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.

Come in Internet Explorer – Your Time is Up

Office 365 Tenants need to stop people using Internet Explorer. On November 30, Teams stops support for IE11; nine months later, the rest of the Microsoft 365 apps cease support. According to Microsoft, the only browser in town is the new Edge (which has an IE mode), but most will keep on using Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or Safari as they do today.

Stopping Users Updating OWA Autosignatures

If an Office 365 tenant goes to the bother of creating nice OWA autosignatures for users, shouldn’t we also removed the ability to edit the signatures in OWA settings? RBAC seems like the right way to do the job, but in this case, the way RBAC restricts options by removing the right to run cmdlets or parameters means that the block affects other OWA settings. Fortunately, the Exchange developers thought of this and provide an option in OWA mailbox policies to save the day.

New Office 365 Themes Available

In a moment of levity to lift the current situation, we discuss the wide range of themes offered by Office 365 to users. People can choose from 49 different themes to customize the online apps. You can go crazy with something like Super Sparkle Happy, display your love of cats, or choose a simple color. Once chosen, you should see the same theme across all the Office online apps. Except Teams, which does its own thing.

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.

Add Your Personal Calendar to OWA

You can now add your personal Outlook.com or Gmail calendars to your work OWA calendar. The integration allows for only one personal calendar, and OWA synchronizes events from the personal calendar to make sure that people don’t schedule work events when you have personal commitments. TeamSnap calendars are also supported (real-only), but this feature is likely to not be used outside the U.S.

Updating OWA Signatures with PowerShell

OWA stores user signatures in mailboxes, which makes it a lot easier for Office 365 admins to update signatures centrally with just a few lines of PowerShell and some HTML magic. OK, maybe more than a few lines… but it’s a lot less complicated than it is to mess around with the system registry and points the way to how Microsoft might introduce cloud signatures for all Outlook clients.

Respond to Yammer Conversations from OWA

If you receive a notification about Yammer conversations in OWA, you might notice that you can now do all sorts of new things to interact with Yammer while remaining in OWA. It’s part of Microsoft’s effort to make Yammer more relevant and accessible to people who prefer to communicate through email. And the nice thing is that the approach works well.

New OWA Files View Makes Attachments More Accessible

OWA now includes Files in its “module switcher”). The new module allows fast access to attachments stored in any folder in an Exchange Online mailbox. It’s a neat feature that will please many people simply because it makes finding often-elusive attachments just that bit easier.

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.

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.

Running OWA as a PWA

Modern browsers make it easy to pin websites to the Windows desktop and taskbar. Using OWA in this manner is great when network connections aren’t too reliable, like the flaky connections you often have on airline Wi-Fi networks. Other Office 365 apps work fine too when pinned from the browser, like the Admin Center, Planner, To Do, and Stream.

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.

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.

Microsoft Introduces New OWA Setting to Control Access to Storage Providers

Microsoft has announced that the AdditionalStorageProvidersAvailable setting in OWA mailbox policies will now control access to both first-party and third-party storage providers. The new setting is now available and becomes active in August. Before then, you might want to adjust some of your OWA mailbox policies.

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.

New OWA Includes Office 365 Groups Management Interface

The new version of OWA boasts new abilities for owners to manage Office 365 Groups. The new UI is pretty slick and a welcome upgrade to the previous capabilities. You’ll still need to revert to PowerShell to manage some aspects of Office 365 Groups, but not as many times as you used to.

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.

OWA’s ThirdPartyFileProvidersEnabled Setting

The ThirdPartyFileProvidersEnabled setting in OWA mailbox policies controls if Exchange Online mailboxes can access services like Drop and Dropbox for attachments. Office 365 tenants need to decide if they want to allow this kind of access. There’s both good and bad in the feature, but it’s easily turned off if you feel the need.