Microsoft is unveiling a number of new features for its Outlook desktop app, Outlook for iOS / Android mobile apps, and the company’s Outlook.com webmail service this week. The new Outlook features that are now available or coming soon are being detailed by Microsoft less than a week after Google started rolling out a new Gmail redesign. Google’s new Gmail features are mostly aimed at business customers, in an attempt to get more businesses using G Suite. Microsoft’s new Outlook features are also primarily aimed at business customers, an area that Microsoft’s traditional Outlook desktop apps for Windows and macOS specialize in.
Outlook calendar changes
Microsoft is adding bill pay reminders to Outlook.com, that will appear as calendar items if Outlook.com identifies a bill received in an email. The reminders are similar to how travel reservations or package delivery tracking works in Outlook.com, and the due date for the bill will be automatically added to the calendar event. Outlook.com will also send an email two days before the bill is due.
Outlook for Windows is also getting some new calendar features that are more targeted towards businesses. Outlook will now offer suggestions for meeting locations in calendar entries, and automatically populate them with information from Bing. Outlook for iOS is also getting similar location support, alongside the option to book meeting room availability from your mobile device.
Microsoft is also improving RSVP and tracking meeting attendees in Outlook’s calendar. You’ll soon be able to see the tracked responses to meetings even if you didn’t organize them, so you can see if your boss is going to attend the meeting and whether you actually need to go. Outlook’s calendar on both Windows and Mac is also getting better time zone support. You can now set up a travel calendar entry in one time zone that ends in another, which is particularly useful if you’re looking at flight information. Outlook for Windows now supports viewing three time zones, and Outlook for Mac will also let you see an additional time zone.
Outlook mail and mobile changes
Microsoft is adding in better support for the emails you’re blind copied in on. If you go to reply to an email where you were in the BCC field, Outlook for Windows will now alert you that you were blind copied, so you avoid a potentially embarrassing email scenario. Outlook for iOS and Android are also getting a number of new features soon.
Outlook for iOS will soon support syncing draft emails, making it easier to compose an email on your phone and finish it on your PC. Draft syncing is available on Outlook for Android, Mac, and Windows, and it’s coming to Outlook for iOS this month.
Microsoft is also integrating its Office Lens tech into Outlook for Android. Office Lens lets you capture information from a whiteboard, or take photos of a document and have them automatically cropped to look like they were scanned on a professional scanner. This will be built into Outlook for Android, but there’s no word on support for Outlook for iOS yet. On the flip side, Outlook for Android is finally getting quick replies at the bottom of messages. This is already available for the iOS version, and it’s an easier way to reply to an email at the bottom of a message and still see the mail you’re replying to.
Outlook for iOS and Android are both getting support for favorite contacts in June. You’ll be able to tag people as favorite, and this will persist across the web and mobile versions of Outlook. Outlook for Android is also getting support to block external content in emails, and the iOS version will include Office 365 Groups support in June.