Now that Windows 10 is out in the wild, Microsoft’s turning its attention to other services. On Tuesday, the company announced numerous tweaks and new features for the Outlook web interface for Office 365 subscribers—changes designed to please power users and make your email look purdy.
The first thing most people will notice is the fresh coat of paint. The Outlook team says they’ve “made a number of tweaks and improvements throughout the UI for a cleaner look,” such as larger email subject lines and more noticeable Calendar buttons. You’ll also notice a new universal “action bar” spanning Outlook’s Mail, Calendar, People and Task interfaces, which were added to make it quick and easy to launch commonly used commands. You can see it if you peer closely at the image at the top of this article.
The beauty of this update is more than skin-deep, however. Outlook’s email has been beefed up with a slew of new features, including:
A new Pin feature that allows you to “Pin” individual emails. Pinned emails appear at the top of your inbox, highlighted in yellow.
One-click archiving to the folder of your choice.
An undo button.
The single-line view of your inbox now displays a preview of the message inline. Clicking a message now brings it up in the same window, sans pop-ups or secondary windows. Hallelujah.
While composing emails, you can now “resize images, add custom borders, apply shadow effects, rotate images and more.”
The recipient list intelligently populates with the people and groups you email most, and that list adapts to your usage over time.
More emojis. Sigh.
Microsoft also slipped some new capabilities into Outlook’s Calendar.
There’s an integrated five-day weather forecast now. Each day has a quick-glimpse weather icon, which can be clicked for a more detailed forecast. That’s just the tip of the icon iceberg though: Outlook’s Calendar now supports charms—like an airplane, or a knife-and-fork—which can be used to assign a quick visual indicator to events for times when mere color-coding just doesn’t cut it.
Calendar now also offers separate Birthday and Holiday calendars that can be overlaid on your personal and work calendars. You can also create email reminders for any Calendar event, to send a message to recipients of your choice ahead of a meeting or whatnot. You can fine-tune the reminders to be sent at the specific date and time of your choice, too.
Finally, the mobile browsing experience on outlook.office365.com has been tweaked and improved to make it less of a clunky pain in the butt. For the full nitty-gritty, check out the Office Blog post revealing all of these changes, and look for them to hit your inbox by September.
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