Microsoft Loop aims to foster real-time collaboration
Integrated into Microsoft 365 and available as its own app, Loop will let you add different content to applications and documents to better collaborate with colleagues.
Microsoft has unveiled a new collaboration tool designed to help you create dynamic content to share with others. Known as Microsoft Loop, the new tool is largely a rebranding of the company’s Fluid framework, through which you can add collaborative items to your documents and projects. As such, Loop is geared toward letting you incorporate text, images, graphs, tables, tasks and other live content into Microsoft 365 apps such as Outlook, OneNote and Teams.
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In a blog post published Tuesday, Microsoft referred to Loop as a “new app that combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps—enabling teams to think, plan and create together.”
The idea behind Loop as an app and an integrated component is that the content you add will automatically be updated based on the source data and will ease collaboration among your business teams.
Microsoft Loop consists of three different elements: Loop components, Loop pages and Loop workspaces.
Microsoft Loop components
A new take on Fluid components, Loop components have been dubbed by Microsoft as “atomic units of productivity that help you collaborate and get your work done in the flow of your work.” These components can be simple items such as lists, tables, and notes, or more complex content such as a customer sales opportunity grabbed from Microsoft Dynamics 365. By incorporating these components into an email, chat, virtual meeting, document or dedicated Loop page, you ensure that the content stays updated and in sync so that you and your colleagues always have the latest information.
In its blog post, Microsoft said that it has kicked off two Loop components designed for collaboration. One is a voting table that lets team members discuss tasks and make decisions together. The other is a status tracker through which you and the other members can view the progress being made on a specific project or task.
Beyond the components built by Microsoft itself, third-party developers will be able to create their own Loop components. But this capability won’t arrive at least until spring of 2022 as Microsoft said it would share more details at next year’s Build conference, which likely will take place in May.
Microsoft Loop pages
Microsoft refers to Loop pages as “flexible canvases where you can organize your components and pull in other useful elements like files, links or data to help teams think, connect and collaborate.” These pages are aimed at helping you and your team members think collectively about a project or task. The pages are also dynamic in the sense that they can start small and then grow as the project expands.
A Loop workspace is a shared virtual space where you and other team members can view and organize all the content related to a project. The idea here is to help you see what other members are doing and working on, respond to the ideas of other people, and view the progress being made toward a shared goal. With a Loop workspace, you can collaborate as a group at the same time or individually as needed.
Microsoft said that the integrated Loop components will start rolling out across Microsoft 365 apps such as Teams, Outlook and OneNote this month. The company offered no ETA on the dedicated Loop app other than to say that it will provide more info about its availability in the coming months.