Test Drive Microsoft Outlook’s Future Look

Test Drive Microsoft Outlook’s Future Look

Microsoft’s Outlook and email apps on Windows, Mac, and the web are getting some big changes in the coming months as part of the company’s “One Outlook” initiative. Why wait, though? You can get a preview of what your Outlook experience is going to turn into right now.

Later this year, you can expect Microsoft to standardize the user experience across the Outlook apps on Mac, Windows, and the web, as well as the the Mail & Calendar apps on Windows 10. Then, in 2022, each of these apps will be transitioned to a new “Monarch” client, meaning you’ll be using the same app on all platforms.

According to Windows Central, Microsoft says the new Monarch client will add more OS-level integrations for Windows and Mac, including “offline storage, share targets, notifications,” so the new Outlook will feel like a native application on every desktop operating system or web browser you use.

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The rollout for these changes will be slow, but you can get a preview of the new cross-platform interface by installing the new Mail Progressive Web App (PWA) today.

How to install the Outlook PWA on Edge Chromium:

  1. Go to outlook.com.
  2. Click “…” to open menu
  3. Go to Apps, click “Install this site as an app.”
  4. The PWA will open once the installation is complete.

On Google Chrome:

  1. Open outlook.com in a new tab.
  2. Click the “+” button at the far-right of the URL bar (this may take a few moments to appear. Try clicking in the URL bar if it’s not showing up).
  3. Click “Install” when prompted.

Compared to the Mail and Calendar apps on Windows 10, the Outlook PWA’s look is a lot simpler. It lacks the visual customisation options you might use to tweak Outlook in wild ways, but it’s much cleaner and includes the same email features, as well as Calendar and To-Do list views. The similarity should make the transition to the PWA — or eventually the new UI for the various Outlook and Mail apps later this year — much easier.

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

The Outlook PWA also includes easily-accessible shortcuts to other MS apps like Word, OneDrive, One Note, Meet, and Skype. You can even manage your Xbox Live and Skype accounts from the profile settings, if they use the same email address.

That’s already a much more robust surface-level integration into MS’s ecosystem, and I’m curious to see how it will expand once Monarch rolls out in 2022.

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