Office 365: A guide to the updates

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A digest of the last six months of new features, bug fixes, and security updates for Office 365 for Windows, up to Version 1909 (Build 12026.20320), released 8 October 2019

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9 October 2019 | 0

Office 365 subscribers always have the latest version of Microsoft Office – currently Office 2016. They also get more frequent software updates than those who have purchased Office 2016 without a subscription, which means subscribers have access to the latest features, security patches and bug fixes. But it can be hard to keep track of the changes in each update and know when they’re available. We’re doing this for you, so you don’t have to.

Following are key updates to Office 365 for Windows since Office 2016 was released in September 2015 – all the 2017 updates and the most important ones from 2016 and late 2015, with the latest releases shown first. We’ll add info about new updates as they’re rolled out.

Note: This story covers updates released to regular Office 365 for Windows subscribers. If you’re a member of Microsoft’s Office Insider preview program or want to get a sneak peek at upcoming features, see the company’s “What’s new for Office Insiders” page.

 

Version 1909 (Build 12026.20320)

Release date: October 8,
2019

This build includes a security update and a number of minor bug fixes. In Outlook, several bugs were squashed, including one that wouldn’t allow people to open some instances of recurring calendar items, and another that caused Outlook to crash when a profile was being created. PowerPoint had an issue fixed that caused data loss when co-authoring and offline editing.  For the entire Office suite, several issues were fixed, including one that crashed Office when files were opened. In addition, Microsoft Updates are now signed using the SHA-2 algorithm exclusively in order to improve security.

There are also fixes for two Excel Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities, detailed in CVE-2019-1327 and CVE-2019-1331.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more info about Version 1909 (Build 12026.20320).

 

Version 1909 (Build 12026.20264)

Release date: September 30, 2019

This build offers a variety of new features and fixes several bugs. In Outlook, it’s now easier and faster to update shared calendars. In addition, when you search through your mail, the most relevant email messages are now grouped at the top of the results.

PowerPoint lets you save illustrations as SVG files, and you can now animate an ink drawing so that it replays either forward or backward during the presentation. In Excel, Word, and PowerPoint you can now more easily share files by using the “recently used” list without having to open the file.

Get more info about Version 1909 (Build 12026.20264).

 

Version 1908 (Build 11929.20300)

Release date: September 10, 2019

This build offers several minor bug fixes and a security update. In Outlook, a bug was fixed that caused some users to encounter authentication errors when trying to retrieve their cloud settings. In PowerPoint, an issue was fixed that prevented some animations from starting. For the entire Office suite, an issue was fixed that caused large tree views to fail.

There are also security fixes for Excel and the entire Office suite, including a Microsoft Excel Information Disclosure Vulnerability, a Microsoft Excel Remote Code Execution Vulnerability, a Jet Database Engine Remote Code Execution Vulnerability affecting the entire suite, and a Microsoft Office Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability affecting the entire suite.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more info about Version 1908 (Build 11929.20300).

 

Version 1908 (Build 11929.20254)

Release date: August 26,
2019

This build offers a several new minor
features throughout Office. You now have more control over text boxes and
borders in Excel, Word and PowerPoint, and you can also more easily insert and
manage icons in those applications as well as in Outlook. The entire Office
suite also gets new icons. In addition, there are a variety of bug fixes.

Get more info about Version 1908 (Build 11929.20254).

 

Version 1907 (Build 11901.20218)

Release date: August 13,
2019

This build offers two minor bug fixes
and a variety of security updates for Outlook, Word and the entire Office
suite. Among the security issues fixed are remote code execution
vulnerabilities in Outlook and Word and a Jet database engine remote code
execution vulnerability in the entire Office suite. (See the security release notes for details.)

The non-security changes include
fixing an issue in Outlook in which users having their mailbox upgraded from
basic to modern authentication were ending up with the wrong account associated
with their Outlook profile.

What IT needs to know: Because
this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next
few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well,
apply the update.

Get more info about Version 1907 (Build 11901.20218).

 

Version 1907 (Build 11901.20176)

Release date: July 29,
2019

This build offers a variety of new
features for Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word. It’s now easier to code using
Power Query in Excel, with enhancements including autocomplete and syntax colouring.
In Outlook, when you type a person’s name in the Search box, the most relevant
email messages will now be included alongside your search suggestions.
PowerPoint lets you save a video to Microsoft Stream, which lets you insert a
streaming video instead of the entire file into a presentation to reduce file
sizes. Word now has two different sized erasers so you can fix small inking
imperfections.

In addition, Excel, PowerPoint and
Word make it easier to create map charts, and also let you decide whether links
to Office documents should open in the appropriate app or instead in a browser.

Get more info about Version 1907 (Build 11901.20176).

 

Version 1906 (Build 11727.20244)

Release date: July 9,
2019

This build has security updates for
Excel, Outlook, Skype for Business and the entire Office suite. For details, see these release notes. In addition, there is
a fix to an Outlook bug that caused the current folder search to intermittently
fail.

What IT needs to know: Because
this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next
few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well,
apply the update.

Get more info about Version 1906 (Build 11727.20244).

 

Version 1906 (Build 11727.20230)

Release date: June 27,
2019

This extremely minor build has only a
single change: It fixes an issue that caused a subset of POP3 users to see all
of their emails formatted as plain text, regardless of their settings. Users
who want to see their messages formatted with HTML can now do so.

Get more info about Version 1906 (Build 11727.20230).

 

Version 1906 (Build 11727.20210)

Release date: June 24,
2019

This build offers a variety of new
features for several Office applications, primarily Outlook. Outlook gets a
simplified Ribbon that tames its frequently complex interface. (The simplified
Ribbon has been available in a preview for quite some time, but now is
officially launched.) In addition, you can now synchronise more than 500
folders when syncing shared mailboxes. The previous limit was 500. The quick
action menu can also be customised.

You can now insert 3D animated
graphics into Excel. In Word, multiple people can co-author documents in the
open, XML-based.docm format. And in Skype, you can crop video in a meeting on a
4K monitor when the “Crop and Center my video in meetings” setting is
turned on.

There are also a number of
undocumented bugs and performance fixes, according to Microsoft.

Get more info about Version 1906 (Build 11727.20210).

 

Version 1905 (Build 11629.20246)

Release date: June 11,
2019

This build addresses two security
holes in Word, remote code execution vulnerabilities CVE-2019-1034 and CVE-2019-1035.

What IT needs to know: Because
this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few weeks,
check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the
update.

Get more info about Version 1905 (Build 11629.20246).

 

Version 1905 (Build 11629.20214)

Release date: June
4, 2019

This build fixes a single, minor
issue, one in which some add-ins caused unexpected errors to appear around
shapes in PowerPoint charts.

Get more info about Version 1905 (Build 11629.20214).

 

Version 1905 (Build 11629.20196)

Release date: May
29, 2019

This build introduces minor new features to multiple Office applications. In Word, PowerPoint and Excel, if you @mention people in document comments, they will automatically receive an email notification that they’ve been mentioned, so they can check out the comments. Across all Office applications except Outlook, a new account manager is available; it displays all Office 365 work and personal accounts in a single location, making it easier to switch among them.

In addition, in PowerPoint, presenters’ words are automatically shown on screen as captions and can be translated into subtitles in the language of your choice. In Outlook, it’s now easier to add Outlook.com and Gmail accounts that use two-factor authentication.

Get more info about Version 1905 (Build 11629.20196).

 

Version 1904 (Build 11601.20204)

Release date: May 14,
2019

This build includes security fixes for a Microsoft Word Remote Code Execution Vulnerability, a Microsoft Office Access Connectivity Engine Remote Code Execution Vulnerability and a Microsoft Office Access Connectivity Engine Remote Code Execution Vulnerability. Go to the release notes for Office 365 ProPlus Security Updates for more details.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

Get more info about Version 1904 (Build 11601.20204).

 

Version 1904 (Build 11601.20178)

Release date: May 8,
2019

This build includes “various bugs and performances fixes,” in Microsoft’s words, that Microsoft hasn’t provided any details on.

Get more info about Version 1904 (Build 11601.20178).

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