Teams Now Has Basic Offline Capabilities

In an update posted to Teams User Voice, Microsoft said that they had enabled offline capabilities for messaging with access to recent chats and channel conversations. This is good, but the problem is that Teams is much more than chats and offline access remains problematic for many of the components people access through Teams. Until all apps support offline access, functionality will remain limited.

Use Background Images and Blur in Teams Meetings

Teams supports the selection of an image to use as the background for meetings. For now, you can choose from a set of images selected by Microsoft, but soon users will be able to upload their own images and use them in Teams meetings. While we wait for Microsoft to complete some work on admin framework to control image upload, a workaround is available to use custom images today.

Teams Notifications Updated for Native OS Support and Better Privacy

Teams notifications can now be handled by Windows and macOS, and you can get better privacy by disabling message preview in the notifications, including on Teams mobile clients. The privacy updates are available now and support for the native OS notifications in both Windows and macOS should be available in mid-November.

How to Update Teams to Send Meeting Invitations to All Members

Teams depends on Microsoft 365 groups. You can add groups as meeting attendees and expect that members of those groups will receive meeting invitations. But they won’t unless you update group settings to force Office 365 to send invitations to all members. The job is easily done with PowerShell, and we show how in this post.

How to Store Teams Meeting Recordings in OneDrive for Business

Teams gives Office 365 tenants the option to store meeting recordings in Stream or OneDrive for Business (including SharePoint Online). Now configurable through Teams meeting policies, new meeting recordings are dealt with like any other file, meaning that you can share recordings, apply labels, update metadata, and so on.

Native ARM64 Version of Teams Now Available

Users of ARM64 devices like the Surface Pro X can now download a native ARM64 Teams desktop client. According to users, the native client is faster and more stable than running the Teams 32-bit client under emulation. It’s good news for people who like the battery life and mobile connectivity of ARM devices while also giving developers who might have ignored ARM on Windows up to now something to think about.

Millions of Microsoft 365 Groups Fail Auto-Renewal Annually

Among some interesting statistics offered at the Ignite 2020 conference, we learned that 79% of Microsoft 365 groups successfully auto-renewed because of their activity. That leaves 21% of groups which didn’t meet the bar to be automatically renewed. Only groups within the scope of an expiration policy are included, but even so millions of groups weren’t renewed. Is that a problem?

New Exchange Online Admin Center Loses Some Magic, But It’s the Future

Microsoft says that the new EAC is ready to use. While we don’t deny the fact, we think some of the magic that existed in previous portals has gone. PowerShell is replaced by the Graph as the foundation for the EAC. Progress happens, but it’s sad when a feature like command logging is left in the mists of the past.

New Location for Teams Compliance Records Breaks Scripts

Without saying anything, Microsoft changed where Microsoft 365 stores Teams compliance records in user and group mailboxes. The logic behind the change is impeccable even if it will cause PowerShell scripts to break. In addition, any ISV claiming to backup Teams by copying compliance records has some work to do.

Teams Calendar Peek Gives Quick View to Upcoming Events

The latest build of the Microsoft Teams desktop and browser clients include the ability for users to see the essential details of calendar events through a “peek.” Single clicking on an event exposes the most commonly used information and some command buttons. It’s a quick and easy way to find out what you need to know about an event. Also, Teams has finally shipped two features announced in June and July, examples of how things sometimes get delayed for different reasons.

Managing Third-Party App Permissions in the Teams Admin Center

The latest update for the Teams admin center includes the ability to manage the permissions used by third-party apps to access data via the Microsoft Graph. The updates also include the ability to manage resource specific consent (RSC) for Teams apps. While third-party apps ate the obvious target, LOB apps created by tenants are managed in the same way.

Teams Offline Status Allows Users to Appear Invisible

Teams is introducing a new Offline presence status this month to allow users to continue working while appearing unavailable and uncontactable to coworkers. The new status behaves differently to the Do Not Disturb presence, which gives coworkers some hope that you’ll soon be online and available.

Search the Office 365 Audit Log for Events Performed Against Objects

The Office 365 audit log is a great source of information about what happens inside a Office 365 tenant. Searching the audit log takes practice, but it turns up lots of insight. This article covers how to use the ObjectIds and FreeText parameters to find information about what happens to an object,

How to Control Default Creation of Online Meetings with OWA

OWA calendar settings include the option to make online meetings the default. You can control whether online meetings are the default at an organization and mailbox level. Outlook desktop relies on system registry settings to know if online meetings should be created. An add-in loaded is loaded automatically to insert the neceessary data to make a meeting online if necessary.

Debating the Need for Office 365 Backup

Following some recent criticisms of how some ISVs use FUD to convince Office 365 tenants that they need backup services, AvePoint asked Office 365 for IT Pros to debate the issues. We go toe-to-toe on Wednesday, October 7 at 10 AM EST in a free online debate. Come along and join the fun.

How to Prevent Attendees Unmuting Themselves in Teams Meetings

Microsoft Teams allows meeting organizers to control if attendees can unmute themselves during meetings with a new control introduced in October 2020. The new control is likely to be more popular in education settings than in the corporate world, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to take control and stop someone speaking.

Microsoft Improves Labels for Planner Tasks. More Upgrades On the Way

Microsoft has updated task labels in the Office 365 Planner app to make the labels more accessible and obvious (and therefore more useful). Changes due to arrive soon include an increase in the number of labels from six to 25, more intelligent attachments, and an upgrade to the Teams integration to allow tasks be created from chats and conversations.

How to Create New Teams Using Customizable Templates

The ability to create new Teams using customizable templates is now rolling out to Office 365 tenants. Microsoft provides 13 out-of-the-box templates and tenants can add their own to meet their needs. Microsoft thinks that templates will help standardize the design of Teams and drive best practice. Time will tell.

Download the October 2020 Update for Office 365 for IT Pros

The October 2020 update is available for Office 365 for IT Pros, the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of Office 365 and its applications available for tenant administrators and solution architects. Subscribers can download the book from Gumroad.com (EPUB/PDF) or Amazon (Kindle). Please download and use the latest update to ensure that you work with the latest news.

Breakout Rooms in Teams Meetings Help People to Work Smarter

Microsoft announced that Teams meetings will support breakout rooms in Q4 2020 for commercial, education, and GCC Office 365 tenants. The new feature allows up to 50 sub-meetings (breakout rooms) to be created from a meeting. The meeting organizer can then assign people to rooms, which then host discussions. The rooms can be started and closed as needed, and participants in each room can share information with each other just like a regular Teams meeting.

How to Use Exchange Dynamic Distribution Lists to Address Specific Mailboxes

Exchange Online supports dynamic distribution lists, a great way to address sets of recipients found by resolving a filter against the directory. In this example, we explore how to create a dynamic distribution list to address mailboxes marked as preferring a specific beverage. It might even be useful some day!

Useful Add Shortcut to OneDrive Feature for SharePoint Online Folders

SharePoint Online now boasts the Add shortcut to OneDrive feature, which is a very usefuil way to assemble a set of points to important SharePoint folders in OneDrive. While Microsoft Search can find documents and Delve can display a set of documents added to boards, being able to find all your important folders in OneDrive for Business is a very effective way to have fast access to your most important files.

New Outlook API Makes Email Signature Management Easier

At the Ignite 2020 virtual conference, Microsoft ISV Code Two Software demonstrated a new Outlook API to make email signature management easier across all Outlook clients. The Signature API supports web add-ins that work on all Outlook platforms to allow users to select which corporate email signature to apply before sending messages. The new API should be available at the end of 2020 and we can expect updates from multiple ISVs in the email signature management space to exploit the new capability.

Change to Outlook Groups Displays High Unread Counts

Outlook for Windows has supported Microsoft 365 Groups since 2015. The developers chose a seen/unseen model for Groups, but now Outlook has switched to a read/unread model, meaning that the unread counts for Groups can suddenly seem much higher than before. It’s a one-time change that aligns Outlook desktop with OWA and Outlook Mobile and there’s an easy way to set all unread items to be read. But you might want to tell people that this change is coming!

Microsoft Updates the Exchange Online Management Module (V2.0.3)

Version 2.0.3 of the Exchange Online Management PowerShell module is now available for download. The new release contains many useful enhancements including full support for certificate-based authentication, the ability to restrict cmdlets loaded into a session, and support for simultaneous connections to Exchange Online and the Security and Compliance Center.

Making Outlook the Default Mail App for iOS14

Apple allows iOS14 users to select a different email app to be the default. The switch to Outlook is easy, and you can also pin Outlook to the Home Screen to make it easier and faster to access the app. Remember to check for users running iOS12 because Microsoft no longer supports these devices are for Outlook updates. Fortunately, PowerShell helps to find devices running iOS12 by checking their mobile device connection status.

Microsoft Launches V1.1.6 of PowerShell Module for Teams

Microsoft has launched version 1.1.6 of the PowerShell module for Teams (MicrosoftTeams). The new module makes the Skype for Business Online connector unnecessary because it contains the New-CsOnlineSession cmdlet needed to create a new session to use the cmdlets used to manage Teams policies.

Why Microsoft Extends Office 365 Notification Dates For New Functionality

Microsoft publishes notifications about new Office 365 functionality in the Microsoft 365 message center. Sometimes the dates advertised for the delivery of the new software are pushed out when Microsoft updates the original notifications. All of which means that tenant administrators need to spend a little time tracking updates to make sure that they’re prepared when Microsoft eventually delivers.

Teams Badge Count Service Makes App Pill Counts More Reliable

We bet you never knew about the importance of app pill counts. Well, the badge counts shown by apps like Teams are guides for users to know when new information is available. It’s important enough for Teams to invest in a new Teams Badge Count service to improve the accuracy of the new item counts shown to users. Here’s what’s happening.

Monitoring Guest Accounts Added to Teams

You can easily add people from outside your Office 365 tenant to the membership of Teams, but some oversight of who those people are and what teams they join is probably needed. This PowerShell script shows how to find records in the Office 365 audit log and figure out if they relate to the creation of new guest accounts before sending email asking to justify the addition of the new account.

Turbocharging the Analysis of Office 365 Data with PowerShell Hash Tables

PowerShell hash tables are very efficient at retrieving data, which is just what’s needed when thousands of Office 365 accounts need processing. Our script to analyze usage data extracted from the Microsoft Graph was turbo-charged when we replaced list objects with hash tables, all of which makes it much easier to identify underused Office 365 accounts and save some money on licensing spend.

Preview of Teams Migration API Has Slack in Its Cross-Hairs

A preview of a new migration API for Teams is with ISVs. The API is to migrate data from other chat platforms (Slack is the obvious target) to Teams. There’s still no news about solid APIs for tenant to tenant migration or backup and restore for Teams. Microsoft is really interested in moving people off competitor platforms to Teams. It seems they are less interested in doing some of the heavy lifting involved in tenant management and restructuring.

Teams Rolls Out New Conversation Button

Adding a New conversation button to the Teams client user interface might seem like an insignificant UI tweak. However, keeping replies with their topics is important because it helps users find information and helps compliance searches assemble full conversations. Not many would think about how a UI change affects compliance and eDiscovery searches, but we do…

Creating Customized Badges for the Microsoft Teams Praise App

The Microsoft Teams Praise app is used to acknowledge the achievements of people. Different badges exist to highlight various ways people contribute to teams. Now you can create custom badges and publish them for use in the Praise app. All sorts of interesting ideas come to mind. How artistic can you be?

Speeding Access to Office 365 PowerShell Data Using Where Instead of Where-Object

The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook includes many PowerShell examples, and while we mostly concentrate on illustrating the principles of how PowerShell is used to solve problems, we do care about performance. Which is why we’re always interested in finding ways to speed up our code. This this article we explore how to use the Where method to replace the Where-Object cmdlet to filter objects. The good news is that it’s an easy way to get better code performance.

Using Planner in Offline Mode

Microsoft Planner is able to work in offline mode when disconnected from the network. In this article, we describe what the browser client can and cannot do when it’s not connected. The thing is that Microsoft hasn’t told anyone that Planner can work offline. No blog, no documentation, and no Office 365 notification. Isn’t that strange?

Teams Upgrades File Sharing to be Consistent with Office 365

Teams is adopting the common file sharing mechanism used by Office 365 applications. The change is now going on and should be deployed worldwide by the end of September. With Teams in the fold, we can say that sharing is done consistently across Office 365, which can’t be a bad thing.

Teams Gets New Meeting Pre-Join Experience

Microsoft has spruced up the Teams meeting pre-join screen to gather all the settings that participants can use to configure their audio and video for a meeting. The browser interface is slightly different because browsers don’t support background effects. The new screens are better than before and are a good example of how to apply rationalization and simplification to UX design.