March 2023 brought both new updates and big announcements – spanning the value of AI, becoming acquainted with a zippier Teams, and we got even Loop’ier. Keep scrolling to listed to the podcast episode and learn more about each feature below.
In this episode, we cover the following March updates: File web part now: “File and Media”, Viva Connections on iPad, Microsoft Edge + Adobe Acrobat PDF Engine, Microsoft Lists + Approvals app in Teams, OneDrive: Favorite/Unfavorite, Suggested files in 1:1 chat, Microsoft Word: Send to Kindle, and more.
We have two guests on the podcast: 1) Matt McKenzie, Director of Microsoft 365 product marketing, shares insights about the upcoming Microsoft 365 Conference in Vegas (May 2-3), and 2) Sudha Narayanan explains how Microsoft Lists supports approval scenarios natively within info tracking incorporating the Approvals app in Teams. Plus, our related tech segment highlights three big disclosures: 1) Microsoft 365 Copilot, 2) the Loop app (Public Preview), and the New Teams app (Public Preview) #Speed.
The Intrazone – SharePoint roadmap pitstop: March 2023
All features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Microsoft 365 as of March 2023 (possibly early April 2023).
Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences
Build your intelligent intranet on SharePoint in Microsoft 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and up-leveling the dynamic, personalized, and welcoming nature of your intranet.
Renaming File viewer webpart to ‘File and Media’
At first glance, this is a minor update and I’ve seen a lot of positive feedback on the clarity a simple name change/update brings. Among the set of SharePoint web parts – this brings clarity. We are renaming the Files webpart to File and Media to make this webpart inclusive of more file types like videos.
Users will see the new name for the webpart. Functionally, nothing changes w.r.t. the capabilities of the webpart. This is a step to educate everyone about the capabilities of the webpart beyond Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and extended to videos as well – aka Stream (on SharePoint).
Note: Image files are not supported in the File and Media web part. However, if you want to insert an image on your page, you can use the use the Image web part.
Microsoft Viva Connections: Available on iPad
Meet your people where they work. And if they work on an iPad, great – you can connect via Viva Connections ‘on their iPad.’ With the launch of tablet support, coupled with the new desktop experience of Viva Connections and existing mobile capabilities, Viva Connections has a quick time to set up, unified UI and experience across any device. Now, whether employees are on their mobile device, tablet, or desktop, the same critical news and information from the Dashboard, Feed, or Resources, are easily discoverable and actionable.
If you have deployed Viva connections in your organization, the change will impact all iPad users. Before rollout begins, iPad users will see a “Not available for tablet”, however, once we begin rollout, iPad users will see the full experience for news, dashboard items, layout, functionality and more.
Note: Android users can access Viva Connections on their device starting early April 2023. This, too, is a boost to ISVs and Line of business developers of Viva Cards and Teams apps, because users will start accessing Viva Connections on every device they have.
Microsoft Edge to replace built-in PDF engine with Adobe Acrobat PDF engine
As part of the Adobe and Microsoft collaboration to re-envision the future workplace and digital experiences, we are natively embedding the Adobe Acrobat PDF engine into the Microsoft Edge built-in PDF reader.
With the use of the Adobe Acrobat PDF engine, users will have a unique PDF experience that includes higher fidelity for more accurate colors and graphics, improved performance, strong security for PDF handling, and greater accessibility – including better text selection and read-aloud narration. There will be no loss of functionality with the use of the Adobe Acrobat PDF engine and these capabilities will continue to be free of cost.
New List Templates with Approvals
Whether you need to approve a purchase order, a vacation request, or a blog post, Microsoft Approvals in Microsoft Lists can help you streamline the process and collaborate with your team.
We are introducing two new list templates that embed the Approvals app (service) into the Lists experience. With this change, two Microsoft Lists templates appear – specifically Travel Requests with approvals and Content Scheduler with approvals; both bring integration with the Approvals app in Microsoft Teams. You’ll see the new list templates within the Create list experience.
With these two templates, you can create a list item and submit it for approval by creating an approval request and specifying the approver, the request will appear in the Approvals app in Teams or can be approved directly within the list. Once approved, the list item status is updated.
Note: This is an optional feature that users can leverage by using one of the two new list templates. If they opt out of the Approvals integration when creating the list, the value of each template carries through – minus the added approval functionality.
Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
Microsoft 365 is designed to be a universal toolkit for teamwork – to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork – to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organization – with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.
OneDrive Web: Favorite/Unfavorite Files
Adding files to Favorites is a great way to mark content of personal importance and can help you get to the content you’re looking for more easily. We have made sure that the favorites experience is consistent across Microsoft 365 apps by building on top of the existing pinning and favorites experience. This release will include support for favoriting files from OneDrive web and SharePoint document libraries.
Once you favorite a file, you can easily access them from the Favorites pivot in the left nav. Users can Favorite/Unfavorite files using the Favorite/Unfavorite command in the context menu, command bar, or by simply using the star icon which will show up on hover.
Suggested files in 1:1 Chats
As an extension of suggested replies in 1:1 chats, you can now save time when you need to send a file in a chat by tapping on a “Share file” suggestion. This is another example of where you save time with AI-based file suggestions in chat, especially when the service detects an intent to share. Now, people will be able to respond to their chat message AND attach a file in one click.
NOTE: If you wish to disable this feature in your tenant, please disable the Suggested Replies setting that is found in Messaging Policies. Users also have a setting within the app so they can disable the feature.
Send to Kindle
Review your documents alongside your next read. We will be adding the ability for users to send documents from Microsoft Word (Win32, Web, Mac) to the Kindle e-reader device or Kindle app.
I tested this out to use my Kindle to review an upcoming Message Center post from a colleague. In Word, go to the File > Export > Send documents to Kindle. I signed in with my Amazon.com account and off it went. And voila: appeared on my Kindle within my Library ready to read and review.
March 16, 2023 | “Introducing Microsoft 365 Copilot – your copilot for work” – Learn from Sumit Chauhan – CVP-Office Product Group – on how Microsoft 365 Copilot seamlessly integrates into the apps you use every day to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet.
March 22, 2023 | “New Microsoft Loop app is built for modern co-creation” – In this show, Derek Liddell, an engineering leader from the Loop team at Microsoft presents the end-to-end experiences with the new Microsoft Loop app, available both on the web and in mobile.
March 27, 2023 | “Introducing the new Microsoft Teams, now in preview” – In this episode, Derek Snyder speaks with Jeff Teper, President of Collaborative Apps & Platforms about what this means for the future.
April 2023 teasers
Psst, still here? Still scrolling the page looking for more roadmap goodness? If so, here is a few teasers of what’s to come to production next month…
- Teaser #1: Project for the Web Integration in Viva Goals [Roadmap ID: 117462]
- Teaser #2: People in Viva [Learn more]
… shhh, tell everyone.
Helpful, ongoing change management resources
- Follow me to catch news and interesting SharePoint things: @mkashman; warning, occasional bad puns may fly in a tweet or two here and there.
- Upcoming events:
Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – March 2023. We are open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.
Engage with us. Ask those questions that haunt you. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We are here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.
Stay safe out there on the road’map ahead. And thanks for listening and reading.
Thanks for your time,
Mark Kashman – senior product manager (SharePoint/Lists) | Microsoft)