Microsoft has been working on a new desktop Outlook application for a while now, and the company started testing it with work and education accounts earlier this month. Now it’s rolling out more widely for Office Insiders.
Microsoft officially revealed the new Outlook application for Windows this week, which is now available to test for education and corporate accounts enrolled in the Office Insiders program — personal Microsoft accounts still can’t join the fun, unfortunately. The new version is accessible with a “Try the New Outlook” toggle at the top right of the application.
Just like previous leaks indicated, the new app looks more like the web version of Outlook, with a hint of the “Fluent” design language that is present on Windows 11 and other recent Microsoft updates. The company said in a blog post, “this version has new intelligent features like message reminders and a new calendar board that puts your email, calendar, and To Do in the same view. In addition, with Microsoft Loop components, you can collaborate across Outlook and Teams while staying in the flow.”
This isn’t just a redesign, though — there are also a few new features. You can attach files and documents stored in the cloud by typing “@”, followed by the name of the file. That’s much quicker than attaching a file normally, assuming you remember what the document is called (and it’s already in OneDrive). There are also automatic reminders for new messages, a panel for Microsoft To Do, integrated RSVP functionality for events, and the ability to pin emails to the top of your inbox.
The new Outlook app also has support for Microsoft Loop, which is Microsoft’s online collaboration tool for canvas-style workspaces and documents — a bit more like Google Docs or Airtable than the traditional Office apps. You could already embed Loop components in Microsoft Teams and other apps, but now they work in Outlook too. Microsoft’s screenshot shows a report review table from Loop pasted into an email, for example.
Surprisingly, Microsoft is seemingly planning for the new app to eventually replace the current legacy Outlook application for Windows. The new version is not a separate download, and Microsoft is planning to re-implement almost everything found in the older version. Previous news reports indicated the new app would primarily be aimed at people using personal Outlook.com email accounts, while corporate and education customers could continue using the tried-and-true Outlook client (at least for a while longer).
Microsoft has already published a laundry list of features available in the current Outlook but missing in the new version, including multi-account, offline, personal accounts (@outlook.com), non-Microsoft accounts (Gmail, iCloud, etc.), POP emails, re-ordering folders, Outlook data files (.PST), and other functionality. It will likely be a long time before this replaces the current Outlook app.
It’s also unclear how this will affect the Mac version of Outlook, which was rewritten in 2019. Earlier reports indicated Microsoft was planning to replace all desktop versions of Outlook with the new version, but so far, all we have is an early Windows build.
Source: Office Insider, Outlook Blog
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