Tag: microsoft office 365

Office 365 Feature Scale-back

Microsoft is adjusting some non-core features to save capacity while the number of remote workers increased dramatically. This won’t impact core services (signing on, viewing/sending messages, uploading/downloading files), but don’t be concerned if you’re getting replies where the person seemingly didn’t type, presence updates seem slow, avatars aren’t showing up next to someone’s name (or yours in the upper right-hand corner of Teams), etc.

Excel – Setting a Cell Value Based on Background Color

I need to programmatically parse an Excel file where items are grouped with arbitrary group sizes. We don’t want the person filling out the spreadsheet to need to fill in a group # column … so I’m exploring ways to read cell formatting so something like color can be used to show the groups. Reading the formatting isn’t a straight-forward process, so I wondered if Excel could populate a group number cell based on the cell’s attributes.

While it is possible, it’s not a viable solution. The mechanism to access data about a cell cannot be accessed directly and, unfortunately, requires a macro-enabled workbook. The mechanism also requires the user to remember to update the spreadsheet calculations when they have finished colorizing the rows. While I won’t be using this approach in my current project … I thought I’d record what I did for future reference.

We need to define a ‘name’ for the function. On the “Formulas” tab, select “Name Manager”.

Select ‘New’

Provide a name – I am using getBackgroundColor – and put the following in the “refers to” section: =GET.CELL(63,INDIRECT(“rc”,FALSE))

Now we can use this name within the cell formula:

Select the rows for your first group and change the “fill color” of the row.

Repeat this process to colorize all of your groups – you can re-use a color as long as adjacent groups have different colors. Notice that the “ColorGroup” values do not change when you colorize your groups.

On the “Forumlas” tab, select “Calculate Now”

Now the colorized cells will have a non-zero value.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Notes

The trick to understanding this is knowing that “Meeting Notes” are, for some reason, Wiki pages and not OneNote documents. There are two types of meetings — those held in a Teams channel and those held outside of a channel — and the ability to get a useful link to the Meeting Notes depends on which type of meeting you have.

Meetings in a Teams Channel:

When your meeting is in a Teams channel, you can use the ellipsis to grab a link to the Meeting Notes location in Microsoft Teams.

This link points to the “Meeting Notes” tab created in the channel. That tab is available without a link, too — so I can access the meeting notes just by going to the channel where the meeting was held.

Meetings Outside of a Teams Channel:

The meeting notes wiki file is stored in your OneDrive. You can find that file by searching your OneDrive for the name of the meeting. In this example, I have a meeting titled “Super Important”. You can right-click on this and select “copy link” to grab a link to the file.

The problem is that it’s an MHT (basically a self contained web page) file. I can give you a link to the file, but it’s not a convenient link to a OneNote page like you’d expect. For some reason, Chrome wants to save it as an EML (email) so the file opens in Outlook (or change the extension to MHT manually). Firefox keeps the MHT extension, and the file opens up in a browser so you can view the notes.

 

Did you know … Teams meetings now include closed captioning?

When you record a Teams meeting, Stream can generate a transcript of the meeting. Great for making meeting minutes or creating searchable content from meetings. But it doesn’t help someone who doesn’t here so well *participate* in the call. And the attendee at a noisy aeroport? They’re stuck waiting for the transcript to be generated. Microsoft had demonstrated a few new meeting features earlier in the year — background replacement and live captioning. While I still cannot drop the company logo behind me … live captioning has started to show up in tenants. This is currently in preview — which means you may encounter glitches. Instead of waiting for a transcript to be generated for a recorded meeting, live captions provide real-time on-screen transcription.

To turn on live captioning, click the ellipsis in the call control bar and select “Turn on live captions”.

A real-time transcript will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. The text is large and easily read — at least on my desktop.

Their transcription engine picks up random background noise as interjections — the “oh” in my test, of instance, wasn’t actually uttered. Participating in a discussion with esoteric terms might yield a lot of mis-transcriptions. But it did a decent job with Z-Wave, DSLAM, and antidisestablishmentarianism.

Microsoft Teams: Private Channels Arrive

WooHoo! When creating a channel, I have a privacy setting!!

Individuals who do not have access to the channel do not see it in their Teams listing, and posts made to a private channel cannot at-mention the Team or individuals who do not have access. I’m glad Microsoft landed on the side of privacy in their implementation here.

It would be awesome if MS would have added the ability to move channels into other Teams with this rollout so we could consolidate Teams that were set up to restrict access to content. But at least we’ll be able to consolidate general-access and restricted-access content in a single Teams space going forward.

 

Upcoming Features from Ignite 2019

  1. Private channels should be coming this week … not my tenant yet, but soon
  2. Multi-window functionality where chats, calls, and such can pop out into another window
  3. Live captioning should land later this year — this is an obvious great feature for people with reduced hearing or frequency loss, live “closed captioning” is awesome if you’re working from a noisy location too
  4. Microsoft Whiteboard moved into general availability — it’s been a preview for quite some time now
  5. “Attendee” roll will prevent people from inadvertently sharing their screen in the middle of a meeting
  6. My Staff portal that allows managers to perform password resets (and maybe unlocks) for their employees. This is something I’ve done as custom code in IDM platforms, but it’s nice to see Microsoft incorporating ideas that reduce down-time due to password challenges.
  7. I’ll be curious to see if the healthcare-specific features move into other verticals — MS rolled out a feature that allows you to designate a contact when you’re in surgery (basically redirect all of my messages to Bob because I’m busy right now) that seemed like it would be quite useful in enterprise or education uses. The “patient coordination” feature they talk about might work as a contact management tool out of the medical realm too.
  8. URLs in Teams will be protected like the links in other Office 365 programs — if you click on a link and see something about “Advanced Threat Protection” … that’d be why 🙂

Did you know … Microsoft Teams private chats can include 100 people?

In January, Microsoft expanded Teams Chats to 50 people. I’ve heard from a few individuals who wanted to be able to chat with more people — essentially to use Teams to send broadcast messages to a lot of people. Last week, Microsoft upped the limit for private chats to 100. Hopefully they’ll extend the Graph API to allow applications to initiate those chats because adding 100 people to a chat seems like it would take a while!

Did you know … there are now reactions in Teams?

If you hover your mouse over the upper right-hand corner of a post – where the little thumbs-up used to be

You’ll see a reaction bar. Click one of the emojis to “react” to a post.

Now you’ll see reactions on a post instead of just thumbs-up.

When a post receives different reactions, you’ll see icons for each reaction and a number showing you how many people selected each reaction.

Did you know … you can post announcements in Teams?

Teams announcements are another way to bring attention to a specific post. This doesn’t address the desire to pin a post so it’s always visible in the channel (click the link and vote if that’s something you want to do too).

When you are in the advanced editor (click “Format” or use Ctrl-Shift-I), you will see a drop-down to change conversation posts to an announcement.

When creating an announcement, the editor will have a banner at the top. You can put text in the banner and customize the banner background. Click either the color selector or the image selector in the bottom right-hand corner of the banner.

You can upload a custom image – you’ll want something that is a long, horizontal rectangle. Select “Upload an image” and select the file you want to use as the background.

You’ll probably need to crop the image – you can adjust which portion of the image is shown and zoom into the image as needed. Click “Done” to accept your crop selections.

Compose the rest of the message as normal – you can add a sub-heading and any of the message content available in regular posts. Post the announcement

The post will have a little megaphone logo (this doesn’t show up as a filter option yet, but I expect it will be added in the future) and the banner will make your post stand out in the conversation listing.

They make your post stand out with a caveat – just like marking all of your posts as important, announcements lose their efficacy when every post is an announcement. Use sparingly!