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Power and simplicity—updates to the Office 365 user experience – Microsoft 365 Blog

Technology is changing the way people get things done. We’ve picked up the pace. Our work is more collaborative. And we’re blurring the boundaries of time and place. When we ask customers why they continue to choose Office for their most important work, they tell us that they love the power the Office apps offer. The breadth and depth of features is unmatched in the industry and allows them to do things that they just can’t do with other products. But they also tell us that they need Office to adapt to the changing environment, and they’d love us to simplify the user experience and make that power more accessible. Today, we’re pleased to announce user experience updates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook rolling out gradually over the next few months. These changes are inspired by the new culture of work and designed to deliver a balance of power and simplicity.

Office is used by more than a billion people every month, so while we’re excited about these changes, we also recognize how important it is to get things right. To guide our work, we came up with “The Three Cs”—a set of guiding principles that we use as a north star. Because these principles will make this process feel different than any previous user experience update, we thought it would be useful to share them with you.

CustomersWe’re using a customer-driven innovation process to co-create the design of the Office apps. That process consists of three phases: initial customer research and analysis; concepting and co-creation; and validation and refinement.

ContextCustomers love the power of Office, but they don’t need every feature at the same time. We want our new designs to understand the context that you’re working in, so you can focus on the job at hand. That means surfacing the most relevant commands based on the work you’re doing and making it easy to connect and collaborate with others.

ControlWe recognize that established skills and routines are powerful—and that the way someone uses the apps often depends on specific parts of the user interface. So we want to give users control, allowing them to toggle significant changes on and off.

These updates are exclusive to Office.com and Office 365—the always up-to-date versions of our apps and services. But they won’t happen all at once. Instead, over the next several months we will deploy new designs to select customers in stages and carefully test and learn. We’ll move them into production only after they’ve made it through rigorous rounds of validation and refinement.

The initial set of updates includes three changes:

Simplified ribbon—A new, updated version of the ribbon is designed to help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others. People who prefer to dedicate more screen space to the commands will still be able to expand the ribbon to the classic three-line view.

The first app to get this new experience will be the web version of Word and will start to roll out to select consumer users today on Office.com. Select Insiders will then see the simplified ribbon in Outlook for Windows in July.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows offer our deepest, richest feature set—and they’re the preferred experience for users who want to get the most from our apps. Users have a lot of “muscle memory” built around these versions, so we plan on being especially careful with changes that could disrupt their work. We aren’t ready to bring the simplified ribbon to these versions yet because we feel like we need more feedback from a broader set of users first. But when we do, users will always be able to revert back to the classic ribbon with one click.

Image of the simplified ribbon in Office 365.

New colors and icons—Across the apps you’ll start to see new colors and new icons built as scalable graphics—so they render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. These changes are designed to both modernize the user experience and make it more inclusive and accessible.

The new colors and icons will first appear in the web version of Word for Office.com. Then, later this month, select Insiders will see them in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. In July, they will go to Outlook for Windows, and in August they will begin rolling out to Outlook for Mac.

Search—Search will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content, and people. With “zero query search,” simply placing your cursor in the search box will bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph.

Commercial users can already see this experience in action in Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook mobile app, and it will start rolling out to commercial users of Outlook on the web in August.

Image of the search function in Office 365.

For an overview of these changes, check out the video below by Jon Friedman, our chief designer for Office.

To develop these initial designs, Jon’s team worked closely with customers. They collected data on how people use the apps and built prototypes to test new concepts. While we have plenty of work left to do, we’ve definitely heard encouraging things from customers using early builds:

“It’s simpler and I feel like I can open it and immediately get my bearings and move forward. Not a lot of extra information. The tasks are obvious on this screen.”

“The toolbar provides the most frequently used features…maximizing the screen real estate for the actual content.”

“I like the extra space. What I do find is that the feature to toggle it off/on is helpful because occasionally I can’t figure out (quickly) where something went.”

We plan on carefully monitoring usage and feedback as the changes roll out, and we’ll update our designs as we learn more.

Technology is changing the way people get things done at work, at school, and at home, resetting expectations for productivity. Inspired by these changes, these updates are designed to deliver a balance of power and simplicity. But what’s most exciting for us is that over the next few months we’ll be co-creating and refining these new experiences with our customers—and making the power of Office more accessible for everyone.

Thorough Exchange Server testing regimen eliminates doubt


You’ve done your due diligence and bought the right hardware for your move to Exchange Server 2016. After you put…

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all the pieces together, then it’s time for a thorough Exchange Server testing regimen.

A few factors have many organizations that use on-premises Exchange planning a move to Exchange Server 2016. Exchange Server 2010 has less than two years before it leaves extended support. Exchange Server 2013 left mainstream support this year.

After the decision to move to Exchange 2016, the next stage of planning process should have involved using the Exchange Server role requirements calculator to size your deployment, creating a suitable design, then purchasing and installing the hardware to support your implementation. But this is only part of the overall effort.

There are vital areas you must test in the time after implementing Exchange Server 2016 and before migrating mailboxes. As part of the overall Exchange Server testing strategy, you should check the functionality of the storage infrastructure next.

Using Jetstress to test storage performance

Whether you run Exchange Server on physical hardware and follow Microsoft’s preferred architecture or you use virtual infrastructure, make sure your storage meets the IOPS requirements outlined in the Exchange Server role requirements calculator.

[embedded content]

A walkthrough of an Exchange Server 2016 installation

The calculator recommends the RAM and storage needed. The organization determines what type of disks to purchase and their size. However, it’s possible to buy the wrong type of disk controller or to receive a faulty drive. Eliminate any doubt about the hardware and run tests on the storage.

For this segment of Exchange Server testing, use Jetstress to generate a workload with the same Exchange Server 2016 binaries, database and log file configuration used in the Exchange Server deployment. Microsoft also supplies a Jetstress field guide to follow when planning your storage test. Microsoft developed the instructions for Exchange Server 2013, but it is supported and applicable to Exchange Server 2016.

Jetstress test
The Jetstress application checks the stability and performance of the storage infrastructure of an Exchange Server deployment.

Some might say this test is a waste of time if you purchased correctly sized hardware, but it’s better to get confirmation. Jetstress can fail the storage hardware due to a configuration error or some other reason, which may involve extensive troubleshooting.

After you implement Exchange Server 2016

Although every Exchange deployment differs slightly, there are key areas worth checking to avoid any surprises.

After the servers pass the Jetstress test, start your deployment of Exchange Server 2016. What is right for your organization will vary, but in most circumstances, admins implement a database availability group (DAG) with the Exchange mailbox servers along with the appropriate load balancing and, where appropriate, backup software.

What Exchange admins need is a checklist to verify all the settings before you go live. Although every Exchange deployment differs slightly, there are key areas worth checking to avoid any surprises.

Set up Exchange for basic tests

You should test the Exchange 2016 infrastructure at a high level to verify its status. At this point, it’s unlikely you have migrated the client access role across, so you might need to reconfigure the local host files on your test clients to run these trials.

Area

Test activity

User accounts

Create test mailboxes in each data center on Exchange 2016.

User accounts

Create test mailboxes in each DAG on Exchange 2010.

Client

Configure host file records to simulate connectivity to Exchange 2016 load balancers.

OWA 2016

Test Outlook on the web/Outlook Web App (OWA) login functionality for an Exchange 2016 user in each data center.

OWA 2016

Test reading, opening and replying to emails for an Exchange 2016 user in each data center.

OWA 2016

Test creating, updating and modifying a calendar item for an Exchange 2016 user in each data center.

OWA 2016

Test creating, updating and modifying a contact item for an Exchange 2016 user in each data center.

OWA 2016

Test disabling user access to OWA for security purposes.

Email

Test mail flow between Exchange 2016 users in each data center.

Email

Test mail flow to an Exchange 2016 user in each data center from Exchange 2010 in each data center.

Email

Test mail flow to an Exchange 2016 user in each data center from an external source.

Email

Test mail flow from an Exchange 2016 user to an Exchange 2010 user.

Email

Test external out-of-office settings of an Exchange 2016 user from an external source.

Federation

Test availability of an Exchange 2016 mailbox from an external partner.

Federation

Test availability of an external partner’s mailbox from Exchange 2016.

Exchange general

Test mailbox move functionality from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016 in each DAG.

Exchange general

Test mailbox move functionality from Exchange 2016 to Exchange 2010 in each DAG.

Testing each database availability group

After you complete these basic checks, you should run tests with the following PowerShell cmdlets against each DAG to check mailbox services.

Area

Test activity

Service health

Use Test-ServiceHealth to verify services are running.

Service health

Use Get-HealthReport to check if each server is healthy.

Mail flow

Use Test-Mailflow to test the mail flow against each server.

Mail flow

Use Test-SmtpConnectivity to test connectivity to each receive connector.

Mailbox

Use Test-ReplicationHealth to validate the DAG continuous replication status.

Mailbox

Use Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus to view the health of the database copies within the DAG.

Mailbox

Use Test-MapiConnectivity to verify MAPI and LDAP work with a user’s login.

Mailbox

Use Test-AssistantHealth to check that the Mailbox Assistants service is running and healthy against each server.

Client access

Use the Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer to execute the Outlook connectivity tests.

Client access

Use Test-WebServicesConnectivity to test client connectivity to Exchange Web Services virtual directories against each server.

Client access

Use Test-ActiveSyncConnectivity to simulate a full synchronization with a mobile device.

Client access

Use a browser to log on to the Exchange Admin Center to verify functionality of all Exchange 2016 servers.

Client access

Use Test-MRSHealth to verify that the Mailbox Replication service is running and that it responds to a remote procedure call ping check.

High availability

Validate that the passive copy of databases in the same data center comes online automatically after a failure of a database.

High availability

Validate that the services that are running in the secondary data center continue to operate without any interruption after failing all the servers within the DAG in the primary data center.

High availability

Manually remove a disk from a passive database to test if auto reseed works as expected. Reverse the process to return the disks to the original state.

High availability

Perform a cold start of the DAG to validate that the DAG will start correctly if a major outage occurs.

Load balancer

Disable all load balanced servers for each server in turn within the same data center. Validate client access and mail flow for mailboxes hosted on failed servers.

Load balancer

Disable all load balanced services within the first data center. Validate client access and mail flow for mailboxes hosted on the failed data center.

Load balancer

Disable all load balanced services within the secondary data center. Validate client access and mail flow for mailboxes hosted on the failed data center.

Backups

Use Get-MailboxDatabase to validate the right setting for circular logging: disabled if using backup software or enabled if there is no backup software installed.

Backups

Perform a full backup of each mailbox database.

Backups

Perform an incremental backup of each mailbox database.

Backups

Restore a full database to a temporary location and recover a mailbox.

Backups

Restore a full database to the original location and mount it.

Unified messaging

Test leaving a voicemail to an Exchange 2016 mailbox.

Unified messaging

Test receiving a voicemail in an Exchange 2016 mailbox via the Outlook client.

Unified messaging

Test receiving a voicemail in an Exchange 2016 mailbox via Play on Phone.

Unified messaging

Test access to Outlook Voice Access in Exchange 2016.

Unified messaging

Test instant messaging sign-in to Exchange 2016.

Unified messaging

Test Skype for Business meeting scheduling in OWA.

Check client connectivity

In the final stage of Exchange Server testing, you should examine client connectivity. If the Exchange system passes all the previous tests, then basic connectivity is most likely fine. It’s important to run a full set of tests using the builds of the clients the end users will use.

Your checklist might vary from the one below to include the different Outlook versions and mobile devices to test.

Area

Test Activity

Outlook 2016

Test before/after migration experience.

Outlook 2016

Test Autodiscover in Exchange 2016.

Outlook 2016

Test cached mode access via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Outlook 2016

Test offline address book download functionality via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Outlook 2016

Test Exchange Web Services — free, busy, out of office — functionality via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Outlook 2016

Test Outlook Anywhere functionality via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Outlook 2016

Test mail send/receive/synchronization via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Outlook 2016

Test open additional mailbox functionality via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Outlook 2016

Test open additional on-premises mailbox functionality via Exchange 2016 in each data center.

Mobile device

Test Autodiscover functionality in Exchange 2016 in each DAG.

Mobile device

Test ActiveSync synchronization in Exchange 2016 in each DAG.

Skype for Business client

Test Exchange access after migration to Exchange 2016.

As you test, record the results for reference purposes. For example, you may wish to:

  • collect screenshots or screen recordings as you test;
  • work with a colleague to help oversee the testing process and sign off on the checklist; and
  • there may be other areas to resolve, so add a column to add notes for any remediation actions before retesting the environment.

Further investigation required for a full test

This list is just a starting point. Consider if you need to refine the checklist to fit your specific needs. Perhaps you need to add tests to cover aspects like Office 365 hybrid or public folder migrations.

This article should be a useful start for administrations about to embark on an Exchange Server 2016 deployment.

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua…

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua…

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua…

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua…

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua…

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua…

Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

For Sale – Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua fans
Graphics – Gigabyte Windforce Nvidia GTX 980 4GB
Storage – 250GB Samsung Evo 840 SSD
PSU – Corsair HX620
Case fans – All Noctua 1x front intake, top and rear output
Optical – LG BD reader & DVD writer – model CH10LS20
Windows 10 home 64-bit

Can sell with keyboard and mouse if needed, happy to discuss.

Will add pics in coming days, thought I’d post this to get started.

Price and currency: £400
Delivery: Goods must be exchanged in person
Payment method: BT or cash on collection
Location: Milton Keynes
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Gaming PC – i5 2500K with GTX 980 and 250GB SSD –REDUCED–

Hi

My old PC for sale as it is finally time to upgrade. All works perfectly and has done me proud for many years. I built it myself and kept it updated and performance-balanced, it still runs modern AAA games very happily at 1080 and 1440. Key components are:

Case – Antec P90
Motherboard – ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3
CPU – i5-2500K – overclocking legend. Currently not overclocked as I’m not a demanding user
Memory – 8GB DDR3 G-Skill Ripjaws
CPU Cooler – Noctua D15 air block with Noctua fans
Graphics – Gigabyte Windforce Nvidia GTX 980 4GB
Storage – 250GB Samsung Evo 840 SSD
PSU – Corsair HX620
Case fans – All Noctua 1x front intake, top and rear output
Optical – LG BD reader & DVD writer – model CH10LS20
Windows 10 home 64-bit

Can sell with keyboard and mouse if needed, happy to discuss.

Will add pics in coming days, thought I’d post this to get started.

Price and currency: £400
Delivery: Goods must be exchanged in person
Payment method: BT or cash on collection
Location: Milton Keynes
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.