Microsoft Launches Teams to Compete with Slack

Microsoft announced last Wednesday that they are bringing together their Office 365 productivity apps, and their strengths, together in a single app: Teams.

As direct competition to Slack, Microsoft Teams is an integrated collaboration app for Office 365 that offers a chat-based approach to communication, along with Office document collaboration and multi-person video chat through Skype.

With Teams, users can add, work, and collaborate in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Meetings, Notes, Planner, SharePoint, OneNote and other Office 365 apps without ever leaving Teams.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes, “No two teams are the same, no two projects are the same. There’s no universal tool for teams, but rather a universal toolkit we call Office 365.”

Currently, Slack offers more apps within its directory, but Teams will soon launch more than 150 partner integrations. Right now though, built-in integrations include Asana, Hootsuite, Intercom, and Zendesk.

Also on Wednesday, Slack bought a full page ad in the New York Times to publish an open letter to Microsoft. Read it here.

To read more about Teams, click here.

New Office 365 Creativity Updates

Just in from the Microsoft Windows 10 Event in New York City: Office 365 is getting its own updates for the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, which Microsoft says will arrive in “early 2017.”

With Microsoft’s updates, Windows 10 and Office 365 can be regularly updated with fixes, and new features, too. So what’s the Creators Update? Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President for Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, explained that the Creators Update features will include 3D and mixed reality, 4K gaming, and in-game broadcasting.

How does this affect Office? The features within the Creators Update will enhance the digital pen user-experience, offering new ways to interact with your documents and expands options for creating rich, interactive content – this is called Inking.

Inking in Office 365

  • Ink Editor – Strike through words to delete them, circle text to select it, and automatically snap highlighter ink to text.
  • Ink Replay control with Surface Dial – Set the pace at which you review instructions, reveal lesson ideas, and more with the new integration of Surface Dial and Windows 10.
  • Digital Ruler – Draw straight lines and align objects with the help of a built-in digital ruler in PowerPoint.
  • Segment Eraser in PowerPoint – Use this new eraser to remove excess ink for more precise in shapes.

Read more about the Creators Update for Office, and Inking here.

New Save a Copy Feature for OneNote Class Notebooks

OneNote Save a copy 1


An important new feature for OneNote Class Notebooks has just been announced: The Save a Copy feature allows students or instructors to copy content and save copies of  Class Notebooks to their own OneDrive accounts. This allows both students and instructors to archive school notes and to access content from Class Notebooks outside of school.

Microsoft has promised that this is just the initial roll out of the Save a Copy feature and in the near future, they will add the ability to choose any notebook type, not just Class Notebooks and roll out the Save a Copy feature to OneDrive for Business.

Microsoft Stream


Microsoft has announced Microsoft Stream, a new service for businesses that want to share video internally. Microsoft Stream will have the same kinds of tools and flexibility as YouTube or Vimeo including likes, comments and recommendations, along with the added benefits of the security tools enterprises. Microsoft Stream builds on Office 365 Video, and eventually the two experiences will merge. For the time being, current Office 365 Video users will not see any differences in their service. Visit the Microsoft Stream web page to learn more and check out the free preview.

Save Your Email Messages in OneNote

You can easily save all of your email messages in OneNote. Open your OneNote Account Profile and link your email address. Select a default notebook to save email messages. As soon as this is complete, you can beginning forwarding messages to and they will be saved in the selected folder. (There is a dedicated button to save to OneNote in the desktop vesions of Outlook.)

If you want to save an email in a different folder, include the “@” symbol followed by the section name at the end of your email subject line

Learning Tools for OneNote


Microsoft’s new Learning Tools for OneNote help all types of students improve their reading and writing skills. Learning Tools for OneNote is a free Add-In that promises to increase student comprehension, help students become independent readers, and provide teachers with more instructional time. Features include enhanced dictation, focus mode, immersive reading, font spacing and short lines, parts of speech, syllabification, and comprehension mode.

Learn more and check out the Getting Started and Frequently Asked Questions.

Office 365 Planner


The Officer 365 Planner preview has started to roll out to First Release customers. Planner is a new Office 365 experience that makes it easy to organize teamwork and group tasks. Planner’s simple, visual layout allows users to create plans, organize and assign work, share files, chat with coworkers, and get updates on progress. Managers can create a dashboard and whenever someone makes a strategic change, group members receive a notification.

The difference between Planner and other collaboration tools is that Planner is primarily organized based on visual cues. Manager no longer have to send a group email outlining team assignments. With Planner, managers simply drag and drop responsibilities into team members’ columns. The cues are represented by items called “Cards,” “Charts” and “Buckets,” that feature previews of whatever success measures have been established for a given project.

Learn more about Office 365 Planner and see answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.

Microsoft GigJam


Microsoft has invented a new method of work place communication: Microsoft GigJam is designed to help work groups collaborate quickly and efficiently across devices and applications.

Here’s how you use GigJam: You pull business data from a number of sources such as Salesforce, Outlook, Microsoft Office 365 or LinkedIn by typing, or by simply telling Cortana what you want. Once you have the data in GigJam, you can use the mouse or your finger to circle what you want to include and cross out anything you don’t want to share.When you invite others to work with you, GigJam only allows them to see what you selected to share. Other users can edit, add content, and send information back to the group.

GigJam is designed to provide a bit privacy than just broadcasting your entire desktop to a coworker; you control what gets shared. Plus it’s more productive than e-mail, since you don’t need to waste time taking screenshots or copying and pasting the relevant data into a message. With GigJam, you just pull up your stuff, choose what you want to share, and go!

Visit Microsoft’s GigJam site to learn more about the application. Make sure to sign up for exclusive access to Microsoft GigJam and know when the public preview version is available for download.


OneNote Class Notebook


Earlier this summer, we told you about Microsoft Office 365’s Class Dashboard. Are you using the Class Dashboard or OneNote Class Notebooks?

OneNote Class Notebooks have some exciting features. Every student has his or her own personal workspace. Students have the option to use these workspaces as their own private notebooks to work on assignments. Instructors can then to go in to review and provide feedback on these assignments. Instructors also have access to their content library to add information and assignments that are then shared with the entire class. There is also collaboration space for lessons and creative activities where instructors and students can work together.

Learn more about what Microsoft is doing to improve classroom collaboration and catch up on the latest OneNote Class Notebook updates.

Office Lens Update


Microsoft’s Office Lens app has been given a major update and it’s becoming an app of which all mobile Office users should take notice. Office Lens is a document scanner for Windows Phone, iOS, and Android. It’s easy to use, just select what you’re about to photograph (business card, photo, document or whiteboard) and snap the photo. The app automatically recognizes what you’re shooting and captures it with a little photo processing magic.

The recent Office Lens update made the app completely integrated with Office. You export scanned documents to OneNote or other Office apps. Your Office Lens photos will be imported into the application in editable form.

Learn more about the Office Lens update on Microsoft’s blog.