A new setting in OWA options allows users to choose to preserve declined meetings. Keeping details of declined meetings can help users to find information included in meeting details of data created during meetings like chats and meeting summaries, or forward the meeting to someone else if needed.
Now available for OWA and the Monarch client, Outlook voice dictation allows users to compose the body text of messages with speech-to-text transcription. A limited set of languages are available for now, but more to come. Learning how to compose email with speech is an acquired art and might required some AI help to produce acceptable results.
Not everyone likes to respond to email with an emoji, which is why the options to disallow Outlook reactions through clients or mail flow rules exist. Everything revolves around the x-ms-reactions message header, which is what Exchange Online uses to understand if people can respond to email with emojis.
A Nov 9 article published by a German website expressed concern about the way that the new Outlook synchronizes user email data to Azure. There’s nothing to worry about. Outlook synchronizes email data to be able to process the data to support features that the user’s email server might not. It’s what the Outlook mobile client has done for years.
Outlook keeps on evolving. Two recent changes are the addition of a Find Related search option in the desktop client and a reminders pop-out window for the Monarch (preview) client. Find related is a nice way to accelerate searches for all items for a conversation or from a sender. The reminders pop-out window seems to be an idea borrowed from the Outlook classic client, but maybe it’s so much better when implemented for a browser client.
Soon after they launched Outlook Reactions in 2022, Microsoft received requests to disable the feature. Now you can by adding SMTP headers to messages. Outlook clients will be able to add the header to stop recipients reacting and organizations will be able to create mail flow rules to add the header to selected messages. It’s nice to have a way to disable reactions.
The SharePoint News in Outlook feature allows users to email news items to recipients within the same tenant. It’s like the Teams Share to Outlook feature and is just about as exciting. Some new templates allows users to post and email news items by displaying a screen to collect email properties. Interestingly, the feature supports multi-tenant organizations, but I suspect that this is an error.
Outlook Monarch controls are available to help with the deployment of the new Outlook for Windows client in a mixture of Exchange settings and registry entries. You can block users from using the new client or adding consumer email accounts to Monarch. And best of all, you can disable the “try the new Outlook” toggle until you’re ready for people to plunge into the brave new world of the revamped Outlook for Windows.
The Outlook Monarch client is making steady progress. It’s now due to replace the Mail and Calendar apps in Windows 11 at the end of 2024. This article discusses using the Outlook Monarch client with Gmail accounts. The integration is pretty good and will no doubt be popular with those who have a Gmail account.
An update for Microsoft 365 Data Loss Prevention policies supports the configuration of oversharing popups for Outlook shown when a user composes email with specified sensitivity labels for either the message or any attachment. The idea is that the popup (a policy tip) helps the user to understand the problem and why they are violating a DLP policy so that they can address the problem before attempting to send the message.
Planning the introduction of sensitivity labels for meetings means that you pay attention to label scoping and naming. Having too many meeting labels will confuse users and the same will happen if the label display names don’t convey their purpose. This article explains some simple steps to take to make sure that your meeting labels work well.
The Outlook board view originated as Project Moca, an app to organize items from Outlook and other sources, then became the board view in the OWA calendar. That status lasted two years and now Microsoft will retire the board view from Outlook on June 26, 2023. It’s probably because Microsoft 365 boasts a surplus of ways to record notes in some shape or form. That, and the fact that hardly anyone uses Outlook boards.
Outlook users can now apply sensitivity labels for meetings to protect the information contained in the meeting body and attachments. Outlook desktop and OWA clients can apply sensitivity labels to meetings. Outlook Mobile clients can process protected meetings and view the meetings in the calendar, but the protected meeting content (the body) is unavailable because it is encrypted.
Outlook sensitivity labels can protect messages with rights management encryption. But looking at items in the Sent Items folder you might see different results. Some messages have sensitivity labels but don’t appear to be encrypted while others have both labels and encryption. Why should different Outlook clients produce such varying results. It’s all to do with the code built into the clients.
Microsoft has integrated Authenticator Lite, a subset of the full Microsoft Authenticator app, into Outlook for iOS and Android. The code allows users to respond to MFA challenges using number matching or one-time codes without leaving Outlook and is intended to help organizations deploy and manage MFA with less friction. Although you can’t use Authenticator Lite if the Authenticator app is present on the same device, integrating MFA capabilities direct into apps sounds like a great idea.
Microsoft uses machine learning in Outlook and Exchange Online to create the basis for what they call intelligent technology like suggested replies and text prediction. To generate the language models used to figure out how Outlook should respond to users, Microsoft needs to copy data from user mailboxes for processing. The data is removed and the results stored in user mailboxes once processing is complete. Is this an issue for Microsoft 365 tenants? It all depends on your view of how data should be processed.
Microsoft has announced bookable time for OWA. It’s really just another entry point for the Bookings with Me app in an attempt to get more people to use the app. Bookings for me is a useful facility for people that need to publish available meeting slots for others to request time with them. Whether it’s something that the average Outlook users wants or needs is quite another matter.
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.