically, so customers are always up-to-date.
Some of the new improvements coming include changes to the UI where customers can now choose a color theme. This is very similar to the way Outlook.com handles themes and it is well appreciated. It’s a small, but nice touch.
On the productivity side the company has improved the way notifications are displayed. There is now a new notifications pane that presents updates in real-time. While the Notifications pane is closed, the icon to open it will display the number of unread notifications so that users can get that information at a glance.
The Office 365 client now has Skype for Business built right into the Outlook, OneDrive, or Calendar web apps, and users can start a conversation or initiate a call – voice or video – effortlessly. Of course conversations are also in real-time, so there is no need to refresh the page to get updates.
There is also a new Settings pane that act very much in the same way that it does in Windows 8.1. It is contextual and only displays settings that are relevant to the web apps that a user is currently using. Additionally, Microsoft has also updated the Help pane to provide quick access to help content and “what’s new” feature information.
Check out the video above and let us know what you think of the new updates in the comments section below. For those wondering, these new features will begin rolling out to those enrolled in the First Release program – think Fast ring, but for Office 365 – over the “next few weeks” according to Microsoft, and over the coming several months to all Office 365 customers.Further reading: Microsoft, Office 365, Skype for Business