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What's new in Exchange Online

Exchange Online

Applies to: Exchange Online

Topic Last Modified: 2015-09-16

This topic describes the latest changes in Microsoft Exchange Online. See the following sections for more information:

Exchange admin center

Outlook Web App

Messaging policy and compliance

Anti-spam protection

Anti-malware protection


Mail flow


Message trace

Public folders

Address book policies

For information about features that have been discontinued, see What's discontinued in Exchange Online.

Exchange Online provides a single unified management console that’s easy to use for management of on-premises, online, or hybrid deployments. The Exchange admin center (EAC) in Exchange Online replaces the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) in the previous version of Exchange Online. For more information, see Exchange admin center in Exchange Online.

Some EAC features include:

  • List view   The list view in EAC has been designed to remove limitations that existed in ECP. ECP was limited to displaying up to 500 objects and, if you wanted to view objects that weren’t listed in the details pane, you needed to use searching and filtering to find those specific objects. The viewable limit from within the EAC list view is approximately 10,000 objects. In addition, paging has been added so that you can page to the results. You can also configure page size and export to a .csv file.

  • Add/Remove columns to the Recipient list view   You can choose which columns to view, and you can save your custom list views.

For Exchange Online, we’ve added several new features to Microsoft Outlook Web App and updated its design:

  • We’ve added several apps for Outlook: Bing Maps, Suggested Appointments, and Action Items. These apps are integrated with Outlook and Outlook Web App and extend the information and functionality of messages and calendar items.

  • Users can now link multiple entries for the same person and view the information in a single contact card.

  • Viewing improvements have been made to calendars.

  • Outlook Web App emphasizes a streamlined user interface that also supports the use of touch, enhancing the mobile device experience with Exchange.

For more information, including the supported browser versions for Outlook Web App, see What's new for Outlook Web App in Exchange Online.

The following are new message policy and compliance features in Exchange Online:

  • Data loss prevention   DLP is a new feature area that helps you both protect sensitive data and inform users of internal compliance policies. DLP features help you identify, monitor, and protect sensitive data through deep content analysis. Exchange Online offers built-in DLP policies based on regulatory standards such as personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card industry data security standards (PCI), and DLP is extensible to support other policies important to your business. After you have DLP policies in-place, you can review summary data reports about your mail flow. For more information about the charts and tables that are provided, see Summary data reports for DLP policies RETIRE.

    Additionally, the new Policy Tips feature in Microsoft Outlook 2013 informs users about potential policy violations before sensitive data is mistakenly sent information to unauthorized people.

    To learn more, see Data loss prevention.

  • In-Place Hold   In-Place Hold is a new unified hold model that allows you to preserve data and meet legal hold requirements in the following scenarios:

    Query-based In-Place Hold   Preserve the results of a query, which allows for scoped immutability across mailboxes.

    Time-based In-Place Hold   Place a time-based hold to meet retention requirements (for example, retain all items in a mailbox for seven years, a scenario that previously required the use of litigation hold duration or Single Item Recovery).

    Indefinite hold   Place a mailbox on an indefinite hold to preserve all items in the mailbox until the hold is removed.

    Place a user on multiple holds to meet different case requirements.

    To learn more, see In-Place Hold and Litigation Hold.

  • In-Place eDiscovery   In-Place eDiscovery allows authorized users to search mailbox data across mailboxes and archives in an organization. In-Place eDiscovery has been enhanced to allow discovery managers to perform more efficient searches and preserve search results. These enhancements include:

    Federated Search allows you to search and preserve data across multiple data repositories. You can perform In-Place eDiscovery searches across Exchange Online mailboxes, SharePoint Online web sites and documents, and Lync Online content archived in Exchange Online.

    In-Place Hold allows you to search and preserve data in a single step using the same interface.

    Search preview allows you to preview search results without copying them to a discovery mailbox. You can further fine-tune query parameters to retrieve more accurate search results.

    Keyword statistics Search statistics are offered on a per search term basis. This enables a discovery manager to quickly make intelligent decisions about how to further refine the search query. eDiscovery search results are sorted by relevance.

    To learn more, see In-Place eDiscovery.

  • In-Place Archiving   In-Place Archiving includes the following enhancements:

    Search across primary and archive mailboxes in Outlook Web App   Users can search across their primary and archive mailboxes. Two separate searches are no longer necessary.

    Archive Lync content   Exchange Online supports archiving of Lync content in the user’s mailbox. You can preserve Lync content by using In-Place Hold and search archived Lync content using In-Place eDiscovery.

    To learn more, see Archive mailboxes in Exchange Online.

  • Retention policies Retention policies help your organization reduce the risks associated with email messages and other communications and also meet retention requirements. Retention policies include the following enhancements:

    • Support for Calendar and Tasks retention tags   You can create retention policy tags for the Calendar and Tasks default folders to expire items in these folders. Items in these folders are also moved to the user’s archive based on the archive policy settings applied to the mailbox.

    • Improved ability to retain items for a specified period   You can use retention policy and a time-based In-Place Hold to enforce retention of items for a set period.

    To learn more, see Retention tags and retention policies.

  • Transport rule changes   Several new features were added to Transport rules functionality and improvements were made to existing features. The most important new feature is that Transport rules now support creating rules that accompany and enforce DLP policies. New predicates and actions were added and rule monitoring features have been enhanced. To learn more about the new Transport rules functionality, see What's new for transport rules.

The following are new anti-spam protection features in Exchange Online:

  • Exchange Online now uses the anti-spam capabilities of Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

  • Two additional URL lists can block suspicious messages that contain specific URLs within their message body.

  • Microsoft subscribes to various third-party sources of trusted senders. You can select to skip spam filtering on email messages sent from these senders, ensuring that the email messages are never mistakenly marked as spam.

  • You can now filter messages written in specific languages, or sent from specific countries or regions. The service will apply the configured action.

  • For greater granularity, you can create custom content filter policies and apply them to specified users, groups, or domains in your organization. Custom policies always take precedence over the default company-wide policy, but you can change the priority (that is, the running order) of your custom policies.

  • You can now easily configure the service to mark bulk email messages (such as advertisements and marketing emails) as spam through the user interface.

  • Administrators and end users can use the enhanced Junk Email Reporting Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook to report junk (spam) messages to Microsoft for analysis. This tool is compatible with Outlook 2013 and Windows 8 and is backwards-compatible with prior versions. For more information about installing and using this tool, see Junk Email Reporting Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook.

For more information about anti-spam protection, see Office 365 Email Anti-Spam Protection.

As an administrator, you can search for and view details about all quarantined email messages in the EAC. After locating the message, you can release it to specific users. You can also optionally report spam-quarantined messages as false positives (not junk).

As an end user, you can manage your own spam-quarantined messages either via the spam quarantine user interface or by using end-user spam notification messages (if they’re enabled by your administrator). Upon receiving a notification message, you can move the spam email to your inbox, or report the spam email as not junk, in which case it will be sent to the Microsoft Spam Analysis Team. Admins can configure these notifications to be sent from every 1 to 15 days, and they can also set the language in which the notification is written.

For more information about managing quarantined messages, see Quarantine.

The following are new anti-malware protection features in Exchange Online:

  • Exchange Online can replace attachments in malware-detected email messages with either default or custom alert text that notifies the recipients of the detection. If the detection is in the message body, the message and all its associated attachments are deleted.

  • For greater granularity, you can create custom malware filter policies and apply them to specified users, groups, or domains in your organization. Custom policies always take precedence over the default company-wide policy, but you can change the priority (that is, the running order) of your custom policies.

For more information about anti-malware protection, see Anti-Malware Protection.

The following are new recipient features:

  • Create dynamic distribution groups in the EAC   You can create dynamic distribution groups using the EAC. You can use the following precanned filters to determine membership for the dynamic distribution group:

    • Recipient type

    • Department

    • Company

    • State or province

    • Custom attributes 1 - 15

    For more information, see Manage dynamic distribution groups.

  • Configure custom attributes in the EAC   After creating recipients such as user mailboxes, resource mailboxes, and mail users, you can use the EAC to populate the custom attribute properties. In previous versions of Exchange Online, you could do this only with Windows PowerShell. For more information, see Custom attributes.

  • Create mail users in the EAC   A mail user represents someone with a user ID in your Exchange Online organization who doesn't have a mailbox in your Exchange Online organization. Typically, you use mail users when your organization uses both the Exchange Online service and on-premises Microsoft Exchange. These mail users are visible in the shared address book as a contact, which makes it easy for users in Exchange Online to communicate with users in the on-premises Exchange organization.

    Previously in Exchange Online, you could create mail users only with Windows PowerShell. Now in Exchange Online, you can create mail users in the EAC. For more information, see Manage mail users.

  • Create equipment mailboxes in the EAC   Like dynamic distribution groups and mail users, you can now create equipment mailboxes in the EAC. Equipment mailboxes are assigned to resources that don't have a specific location, such as portable computers, audio-visual equipment, or vehicles.

    For more information , see Manage equipment mailboxes.

  • New migration features   The following new features make it easier to migrate on-premises mailboxes to Exchange Online:

    • Migration endpoints   A migration endpoint is a management object in Exchange Online that contains the connection settings and administrator credentials for the source server that hosts the mailboxes that you want to migrate to Exchange Online. The migration endpoint also defines the number of mailboxes to migrate simultaneously and the number of on-premises mailboxes to synchronize simultaneously with the corresponding Exchange Online mailbox in IMAP and cutover Exchange migrations. After you create migration endpoints, you select the one you want to use when you create a new migration batch. For more information about email migration, see Ways to migrate multiple email accounts to Office 365.

    • Concurrent migration batches   Now you can create and start multiple migration batches. The number of mailboxes that are migrated at any one time is controlled by migration endpoints. If the maximum number of mailboxes from different batches is being processed, other mailboxes are queued and will be migrated when a connection becomes available.

    • Different types of migration batches can run at the same time   Some organizations use staged Exchange migrations and IMAP migrations to migrate mailboxes and mailbox data to Exchange Online. Previously, these migrations had to be created and run separately, and you had to delete one type of migrate batch before you could create the other. Now you can create and start IMAP and staged Exchange migration batches at the same time, as long as there are different users in each batch.

    • Improved migration reporting and diagnostic capabilities   Now you can get information about skipped items for IMAP migration batches and detailed diagnostic information for each mailbox in a migration batch.

You can now use a wizard to create connectors and use them to control mail flow. For more details, see Configure mail flow using connectors in Office 365.

Many different types of reports are available to help you analyze mail that flows through your Exchange Online organization.

For example, the Reports page in the Microsoft Office 365 admin center contains messaging data reports, which provide summary information about message traffic, spam and malware detections, and messages affected by Exchange Transport Rules or Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies. The enhanced reports for protection, rules, and DLP offer an interactive reporting experience for Exchange Online admins. These reports provide summary data and the ability to drill down into details about individual messages. For more information about these reports, see Use mail protection reports in Office 365 to view data about malware, spam, and rule detections.

For information about the other types of reports that are available, for example you can create custom reports programmatically using Web services, see Monitoring, reporting, and message tracing in Exchange Online.

The message trace tool includes the following new features:

  • Search functionality has been enhanced.

  • When viewing message trace results, the subject line text is provided for each message.

  • A detailed view is provided that describes all the events that happened to the message.

  • Data retention for the message trace has been increased to 90 days.

For more information about using the message trace tool, see Trace an Email Message.

Public folders are designed for shared access and provide an easy and effective way to collect, organize, and share information with other people in your workgroup or organization. Public folders organize content in a deep hierarchy that’s easy to browse. Users discover interesting and relevant content by browsing through branches of the hierarchy that are relevant to them. Users always see the full hierarchy in their Outlook folder view. Public folders are also useful for distribution group archiving. A public folder can be mail-enabled and added as a member of the distribution group. Email sent to the distribution group is automatically added to the public folder for later reference.

Public folders also provide simple document sharing and don’t require a SharePoint subscription. Finally, end users can use public folders with the following supported clients: Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, and Outlook Web App.

Outlook Web App users in your organization now have the ability to add public folders to, or remove them from, their Favorites. Previously, this could only be done in Outlook.

You can only create public folder rules that contain the element reply using a specific template in mail-enabled public folders. It is possible that pre-existing rules containing reply using a specific template will continue to work on non-mail-enabled public folders, but on non-mail-enabled public folders you cannot create new rules with this template element, or edit existing rules with this element.

For more information, see Public folders in Office 365 and Exchange Online.

Address book policies provide different views of the Global Address List (GAL) to subsets of users within the same Exchange organization. The segmentation allows administrators to optimize address lists in large organizations, creating smaller ‘virtual’ organizations with users only able to see the users they need to see. For more information, see Address book policies.

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