Microsoft is launching the public preview of the Loop app, a new tool designed to bring together teams, content and tasks across users’ tools and devices.
The company calls Loop a new app that “combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps,” helping teams to collaborate together in the flow of work.
This article breaks down Microsoft Loop, how it can be used to improve collaboration, and how IT can deploy it to their end users.
What is Microsoft Loop?
Essentially, Microsoft Loop is a single workspace with AI capabilities designed to bring everything a user needs into one app, eliminating the need to switch between different apps.
According to Microsoft, users can simply add a workspace title and other relevant keywords, and Microsoft Loop will suggest the most relevant pieces to add to the workspace. Users can then choose which resources to add, and content will be organized into pages.
Creating workspace pages is designed to be simple, with templates and drag-and-drop functionality to help user structure the workspace to their liking, Microsoft says in a blog.
Everything you need is at your fingertips with the insert menu. Just type “/” to add a label, live date, images, emojis, tables, checklists, and more—all without disturbing the flow of your work. Or simply type “@” and choose from suggested files and people based on the context of your writing. These simple commands allow you to comment and react to each other’s work; building on ideas, resolving issues, and making decisions quickly.
What Microsoft Loop can do
In addition, Microsoft Loop allows users to share pieces of information with different groups of people, including those not on the same teams. Users can share relevant information with the right people, and they can turn any content on a Loop page into a component, then copy and paste across Microsoft 365 apps such as Teams, Outlook, Whiteboard and eventually, Word for the web.
According to Microsoft, Loop components are “atomic units of productivity” designed to help users collaborate in their productivity apps such as chat, email, meetings, documents or Loop pages.
Loop components can be as simple as lists, tables, notes, tasks, or as sophisticated as a customer sales opportunity from Microsoft Dynamics 365, and because components stay in sync, no matter how many places they live in, you and your team always work with the latest information.
Users can also share whole pages, either as a link or a live page, allowing users to respond to one another in the flow of their work. For example, a user who prefers email can add their input to the Loop component or page from their email, and changes will update across all the places where the component or page was shared, the company says.
Microsoft Loop also features progress trackers and custom labels designed to help teams stay aligned on projects, and tasks assigned in the Loop app and in the task list component will sync across Microsoft Planner and To Do so users will see what they need to focus on.
The tool also includes notifications to help manage users’ time and attention in the flow of work, including from a desktop or mobile. In the Loop app, a notification feed will keep track of a user’s mentions, assigned tasks and replies, and users can reply to notifications.
When a user creates Loop components, security and permissions settings apply just like they do for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office documents. Users can see who has access to the page or component and all the places it’s been shared, Microsoft says.
A search function and in-depth integration with Microsoft 365 will also help users find what they’re looking for.
Microsoft Loop and Copilot
The launch of the Microsoft Loop preview comes shortly after the company announced Microsoft 365 Copilot, a generative AI assistant that will work alongside users in Microsoft productivity apps and help with content creation, writing emails and create meeting summaries.
Microsoft is also bringing Copilot to Loop, giving users AI-powered suggestions to help transform how they create and collaborate, the company says.
It guides you with prompts like create, brainstorm, blueprint, and describe. Or simply type in a prompt, like “help me create a mission statement.”
Copilot in Loop also allows users and their teammates to go back to earlier prompts, add language to refine the output, and edit the generated responses to get better results. Users can then share their work as a Loop component with their teammates across Teams, Outlook, Whiteboard or Word for the web.
When will Microsoft Loop be available and how can admins enable it?
The public preview of the Loop app is currently available for the web and mobile, and general availability will come once Microsoft receives feedback and improves the tool.
The company gives these four key steps:
- Create a security group that will contain all the users in your organization who you want to grant access to the Loop app during Public Preview.
- Create a Cloud Policy, scoped to the security group you created above, to enable the Loop app.
- Wait an hour or so for the setting to propagate and log in to Loop!
- Ensure your firewall rules allow all the appropriate services.
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