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3 recommended updates: Audience targeting for Quick links web part in SharePoint

3 Recommended Updates V21.01.07 Featured 3 Recommended Updates V21.01.07 Featured

Version 21.01.07

Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on the new Approvals app for Microsoft Teams, an audience targeting capability for the Quick links web part in SharePoint, and the ability to block downloads for Teams meeting recordings on OneDrive and SharePoint.

ShareGate’s easy-to-use SaaS tools enable organizations to achieve more than ever before with Microsoft cloud technologies. In our ongoing series, Jasper Oosterveld brings you up to speed on the latest and greatest from the world of Microsoft 365.

I hope you enjoyed my last update—where I discussed the ability to manage Q&A and comments for Yammer live events, the general availability of mandatory labeling in Office apps, and the introduction of Portal Launch Scheduler in SharePoint PowerShell.

Let’s move on to the latest installment!


In this release, you’ll find my opinion on the new Approvals app for Microsoft Teams, an audience targeting capability for the Quick links web part in SharePoint, and the ability to block downloads for Teams meeting recordings on OneDrive and SharePoint.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at three Microsoft 365 updates you need to know about now.

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Introducing Approvals app for Microsoft Teams

What better way to start the new year than with a Microsoft Teams update! Microsoft is introducing a native Microsoft Teams application called Approvals.

Get to results faster with Approvals in Microsoft Teams. Easily create, manage, share, and act on approvals directly from your hub for teamwork.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Feature ID: 68724

Approvals lets employees easily create, manage, and share approvals from a hub for teamwork. These approvals are triggered directly through the Power Automate infrastructure and do not require a flow with an approvals action.

Employees can create new approvals, view pending approvals, and see previous approvals in one place—including the approvals that have been completed. Approvals show up across all systems, including Power Automate, SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The following screenshot shows an example:

screenshot of new Approvals app in Teams.

During my conversations with customers, I always emphasize one of the biggest selling points of Microsoft Teams: Its central and integrated work experience enables employees to do most of their work right within Microsoft Teams. This saves them time switching between multiple applications, resulting in increased focus and concentration. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity. The new Approvals application proves this once again.

Good to know:

  • Only users with the following licenses will be able to take advantage of the Approvals app in Teams:
    • Microsoft 365 A1, Office 365 A1
    • Microsoft 365 A3, Office 365 A3
    • Microsoft 365 A5, Office 365 A5
    • Microsoft 365 E3, Office 365 E3
    • Microsoft 365 E5, Office 365 E5
    • Microsoft 365 F3, Office 365 F3
    • Office 365 E1
    • Office 365 E2
    • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
    • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
    • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • The Approvals app is turned on by default if your tenant has enabled Power Automate. You can manage the Approvals app in the Teams admin center within the app page, including customizing which users are able to access the app via permission policies.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft is rolling out the update in mid-January 2021. Head to the official Microsoft documentation for additional information about Approvals in Microsoft Teams and Teams Approvals app availability, or check out the Microsoft support documentation for ‘What is Approvals?’.


SharePoint: Audience targeting capability for Quick links web part

One of the key features of a high-quality SharePoint intranet portal is the ability to provide personalized information for your employees. This varies from news, knowledge items, content, and links.

Up until now, however, personalizing the latter (links) was tricky. To address this, we, at InSpark, created our own Quick links app to include a personalization feature, allowing companies to provide personalized links based on the logged in employee.

With this update, Microsoft is finally introducing an audience targeting feature for the Quick links web part!

We are adding the ability to target specific audiences per link within the Quick links web part. With it, you target specific links to different audiences, helping you provide more personalized experiences on SharePoint pages.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Feature ID: 67115

That is great news! Not only because of the personalization aspect, but also because the Quick links web part is an awesome web part.

The web part contains multiple layout options and icon support. For example:

Screenshot of updated quick links web part.

With the release of this update, an audience targeting capability will be available in the Quick links web part, too. Content authors will be able to enable audience targeting within the web part, and then target each link to individual groups.

Good to know:

  • The audience targeting feature is disabled on the web part by default, so nothing is required to prepare for its availability. If you intend on using this feature, you may wish to ensure that you have AD groups or Microsoft 365 groups ready to use.
  • Read the Microsoft support documentation for more details on how to use the Quick links web part.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft started rolling out the update in the beginning of January 2021 and expects the rollout to be completed by the end of February 2021.


Block download permissions for Teams meeting recordings on OneDrive and SharePoint

In a previous update, I discussed the change of the Teams meeting recording location to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online instead of Microsoft Stream. With this update, Microsoft is improving on that feature:

As part of the New Stream experience, new Teams meeting recordings will be stored in your OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. Based on customer feedback we are enhancing the feature so that these recordings are not downloadable by those with view-only permissions, and that those permissions be set by default.

MC230505, Plan for Change, Feature ID: n/a

I applaud this change because recordings of meetings could contain sensitive information. You want to prevent, or at least control, the option to download the recording.

When this change is implemented:

  1. All new Teams meeting recordings uploaded to OneDrive and SharePoint will get the same permissions as outlined in Microsoft’s permissions or role-based access documentation—except that, by default, everyone who would normally receive view-only permissions will now also be blocked from being able to download the recording. Microsoft will update the documentation to reflect the added download restrictions once the feature is deployed.
  2. Any time the recording is shared with someone else, block download permissions will continue to be set by default. Only the recording edit owners will have the ability to explicitly override that setting and re-share with download permissions if they choose to do so. That will be an explicit action, so the owners will not be at risk of accidentally oversharing.

Good to know:

  • This change only applies to new recordings created after you are enrolled in the new OneDrive and SharePoint experience.
  • If you prefer to make the transition to the new Teams meeting recording location after these enhanced download permissions are implemented, Microsoft recommends that you opt out of OneDrive for Business and SharePoint to continue using Stream.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft will start rolling out this change in early February 2021 and expects the rollout to be completed by the end of April 2021.


Welcome to 2021!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are all safe and healthy as we begin 2021, and I sincerely hope this is the last year COVID-19 has such a major impact on all our lives.

Luckily enough, the updates for Microsoft 365 have not been impacted by the pandemic. There were plenty of interesting and valuable updates throughout 2020, and I expect that to continue through this year! My favorite update this time around is the audience targeting update for the Quick links web part. Although I’m continuing to move more towards the compliance side of collaboration, my heart still belongs to SharePoint. I still support customers implementing personalized intranet portals with SharePoint Online.

The new audience targeting capability means we can phase out one of our custom solutions and use an out-of-the-box Microsoft solution, instead. That’s what I love to see: standard solutions fitting customer needs.

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