Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Features for Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft continues to roll out new features to Office 365 that will improve your experience by helping to organize and manage time. Features and new releases will be highlighted below as they become available.

Safety Tips

Exchange Online Protection (EOP) adds, or stamps, a safety tip to email messages that it delivers. These safety tips provide recipients with a quick, visual way to determine if a message if from a safe, verified sender, if the message has been marked as spam by Office 365, if the message contains something suspicious such as a phishing scam, or if external images have been blocked.

The safety tip appears as a color-coded message at the top of an email. Safety tips will warn you about potentially harmful messages. Most messages in your inbox won't have a safety tip. You will only see them when Office 365 has information you need to help prevent spam, phishing, and malware attacks. False positives should be reported to ITS for white listing to make the system more useful.

To view samples of Safety Tips and for more information on the types of messages, visit this Microsoft article on the Safety Tip feature.

If you receive a university communication that is flagged as suspicious or unsafe by a safety tip, you can either inform the sender or contact the ITSC to report it.

Focused Inbox

Microsoft has released Focused Inbox which is available for iOS or Android devices. Focused inbox is disabled by default for Queen's University mailboxes.

Email has become one of the most important tools we use every day to manage our lives - both work and personal.  We use it to keep up with what is going on, and with what needs to be done. Outlook’s Focused Inbox makes this easier by helping to focus on the emails that matter most. It separates your inbox into two tabs—Focused and Other. Emails that require our attention are within the Focused tab, other email that is important, just not requiring immediate attention are within the Other tab.  You can easily switch between the Focused and Other tab. As incoming email is moved to the Other tab you receive a brief notice (like what you receive when new mail arrives). 

To turn Focused Inbox on or off:

Outlook 2016 for Mac:

  • In Outlook 2016 for Mac, select the Organize tab
  • Select Focused Inbox
  • Repeat to turn off Focused Inbox

Outlook 2016 for Windows:

  • In Outlook 2016, select the View tab
  • Select Show Focused Inbox
  • Repeat to turn off Focused Inbox

Outlook on the Web:

  • In Outlook on the web, select the settings (gear) icon
  • Select Display Settings
  • Select Focused Inbox menu item
  • In the When email is received section,
    • select Sort messages into Focused and Other to turn on Focused Inbox, or
    • to turn off Focused Inbox, select Don't sort messages

What about Clutter?

Yes, Focused Inbox is very similar to Clutter, but the emphasis is on the important email.  If you are currently using Clutter you will be prompted to try Focused Inbox.  If you choose to try it, email will no longer be moved to the Clutter folder.  Any email that you currently have moving to Clutter will now move to Other.  Any email that is currently in the Clutter folder will remain there until you move it or delete it.



Rolling out before year end (2016)  to:  Outlook 2016, Outlook 2016 for Mac, Outlook on the Web (  Already available for Android and iOS.

Have you ever been composing an email and thought "oh, I should ask so and so for their input".  Well, @mentions makes that easier.  To use @mentions type the @ symbol anywhere in the body of the email or meeting invitation and start typing the person's name. A list of people matching what you type will be opened and you can select from the list.  The persons name will be highlighted in blue so they know that something is required of them.  If they where not already included, their email address will be added to the To... field. 

When you receive an email or meeting invite where you have been mentioned, Outlook will add an @ symbol in the message list letting you know that an action is required. Additionally the preview text of the message will be update to show you a preview of the text immediately following your mention making it easy for you to see what is being asked of you. When you open the message your name will be highlighted in blue helping you find where you were mentioned.

Search for Messages that mention you

Outlook also includes a filter so you can sort to see only the messages where you’ve been mentioned. Once you’ve opened the email, the blue highlighting of your name in the body of the email helps you quickly find where you’ve been mentioned.

Currently the new features are only available when using the Outlook Web App available in Office 365.

To filter your email for @mention: 

Outlook 2016 for Mac:

  • On the Home tab, select Filter Email
  • From the drop down menu select Mentioned

Outlook 2016 for Windows:

  • From above the message list, select All
  • From the drop down menu select Mentioned Mail


Enhanced Automatic Replies

Microsoft enhanced the out-of-office automatics replies feature in April 2016

Whether you are going on vacation or will be away from the office for some other reason, using the newly enhanced out-of-office automatic replies feature makes preparing for your time away a little bit easier.  Now you can set up an automatic reply to respond to incoming email and manage your calendar while you are away - all in one place!  While planning your time away from the office, the enhanced auto-reply feature can quickly and easily coordinate messaging with your calendar – no more clicking back and forth between two places in your Outlook Calendar.  

How you can use these great new options:

Currently the new features are only available when using the Outlook Web App available in Office 365.  For step-by-step instructions see the Office 365 Automatic Replies tutorial.

Block my calendar for this period

  • This option will fill your day with an event indicating that you are on vacation, or whatever else you would like to mark the time as. It could be "Working from home," "Maternity leave," or "Watching the Blue Jays game."

Automatically decline new invitations for events that occur during this period

  • With our email and calendar being integrated, meeting requests are easy for Outlook to recognize. Choosing this option will automatically decline any new invitations that arrive during the specified timeframe for your automatic replies.
  • Anyone scheduling a meeting will see you are not available during your away time.

Decline and cancel my meetings during this period

  • Choosing this option will show a brief timetable of meetings that are already in your calendar for the timeframe your automatic replies will be in effect.
  • You will be able to scroll through the list and select which events to clear from your calendar.
  • Any meeting invitations you receive during this time will be automatically declined.



Microsoft is introducing Focused Inbox beginning mid-November 2016.  If you are currently using Clutter you will be invited to try Focused Inbox.  If you turned Clutter off, you will be invited to try Focused Inbox.  Clutter will continue to work, but will eventually be discontinued.

Microsoft is turning on Clutter for all Office 365 users June 2015

Microsoft Clutter

What is Clutter?

  • Clutter is an email filtering option available in Office 365.  It is similar to an anti-spam filter as it moves less important email (based on your reading habits) into a "Clutter" folder where they can be ignored or reviewed later. 
  • Most of the mail going into the folder should be bulk mail (e.g., advertisements) and messages from mailing lists.  Users should periodically check the Clutter folder however, as it may move legitimate email into this folder.

How to use Clutter?

  • If you are using Office 365 and need to mark messages as "not clutter", either right-click on the message and choose Mark as not clutter or just drag it to the Inbox. 
  • If Clutter is missing messages you want marked as "clutter," right-click and choose Mark as clutter or drag it to the Clutter folder.
  • In Outlook and other clients, you will need to drag a message to the clutter folder to mark it as clutter or drag it to the Inbox to mark it as not clutter.

Note:  If you have rules set up, Clutter is applied after inbox rules are applied and items touched by rules won't be filtered by Clutter.

Disabling Clutter

If you would prefer not to use Clutter, log into Office 365 

  • Select Options -> Mail -> Automatic Processing-> Clutter
  • Select button Don't separate items identified as Clutter and select Save


De-clutter you inbox video