What’s New in Microsoft 365 (November 2020)

As usual, we are still seeing a flood of new features and other announcements as a result of Microsoft’s Ignite Conference. We have done our best to curate a handful of the most interesting or impactful ones. Before we dig in, just another reminder that SharePoint 2010 workflows are no longer functioning as of November 1, 2020 AND Teams will no longer be supporting IE 11 after November 30, 2020.

This month we have a few new things happening in Teams: virtual break out rooms, transfer meetings between devices, and meeting recordings now saving to OneDrive and SharePoint; a couple SharePoint announcements: new required properties for SharePoint pages and personal search query history; and one tidbit for Forms: choose specific users/groups to respond to forms.

Microsoft Teams – Virtual Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow meeting organizers to split main meetings into smaller sessions for focused discussions. This feature was so greatly sought after, that back in April Microsoft MVP’s created a hacky workaround for users who just couldn’t wait for its release. Whether you used the hack or not, you can now create breakout rooms with out of the box Teams. To learn more about using breakout rooms check out Matt Wade’s post How to use breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams.

Administrators should ensure users can schedule private meetings with the following settings:

  • Allow scheduling private meeting = on
  • Allow Meet now in private meeting = on
  • Allow channel meeting scheduling = on
  • Allow meet now in channels = on

These settings are set with a meeting policy and can be found in the Teams Admin Center under Meetings>Meeting policies.

Microsoft Teams – Transfer Meeting Between Devices or Add Another Device

Now this is a feature that we can get behind, especially as consultants who regularly meet with individuals who call into a meeting only to find out that we really need them to be on their computer so we can troubleshoot an issue. Teams meeting participants now have the ability to transfer a meeting between devices or add another device as a companion to their meeting.

How to transfer a meeting from one device to another or add a companion device:

  • Open Teams (mobile app or desktop app) on the second device
  • On the banner advising that the meeting is in progress, select Join.
  • Then select “Add this device” or “Transfer to this device”

When adding or transferring to a mobile device

When adding or transferring to a desktop device

Microsoft Teams – Meeting Recordings Saved to OneDrive and SharePoint

Microsoft is changing the storage for new Teams meeting recordings to be stored on, and served from, OneDrive and SharePoint (ODSP) – instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic). Tenant admins can opt in or opt out of ODSP as the Teams meeting recording storage location via a Teams policy in PowerShell; however, come Q1 2021, all customers will have new meeting recordings saved to ODSP. See below for specifics on storage and permissions:

  • Meeting storage

Non-Channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder labeled “Recordings” – that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive. Channel meetings will be stored in a folder labeled “Recordings” under a folder named after the channel under the Team’s document library.

  • Permissions

All meeting invitees – except for external users – in non-channel meetings will automatically get a shared link to access the meeting recording. External users will need to be explicitly added to the shared list by the meeting organizer or the person that clicked the record button. For Channel meetings, permissions will be inherited from the owners and members list in the channel.

SharePoint – Required Properties for SharePoint Pages Will Soon Be Enforced

SharePoint page authors will soon need to supply required information before a page or news post can be published. SharePoint currently allows page owners to make properties (i.e., columns) “required” in the pages library. However, SharePoint does not enforce this requirement and will publish pages even if a page is missing required properties. With this release, SharePoint will enforce the requirement and will display a pre-publication panel when a page is missing required properties (see image below). Previously published pages and news posts will remain published and appear in a new “Pages that need attention” library view of all pages that are missing required properties.

SharePoint – Personal Search Query History

Coming Soon (starting in late December, expecting to be complete by March 2021) – Microsoft will be launching a new option in Microsoft Search that allows users to view and manage their personal query history. With personal query history, users will see recent search queries across SharePoint Online and Outlook (web) as they begin typing in the search box. This prompt makes it easier to return to recently accessed insights and information and eliminates the need to bookmark or memorize frequent queries.

Personal query history is managed and downloaded through the Microsoft 365 My Account settings.

A new option in the My Account privacy controls enables employees to manage their personal query history, such as downloading their history for future reference.


Forms – Choose Specific Users/Groups to Respond to Forms

With this update, Microsoft Forms owners will be able to easily collect survey responses from specific users or security groups. When creating new or editing current forms, form owners will see a new response collection option when navigating to Share > Send and collect responses (see images below). When a Form owner selects Specific people in my organization can respond, they can then specify one or more individuals or user groups by using their email address. The specified people or groups can then view and submit a response to the form/quiz. Other users will be prevented from seeing the form. This allows a form owner to manage the response collection more precisely than using the current anyone or organization wide options. This option is especially beneficial for forms with more sensitive content or in cases where the responses are meant to be more controlled.

Forms on the desktop

Forms on mobile

As always, there are a lot of things happening in Microsoft 365, so be sure to check out the Tech Community Blogs and the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for more of what’s new. 

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