Billions of people around the globe rely on Office 365 to drive businesses forward. To accommodate subscribers’ evolving needs, Microsoft issues new features every month. This year, Microsoft’s focus has been on boosting productivity and collaboration.
In this blog, we’ll review exciting new Office 365 updates in 2018. We’ll dive into the latest features and show you how to use them.
What Are the Top Office 365 Updates in 2018?
Whether you use Office 365 on Windows desktop, Mac or Online, there are new features you can enjoy. Choose your endpoint to see the updates you can take advantage of now.
- Office 365 for Windows Desktop
- Office 365 for Mac
- Office 365 Online
New Office 365 Features for Windows Desktop Subscribers and Insiders
Here are the new features available now for Windows desktop subscribers.
1. Make Meetings Private in Outlook
Now in Outlook, you can turn off forwarding for a meeting when you create a meeting request. Doing this prevents attendees from sharing the meeting with others. To restrict forwarding, select Response Options and uncheck Allow Forwarding.
2. Refresh, Relink or Delete Linked Tables in Access
Wish there were an easier way to manipulate linked tables in Access when a data source location, table name or table schema changes? The updated Linked Table Manager now lets you refresh, relink, edit, add and delete linked tables in one place.
To fix table errors, refresh the data source. Then enter the correct location or edit the data source to address the problem. If errors persist, relink individual tables that have a Failed status.
3. Provide More Information in Task Cards in Project
Now you can add up to five additional fields in task cards within a project to convey more information. Include important details such as the percentage of work complete, project duration and start date by selecting Customize Cards under the Format tab in a project’s Task Board.
4. Import Visio Diagrams Into Word Documents
Need to include a Visio workflow in a Word document? After you create the diagram, select Process > Export > Word. If you want to customize the diagram for the Word document, choose Export to Word (Preview) and make edits from the preview window.
5. See People Suggestions in Outlook Scheduling Assistant
Adding people to meetings just got easier. Now the Outlook Scheduling Assistant suggests attendees when you add people to a meeting invite. No more toggling back to the calendar invitation to see who’s missing.
6. Chat With Co-Authors While You Edit in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Need to talk over some edits with co-workers? Message them within select 365 products with the new chat window.
To get started, click the chat icon near the top right of the screen. To send and receive messages, all collaborators must have the file open. Note that once you close the file, your chat history will be deleted.
7. Improve Accessibility in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
The new Accessibility Checker helps ensure people of all abilities can easily understand your content.
To use the tool, select Accessibility Checker from the Review tab or go to File > Info > Check for Issues. Critical accessibility issues, issues that make your content impossible for someone with a disability to read, are categorized as Errors.
8. Add Scalable Vector Graphics (SVGs) Into Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Sometimes one dimension just doesn’t cut it. To add two-dimensional graphics into your document, presentation or workbook, drag and drop the SVG file from your Windows File Explorer.
9. Convert Digital Ink to Text in PowerPoint
The new digital ink feature is great for outlining your presentation.
First, jot down your main points on each title slide with the Pen tool under Draw, then select Ink to Text. Click and drag a box around the ink you want to convert. Then click the Convert to Text button in the upper right corner of the box. You can also use this handy tool for shapes.
10. Invite People to Join Groups With URLs in Outlook
Now people can join your groups in Outlook by clicking on a shared a link. To generate the link, select the group and then select Invite. Copy and paste the URL into an email or share via chat. This feature is also available to Office 365 Online users.
11. Manage Sprints From the Task Board in Project
Now you can manage sprints at a glance in Project. Just select View > Task Board > Manage Sprints. You can change the duration and start date of existing sprints by editing the Length and Start fields at the top of the window. Add new sprints in the field below.
12. Make Hyperlinks Any Color You Want in PowerPoint
Microsoft finally heard you: Blue hyperlinks don’t look good on every background. Now you can change hyperlinks from standard blue to any color you like the same way you would any font.
Just highlight your text, and select Font Color under the Home tab. This feature is also available for Mac, iOS and Android users.
Windows users that have an Office Insider subscription can enjoy two additional new features.
13. Track Live Stock Market and Geographic Data in Excel
Keep track of stock or geographic information with two new data types in Excel. To create a table with stock market data, type the company name or ticker in the first column. Then highlight the companies you want to track, and select Stocks under the Data tab.
Once you see symbols next to each company, click the Add Column button in the upper right corner of the cell and select the data type you wish to see. The cells will populate automatically. For geographic data, type location names instead of company names and select Geography.
14. Access Recent Save Locations in Project
No more wasting time trying to find the right folder. Now Project keeps a running list of where you saved other recent projects. When you’re ready to save a new project, choose one of your previous save locations.
New Office 365 Features for Mac Subscribers and Insiders
Mac users also have several new features to look forward to in PowerPoint, Excel, Word and Outlook.
1. Mention Co-Workers in Comments in Word and PowerPoint
Now you can mention collaborators in comments within a document or presentation. Just type “@” and your colleague’s screen name to get their attention. They’ll receive an email notification with your comment and a link to the file.
2. Take Notes in Digital Ink in Word and PowerPoint
Need to proofread a document, workbook or presentation quickly? Markup files with the new pens under the Draw tab.
3. Insert 3D Models and Rotate in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Want to elevate deliverables by adding dimension? Now you can import and manipulate 3D models in documents, workbooks and presentations without using special software.
To insert your model, select Insert > 3D Models > From a File or Online Library. Once imported, you can change how your model looks by clicking the Rotate or Pan & Zoom buttons. To make your object look like it’s rotating, use the Morph transition.
4. Customize Shortcut Keys in Excel Again
This summer Microsoft brought back customizable shortcut keys for Excel to help you work quickly.
To create your own shortcut command, select Tools > Customize Keyboard. From there, choose the Category and Command for which you want to create a keyboard shortcut.
Enter new shortcuts into the Press new keyboard shortcut box. Be sure to use a key combination that includes a modifier (COMMAND, CONTROL, OPTION, SHIFT) and one additional key.
5. Embed Fonts in PowerPoint to Prevent Changes
Until now, a common problem with PowerPoint for Mac was that the fonts changed when you opened a presentation on a PC.
But not anymore thanks to the new font embed capability.
Now the font you choose is the font everyone sees. To embed your fonts, go to PowerPoint > Preferences. Under Output and Sharing select Save and then check Embed fonts in the file.
6. Insert and Play Videos in PowerPoint Without Leaving the App
Embedding and presenting videos in PowerPoint for Mac used to be a pain.
But now you can easily add online videos by selecting Insert > Online Movie and pasting the URL of the video you want into the box. To play the video in the slide, press play.
7. Enhance Readability in Word
Use the Learning Tools in Word to look at your content from a different perspective. Adjust the column width to get a bigger picture, change the page color to give your eyes a rest, play around with text spacing and even hear your document read aloud.
To use this tool, go to View > Learning Tools.
8. Flash Fill Cells in Excel
Excel just got smarter. Now it recognizes patterns in your data and can flash fill formulas into adjacent cells. To fill a formula into an adjoining range of cells select Home > Fill and then tell Excel whether you want it to fill data up, down, left or right.
9. Convert Text to Another Language in Excel, PowerPoint and Word
Need to translate a chunk of text in a document, workbook or presentation? It’s now possible with Microsoft Translator. To translate, highlight the text you want to convert, select Review > Translate and select a language.
10. Customize Your Signature in Outlook
Now Mac users can create signatures that rival PC users’. Add rich font styles, colors and images to your signature in Outlook. Now when you select Edit Signature in an email, a new window opens that includes all the formatting tools you enjoy in Word.
11. Create an Office 365 Group in Outlook
Now Mac users can edit Groups in Outlook, too. To create a Group, go to File > New > Group. Then fill out the required fields, add members and select your desired privacy level.
In addition to these features, Mac Office 365 Insiders can also:
- Create linear format math equations in Word. To write a math equation in a linear format, press CONTROL + m.
- Add SVG graphics in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. To add an SVG graphic to a document, workbook, presentation or email choose Insert > Pictures > Pictures from file.
- Improve accessibility in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. To access it in Word, Excel and PowerPoint go to Review > Check Accessibility or Tools > Accessibility. To locate in Outlook, go to Options > Check Accessibility. From there, Office will suggest changes to accommodate various disabilities and international standards. Note that the tool labels critical accessibility issues as Warnings.
- Change hyperlink colors in PowerPoint.
New Features for Office 365 Online Users
Although Office 365 Online products are slightly less advanced than their desktop versions, the new features released over the past three months aim to improve usability.
1. Bolster Your Résumé in Word With the Résumé Assistant
Want to give your résumé a boost? Take advantage of the new LinkedIn Résumé Assistant in Word.
Open your résumé in Word and navigate to Review > Resume Assistant > Get Started. Type in the role you’re interested in to see real-life work experience and skills associated with it.
2. Reference Cells With One or Two Clicks in Excel
Before this update, the only way to reference cells in Excel Online was to type the cell name. Now if you need to reference a cell within a formula, select the sheet the cell is located in and then the cell.
3. Accurately Align Shapes in Visio
Forget about dragging, dropping and re-sizing to center and line up shapes. Snap shapes into alignment with the click of a button by selecting Align Shapes and choosing from Align Left, Center, Right Top, Middle or Bottom.
4. Send and Receive Collaboration Notifications in PowerPoint
Constantly checking a presentation for changes is no way to work.
Now, if co-workers make changes to a PowerPoint while you’re away, you’ll receive notifications via email and the Windows 10 Action Center. You’ll also be able to see updates that happened while you were away the next time you open the Online file.
5. Specify the Type of Information Users Can Enter Into a Cell in Excel
Prevent erroneous data entries by limiting the data types others can enter into cells.
To do this, select the cells you wish to validate, then go to Data > Data Validation. In the allow box, check the type of data you want to permit. Create further restrictions by editing the other fields in the Settings window.
6. Collaborate On Visio Diagrams in Teams
Now when you upload a Visio Online Diagram to your Teams channel, all members can edit it. To do this, just click Edit Diagram within Teams.
7. Enhance Your Data With Shapes in Excel
Want to point out exciting insights within your spreadsheet? Add emphasis and excitement by adding shapes. Choose from arrows, stars, circles and more just like you would in Word and PowerPoint.
8. Add Visio Diagrams to Power BI Web Reports
Ever wish you could include a Visio workflow next to your Power BI chart or map? Now you can.
First, create each model: one in Visio and the other in Excel. Be sure to name your Visio shapes after the corresponding Excel data.
Next, create a Power BI report and import the excel data.
Finally, import the Visio visual into the Power BI report and link the Power BI data to your Visio diagram.
When it comes to Office 365 updates, users don't all get access to the same features at the same time. Microsoft typically rolls out changes based on subscription models. IT training can help IT leaders understand what to expect from Microsoft and be ready to take advantage of updates coming in 2018 and beyond.
Want to learn more about how to use Office 365 and its newest features? Start learning today with Microsoft Office training courses from New Horizons.