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!
Changes coming in May and June will allow organizations to make online meetings the norm when created by OWA or Outlook mobile clients. You can control the feature at the organization level and allow individual mailboxes to override the organization setting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OWA now supports the automatic labeling of outbound messages with Office 365 Sensitivity Labels. The new feature uses Office 365 sensitive data types to detect content in messages that should be protected, and once detected, the message is stamped with a label before it passes through the Exchange Online transport service.
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.
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 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.