Microsoft is migrating its Outlook.com email service over to Office 365 soon, and with it will come a new interface and features. In a significant overhaul of Outlook.com, Microsoft is adding 13 new themes to its email service. While the look is familiar, it’s now more closely aligned to the look and feel of the upcoming desktop and Windows 10 versions of the Outlook app.
Most of the new features are centered around improving the overall email experience. Clutter is designed to sort messages you ignore into a separate folder to keep your inbox clean. Microsoft says Clutter will automatically learn which emails to filter out over time, and you can manually drag messages in and out of the Clutter folder to help train it. If email filtering isn’t your thing, you can turn Clutter off to keep a classic inbox.
Search is getting better a lot better
Microsoft is also improving the search interface for Outlook.com. Search suggestions will automatically highlight the people you email regularly when you’re searching for content, and a Refiners feature lets you filter search results based on sender, folder, date, and attachments. There’s even a highlight in search results so you can clearly find what you’re looking for. Search was one of the weak points of Outlook.com, so it’s encouraging to see Microsoft address this.
Other improvements include a link preview for webpage links, or video links from YouTube. This is designed to let recipients see the content of the destination you’ve linked with a small preview. Inline images have also been added, so you can now copy and paste images directly into messages. Microsoft has also added pop-out read and compose options to create messages in new windows if you prefer, and the ability to pin emails at the top of an inbox.
Add-ins are on the way
The biggest addition to the new Outlook.com is add-ins. Microsoft previously revealed it was bringing add-ins to its email service, and they will be accessible when you’re reading or composing a message. Third-party add-ins include Uber, Boomerang, and PayPal, and Microsoft is planning to add more soon.
While Skype has always been a part of Outlook.com, Microsoft is improving its integration. You can now shift between email and Skype to chat with an email recipient or start a video call. If you use OneDrive for sharing files, email attachments are also greatly improved thanks to the ability to easily convert them into OneDrive links.
Outside of the email part of Outlook.com, Microsoft is making some minor changes to its calendar feature. There’s an improved look and navigation, with the ability to managed shared calendars in the interface and better search options for events. Microsoft is updating the mobile views for both mail and calendar to support gestures and support for add-ins.
The new features and look are rolling out today, but only to a select group initially. Microsoft is seeking feedback on the changes over at its UserVoice group, and the company will likely react and tweak Outlook.com further before this new look rolls out more broadly.