Message center in Office 365

To keep track of upcoming feature releases or issues, go to Message center. That's where we post official announcements about new and changed features to enable you to take a proactive approach to change management. Each post gives you a high-level overview of a planned change and how it may affect your users, and links out to more detailed information to help you prepare.

To open Message center, in the Office 365 admin center, go to Health > Message center, or click the Message center card on the Home dashboard. The dashboard card always displays the last three messages that we posted and links to the full Message center page.

Message center card in Office 365 admin center

You can also use the Office 365 Admin app on your mobile device to view Message center, which is a great way to stay current with push notifications.

Explore the tabbed sections of this article for more information on how to use Message center and manage posts.

Frequently asked questions

Question

Answer

Who can view posts in Message center?

Users who have been assigned any admin role in Office 365 can view Message center. See Assign admin roles in Office 365 to learn more about what each admin role can do. Message center posts can also be shared through email with non-admin users who may need to take action.

Is this the only way Microsoft will communicate changes about Office 365?

No, there are many ways that we communicate changes in Office 365. Message center is the primary way that we communicate the timing of individual changes. See Stay on top of Office 365 changes for information about additional resources.

How can I see posts in my language?

Message center posts are written in English, but are automatically machine-translated to other languages and displayed in the language controlled by your Office 365 language settings. See Language translation for Message center posts for more details.

Can I preview changes or features before they are rolled-out to my organization?

Sometimes. Some changes and new features can be previewed by opting in to the Targeted release program. To opt-in, in the Office 365 Admin center, go to Settings > Organization profile >Release preferences. You can choose Targeted release for your entire organization, or just for selected users. See Set up the Standard or First release options in Office 365 for more information about the program.

Can I find out the exact date a change will be available to my organization?

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you the exact date a change will be made to your organization. In our Message center post, we will give as much information as we can on the timing of the release, based on our confidence level. We understand you want us to be more specific on timing of releases, and we’re working on improvements to get better with that level of detail.

Are these messages specific to my organization?

We do our best to make sure that you only see Message center posts that affect your organization. The Office 365 Roadmap includes all of the features we are currently working on and rolling out, but not all of these features apply to every Office 365 organization. For example, if a feature is rolling out only to educational institutions, we will target the Message center post ONLY to those organizations.

Can I get message center posts emailed instead?

Yes! You can select to have a weekly digest emailed to you and up to two email addresses. If you need to have the digest go to more than two more people, you can send to an Office 365 group or distribution list. The emailed weekly digest is turned on by default. If you aren't getting your weekly digests, check your spam folder. See the Set preferences section of this article for more information on how to set up the weekly digest.

Don't see your question answered here? Go to the bottom of this page and answer the Was this information helpful? feedback prompt. Clicking Yes or No will open the feedback box.

Message center presents a view of all active messages in a table format, by default showing the most recent message at the top of the list. Here’s a quick overview of the information you’ll see in each column:

Column

Description

Checkbox

Clicking on the checkbox in the title row will select all messages currently displayed. Selecting the checkbox next to a single message will open that message for reading. Holding CTRL while you select multiple boxes lets you perform bulk operations on those messages, such as dismissing the messages or marking them as read or unread.

Act by

Most of the time, there won't be anything in this column. We'll only have dates here if we're making a change that requires you to take an action by a certain deadline. Since we rarely use the Act by column, if you see something here, you should pay extra attention to it.

Category

Messages are identified by one of the three following categories:

  • Prevent or fix issues: These messages inform you of known issues impacting your organization and may require that you take action to avoid disruptions in service. Prevent or fix issues are different than Service health messages because they prompt you to be proactive to avoid issues.

  • Plan for change: These messages inform you of changes to Office 365 that may require you to act to avoid disruptions in service. For example, we’ll let you know about changes to system requirements or about features that are being removed. We try to provide at least 30 days’ notice of any change that requires an admin to act to keep the service running normally.

  • Stay informed: This is where we tell you about new or updated features that we are turning on in your organization. The features are usually announced first in the Office Roadmap. Stay informed messages may also let you know about planned maintenance in accordance with our Service Level Agreement. Planned maintenance may result in down time, where you or your users can’t access Office 365, a specific feature, or a service such as email or OneDrive for Business.

Message title

Message titles are a brief description of an upcoming change. They are sometimes long and Message center can’t display the full title. Hover your cursor over the message title and the entire title will display in a pop-up box.

Published

Date that the message was published. If we make a change to an existing message, it also changes the published date.

Message ID

Microsoft tracks our Message center posts by message ID. You can reference this ID if you want to give feedback or if you call Support about a particular message.

(No label)

Clicking on the X in this column will dismiss the message and remove it from view. Don’t worry, you can get it back by viewing dismissed messages. In that view, clicking Refresh icon will restore the message to the active messages view.

Head over to Manage messages in Message center to get more information on the things you can do with messages.

Because Major updates are most impactful to your organization, they are highlighted at the top of the Message center as shown in this graphic:

Screen capture: Showing the major updates section of the Messge Center.

Major updates are communicated at least 30 days in advance when an action is required.

Major updates are defined as:

  • ​Changes to daily productivity such as inbox, meetings, delegations, sharing and access

  • Changes to the themes, web parts and other components that may affect customized features

  • Increases or decreases to visible capacity such as storage, number of rules, items or durations

  • Branding changes that may cause end-user confusion or result in help desk calls

  • Collateral changes or URL changes

  • A new service or application

  • Changes requiring an admin action (exclusive of prevent or fix issues)

  • Changes to where data is stored

When you open a major update post to read it, you'll see a new gray header that has information specific to this major update, including the current roll-out status. In the example shown below, the major update has started Targeted release, it applies to targeted release customers only, and there are at least 40 days remaining before the feature moves into general availability.

Screen capture: Showing a major update post opened for reading.

If administration is distributed across your organization, you may not want or need to see posts about all Office 365 services. Each admin can set preferences that control which messages are displayed in Message center. You can also opt-in to receive a weekly digest of messages in email, to make sure you never miss an important post.

To set your Message center preferences:

  1. Select Edit Message center preferences at the top of Message center.

  2. Make sure that the toggle is set to On for each service that you want to monitor. Click the toggle to change the setting to Off for the services you want to filter out of your Message center view.

  3. Digest emails are turned on by default and are sent to your primary email address. To specify other email addresses to which the weekly email summary is sent, verify that Send a weekly email digest of my messages, is On. Email notification for major updates is a separate control. If you want to receive email notices about major updates, verify that Send me emails for major updates is On. You can select or deselect your primary email address, but you can't change it. You can enter other email addresses where you want to have the digest sent. Enter the email address for an Office 365 group or a distribution list if more than two people should get the digest email.

  4. Click Save to keep your changes.

Message center preferences edit page

We use machine translation to automatically display messages in your preferred language. Read Language translation for Message center posts for more information on how to set your language.

Note: The weekly digest and any posts that are emailed are sent in English-only. Recipients can use Translator for Outlook to read the message in their preferred language.

Your opinion matters to us. If you’d like to provide feedback about any Message center communication, open the message, then click on Like or Dislike at the bottom of the message and send us your thoughts! Feedback that you send using this method pertains specifically to the message content and the change that it announces.

You can send feedback about Message center, or any Office 365 feature, by using the Feedback button that is available at the bottom of each Admin center page. Your feedback is tied to the page that you’re on, but honestly, we read it all and will make sure your comments get to the right team.

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