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What’s New in Microsoft 365 | March 2022

As we noted last month, there were sure to be some strong feelings in the community about Planner vs. Microsoft Lists, but we would do our due diligence.  Not long after posting our blog, Microsoft 365 MVP Loryan Strant posted an article titled: It’s time for Microsoft Planner to be turned off where he details and validates many of our initial thoughts on this topic. We aren’t going to go as far as he did, though. There will certainly be use cases for Planner moving forward but, as of today, they are few and far between. 

Be on the lookout for a lot of “updated” messages. February and March tend to have quite a few rollouts and new features. What’s more, enhancements tend to get delayed due to the backlog of the holiday season. So, If your organization is waiting on a rollout, be sure to regularly check the Message Center, as there’s a good chance an update is available on its rollout timeframe.  Also, if you have some bandwidth between March 7th and 11th along with an interest in Power BI check out the Power BI Summit virtual conference. They have some great speakers and sessions lined up and tickets are only $99.99 USD!

Teams app setup policy group assignment

Controlling access to apps in Teams just got much easier. App setup policies allow apps to be pre-installed and pinned to the app bar in Teams by the admin. App setup policies can now specifically be assigned to groups, such as a security group or a distribution list. The policy assignment is propagated to members of the group according to precedence rules. As members are added to or removed from a group, their inherited policy assignments are updated accordingly.

Setup Policies

Microsoft Office default change – Blocking VBA macros in files from the internet

VBA macros are a common way for malicious actors to gain access to deploy malware and ransomware. To help improve security, Office applications will now block macros in files from the internet. This change only affects Office on devices running Windows, and only affects the following applications: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word. It is important to note that content stored in Trusted Sites will not be blocked; however, any content that has MOTW (Mark of the Web) will be blocked. When users attempt to access blocked content, a message bar displays a Security Risk that the file contains VBA macros obtained from the internet with a “Learn More” button. In order to open this content, users will need to save to their local device beforehand.

Manage apps using the new Apps site (SharePoint Online)

Microsoft is finally upgrading the App Catalog. The new Apps site stores and distributes app solutions in a streamlined and modernized experience. For tenants that don’t already have an App Catalog, a new Apps site will be created in one of two of the following instances:

  • when an admin goes to the SharePoint admin center > More features > Apps > Open
  • when site owners create app requests from the SharePoint Store

Creating the Apps site

Creating the Apps site
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Enable an uploaded app to the tenant

Enable an uploaded app to the tenant
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Approving request and installing an app from store

Approving request and installing an app from store
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More administrative options for SharePoint Framework (SPFx) solutions:

  1. Add to all sites/Stop adding to new sites: Depending on the functionality that the app provides, the developer can set a flag that allows you to add the app to all sites in the organization. You can change the settings at any time by selecting Add to all sites/Stop adding to new sites. To learn more, see Tenant-scoped solution deployment for SharePoint Framework solutions.
  2. Add to Teams: Some apps can be added to Teams if the solution contains components for Microsoft Teams. When a solution is added to all sites, the Add to Teams (known as Sync to Teams in the classic experience) button will be available. To learn more, see Deployment options for SharePoint Framework solutions for Microsoft Teams.
  3. Update SharePoint Store apps: to update new versions for store apps, go to the classic experience.

OneDrive and SharePoint: Access your Teams standard and private channel files

With this new feature, users that navigate to a site in SharePoint or OneDrive can now access the files stored in the Teams standard and private channels associated with that site. Instead of having to navigate to a completely separate site collection for private and shared channel content, users will see an “In channels” section in the default document library of a Teams-connected site. The “In channels” section will include all standard and private channels within the Team, and private channels will be distinguished with a specific icon. When shared channels become available, they will also appear in this section. The “In channels” section will only appear when a user navigates to the default document library of a SharePoint site that’s connected to a Team. The “In channels” section will not be visible if the SharePoint site is not connected to Teams. There will be no change to private channel disclosure as part of this change. For example, a user will only see the private channels that they explicitly have access to—regardless of whether they access them from OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams.

You should be aware that there will be no duplication of entries between the “In channels” and “In site library” lists. This means that, if a folder is associated with both a Teams channel and the document library, it will only appear in the “In channels” list.

  • This was based on customer feedback that duplication of entries between the list was confusing and made the “In site library” list unnecessarily long. The impact of this decision is that, if an end user expects to find a folder within the document library, they will now need to look under the “In channels” section.

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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