This week, Microsoft announced its May updates for Office 365, which include deeper Skype for Business integration and new Outlook and Visio capabilities. Additionally, the firm revealed a new Insider build of Office 2016 for Windows.
That’s a lot of new, and if you listen to Windows Weekly, you may have heard me comment on how hard it is to keep up on the content and timing of these kinds of updates. But here’s a short overview of how/when I think you will see the updates described here.
Office 365. Microsoft does a poor job of differentiating between the consumer and commercial versions of its Office 365 offerings, but it’s pretty clear that most of these new Office 365 updates apply only to the latter. Some of the updates that apply to consumer Office 365—like those in Office 2016 apps that are available there as well—will no doubt appear soon as well. And if you actually purchased an Office 2016 suite or app outright, it will be quite some time, if ever, before you see the applicable updates.
Office Insider. Back in November, Microsoft announced its Office Insider program, and over time it has offered pre-release versions of Office 2016 on Windows and Mac, and Office Mobile on Android and Windows 10 Mobile (but not iOS, curiously). These things are all updated separately, and the changes are of course eventually rolled out more broadly, first via Office 365 (for Office 2016, anyway). You can join on the Office Insider site if you’re interested. And you can keep up on new Office features here.
At least I think that’s how they work. 🙂
Anyway, here’s what’s new.
May updates for Office 365
Microsoft’s May 2016 updates to Office 365 include the following.
Real-time Skype for Business chat in the Office 365 web experiences. The web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote pick up Skype for Business-based real-time chat capabilities. (This is for commercial customers only, of course.) You can learn more about this functionality from Microsoft.
Watch face support in Outlook for Android Wear. Starting next week, users with an Android Wear smart watch will be able to utilize a new Outlook watch face that provides at-a-glance views of your schedule and unread email count. You can tap events to see more details, and scroll through a list of the day’s events.
Improved language support in Outlook for Mac. Outlook 2016 for Mac now supports Arabic and Hebrew and provides right-to-left language support. (Microsoft also recently announced a new email editor for Office for Mac.)
OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business integration in Outlook on Android and iOS. The mobile app versions of Outlook on Android and iOS will be updated next week with OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business integration. This means that OneDrive for Business will work like other storage services you can add to the apps. And you will be able to join Skype for Business meetings directly from an event details page.
Seamless attachment support for Skype for Business meetings.When you join a Skype for Business meeting from Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the Web, all attached files will automatically load in the meeting so that you can begin collaborating with the other attendees immediately.
New SharePoint and OneDrive for Business features. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced new SharePoint-related features tied to the 2016 launch, and some of those features—simpler sharing and collaboration, for example—are starting to roll out. (Other new features will roll out throughout the summer, Microsoft says.)
AutoCAD 2013/2010 file support in Visio Pro for Office 365. Visio Pro for Office 365 customers can insert and open the latest AutoCAD 2013 and 2010 file formats.
Office 2016 Insider build 6.0.6965.2051
The May feature update for Office 2016 for Office Insiders is now available. This includes the following updates:
Improvements to Get and Transform in Excel 2016. Now, it’s easier to create a query using options from the new Online Services category, including connectors for SharePoint Online and Exchange.
Send messages anytime with Skype for Business. Now, you will no longer receive a “message can’t be delivered” notifications when you send a message to someone who is offline. Instead, the contact will receive the message when they are next online.
More efficient Skype for Business online meetings. As noted above, you can now preload Skype for Business meeting attachments.
If you are on the Office Insider program, you can get these updates now. In any Office 2016 app, select File, Account, Update Options, and then Update Now.