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Are you keeping up with Microsoft updates? The Microsoft Mondays: Microsoft Service Updates series from Total Solutions is here for your needs, and remember that Total Solutions also provides tailored, expert guidance during our consulting process. Microsoft is highlighting a few of the Microsoft announced upcoming updates from January:

Keep an eye out for Microsoft Mondays for your Microsoft updates or speak with our technical team for your Microsoft needs.

* Updates posted here originally posted by Microsoft in the Microsoft 365 Message Center


Microsoft SharePoint news for email now supports custom template tab settings and wider posts

[MC710215v · Published Jan 26, 2024] News for email is a new type of News template that authors can use to convert SharePoint News posts into distributions for Microsoft Outlook for Windows email inboxes. You can now engage your audience directly in their Outlook for Windows inbox and track their mail reads.

SharePoint News posts for Microsoft Outlook for Windows
Figure 1 – SharePoint News posts for Microsoft Outlook for Windows

When this will happen:

Targeted Release: Microsoft will begin rolling out mid-January 2024 and expect to complete by early February 2024.

Standard Release, GCC, GCC High, DoD, USSec, and USNat: Microsoft will begin rolling out early February 2024 and expect to complete by mid-February 2024.

How this will affect your organization:

SharePoint News posts recipients may see wider widths when they open Made for email news on a wider desktop view in Outlook for Windows. Site admins can now make the Saved on this site template picker tab open first when they set a custom template as the site default.

Custom template picker tab settings

When you set a custom template as your site default, the Saved on this site tab will open first in the News template picker, and your templates will appear before the built-in templates from Microsoft. Follow these steps:

  1. Identify your primary template under Saved on this site.
  2. Expand the associated ellipsis (three dot) menu.
  3. Select Set default selection.

To undo this change, set a Microsoft built-in template as your default.

News templates
Figure 2 – News templates

Wider messages on Microsoft Outlook for Windows

When you open a Made for email news post in your Outlook for Windows inbox, the post will now be wider (up to 740 pixels) when space is available, for a more legible view. The Send time preview will show the 740-pixel view. On mobile devices or when space is not available, posts will revert to 600 pixels wide.

Wider messages for email news posts
Figure 3 – Wider messages for email news posts

What you need to do to prepare:

Learn more about this update: Introducing new SharePoint news for email feature and SharePoint News for Email templates. No action is needed to prepare for this change. You may want to notify your users about this change and update any relevant documentation as appropriate.


Changes to the Semantic Index for Copilot administrative experience

[MC710202 · Published Jan 25, 2024] Microsoft is making some changes to the administrative experience of the Semantic Index for Copilot, an improvement to Microsoft 365 search that enables richer experiences for users.

Microsoft has received feedback from customers over the past few months that the enablement status indicator for semantic index in the Microsoft 365 admin center was confusing. To reduce customer confusion, Microsoft has temporarily removed the indicator until Microsoft is able to determine a better approach. There is no change to our commitment to provide customers with an exceptional search experience, and Microsoft will continue to index organizations who are entitled to semantic index.

When this will happen:

Microsoft completed the removal of the tenant level and user level index enablement status indicators from the Microsoft 365 admin center on Wednesday, January 24. Microsoft apologizes that we missed providing advance notice of this change, and for any confusion this change has caused.

What you need to do to prepare:

There is nothing you need to do when these changes take effect. Semantic index is not a requirement for Microsoft 365 or Copilot for Microsoft 365 to operate or to get the full value out of the product. As indexing is rolled out, it will help to improve relevance in contextual responses in Copilot, but not a marked change in performance or accuracy. Microsoft will provide an update on future changes to the semantic index administrative experience via the Microsoft 365 public roadmap and deliver another Message center post as Microsoft gets ready to enable additional changes.

Additional information


Microsoft Copilot Dashboard for Viva Insights licensed customers

[MC709985 · Published Jan 25, 2024]: Additional insights that combine Microsoft Copilot usage metrics with collaboration and sentiment data will be available to Viva Insights licensed organizations in the Copilot Dashboard. These additional insights provide more granular views of Copilot adoption, usage patterns, user sentiment, and return on investment across teams, functional roles, and more. Viva Insights analysts can create custom reports based on these metrics as well.

When this will happen:

Microsoft will begin rolling out for preview in early February 2024 and expand into general availability by mid-February 2024. 

How this will affect your organization:

The Microsoft Copilot Dashboard helps organizations maximize the value of Copilot for Microsoft 365. It provides actionable insights to help your organization get ready to deploy AI, drive adoption based on how AI is transforming workplace behavior, and measure the impact of Copilot.

The dashboard covers the following categories of metrics: Readiness, adoption, and impact. The dashboard access controls are managed by Global admins.

Note: The measured population consists of the people in your company—called measured employees—whose Microsoft 365 collaboration activity you want to analyze. Some organizations choose to analyze the entire population, while others use population subsets for specific analysis scenarios. If you want to get insights that reflect all Copilot users in the company, you will need to assign everyone a Viva Insights license.

Here are a few other points regarding roles for these new features:

  • Leader users who have Viva Insights licenses and access to the dashboard can apply filters and group the Copilot adoption and impact metrics by organizational attributes such as organization, level designation, and job function. They can view more Copilot impact metrics, including actions before and after Copilot, and comparisons between Copilot and non-Copilot users. Users can apply filters to customize the groups they want to compare.
  • Viva Insights admins can upload survey data in CSV format through the advanced insights app. Leader users can view the uploaded sentiment results in the Copilot Dashboard. They can also apply filters and group the results by various organization attributes such as organization, level designation, and job functions.

Viva Insights analysts can include Copilot metrics to run custom person queries and download the metrics in a CSV file format for custom analysis.

Microsoft Copilot Dashboard
Figure 4 – Microsoft Copilot Dashboard

What you need to do to prepare:

• Review Connect to the Microsoft Copilot Dashboard (Preview) | Microsoft Learn

• Learn how to assign a Viva Insights license to end users.

• Learn how to add and remove user access to the Copilot dashboard. • Learn more about Microsoft Copilot Dashboard, including its metrics and how to interpret the data.


Draft with Copilot in Outlook for Windows (Updated)

[MC709658 · Published Jan 24, 2024 · Last updated Jan 24, 2024]  Updated January 24, 2024: Microsoft has updated the rollout timeline below. Thank you for your patience.

Draft with Copilot takes a user-supplied prompt and generates a potential full-length email. The user can then add the generated content to their email draft body or change the prompt or tone/length settings and generate a new one. This functionality will start rolling out for users in Targeted Release. 

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 190937

When this will happen:

This functionality will be available in Current Channel (Build 17328). It will gradually roll out during the month of March, with MEC rolling out in April.

How this will affect your organization:

The button to “Draft with Copilot” will show up automatically in the ribbon in Outlook for Windows if users are licensed for Copilot.

Figure 5 – Draft with Copilot in Outlook

What you need to do to prepare:

Ensure that your users have a license for Copilot and are on the latest Targeted Release build in order to access this new functionality. If you do not wish users to have this function you can manage access by removing Copilot licenses from users as appropriate.


Coaching by Copilot in Outlook for Windows (Updated)

[MC709265 · Published Jan 23, 2024 · Last updated Jan 24, 2024] Updated January 24, 2024: Microsoft has updated the rollout timeline below. Thank you for your patience.

Coaching by Copilot is coming to Outlook for Windows. This functionality takes a user-crafted email draft and generates a short summary of feedback based on that draft. It presents feedback on tone, reader sentiment and clarity, and also provides specific suggestions for how you may rewrite parts of your email to improve these aspects. Common use cases are getting feedback on a particularly important email and adjusting your text before sending.  

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 190927

When this will happen:

This functionality will be available in Current Channel (Build 17231). It will gradually roll out during the month of February, with MEC rolling out in March.

How this will affect your organization:

The option to open Coaching by Copilot will be available in the ribbon when composing a new email or responding to an email. It will show up automatically in Outlook for Windows if users are licensed for Copilot.

What you need to do to prepare: Ensure that your users have a license for Copilot and are on the latest Targeted Release build in order to access this new functionality. If you do not wish users to have this function you can manage access by removing Copilot licenses from users as appropriate.


Copilot for Microsoft 365 capabilities coming to Windows desktop (Updated)

[MC709655 · Published Jan 24, 2024] Copilot for Microsoft 365 capabilities are coming to Windows desktop. Organizations will be able to experience Copilot integrated in the Windows desktop – bringing Graph-grounded chat capabilities to Copilot in Windows for users with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license.

When this will happen:

This feature will be generally available on February 5th, 2024.

How this affects your organization:

Copilot in Windows provides centralized generative AI assistance to your users right from the Windows desktop. Copilot in Windows appears as a side bar docked on the Windows desktop. It’s designed to help your users get things done in Windows.

Figure 6 – Copilot Windows side bar docked

This update will be available to organizations with Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Copilot in Windows enabled.

What you need to do to prepare:

For information on managing Copilot in Windows, review this article: Manage Copilot in Windows.

Additional information


Check out previous Microsoft Updates that Total Solutions has posted here -> Microsoft Updates Archives – Total Solutions Inc.