Microsoft is now letting anyone preview Microsoft Loop, a collaborative hub that offers a new way of working with Office apps and managing tasks and projects. Similar to the Notion, Microsoft Loop including workspaces and pages where you can import and organize tasks, projects, and documents. But what sets the two apart is the shareable Loop components that let you turn any page into a real-time block of content that can be pasted into Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Word on the web, and Whiteboard.
Parts of the loop are constantly updated and edited for anyone they share. Imagine a table where you work with colleagues; you can drop that as part of a Loop in a Teams message or Outlook email, and any edits to the table will be reflected wherever it’s embedded or shared.
Microsoft Loop was designed with collaboration and co-creation in mind. The main interface looks similar belief, a workspace app used by Adobe, Figma, Amazon, and many other businesses. Loop pages are like blank canvases where people can share and collaborate, with pre-designed templates to help you get going.
Loop will even find all the related Office documents you’re working on when you create a workspace, making it easy to add the ones you need to organize a project. You can use the “/” command to add labels, images, emoji, tables, and more right inside where you type in Loop pages. The “@” shortcut lets you link up suggested files or tag coworkers or friends.
Similar to a collaborative Word or Google Docs document, Loop preview will support up to 50 people editing the workspace simultaneously. Microsoft has tested it hundreds to make sure Loop can scale to those kinds of needs, but it’s usually designed for teams of two to 12 people working closely on a project so the interface isn’t too heavy with many people editing at the same time.
The project and task management features are above all what you would expect here. You can create progress trackers and custom labels and even sync things up to Planner and To-Do. If you’re used to using something like Trello, you can even import a board from there and then export it back once you’re done working on it more collaboratively in Loop.
It’s the collaborative parts of Loop that look the most impressive. Microsoft developed Loop during the pandemic and the rise of hybrid work to help fill the gaps of working in virtual teams. That led to nudges, a way to drop an emoji on an animated canvas to show appreciation to coworkers or even as a way to highlight something important in projects. If, like me, you’re old enough to remember nudges from MSN Messenger, then they’re not that different.
“Nudges is kind of our ‘let’s get away from there by just trying different forms of tone and expression to allow people to go higher,'” says Shane Chism, a product manager for in Microsoft Loop.
Microsoft is also bringing Loop to mobile. While your phone isn’t always the best way to create documents, it’s often useful to be able to check in on the go or jot down an important note you thought about away from your PC. The Loop mobile app is designed for capturing images, ideas, and more. “It’s not about trying to just replicate the desktop experience, but really thinking about how we make it easy for you to most consume and make light edits on mobile,” explained Ron Pessner, a director of program management working in the Loop at Microsoft.
The loop is the result of years of work from Microsoft to create a new type of Office document. Formerly known as Fluid, Microsoft’s core idea is to transform the tables, graphs, and lists you typically find in Office documents into living, collaborative blocks of content that exist anywhere.
Microsoft is also privately testing its new Microsoft 365 Copilot system inside the Loop. You’ll be able to use AI-powered suggestions to create a brainstorm or blueprint, with Microsoft adapting its Copilot to support a multiplayer mode where you and your coworkers can all ask the AI chatbot questions and manipulate the response. The neat thing is that the responses are a live canvas, so you can start editing them freely and then share them in Outlook and Teams.
The notion has a similar AI-powered system that goes further. You can use it to analyze meeting notes, create summaries, highlight important information, and rewrite or develop text. Notion also has a neat web clipper feature that lets you import any web page.
Microsoft is now opening Loop to public preview, allowing businesses and even consumers to get access to an early version of the software. If you have a Microsoft Account or an Azure Active Directory account, you can gain access through the web appand iOS and Android versions will also be available to businesses today and to consumers soon.