Written by Kirk Koenigsbauer
February has been another busy month for releases across their Office clients on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. There are a number of exciting new capabilities in Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In addition, they released the first cumulative feature update since the initial September release of the Office 2016 apps—otherwise known as the “Deferred Channel” build—for their commercial customers. Read on for the details.
Enhancing the Office experience on mobile devices
Microsoft are continuing to make Office on mobile devices even easier, more natural, fluid and contextual, so you can use Office to do more, faster, with whatever device you have in your hand.
- Annotate with ink on Windows tablets—Last month they discussed the evolution of the inking experience in Office. Now you can use your pen, finger and the new tools in the Draw tab to naturally write, draw and annotate in Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile on Windows tablets (available initially to Office Insiders).
Review and comment on documents with your pen or finger—no printing required.
- Pin your docs to the Start menu on Windows phones and tablets—It’s even easier to pick up where you left off by pinning your favorite documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes to the Windows Start menu. Get going in just a couple of taps!
Pin your documents to the Start menu to get going in one tap.
- Insert images using the camera on your phone or tablet— Office apps are now integrated with your device’s built-in camera, so you can capture images, crop and insert them directly into your documents on Windows and Android phones and tablets. This is available now in PowerPoint for Office Insiders and will be coming soon for Word and Excel.
Capture and crop images directly into Office apps using the built-in camera on your Windows and Android phones and tablets.
- Enabling partner storage to integrate in Office for iPhone and iPad—Last month, Microsoft announced the opportunity for all Cloud Storage Partner Program (CSPP) providers to integrate with Office for iOS. This integration is now available with Box in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Other partners are coming soon.
Box integration is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on iPhone and iPad.
Boosting Excel with more functions, charts and sharing options
They added more ways to manipulate, visualise and share your data with Excel. New functions make it simpler and faster to build common calculations and improved Formula AutoComplete helps you find the function you’re looking for (click here for more information). The launch of Excel 2016 brought you new chart types, such as Treemap, Sunburst and Waterfall. Now they added the Funnel chart for Windows desktops, tablets and phones, as well as Android, enabling you to display data in progressively decreasing proportions.
The Funnel chart helps you display data in progressively decreasing proportions.
Microsoft are also making it easier than ever to share what you work on in Excel with others. Excel is now more integrated into the Power BI service. This means you can now pin your workbook’s rich formatted charts and graphs directly to your Power BI dashboards and interact with them from anywhere—giving you even more options for telling your story through data.
Pin your Excel workbook’s richly formatted charts and graphs directly to your Power BI dashboards.
Outlook improves connections with Office 365 Groups and adds one-click Archive
Outlook 2016 helps you stay connected with your Office 365 Groups by providing integrated access to your team’s shared inbox, shared calendar, OneNote notebook, OneDrive and more. Now they're making it even easier for commercial Office 365 customers to browse, join and create Office 365 Groups right from within Outlook 2016. They're adding a new Groups section to the ribbon with easy entry points to browse and join Office 365 Groups. Suggested Groups offer one-click access to relevant Groups you might like to join, personalised based on information in the Office Graph. You can also create new Groups from the ribbon.
It’s even easier to browse, join and create relevant Office 365 Groups from within Outlook 2016.
Microsoft are also introducing an Archive capability in Outlook 2016 that lets you quickly move messages out of your inbox and into another folder. This will allow you to triage your inbox with an experience similar to archiving in other email services like Outlook.com. Archive is rolling out to Outlook 2016, coming soon for Outlook for Mac and available today in Outlook on iOS, Android and the web.
Archive is coming to Outlook 2016 to help you triage your inbox more quickly.
Office for Mac updates
Office has addressed key customer feedback with improvements and new features for Office for Mac.
- Morph is now part of PowerPoint for Mac—Morph is one of the latest PowerPoint tools that helps you create stunning presentations quickly. The Morph transition effect helps you easily transform and move several objects at once across slides.
The Morph transition effect is now available in PowerPoint for Mac and the Quick Access Toolbar in the top-left is now customisable.
- Customise the Quick Access Toolbar – In response to a top user request, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Mac now allow you to customise commands in the Quick Access Toolbar. Pick your favorite commands (such as New, Print or Save) to show at all times in the top-left corner.
- Faster updates—Office for Mac users who stay current can now download just the latest incremental changes since the last release. This means faster downloads of smaller update packages, with download sizes to drop even more in the coming months.
They've seen over 150,000 downloads of early builds of Office for Mac apps through the Office Insiders program since initial availability last month. If you haven’t joined yet, opt in to the Office Insider build from the Microsoft Auto Update (MAU) tool on your Mac. To learn more about Office Insider on Mac, go to Office.com/Insider.
Office 2016 build now available for commercial customers in Deferred Channel
Microsoft are releasing the first Office 365 Deferred Channel build, which is effectively the September 22, 2015 release of Office 2016 with four additional months of security updates included. Deferred Channel allows commercial customers to elect to receive cumulative packages of new Office features three times a year, instead of in monthly updates. This can be helpful for taking extra time to validate add-ins, macros, custom line-of-business applications, etc. Customers on Deferred Channel can get the new build of Office 2016 in the Office 365 User Software Page as well as the Office CDN.
Written by Mike Landers
Meet the Microsoft Surface Studio and the Surface Dial—the latest tools providing enhanced workflow support for the AEC industry.
The release of the Microsoft Surface Studio and the Microsoft Surface Dial marks the culmination of a collaboration between technology giant Microsoft and Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) solutions leader Bluebeam, Inc. Called on by Microsoft to develop new solutions based on the Microsoft Surface Studio platform, Bluebeam development specialists began working to highlight the strengths of the new hardware and combine them with the efficiency of Bluebeam software within the AEC project-based marketplace.
“Collaboration is critical to succeeding within the AEC industry and when fully enabled with comprehensive digital solutions, it can push the limits of project performance,” explains Bluebeam President and CEO Richard Lee. “To enhance our solutions further, our Innovations team worked closely with Microsoft to create an integrated platform that will further improve project productivity across the industry.”
The Surface Studio’s display adjustment ability, which allows a user to work on the device like a tablet, provided Bluebeam Principal Engineer Peter Noyes with an opportunity to create a device integration that would take the user-friendly experience of Bluebeam Revu to the next level. “We were involved early on to collaboratively develop an integration to help bring this new technology to the AEC industry,” says Noyes. “Being brought in early allowed us the freedom to put a couple of different iterations into our development.”
Using the Surface Dial on the screen of the Surface Studio to manipulate digital PDFs in Bluebeam Revu adds a new dimension within the workflows already familiar to users of the program and shows promising potential for the AEC user base that is already used to working in Revu on the Microsoft Surface line of tablet devices.
Bluebeam embraced the opportunity to work with like-minded Microsoft as part of both firms’ continuous efforts to enhance productivity. “We’re delighted to work with Microsoft,” explains Bluebeam CTO Don Jacob. “Microsoft’s approach to reimagining hardware has really resonated with us. It’s inspired us to extend our software to support the unique aspects of the Surface Studio and Surface Dial in a way that helps people focus on getting their work done. In many ways we feel like kindred spirits—as they are innovating the hardware, we are innovating our software and creating new solutions to help our customers do what they do better.”
The potential of this hardware-software relationship looms large for both companies. “These are the relationships we dream of, where we both work in tandem to facilitate the ultimate need of a shared customer,” echoes Bluebeam Senior Manager of Strategic Development Matthew Gotterer. “Microsoft came to us as a market leader for the AEC industry to better understand our customers’ needs and they wanted our software to be just as much a part of the conversation as their hardware, resulting in a truly synergistic effort which will optimise workflows for AEC and benefit our customers.”
Stay tuned for further developments.
For a look into how Revu can help your project based workflows, click here.
Written by Microsoft
We are happy to announce the release of Visual Studio 2015 Update 3. One of the top issues reported in Update 2 was around high memory consumption. We addressed this issue in Update 3 RC, reached out to customers who had reported this issue and received positive confirmation on the fix. In Update 3 you will see many such fixes addressing customer feedback around performance and stability.
Tools for Apache Cordova
Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 includes Tools for Apache Cordova Update 10, including the improvements below. For more information about this release, see the Tools for Apache Cordova release notes for Update 9 and Update 10. For the latest news about our tools, visit our Developer Blog on GitHub.
- We've added support for Cordova 6.1.1, the default version for new projects.
- We've retired the Cordova Plugin Registry that was used in Cordova 4.x, which means that we now require a minimum of Cordova 5.x or later to add plugins.
- The Core Plugins list has been updated and now includes plugins for enterprise scenarios, such as Intune, Azure engagement, security and SQLite local storage.
- You can now add plugins from the config designer either by the npm package name or by the ID.
- You can also add plugins that require parameters from the config designer.
Developer Analytics Tools
We've added the following improvements in Developer Analytics Tools v7.0.2:
- Application Insights Trends, a tool for finding trends in your app's telemetry.
- New Exception telemetry in CodeLens.
- Production telemetry information added to exceptions in Diagnostic Tools.
- Support for adding Application Insights to ASP.NET Core RC2 projects from Visual Studio.
- Diagnostic Tools events for ASP.NET 5 RC1 and ASP.NET Core RC2 projects.
- Automatic refreshes of Application Insights Search when detail filters, time ranges and events are selected.
- Go to Code from requests in Search.
- Improved HockeyApp sign-in experience.
For more information, see the technical release notes in the Microsoft Azure documentation.
Debugging and Diagnostics
Diagnostic Tools support for apps running on OneCore devices, including HoloLens and IOT, has been added in Update 3.
C++ Edit and Continue improvements:
- Better performance and reliability when FASTLINK is enabled.
- Successful application of code changes to static libraries no longer produces Stale Code.
- C4656 warnings will no longer appear for false positive type changes during recompilation.
- Support for adding a new type with the same name crossing multiple compilation units.
XAML UI Debugging improvements:
- Whenever the focus changes in your app, the new Track Focus feature in the Live Visual Tree will cause selection in the Live Visual Tree to update to the currently focused element.
Visual Studio IDE
Subscriptions and product keys
We've addressed feedback in Update 3 from customers using subscriptions through an online identity or product keys to unlock the IDE, in the following ways:
- You are no longer required to visit the Visual Studio Website to activate your assigned Visual Studio Cloud subscription and can immediately start using the Visual Studio IDE as soon as the subscription is assigned.
- We've improved error handling when applying a product key.
- All user account and licensing operations are now secured by using HTTPS.
- We've made accessibility improvements in the Account Settings dialog for activating a subscription and entering a product key.
- New Re-authentication every ~8 days is no longer required to keep the personalisation account active and synchronising roaming settings.
Tools for Universal Windows Apps
Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 comes with several enhancements to the Tools for Universal Windows apps. A key improvement allows you to sign in with Azure Active Directory credentials for an AAD Store account when creating a package to submit to the Windows Store. Once the project has been associated with the Windows Store, you will no longer need to sign in to create a package to submit to the Store.
.NET Native for Universal Windows Apps
.NET Native 1.4 is a minor servicing release that improves performance, addresses several customer reported bugs and improves Release build compilation times of large apps. XAML applications and Unity games that use .NET Native 1.4 will have better runtime performance. These improvements were achieved by making both reflection and native API calls faster.
We've addressed feedback from customers about improving performance and reliability.
Domain Specific Graphical Designers (including EDMX and DBML)
On Windows 10, Visual Studio is no longer unresponsive when you are opening or attempting to edit large EDMX or DBML diagrams while the on-screen keyboard is displayed.
- Visual Studio is no longer unresponsive when you are trying to "Generate Code Map for Solution" when the solution contained installer projects (.vdproj).
- Visual Studio is no longer unresponsive when you run a code map command from the code editor and close the Code Map window as soon as it appears.
- When building a solution having a modeling project containing a Layer diagram with a Validate action, a CPU core is no longer used after the build completes.
- You can now validate a layer diagram when its parent modeling project is referencing PCL libraries (for instance ODP.Net).
Node.js Tools for Visual Studio
New Node.js Tools 1.2 RC for Visual Studio is now available for download. We expect this release to provide significantly improved stability and performance, including reducing out-of-memory crashes seen in prior releases.
Other highlights include:
- Faster, better ES6 IntelliSense
- More reliable debugging
- Improved Unit Testing experiences (including Tape support)
- .npm command in more project types
For full information and downloads, see the Node.js Tools 1.2 RC release page.
Web Developer Tools
For ASP.NET Web Application projects, when "Enable Edit and Continue" checkbox is unchecked, the IIS Express process will no longer stop every time you stop debugging.
Enhancements, such as new checks and warning messages for the C++ Compiler, as well as support and performance improvements for C# and Visual Basic coding, were included in Update 3.
- We now check the access of a deleted trivial copy/move ctor. Without the check, we may incorrectly call the defaulted copy ctor (in which the implementation can be ill-formed) and cause potential runtime bad code generation.
- Std::is_convertible now correctly detects self-assignment of a class type when the copy-constructor is deleted or private.
- As the last phase of completing the deprecation of attributed ATL support started in Visual Studio 2008, we've added a new deprecation warning to the compiler. With Visual Studio 2015 Update 3, usages of attributed ATL code will generate an on-by-default level 1 warning. C4467
- When using PCH files, mismatched -I include directories to the compiler between -Yc and -Yu compilations will now produce a new warning. C4599
- When using PCH files, mismatched #include directives in source files between -Yc and -Yu compilations will now produce a warning. C4598
For more information on how these changes might impact your existing code, see Visual C++ Porting and Upgrading Guide on MSDN.
- We've restored debug mode performance when destroying ranges of trivial objects that regressed in Update 2, like in vector.
- We've implemented the swappable traits from the C++17 working paper, from the proposal P0185 Adding [nothrow-]swappable traits. As a speculative C++17 feature, the traits (is_swappable, is_swappable_with, is_nothrow_swappable and is_nothrow_swappable_with) are only visible and the constraints on std::swap are only active, when compiling with /std:c++latest.
- We've removed ETW eventing calls from vcruntime140.dll and static libraries that previously fired during process startup and dllmain.
New We've removed symbol name length in common machinery used by STL containers, such as std::vector, reducing likelihood of C4503 warnings. For example, the following type no longer generates a warning: concurrency::concurrent_unordered_map<_wstring2c_><_uint64_t2c_>>>>.
ATL/MFC/AMP/PPL: Lots of conformance fixes related to two-phase lookup, as follows:
- _com_ptr_t now has a move constructor and move assignment operator.
MFC: Fixed handling of HMENU values that occasionally prevented menus from being properly displayed in 64-bit applications.
ATL/MFC: No longer emit the following warnings:
- Function overriding/hiding: C4263, C4264, C4266
- Mismatching exception specification: C4986
ATL: All variations of AtlThrow are now properly marked with __declspec(noreturn). This prevents erroneous SAL warnings from being emitted.
ATL: Fixed/Improved several SAL annotations.
/std:c++latest enables the following new features: P0025R1 "clamp()", P0185R1 "is_swappable, is_nothrow_swappable" and P0272R1 "Non-const basic_string::data().".
/std:c++latest also controls the removal of the following old features: N4190 "Removing auto_ptr, random_shuffle(), And Old Stuff", P0004R1 "Removing Deprecated Iostreams Aliases", LWG 2385 "function::assign allocator argument doesn't make sense" and various non-Standard features (the std::tr1 namespace, some TR1-only machinery and the std::identity struct).
Silent bad codegen in atomic/atomic on x86 was fixed.
The STL now avoids using thread-safe "magic statics" except when absolutely necessary, improving codegen.
Tuple's perfect forwarding constructor now avoids out-competing the copy constructor, fixing compiler errors in certain scenarios.
- Deprecated the following: __yield_value & __await keywords. Use co_await / co_yield instead.
- Added deprecation notice to: to_address and from_promise members of coroutine_handle class. Instead of coroutine_handle::to_address(), use coroutine_handle::address().
- Instead of coroutine_handle::from_promise(Promise *P), use coroutine_handle::from_promise(Promise &P).
We've improved performance of the following: std::equal and std::lexicographical_compare by dispatching to memcmp and memchr more aggressively, resulting in large performance improvements in some scenarios. For example: equal(char,char,char, char) on 64 bit platforms.
- debug builds significantly by reducing the number of bookkeeping function calls in our iterator debugging machinery.
- string::push_back has improved another 40% vs. Update 2 in release builds, with more substantial improvements in debug builds. (This is in addition to large performance improvements here that shipped in Update 2).
- Debug builds across all standard algorithms have improved by eliminating several types of empty template metaprogramming support calls (for example,_Iter_cat), across all algorithms that take predicates by reducing the number of predicate copies.
- std::mismatch under _ITERATOR_DEBUG_LEVEL 1 and 2 by range checking the second range where possible ahead of iteration.
We've applied improved diagnostics for _SCL_INSECURE_DEPRECATE messages to the remaining algorithms (in Update 2 only a small number of algorithms were hooked into the new deprecation mechanism). This also improves the debugging experience when debugging into the standard algorithms, as there is no longer any _ITERATOR_DEBUG_LEVEL preprocessor interaction declaring multiple copies of standard algorithms. We have also fixed the following:
- We've fixed the inability to compile some functions like mismatch(iter, iter, T) due to interaction between our nonstandard _ITERATOR_DEBUG_ARRAY_OVERLOADS and dual-range algorithms.
- We've fixed violations of the off-by-default warning C4242 in the STL.
- We've fixed possible integer overflow bug in std::pop_heap.
- We've fixed potential hang under /clr:pure due to CLR-inserted LoadLibrary calls while holding the locale lock.
- New The C++/CLI expression evaluator now supports debugger features, such as Natvis, that were previously only supported for pure native apps. Now in a mixed managed/native app when objects are listed in a variable window (or inside a datatip), they will expand just like they do in a pure native app as defined by the type visualisers.
We've integrated Clang 3.8 release into Clang/C2 and provided a 64-bit hosted toolset.
We've enabled support for the latest Android NDK version R11C and the capability to upgrade the current projects to target the latest NDK.
New Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 includes TypeScript 1.8.34. We've fixed an out of memory error with some large TypeScript projects that use AngularJS.
C# and Visual Basic
New We've invested in reducing memory footprint and improving the performance of code diagnostics. This will reduce a lot of the out-of-memory crashes seen in prior releases. We’ve improved the performance of running code diagnostics on an entire solution. To learn more about code diagnostic performance enhancements, read the How to: Enable and Disable Full Solution Analysis for Managed Code page on MSDN.
Additional improvements include the following:
- An option to add a reference to a NuGet package as a quick fix:
You can enable this option from Tools > Options > Text Editor > C# > Advanced, under "Using Directives":
- We've improved support for Portable class libraries targeting the .NET Platform Standard.
- We've added performance improvements to the C# GoTo Implementation and Find All References. You can try these by selecting an object, right-clicking on it and then selecting them from the menu.
- When you apply a “fix all” action to document/project/solution we now display a progress bar.
New Several bugs have been fixed in Team Explorer:
- Unable to view the contents of a file that was deleted from a Git repository.
- When viewing the history of a branch, the Go to Child icon should be disabled when the focus is the latest commit.
- When changing branches using Git.exe, Visual Studio may crash or get into an unknown state.
- When viewing the history of a branch in a Git repository, the highlighting in the history graph has glitches.
- When creating a branch in Team Explorer, the Alt+B shortcut for Create Branch conflicts with the Build menu.
- In a high memory usage situation, when attempting to unpack an object larger than the available memory, Git gives an error of "Object not found - no matching loose object ()" instead of an out of memory error.
- Typo in the error message "... In order the open this solution ...".
- When viewing the history of a branch and right clicking on the first commit in history, Cherry Pick is disabled.
- When creating a pull request from the Team Explorer branches page context menu uses the current branch instead of the selected branch.
Xamarin for Visual Studio
New Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 now includes Xamarin 4.1. In addition to a number of bug fixes, this release adds support for tvOS, improves the iOS Assets Catalog support, improves the XML editing experience and adds selectors for SSL/TLS and HttpClient implementations when creating iOS apps.
Windows Live Writer 2011 is a blog publishing application which is probably the easiest way to publish your latest blog post. Developed by Onfolio shortly before its acquisition by Microsoft, it is a great tool for every blogger out there and is included for free with Windows Live Essentials 2011. It’s compatible with RSD (Really Simple Discoverability) which in means it will work with… well pretty much any blog platform out there. I am happy to report that Blogengine.net, QBS’ blog platform of choice is supported too. If you are regularly updating your computer you will find it installed on your Windows 7 machine as Microsoft decided to release Windows Live Essentials 2011 via Microsoft Update a couple of weeks ago.
Great, so let’s start. If you haven’t done so you need to download and run Windows Live Essentials 2011 first.
Choose Install all of the Windows Live Essentials (recommended) option.
You will need to wait few minutes for the installation to finish
When the installation is complete, we are ready for the first launch
First you will be presented with the welcome screen. Click Next
Select which blog platform you are using. For Blogengine.net we need to select Other services:
You then need to provide the URL of your blog and the credentials for the account you are using to log in:
Now you are asked if you would like to download the theme from the blog. If you have an existing theme and you are happy with it, select Yes. Otherwise you can use Writer later on to create a theme.
It will then connect to your blog and configure Windows Live Writer 2011.
You will now be asked for your nickname. Please note that your login for the blog rather than this nickname will be used for the author field in the blog post.
And we are finally done:
In the next blog post I will go through cool features of Writer 2011 and share with you a few tips so make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed, because otherwise you might miss it.
If you have any questions or comments please make sure you use the comments field.