Office 365 system requirements changes for Office client connectivity

Editor’s note:

Changes have been made to the Office 365 system requirements. Go here to see the September 6, 2018 update and announcement: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2018/09/06/helping-customers-shift-to-a-modern-desktop/

 

Today on the Office blog, we announced changes to Office 365 system requirements for Office client connectivity and how we will make it easier for enterprises to deploy and manage Office 365 ProPlus. In this post, we are sharing some more detail on what the system requirement changes mean for IT between now and 2020 and why we’ve decided to make this change.

 

As technology evolves, system requirements need to change

The new system requirements provide clarity and predictability for client connectivity to Office 365 services. When customers connect to Office 365 with a legacy version of Office, they’re not enjoying all that the service has to offer – The IT security and reliability benefits and end user experiences in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time.

 

When we release new on-premises apps and servers, we use that opportunity to update the system requirements. But there is not yet a common convention on when to update system requirements for a multitenanted cloud service that is always up to date. In absence of that, we are sharing these system requirement changes as early as possible and as part of a larger discussion of the Office 365 ProPlus roadmap for deployment and management capabilities.

 

As we get closer to 2020, we will share more details about implementation and the user experience for affected desktop clients. The updated Office 365 system requirements for Business Enterprise and Government plans state:

 

Effective October 13th, 2020, Office 365 will only support client connectivity from subscription clients (Office 365 ProPlus) or Office perpetual clients within mainstream support (Office 2016 and Office 2019). (Please refer to the Microsoft support lifecycle site for Office mainstream support dates.)

 

Here is a high level summary of  the implications for client connectivity in 2020, depending on how you use Office 365:

 

 Connectivity to Office 365

Impact of change

Technical implications

Recommended actions

Office 365 ProPlus or Office clients in mainstream support (Office 2016 and Office 2019)

No change

Plan for regular updates to stay within support window

No action required

Office clients outside mainstream support

Client connectivity no longer supported

Office desktop client applications, such as Outlook, OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business clients will not connect to Office 365 services

Upgrade to current version of ProPlus or mainstream Office clients or use browser or mobile apps

browser and mobile apps

No change

No change

No action required

Office desktop clients outside mainstream support not using Office 365

No change

Set your own desktop upgrade timeline, in line with your on-premises server upgrades. When planning to move to Office 365 services, an Office client upgrade will be required

No action required

 

 

2020 may sound like a long way away, but your feedback to us has been consistent on the more advanced notice for Office 365 changes, the better. Providing over 3 years advance notice for this change to Office 365 system requirements for client connectivity gives you time to review your long-term desktop strategy, budget and plan for any change to your environment.

 

For now, the key takeaway is: Office 365 ProPlus is our recommended Office client for Office 365 users. This is the Office client that stays up to date with frequent feature releases and ensures the best service experience.

 

Here are some resources to help you plan for a ProPlus upgrade:

 

Thank you!

 

Microsoft wants your ideas on end user adoption & engagement with Microsoft 365 & Office 365

Microsoft wants your ideas on end user adoption & engagement with Microsoft 365 & Office 365

new image resaved.jpg

 

Edit: Survey results as of August 6, 2019: Thank you to all who participated in the survey! Here are the top 5 takeaways from your responses:

  • Who: Admins and adoption/change management teams start with support from decision-makers and leverage power-users.
  • Challenges: Lack of time, executive support/budget, metrics, training resources, and the complexity of newer apps.
  • Needs: Adoption statistics and product roadmaps to help plan, plus training in the form of business scenarios and short, guided tutorials and videos.
  • MS Comms: It’s ok for Microsoft to communicate to end users only if admins/adoption teams can control/customize frequency and content.
  • Portal: Admins/adoption teams want all content centrally stored and navigable for easy referral and use.

 

Survey request as of June 12, 2019: Microsoft is looking for IT professionals like you to provide feedback on end user adoption and engagement for Microsoft 365 / Office 365 through a brief survey. Topics include key challenges in your role, end-user adoption and engagement practices, and preferred communications from Microsoft. Your feedback will help drive the types of content Microsoft develops for you and your end-users.

 

To qualify for this survey, you must meet the following criteria:

 

  • Your role involves end-user training / change management / adoption of Microsoft 365 & Office 365 applications
  • You are not in government or education sectors
  • Your organization has at least 150 employees / seats on Microsoft 365 & Office 365 subscription
Announcing 3D Content Guidelines for Office 365

Announcing 3D Content Guidelines for Office 365

Since 3D was first introduced in Office, we’ve heard resounding feedback from the community that better guidance was needed to help users acquire, build and convert 3D content for use in Office. Whether you are an Office user looking to acquire 3D assets for your documents, or a 3D professional creating content for your clients, we are pleased to announce that the 3D Content Guidelines for Microsoft are now publicly available, and have been developed to help users be more successful with 3D in Office.

Download the guide in PPT format
Download the guide in PDF format

Customer connections were the key to defining the scope of what the guidelines cover. These connections gave us the opportunity to understand the friction points first-hand, provide immediate support to keep customers moving forward, and roll those learnings back into the guidelines.

The 3D Content Guidelines for Microsoft are split into four major sections and can be read in sequence or independently depending on what you would like to accomplish.

3D engine overview
Learn about the inner workings of the real-time 3D engine used in Office and how it compares to other methods of rendering 3D content.

3D Engine Overview.png
Sourcing assets
Learn tips and tricks for finding quality 3D content in online marketplaces and best practices when working with third party vendors to build custom 3D assets.

 

Sourcing Assets.png

Content creation
Step through the process of creating custom 3D content for real-time rendering in Office. From modelling, surfacing and animation guidance for new content, to exporting, converting and optimizing existing 3D content, this section will help to ensure that 3D assets targeted for Office will render optimally.

ContentCreation1.pngContent Creation2.png

Additional Resources
Discover tools for viewing, analyzing and validating your 3D content as well as links to other valuable resources.

 

AdditionalResources.png

While today’s version of the guidelines is focused on Office, the vision is to expand the scope and include other Microsoft products and services in the future. We believe these guidelines will be a good connection point between many of the great existing resources and look forward to continuing to evolve them to meet the growing needs of all our users. Please check them out!

 

Download the guide in PPT format
Download the guide in PDF format

The new cloud-based policy management service for Office 365 ProPlus has been released!

The new cloud-based policy management service for Office 365 ProPlus has been released!

The Office cloud policy service allows administrators to define policies for Office 365 ProPlus and assign these policies to users via Azure Active Directory security groups.  Once defined, policies are automatically enforced as users sign in and use Office 365 ProPlus.  No need to be domain joined or MDM enrolled and works with corporate owned devices or BYOD.

 

Get started today by visiting and signing into the Office cloud policy service

 

  • Build a policy configuration that includes the policies you want to enforce, configured for your organization’s needs.  The service is always up to date and includes the latest policies as they are released.
  • Target a group of users by assigning the policy configuration to a specific AAD security group.
  • Policies automatically enforced as users sign into Office 365 ProPlus.
  • Health reporting available for each of the policy configurations, letting administrators know that the policies are getting deployed to users and their devices.

    OCPS.png

     

This service is now generally available and supported for all Office 365 ProPlus customers.  If you are an administrator, you can start using this service today by signing into the Office client management portal and creating policy configurations.

 

We are also excited to announce the public preview for the security policy advisor feature; an intelligent policy recommendation engine being added to the Office cloud policy service.  Click here for more information on the security policy advisor feature.

 

This service is just one of many new services which the Office team will be releasing over the next 12+ months.  These services, which shape the foundation of the Office serviceability SDK, are designed to work with 1st and 3rd party management solutions to help administrators simplify and streamline Office deployment and management.

 

For additional documentation on how to use this new policy service and its capabilities take a look at this document.

 

As always, please provide feedback using the feedback button to help us improve the service.

 

FAQ:

 

  1. Does the Office client policy service replace Group Policy management options?
    No, this service provides an alternative to Group Policy management. Group Policy management enforces policies on Windows PCs joined to an Active Directory domain, while the Office client policy service only requires the user sign into Office using their corporate credentials (Azure Active Directory) along with a valid Office 365 ProPlus license.
  2. What are primary differences between the types of policies I can enforce using Office client policy service compared to Group Policy?
    Office client policy service manages only user-based policies for Office 365 ProPlus. Group Policy can manage both user-based and machine-based policies.
  3. How does the Office client policy service compare with the Office Customization Tool for Click-to-Run’s application preferences settings?
    The settings configured as part of Office installation using the Office Customization Tool for Click-to-Run – as well as previous OCT versions – are based on ‘preferences’, meaning that a user can change them. Office client policy service settings are enforced, like Group Policy enforcement.
  4. If I use Group Policy Management and the Office cloud policy service, how will conflicts be resolved?
    The policies configured in the Office cloud policy service take precedence over any policies configured via Group Policy Management. If there are conflicts, the values specified in the Office cloud policy service for the conflicting policies will be honored.

 

  1. Can I import policies from Group Policy Management to Office cloud policy service?
    At this time we do not have import capabilities, but we are looking at providing this functionality to help admins migrate.
  2. How is this different from the Administrative Templates feature in Intune for Device configuration
    The Office cloud policy service is built specifically for managing Office policies in non-domain joined and non-MDM managed scenarios.  Office cloud policy service is available to any customer that owns Office 365 ProPlus.  If used with Intune, the policies configured in Office cloud policy service take precedence over any Office policies managed via Intune.
5 steps to get you collaborating more effectively in Office 365 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

5 steps to get you collaborating more effectively in Office 365 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

With last month’s Twins Challenge, we shared a few time-saving tips for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Today, we’re following up with a few ways to get you started collaborating in your documents.

 

1. Create and save your documents to the cloud by default. Whether you plan to work on a document with others or simply share it for review, your documents are safer when saved to the cloud.

 

Create and save your documents to the cloud by default

Now, when you go to save a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file in the desktop app using Ctrl-S (Windows), Cmd-S (macOS), or the Save button in Office, a new dialog will default to OneDrive or SharePoint Online and allow you to quickly set the filename and location. Once saved to the cloud, you can access the file across your devices.  

 

 

And when you forget to save a new document before exiting, you’ll see an updated save experience directing you to the cloud. And because documents are saved to the cloud, you can work with others, like real-time co-authoring, from the get go.

 

Turn on AutoSave so you never have to worry about saving changes to your document.
Once a document is in the cloud, AutoSave takes over to regularly sync your documents to the cloud. With AutoSave, you don’t have to worry about hitting save or losing changes since edits are saved automatically.

 

If the AutoSave toggle is turned off, flip it to “On” and store your file in OneDrive. It saves your file so that you don’t have to.

 

AutoSave_Excel_v2.gif

 

For those using Office in the browser, your files are already being saved automatically!

 

And if you are still saving files to your computer’s hard drive, you are leaving your documents vulnerable to device theft or destruction. Use Known Folder Move to easily backup and sync your desktop documents and folders to OneDrive, making OneDrive the default location for those files.

 

2. Once in a shared cloud document, you can co-author and even assign tasks using @mentions.

 

Share Office 365 documents with others to co-author the document together.

Stop spending time merging changes from coworkers into one document or sifting through emails for versions of a file. Simply share the Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation with collaborators and work together.

 

Once a cloud file is shared, you can work in the file on your own time or with multiple collaborators simultaneously. If you’re editing together in real time, you’ll see others’ changes in real time. Co-author with others on any device that works best for you – web browser, desktop, or mobile.

 

Coauth Presence in Word Online.gif

 

Collaborate with your team by using @mention and threaded comments to have a conversation right next to the relevant content in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Threaded comments and @mentions ensure that you always have context on what’s going on and enable you to easily have conversations about specific content with collaborators.

 

excel modern comments optimize.gif

 

To @mention someone, type “@” and the person’s name in the comment. This is an efficient way to get their attention because they will get notified via email to take action. And rolling out to Word, you will be able to assign tasks to others using @mentions.

 

WordiPhoneFrame_6.png

 

*Threaded comments is available across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the desktop apps, web, and mobile.
**@mention is rolling out across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. @mention is now available in Office Online, Office for iOS, Office for Android, and for Office Insiders on desktop. 

***To-dos is currently available for Word on the Mac for Office Insiders (Fast).

 

3. Work together with confidence in a shared document.

See what’s changed in your PowerPoint presentation while you were away.

If you’re collaborating on a deck with others, you can see who made new changes, quickly get up-to-speed and start working. You no longer need to scroll through the whole deck to see what’s changed or painstakingly compare slides side-by-side. We’ll tell you if someone has made changes to the slides while you were away and highlight the things that have changed.

 

94614_GIFS_FOR_TWINS_CAMPAIGN_WHILE_AWAY_SURFACE_BOOK_V03.gif

 

*This feature is available in PowerPoint client app and on the web now.

 

Set your file to Read-Only and set the context for how collaborators’ interact with the file.

Want to share a document with a colleague but avoid accidental changes? You can set permissions on a shared document to “Restrict Editing” or “Always Open Read-Only”. By flagging the document as read-only, you are letting collaborators know not to make unintentional edits. 

 

114956_WXP_COLLABORATION_GIF02_V04.gif

 

If the file is finalized, you may also want to consider applying “Mark as Final”.

 

Feel confident making changes in a shared document. Version History lets you see what changes have occurred and revert back if necessary

If a document is being used as a basis for a new document, users should always Save a Copy first to avoid changing the original file.

If you forget and make changes to the original file while AutoSave is on, no need to worry. You can easily restore a previous version through Version History. To see the list of previous versions of your files, you can go to File > Info > Manage Document.

 

114956_WXP_COLLABORATION_GIF03_V04.gif

 

You also have the option to click on the title bar at the top of your document and select Version History to see who edited your file and how the file has evolved over time. Click on “open version” to see the previous version of the document and compare edits or restore changes.

 

4. For existing documents, find and work on them on the web, mobile, or desktop, wherever you prefer. 


Find documents you’ve been collaborating on or share them with others from Office.com or the new Office app for Windows 10.

Office.com and the recently released Office app for Windows 10 are great ways to get started with Office and jump quickly into your work. In the documents section, you can easily find the documents that you have used most recently, pinned for easy access, or shared with others. And, we curate a list of recommended shared documents so that you can spend less time looking for what you need and more time getting things done.

 

 

 

Open file links in the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint desktop applications to start working where you prefer
If you are in the Office desktop apps and click on an Office 365 document link that others have shared with you, the file will open directly in the Office desktop apps instead of the web. This option to open files in the Office desktop apps will save you time by taking you to your preferred starting location.

 

114956_WXP_COLLABORATION_IMG01_V05.png

 

If you prefer using Office on the web, your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files will continue opening in the browser.

*This feature is rolling out to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint desktop applications over the next few months.

 

5. Don’t have an Office 365 subscription? You can give Office a try at Office.com.

For consumers, you can get started for free with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the web by signing in or creating an account at Office.com.

 

Once you have an account created, you can get started working in the web browser at Office.com and even work on documents with collaborators (including those who are not using Office).

 

Find more Office tips and tricks here.

Now available: Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Office 365 Groups

Now available: Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Office 365 Groups

Updated March 27, 2019

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the General Availability of Multi-Geo Capabilities in SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups. The functionality has been in preview, and thanks to the invaluable feedback from our preview customers, it’s now ready for prime time.

 

Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Groups enables global businesses control the country or region where shared resources like SharePoint Team Sites, Office 365 Groups content (associated SharePoint Sites and Groups mailboxes) are stored at-rest.

 

Earlier this year we launched Multi-Geo in Exchange Online and OneDrive, giving control over the geo-location of user-attached resources like user’s mailbox and OneDrive files.

 

With more data residency measures being legislated around the world for cloud data, global businesses are challenged with meeting their data residency requirements and digitally transforming with the cloud.

 

Multi-Geo addresses these challenges by enabling a single Office 365 tenant to span multiple regions and/or countries and giving customers the flexibility to choose the country or region where each employee’s Office 365 data is stored at-rest. This helps businesses meet their global data residency needs and digitally transform with Office 365.

 

Configuring Multi-Geo in SharePoint

 

 

Setting up and managing Multi-Geo is now available through the SharePoint admin center.  Simply click ‘Add location’ and select the needed satellite geo and then pick a namespace URL. New sites created by users are automatically created in the geo where their PreferredDataLocation (PDL) was established.  See more about managing PDL with Azure AD Connect at aka.ms/PDL

 

SPO admin1.png

 

For your global workforce, the digital transformation means that every employee is empowered with a modern productivity experience in Office 365.

 

Global SharePoint Home experience

With SharePoint Multi-Geo, satellite geos now get the rich SharePoint Online functionalities in addition to the OneDrive functionalities. SharePoint Home experience shows a curated list of News roll-up and Suggested sites powered by the intelligence of the Office graph, which analyzes the activities and signals from across the global organization and tailors a list for every user.

 

News from Sites.pngSharePoint Home

New site creation in the user’s geo

Team sites and Communications sites creation experience automatically detects the user’s configured geo-location and triggers sites creations in the corresponding geo.

 

New Site Creation.pngNew sites automatically created in the user’s geo

Hub site is Multi-Geo aware

SharePoint Hub sites enhances the discovery and engagement with content for employees, while creating a complete and consistent representation of projects, departments or regions. With SharePoint Multi-Geo, sites from Satellite geos can easily be associated with a hub site regardless of which geo the hub site is hosted in. This makes it easy for employees to tailor their business units needs through hubs while at the same time being part of One Enterprise. Employees can search and get results across the hub through a single search experience, regardless of in which geo the sites are located at-rest.

 

Hub Site.pngSharePoint Hub Site experience

 

Mobile

For employees on the go, the same great productivity experience is available on rich mobile apps for SharePoint, OneDrive and Outlook. Employees simply sign in with their Office 365 credentials and access content in their Multi-Geo enabled Office 365 tenant, they don’t need to remember any geo specific URLs or other information.

 

Mobile.pngSharePoint Mobile with sites and people from around the world

Managed metadata

For organizations that use taxonomy enterprise managed metadata to organize their sites and contents, Multi-Geo enables an easy way to centrally manage metadata in a central location and behind the scene these get replicated to all the satellites and ready to use in satellite sites. This doesn’t require any additional customization.

 

Rollout

Multi-Geo for SharePoint Online and Exchange Online Groups is now rolled out to all Office 365 tenants enabled with the Multi-Geo feature. Please see https://aka.ms/GoMultiGeo for details.

 

Pricing

Multi-Geo in SharePoint Online and Groups is included with the existing Multi-Geo offering. Please see https://aka.ms/GoMultiGeo for further details or contact your Microsoft representative.

 

Resources

 

Announcing the new cloud-based policy management service for Office 365 ProPlus

Announcing the new cloud-based policy management service for Office 365 ProPlus

Today we are pleased to announce the preview of the Office cloud policy service to help administrators manage policies for all Office 365 ProPlus users in their organization, from an easy-to-use, Internet-based portal focused on Office 365 ProPlus management.

 

Office 365 ProPlus allows users to access full Office experiences from multiple Windows devices. These may be managed or MDM-enrolled devices, but are often also personally-owned and unmanaged. Now with the Office cloud policy service, you can define and enforce Office policies without the infrastructure or MDM services traditionally required.

 

The Office cloud policy service allows administrators to define policies for Office 365 ProPlus and assign these policies to users via Azure Active Directory security groups.  Once defined, these Office policies are automatically enforced as users sign in and use Office 365 ProPlus.

 

  • Build a policy configuration that includes the policies you want to enforce, configured as needed for your organization’s needs.  The service is always up to date and includes the latest policies as they are released. 
  • Target a group of users by assigning the policy configuration to a specific AAD security group. 
  • Policies automatically enforced as users sign into Office 365 ProPlus.

    policies.png

     

 

This service is now available as a preview for all organizations with Office 365 ProPlus.  If you are an administrator, you can start using this service by signing into the Office client management portal and creating Office cloud policy configurations.  As you evaluate this preview, please provide feedback using the feedback button (in the upper right corner) to help us improve the service.

 

For a guided walk-though of this new service, take a look at a this video which also includes a deep dive into the Office Customization Tool.

 

 

 

For additional documentation on how to use this new policy service and its capabilities take a look at this document.

 

FAQ:

Does the Office cloud policy service replace Group Policy management options?
No, this service complements Group Policy-based management as another option. Group Policy management enforces policies on Windows PCs joined to an Active Directory domain, while the Office cloud policy service only requires Azure Active Directory sign-in as part of Office 365 ProPlus.

What are primary differences between the types of policies I can enforce using Office cloud policy service compared to Group Policy?
Office cloud policy service manages user-based policies for Office 365 ProPlus. Group Policy can manage both user-based and machine-based policies.

How does the Office cloud policy service compare with the Office Customization Tool for Click-to-Run’s application preferences settings?
The settings configured as part of Office installation using the Office Customization Tool for Click-to-Run – as well as previous OCT versions – are based on ‘preferences’, meaning that a user can change them. Office cloud policy service settings are enforced, similar to Group Policy enforcement.

 

Is an Intune subscription required?

No.  It is not required that the tenant have an Intune subscription.  This is a feature of Office 365 ProPlus and only requires that the tenant have a subscription that includes Office 365 ProPlus.

 

Does this work with all Office Click-to-Run products?

No.  This is a feature of Office 365 ProPlus and only works with the Office apps that are deployed as a part of the Office 365 ProPlus suite.

 

Does this new policy service support all the policies from the Office ADMX templates?

No.  Currently this preview is limited to a subset of the user based policies defined in the ADMX templates.  All machine based policies are not included.

 

Which admin roles are allowed access to configure policies?

Only the Global Admin, Security Admin or Desktop Analytics Admin (private preview) roles are allowed access to create or view policy configurations.

Save your files to the cloud more easily

Save your files to the cloud more easily

To protect against device loss or damage and to provide anywhere access to files, we recommend storing them in Office 365. Last June we announced Known Folder Move (KFM) in OneDrive for customers on Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 10. Known Folder Move provides an easy way to redirect your desktop documents and folders to OneDrive, making OneDrive the default location for those files. With KFM, your content is automatically synced to OneDrive with no disruption to productivity.

 

Today we are announcing a new capability that makes it easier for you to create and save your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document directly to the cloud. When you go to save an Office365 document using Ctrl+S (Windows), Cmd+S (macOS), or the Save button, the new dialog box will default to OneDrive or SharePoint Online. And if you forget to save a new document before exiting, you will also see this updated save experience.

 

Once a document is saved in the cloud, you can easily rename the file and change the location from the title bar. This ability to save your document to the cloud directly from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint will roll out to Office 365 on Windows and Mac beginning in February. 

 

These features, along with OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac, are part of our investments in making it easier for you to get your files into the cloud. By saving to the cloud, you will be able to securely access your most important documents from any device and start collaborating with others from the get go.

Multi-Geo India satellite geo available in December 2018

We’re thrilled to announce that all customers using Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365 will soon be able choose India as a satellite geo-location to store their users’ Exchange Online Mailboxes and OneDrive for Business files at-rest, and address their global data residency needs. Once SharePoint Multi-Geo is generally available, it will also include the India geo.

 

We’re in the process of rolling out the India geo to all Multi-Geo enabled Office 365 tenants. In the next few weeks, Multi-Geo customers will get a Message center notification in Office 365 indicating that the India geo available. After that, simply set the “PDL” to “IND” to trigger the move of mailboxes and OneDrive files to the India geo. Read more on configuring Multi-Geo at aka.ms/ExchangeMultiGeo and aka.ms/OneDriveMultiGeo.

 

This means Multi-Geo is available in 10 geos across Microsoft’s massive global data center footprint. Learn more about Multi-Geo at aka.ms/GoMultiGeo