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What’s New in Microsoft 365 (May 2021)

This month we’re covering a few new SharePoint features soon to be rolled out: one that deals with SharePoint document library folders that are connected to a Teams channel, a new SharePoint App Bar that features global navigation, and SharePoint Spaces being added to the New menu – this one requires Admins to take action prior to June 1. In addition, we will tell you about a new One Drive sync client 64-bit that will be available soon for Windows, and a new feature that allows Admins to de-identify PII (personally identifiable information) in Teams usage reports. As a bonus, we’ll throw in a little story about the SharePoint Framework version that lasted all of 5 days before it was deprecated.

Folders Connected to Teams Channel Clearly Identified in SharePoint Library

This new feature will make it easy to tell which folders within your SharePoint library have a Teams channel associated with them. This is a good one. We’ve had many clients completely confused by the new folders that arrive in their SharePoint library when their existing SharePoint site is associated with Teams. Some have even tried to delete or rename these folders, which leads to another set of problems. This new feature will not only clearly indicate that the folder is associated with a Teams channel, but it will also give users the ability to easily move from a SharePoint folder directly to the corresponding Teams channel (see image below).

As a result of this change, users will be unable to delete or rename folders that are associated with a Teams channel. Hopefully this new feature will help clear up the relationship between Teams and SharePoint for users who continue to be confused, and make working with the two more seamless. Rollout is planned to begin in late May and be complete by late June.

SharePoint App Bar that Features Global Navigation

If and when this is rolled out, it will be the answer to so many customer’s requests. Unfortunately, Microsoft has postponed the rollout with no word on when it is being rescheduled. However, I still thought it would be of interest to share. The SharePoint App Bar will provide quick access to a customizable global navigation as well as other intranet resources, but will only be available on modern sites. The SharePoint App Bar will be in the upper left side of modern sites (see image below). Although the global navigation is customizable, the sites, news and files are not. These are driven by Microsoft Graph and personalized for the logged-in user.

The plan is to have the SharePoint App Bar appear by default. Until customized, the global nav entry point will refer users to their SharePoint start page. It will be possible to temporarily disable the SharePoint App Bar using PowerShell. Customizing the global navigation requires that you have an organization home site.

Learn more

SharePoint Spaces to be Available by Default in New Menu

Action required by Jun 1, 2021

SharePoint Spaces became generally available in October 2020, and it allows the creation and sharing of immersive or browser-based mixed reality environments using assets such as 3D models, 360° images and videos, and 2D content such as videos, images, and office documents. Soon (by early June) SharePoint Spaces will be available in the site level +New menu by default (see image below). Admins will have the ability to turn this off at the tenant level, or allow site owners to turn it off at the site level.

For more information on the PowerShell command to disable this feature, click here.

OneDrive Sync Client 64-bit Update Available for Windows

The new 64-bit version of the OneDrive Sync Client is a long awaited update that will make life easier for users who have lots of files or large files. Microsoft will be silently updating devices from the 32-bit version to the new 64-bit version of the OneDrive Sync Client. The rollout will follow the normal OneDrive sync app update process and was scheduled to be complete by the end of April.

De-Identify Personally Identifiable Information in Teams Admin Usage Reports

This change will de-identify the personally identifiable information in the Teams user activity report & the Teams device usage report based on the de-identification setting in the M365 admin center. Only users with the Global administrator role have access to this setting and are able to toggle it. The setting’s default is OFF, which means personal information will be displayed in clear text by default.

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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