Microsoft recently introduced a promising new way to super-power how your teams collaborate across Microsoft 365 applications. It’s called Microsoft Loop, and once you start incorporating it into how you work with colleagues, you may be surprised at how useful it is.
Now, you may have just thought to yourself, don’t we have Teams for that? Yes, you do. Loop does not replace Teams, it integrates with it. In fact, you may have already noticed its icon under your chat message field.
Real-time Interactive Collaboration
If you click that icon, it opens a menu of “Loop components”. These are live elements that everyone in your chat can edit and see changes instantly.
This is a quick and flexible way to collaborate with one colleague or several of them in real time. These components are saved automatically to your OneDrive. Giving them memorable titles helps you search for them in Office.com or Teams.
The components are also portable to other chats and some apps. Simply select “Copy link” and then paste into another chat. No matter where changes are made, it will always show the latest changes. Clicking on any content and hovering your mouse reveals who made that contribution.
Add comments by tapping //, and use the / key to add a other interesting components within the Loop component, such as voting table, progress tracker, person, date, checklist, and image.
How You Can Use Loop Components
Here are just three simple ideas for how to put this to use in Teams:
- Brainstorming: Request others to chip in ideas with a bulleted or numbered list Loop component to stay organized.
- Data collection: Create a table component with labeled columns and rows. In each cell, you can describe the data you need and @mention the person who should provide it
- Sign-up sheet: Tables can be used for this, too, with columns for allergies, food preferences, available times to volunteer, etc.
- Assign work with due dates: A task list component is a quick way to task members of your team—@mention to notify them. When work is complete, they can mark it as done.
Working Across Apps
What makes Loop so promising is that there’s such a wide range of ways to share tasks. Most of us use either Outlook or Teams (or both) for daily communication, but small projects aren’t a good fit for a lot of back-and-forth. You can work together in an online Word or Excel file, but these are not ideal for quick contributions. A Loop component lets everyone work together in real time using their preferred Microsoft 365 app.
Well, it will eventually. Microsoft has much more planned for Loop, including Pages and Workspaces, and the feature will be integrated across a growing suite of apps. For now, though, it’s limited to these apps:
- Outlook (desktop and online)
- Word Online
It’s still a nice new feature. In Outlook, for example, recipients of an email can update a component inside the message without needing to reply. In a calendar event, you can add a component in the description field, so meeting points can be added or commented upon right inside that event. You could even copy and share that component in a Team chat, with changes appearing in the original calendar event.
While it may take a some getting used to, Loop could become a very efficient way to work with others. Give it a try, and if you have questions about making it work inside your organization, be sure to get in touch.