Microsoft highlights February’s updates to Office 365

Vu Anh Nguyen

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Microsoft has taken to the Office blog to provide a recap on updates to Office 365 in February – which might be more than you thought – as well as some outlook for March updates. The updates are separated into two categories: for Office 365 Personal, Home and University, and for Office 365 Business and Education.

On the former’s side, there’s the February Sway update that brought Recent view for OneDrive office documents, PowerBI reports and live polls embedding in Sways, and improvement to text formatting and Sway embedding on websites. Accessibility in Office 365 have also received improvements, such as enhanced Spelling Checker in Word and Outlook 2016, new Learning Tools add-in for the learning-disabled, and more productivity options for screen reader users.

More significantly, six new functions were added to Excel that will enhance your formula editing, including TEXTJOIN and CONCAT for combining text strings, MAXIFS and MINIFS for conditional max-min finding, and IFS and SWITCH to simplify conditional functions. Office for mobile devices and Mac also received enhancements, like Morph in PowerPoint and Quick Access Toolbar customization for the latter.

The list on the Business and Education side is much longer. There’s the new Office 365 offers for SMEs, Yammer for select Office 365 tenants, expanded Office 365 Planner to customers with Education and Nonprofit plans, and new charts for Excel 2016 – Waterfall, Histogram, Box & Whisker, Pareto, Treemap and Sunburst.

February also brought Deferred Channel build, allowing organizations to control the freaquency of feature changes for the desktop Office apps for more evaluation time. There’s a new people profile experience for Delve, updated user and developer experiences for Groups – Office 365’s shared virtual workspace, and most excitingly, an entirely new OneNote Class Notebook API. The new API allows for automation of creating and updating OneNote Class Notebooks across a school or a district.

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business also received improvements in auditing, reporting and uploading file size. There is also a new comprehensive cloud access security broker (CASB) – Microsoft Cloud App Security – in development for Office 365, with expected rollout in the second quarter. Finally, new scenario-based Office 365 trainings, with over 50 videos of real-life Office usage situations, round out a busy month for the Office team and users.

Developers can follow the Monthly Dev Digests for frequent updates. Build 2016 is set for the end of this month, and stay tuned for even more exciting development from Microsoft, both in Office and other products.