The biggest change to Microsoft’s Office documents in decades is to expand into the Microsoft Loop, a hub for a new way of working in Office. Microsoft Loop is the new branding for Microsoft’s Fluid work, blocks of collaborative Office content that can live independently and be copied, pasted, and shared with others.
Like Fluid, Microsoft Loop has three main elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces. Loop components are live pieces of content that can exist across multiple apps, updated in real time and free for anyone to jump into. It could be a list shared in a Teams channel and can also be edited on a Loop page, or notes in a calendar entry that are also available to be inserted into Outlook and edited in real time in an email.
These components can also exist in the Microsoft Loop hub, in what Microsoft calls shared Loop workspaces. It’s almost like a project card where you can see a list of all Loop components and Loop pages and who is currently working on them. Think of it as a modern File Explorer where everything is live and collaborative.
Loop pages are the individual canvases where people can share and collaborate on Loop components. It’s like a modern version of a blackboard, but far more powerful because you can insert and share components that people have created outside of the Loop. Not everyone even needs to be part of the entire Loop page, as the individual components could 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 has adjusted how Loop works to fit the realities of pandemic life. A central Microsoft Loop hub looks like an improved way to track and organize these components – and a clear response to the new hybrid era of work that many companies are adapting to.
Microsoft’s demonstrations of Loop components have been impressive so far, but we’ll have to experience them for ourselves to really understand if Loop can really deliver the hassle-free experience that Microsoft continues to promise.
Although Microsoft has been talking about Loop (Fluid) for almost 18 months, it is still not something that is inside Office apps yet. Microsoft Loop components will now arrive in Teams, Outlook and OneNote this month, and the primary Microsoft Loop app will be released at a later date. “We will share more about the availability of the Microsoft Loop app in the coming months,” said Wangui McKelvey, general manager of Microsoft 365.