Outlook for iOS Can Finally Snooze, But Some Interesting Features Remain Unavailable Outside the U.S.

Outlook for iOS finally supports the Do Not Disturb feature to suppress notifications for new email, something that Outlook for Android has been able to do for 18 months. iOS and Android are obviously different ecosystems, so the delay might have been caused by problems dealing with the Apple notification service. In any case, you can now snooze some or all of your email accounts. In other news, some of the more interesting features available to U.S. email accounts are still not available outside the reach of Cortana.

Using the Immersive Reader in Teams and OWA

The Microsoft Immersive Reader exists to make messages more readable for those who need a little help. It’s built into Office apps like Teams and OWA. Most people don’t know this or don’t need to use the reader, but those who do need support to access and understand text will find the Immersive Reader very helpful.

Will Microsoft Teams Take Over from Email?

In a session recorded at Microsoft Ignite 2019, Tony Redmond discusses the question of will Microsoft Teams take over from email. The session covers the strengths and weaknesses of both technologies and makes recommendations for how organizations can take full advantage of Teams and email.

Microsoft Clamps Down on Auto-Expanding Archive Mailboxes

In a surprise development, Microsoft reversed course for Exchange Online auto-expanding archives and imposed a 1TB limit. The promise of a bottomless archive that continually expanded to cope with user data is removed. Although it’s reasonable for Microsoft to restrict the consumption of resources, suddenly implementing a limit is not, especially when you don’t communicate with customers.

Exchange Online Protection Improves Zero-Hour Auto Purge (ZAP)

The fight against spam and malware goes on unabated. ZAP, or zero-hour auto purge, is an Exchange Online Protection (EOP) feature that’s getting some extra features to deal better with spam and phish malware. New policy controls are available to control the feature.

OWA Embraces Office 365 Sensitivity Labels

OWA now supports Office 365 Sensitivity Labels, which means that users can apply labels to mark and/or protect messages with encryption just like they can with Outlook. The update adds to the ways that sensitivity labels can be applied to Office 365 content, with the next step being to achieve the same support for the other online Office apps.

Microsoft 365 Groups, Send As, and the Missing NDRs

You can configure Send As and Send on Behalf of permissions to allow Exchange Online users to send messages for an Office 365 Group. All is well if the messages arrive, but if they don’t, the NDRs might not get to where you think they should go, such as a folder in the Recoverable Items structure. That’s OK if the sender was told that a problem exists with a message, but they don’t know anything happened.

Outlook’s Hybrid Mode Helps in Flaky Network Conditions

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Outlook 2013 introduced the concept of hybrid mode (sometimes called Exchange Fast Access) to allow clients configured in cached Exchange mode to fetch data direct from the server when possible. The mode works well, except when you’re connected on a poor network as the attempts to fetch data from the server might cause Outlook to hang. A registry setting gives a way to force Outlook to operate in classic cached mode and use the OST exclusively when it needs data.

How to Set Auto-Replies for Shared Mailboxes with PowerShell

A question about how best to set auto-replies for Exchange Online shared mailboxes to respond to messages arriving during a public holiday gives another chance for PowerShell to show how useful it is. You could do the work with Flow, but PowerShell is more flexible and capable when dealing with multiple shared mailboxes.

Focused Inbox Has Problem Delivering to the Right Place

Following a configuration change, the Exchange Online Focused Inbox ran into a problem on July 24 and delivered all messages to the “Other” view. This caused problems for users who didn’t receive notifications of new mail. Software can have bugs, but configuration changes should be tested before getting to production.

Reporting Spam to Make Exchange Online Protection Better

No one likes getting spam. Although EOP generally does a good job, Office 365 users can help themselves and help others by reporting spam that gets through to their mailboxes using Outlook’s Report Message add-in. And if they’d like someone else to report bad mesages, admins can do so through the Security and Compliance Center.

New OWA Becomes The OWA on July 22

Microsoft has announced that the switchover to the new OWA interface will start on July 22 when Office 365 tenants in targeted release will lose the chance to toggle back and forth between the two interfaces. By the end of September, everyone will use the new OWA. Let’s hope that Microsoft has fixed all the functionality gaps by then.

How to Add Shared Mailboxes to Outlook Mobile

Microsoft has announced that it will deploy the ability to add shared mailboxes to Outlook Mobile by the end of July. But if you want to see the feature early, you can join the Testflight program and install the beta version of Outlook mobile. Using Outlook for iOS with Testflight also forces the upgrade of your Office 365 tenant to the Microsoft Sync Technology.

Shared Mailbox Support Soon for Outlook Mobile

Microsoft has announced that Outlook Mobile (iOS and Android) will include support for Exchange Online shared mailboxes “in the next several weeks,” which probably means early July 2019. The update comes as good news for many people who have been forced to use an IMAP4-based workaround to access shared mailboxes. Microsoft is also making some other changes to improve the Files view and calendar sync in Outlook mobile.

Outlook Increases 500 Shared Folder Limit to 5000

Microsoft has implemented a new synchronization mechanism in Outlook ProPlus to deal more efficiently with shared folders. The new approach increases the limit from 500 to 5,000 folders and is a more elegant and precise solution. Users who manage other peoples’ mailboxes will appreciate the change after they install build 11629.20196 or later.

Detecting Offensive Language with Office 365 Supervision Policies

Office 365 supervision policies can now make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect offensive language in email and Teams communications. The data model covers a wide range of problematic language, but only in English. You can go ahead and cheerfully continue to swear in French, German, and other languages with no danger of being detected by policy.

Outlook’s Option to End Appointments and Meetings Early

Outlook for Windows (ProPlus or click to run) now boasts settings to allow users to schedule meetings and appointments to end some minutes earlier than expected. Brian Reid is very excited by the prospect, but we’re not sure if this qualifies as one of Ståle Hansen’s famous lifehacks. In any case, ending meetings early won’t solve the problem of badly-organized or managed meetings or how people behave during meetings, but it might give you a quiet feeling of satisfaction to have a neater calendar.

Microsoft’s “New Migration Experience” from G Suite to Exchange Online

Microsoft announced a new migration experience from Google G Suite yesterday, which is nice. Under the covers, the venerable Mailbox Migration Service (MRS) does the work to extract mailbox data from Gmail using IMAP4 and moves it to Exchange Online. But after the move is done, there’s still lots of work to do to help users make the cultural change to their new mailbox in the cloud.

Outlook’s Background Moves

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It’s hard for a program that’s been around for 22 years to surprise, but Outlook has done it by introducing background moves. The implementation is good and it closes a gap that’s existed in Outlook for a very long time. So long that most Outlook users probably assumed that the program would never mend its ways. But then again, because people don’t move items between folders like they used to, perhaps no one cared.

The Irritation of Exchange Online’s Inconsistent Mail Tips

MailTips are a pretty useful way of drawing the attention of users to potential issues with email. Exchange Online supports several MailTips, but Outlook clients insist on supporting MailTips in different ways. It’s a small but irritating part of Exchange Online that could be done better.

Microsoft Launches Series of Outlook Mobile Seminars

Microsoft will deliver a set of five seminars about Outlook Mobile starting on March 14. It’s always good to gain some knowledge about an important technology. Outlook Mobile is important to Office 365 because it is the most functional email client available. If you don’t believe me, attend some of the seminars and make your own mind up.

Phishing: Your Document Has Been Completed

Phishing attacks through email happen all the time. A new relatively crude one arrived today. It’s easy for the trained eye to detect phishing, but do your Office 365 admins know how to use the tools available in Exchange Online Protection to suppress malware, and do your users know the signs of bad email? In this case, it’s an invitation to click to get to a PDF document to bring you to digitaloceanspaces.com. Some interesting things might happen afterwards, but I really don’t want to find out what occurs when I click the link.

New OWA Now Generally Available to Office 365 Tenants

The new version of OWA (sometimes called Outlook on the Web, or Outlook Web Access) is now generally available to all Office 365 tenants. Although the new OWA has some nice features, you might want to turn off the user choice (toggle) to move the new UI until you’ve had time to prepare the help desk, documentation, and that sort of thing.

Exchange Online Transport Rule to Encrypt Sensitive Email

Microsoft has released details of an Exchange Online transport rule to encrypt outbound email containing sensitive data types like credit card numbers. The rule works (after fixing the PowerShell), but needs to be reviewed and possibly adjusted to meet the needs of Office 365 tenants.

Applying Autosignatures with Transport Rules

Office 365 tenants can use Exchange transport rules to apply autosignatures to outbound email, including messages protected with encryption. You can even include some properties of the sender extracted from Azure Active Directory, and you can add an exception so that the autosignature isn’t applied to replies.

Sending Email with PowerShell and Exchange Online

You can use the Send-MailMessage cmdlet in a PowerShell script to send mail messages via Exchange Online. And sometimes your IP address might be listed as a spammer, which is bad. All in all, authenticated client submission seems best.

Sending Protected Email to Teams, Yammer, Groups, and Shared Mailboxes

Encrypted email is becoming more common within Office 365. Things usually flow smoothly when sending protected messages to email recipients, but other Office 365 recipient types like Teams and Yammer might not be able to handle protected email.

How to Track the Processing Done by Exchange Online’s Managed Folder Assistant

The Exchange Online Managed Folder Assistant (MFA) runs in the background on a workcycle basis to make sure that mailboxes are processed at least once a week. Most of the processing involves mailbox and Office 365 retention policies and runs smoothly, but how do you know what MFA has done?

Report for Email Encryption in the Security and Compliance Center

The Office 365 Security and Compliance Center includes a report to detail encrypted email. The report is in preview. It’s a nice insight into user activity, even if it has some glitches that need to be sorted out before it becomes generally available.

Logos in Email – Another Way to Stop Spoofing

Including a company’s logo when listing or displaying email is another way to give users confidence that the email is in fact from that company. Business Indicators for Message Identification is a draft standard that might become generally used by all email clients. But for now. Microsoft has their own business profile “brand card” program, and that’s where OWA gets its logos.

How to Report the Connection Protocol Used by Outlook Mobile Clients

Microsoft has refreshed the Outlook Mobile architecture (now called “Microsoft Sync Technology”). They suggest that you run some PowerShell to report clients connecting via the old and new architectures. Their code works, but we think ours is better.

Understanding the Email Addresses Used by Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams

Some recent questions in the Microsoft Technical Community show confusion about the email addresses used by Office 365 Groups and Teams. Here’s our attempt to clarify.

Using S/MIME with the Azure Information Protection Client

The latest version of the Azure Information Protection (AIP) client supports the ability to associate S/MIME protection with an AIP label. Although interesting, it’s a feature unlikely to be of much practical use to the majority of Office 365 tenants.

Phishing: Sample Messages Delivered to Exchange Online Mailboxes

Another day, another phishing attempt, this time trying to make unwary Office 365 administrators click on a link to “Retrieve Pending Messages” for their domain. I’m surprised this one got through! Some other examples from November 2019 are included for your review. Make sure that you report these bad boys when they arrive into user mailboxes

Phishing: EFile Document Notification

A very exciting message arrived in my mailbox. So exciting that it was too good to be true. Some basic checks made me more suspicious and then Outlook’s Message Header Analyzer gave more evidence to think the message was bad.

How to Find and Report Inactive Distribution Lists

A recent correspondent asked how to find inactive distribution lists in Exchange Online. We didn’t have a good answer in the book, so here’s some PowerShell code to do the trick.