Microsoft Gives Outlook On The Web A Makeover

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Fresh off of its successful international roll-out of Windows 10, Microsoft announced this past week that Outlook is getting some new features, and an updated look. Updates are coming for the web version of Outlook for Microsoft Office 365 subscribers. The company released a full description of the changes on its office blog. Formerly known as the Outlook Web App (or OWA in IT circles), Microsoft is transitioning away from this nom de plume and is now calling the web version of Outlook for Office 365 simply “Outlook on the web.”

In addition to only impacting Outlook on the web for Office 365 subscribers, the new look and features will also only be available for users who use Outlook on the web in conjunction with Exchange Online but is not just limited to Enterprise level subscriptions. Commercial, academic, and government plans that have Exchange Online should be receiving these updates within the next few weeks.

 

What To Look For

Juggling hundreds of emails a days is a difficult task by itself. Why complicate it by managing emails through an inbox that is difficult to navigate? Microsoft is releasing a more simplified and cleaner user interface to make working in Outlook on the web more efficient. According to the post on the office blog, users will see improvements such as an “email subject line [that] is larger and more prominent, and messages in the reading pane are now indented for easier reading.”

 

New Features

In addition to a shiny, new UI, the Outlook on the web update also boasts some new features, including:

  • Undo – Everything should have an undo button right? While this option has been standard in most Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel, undoing unwanted actions in Outlook has traditionally been a bit of a process. Now users can click a dedicated “Undo button” to quickly undo unintended actions with one swift click of a mouse.

 

  • Pin – No, Microsoft has not tried to turn Outlook into a similarly named social platform that lets you “pin” items to a board for future reference. The pin option in Outlook lets you pin any message in your inbox right at the top of the inbox so you don’t forget them. Once you select a message to “pin” it is highlighted in yellow and automatically moved to the top of your inbox – so important messages don’t get buried as new ones come in.

 

  • Sweep – This feature was initially rolled out to Outlook.com users (formerly Hotmail), but now is being integrated into Outlook for Office 365. Sweep lets users set actions for emails from specific senders. For example, you can choose to keep messages from one sender (say a clothing store, or a newsletter) based on certain parameters. You can configure sweep to only keep the most recent message, or only keep messages for a certain set of days. Sweep lets users customize their inboxes based on their needs.

These are just a few of the many updates that are expected to roll out over the next few weeks for Outlook users with an active Office 365 subscription.

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