Introducing Microsoft Forms

In the ever expanding world of Office 365, Microsoft has introduced another, new, compelling product to the lineup. As with a number of the recent releases, Microsoft Forms is a free product, available to customers with a compatible license for existing services. Microsoft Forms is still in preview and is not production yet; this does not mean that it is viable to be used in anger though. We are all accustomed to Microsoft releasing features in preview with Office 365 and Azure.

Next, do not be fooled by the name as I was when I saw it. My first reaction was that Microsoft Forms is a replacement for InfoPath. InfoPath is a form filing application from the Office desktop suite which has long been marked for the end of life. Microsoft Forms is not an InfoPath replacement. Microsoft Forms offers two key pieces of functionality:

  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Quizzes and Test Taking

Each of these two areas offers slightly different modalities for client use and slightly different features that can be consumed which we will look at next. Read past the break to find out more.

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Using Mentions in Outlook 2016

In what feels like a long time ago, Microsoft released Office 2016 which includes the Outlook client. In the 2016 release of Outlook, Microsoft introduced a new feature called Mentions.

For anyone who is a user of Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms, the notion of a mention will not be something new. For those two are not familiar with these platforms, a mention is the process of name-dropping somebody within a message. The objective of a mention is to draw the attention of somebody to something. An example of this could be during an email exchange between two parties, introducing a third party to the conversation. This could be to ask the third party to respond to a specific question.

One of the reasons I really like mentions is due to the misuse of To and CC fields in an email today. In an idyllic world, messages sent to you require your action or consultation. Messages which you are copied on (CC) are sent for informational purposes. In theory, you should be able to delete any message you have ever been copied on and nothing would be lost. The CC field takes its name from traditional carbon copy paper where writing on one piece of paper would press through multiple layers; these were very useful for sales order paperwork or contracts where multiple parties need a copy of one document.

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Sending Email to Office 365 Group Members

Office 365 Groups is a feature of Office 365, designed to provide a modern alternative to Distribution Groups in Microsoft Exchange. Distribution Groups still exist; Office 365 Groups offer a lot more features. Features lit up by Office 365 include group-based calendars, task lists, team mailbox and more. One could argue they behave more like a shared mailbox than a traditional Distribution Group.

When Office 365 Groups were first introduced, an email sent to the group would be sent to both the group mailbox and the group members. This duality was welcome for existing distribution list users who wanted to maintain legacy behaviour and confusing for modernists who wanted to dispel bulk email from their inbox and focus areas for specific group communication. Back in April 2017, Microsoft introduced a change to the behaviour of Office 365 Groups to disable the legacy behaviour. In changing the behaviour, an option was introduced to allow administrators to control the behaviour.

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