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Microsoft Loop is a new Office app for the hybrid work era

Microsoft Loop is a new Office app for the hybrid work era

Microsoft's biggest change to Office documents in decades is expanding into Microsoft Loop, which is the centerpiece of a new way of working in Office. Microsoft Loop is Microsoft's new branding for Fluid Work, blocks of collaborative Office content that can live independently and that can be copied, pasted, and shared with others.

Like Fluid, Microsoft Loop consists of three main elements: the loop component, the loop page, and the loop workspace. Loop components are living pieces of content that can exist in multiple apps, are updated in real time and are free for anyone to jump into. This can be a list shared in a team channel and editable in a loop page, or notes in a calendar entry that are also available to paste into Outlook and edit in real time within an email.

These components may also be present in the main Microsoft Loop Hub, which Microsoft calls Shared Loop Workspaces. It's almost like a project board, where you can see a list of all the loop components and loop pages and who's currently working on them. Think of it as a modern file explorer, where everything is live and collaborative.

Loop pages are personal canvases where people can share and collaborate on Loop components. It's like the modern version of a whiteboard, but far more powerful because you can insert and share components that people have built outside the loop. They also don't need to be part of the entire loop page, as individual components can be edited in real time from other apps.

These collaborative Loop components have been Microsoft's dream for the past few years, and it's clear that the company is adjusting how Loop works to fit the realities of pandemic life. A central Microsoft Loop hub looks like a better way to track and organize these components—and a clear response to the new hybrid work era in which many businesses are adjusting and competing like swag.

The performance of Microsoft's Loop components so far has been impressive, but we'll need to experience them ourselves to really understand whether Loop can truly deliver the seamless experience Microsoft keeps promising. Perception is challenging Microsoft's traditional Office way of working with many concepts that are similar to loops, and Microsoft's response looks like a more powerful version of Perception.

While Microsoft has been talking about Loop (Fluid) for almost 18 months, it's still not something that's inside Office apps just yet. Microsoft Loop components will now come to Teams, Outlook and OneNote this month, and the main Microsoft Loop app will be released at a later date. "We'll be sharing more details about the availability of the Microsoft Loop app in the coming months," says Microsoft 365 general manager Wangui McKelvey.

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