Office 365 Groups @ Ignite – Recap

Office 365 Groups @ Ignite – Recap

Office 365 Groups is the membership service that drives teamwork and powers collaboration across Microsoft 365. With Office 365 Groups, a group of people can access and share a collection of collaboration resources, such as a shared Outlook inbox, calendar, SharePoint document library, a Planner, a Team, and more.


Recently, at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, FL, the Office 365 Groups team delivered several session that included announcements of enhancements and new innovations for Office 365 Groups, such as new user activity-based expiration policy for Office 365 Groups, and the Groups Admin role, and best practices, such as creating a governance plan, enabling self-service, and leveraging analytics to understand usage.


The Office 365 Groups breakout sessions highlighted innovations across Outlook Mobile, Outlook Desktop, Outlook on the Web, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365 admin center, SharePoint Site URL Rename, Identity Governance, Yammer, and more. In case you missed it, you can view the Office 365 Groups sessions on-demand, and download the slide decks, as well.


Session Code Description
ADM20 Addressing top management issues with users and groups
BRK2052 What’s new and what’s next: SharePoint and OneDrive administration
BRK2056 Embrace Office 365 Groups: What’s new and what’s next
BRK2058 Deploy Office 365 groups at scale to power Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Yammer, and SharePoint
BRK2210 Finding your collaboration sweet spot with Office 365 Groups, SharePoint, Teams, and Yammer
BRK2233 The future of Yammer: Share knowledge, engage leaders, and build communities in Microsoft 365
BRK3264 Transform collaboration and fight shadow IT with Office 365 groups
THR2091 Master sharing and permissions of Office 365 in 20 minutes
THR2251 How Microsoft empowers employees through self-service collaboration while still protecting the company in Office 365
THR3043 Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups PowerShell MasterClass
THR3083 Office 365 Groups: Ask us anything


We’re also taking the learning path session for Office 365 Groups (Embrace Office 365 Groups: What’s new and what’s next) on the Microsoft Ignite The Tour, so if you would like to see it live, and interact with Office 365 Groups experts, register now for a city near you.




–The Office 365 Groups Team


New functionality to make it easier to customize, manage, and secure Office 365 ProPlus

At Microsoft, we’re committed to protecting your data and helping your organization stay current and secure in today’s fast-moving, complex technology environment. And we’ve designed new innovations for Office 365 ProPlus to do just that. As announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019 last week, we introduced:

  • An update to the Office cloud policy service.
  • Deeper integration for managing Office 365 for Mac using Jamf Pro.
  • New tools for Configuration Manager to better plan Office deployment projects.
  • New security features for the Office client.
  • New Group Policy setting to enable users to install Insider builds.

Together, these new functionalities help you more efficiently adopt, deploy, and manage Office 365 ProPlus—regardless of the size of your organization and the platform you choose.

Cross-platform support* for the Office cloud policy service

The Office cloud policy service—initially announced for Windows earlier this year—is a cloud-based service that enables IT admins to enforce policy settings for Office 365 ProPlus users. The settings are enforced across devices, whether domain-joined, Azure Active Directory (AAD)-joined, or completely unmanaged. In short, the policy settings roam with the user.

Today, we’re introducing an update to add cross-platform support for Office on the web, Android, Mac*, and iOS* devices, giving administrators the ability to manage Office policies from a single portal for all their Office users. To learn more, read this article


Easier Office 365 for Mac management using Jamf Pro

Today, we’re announcing deeper integration for managing Office 365 using Jamf Pro. Our integration with the new Application and Custom Settings experience, which was demonstrated at the Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC), allows IT admins to easily set Office 365 policies using a familiar forms-based interface. Mac administrators can centrally configure security, privacy, and update policies to deliver the very best Office 365 experience to their users, including:

  • Enabling friction-free sign-on to Office 365
  • Controlling privacy and telemetry options
  • Reducing the attack surface for sensitive devices
  • Increasing compliance levels through feature enablement
  • Lowering support costs by implementing desired update workflows


Pilot health and inventory tools to deploy faster

We’ve brought a pair of updates to the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager—you probably know it as Config Manager—to help IT admins streamline parts of the device upgrade process. The first of these shows the health of pilot devices as it relates to a forthcoming upgrade. Pilots are a subset of devices you’ve selected to validate before deploying. With this update, that subset will also show the upgraded health of selected devices, including which are ready to upgrade right now. For those not ready, you can see what issues are blocking the upgrade and remediate those for faster deployment.


The second update, which enhances your existing inventory tools, leverages device telemetry to determine which devices running Office 365 ProPlus are ready to update to newer release. This update also provides insight into issues that are blocking an immediate upgrade, giving you the information needed to remediate problem areas.


Pilot health and enhanced inventory tools are just the beginning. With 80% of Office 365 ProPlus admins using Config Manager, we’re continuing to prioritize upgrades for the Config Manager console—including features like recommended configurations.


Safe Documents and Application Guard for enhanced file protection

On Tuesday, we shared Safe Documents, a new capability that brings the power of Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to Office 365 ProPlus.  When a user has a document in Protected View and wants to consider that document “trusted”, the field will be automatically checked against the ATP threat cloud before release. Admins will have advanced visibility and response capabilities, including alerts, logs, and visibility into similar threats across the enterprise.


We also showed an early, live demo of Application Guard capabilities integrated with Office 365 ProPlus. When available in mid-2020, Microsoft 365 customers will be able to open an untrusted Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file in a virtualized container instead of Protected View. From there, users will be able to view, print, edit, and save changes to untrusted Office documents—all while benefiting from hardware-level security. If the untrusted file is malicious, the attack is confined to the isolated container and the host machine is untouched. Users will be able to leverage Safe Documents to “trust” a document securely, and full reporting and audit trails will be available through ATP.


Group Policy to allow users to experience Office Insider builds  

Enabling your users to self-select into the Office Insiders program is as simple as delivering a policy.  This can be done by using the Office Cloud Policy service which is available in and via group policy. This policy makes it easy for you to enable which users can self-select their device to receive the Office Insider builds as they become available in order to try new features. Read more in this article.

Microsoft Teams deployed with Office 365 ProPlus

As a quick reminder, when you update to Version 1908 of Office 365 ProPlus in January, Microsoft Teams will be rolled out to existing installations on the Semi-Annual Channel. Learn more about deploying Teams as part of Office 365 ProPlus in this article.

Office 2010 End of Support

Finally, support for Office 2010 is ending in October 2020—but with Office 365 ProPlus, you can continue to stay current with the latest Office tools and security features, like the ones we described above. Read more in this blog.


Catch up on all other Office 365 ProPlus deployment content recorded at Ignite by following this guide. As always, learn what’s new in Office 365 ProPlus, watch our YouTube Deployment Insider channel, and join Office Insider Program.

You may also find the following additional resources useful:

*Office cloud policy service support for Mac and iOS devices is expected to roll out soon.

Your OneNote

From your flashes of inspiration at 2:00 AM to the list of funny things your children say, or that brilliant idea you had in the conference room, and your ever-growing list of household chores  OneNote holds the notes to your life to track all the things you need to keep in mind, but simply don’t have room for in your overworked brain. 


We enjoy the privilege of serving millions of customers like you, who each have unique needs and who use OneNote in unique waysOver the past year, we’ve been listening to your passionate feedback and are humbled by your consistent love for OneNote. We hear you loud and clear — you want to keep your notes your way! 


With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce that we are continuing mainstream support for OneNote 2016 beyond October 2020, so that you can continue using the version of OneNote that works best for you. New support dates for OneNote 2016 now align with Office 2019 (October 10, 2023 for mainstream support and October 14, 2025 for extended support). We also want to make deployment and installation easier for organizations and individuals, so for Windows users, starting in March 2020, when you deploy or install Office 365 subscriptions that include the Office desktop apps or Office 2019, the OneNote desktop app will be installed by default alongside Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. If you’d like to install OneNote 2016 earlier, you can get it here: 


And, of course, OneNote should look the way you want it to. That’s why this week we are rolling out Dark Mode for OneNote 2016This will be available for Office 365 subscribers and non-volume licensing Office 2019 customers. Dark Mode changes the app’s interface elements from light to dark. Using OneNote in this mode can improve readability in low light environments, increase legibility of the user interface as well as your notes, provide better contrast, and reduce eye strain. You might also use OneNote in Dark Mode simply as a personal preference. The choice is yours! 


We’re excited about today’s announcements and we’ll keep listening to your feedback to make your OneNote better and better! Please continue requesting features and telling us what you think via the in-app feedback. 


For more information check out our OneNote FAQ! 

User Activity based Expiration Policy for Office 365 groups is now generally available!

User Activity based Expiration Policy for Office 365 groups is now generally available!

O365 Groups power collaboration across Office 365 

Collaboration is a key ingredient for the success of any organization. Office 365 groups, of the most used collaboration features in Microsoft 365 today, power the collaboration features across apps, including Outlook, Teams, Yammer, and SharePoint. Employees can create groups quickly and start collaborating with co-workers by sharing group documents, emails, and calendars.


The twin problems of Groups Life cycle Management 

As the number of Office 365 groups increases, an organization needs to strike a balance between cleaning up unused groups and ensuring any valuable groups do not get deleted unintentionally, causing data loss. Many of you have shared feedback about these challenges in groups lifecycle management.


You say, we listen and act

We heard your feedback, and we’ve made some changes! We are excited to announce the new version of expiration policy which ensures any group being actively used continues to be available, circumventing expiration. This feature makes life easier for users, including admins, group owners and members, by automating the expiration and renewal process by tracking groups for user activity across different apps, like Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, tied to the group.


The new expiration policy puts group life cycle management on autopilot 

The current Expiration policy allows you to set an expiration time frame for selected or all Office 365 groups . After the defined group lifetime, owners are asked to renew them if they are still needed. With this newly added intelligence, groups which are being actively used will be automagically renewed. This preempts the need for any manual action on the part of the group owners. This is based on user activity in groups across Office 365 apps like Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and others.


Example:  At Contoso, the administrator has configured the Group lifetime to be 180 days. Megan is the owner of the Contoso Marketing O365 Group, with Enrico and Alex as its members. Her group is set to expire in 45 days. If an owner or a member performs actions like uploading a document in SharePoint, visiting Teams channel or sending an email to the group in Outlook, the group is automatically renewed for another 180 days, and she does not get any expiry notifications.

Image 1.png


Manual Controls: Group owners will continue to have the manual “delete”, “renew” option for granular control.


Soft Delete: Like before, groups which aren’t renewed (either automatically based on activity or manually) will be soft deleted. Groups in “Soft-delete” state can still be restored within 30 days, after which the content is deleted permanently.


Image 2.png


User actions for group auto-renewal: The following user actions will lead to automatic renewal of groups

  • SharePoint – View, Edit, Download, Move, Share, Upload Files
  • Outlook – Join group, Read/write group message from group space, Like a message (OWA)
  • Teams – Visit a Teams channels

We will continue to update this list to fine tune group auto-renewal experience.


Auditing and reporting: Administrators can get a list of auto-renewed groups from audit logs on the azure portal.

Image 3_2.png



Here are some quick steps to get you started.


Getting started

Office 365 groups expiration policy can be configured from the Azure Active Directory portal, as well as programmatically via Azure Active Directory PowerShell. Please note you need an Azure AD Premium license. Below is a quick tutorial on how to get started with the functionality in the new Azure portal experience.


1. Create Expiration Policy: Sign into the Azure portal, select Azure Active Directory, go to the Groups tab and select Expiration under Settings. (More details here) .Image 4.png


2. Set Group Life cycle: Specify the group lifetime in days and select which groups you want the expiration settings to apply to.

Group owners will receive a renewal notification 30 days before the expiration date, and from that notification they can renew their group with a single click!


If there is no user activity in the group (and the owners don’t manually renew their group) within the required time frame, their group will expire. Upon expiry it will stay in a “soft deleted” state for 30 days. Owners of deleted groups will receive a notification letting them know their group has been deleted and giving them the opportunity to restore their group within 30 days after its deletion date. The Group will be permanently deleted after 30 days.


3. Auto-renewal based on user activity: No explicit action is required to enable activity-based auto-renewal. If an the expiration policy is set for Office 365 groups, auto-renewal will be enabled by default.

Learn more about how you can restore you group to recover all its content, including SharePoint, Planner, and Outlook – how to restore deleted Office 365 groups.


Note: The new version of Office 365 groups expiration feature is available in private preview today for select Azure AD Premium customers. Please reach out to your TAMs/CSMs regarding enrollment in private preview.


Let us know what you think!

We would love to hear your feedback! If you have any suggestions for us, questions, or issues to report, please leave a comment below. We’re always looking for ways to improve.


User Voice: Add security groups to Office 365 groups

Support & feedback:



Best regards,


Salil Kakkar                                                               Yuan Karppanen

Program Manager                                                    Program Manager

Office 365 Groups                                                    Azure Active Directory

twitter-3.png  @salil_kakkar


Microsoft Ignite 2019 Guide to Office 365 ProPlus Deployment

If you’re an Office IT Admin, get ready to learn the latest and greatest about Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus deployment at Ignite starting November 4. We’re very excited to announce the following sessions, workshops, speakers, and other learning opportunities to help you make your Office 365 ProPlus deployment and management success. Here is what we have lined up for you:

Best practices for deploying and managing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus (BRK3087). Amesh Mansukhani, a Principal Program Manager focused on helping enterprise organizations efficiently manage Office 365 ProPlus deployments, shares what’s new from the Office engineering team on how to best deploy and manage Office 365 ProPlus within your environment. He’ll also walk through the deployment tools and discuss the best options to suit your environment.

What’s new in the Office Customization Tool (THR 30309). Learn what’s new in the Office Customization Tool for Office 365 ProPlus from Chris Hopkins, a Senior Program Manager on the Office Enterprise Lifecycle team responsible for the deployment and management experience for Office across Office 365, System Center Configuration Manager, and Microsoft Intune.

Best practices for compatibility assessment and Office 365 ProPlus upgrades using Office Readiness in Configuration Manager (BRK3090). In this session, Tara Hanratty, a Senior Program Manager in Microsoft Ireland who focuses on helping enterprises address compatibility concerns, will discuss best practices for upgrading to Office 365 ProPlus, including:

  • Evaluating Office readiness
  • Using the Readiness Toolkit for advanced VBA readiness
  • Discovering and remediating issues
  • Deploying to “ready devices” with the right settings
  • Identifying optimal pilots to unblock more devices
  • Viewing health on deployed devices
  • Viewing unblocked devices
  • Advanced plug-in reports (accessibility)

Get to know the new Office Cloud Policy Service (THR3038)
. If you are still managing Office policies using Group Policy Manager, but you want to move the cloud, come learn about the new Office Cloud Policy Service. Chris Hopkins will explain how you can use the Office Cloud Policy Service to manage policies for Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus on Windows, Mac, and Office on the web. He’ll also show you how to use built-in intelligence to provide security policy recommendations and baselines for simplifying management and compliance.

Deploying and managing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus (WRK3019). In this workshop, Matt Philipenko, Senior Premier Field Engineer for Office Deployment, Servicing, and Activation and ProPlus Ranger, will cover deploying and managing Office 365 ProPlus using Configuration Manager and Intune. He will walk through creating an Office 365 ProPlus deployment, managing updates, configuring cloud policies, and monitoring your current deployment status, and also share Microsoft best practices and common customer implementations.

Microsoft Office privacy controls and Diagnostic Data (BRK3088). Office uses the power of the Microsoft Cloud to deliver exciting new capabilities to individuals and organizations. Diagnostic data helps Microsoft keep Office and these experiences secure, up to date, and performing as customers expect. Some organizations have wondered what happens to this data, how it’s used, and how they might control the flow. Revolutionary change in product transparency over the past year means commercial customer IT departments can now control this data. In this session, you’ll gain a deep understanding about diagnostic data, identify the benefits of diagnostic data to your organization, learn about you can view and manage this data, and hear from a customer that has implemented the controls. This session is presented by Brian Albrecht and Steve Conn. Brian runs the Microsoft Office Data, Privacy, and Insights PM Team and is responsible for diagnostic data privacy and compliance with GDPR and next generation privacy regulations across the Office 365 client experiences. Steve has worked on Office and Windows in various marketing and engineering roles for 12 years.

The future of Office: The insiders view and how we’re making it easier for IT admins and organizations to deploy and use Office 365 ProPlus (BRK3298). Are you interested in what’s being developed for Office 365 ProPlus deployment? In this panel, moderated by Amesh Mansukhani, Microsoft CVPs Aleš Holeček and Tara Roth dive deep into what we’re bringing in the coming year to IT Admins and organizations around Office 365 ProPlus deployment. We also talk about the Office Insider program and why it’s a necessary component to successful deployments. And, we’ll get some real-world feedback from several customers, including Thuy Mesina from Chevron and Jason Meyers from Mars, about their recent experiences with ProPlus deployment and the Office Insider program.

Moving to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus? FastTrack is here to help! (BRK2177) Learn from the FastTrack experts Sean McLaren and Bryan Allen as they share deployment best practices and learnings from experience with customers moving to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus. The clock is ticking on end of support for Windows 7, with the January 14, 2020 deadline quickly approaching. Learn how FastTrack can help you accelerate your upgrade to Windows 10 with Desktop Analytics and leverage your existing investments in System Center Configuration Manager. You’ll also learn how we can help you deploy Office 365 ProPlus, mitigate application compatibility issues with Desktop App Assure, and keep your devices up to date. FastTrack for Microsoft 365 is your advisor to help deploy Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, and leverage the value of Office in the cloud at no additional cost.

We look forward to seeing you at Ignite in Orlando, Florida starting November 4! Come talk with us at the Hubb. Our experts are easiest to find in the following booths: Office 365 ProPlus Deployment, Office Insiders Program, and FastTrack. For those not joining Ignite in person, you can watch livestream keynotes and some select sessions on-demand. As always, visit out Docs page to see what’s new in Office 365 ProPlus, watch our YouTube Deployment channel, and join the Office Insider program.

You may also find the following additional resources useful:

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:


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

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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.



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.



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.




  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.




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.


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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.


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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.




*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.




*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. 




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.




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 or the new Office app for Windows 10. 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.




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

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


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


Find more Office tips and tricks here.