Microsoft 365 Adds Threaded Comments in Excel, New Power BI Features

The latest additions, which include Microsoft 365 usage analytics in Power BI, are designed to give users expanded capabilities.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft has unveiled a wide range of new features for its business-focused Microsoft 365 software bundle, including threaded comments in Excel and two features for Power BI users—Visio Visualization capabilities and Microsoft 365 usage analytics.

The latest round of features for users were announced July 31 in a post by the Microsoft 365 team on the Microsoft 365 Blog.

The addition of threaded comments in Microsoft Excel is aimed at improving collaboration on shared documents and providing a consistent experience across the other key Office applications: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. "Threaded comments enable you to easily follow conversations taking place around content in a document and directly interact with coworkers using @mentions and nested replies," according to the post. "These improvements make it easier to work on spreadsheets with multiple collaborators and enhance readability and editing across devices."

Microsoft Power BI (Business Intelligence) subscribers will also gain capabilities, including access to Visio Visual from within Power BI. Using the new feature, users will be able to create interactive Power BI dashboards using Power BI data sets and Visio visualization tools to build charts and diagrams to allow users to illustrate and compare data.

In addition, Power BI users will now be able to integrate Microsoft 365 usage analytics to better monitor the services being used, which can help IT administrators improve the adoption of available applications and services across organizations, according to the post. A new Teams usage report is also now available, which provides an overview of how organizations work together in Microsoft Teams. The reports provide details on functions including chat, channel and meetings. 

Microsoft Planner Integration With SharePoint

Also new in Microsoft 365 is the integration of Microsoft Planner with SharePoint, which brings additional task management capabilities directly into team sites, allowing users to access and interact with project tasks while keeping important resources in a single repository. Users will now be able to add a plan directly to a team site within SharePoint and embed Planner boards and chart views from those plans within SharePoint pages and news posts using the latest feature.

The Microsoft 365 people card in Microsoft 365 is also being enhanced to include information from LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which allows users to gather profile information for prospects and customers wherever a people card appears in Office 365, according to the post. This feature will be rolling out soon to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 commercial customers in Outlook for the web.

Other new features being added include Workplace Analytics solutions and MyAnalytics nudges, which provide user teams with data-driven collaboration tips to help in their work; Microsoft Whiteboard for Windows, which provides a whiteboard tool for user interactions within projects; and Proposal Manager, which is aimed at helping financial services teams increase their proposal win rates.

Another feature, Centralized Deployment for Outlook add-ins, makes it easier for IT administrators to deploy add-ins to Outlook, while Search and Tag in Advanced eDiscovery aims to help users find the most relevant and responsive data within a case so they can tag it for further review.

Microsoft 365, which includes Windows, Office and Enterprise Mobility + Security, was introduced in July 2017 to provide enterprise customers with many of the software tools they need under one license and for one fee. It is available in two versions—for large enterprises and for smaller businesses.