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Outlook on the web is getting text predictions
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft's Outlook e-mail service is getting a couple of major features this month, according to the company's feature roadmap for Microsoft 365 (via Windows Latest). The first of those features is text predictions, which is pretty much what it sounds like. Outlook will be able to guess the rest of a word or sentence based on what you're typing, and users can press the Tab key to automatically enter the predicted text. A separate support document details how the feature can be used.
If that sounds familiar, that's because it's the same feature that Google rolled out to Gmail two years ago under the name Smart Compose. Gmail's feature equivalent has actually gone past the web version of the service, and made its way to mobile devices a few months later.
The other important addition is a "Send later" feature, which lets users schedule when they want a specific message to be sent. This can be useful if you don't want people to know you're sending e-mails in the middle of the night, for example. This capability has also been a part of Google's e-mail service for some time, so it's good that Microsoft is matching it.
Looking at the roadmap, there are a few other features coming to Outlook this month. Suggested replies are expanding to more European countries with support for French and Italian, and the Microsoft To Do integration is getting some improvements with support for rich text formatting. Outlook for Windows is also getting a notable new feature - the ability to save app settings to the cloud so they sync across devices.
November updates to Microsoft 365 include dark mode for OneNote 2016 and more
by João Carrasqueira
We're nearing the end of the month, and that means it's time for Microsoft to once again highlight the changes made to its Microsoft 365 products over the past few weeks. There actually wasn't a blog post for October, so this is the first time we're getting a feature roundup of this kind in a couple of months.
Many of the changes in this month's updates were actually announced at Ignite earlier in the month. For example, OneNote 2016 has been brought back to life, and it's now getting a new dark mode that's already available for all Office 365 subscribers. Another previously announced feature is Sheet View in Excel, which lets users filter and sort lists in spreadsheets without affecting other users in real-time co-authoring.
One thing that's new is that users who create quizzes using Microsoft Forms can now allow respondents to upload files. Microsoft is also announcing an upcoming Outlook.com integration with Sticky Notes, which will let users see their notes in their inbox. This will be rolling out to everyone next month.
For IT managers, there are other updates this month, but they were also announced back at Ignite. These include a new Endpoint Manager, which brings together features from Intune and System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). Microsoft has also made Intune licensing available to ConfigMgr customers. There's a new Productivity Score feature that lets organizations get insights into how productive its teams are and what factors might be affecting productivity.
Finally, Microsoft is announcing that Cloud App Security and Azure Advanced Threat Protection are now available for U.S. Government GCC High customers, bringing additional security capabilities to the public sector.
Microsoft is testing Gmail integration in Outlook on the web
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft seems to be testing a new integration in Outlook.com which will bring Google services into the experience. The capability was first spotted by Twitter user Florian B, who pointed out that not only is it possible to add a Gmail e-mail inbox, but you can also attach files from Google Drive into e-mail messages, as well as access your Google Calendar on Outlook.com.
As it stands, the feature seems to be very limited in terms of availability, and it doesn't seem to be available for us just yet. This might be because it's still in early testing, as Florian points out that switching between Outlook and Gmail accounts refreshes the entire page, and you also can't add more than one Google account (via The Verge).
Otherwise, the integration seems to be much like what you find in the Outlook apps, which already let you manage accounts from a multitude of services. The Mail and Calendar apps on Windows 10 can also integrate e-mail and calendar from Google, but you can't attach Google Drive files as easily, so this could be an improvement for desktop users.
It's currently unknown when the feature will be more widely available, but we've reached out to Microsoft for more information, and we'll update this article if there's anything new.
Outlook on the web can now show your calendar and tasks next to your inbox
by João Carrasqueira
The web version of Microsoft's Outlook service has been updated recently to add a new capability, which lets users view their calendar or tasks from the To Do service next to their e-mail inbox. Until now, the Outlook inbox had links to both calendar and To Do services, but they would open in a different page, taking users away from the inbox.
As seen in the image above, the integration can be accessed through the calendar icon on the top menu bar, next to the Skype button. In this split view, the calendar can only be seen in a weekly or daily view, but you can still view and create new events.
The Tasks view also has limited functionality, but it can work in a pinch, You can also drag e-mails from the inbox into the task list to create a new task, which will include a link to the message itself so you can see it later.
In addition to this change, Microsoft recently added the ability to use different themes while in dark mode, and there have been minor tweaks to the look of the page, such as a redesigned "New Message" button.
Dark mode themes show up for Outlook.com, seemingly on a staggered rollout [Update]
by Florin Bodnarescu
Back in August of 2017, Microsoft announced that its Outlook.com email service would get a fresh coat of paint, as it kicked off the beta for the new UI. The beta concluded last year, and a couple of months ago, Microsoft stated that the new experience was ready to roll out to everyone. However, Dark mode, one of the more interesting components of this release, was still incomplete.
For the entirety of its existence, Outlook.com's nighttime-friendly mode sported a disclaimer that some themes were simply unavailable to use if you chose the dark gray variant over the default light one. The "some" really meant that all options but the default shade of blue were unavailable to use, a decidedly Henry Ford approach to customization.
This seems to have been rectified, as Dark mode now allows you to choose from the same selection of themes as Light mode - including the recently released rainbow-inspired ones. The caveat however is that this experience doesn't seem to be available to everyone, and it's unclear currently how Microsoft plans to approach this rollout. We have reached out to the company for further clarification.
Do you like Outlook.com's Dark mode? What's your take on the colour options? Sound off in the comments below.
Update: The rollout of Dark mode themes will be in accordance to the timeline outlined in this support article.