What’s New? New “What’s New” Office 2016 Suppression Key

Updated:
• Changed to reflect new 15.34 key to suppress What’s New dialogs by a boolean, instead of -1
• Update to OneNote now using the same OUIWhatsNewShonItemIds key instead of its own ONWhatsNewShownItemIds key

My previous post, Not much, what’s new with you?, showed how to suppress the “What’s New” banners on updated software versions of the Office 2016 Suite.  While it worked, it _was_ work to get the specific preference key value to block the latest banner from appearing.  Due to the nature of how the values were dynamically created at build time it wasn’t known what those values were until the software was downloaded, installed, launched, then examine the preference file for the new value of OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink.  Blah.

Our good friends at Microsoft recognized the madness and worked on a way to make the suppression easier and more predictable for us admins.  As of version 15.32 there is a new key that takes an array of ints that can be added to the mobileconfig profile —  OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds.  The previous key OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink is still needed to suppress the What’s New dialogs prior to 15.32.

Good News, Bad News, Better News, and Best News

The Good News is that the values of OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds are predictable. It starts at 1 and increases by 1 for every new feature that is to be listed in a What’s New dialog box.  The Bad News is that each application can have its own number of new features to display, so knowing how many values isn’t known ahead of time. The Better News is that there is a bug (VSO #1476177 – Give admins a better way to turn off the What’s New dialog for O365 users) reported by our same Microsoft friends to recognize a value of -1 to mean “Don’t show me any more What’s New dialogs for any new versions ever.”  That feature is on the fast track to be part of the 15.34 release in May.

So, until May, you can add a list of values to the OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds key to suppress dialogs until the -1 value is respected.  The array must be a complete list meaning you can’t just add a value of 10 and have that mean block all values 1-10.

The best new is that as of version 15.34 builds dated 170420 and later there is a new key that will take a -bool false value to suppress all What’s New dialogs going forward. That key is ShowWhatsNewOnLaunch.

Here is an example of the key and values to block all of the first 10 new features starting at version 15.32:

OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10

Each application domain (com.microsoft.Excel, com.microsoft.onenote.mac, com.microsoft.Outlook, com.microsoft.Powerpoint, and com.microsoft.Word) will need these values added. The easiest way would be to add these values to the existing mobileconfig profiles from Not much, what’s new with you? and modify it like this example for Word.

 

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