Microsoft 365 Updates: February 2021

Each month Microsoft roll out updates to its products services including Teams, Outlook, Yammer and much more! You could look through all the updates on the Microsoft roadmap. But to make it easier for you, we’ve put together the top ones to look out for this February.


Custom layouts for meetings
As a presenter, you will be able to customise how content shows up for meeting participants. This includes overlaying video on content or moving your content box to a corner of the video view. This will give a more dynamic content viewing experience where presenters can easily direct their audiences’ attention through hand gestures and facial cues. Therefore, you won’t have to make the viewer choose between watching the speaker and the content.

Overflow meetings
When attendees exceed the meeting attendee limit, the meeting will scale to accommodate up to 20,000. Those additional attendees will be placed into an experience where they can watch.

New Lobby Setting: Only Invited Users join directly
Microsoft is adding “People I Invite” as an option to the “Who can bypass lobby?” setting. Once enabled, only the participants invited by the organiser in meeting invite will be able to join the meeting directly. Meanwhile, everyone else will be sent to the lobby.

2×2 video in Gallery view for web meetings in Edge and Chrome browsers
Gallery view will show up to 4 participant videos during a meeting in Edge or Chrome browser.

Update to meeting participant’s access to meeting chat
People added to a meeting via a meeting link and were not added to the original meeting invite will no longer have access to chats, files, notes, and other meeting content after the meeting ends. They will continue to have access to meeting assets during the meeting but lose access once the meeting ends.

Transfer Calls between desktop and mobile
Transfer calls between desktop and mobile will allow a user to move their call between devices.

History Menu
The History Menu for Teams desktop clients displays your recently visited locations when hovering over the backward and forward navigation options. Using the menu, you can quickly jump back to previous locations. This, therefore, makes it much easier to quickly get back to nested locations like tabs or documents. The menu will also be accessible via keyboard shortcut.

Whiteboard tab app in Teams
Whiteboard will be available as a tab app inside Teams. This will therefore make it even easier to pin a whiteboard to a channel.

Personal productivity insights in Teams
Personal productivity insights are coming to Microsoft Teams. Powered by MyAnalytics, users will get intelligent reminders to catch up with key people, follow up on to-dos, and set time to work uninterrupted.

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection: Safe Links Protection for Microsoft Teams
The power of Safe Links will be available to protect users from malicious links sent via Microsoft Teams.

Block Downloads for Teams meeting recordings on OneDrive and SharePoint
All users with view-only permissions of a Teams meeting recording uploaded to OneDrive and SharePoint will be blocked from downloading the recording by default.


Message Recall in Exchange Online
The Outlook for Windows Message Recall feature is extremely popular with users. However, it doesn’t always work so well. Part of the problem is that the recall is client-based. Therefore, the recall can only happen if the recipient also uses Outlook.

With millions of users with mailboxes in Office 365, Microsoft is improving the feature by performing the recall directly in the cloud in Office 365 mailboxes. As a result, it doesn’t matter which email client the recipient uses, the recall takes place in their Office 365 mailbox. Then, when their client syncs their mail, the message is gone.

While there are still some conditions where the recall still won’t happen (like the message being read by the recipient), moving the recall to the cloud significantly improves the recall success rate.


“At a glance” in sharing emails
When you receive Sharing emails, you will see a short, 3-bullet point summary of the document in the email.

250 GB file size support in Microsoft 365
Users will be able to upload large file sizes up to 250 GB in OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams.


Shorten URL for response link
With this update, you will be able to choose to shorten URLs in certain scenarios.

Specific User Sharing for Response Collection
Microsoft Forms owners will be able to send out a survey to collect responses from specific users or security groups. You will have the option in the “Send to Collect Responses” dropdown menu to select that “Specific people in my organisation can respond.”


Video Webparts and Templates
New SharePoint video webparts and templates will enable users to combine video with messaging and other media to tell their story on any page or news post.

Image Lightbox
This feature will allow users to click on an image web part while in view mode to see a larger version of the image.


More labels
Add up to 25 labels to your tasks in Planner.

Pushed back from January:

The following features have either been pushed back or are taking longer for general roll-out than expected.

Live reactions
You will be able to send reactions live during a meeting that will appear to all participants.

Include computer sound when sharing a Desktop or Window on Mac
You will be able to include your computer’s sound when you share a Desktop or Window on Mac. This is great when you are sharing a video and want your audience to hear its audio during the meeting.

Increasing Chat Size from 300 to 1000 Participants
Currently, 300 meeting participants can be part of the meeting chat. As a result of the update, 1000 participants will be able to participate in the meeting chat.


To note: whilst these features are expected to be released in February, the process of rolling them out to all users can take time. Occasionally features can be delayed.

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Paul Frost

Telecoms Engineer

An integral part of my role is to advise you on the range of communication solutions available and how these have the capacity to create efficiencies within your existing systems.

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