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What’s New in Microsoft 365 | Nov 2021

Although not directly affiliated with Microsoft 365, the big announcement in October was the general availability of Windows 11. For those of us that have been using Mac’s, this will be a familiar user experience. For strictly Windows users though, there may be a bit of learning curve. We also delve into some updates on the “big 3” of Microsoft 365: OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams this month. Also, don’t forget Microsoft Ignite is virtual again from November 2nd to 4th this year, get your sessions lined up soon. 

Windows 11 now available

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Last month we touched on Windows Server 2022 availability, so it is only right to point out Windows 11 general availability as well. We won’t be doing a review of Windows 11 here, as that has been more than handled by technology reporters. However, we will be taking this opportunity to stress education and change management. Often, we in IT feel like users are change averse (sometimes we are not above the aversion to change either). But please, make sure to have a game plan in place. Not only for your upgrade to Windows 11 from a technical standpoint, but for communications and training perspective as well. An informed user is a happy user. 

CNET Windows 11 Review

PCMag Windows 11 Review

OneDrive and SharePoint: Improved Move/Copy user experience

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This is one of two purely cosmetic updates we will be touching on this month. We are big fans of the Move/Copy functionality within OneDrive and SharePoint, but the user experience could use some improvements. It’s nice to see Microsoft actually tackling this. What really “sparked joy” from this announcement was the blurb in the “what you need to do to prepare” section about the support article:

“For your users: The support article titled Move or copy files in SharePoint describes the limitations and current Move experience. The screenshots will be updated to reflect the new experience as it’s rolling out to customers.”

Really happy that this was noted in the message center announcement. Now let us see if it works out that way. 

Microsoft Teams: A new search results page is coming

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A consistent complaint we hear from folks regarding Microsoft Teams is the search experience is awful, and we are inclined to agree. However, it looks like Microsoft is starting to tackle this problem by placing the search results into the content area of Teams vs. the left pane. Technically speaking this is another purely cosmetic change, but we are hoping that it leads to additional improvements to the Teams search experience in the coming year. 

Previous search in Teams

Previous search in Teams


New search in Teams

New search in Teams

(Updated) Microsoft Lists: Custom list templates

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This feature likely affects organizations to varying degrees. Providing organization specific list templates eases the list creation burden for users, while allowing the organization to push out templates they believe will provide the biggest bang for the buck. The ability to provide organization-wide list templates was originally supposed to roll out in August, but we should now be seeing that functionality in our tenants in the upcoming weeks. Essentially, no updates to the functionality, just the release timing, but it is coming soon. 

Your custom list templates along with Microsoft ready-made templates

Co-organizer Meeting Role

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This is a welcomed enhancement for certain groups, though there are some functions co-organizers will not be permitted to do. 

  • Create & manage breakout rooms
  • View & download attendance reports
  • Manage the meeting recording
  • Edit the meeting invitation
  • Remove or change the Organizer role

From a technical standpoint the “cannot do list” makes sense, but we are wagering that will limit the adoption of this functionality in the short term. An important note on this enhancement: The “Choose co-organizers” meeting option will appear automatically on the meeting options page when the feature has rolled out. It’s turned on by default, and will launch early December at the latest. 

Side Note: If you listen to podcasts subscribe to the 365 Message Center Show. Their latest episode includes a rundown on this enhancement!

SharePoint app bar – Temporary window to disable is extended

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If you’re one of the organizations that disabled the SharePoint App Bar to avoid confusion, we have some good news. Your window has been extended to March 31, 2022. Given the big extension timeline, though, we imagine this is likely the last one we’ll get. Strongly advise checking out the support article “Use the SharePoint app bar” sooner rather than later.  As you may have already guessed, this is specific to Modern SharePoint sites, but there may be hope for the folks on Classic SharePoint (Microsoft indicated this might be subject to change). We wouldn’t suggest holding your breath on it coming to Classic SharePoint though. Modernize those Classic SharePoint sites folks. 

As always, there are a lot of things happening in Microsoft 365, so be sure to check out the Tech Community Blogs and the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for more of what’s new.  

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