Tag: Microsoft

Microsoft Launches Cross-App Text Copying App Clip Layer

Microsoft has rolled out yet another new app for Android today that brings quick and easy copying of text from one app to another.  Clip Layer allows you to copy a page or section of text from one app by pressing and holding the Home button on your phone, then opening another app and copying that text to that app.  While Android natively has the ability to do this on most apps, Clip Layer makes it very easy with just simple taps to copy sections of text instead of having to tap-and-drag.  Plus, the app has the ability to take that copied text and share it with others right from within the app.

The magic of how the app works is within the Assistant settings of Android.  By allowing the app to become your Device Assistance app, that enabled the Home button to become the trigger for copying text.

OneDrive Update Brings Much Improved Sorting Options

Microsoft has pushed an update out for the OneDrive app for Android and it has some great new features.  The banner update is the improved sorting options.  Previously you had basically one sort option which was alphabetical.  Now you have a slew of sorting options available to make finding that file much easier and faster.  The new sorting options include:

  • A-Z
  • Z-A
  • Newest files or folders
  • Oldest files or folders
  • Largest files or folders
  • Smallest files or folders

It is likely that if you have a lot of files in OneDrive that the newest file sort option will be the most appreciated as you can find all those files you were working on instead of having to hunt around for it.

Next Lock Screen Update Brings Swipe to Search Action

Microsoft has begun rolling out an update to Next Lock Screen for Android phones that brings a lot of new improvements and features.  Probably the biggest new feature in the version 2.7 release is the ability to swipe down and search (via Bing or Google) right from the lock screen.  This makes searching for things faster and easier as you don’t necessarily have to unlock your phone every time to search for something.

This update also brings customization to the layout of apps page in the app.  Now you can select 4×5 or 4×6 for your app layout to give you the number of apps you want to see and quickly access.

OneNote App Update Brings Accessibility Enhancements

Microsoft has begun rolling out a nice update to OneNote, bringing several fixes along with some key updates for those with accessibilities needs.  In the update, users can now have alternative text on images and embedded files in a page.  That means for those who cannot see images, they can have alternative text which can be read to them by recognition software.  This has been a common practice in web design for many years (in fact, every image on ClintonFitch.com has alternative text) and it is good to see it come to a productivity app like OneNote for those who need it.

That’s not the only change of course.  There is now the ability to view images outside of OneNote itself.  Now when you tap on an image in a note, you can choose to open that in another app to view that image.  To this point, once you embedded an image, you had to view it within OneNote.  Also, related to this, you can view embedded files outside of OneNote too.

Next Lock Screen Expands Fingerprint Scanner Support in Latest Update

Microsoft is rolling out a nice update to their lock screen app, Next Lock Screen, that brings a lot of improvements to the app.  The biggest new feature in the app, which is now up to version 3.10.3 for those keeping score, is the expansion of fingerprint scanner support to a much wider range of Android phones.  The support for fingerprint scanners has been in the app for a few months now but it was very limited on the number of devices that it would work on.  Indeed most people didn’t even know it was there in the app.  This update greatly expands the number of devices that can now use the scanner to unlock the phone.  In testing it this morning, it works on my Nexus 6P and my Nextbit Robin, two devices that were not supported in the previous release.

Skype for Android Sees Minor Changes in Latest Update

Skype for Android has a small but nice update rolling out in the Play Store this morning.  The new build, version 7.24.0.255 for those keeping score at home, brings some UI refinements as well as some useability improvements to the long standing video and messaging app.  Probably the biggest change is the Calls tab interface.  It has been updated with a quick call option and a new dialer button.  Those of you who use Skype for calls, particularly international calls where the service really shines, will enjoy this update as it is much cleaner.

Read on for more details

Microsoft Selfie Hits Android – Finally

Some eleven months after it was made available for iOS users, Microsoft Selfie has finally hit the Google Play Store for Android devices.  The app is aimed at giving you some filtering options for photos you take with the app or selfies that you have in your camera roll.  While the selfie camera app-meets-filter app is not something new, this app does a pretty good job.  With each filter in the app you can adjust the intensity and there are 12 different filters that you can apply to your photos.  There is also a preview button that you can tap and hold to see the photo with and without the applied filter.

PowerPoint Update Brings Shape Recognition

Microsoft has started rolling out an update to PowerPoint for Android that has a new Shape Recognition feature.  The update now gives you the option to have the app recognize any shape you draw with your finger or stylus in free form and snap that into a perfect version of that shape.  So, for example, if you draw a square, with this feature enabled, you will get a perfectly formed square on your slide instead of your free form version.  You can, of course, not enable this, but it is super handy and is something that until now hasn’t been in the mobile version of the app.

Microsoft Edge More Secure Than Google Chrome According to NSS

In a report from NSS Labs, the research company found that Microsoft Edge, the latest browser from the Redmond company, is more secure against phishing and malware than both Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.  The set of reports, which can be downloaded here, tested three current versions of each browser over the months of September and October to get the results which will likely come as a surprise to some.  The versions tested for the reports were:

  • Google Chrome 53.0.2785
  • Mozilla Firefox 48.0.2
  • Microsoft Edge 38.14393.0.0

The first report focused on phishing where Edge achieved a 91.4% over the course of 12 days of testing at the NSS Labs in Austin, Texas in recognizing phishing URLs presented to it.  Chrome was at 82.4% while Firefox came in at 81.4%.  This is an important consideration in choosing a browser given the social engineering nature of phishing attacks which can lead to compromised accounts for users.

Microsoft Improves Notifications in Next Lock Screen

The lock screen app, Next Lock Screen from Microsoft, has been updated today with several big improvements.  The biggest change in the new build, version 3.9 for those keeping score at home, has to do with improved notifications and weather on the lock screen of your Android phone.  In this new build, these two features have been significantly improved and are, well, reliable.  In the previous build the weather updates in particular were haphazard at best.  This new 3.9 build is much better at updating both notifications and weather updates in a timely fashion.

Microsoft OneNote Update Brings Multi-Window Support

Microsoft has released an update to their digital notebook app, OneNote, that adds a lot of new features.  The update is build is version 16.0.7369.1775 for those keeping score at home and like version number Bingo.  While it has the usual smattering of bug fixes and performance improvements, there are also some big feature changes to this update.  First, the app now supports multi-window use in Android Nougat.  To this point, if you tried to use OneNote in multi-window, it simply would not open.  That’s a thing of the past now and you can have the app and another app open at the same time on the screen on your phone or tablet.

Another big improvement in this update is the ability to open password-protected sections.  On the desktop version of OneNote, you can password protect those sections with sensitive information.  Previously the Android app (and iOS app for that matter) wouldn’t open up those sections.  That’s fixed and now you can open them although you still cannot create a password protected section within the app.  Support for inserting and viewing embedded files in your notes has also been added in this update.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Update Brings Improved Searching

Microsoft has rolled out yet another update to their Android launcher, Arrow Launcher.  The update, version 2.4.0 for those keeping score at home, brings a handful of changes and improvements including a much improved search function.  Now within the launcher you can search not just the web but also apps and contacts on your phone.  This brings Arrow on par with other launchers that have similar functionality built into them.

This update also brings some needed performance improvements.  This has been an area that Microsoft has been working on the launcher for some time and every update it gets a little bit better.  This 2.4 update really made big strides.  Performance is noticeably faster, particularly when swiping from one page to another.  It also opens apps much faster than the previous build.