What’s new in Microsoft 365 (March 2021)

Microsoft Ignite is right around the corner (3/2/2021 – 3/4/2021) and it is a virtual conference again this year. Head over to MyIgnite to get your sessions lined up ASAP as many of the sessions have limited “seating” available.  As was the case last year there is no cost associated with attending so there is no reason to site this one out. 

In this month’s post we are focusing a lot on the “big 3” of modern collaboration in Microsoft 365: Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive. We do highlight a welcome update coming to Planner as well and a note about Outlook, but even that is related to SharePoint and OneDrive. What is really piquing our interest this month though is finding out what big news comes out of Ignite😉.

OneDrive/SharePoint Send link to Outlook sharing option is being retired

This is an update to recent announcement that we are not surprised to see at all.  Microsoft did not give much lead time to communicate this change and this probably led to some “unhappy” customers.  It never seems to go over well when you take something away, even if the analytics support removing the functionality. Please note that there are numerous alternative paths forward here and it will be a matter of “communication/education”, it is still going away…we just have a bit more time to handle things on our end.  


MC237377 · Published Feb 2, 2021 · Last updated Feb 19, 2021

Message Summary

Updated February 19, 2021: We have updated the message for additional clarity. Thank you for your feedback.

Previously we had rolled out this change and disabled the ability to share a link via the Outlook Share Target. We have restored the functionality to ensure customers have time to educate and prepare their users as appropriate. We will be moving forward with this change as outlined below. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Users will soon be unable to share a link directly via the Outlook Share Target in OneDrive and SharePoint. Customers can still share a link via e-mail by typing an e-mail address and clicking send, as well as the ability to copy a link to their clipboard. This change only removes the option to automatically open an Outlook compose window with a sharing link pasted in.

Key points

  • Timing: early through late March 2021
  • Action: review and assess

How this will affect your organization

Users will no longer have an option share directly via Outlook when using the OneDrive/SharePoint sharing control.

Users can continue to send a pre-generated e-mail or copy a link to their clipboard to paste into other applications.

What you need to do to prepare

Instead of using the Outlook share target, we recommend typing an e-mail address & clicking send, or copying the link and then pasting it into an Outlook message. You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

Learn more

Reminder: Microsoft 365 apps and services ending support on IE11 after August 17, 2021

This is just Microsoft’s monthly “friendly reminder” that if you are still supporting IE 11 you should re-evaluate that position sooner rather than later. While it may seem to be trivial we know a lot of organizations and applications still rely on IE to provide specific functionality.  The Systems Administrator in me knows what a pain this can be with different platforms/applications but the Developer in me says “kill off IE as quickly as humanly possible”!      


MC241353 · Published Feb 24, 2021

Message Summary

As communicated in MC220490 (August ’20), Microsoft 365 apps and services will be focusing their efforts on modern browser support over the coming year. As a result, Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) after August 17, 2021; after this date, Microsoft 365 apps and services will be unable to connect, or have a degraded feature experience, when accessed on IE11.

For a full list of Microsoft apps with intentions to end support on IE11, please see this Docs page.

Please note: The IE 11 changes are specific to Microsoft 365 apps and services. IE 11 remains a supported browser as a component of the Windows operating system and will follow the Lifecycle Policy for the product on which it is installed.

Microsoft 365 applications and services

  • Timing: Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 after August 17, 2021.
    • Microsoft Teams ended support on Internet Explorer 11 as of November 30, 2020.
  • Action: To access Microsoft 365 apps and services, use Microsoft Edge, another supported browser, or an applicable Win-32 app (if available). 

How this will affect your organization:

After the dates listed above, Microsoft 365 apps and services will need to be accessed via Microsoft Edge, another supported browser, or through an applicable Win-32 app (if available). The Microsoft Edge browser provides a faster, more responsive experience for Microsoft 365 apps and services. You can also still run business-critical, Internet Explorer-based apps and sites in Microsoft Edge through Internet Explorer mode.

What you need to do to prepare:

To address these announcements, upgrade to Microsoft Edge prior to August 17, 2021. Microsoft 365 apps and services will continue to support Microsoft Edge.

Additional Information

We always value feedback and questions from our customers. Please feel free to submit either feedback or questions via Message Center.

Additional information

Blog

Add up to 25 task labels and colors in Planner and Tasks in Teams

Full transparency: We did not fully adopt usage of Microsoft Planner on our team until April of 2020 and even when we did so there were some features that we really missed from Trello. While this enhancement will not necessarily fill the gap in our everyday scenarios the ability to add more labels gives us the ability to assign story points on tasks which is huge for us.  This one may not be a big win for everyone but previously we had to “pick and choose” what we threw up there as labels, getting 25 alleviates that issue for us.


MC241349 · Published Feb 24, 2021

Message Summary

With this update, end users can choose up to 25 colored labels per task in Planner and Tasks in Teams.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 66193.

When this will happen

Rollout is set to begin in late February and should be complete by early March.

How this will affect your organization

More labels allows for greater flexibility when organizing tasks. Use labels to flag risks, signal delays, help fine tune task prioritization, clarify accountabilities, or categorize tasks around a theme spanning multiple buckets.

What you need to do to prepare

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

Learn more: Flag your tasks with labels

OneDrive for Business announce 250GB upload capability

Okay, slight rant coming on this one.  Microsoft, please give administrators the ability to easily set a max upload size in SharePoint/OneDrive at the tenant or site collection level ASAP.  We get the need to upload large files and see it routinely however not all organizations want to enable their users to store 100 GB video files in SharePoint then must pay for the additional storage costs associated.  If there is not a user voice for this one already, there will be shortly😉.


MC241870 · Published Feb 26, 2021

Message Summary

Previously, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint online customers had an upload limit for 100GB per file. And customers have been asking for increased upload limits.

Now, customers can upload files up to 250GB across OneDrive for Business and SharePoint online. 

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 70558.

When this will happen

This feature is now available for all customers to use.

How this will affect your organization

All users of OneDrive for Business and SharePoint online will be able to upload files sizes up to 250GB via the sync client as well as the web app. This is an upload limit increase of 2.5 times compared to the previous limit of 100 GB.

What you need to do to prepare

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

Additionally, if your tenant has large files that could not be uploaded previously, we recommend you test a few large files (sync client recommended for uploading large files) and review how to create large dummy files here.

Please keep in mind there are many factors that may impact your upload capability including;

  • bandwidth
  • location
  • other network traffic

Introducing a SharePoint app bar that features global navigation

This one is going to be one of those features that will provide some value in very specific situations but probably cause confusion in most. Ironically, not long after this was announced it was highlighted several Microsoft 365 based channels and podcasts for just that reason:

There are a lot of “caveats” to utilizing this moving forward…be sure to review the message and resources provided above prior to taking next steps on this one.  If you read the message carefully you will notice we can disable it for now but you are eventually going to have to deal with it as on 10/31/2021 it doesn’t seem like that will be an option.


MC240066 · Published Feb 16, 2021

Message Summary

Your SharePoint modern communication and team sites will soon feature the SharePoint app bar which provides quick access to customizable global navigation as well as other intranet resources. The SharePoint app bar makes important content and resources easily accessible for users on these sites, regardless of where they might be in SharePoint.

Key points

  • Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 70576
  • Timing:
    • Targeted release (organization): early March through  
    • Targeted release (special user): early March through mid-March 
    • Standard release: mid-March through mid-April
  • Roll-out: tenant and user level
  • Action: review and assess

How this affects your organization

Users access the SharePoint app bar from the upper left-hand side of the browser on the SharePoint start page and throughout modern SharePoint sites. The SharePoint app bar improves global wayfinding and dynamically displays personalized content for sites, news, and files.

View image in new tab

The app bar features customizable global navigation that leads to important intranet resources. Personalized content, news and files, is driven by Microsoft Graph and cannot be customized.  

What you need to do to prepare

Please review these admin notes in the support document.

If you take no action, the new SharePoint app bar will appear on your SharePoint modern communication and team sites. Until you customize it, the global nav entry point will refer your users to their SharePoint start page.

Learn more

New lists will have versioning enabled by default

As most folks already know in SharePoint Online every document library you create now has versioning enabled by default. This will now be the case for Lists as well.  This will not necessarily be a huge impact for organizations focused on documents within SharePoint Online however for those that are utilizing SharePoint lists in some “advanced” scenarios for automation and business apps this one is important.  Versions take up space, no way around that and this will be especially important for large lists.  If you are a site owner/administrator keep on eye on the list’s storage usage over the upcoming months.  The good news here is Microsoft is not enabling versioning on existing lists😉.


MC239092 · Published Feb 12, 2021

Message Summary

Your users will soon be able to track and manage SharePoint list information over time with list versioning.

When this will happen

This feature rolls out mid-February 2021.

How this will affect your organization

After this feature rolls out, when a user creates a new list in SharePoint, that list will have versioning enabled by default. End users will be able to view and recover previous versions from the list item history.

By default, new lists will retain the 50 most recent major versions. Users can change how many versions are retained or disable versioning on any list they manage.

What you need to do to prepare

This change does not affect existing lists.

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate. 

Learn more: Enable and configure versioning for a list or library


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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