Microsoft says that the roaming (or cloud) email signatures feature is now fully deployed. The new approach solves an Outlook problem, but it’s not a universal panacea for the management of email signatures within large organizations where you want consistency in the signatures used by everyone. You’ll need an ISV solution to get that kind of functionality.
Outlook Groups now boast support for folders and rules. In other words, group owners and members (if allowed) can create new folders and move and copy items from the inbox to those folders. They can also create rules to process inbound email arriving into the group inbox. It’s all well and good, but there are a few points to understand about how things work.
Users will soon have the option to use Outlook reactions to respond to emails received from people inside the same tenant (well, it also works with some other tenants). It’s the same kind of feature that already exists in Yammer and Teams, but whether this kind of response works with email remains to be seen. It’s a cultural thing!
The Outlook Sweep feature is available in OWA and the Outlook Monarch client. The idea is that you clean up your mailbox by ‘sweeping’ unwanted items into somewhere like the Deleted Items folder. As it turns out, the Sweep feature uses both Inbox and Sweep rules to get its work done. Overall, Sweep is a pretty useful piece of functionality.
External tagging has been available for OWA, Outlook mobile, and Outlook for Mac since 2021. Now it’s coming to Outlook for Windows. Some might wonder about why it’s taken Microsoft so long to add external tagging to the Windows client. It might be that they’re waiting for the Monarch client, but it’s more likely the difficulty of retrofitting new features into the Outlook GUI.
A new Outlook Monarch build is available for Office Insiders to test. Still a prettier version of OWA, Monarch is maturing, and this build is usable, especially if you prefer OWA rather than desktop Outlook. However, if you need offline working, you need to wait a little longer because that feature still isn’t there.
Like OWA and Teams chat, Outlook for Windows boasts the ability to add Loop components in messages. The implementation is very similar to OWA, as you’d expect, which means that some of the same shortcomings seen in OWA are in Outlook for Windows. Such is life.
Outlook automapping is usually a good thing. Exchange marks a mailbox after a user receives full access permission for the mailbox. Autodiscover publishes details of the new access, and Outlook adds the mailbox to its resource list. But Some downsides exist, like the size of the OST, which mean that sometimes it’s better to add a mailbox manually to Outlook and forget about automapping.
Outlook’s new Booking with Me feature is rolling out worldwide. Any user with an Exchange Online license can create a personal bookings page to allow other internal and external people to book meetings with them. It’s a nice idea and a good example of how Microsoft can use its software toolkit to create new solutions.
Microsoft promises they will deliver the long-awaiting Outlook roaming signatures feature in October 2022. There are signs of progress in Outlook beta builds, but the development of the feature has caused some disruption for Microsoft 365 tenants because it broke the cmdlet that updates HTML signatures for OWA. Oh well, it will all be OK in October. At least, that’s the plan.
Loop components are now supported in OWA. The implementation is reasonably close to that of Teams chat, but has some essential differences due to the nature of email. The current state of Loop components mean that they are highly suited for internal communication but not for collaboration outside an organization.
Microsoft is introducing new controls for delegate access to encrypted emails accessed via Outlook clients other than Outlook for Windows. The controls are implemented in three new PowerShell cmdlets which can block, validate, and allow delegate access to encrypted messages. It’s nice to see some coherence being introduced for almost all the Outlook clients, even if Outlook for Windows does its own thing.
Outlook’s Org Explorer (available in Insider builds) brings together information from multiple Microsoft 365 sources to help users understand the people they work with in an organization. It’s like an Office 365 profile card on steroids, but only for user accounts as guest accounts and other external people are ignored. In other news, roaming signatures for Outlook desktop are getting closer as OWA now supports the creation and use of multiple web signatures, all of which can be used by Outlook desktop.
A leaked build of Project Monarch’s “One Outlook” client created some excitement last week, but when you examine the details of the client and what it can do, it’s really just a prettier version of OWA for Exchange Online. That doesn’t mean that Microsoft hasn’t done a bunch of software engineering to prepare the ground to accelerate progress toward the final client. Microsoft has also provided a way to block people using the client, with promise of an official beta soon.
A new control in the SharePoint Online configuration is available to enable or disable Microsoft Loop components in Microsoft 365 apps, just in time for their introduction in OWA and Outlook for Windows. However, before we get all excited, there are some important issues with loop components when exported in eDiscovery search results that might make tenant administrators ponder. Just a tad…
I’m not sure people use moderated distribution lists with Exchange Online all that much, but those who do might be frustrated by a client inconsistency between OWA and Outlook. OWA can expand the membership of a moderated distribution list; Outlook for Windows cannot. It’s a small point. Maybe Project Monarch will help…
Microsoft’s latest update for the roadmap item for Outlook roaming signatures puts general availability in July 2022, some two years after the original announcement. It’s a strange delay, even by the standards of the Outlook desktop development cycle. ISVs who make signature management software have used the delay to good effect to improve their products, so it remains to be seen what effect Outlook roaming signatures will have on that market.
Delegates often process Outlook email for others. It’s a feature that works well. That is, until protected email arrives. Delegates shouldn’t be able to read protected email in other peoples’ mailboxes. But some versions of Outlook allow this to happen. If you want to be sure that delegates can’t access protected email, maybe you should consider using a dual-mailbox approach.
An update to Microsoft Search means that search results available in SharePoint Online and Office.com now include Outlook and Teams messages. Microsoft has also updated Microsoft Search in Bing to include Outlook messages. All in all, these changes make Microsoft Search the go-to location when you need to find mailbox and Teams messages.
Project Moca is no longer a separate OWA component. Boards created in Moca are now available through the OWA calendar, just like other boards created there. The question is how Microsoft will bring the board view to Outlook desktop. I figure it’s a candidate for OCX and WebView2, just like the Room Finder. Time will tell.
Outlook and OWA users will soon see a banner notification to recommend the installation of an Edge extension. The extension logs into the user account to peek into the mailbox, calendar, tasks, and contacts. Tenant administrators have until July 30 to decide if they will block the display of the banners. This can be done using the Office Cloud Policy Service or a Group Policy Object.
Microsoft says a change to Outlook shared calendaring is arguably the biggest made since 1997. That’s all marketing hyperbole because many other more important technical advances have occurred in that time, including drizzle mode synchronization, Autodiscover, and Outlook Anywhere. What’s your favorite Outlook feature since 1997?
Microsoft introduced a new organization setting for Office 365 tenants to have Outlook shorten meetings automatically. The idea is to create a break between meetings to give people time to decompress and prepare for their next call. It all sounds good and it makes sense to build buffers into your calendar during busy days. The problem is that other people might come late to a meeting, start it early (without you), or prolong it into your carefully scheduled buffer. Technology can help humans do the right thing, but in this case it’s strictly advisory.
Teams supports several methods to import email. Outlook for Windows can drag and drop messages into Teams conversations. It’s a quick and easy way to move the focus of a conversation, but there are some downsides to be aware of.
Microsoft’s One Outlook program aims to rationalize the current client set. The Edge WebView2 component allows Outlook desktop to reuse OWA features, which is why Microsoft now distributes WebView2 with the Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise (desktop apps). We’re now seeing signs of reuse with an obvious example being the appearance of OWA’s room finder in Outlook for Windows.
Microsoft has refreshed the Send to Teams option in Outlook for Windows, OWA, and Outlook for Mac. You might not notice the change, but it’s a little faster and works better. Software engineering changes like this happen all the time in the cloud to speed up performance and improve reliability. We keep an eye on stuff like this to make sure that we understand what’s happening across Microsoft 365. It’s just what we do…
Microsoft will include the Edge WebView2 runtime with Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise version 2101 or later. This doesn’t mean they install Edge; it’s simply a software component to make it possible for Outlook desktop to run features developed for OWA. You can block the deployment if you like, but there’s really no good reason to do so.
Sometimes delegate access for an Exchange Online calendar goes awry due to corrupted items in the mailbox. To help sort out problems, Microsoft has upgraded the Remove-MailboxFolderPermission cmdlet to do the work that used to be done by a multi-phase fix performed using the MFCMAPI or EWS editor utilities. The nice thing is that this method is quick, simple, and works well.
Outlook for Windows is gaining a new Meet Now button in the Teams meeting add-in. You can use the add-in to launch impromptu private Teams meetings. That is, if the settings in the Teams meeting policy assigned to your account allows. And guests better not try to Meet Now when they’re signed into a host tenant because they’ll probably end up frustrated down a black hole, which is a horrible place to be.
The Teams meeting add-in allows users to schedule online Teams meetings from Outlook. While you might know that the add-in exists, do you know how to find its version number and where the add-in DLL is stored? These questions and others are answered in this post.
Long-term Outlook users have probably noticed that they can’t attach files in events created as Teams meetings. Teams like cloudy files, not email attachments, so if you want to send some important information along with a meeting invitation, you can include links to the data or paste it into the body of the invitation. And once the meeting is created, you can share files with meeting participants, which is really the Teams way of getting the job done.
Outlook for Windows has the option to make Teams online meetings the default for all new meetings. Users can edit meeting settings through Outlook too. Unlike the other Outlook clients, Outlook for Windows depends on a registry setting to control whether an online event should be created. And there’s no support for third-party meeting platforms.
A recurring meeting is a series of events. For Teams, each event might be different, but all events share the same online workspace. The advantage for this approach is that the participants see resources shared for all meetings; the downside is exactly the same because some people might not want this to happen.
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.
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.
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.