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  • Microsoft backtracks on Office search changes

    Posted on February 11th, 2020 at 08:12 joep517 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    According to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has backed off its plans to change the search engine to Bing for its Office 365 Pro Plus customers. See Microsoft backtracks on ‘Bing-jacking’ Chrome with its Microsoft Search extension for more details.

  • Will Microsoft forcibly change the Chrome default search engine to Bing?

    Posted on January 22nd, 2020 at 07:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Is this “Office as a Service,” or just another poorly worded Microsoft announcement?

    I’m getting lots of questions about a bizarre but official post from ‘Softie Daniel Brown entitled Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus. In it, Microsoft seems to be saying that everyone who installs the latest patch for Office 365 ProPlus will have their default search engine in Google Chrome changed to Bing.

    Starting with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed that makes Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser. This extension will be installed with new installations of Office 365 ProPlus or when existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus are updated.

    Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

    By making Bing the default search engine, users in your organization with Google Chrome will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Search, including being able to access relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar. Microsoft Search is part of Microsoft 365 and is turned on by default for all Microsoft apps that support it.

    First of all, “Version 2002” is Microsoft’s incredibly stupid way of saying the February 2020 update to Office 365 Pro Plus. It’ll be available to the bleeding edge in February, but normal folks (on the “Semi-Annual Channel branch,” you gotta love the terminology) won’t see it until July.

    After the extension for Microsoft Search in Bing is installed, your users will see a Welcome screen. For example, the Welcome screen in Google Chrome looks similar to this:

    Can they do that?

    Not all devices with Version 2002 or later will receive the extension right away. That’s because we’re gradually rolling out this change, first to new installations and then to existing installations. So if you’re installing or updating to Version 2002 or later, and the extension isn’t installed, that is probably expected and not necessarily an error. It’s likely a future installation or update will install the extension and set Bing as the default search engine for Google Chrome.

    That’s either the worst Microsoft announcement I’ve seen this year — or it’s an incredible overstepping of antitrust proportions that deserves fire and brimstone.

    Do you read the announcement any differently? Is this perhaps an opt-in kind of thing, where you have to activate the extension (which is dirty pool, too, don’t get me wrong)? Or is Microsoft going to roll out Bing as the default search engine in Chrome for everybody who’s getting Office ProPlus … as a Service, of course.

    UPDATE: Catalin Cimpanu, over at ZDNet, is under the impression that this is for real — that Office 365 ProPlus will hijack your Chrome browser search engine. He goes over MS’s published methods for preventing the hijacking.

    Where’s the outrage? Or is this the new normal?

  • Microsoft 365 status update

    Posted on November 21st, 2019 at 14:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Günter Born has additional details.

  • Office 365 global outage is now fixed

    Posted on November 20th, 2019 at 07:49 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A tale in three tweets…. (all times are US Central)

    Of course the Microsoft Office Status site requires a logon with an active Office 365 account.

  • Office 365 ProPlus to get support on Windows 7 after January 14, 2020

    Posted on October 7th, 2019 at 17:25 joep517 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has decided to give Office 365 ProPlus users running Windows 7 some grace time after Windows 7 goes out of support on January 14, 2020. Office 365 ProPlus users will continue to get security updates for Office 365 ProPlus until January 2023. According to Microsoft this is to transition to a “support operating system”.

    See Windows 7 end of support and Office 365 ProPlus for details and more information.

  • MS Word and Google Docs now play nicely together

    Posted on August 19th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Lance Whitney

    Just because you need to edit and share documents with someone who uses Google Docs doesn’t mean you have to renounce Word. It’s easy to work in both worlds. Here’s how.

    You’ve always used Microsoft Word to create and edit your documents. Over the years, you’ve become comfortable with its many tools, capabilities, and peccadillos. But now you need to collaborate with others who rely on Google’s productivity apps.

    Does that mean you have to adopt Google Docs as your default word processor? Not at all!

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.29.0 (2019-08-19).

  • Microsoft removes non-subscription SKUs from Home Use Program

    Posted on August 9th, 2019 at 17:18 joep517 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away. This may not affect many but is a nice perk if you work for a large company using Office. Here’s an article by Mary Jo Foley describing the details of the changes – Microsoft removes Office 2019 from its Home Use Program benefits.

  • Found it: The definitive guide to Word Mailmerge

    Posted on June 15th, 2019 at 21:41 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I tried to find this post from Windows Secrets a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t see it. Now, with the help of the developers, I’m happy to point you to macropod’s phenomenal, comprehensive guide to Word Mailmerge Tips & Tricks.

    The plain text of the AskWoody URL is /forums/topic/word-mailmerge-tips-tricks/

    It used to be located here:


    We’re working on a way to more accurately re-route inquiries to old Windows Secrets posts. While we’re getting the plumbing working, you may want to try editing the link manually.