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Update on Focused Inbox rollout for Outlook 2016 for Windows users

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Allen Filush
Microsoft

Edited: Nov 10, 2017 with updated information. 

 

Focused Inbox is coming to an Outlook near you! Here is an update on our status for Outlook 2016 for Windows. If you want to see our latest for other platforms, see our blog post, as these details haven’t changed.

 

Note: we have provided admins the ability to control the rollout of Focused Inbox in their organizations. For more details, read our blog post on admin controls.

 

Rollout status

As a reminder, there is a client and service side component required for Focused Inbox to appear in Outlook. The user’s mailbox in Office 365 & Outlook.com must receive a service side update to be Focused Inbox enabled. Secondly, the user must have a build of Outlook that includes the client-side updates necessary for Focused Inbox to appear.

 

Service side status:

We deployed to 100% of Office 365 (Exchange Online) and Outlook.com mailboxes. This is no longer a factor in availabilty.  

 

Client side status:

There are a few client side requirements:

  • Requires build 16.0.7967.2xxx+.  
    • This build began rolling out on April 21, 2017 to the Monthly (formerly Current) Channel for Office 365 ProPlus as Version 1703.
    • Those using a Semi-Annual (formerly Deferred) Channel build will not have access to this feature right now, as those channels offer delayed access to builds. Semi-Annual Channel will get Focused Inbox in 2018. 
  • Currently, the feature requires Office 365 modern authentication be enabled.
  • Previous use of Clutter
    • To ensure a good experience for those who previously used Clutter, user may get Focused Inbox rolled out in a defaulted-off state. See the chart in the “Transition from Clutter” section of our blog post.

 

186 Replies
Sorry for the fourth grade table formatting. Editing the HTML attribute for cellpadding is doing nothing for some reason.

Many Thanks Allen for the updated info !

Thanks for this update, it's really appreciated.

Hi Allen, Any timeline on the future update which removes the need for modern authentication to be enabled? This is the only current blocker for me but a significant one. Is this on the Office 365 Roadmap? If not it should be! I must confess without your information I would have been frustrated in understanding why Focused Inbox wasn't enabled for me. A final point, and I have shared elsewhere, is the assumption around PowerShell skills. Smaller shops with less experienced admins NEED a UI. This really isn't an afterthought. Thanks for the update. Regards

Current Channel First Release with Focued Inbox enabled in OWA with Modern Auth. Outlook 16.0.7927.1020 tells me I'm all caught up on updates though. No Focused Inbox.

John Wayne - I don't have a date to share, but as soon as we do it will be up on the Office 365 Roadmap. And your point is understood about PowerShell skills. Our admin center has been improving day by day, but there is certainly more to do. Feedback taken.

Jaymz - Yep, that is right. Just need another update to your client, which should be rolling out as we speak. Just note that, as explained above, you also need Modern Auth.

Can you shed any light on why the perpetual version of office 2016 will not be getting Focused Inbox?

It's a very frustrating position for Microsoft to take and not at least explain why.

I'm a consultant with a variety of clients and some have a strong BYOD aspect.  I'm having trouble defending the idea to those BYOD clients that 'despite the fact that all their users have outlook 2016, the ones with perpetual licenses will not get Focused Inbox'.  Especially since it's working so well on Outlook for iOS and Android.

We have latest Outlook 2016 and the used PowerShell to make sure tenant had Focused Inbox as true and modern authentication, and yes, First Release and still no Focused Inbox.  What gives?  Thanks!

Are you on Outlook 2016 16.0.7967.2xxx? I believe that's the required version, it's still not available to our tenant despite FR Current Channel and Modern Auth.

I believe so as we are what shows as version 1704 (Build 8067.2032)

Hey Geoffrey, 

 

Sorry for any issues we are causing you. I'm happy to explain it, and glad you find it to be working well on other platforms. 

 

Customers have two options when they choose to buy Office. They can buy:

  • Office 2016 perpetual - this is the traditional, one-time upfront payment for a point in time version of Office. You can use the product forever. It never gets new feature updates. This is the same as Office 2007, 2010, 2013, etc. You buy that version. If you want new features, you buy the next version.
  • Office 365 subscription - you pay a monthly subscription and pay for the right to get an always up to date version of Office. You get new features every month. 

Every customers has that choice when they choose to buy office. Do I want to pay for the version that updates? Or do I want to buy the version that doesn't? 

 

A question for you - can you share more about why the users in the company are on different types of Office? Am I correct in I'm assuming that, despite our marketing/websites, your response is that they didn't read to understand the difference between the two? 

Hey Jeffrey - bizzare. Let me follow up a moment. 


@Allen Filush wrote:

Hey Jeffrey - bizzare. Let me follow up a moment. 


Thanks Allen!

I'm seeing some odd behavior here.  My home computer (Win10 1703 Enterprise, O2016 1703 7967.2139) has Focused Inbox enabled.

 

My office desktop and Surface have the same software config but they do not Focused Inbox. 

 

The only difference between the two setups are that the home computer is connected via AAD and the office machines are domain joined.  

 

Any ideas?

Thanks Allan,

That is actually a reasonable reply.  Though I have to admit that I don't recall ever seeing clear copy anywhere that made it quite as clear as that.  On the otherhand, I've been at this for 32 years and I don't read marketing things as closely as I once did.  I was not aware of difference between the two.  Can you point me to that language online so I can share it with my client?

 

The situation remains problematic but at least it's clear.  I would suggest updating that table though to make it clear that "like all feature updates, the perpetual license version of the software will not be getting Focused Inbox".  The way it read to me (in my ignorance) was that it was not being rolled out to Perpetual for some arbitrary reason.

 

To answer your question "can you share more about why the users in the company are on different types of Office?":  The issue for this specific client is that they have a large number of remote workers and the comany has minimal centralized IT.  These workers typically bring their own computer equipment (BYOD or Bring Your Own Device).  Because many of these workers already own the perpetual license, it's making people mad that the only way they can take advantage of the Focused inbox is to walk away from the perpetual license they may have only recently purchased (such as Office 2016) and start paying for that license all over again as a subscription.

 

Bottom line, This may be the first time in the last 10+ years where a feature has come out between major releases that I or any of my clients has cared enough about to pursue. It's frustrating that it will not be made available but it is what it is. 

 

I don't think there is a way for MS to thread this needle unless it was to modify the position to say that feature updates are not guaranteed outside of the current major version.  That would be a line that I could reasonably accept.

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Thanks for the feedback and clarification Geoffrey.

An example of where this distinction is discussed, from Office.com. This page outlines the 3 options an everyday user would buy. These are what are available at BestBuy or other retailers, or from PC manufacturers like Dell or HP. It is hard to tell if in your BYOD scenario what versions they are buying. But my guess is if they are buying themselves this is what they are buying.
https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-office-products?tab=1

Note in the list of details, it says that the Office 365 plans include "Applications are always up to date".

As you say, customers have historically just got access to features once they buy the next version. That will also be true in this instance. Office 365 changed that 5 years ago. Now, customers get features immediately instead of having to wait.

The analogy of buying a car comes to mind. If you buy a car, you get that car. If Ford releases a new self-driving car feature, you don't get that in the car you bought. You have to buy a new car. But instead of buying, you can rent cars and always drive the latest. The only difference here is Office 365 is affordable, where renting a car every week would not be!
Luckily, it does not have anything to do with Windows, domain joining or AAD. Unfortunately, that doesn't help you troubleshoot. Let me follow up with you 1 to 1.

What am I missing here? Still no focused inbox on Outlook 2016 First Release Current Channel. Version 1703 Build 7967.2161 CTR.

 

https://www.screencast.com/t/NsBqmoRgp

 

Modern Auth enabled for Exchange Online.

I wanted to seek some clarification.  I am an office 365 home user and looking to utilize focused inbox.  I am a windows insider running Office 365 ver 1704.  But I dont see any focused inbox.  Since I use OWA/outlook.com as by backend email service, I thought using that with Outlook 2016 would enable focused inbox.  I obviously dont have the ability to change OWA and turn on modern authentication.  Is it just not available for us home users yet?

 

Thanks

It's available for some. I had it show up in my OWA. I couldn't say if it showed up in Outlook client as I didn't enable it.

@Allen Filush

The situation here:

  • Full tenant First Release
  • Focused Inbox in OWA enabled and working
  • Focused Inbox in Outlook for IOS enabled and working
  • Modern authentication in EXO enabled
  • Office 2016 C2R Version 1704 build 8067.2115

Focused Inbox in Outlook desktop still doesn't work...

Am I missing something?

>> Since I use OWA/outlook.com as by backend email service

As in consumer Outlook.com? It's not yet supported in the desktop - they are working on it though. 

Yes at home I am using the consumer outlook.com.  Thanks for clarifying as everything coming out of microsoft just refers to Outlook 2016 and its not clear between office 365 pro/business and office 365 home.  Would be nice/helpful if they seperated the two out when releasing notes.  At least I now know its not yet available vs something is not working on my devices.

Same scenario for me, I am at build 8067.2115 CtR. Focused Inbox enabled in OWA but not on Outlook 2016. Got me recent links feature though. I'm going to open a case.

We noticed our tenant had focused inbox enabled for it recently.  I went ahead and enabled it for my mailbox. 

 

1.  Focused inbox visible in OWA, Outlook V1704  Build 8067.2115 C2R Current Channel on home laptop, and mobile clients.

 

2.  Focused inbox not visible in Outlook V1704  Build 8067.2115 C2R Current Channel at work.

 

We do have OAuth2ClientProfileEnabled set to $true.  

 

My work client is connecting using OAuth as shown below

 

 Outlook_connection.PNG

 

Is there anything that can be done to force my work client to have Focused inbox enabled?

Just in case anyone else goes through this. Just spent a couple of hours with the Outlook team on a service request for this. Here is what we did...

 

Disabled Cached Exchange Mode

Removed Profile, Added New Profile, Disabled Cached Exchanged Mode

Verified Modern Auth

Verifed OWA has Focused Inbox

Ran OffCat

Changed all my autodiscover settings for some reason

Reinstalled Office 2016 from CTR

Attempted to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (I had to fight against this one... almost locked me out)

A bunch of reinstalls again..

 

Still no focused inbox. They are escalating I guess.

This morning I opened my Outlook, no focused inbox. Then for fun, I closed it and opened again.. aha, I got the "Meet Focused Inbox" bubble.

 

and I see it in my Inbox.

 

https://www.screencast.com/t/goDbLfhu

 

But as you can see, nothing under the view tab.

 

Closed and reopened Outlook, and it's there.

 

https://www.screencast.com/t/o3YOxhiZO3

 

Build: 8201.2025 CTR First Release for Current Channel, Office Insider Slow - That's where Focused Inbox apparently appears.

 

 

 

 

0365 release.JPGI am on that same release.  I do have focused inbox but I do not have the choice in the view tab???

Focused not in view tab.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for this info.  I just re-installed Office using the First Release for Current Channel (office insider Slow) from the portal which is Version 1705 Build 8201.2025 C2R.  Now my domain joined work computer can see Focused Inbox! 

Update:

This morning, automagically, Focused Inbox turned on in Outlook desktop on my tenants!

I guess there is nothing that can be done to accelerate the activation process.

If you are compliant, the only thing to do is to wait that they flip the switch...

Great news all! You should all be seeing this now or soon! 

Should we still be seeing focused inbox in Outlook 2016 (windows)  if our 0365 tenant is still set to 

Set-Organization Config -OAuth2ClientProfileEnabled $false ?  We tried changing this during off hours and our tests on 4 machines showed that everyone was going to have to re-authenticate.  We decided to not make the change until we could inform the users and regional IT Directors.

No, you will not see FI if you have that set to False. Needs to be true. As noted in the original note, we will remove this requirement in a future update. 

We are, unfortunately we are seeing it for users who have Set-FocusedInbox -FocusedInboxOn set to $false, which is super confusing.

Could you clarify what you mean when you say 'seeing it'? Are they getting it turned on by default? Or do they have it available as an option to turn on themselves?

Focused not in view tab.JPG

 

 

I know you say that BUT see my Outlook 2016 with it still at false.  Focused YES but the view tab option to turn it on/off not available.

Just curious how long it should be before we start seeing FI show up?  Im using O365 home with Outlook.com as my email service.  No FI showing up yet.  I'm on insider slow build.

We turned on modern authentication early this morning and so far so good.  Many have reported in that they have focused inbox.  We notified regional IT directors of the change being made last week and posted to Yammer All Company.  This week thursday we will do live webinar training on Focused inbox and a few other email features.

 

Christine


 

My appologies for not clarifying. It is turned on by default and they have the option in the view tab to turn it off. I don't think it's actually categorizing anything as "Other" though. I am still attempting to find that out.

Thanks for the updates on how the rollout is going etc..

 

I finally got it working for my O2016 full client by enabling modern auth for Exchange (I had it on for the tennant already but not specifically Exchange).

 

One more question about Outlook multiple account behaviour - Focused inbox works properly for my personal (O365) & Work (O365) account when configured in Outlook as the primary mailbox. If I add the other account as a secondary mailbox Focused inbox doesn't show for it (regardless of which is primary or secondary).

 

Is this the expected behaviour & anything on the roadmap to allow Focused all the time?

 

Thanks

@ben: It will work for Office 365 and Outlook.com mailboxes, no matter how many you have connected. It won't work for Gmail and Exchange on-prem mailboxes.
I have 2x versions of Outlook, version 1705 and version 1701. 1705 has the focused inbox, version 1701 does not. Would I be correct to say the focused inbox is not available at version 1701? The Microsoft support agent told me this is not correct, but that is what I am seeing.

As stated in the first post of this thread, FI requires build 16.0.7967.2xxx+, i.e. version 1703 or higher.

 

The focused inbox has disappeared from my outlook.com/hotmail.com account and i am not sure where the emails have gone that were in the other folder. The clutter folder has not been updated since May when i switched on the focused inbox. The Focused Inbox has disappeared from the Options->Display Settings menu.

Why has this happened and where are my emails?

hey Justin - Focused inbox doesn't move any email. It is all still in your inbox. If it is on, you see it in two tabs. If it is off, you just see all the email together in one view.

Clutter was decommissioned as we moved to Focused Inbox.

I needed to resolve that issue as well. I've been endlessly searching online today because I'm facing the same issues you have (Focused Inbox working on Outlook.com and Android app but not on Outlook 2016 even though it's up-to-date). My search led me here and it's just now that I'm able to understand the difference in Focused Inbox's availability between consumer and enterprise customers. I agree that it should be clearly stated to avoid confusion and to level our expectations since we all want to have the feature across all devices and platforms.

You might be able to add the item in Customize the Ribbon. I saw some users doing that but the icon is grayed out. I tried the same thing on mine with the same results.
That is a good clarification I should add to the core article above. Focused Inbox is only working in Outlook 2016 for Exchange Online accounts, not yet for Outlook.com. We are working hard on that, so stay tuned.
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