Outlook’s Groups Menu Bar Now Includes Teams

Outlook for Windows has a Groups menu bar which is displayed when conversations in a Microsoft 365 group are accessed. A new Teams button is available to bring users to the General channel of team-enabled groups. It’s an interesting decision by Microsoft to add the button because I am not quite sure if any need exists for such a facility.

Using the Teams Meeting Add-in for Outlook

The Teams Meeting add-in for Outlook schedules online private Teams meetings. A recent update for Outlook for Windows allows meeting settings to be changed. It’s a logical and useful update to allow people who prefer to work in Outlook to maintain their meetings without needing to go to the Teams calendar app.

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.

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!

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.

Office 365 Won’t Block Old Clients But End in Sight for Office 2013

Microsoft posted a reminder that connections from Office 2013 will no longer be supported for Office 365 service from October 13, 2020. Microsoft won’t take any action to block legacy clients, but the writing is on the wall. Office 365 tenants need to decide how to replace Office 2013 by either upgrading to Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise (click to run) or switching to browser clients like OWA.

How Outlook’s Notification Pane Displays Details of Office 365 Incidents

Outlook for Windows boasts a new admin notification panel where incidents affecting the Office 365 tenant show up. It’s an interesting idea, but you wonder if there aren’t more important things for the developers to work on, especially as many other ways exist for administrators to find out when problems happen.

Outlook Mobile can be Default Mail App for iOS14

Among the announcements made by Apple at their annual developers conference is the welcome news that iOS14 will allow you to replace the default mail app and browser. This is great news for people who use Outlook for iOS. And you might even consider Edge as a browser.

Outlook for Windows Stores Settings in Exchange Online Mailboxes

Outlook for Windows is being upgraded to store its setting, including signatures, in Exchange Online mailboxes for Office 365 accounts. Essentially, the bulk of the settings controlled through Outlook options are stored in mailboxes and available to Outlook on all Windows PCs that an Office 365 signs into.

Microsoft Introduces Roaming Signatures for Outlook for Windows

Outlook for Windows is soon to support roaming signatures, but only the click-to-run version when connected to an Exchange Online mailbox. Still, it’s progress, and it will make the task of using the same signature on different PCs much easier. Good-looking signatures must still be generated for corporate branding purposes, so the ISVs selling email signature products don’t need to fret.

Who Receives Invitations for Teams Meetings

Teams makes it easy to schedule meetings for people to attend online. You can create meetings with Outlook or the Teams calendar app. Notifications go to those invited, but you can’t really invite a channel from a team. If you add a channel to a meeting, that’s where the online gathering takes place. So who gets notified then?

Reporting Exchange Online Folder Permissions

In addition to mailbox permissions, Exchange Online supports folder-level delegated permissions. Users can create folder delegations through Outlook desktop. Like mailbox permissions, it’s a good idea for tenants to check folder-level delegations to ensure that people don’t keep permissions for longer than they should. We explain how to create a PowerShell script to generate such a report.

Updating an Outlook for Windows Signature with PowerShell

Microsoft is working on cloud signatures for Outlook, but how can you update signatures for the current versions of Outlook click to run. Here’s our best attempt with PowerShell. The code works, but it could do with some error handing and various improvements before it could go anywhere near production. Think of it as a working example of why cloud signatures will be so much better,.

Reply with IM Transfers Conversations from Outlook to Teams

Have you ever been in a to-and-fro email conversation that never gets anywhere fast? It might be better to transfer to Teams, and that’s what the Outlook Reply with IM feature does. Instead of battling through multiple replies, you discuss matters in a Teams chat and hopefully end up with a good resolution. At least, that’s the plan.

New OWA Becomes Default for Mobile Browsers

Not many Office 365 users choose OWA as their mobile client, but those who do will soon be forced to use the new OWA because Microsoft is removing the toggle to allow people to switch between the old and new versions in February, just like they did for workstation versions last July. The new OWA is a fine client, but its usefulness on mobile browsers is not as good as the functionality offered in Mobile Outlook, which continues to be our choice as the best mobile Office 365 email client.

What Makes an Outlook Meeting an Online Event

Outlook can schedule online Teams or Skype for Business Online meetings. But what marks an online meeting as different to a regular Outlook meeting? The magic lies in a set of MAPI properties populated by Outlook to help meeting participants connect to the right online meeting. A little poking behind the scenes with MFCMAPI reveals more.

How Microsoft Deploys New Outlook Mobile Features

Deploying new features to a massive 100-million plus user community takes a lot of planning and careful management. Outlook Mobile caters for both consumer and commercial users, and different methods are used to deliver new features to the two groups. Sometimes this means that different users in the same tenant can’t access a new feature even if they have the right software.

Shared Mailbox and Dark Mode Support in Outlook Mobile

Outlook mobile users now have shared mailbox support in both iOS and Android platforms. The work to upgrade the backend service is also progressing and is past 50% rollout. And dark mode is coming too. It’s available in beta today to Testflight users (only for iOS), and it’s also been enabled for some users who run the latest version of the clients.

Configuring and Using Outlook People Favorites

Outlook people favorites give Exchange Online users fast access to their most important email correspondents. OWA has the best implementation but the feature is also available in Outlook mobile. As usual, Outlook desktop lags. It’s a small feature that could turn out to be very important to some users. Office 365 is full of such examples.

Outlook’s Hybrid Mode Helps in Flaky Network Conditions

Outlook logo

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.

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.

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.

Handling Calendar Appointments for IMAP4 Clients

Despite the age of the protocols, you can cheerfully connect a wide range of IMAP4 and POP3 clients to Exchange Online. If you do, you might need to consider how to handle calendar appointments, and if you want to use iCAL, you’ll need to make some adjustments with PowerShell.

Outlook Mobile Gains Ability to Create Teams Meetings

Outlook Mobile clients can now schedule Teams meetings, even if your tenant isn’t using the newer version of Outlook’s mobile connection architecture. The Office 365 tenant setting for Skype for Business Online co-existence mode has to be configured to use Teams, and once everything is in place Outlook is happy to schedule Teams meetings.

Outlook Mobile Adds Office Lens

Microsoft has integrated its Office Lens technology into Outlook for iOS to give users the ability to capture and include an image in messages in a very easy manner. Office Lens is more than another camera app as some Microsoft Research smarts are used to smoothen and clarify images before saving in a variety of formats, now including an Outlook message.

Adding a Teams Chat Link to Your Email Signature

Teams deep links are probably not something you chat about a lot, but they can be used to start off a personal chat. In this post, we discuss how to insert a deep link in an Outlook or OWA signature so that recipients can contact you to follow up a topic started in email. It’s a quirky detail about Teams that might be interesting for you.

Office 365 Reaches 180 Million Monthly Active Users

At their Q3 FY19 earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Office 365 is now used by 180 million monthly active users. Office 365 is now growing at more than 4 million users per month. The earnings call also noted success for Enterprise Mobility and Security and the Outlook mobile client, both of which are now used by more than 100 million people.

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.

Outlook’s Background Moves

Outlook logo

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.

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.

New OWA Maturing in Different Ways

The new version of OWA is maturing and new features are turning up on a weekly basis. You can now schedule a Teams meeting from OWA and the prospect of joyful animations hang in the air. But only for Office 365 users as there’s no sign that the new OWA will come to Exchange on-premises servers.

Adding Global Contacts for an Office 365 Tenant

You can use a public folder to store and share global email contacts, but a better approach is to use Exchange mail contacts. These objects show up in the Exchange GAL and OAB and are available to all Outlook clients (and some third-party clients too).

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.