Microsoft Outlook for the web is getting a brand-new look with new features and a dark mode really soon. Microsoft is trying to challenge Gmail’s design with its new roll out.
Faster and more modern Outlook
According to Microsoft, the new Outlook on the web will be a faster and more modem experience for its home and work users. The new design rollout will be applicable to both email and calendar. The company has been busy testing new productivity features like Categories and enhanced search for the last eight months with a small group of users. Now, the company will be providing the new Outlook experience to its entire user base.
Categories will be the most important new feature to be added to Outlook, as it will add new visibly distinctive tags to email notifications in the users’ inbox. Users can add multiple categories to their messages and label their messages as favorites. Search can be used to look for messages in a certain group. However, the productivity features aren’t as easy to use as Microsoft believes.
ZDNet’s Liam Tung suggested that he had to manually tag each individual email into the categories he defined during a test run. The problem was that not all emails from the same sender could be classified under a single category at once. Therefore, users will have to put substantial efforts into classifying emails.
What else is new?
Microsoft is adding a new dark mode to the web redesign alongside emojis. The emails also contain a new sun icon sitting right next to the reply button. Clicking on the sun will “turn the lights on” for that individual message.
Outlook will also feature a new snooze option, which is similar to Gmail’ snooze function introduced last year. Using this feature will help users postpone a message in their inbox.
The Outlook calendar gives an overview of events in the month. Work users will also get to create online meetings faster. They just need to select ‘Add online meeting’ from the dropdown menu. These meetings could either be scheduled on Skype or on Teams, Microsoft’s answer to Slack. Attendee responses will also be summarized in the event invite.
A sneaky new feature is Microsoft’s new Tasks, that syncs the newer version of its task management application with To-Do. An email will appear in the To-Do list automatically when a user flags it. The features will be available to users in late July. However, they will not be available to those whom organizations have blocked updates.