Microsoft is unveiling a number of new features for its Teams client today. The software maker has been building out Microsoft Teams to rival Slack in recent months, and it’s now going a step further in its efforts to differentiate and offer unique Office integrations. The first big new feature is Outlook integration into Microsoft Teams.
This will allow Teams users to move and share an email (and all of its attachments) into a chat channel. A new “Share to Teams” button will be made available inside Outlook early next year, and it simply moves an email into Microsoft Teams. It will allow employees using Teams to have a private conversation about an email thread or simply bridge the gap between the systems a little easier. It’s not exactly the same as the full bridge that Slack is attempting as you won’t be able to reply to emails and have them show up in Slack. It’s simply a static move of an email into Teams.
Outlook integration has been highly requested, alongside the ability to create private channels and pin channels in the Teams client. Private channels has been in beta in recent months, and it’s finally making its way to all Teams users this week. Microsoft is also planning to enable pinned channels later this year so you can keep important channels at the top of the Teams channel list and reorganize them into your own custom list.
Microsoft is also adding some other important productivity-focused improvements to Teams. A new tasks pane will be available early next year, and it will include a single view of your personal tasks and those assigned within Teams. Tasks across Microsoft To Do, Teams channels, Planner, and Outlook will all be visible in this single view, which you can customize to show boards, charts, a list, or schedules.
Teams is also getting the ability to pop out into a separate window. This option will work for chats, meetings, calls, or documents, and the separate windows can sit side-by-side with other apps and services you’re using. These multiwindow features will arrive early next year, but they won’t automatically hover on your desktop and remain always on top like the Movies & TV apps is able to do in Windows 10 or picture-in-picture modes in browsers like Chrome and Edge.
Alongside these features, Microsoft is also planning to bring Yammer integration into Teams. The app will be available on the main left-hand side of the navigation bar in Microsoft Teams, and provide quick access to Yammer communities, events, and conversations. Later this year, Teams will also get new Polls and Surveys features to add to messages or channels.
Microsoft’s Ignite conference kicks off in Orlando today, and we’re bound to hear more about the future of Teams, Office, and more. Stay tuned to The Verge for full coverage of all Microsoft’s Ignite announcements.