Microsoft announces a Loop app and components and more Office features
With Microsoft’s Ignite virtual event kicking off today, the floodgates have opened for news coming out of the event. Among the Ignite news, Microsoft Office is getting a big new app and new features for existing apps. The big new app is called Microsoft Loop, and if you remember Microsoft’s Fluid framework and components, this is the next evolution of that. We’ve seen Fluid components come to Teams and other apps, but Microsoft is fully realizing their potential now.
Microsoft Loop encompasses three big elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces. Loop components are the new Fluid components, and Microsoft describes them as “atomic units of productivity”. Essentially, they’re bits of information you can iterate on and that work across the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem. A Loop component can be a table, a to-do list, and so on, and wherever that component is available, it’s updated in real-time with the latest information. If you share a Loop table in Microsoft Teams, you can make changes right there, and they’ll reflect in every page or location where that table is.
Microsoft is also introducing a few brand-new Loop components today. First, there’s a new voting table component (seen above), where you can list different options along with their pros and cons and users can vote on their preferred choice. Another one is a status tracker, where tasks can be assigned to different users and their progress can be updated over time. There’s also a new Loop component for Dynamics 365 records, so you can see up-to-date information about customers across different apps.
Loop pages and Loop workspaces are more focused on organizing information, Loop pages let you bring together all the information related to a project in a way that’s constantly up-to-date since all the components are updated live wherever you share them. Loop workspaces are more like notebooks, where you can organize pages in different groups and sections to make everything easier to find, which is particularly useful for large projects. Both pages and workspaces can be collaborated on by multiple users at the same time.
Another new Microsoft Office experience announced at Ignite is Context IQ. This is an artificial intelligence service that can surface relevant suggestions and information that can be useful at any given time. The first platform to benefit from Context IQ is going to be Microsoft Editor, the company’s spellchecking and proofreading tool. With Context IQ, Editor can not only correct the things you may have written, it can predict certain information you may want to enter. For example, it can automatically look for available times when you try to set up a meeting via email, it can suggest files to share with a coworker based on projects you’re working on, and more.
Another new member of the Microsoft Office family is Clipchamp, the video editor Microsoft recently acquired. There isn’t much that’s new here, and Microsoft seems to not be making any changes to the pricing structure or how it’s offered for now.
Existing Microsoft Office apps are also getting some upgrades announced at Ignite. For starters, the Office app for Windows and Office.com has been redesigned with a Recommended Actions section at the top for files and tasks that need attention, with Quick Access being just below that with a list of recent files. There’s also a new My Content page that lets you find content from all Microsoft 365 apps and a new Create page that presents templates from multiple Office apps to make it easier to find what you might be looking for.
PowerPoint is getting a new feature recording studio feature that lets users record their presentation, including the speaker’s video and audio feeds, customize the background, and annotate on presentation slides, creating a full pre-recorded presentation that can be shared with others. If a particular slide didn’t come out the best, it’s also possible to re-record just one slide instead of the entire presentation.