Office 365: A guide to the updates

0
939

Office 365 subscribers always have the latest version of Microsoft Office — currently Office 2016. They also get more frequent software updates than those who have purchased Office 2016 without a subscription, which means subscribers have access to the latest features, security patches and bug fixes. But it can be hard to keep track of the changes in each update and know when they’re available. We’re doing for you, so you don’t have to.

Following are key updates to Office 365 for Windows since Office 2016 was released in September 2015 — all the 2017 updates and the most important ones from 2016 and late 2015, with the latest releases shown first. We’ll add info about new updates as they’re rolled out.

Version 1706 (Build 8229.2086)

Release date: July 13, 2017

This security update fixes two security vulnerabilities in Excel and one in the Office suite overall. Both holes in Excel are memory corruption vulnerabilities. Attackers who exploit either could run arbitrary code as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take control of the system. The overall Office hole is a remote code execution vulnerability, which would also allow attackers to take control of the system if the current user is logged on with administrative user rights.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more information about Version 1706 (Build 8229.2086) by going to Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select “2017” and “July.”

Version 1706 (Build 8229.2073)

Release date: June 28, 2017

This feature update lets you choose a personal set of pens, highlighters and pencils in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Choose them for one of the applications, and the same ones become available in the other two. In addition, when you insert pictures from the internet in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, attribution information for the pictures is inserted along with the pictures themselves.

 

Get more information about Version 1706 (Build 8229.2073) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1705 (Build 8201.2102)

Release date: June 13, 2017

This security update closes a variety of holes in Outlook, Skype for Business, Word, and the overall Office suite, including remote code execution vulnerabilities in Outlook, Word and Office. The update also fixes a minor bug in Excel in which Excel doesn’t set the sheet protection password when applied programmatically for workbooks created in Excel 2010 or earlier.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more information about Version 1705 (Build 8201.2102) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1705 (Build 8201.2075)

Release date: June 7, 2017

In this feature update, Excel gets a few small additions, including rearranged buttons on the Ribbon’s Data tab and the ability to export any query definition into an Office Database Connection (ODC) file and then share it across workbooks or with others. PowerPoint lets you add closed captions to videos, and Designer now recommends design ideas for charts added to your slides.

Get more information about Version 1705 (Build 8201.2075) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1704 (Build 8067.2157)

Release date: June 1, 2017

This update fixes two minor bugs in OneNote and Outlook, one where the Outlook navigation pane stops rendering when the PC is low on memory, and one in which the OneNote canvas hides content or updates when many paragraphs are in view.

Get more information about Version 1705 (Build 8201.2157) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1704 (Build 8067.2115)

Release date: May 18, 2017

With this feature update, Excel users can now personalize the default PivotTable layout and more easily import data from various sources. Outlook gets a new “focused inbox” feature, which divides the inbox into two tabs, Focused and Other. The messages that Outlook determines are the most important are put into the Focused tab, based on the content of the messages and whether they’re from someone with whom you frequently interact. Also, in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word, you can now easily insert links to websites you’ve visited recently into files and emails — you’ll be able to choose them from a dropdown list.

What IT needs to know: With this update, admins can deploy and update add-ins for Excel, PowerPoint and Word to users or groups from the Office 365 admin center.

Get more info about Version 1704 (Build 8067.2115) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1703 (Build 7967.2161)

Release date: May 9, 2017

This security update fixes assorted holes, including remote code execution vulnerabilities throughout Office, Word and Skype for Business.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more information about Version 1703 (Build 7967.2161) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1703 (Build 7967.2139)

Release date: April 21, 2017

In this feature update, PowerPoint gets a QuickStarter feature, which creates an outline of the topic of your presentation, and offers suggestions for design and talking points. You can also use new Data Visualizer templates in Visio to automatically create a Basic Flowchart or Cross-Functional Flowchart from Excel data. A new Activity button in the upper right corner of Excel, PowerPoint and Word lets you see when a file shared in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint was shared, edited, renamed or restored. Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word get the new Dubai font, which supports Arabic and Western European languages.

Get more information about Version 1703 (Build 7967.2139) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1702 (Build 7870.2038)

Release date: April 11, 2017

This security update fixes two holes in Outlook, one of which allows an attacker to take control of a PC and install programs; view, change or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. It also fixes a remote code execution vulnerability in Office and WordPad that allows attackers to do the same thing.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more information about 1702 (Build 7870.2038) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1702 (Build 7870.2031)

Release date: March 27, 2017

This update fixes bugs in Excel and Outlook, including one in which Excel crashes when a user tries to apply cell-level permissions, and one in Outlook in which users can’t search through .PST files.

Get more information about Version 1703 (Build 7967.2161) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1702 (Build 7870.2024)

Release date: March 14, 2017

This security update fixes a variety of holes in Excel, Skype for Business and Word.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more information about Version 1703 (Build 7967.2161) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1702 (Build 7870.2020)

Release date: March 9, 2017

With this feature update, PowerPoint gets a digital ruler that make it easier to draw straight lines or align a set of objects on touch screens. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook get a new tool that lets you remove picture backgrounds to make the main image stand out more. In Word, you can use a new Side to Side command on the View tab that lets you flip through a document two pages at a time on a touch screen. Those with non-touch screens can use the horizontal scroll bar or mouse wheel to move through the pages.

Get more information about Version 1702 (Build 7870.2020) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1701 (Build 7766.2060)

Release date: February 23, 2017

With this feature and bug-killing update, you can use a digital pen in Word to select and change objects. In Outlook you can collaborate in real time on attachments uploaded to OneDrive for Business. A variety of bugs have also been fixed throughout Office, including an image-cropping bug in PowerPoint that caused the cropped portion of the image to appear dark.

Get more information about Version 1701 (Build 7766.2060) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1612 (Build 7668.2074)

Release date: January 31, 2017

This update fixes minor issues in OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business, including one in which Skype hangs when multiple conversation windows are open simultaneously.

Get more information about Version 1701 (Build 7766.2060) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1612 (Build 7668.2066)

Release date: January 25, 2017

This feature update lets you see who has made changes to shared files in Word, PowerPoint and Excel and lets you restore earlier versions of the files. The update also lets you use a digital pen to select and change objects in Excel. In addition, there are also a variety of bug fixes, including an issue with Office’s digital ink feature that causes the ink to shift slightly when the mouse button is released.

Get more information about Version 1612 (Build 7766.2060) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1611 (Build 7571.2109)

Release date: January 4, 2017

This update fixes a variety of issues, including one in which the default template doesn’t appear under File > New in PowerPoint, and another in which Excel hangs or crashes when closing.

Get more information about Version 1701 (Build 7766.2060) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1609 (Build 7369.2024)

Release date: October 4, 2016

This feature update makes it easier to find and reuse content in Word and Outlook from a business’s relevant documents. (Note: This feature is available only in Office 365 Business Premium, E3 or E5.) It also lets you create a PowerPoint presentation composed of recorded slides, screen recordings and inserted videos, and share it to be viewed remotely.

Get more information about Version 1609 (Build 7369.2024) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1605 (Build 6965.2053)

Release date: June 6, 2016

In this feature update, collaboration capabilities are grouped together on the Ribbon for Word and PowerPoint. In addition, in PowerPoint, multiple users can edit different elements in a SmartArt graphic simultaneously.

What IT needs to know: An AD RMS rights policy template setting will ensure that the “Grant owner (author) full control right with no expiration” setting is honored when applied to new Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, especially if the setting is disabled. If the setting is disabled, the user will see a warning that applying the template might restrict access to the document.

Get more information about Version 1605 (Build 6965.2053) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1602 (Build 6741.2021)

Release date: March 17, 2016

This feature update makes it easy to de-clutter your inbox by quickly moving an item stored in your Inbox or any other folder to an archive folder. It also introduces the Groups feature to Outlook, which lets you collaborate and communicate with others by storing all of your project or team information, such as emails, discussions and events, in one shared location.

Get more information about Version 1602 (Build 6741.2021) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1601 (Build 6568.2025)

Release date: February 16, 2016

This feature update lets you use your finger or pen to write and draw, and use the tools on the new Draw tab to highlight content in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It also adds a new black theme to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. Funnel charts, which display values as progressively decreasing proportions, have been added to Excel. In PowerPoint, when collaborating on a presentation with others, you can see which slide they are working on.

Get more information about Version 1601 (Build 6568.2025) at Microsoft’s Office 365 client update channel releases page: On the left side of the screen, choose the Current channel and select the year and month of the release.

Version 1509 (Build 4229.1024)

Release date: September 22, 2015

This was the Office 2016 release. Here’s a summary of what was new:

  • Office 2016 introduced a new Sharing pane that allows live collaboration with others in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote if the document is stored in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online.
  • Delve and Office 365 Planner were introduced for business versions of Office 365. Delve lets you see in-depth information about people with whom you work. Office 365 Planner makes it easier to plan and projects with others, using a central Planner Hub.
  • Outlook took on email overload with the introduction of a “Clutter” folder, where Outlook sends mail it determines to be non-essential. (It learns, over time, what is essential and what isn’t.) A Groups folder was introduced to business versions of Outlook, making it easier to track communications in the group, including conversation threads, meeting requests and videos.
  • TellMe was introduced, which makes it easier to find out how to accomplish tasks in Excel, Word and PowerPoint: Just type what you want to do in a “Tell me what you want to do” text box at the top of the screen.
  • Smart Lookup was introduced, which makes it easier to do research or fact-checking by doing a Bing search on a word or group of words. It’s available in Word, PowerPoint or Excel.
  • The Ribbon was given a solid color rather than white, with each Office application given its own identifying color.
  • Excel added six new charts, including Treemap, Sunburst, Waterfall, Histogram, Pareto and Box & Whisper.
  • Backstage (get there by clicking File on the Ribbon) shows you the email addresses of cloud-based services you’ve connected to your account, including SharePoint and OneDrive.

What IT needs to know:

  • Data loss protection (DLP) features were added to Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Previously, DLP was available only in communications-oriented tools, including Exchange, SharePoint, Outlook and OneDrive for Business.
  • System requirements for running Office 2016 were changed, including requiring 2MB of RAM.
  • Outlook received under-the-hood improvements, including some designed to improve Outlook’s stability on unreliable networks and others designed to reduce the download time of email. Outlook’s speed of search was also improved.
  • An updated MAPI-HTTP protocol that Microsoft claims is more internet-friendly was released for Outlook.
  • Users were given the ability to reduce the amount of storage space Outlook uses by choosing to keep one, three, seven, 14 or 30 days of email on their devices.
  • A new service, Background Intelligence Transfer Service (BITS), was introduced; it prevents network congestion during Office updates.
  • Office was better integrated with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) so administrators can more efficiently distribute monthly updates as well as control the number and pace of feature updates and bug fixes.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here