Yammer Gains New Office Document Creation and Collaboration Tools

Microsoft adds new Office document creation and co-authoring capabilities to the Yammer group experience.

Microsoft Yammer

Microsoft started rolling out an update to its Yammer business-focused social platform on Oct. 7 that enables teams to create and work together on Office files.

"With [the Oct. 7] announcement, users can now create Office documents such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel and co-author them with their team from within a Yammer group," wrote the Yammer group in a blog post. "Additionally, users can easily browse their SharePoint and OneDrive libraries to share files and start discussions with their teams on Yammer."

The authoring experience is provided by Office Online, the web-based version of Microsoft's venerable productivity applications, which has featured real-time co-authoring since 2013. Now users can create new Office documents directly from the Yammer UI, obviating the need to leave the app to start work on a new file. Yammer group members can also view the version history of a file and mark important files.

For organizations that use SharePoint and OneDrive to manage and organize their business content, Microsoft has debuted a revamped file picker that simplifies sharing in Yammer. The streamlined tool allows users to quickly dig into their SharePoint libraries or OneDrive for Business accounts, select the desired files and share them with colleagues.

Taking a cue from Facebook and other social sites, new image, file and link preview capabilities help add some visual flair to the Yammer feed. The new image gallery preview deposits a tidy collage of shared images into users' feeds. Similarly, link previews grab images from the webpages they point to, and file previews offer a peek into the contents of a file, like the first slide in a PowerPoint deck.

Finally, organizations that link Yammer to their Office 365 Groups can now share Office content to Yammer groups without getting mired in managing permissions, according to Microsoft. Now, users can share documents and email content from Office directly into a Yammer group, automatically granting its members access to a given file.

Last week, during the company's Ignite 2016 conference, Microsoft announced it was integrating Yammer with Office 365 Groups, enabling new collaborative experiences including task management with Planner and a shared OneNote notebook. And while Office 365 Groups and Yammer offer similar functionality, Microsoft signaled that the latter is sticking around for the foreseeable future.

Things are changing on the Yammer front, however.

With the introduction of SharePoint document libraries for groups, Microsoft said the company's long-term plan is to eventually migrate all files from Yammer to SharePoint. Currently, files uploaded to Yammer call Azure home.

And with the new OneNote integration, Yammer's own note management features will be retired. Arguing that OneNote provides "a better notebook experience," Microsoft plans to replace Yammer Notes with OneNote group notebooks in the near future.

"In the short term, nothing will happen to existing Yammer Notes. Over the coming months, we will migrate existing Yammer Notes to Word documents and move them into the Yammer Files section," stated the company in an online FAQ.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...