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Outlook for Mac adds administrative controls

We are rolling out new capabilities to help administrators protect company data and manage Outlook for Mac with ease while supporting a simplified user experience.

 

In the coming weeks, we will add enhancements to support account configuration management and managed preference settings in Outlook for Mac. 

 

Let’s explore the scenarios and examples: 

 

Account Configuration

 

1.     Automatically add Office 365 mailbox

 

In the past, Office 365 customers had to manually add their work accounts when launching Outlook for Mac for the first time. We’re helping customer simplify the activation experience by reducing the number of steps for certain activation states.

 

Starting in version 16.17, administrators can now automatically add the Office activation email address in Outlook for Mac.

 

When this preference key is deployed, Office 365 email addresses will be automatically added when they first open the app and their account will immediately start syncing with Outlook for Mac. In many cases, no clicks are needed after the initial launch. If additional information is required, such as multi-factor authentication, the user will be prompted as needed.

 

FRE O365 auto add.pngFigure 1: On first launch, Office 365 mailbox will be automatically added and connected

 

Note: This account configuration capability supports adding Office 365 and Exchange online accounts only. Consideration for adding other account types, such as Exchange on-premises mailboxes, will continue as we learn from customer feedback.

 

2.     Specify email address or domain of Office 365 mailbox to be added

 

Does your company Office activation email address differ from the Office 365 mailbox email address? For example, your company may use user@contoso.biz for Office activation and user@contoso.com for Office 365 mailbox email address.

 

With version 16.18 or above, administrators can use a new preference key to specify a full email address or a specific domain to be added in Outlook for Mac instead of the Office activation email address.

 

When specifying a full email address, the entire email address will be added in Outlook on first launch. When specifying a domain, the local-part of the Office activation email address will be used with the domain specified. These changes will simplify the user experience and they will be prompted only for required company credentials.

 

3.     Add only corporate accounts

 

Highly regulated industries and some company data protection compliance policies restrict personal use of company devices. Subsequently, these companies only allow corporate accounts on company devices in order to mitigate potential data leakage and to reduce the company’s responsibility for non-corporate data on company machines.

 

With version 16.18 and beyond, administrators can set a preference key to only allow corporate accounts in Outlook for Mac. When customers add a new account in Outlook, any email account matching the criteria specified by the administrator in the preference key will be allowed, and all other accounts will be prevented from being added.

 

Note: If administrators use the new preference key, this will not remove or disconnect personal accounts already added in Outlook.  


Allow company accounts only.pngFigure 2: Allow only company accounts

 

4.     Hide text about adding personal accounts:

 

In addition to allowing only company accounts in Outlook for Mac, another preference key has been introduced starting in version 16.18 for administrators to hide the text in the account setup success dialog regarding support for personal accounts.  

 Personal ccounts allowed 1.pngFigure 3a: Text mentioning personal accountsPersonal account text hidden 2.pngFigure 3b: Text mentioning personal accounts will now be hidden

 

Administrators can use this preference key to hide the text that tells users they can add their personal accounts.  This preference key can be use even if companies choose not to enforce the policy to only allow company accounts. 

 

Managed Preferences

 

1.     Manage existing in-app preferences

 

For organizations using macOS Configuration Profiles to implement managed preferences for applications, Outlook for Mac version 16.17 or higher now respects when existing preferences are set as Forced and appropriately disables the controls in the Outlook for Mac user interface. This change will provide users with an indication that the preference is being managed by their company administrator.

 

For example, administrators can manage when pictures can be automatically downloaded from the Internet:
Download pic pref 1.png

 

Download pic pref 2.pngFigure 4: Preference to download pictures (top) supported. Preference to download pictures now disabled by Company administrator (bottom)

 

2.     New preferences for data protection

 

We are adding new preferences for Outlook for Mac to help mitigate potential data leakage when importing or exporting archive files and help customers ensure their workers have a consistent experience.

 

Starting with version 16.18, new preference keys have been added to prevent importing archive files (PST and OLM) and Outlook 2011 identities as well as exporting archive files (OLM).  When administrators set these preference keys as Forced via the macOS Configuration Profile, the Outlook for Mac user interface will be updated to gray out Import and Export options.

 

Import export disabled.pngFigure 5: Import and Export in disabled in Ribbon

 

3.     New preference for managing signatures

 

For companies using a server-side solution for applying signatures, starting in version 16.18 we will support a new preference for Outlook for Mac that supports server-side signatures and disables client-side signatures to prevent interference.

 

When administrators set this preference key as Forced via macOS Configuration Profile, the Outlook for Mac user interface will be updated to gray out creating, editing, and adding client-side signatures within the app.

 

Signatures disabled.pngFigure 6: Client side signatures disabled in Signatures preferences

Managing this setting will improve the end user experience and ensure their signatures are displayed as intended.

 

4.     New preference for managing online meetings

 

For companies using Skype for Business for chat, but another solution for online meetings, in version 16.19 we will add a new preference for Outlook for Mac that prevent users from adding Skype for Business online meeting details to events.

 

When administrators set this preference key as Forced via macOS Configuration Profile, the Outlook for Mac user interface will be updated to gray out adding Skype for Business online meeting details to events.

 

5.     New preference for managing weather location

 

With Outlook for Mac version 16.19, we are adding a new preference to set the default location for the weather displayed in the calendar view.  This will help customers ensure a consistent user experience with respect to weather information.

 

Weather location.pngFigure 7: Default weather location set and “Update Location Automatically” disabled

 

For instructions on how to manage these app configuration settings and other preferences for Outlook for Mac, go here.