collaboration on Excel, launching of stories, emoji reactions…

At its annual Microsoft Inspire conference, the company unveiled a series of new features for its Microsoft Teams video conferencing platform

Excel Live: edit an Excel file live

First novelty: the arrival of Excel Live, a function that allows several collaborators to modify a workbook in real-time, during a Teams meeting. This new mode supports custom views (Sheet Views)which means that each collaborator can sort the sheets or add filters in the Excel document, without having any impact on the file of the other participants.

To use Excel Live, during a meeting:

  1. In the menu bar, click To share,
  2. Select ExcelLivethen choose the workbook you want to open,
  3. A file sharing permission window appears, click To share,
  4. After this action, all meeting participants can edit the Excel document.

Excel Live will be available for public preview at the end of August. What a good start from the start of the school year!

Microsoft Viva Engage: the arrival of stories on Teams

Another major announcement is the introduction of Microsoft Viva Engage, an enhanced Yammer Communities app experience. Viva Engage offers post sharing and community creation but also introduces a new option: stories. These will be visible to your colleagues and followers via Viva Connections, Outlook, Teams, and Yammer.

Regarding the future of Yammer, Microsoft wants to be reassuring: “Yammer is a key part of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Viva, and this update only affects the Communities app for Teams and Outlook. The Yammer web experience and Yammer mobile apps will continue to be part of the Microsoft 365 credentials.”

At the end of August, the Communities app will be renamed Viva Engage, and no action is required from administrators.

Collaborative annotations: add drawings, notes, shapes

Microsoft Teams now includes a new option to annotate documents collaboratively. Everyone in the meeting can draw, add a note, or add text. As soon as the meeting host launches the Annotation mode, all the participants have access to the dedicated toolbar. Each participant can choose to display (or not) a nominative cursor, to be able to easily identify the annotations of each one.

To use annotations in a Teams meeting:

  1. When you share your screen, click on the pictogram Start a notation pencil-shaped,
  2. The red outline of the shared screen turns blue, and all participants access the toolbar dedicated to annotations.
Annotate your documents in real-time on Teams. © Microsoft

Webinars: new options available

Since last year, Microsoft Teams has offered the possibility of organizing interactive webinars on its platform. The company is adding new features to improve the experience:

  • Detailed biographies: webinar presenters can now post a photo, company name, job title, or LinkedIn profile
  • Theme: add a logo, a banner, and a color palette on your registration pages to promote your brand,
  • Registration limit: While webinars hosted on Teams can accommodate up to 1,000 attendees, you now have the option to set a limited number of registrations.
  • Quiz: before the event, it is possible to display a questionnaire to collect information on the participants.
Display your brand colors on your webinar overview page. © Microsoft

Teams discussions: shared channels, self-chat, new reactions

Teams also include new chat options, namely:

  • Shared channels (available in July): after integrating the possibility of initiating a conversation with a user outside the company, Teams now allows several companies to collaborate together in a shared space: conversations, meeting planning, file sharing, etc.
  • Personal chat (available now): you can now open a conversation with yourself to add sticky notes, store notes, or save files.
  • Message reactions (available in August): you can use new emojis to react to a message.
More emojis are now available to react to messages on Teams. © Microsoft

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