Microsoft Loop: how to use it and exploit its potential

Microsoft Loop: how to use it and exploit its potential

Microsoft has unveiled a new collaboration tool designed to help you create dynamic content to share with others. Known as Microsoft Loop the new tool is largely a rebranding of the company’s Fluid framework, through which you can add collaborative elements to your documents and projects.

As such, Loop is meant to allow you to embed text, images, graphics, tables, activities and other live content into apps Microsoft 365 such as Outlook, OneNote

In a blog postMicrosoft called Loop a “new app that combines a powerful and flexible workspace with portable components that move freely and stay in sync between apps, allowing teams to think, plan and create together.”

The idea behind Loop as an integrated app and component is that the content you add will automatically update based on the source data and facilitate collaboration between your business teams.

Microsoft Loop consists of three different elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces.

Microsoft Loop components

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Microsoft Loop component

Image: Microsoft

A new take on Fluid components, Loop components have been dubbed by Microsoft as “atomic units of productivity that help you collaborate and get your work done in your workflow”.

These components can be simple items such as lists, tables and notes, or more complex content such as a customer sales opportunity acquired by Microsoft Dynamics 365 . By incorporating these components into a dedicated email, chat, virtual meeting, document or Loop page, you ensure that your content stays up to date and in sync so that you and your colleagues always have the latest information.

In its blog post, Microsoft claimed to have kicked off two Loop components designed for collaboration. One is a voting table that allows team members to discuss activities and make decisions together. The other is a status tracker through which you and other members can view the progress made on a specific project or activity.

In addition to components created by Microsoft itself, third-party developers will be able to create their own Loop components. But this feature won’t arrive until at least the spring of 2022, as Microsoft said it would share more details at next year’s Build conference, likely to take place in May.

Microsoft Loop Pages

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Microsoft Loop page

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft refers to the Loop pages as “flexible frames where you can organize components and insert other useful elements such as files, links or data to help teams think, connect and collaborate.”

These pages are intended to help you and your team members think collectively about a project or activity. Pages are also dynamic in the sense that they can start small and then grow as the project expands.

Work areas cycle

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Microsoft Loop Workspace

Image: Microsoft

A Loop workspace is a shared virtual space where you and other team members can view and organize all content related to a project. The idea here is to help you see what other members are doing and working on, respond to other people’s ideas, and visualize progress towards a shared goal. With a Loop workspace, you can collaborate as a group simultaneously or individually as needed.

Microsoft said the integrated Loop components will begin rolling out on Microsoft 365 apps like Teams, Outlook, and OneNote this month. The company hasn’t offered any ETAs on the dedicated Loop app, other than to say it will provide more information on its availability in the coming months.

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