Outlook’s Focused Inbox will be rolled out for Office 365 in a staged manner in accordance with the change management policies, Microsoft on Friday announced.
The feature will be made available to Office 365 First Release cadence later this month—with worldwide rollout taking place 4 – 6 weeks.
And, will be rolled out to broader audience including customers who have selected Standard Release cadence, in mid to late November (with 6–8 weeks for worldwide launch)—once “we’ve determined that feature is ready for broader audience,” the team said.
When the feature is enabled, users on Outlook for Mac, iOS, Android and the web will immediately see the Focused Inbox. While, Outlook 2016 for Windows and Outlook for Windows 10 Mobile will show the Focused Inbox in November.
If you are not aware, “Outlook’s Focused Inbox separates your inbox into two tabs—’Focused and Other’.” Emails that matter most are in the Focused tab, while the rest remain easily accessible in the Other tab. You’ll be informed about email flowing to “Other”, and “you can switch between tabs at any time to take a quick look.”
When the feature launches, tenant admins using mail flow rules will be able to set up whitelists to ensure “business critical communications always land in user’s Focused tab of the Inbox” on Outlook clients. These whitelists can be set up from the Admin center or via PowerShell cmdlets.
Using PowerShell cmdlets, admins will also be able to enable/disable Focused Inbox on Outlook clients “for all current and future mailboxes” or “select mailboxes in their tenant.”
These setting on Focused Inbox for the users will take place when the next time they boot the client. Should a user need, the feature can be re-enable “individually again on each of their clients.”
Since, Focused Inbox is a refinement and is build on a previous feature called “Clutter”, active Clutter users will have to opt-in to Focused Inbox from an in-app prompt in Outlook. Once opted-in, email will now be split between the Focused and Other tabs in their inbox.
The same machine learning algorithm that powered Clutter folder now powers Focused Inbox, “meaning that any emails that were set to move to Clutter will now be moved to Other.”
If don’t know, “Clutter’s also helped to focus on the most important items in the inbox, but it did so by moving “Other” email to a separate folder.”
Users, however, can keep using existing Clutter through the transition, as it’ll be “completely replaced by Focused Inbox then.” Tenant admins would be “proactively notified before this change is made,” team said.