Recently at Microsoft Ignite, we announced new capabilities that put you in control of your users’ experience with the What’s New section of the Office desktop app Help pane. These capabilities are currently in Preview, and we plan to make them generally available (GA) early next year. Between now and GA, we’d like to invite you to try the Preview and let us know what you think.
Each release of Office includes new and improved features. The What’s New content in the Office desktop apps highlights an editorially curated list of new features being released for that application, with a short description, and often a picture or a video to help customers learn how to use the feature. This content is created by the team that is releasing the feature. An example of this content is shown below.
Figure 1 - Office What's New button on Help pane
Figure 2 - What's New content with “How to” steps
Historically, Microsoft has chosen which set of features are promoted to end users in the What’s New section of Help. The Office What’s New Management Preview puts you in control by allowing your organization to decide which features are shown to or hidden from end users in the Office desktop app. It gives you visibility into new content for each release version and channel, along with the capability to hide or show each feature’s What’s New content.
Figure 3 - Office What's New management Preview in the Services area of the Microsoft 365 admin center
Figure 4 - Office What's New management Preview experience
Figure 5 - Details of the Office What's New management Preview experience
When you select a feature, a flyout panel opens and shows you the feature name, a short description, the application, and release version, and it includes an action button to hide or show the feature.
Figure 6 - Flyout panel with information about the selected feature
The example above shows the behavior when a single feature is selected, but the Office What’s New Management Preview experience also enables you to select multiple features and hide or show them.
Figure 7 - Selecting multiple features in the Office What’s New Management Preview experience
Figure 8 - Managing multiple features in the Office What’s New Management Preview experience
The Office What’s New Management Preview also enables you to filter the list of features by three categories: channel, application, and status (all using single or multi-select). You can also filter across categories (for example, Monthly channel and PowerPoint and Excel).
Figure 9 - Filtering capabilities in the Preview experience
There are three statuses:
Hidden The feature information is not shown to end users.
Shown The feature information is shown to end users.
Shown by default The feature information is shown to end users by default.
You won’t have to wait for the release day to get visibility into the feature content available for a coming release version, as new features will begin appearing in the Office What’s New Management Preview for a given channel based on the criteria in the following table:
In Management Preview
15th of the month
1-3 weeks before the monthly release
Sept 1 and March 1
2 weeks before the major release that brings new features
Jan 1 and July 1
Table 1 - Timing of features shown in the Office What’s New Management Preview