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If something seems amiss with SharePoint Online recently, it’s not your imagination. Microsoft has retired a few features in the past month and will be discontinuing a few more soon. The company is steering users toward Yammer to fill the gaps.

Here’s a rundown of changes so far:

1. Tags & Notes in SharePoint Online: This feature is retired. You can no longer create new tags or notes, nor can you access them. For details on how this will affect you, see the table below.

Microsoft is retiring the Tags & Notes feature in SharePoint Online. Click to read full article from Microsoft.

Microsoft is retiring the Tags & Notes feature in SharePoint Online. Click to read full article from Microsoft.

Note that up until the end of 2014, existing tags and notes will be archived into .csv files, which you can export from the SharePoint admin center (if you are an admin). If you want to retain them, export them now. Read Microsoft’s instructions.

2. Microsoft will be removing the Tasks menu option from SharePoint Online some time in the next few weeks, and will remove the Sync to Outlook button at a later date.

If you’re currently syncing a SharePoint tasks list to Microsoft Outlook, tasks will continue to sync until September 2015 (about a year after Microsoft made the announcement). The personal Tasks page will also continue to be available for one year. After that, Tasks in SharePoint Online will be unavailable and unsupported.

As with any change, and especially with short-notice change, Microsoft’s removal of these features has some users scratching their heads. In particular, they want to know the reason behind the changes, and, naturally, how and where they can fill the functionality gaps.

Regarding the why: Microsoft wants you to use Yammer, and said as much in this blog/news release dated March 2013: Yammer and SharePoint: Enterprise social roadmap update.

Regarding the how and where: Microsoft recommends using SharePoint Newsfeeds and/or Yammer (see the following two articles: Pick your enterprise social network: Yammer or Newsfeed? and Say hello to Yammer).

Beyond the why, how and where, however, is the inevitable learning curve users will face with Yammer. For guidance, see Getting Started with Yammer: The Basics and Beyond, which is part of the Yammer blog’s Tips & Guides section. Check back here for more on Yammer, too — minimizing learning curves is what we do.

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