What’s New In Office 365 (November 2019)

With Microsoft’s Ignite Conference right around the corner, it is typically tough to find exciting content for this month’s blog post. That is NOT the case this year. We have big changes to announce, some have already caused controversy with IT Admins, others have the potential for causing controversy, and still others are sure to make some end users’ lives a bit easier. We will be covering the unveiling (somewhat unceremoniously and with little heads up) of the self-service purchase capabilities for Power Platform products, and the end of support for Windows 7. New features that may excite IT Admins, or not, include form customization in SharePoint Lists and Libraries and the ability to rename SharePoint Site URLs. The new feature that is sure to delight many end users is live captions (English-US) in Teams meetings.

Self-Service Purchase Capabilities for Power Platform

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What’s new in Office 365 (October 2019)

What’s new in Office 365 (October 2019)

Once again Microsoft has been rolling out updated and new features at neck breaking speed.  While it’s hard to argue with their numbers I cannot help but agree with some of the sentiments put forth by Andrew Connell in his SharePoint Framework Summer 2019 Wish List post on September 4th. If you’re a developer doing any work with the SharePoint Framework the article is a must read. If you’re not, just know that the gist of the article is “New stuff is great but how about we clean up what we already have rolled out”.  Again, hard to argue with Microsoft’s results but Andrew’s logic is spot on as usual.  With that diatribe out of the way here are some other notable happenings in Office 365 in the past month.

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Using SendGrid with Azure Functions to Send Email

I’ve been working on a solution for a customer that utilizes SharePoint Online lists and libraries, PowerApps, Logic Apps, and Azure Functions. The solution works something like this: Project documents are stored and updated in a SharePoint Library by office staff. The shop floor needs to access the documents and know at a glance when documents have been updated. The PowerApp displays a count of the most recently updated documents by project and document type, and also displays the documents. A SharePoint List is used to store the counts of the most recently updated documents. The Logic App and Azure Function work together to update the SharePoint List with the counts from the SharePoint Library.

As part of the solution, we wanted a way to be notified if the Azure Function threw an error. This is where SendGrid comes in. SendGrid is a third-party email delivery service. Azure Functions support an output binding for SendGrid, which makes it very easy to integrate into your solution.Here is a grand overview of how my solution (just the Azure Function and SendGrid piece) will work – If my Azure Function throws an error, it will send the error message to Azure Queue Storage. The error message will be stored in Azure Queue Storage until another Azure Function (2) comes and picks it up. Azure Function (2) will use SendGrid to send an email containing the error message. Easy-peasy. You can use SendGrid to send emails for all kinds of reasons – when a customer places an order, you can send a confirmation email with the details of the order; when someone clicks a button on your site to request information, you can send an email with the requested information; the options are endless.

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Office 365 January 2019 Good Reads

There are thousands of articles, blog posts, videos and other information being generated every month for Office 365. It’s impossible to review them all but we are going to be posting our top “good reads” for Office 365 content monthly.  There may be one or two items from the Office 365 Message Center in this list occasionally but for the most part we are going to stick with community contributions that we feel may provide value for our customers and our employees.    Without further ado, please find our “good reads” for January 2019 below😉. Continue reading “Office 365 January 2019 Good Reads”

Open Documents Read-Only in Modern SharePoint

We recently were engaged on a project where we were utilizing PowerApps to present documents to employees via a kiosk application.  The employees needed the ability to edit the documents and be able to open them in Office Online by default, but during testing we noticed that employees were unintentionally modifying files in Office Online. The PowerApp was for a heavy industrial fabrication shop and the target users were often wearing welding equipment and various other safety gear so asking them to be more delicate with the tooling wasn’t really a reasonable request. Continue reading “Open Documents Read-Only in Modern SharePoint”

What’s New in Office 365 (January 2019)

Happy New Year! January is here – new year, new you, right? Personally, I don’t believe in all that new year’s resolution stuff. Every day is a new opportunity to live your best life. How about we stick to new year, new updates for Office 365? There are some changes that will increase security, a change that may affect network traffic, best practice guidelines, and as always, an exciting new feature to highlight.  Regarding security, Microsoft is retiring 3DES in Office 365, and sharing links that block download have begun rolling out.  If you have configured your network to restrict resource access to Azure AD IP address ranges, make sure to read the piece on Azure AD updating IP Addresses. PowerApps users will be happy to see the release of a white paper on coding guidelines and standards. And finally, the exciting new feature we are highlighting this month is reminders in SharePoint.   

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Restricting Users from Creating Office 365 Groups

Microsoft is very permissive when it comes to creating Office 365 groups. The default is that everyone can create Office 365 groups. Users can create groups from several different applications, and each user can create up to 250 groups. With this kind of freedom, things can get out of control pretty quickly. Before you know it, your environment can have a plethora of Office 365 Groups that may not be useful or even used. Sometimes the old adage is true – just because they can, doesn’t always mean they should.

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