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Microsoft Delivers Redesigned Outlook for Windows, Outlook on the Web

A redesigned user experience with a focus on simplicity and customization to Outlook for Windows and Outlook on the web with updates, such as simplified Ribbon, icon refreshes and new ways to see changes for Office 365 is announced.

The most prominent update in this release is a new “Simplified Ribbon” showcased with the new “Coming Soon” feature pane. If you see “Coming Soon,” simply turn it “On,” to start exploring the upcoming updates.

Here is a rundown of these upcoming updates:

Simplified Ribbon

Both easily customizable and adaptable it lets quickly personalize by allowing to add (pin) or remove a single row of commands from the ribbon. To access the complete set of commands, users can anytime switch back into the classic, full ribbon.

Also, being adaptive, the Simplified Ribbon scales to fit different window sizes, adjusts icon labels and moves command out-of-the-way and accessible via new ellipses and menu drop down experiences.

To see the Simplified Ribbon, watch the video below:

Updated Message List and Reading Pane

A number of “small” changes in the message list to help highlight the things, like names are bolded, flagged messages stand out with a yellow background, more padding and text treatment to create a clearer visual hierarchy, scanning inbox is easier and focusing on important messages are easier than ever.

Also, message subjects are more prominent now in the reading pane, header now takes up less space, commands to access the full ribbon in Outlook, contextual email and calendar response options, such as Reply or Accept button.

Here is a screenshot of the message list and reading pane:

New Message list and Reading pane in Outlook Windows and the Web

Outlook Calendar Updates

Folder pane, where email is distributed across Favorites, Folders and Groups, special icons — now show up Groups as a peer of personal folders under each account. The feature aims to offer quicker access to the group folders in Office 365 Groups even if Folders list is hidden.

Updates in Outlook Calendar, such as clean, reorganized meeting request form now offer to set the meeting time first, make suggested Location, or conference rooms time-aware, as well as adding of Required and Optional attendees is quicker now.

A Screenshot of updated Outlook Calendar:

New Outlook Calendar for Windows and the Web

The updated user interface is rolling to users of Office Insider and Monthly Channel (Targeted) in the next few weeks. Later, it will roll out more broadly to production for Monthly Channel Office 365 customers.

“Coming Soon” will continue to be available throughout this roll out in Outlook for Windows.

Outlook on the Web will show an opt-in toggle like the one in Office.com starting on September 10 to give Targeted Release customers a way to “Try the new Outlook on the web.”

Since there will be a number of features not immediately available in the new Outlook on the Web, testers will be able to opt-out of this “early version” and opt-in again later — “as often as they want.”

These missing features span Mail, Calendar and People, complete features list is available here.

These updates are only available to Outlook for Windows and Outlook on the Web. Those, who are using the Outlook app version of Office 2019 won’t see these changes.

As Microsoft notes, you may not see these updates in Outlook for Windows, if any of the following are true:

  • Your company may not be part of the Office 365 Insiders or Monthly Channel Targeted program and the updates are not yet available in production, Monthly Channel.
  • Your company may have blocked Coming Soon through a group policy setting and the updates are not yet available in production.
  • You are using Outlook in Office 2013 or 2016.

Conditional Access in Outlook on the web for Exchange Online offer control and protection businesses need to keep their corporate data secure while giving their people an experience that allows them to do their best work from any device.

These policies will restrict the ability for users to download attachments from email to a local machine when the devices are not compliant.

With the power of the Office Web Apps, users can continue to view and edit these files safely, without leaking data to a personal machine. If you instead want to block attachments fully (when on a non-compliant device) we also support that!

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