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March 2023 in M365

·8 mins

The month of march has been super packed with awesome announcements, product launches and previews! - and while it’s not over yet, let’s take a quick look at some of them.

The minor stuff

Teams files

I don’t know if you know this, but teams has a files “app”, now I never really use it, or introduce clients to it, as it’s pretty damn useless, for me it usually just shows a bunch of random files that I’m not sure what to do with, and don’t know when I worked on - I always wanted it to be more smart, and find the files I might actually need.

Well it’s getting an overhaul that looks really promising, pulling content from SharePoint, OneDrive and everywhere else where you interact with files on M365.

This is a minor change, but a very welcome one, this means using the files tab in Teams should soon become a lot more like the OneDrive homepage, with some more “easy to understand” filters for filetypes, hopefully making it quick and easy to find what you’re looking for.

The new experience

Microsoft Drop

Drop was one of those product announcements that really took me by surprise, it’s a simple product idea, but it solves a years long problem, at least for us Windows/Android users - years ago Apple announced Airdrop, a quick way to share files between your Mac and iOS device.

I’ve wanted a native feature for this for years, now we’re finally starting to see something in that regards on the windows/android ecosystem - Microsoft announced drop - an edge feature that let’s you drag n’ drop files from your PC to your phone with the only requirement being having edge on both devices … oh by the way, it also works on mac and iOS. now what’s really happening here is that the files are being uploaded to your OneDrive in a more convenient way.

Also it does not enable the “nearby share” that AirDrop has (yet) - but being able to share files and text from right where you already are is awesome, and honestly as a long time chrome user this might be enough to bring me over to the edge train.

Screenshot of drop

New “my groups” experience

Honestly, when I heard of this announcement on the 365 Message Center Show I was about as blown away as the hosts that this “product” even existed, apparently there is a, that will very conveniently list all the groups that you’re a member of, and also a convenient list of the groups you’re an owner off - man the number of times where this would’ve been nice to know to quickly help diagnose an issue.

Well it’s getting a makeover, and a new URL that the existing one will redirect to ([] - to me it makes a lot of sense to move it under the myaccount resource.

It’s also getting a more modern look and feel, which is a great addition because the existing one, well looks a bit dated, using a more “classic” square look and feel, where as the new one uses the more soft corners, and colors of modern M365.

The new “my groups” experience

Planner templates

A very small feature that I haven’t seen enough people talking about, perhaps because it’s still in the very early roll-out stages are templates for Planner, this one is a major feature! - currently only a few limited default templates are supported, but with Microsofts focus on templates across the products my gut feeling tells me that we’ll see options to build our own in the coming months!

This is a huge benefit as this is something I often meet in the field as a request, and while we could build this ourselves with the Application permissions that launched back in january there’s also a cost associated with that, so getting this out of the box will be a great benefit to many - It’s also something that Trello has had for years, and that makes it hard to sell Planner as a real replacement.

So as excited as I am for this one, I’m more excited for what’s to come! - but this is a great start to “show the art of possible”

Create planner board from a template

The two big once

Microsoft Loop

For a what feels like close to a year now we’ve had loop components in Teams chats, and it’s a pretty nifty feature, I’ve found myself using it more and more over the recent months, in the beginning I had lots of issues with users getting access denied when I had just created a component in our chat which never really made sense to me - but it like so many other first generation products have gotten a ton better, and the components are great for things like working on a table of pros or cons, an simple agenda for a upcoming meeting, the collaboration options are really nice - and with the option to embed them in more places from Outlook web to Word online there’s definitely huge potentials for loop as a whole.

But this month we got the biggest “update” yet, loop launched as a product by itself, currently you need an admin to enable it on your tenant, due to it not yet supporting the compliance features that are required by most organizations, so I had to use my dev tenant to play with it, and didn’t get to really enjoy the full collaboration experience just yet.

But from the little bit of playing i did with it by myself what I’ll say is this is OneNote 2035, it’s fast, it’s fluent, you get this super nice editor that just makes it super easy to generate content that looks sleek - It’s almost like Markdown - but less complicated, and faster to use because there are shortcuts to generate things like a table, honestly, if the integration between a Loop workspace, and a Teams team where more seamless, I would be replacing all my OneNote usage with loop - for now it’s definitely my new personal notes app … or will be once they release the Android app, there’s an open preview for the iOS app in case you’re interested.

Microsoft loop app


It doesn’t feel like it’s all that long ago we had the pleasure of getting Github Copilot, back then my brain exploded, and then came Chat-GPT, rinse and repeat - honestly I don’t need to cover that, it’s been covered a billion times Chat-GPT is freaking awesome!

Now Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Copilot, no release date or anything yet, it’s only currently being tested at 20 companies world wide, but from what we’re seeing and hearing this really looks like it could very well change the way information workers do their job, and not just a little bit we’re talking massively, like to the level of everyone having their own PA.

Essentially it’s bringing Chat-GPT to your tenant and into your apps, writing an email and realize you’re a bit frustrated in your tone? - simple prompt Please rewrite this email bot more formal - there you go, ask it to draft you an email to the client telling them that you’ve gone over budget due to them changing the specs, Draft me a 2 paragraph email going over why we've gone over budget due to changes in the scope. - ‘Well Chat-GPT can do those as well’ - yeah, but this is where Copilot takes it to the next level! - need to find out which month you did the most revenue pr. working hour - simple open your revenue excel sheet and ask Copilot, right there within your spreadsheet!

Now all of those are very “isolated” tasks - just like helping with grammar in word, which it’s also supposed to do, but what I’m really excited about is the broader aspect, prompts like “I just got back from vacation, summarize all my emails from the last week, and let me know which once I should act on immediately - and which once I can just delete.

Need to know how in your org might know something about wind turbines, just ask it, “Who has worked on clients that deal with wind turbines?” and it should know.

What is really awesome is that it gathers all of it’s knowledge from within the walls of your tenant, this means you shouldn’t find it returning answers that don’t apply to your org (unless that is of course you have wrong information written down).

This to me looks like it will change how we work! - I see it as the biggest change in the workforce potentially since I was born, we’re going from people needing to understand computers to do their jobs, to computers understanding humans, and aiding them in doing their job more efficiently, this is a whole new world!

I’m really looking forward to this one!

Preview of the Copilot content generation prompt


M365 continues to evolve, and we keep seeing more and more awesome features coming from small efficiency improvements to the M365 Copilot that might very well change the way we work over the next few years! - the future is now, and it’s on M365!

Also keep your eyes out for what’s to come from the Microsoft 365 Conference in the beginning of may! - I Won’t get to be there, but I have no doubt we’ll see a bunch of new and exciting things being announced, and or released!