Updated Jan 23, 2022: Please review the most recent newsletter for important information about product timelines.
Updated Dec 5, 2022: updated dates and minimum version for the new configuration change
Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter from the team in Office responsible for sensitivity labels and encryption, powered by Microsoft Purview Information Protection. We’re excited to kick off this series to share with you what’s new and coming soon for information protection in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Our goal is to provide regular updates to help you prepare your organization to take
full advantage of information protection.
From Bolt-On to Built-In
Office apps have supported sensitivity labels since September 2018, starting in Office for PC, using Azure Information Protection (AIP) Add-in. In October 2019, Office apps started providing the same functionality built into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook and expanded sensitivity labels across Mac, Web, and Mobile for comprehensive, consistent, and seamless experience for end-users and admins.
Customers benefited from the choice between the AIP add-in or the built-in native labeling depending on the features they needed, but this also created challenges and tradeoffs for organizations:
Degrades end-user productivity and satisfaction
Higher cost for IT
Add-in can be disabled by end-users, leaving your data potentially vulnerable.
Add-in features are “frozen in time” since December 2021 at the start of its maintenance period.
Like most add-ins, AIP regularly impacts end-user productivity because of performance implications with the add-in.
Users of Office on other platforms face inconsistencies with sensitivity labeling since the Add-in only supports Office for PC.
AIP Add-in requires separate configuration, deployment, and management from the rest of the admin experience.
Today, we’re excited to announce the next evolution of the sensitivity labeling experience in Office apps. Starting in January, Office apps using Current Channel will automatically replace the AIP add-in with the built-in client alongside various new features that meet and exceed the AIP Add-in's capabilities.
This configuration change helps you accelerate your transition to the product experience that we believe best serves your organization’s current and growing needs for information protection. Check out the “coming soon” section below for more information, including resources to learn how to opt-out.
Note: this configuration change was delayed from December 2022 to January 2023. Updated above on December 5th, 2022.
In case you missed it, let’s summarize the recent capabilities for sensitivity labels in Office. These features are exclusively available when using Purview Information Protection with the built-in labeling client for Office; none of these features is available with AIP Add-in. Review a complete list of features for built-in labeling and their availability on other platforms or release channels.
PDFs created from Office apps inherit their source document’s sensitivity label, markings, and encryption.
SharePoint document libraries can apply a default label to new or edited files, offering a baseline level of protection based on the document’s cloud location, and a form of automatic labeling without content inspection.
Trainable classifiers provide that you get the most relevant classification across multiple common business functions (such as finance, HR, healthcare, legal, procurement, and IT), as well as more granular categories like intellectual property, trade secrets, and personal financial information.
We’re excited about the continued improvements and new scenarios coming to sensitivity labels built-in to Office apps in the next few months. Keep an eye out for these changes coming to Current Channel.
Configuration change in Office that disables AIP add-in by default, with an opt-out policy admins can configure to delay the transition to the built-in labeling.
Improved collaboration experience for files encrypted with user-defined permissions, allowing these documents to be opened, edited, seamlessly co-authored, and support AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps on all platforms.
New sensitive information types and trainable classifiers provide you the most relevant sensitivity labels based on the context they’re found in, such as credentials –access keys, tokens, general passwords, etc.
Whether you’re a new customer starting to use sensitivity labels in Office for the first time, or are transitioning from the AIP Add-in, here are some strategies to consider as you evaluate your adoption plans:
Tip: Create a script on your desktop to toggle the AIP Addin on/off with a click. This will allow you to easily test how the built-in labeling responds to your current labeling policies that are already supported in your release channel.
Tip: Don’t delay your organization’s planning until your required features are supported in your release channel. It’s recommended to begin your planning now to allow you time to manage change effectively.
Tip: Reach out to your Microsoft account or support team for assistance
Join the Customer Community Program (CCP) for access to demos from the product teams, webinars from experts, and private previews that give you early access to all sensitivity labeling features that are coming soon to built-in labeling in Office.
Tip: If CCP is not for you, consider enrolling some of your users in the Office Insider Program. This gives you self-guided access to preview features from across Office in your production tenant.
Try out a self-evaluation guide to help you assess how to transition to the built-in labeling client in Office.