Are you an Insider?

A decade ago we found ourselves craving new features from Microsoft for the Office platform. We found ourselves getting a Service Pack every 12-18 months that was comprised of hotfixes and perhaps one or two new major features. Release cycles were long and innovation came in fits and spurts. Testing new features was something that as an outsider, you never got to see until that Service Pack was released.

Microsoft introduced their Office delivery rings in 2015 and we began to see an increased cadence in fixes and features being pushed to end users in small increments instead of in large service or feature packs. Caveat being that with increased release cycles that meant that a lot of changes were suddenly flowing to end users.

As those features moved the interface around rapidly end users found themselves suffering from change fatigue and Microsoft introduced some changes to how updates would be pushed out, changing the defaults of channels that users were put into. Rather than having users receive updates monthly, it was recognized that business users (and consumers at home) likely would benefit from a slower release and delivery cycle and also provide help desks time to adjust pushing users into a 6-month cycle.

Where do you find the information about features that are a part of each release?

For those that prefer to have the latest and greatest, there’s the Microsoft insider program. If you’re an unmanaged user (e.g. a home user) then it’s pretty simple to join the Insider program by following the steps provided as a link off of the Microsoft Office site here –

If you’re a Business user where things are locked down by GPO or Intune, there are options to work through how to make “Insider” capabilities available to your users –

Even if you’re not looking to shift your user base to the latest and greatest, I’d encourage you to check it out for a single user account perhaps to get a feeling of some of the cool new features that are on the public Insider’s blog.

Cloud Community Conference Events Office 365 Office 365

Office DevCamps

The other day while recording Episode 15 of with Scott Hoag, I remembered something that was tweeted about during //Build and that I’d received an email about earlier in the day as well – Office DevCamp. So we included it in the show and hoped that folks would consider checking it out – it’s a great opportunity to meet folks from the Microsoft Office Developer team and to learn a thing or two… for free.

So what are Office DevCamp’s? Do I need a shovel? Will I need insect repellent? I sure hope not. I hope they’re going to teach us how to write Apps and use the Office 365 APIs.

If you’re done reading, head on over to and register.

For those of that are still here, good on you! Essentially the DevCamp is held at a Microsoft Office near you (in most instances) and it’s split out into a 5 part day. There are events all over the place in the US to include:

There are over a billion Office users out there in 147 countries (wow that’s a lot) and they’re all looking for ways to better use Office – so why not build an app for them?

Definitely sounds like an interesting day – hope that you’re able to make it out!


OneNote Clipper 2.0…

One of the most overlooked tools of Office is OneNote. If you’re not using it, well, I’ve got questions for you, but I suppose if you’ve already made a large investment in something like EverNote, then I suppose it’s somewhat forgiven.

Microsoft introduced OneNote Clipper back in March of 2004 through their Office Blogs. It allowed the ability to “clip” a page from the web and push it to a OneNote notebook hosted up in Microsoft’s cloud. Pretty handy for students and professionals to capture information to organize and use at a later point.

Well, Microsoft released version 2 of the OneNote Clipper last week and I have to say that even as a Mac OS X user, it’s plain simple to use.

Depending on the browser that you use, you’ll see a different button for installation purposes over at

OneNoteClipper ChromeInstall

Each of the different browsers handles the installation slightly different. For example, within Chrome, the installation is completed as a Chrome extension where the user is prompted to install OneNote Clipper similar to other Chrome Extensions:

OneNoteClipper ChromeInstaller

Once installed within Chrome it shows up similar to other extensions with a warm greeting to show you where it is within the extension bar:

OneNoteClipper ChromeExtension

After it’s installed, the UI of the Clipper in action is similar to what is seen in other browsers:

OneNoteClipper Chrome

Alternatively, the installation for Safari on Mac OS X is slightly different.

OneNoteClipper SafariInstallation

Instead of characterizing Safari as a browser with a specific extension, OneNote Clipper gets treated as a bookmarklet.

OneNoteClipper SafariInstallationMethod

Note that if you click on the Button to “Clip to OneNote” instead of dragging into the Bookmark bar of Safari, you’re greated with a cute message:
Don’t click, just drag 🙂

So you’ve dragged the “Clip to OneNote” up into the Safari Bookmark bar and then you’re confronted with the profound question… “Why haven’t I removed ESPN and Disney from the OOTB Bookmarks?”

OneNoteClipper SafariBookmarklet

Note that the OneNote Clipper in Safari is merely JavaScript in a Bookmarklet that provides operates a function called ‘oneNoteCaptureRootScript’. Pretty nifty in that the UI is identical to that of what is exposed within Chrome.

The actual functionality of the Clipper is pretty slick with the ability to capture a page, a region of a page or the text of a page as though it’s in an RSS Reader’s Article view. And while it captures these as pages that are images, Microsoft added an OCR capability within OneNote to dig through the images to find text (whoa).

Furthermore, the article view provides a nice capture of text as can be seen below, grabbing the core elements of the page without the CSS and such…

OneNoteClipper PSConfigArticle

But there are some instances where the page doesn’t turn up any article elements, alerting the user to try a different mode:

OneNoteClipper ArticleNoArticleFound

All in all, a pretty slick implementation to assist in capturing relevant information to use at a later time. Well done Microsoft – even helping us Mac users out 🙂