Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 – May 2020

This month there is lots of new stuff and I am not even sure what my favorite is. Outlook reading to me, Power Apps letting me see the world differently, SharePoint being everywhere and nowhere at the same time, a bonus tip, and more. How about instead of me writing something clever you just dive in and enjoy the fun.

Play my emails with Outlook for IOS

I can’t believe they avoided the temptation to name this product Power Play my emails. We all know how they love to use the word Power in their product names. Anyway, this is a pretty amazing feature. Now on iOS, you can click Play by emails and Cortona walks you through your unread emails for the last 24 hours with a decent summary. Then she allows you to reply to the email, schedule a meeting, and a few other things. I played with it for long enough to say I am impressed and look forward to using it more. No word yet when the Android crowd gets it (they said coming weeks) but if you have IOS I recommend you give it a go. Maybe take a nice walk outside while you deal with your never-ending inbox. More details here.

Conditional formatting for totals and subtotals Power BI matrix visualizations

When building Power BI visualizations, you can now finally add some pretty cool color coding to the mix for totals and subtotals. This has been a popular request for some time now. Couple of pieces of good news here. One is the reminder that they really do listen, so be sure to use User Voice when you have product ideas. You get enough community interest and they will take a good look at the idea. Secondly, when they implemented this it doesn’t feel like a band aid. They did it with a nice UI and gave us the options you would suspect. Nice job!

Bonus: If you aren’t familiar with this idea of User Voice, here is what you need to know. Most (all of the ones I can think of) have somewhere that you can provide ideas and feedback. Then the community can vote on ideas they also like. Microsoft then has it in their dev cycles to review and often respond to these ideas. Office 365 site is here. Azure is here. Then other products, like my precious Power Apps, call it Ideas. Hopefully, you get the idea and if you have anything to add jump in there.

Microsoft Lists and more, maybe less SharePoint

Like their obsession with the word Power, I feel like they have also become obsessed with lists. With this announcement from Build, they added another tool call Lists. While I like the idea, it just gets confusing to me. Thankfully, Tony wrote a nice article on explaining what these lists are and how the plug into they ecosystem. At the end of the day, they just seem like a non-SharePoint way to work with a SharePoint lists the same way that Teams’ files are SharePoint Document Libraries interacted with outside of SharePoint. Maybe all of that stuff I was saying back in 2003 on how SharePoint was a platform you could build on is finally coming true. Either way, it is interesting how SharePoint keeps becoming more important by being less important? I am confusing myself. Either way, check out Lists.

Also, make sure to check out the rest of the Office 365 coverage on Petri this month too.

Power Apps now has Mixed Reality

That is right app builders, get ready to build your own Power Apps version of Pokémon GO! No, I am kidding, please don’t. At Build, Microsoft continued to strain the bounds of what a citizen developer can do by giving them the ability to just add mixed reality to their apps. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, this is where you can combine the camera with an object like placing a chair to see if it fits or a ruler to measure objects. By making this a bolt into Power Apps, this opens a wealth of opportunity for app builders.  As a guy who isn’t a developer, this is pretty exciting. First, they gave me access to Artificial Intelligence with no code, now Mixed Reality. Man, I am jazzed. I need more hours in the day.

SharePoint Migration Tool now supports direct to Teams

I feel like it has been a while since I reminded you, Teams is becoming the center of the Microsoft universe. For more proof, look at their own free migration tool will let you send info straight into Teams. Crazy. But remember for a lot of people, everything they do from a collaboration standpoint happens in Teams. They don’t even know there is SharePoint is under the covers supporting them. As someone who has been doing SharePoint since the beginning, that is crazy to me but every day someone new comes into the ecosystem and for a lot of them, the first stop is Teams. So, if you are one of those new people congrats, you can now just go straight to Teams and not fret about that SharePoint monster is under the covers.