The new Outlook for Windows application is a significant project that has been led by Margie Clinton, Group Product Manager, and Robert Navitsky, Director of Engineering. This project is a collaborative effort involving multiple teams across engineering, design, and marketing. The vision for Outlook is to serve as a hub for productivity and a connector to other Microsoft 365 tools, with a design that is customizable to individual work styles, whether for school, personal work, or other endeavors.
The new Outlook for Windows combines the best aspects of previous versions and is designed to be scalable, flexible, and customizable. It combines the agility of the web code base with the experience of a native client, offering customization options such as ribbon size, layout options, and density. It includes features such as adding all account types, ribbon customization, category use, calendar layouts, scheduled email sending, and pinning important items to the top of the mailbox.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a core pillar of the new Outlook, aiming to deliver a tenfold increase in productivity. The new Outlook for Windows is designed to be more agile and faster at delivering new innovations and meeting customer needs. It reduces the time to address issues from weeks and months to hours and days, aiming to solve the problem of client fragmentation by providing a single, fast, and agile code base.
New Outlook for Windows features
To enhance productivity, the new Outlook for Windows includes features such as the ability to snooze emails. The development team is constantly using feedback from millions of users to inform their backlog of work and prioritize feature delivery. Improvements have been made to shared mailboxes and third-party account support based on user feedback. Work is in progress on features like PST support, MSG file support, custom formatting, and the ability to open files in native apps.
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Microsoft is using a playbook for delivering these features, which includes giving users an advanced chance to try the app at their own pace and provide feedback. Microsoft will move to an opt-out phase once they’ve made improvements based on user feedback. The final phase is the cutover, where classic Outlook or universal mailing calendar are no longer supported and users will have to move to the new Outlook. Microsoft is committed to giving at least one year’s notice before any disruptive change.
Microsoft encourages users to engage with their customer support account manager if they need more time to adapt to the new Outlook. The timelines for the Windows inbox, mail, and calendar apps are different from those for the Win 32 Outlook app. The new Outlook is already available in the monthly enterprise channel. Microsoft is increasing the frequency of updates to the Message Center to improve communication with customers.
Microsoft is working on providing more deployment controls, such as controlling the application availability, the default toggle state, and the default mail client. Microsoft has been working on admin controls and policies for the new Outlook, including a policy to control whether personal accounts can be added. Microsoft is prioritizing the most critical policies to be delivered based on feedback.
Outlook for Windows
Microsoft is expanding the capabilities of the web add-in platform and working with third parties to ensure their add-ins are supported. The new Outlook supports scenarios for exec admins, administrative assistants, and those reliant on delegates and mailbox sharing.
Microsoft is open to feedback on the new Outlook, particularly on the details of workflows and tasks. There is no strict timeline for the end of life for classic Outlook, it will be determined based on readiness and feedback. The new Outlook will be deployed via a toggle, with options for organizations to have their own deployment options and Microsoft is considering options for previewing features before users start using them.
The transition to the new Outlook is seen as a multi-year journey, and Microsoft is eager to hear both positive and negative feedback to improve the product.
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