How to turn off Microsoft end user communications in Office 365

Microsoft end user communication is on by default in Office 365, but admins can turn it off for all users by navigating several online configuration screens. Here is how you do it.

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Image: master1305, Getty Images/iStockphoto

On October 31, 2018, Microsoft sent a message to Office 365 subscribers informing them that on November 29, 2018, by default, end users would start receiving product training and tips in their inbox tailored to the Office 365 services being used. As you might imagine, the thought of users receiving more unsolicited email, even if those emails were effective tips and product training, raised a few eyebrows.

On November 5, 2018, after receiving what one could assume was a deluge of feedback,

Microsoft pushed back the starting date for this new default service indefinitely to reevaluate its implementation. But that doesn't mean the configuration that allows Microsoft to directly communicate with Office 365 end users is not still active. The default is still on until someone turns it off.

This how-to tutorial shows you how to turn off the Microsoft end user communication feature found deep inside the administrative menus of Office 365. This action requires Office 365 administrative access and will impact all users operating under a specific license.

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End user communications

To reach the end user communication configuration settings, you must first sign into Office 365 online with administrative permissions. Once in, navigate to the Office 365 online admin center and locate the Settings item in the left navigation bar. Expand Settings to reveal the Services & add-ins configuration screen, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

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Figure A

Scroll down the list of available services until you find one labeled, End User Communications. Tap or click that item to reveal the screen shown in Figure B.

Figure B

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Figure B

To turn off end user communication for all users operating under that specific license, switch the button on this page to Off and click Save.

Alternative method

As Office 365 admin, you may want to allow users to decide for themselves whether they want to receive end user communications from Microsoft. If that is the case, you can choose to leave communications on at the admin level and then allow individual users to change settings.

To do this, the end user should sign in to Office 365 online, navigate to the My Account screen, and then click on the Contact preferences item, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

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Figure C

Users will place checkmarks in the boxes for communications they'd like to receive and leave the boxes blank for communications they don't want to receive. Click Save when the choices are complete.

Intentions

Even if you take Microsoft at their word and accept the veracity of their intention to help Office 365 end users with tips and training, the idea of more email is just not something most users want to endure. It is reassuring to see Microsoft respond so quickly to feedback regarding this new default setting, but that doesn't mean we cannot take matters into our own hands and change the configuration settings to our personal preferences.

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