Office 365 watch – Summer 2014

Over the summer Microsoft have made some handy changes to the Office 365 UI. Some of the new additions are features I’ve wanted to see for a while and have come on board just in time for the start of the new academic year.

Start page

The lack of a coherent start page that allowed users to perform common tasks was something that seemed an odd omission from the product and didn’t make life easy for users. Previously the Office logo went off to a product page that was pretty pointless (and quite annoying). Good to see that the link now goes somewhere useful; the start page now allows users to create documents, access the key features of 365 and install Office ProPlus (if licensed).

Office 365 start screen

the new Office 365 start screen

The quote of the day is also quite amusing, albeit in a David Brent kind-of-way 😉

You can set the preference for whether you see the new start screen as the home page for all users in Office 365 settings; it’s also configurable on a per-user basis. There’s a nicely-made video on YouTube that shows where to do this if you’d like to see how…

Menu improvements for touch

The main navigation bar has doubled in size, which should make working on touch devices much easier. Noticed this rolling out last week, first appearing in OWA but now seems to be consistent across the whole O365 suite. Microsoft also allowing branding and some customisation of the menu which is a nice bonus.

Upload limit increased on OneDrive for Business

When testing out OneDrive for Business I found the 2GB file limit a bit restrictive, particularly if working with video where file sizes can balloon quite quickly. Fortunately Microsoft have upped the limit to what seems to be 10GB (based on what I’ve read elsewhere). Along with the 1TB storage upgrade means OneDrive for Business is right up there again with the competition; granted Google Drive can upload up to 5TB but good luck putting that through your internet connection!

A few more requests…

Now that MS seem to have caught up my previous wish lists here’s a few more I’m hoping for:

  • Easily visible storage meter for OneDrive for Business
    Granted it’s not so important with 1TB storage per user but it should be easier to see how much space you’ve used, either on the Start Page or front screen of OneDrive please.
  • Simpler file management in OneDrive for Business
    It’s still rather clunky to move files between folders using the web UI in OneDrive, probably something that’s due to its SharePoint origins but does require improvement.
  • OneDrive for Business client
    The desktop client is still crying out for a next-generation upgrade. It definitely needs to be more intelligent in terms of how to deal with what could potentially be 1TB of sync data and integrate more smoothly with the operating system as a coherant whole. I’d also like to see the Modern UI and Desktop versions of the app working as one rather than separately, might have to hold out until Office 2015 for progress there though

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