Microsoft Loop was originally announced back in late 2021 and a “next-generation co-creation app that connects teams and tasks across your tools and devices. It’s a new way of working – so you and your team can think, plan, and create together from anywhere!” | Microsoft.
Loop introduces a new collaborative way for people to come together and collaborate in new and simple way, breaking down the traditional barriers and issues of over emailing, co-authoring, and sharing. The flexible interface means employees can organise their workspace the way that works best for them.
Microsoft have been working for years to create a new kind of dynamic Office document, known as fluid. The core idea is to transform the tables, graphs, and lists that you typically find in Office documents into living, collaborative blocks of content that exist anywhere.
For me, what makes Microsoft Loop different is the sheer ways and places in which live collaboration can take place – from any Office App
This means for example, that you can create and share loop components (a pool, list, paragraph etc), a loop page (consisting of multiple loop components), or a loop workspace (multiple loop pages) via any, or multiple methods such as in an email, a Teams chat or within say a Whiteboard. The loop component exists once, and all changes and updates are therefore update in real time no matter where they are.
Getting started with Loop
You can get started with Microsoft Loop by signing in with your work (or personal) account at https://loop.microsoft.com. You can also download the Loop mobile app for Android and iOS to access Loop on the go. I’d also strongly suggest pinning the Loop webpage as an app to make it easier to access like you would Word or Teams. You can do this from the tool bar in Edge.
Microsoft say that the primary goal of loop is to help “break down silos between apps, people, teams, tools, and devices – enabling your people to be more efficient when creating or organising content” when compared to the current method of document sharing and co-authoring (though there are similarities to the latter).
Microsoft Loop has three main elements, which are made up of components, pages and workspaces.
Loop workspaces: shared spaces that allow you and your team to see and group everything important to your project. You can easily catch up on what everyone is working on and track progress toward shared goals. These contain loop pages.
Loop pages: flexible canvases in the Loop app where you can bring together people and all your components, links, tasks, and data. Loop pages can start small and grow to match the size of your ideas. You can share them across Microsoft 365 apps as a link or as an embedded Loop component. These contain loop components.
Loop components: are portable pieces of content that stay coordinated across all the places they are shared. They can be lists, tables, notes, and more. You can use them in your preferred app, like Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Word, Whiteboard, and the Loop app.
So, you might be in a Teams chat and working on a quick table or list with a couple of a whole team of people. Rather than all send out multiple versions or create a formal document, you can quickly create a loop component in Teams and then if you need wider input, share that component in an email for others to review and edit – the table will be updated for everyone wherever it’s embedded or updated from.
Check out the example below.
Similar Products: Microsoft Loop is designed with collaboration and co-creation in mind. The main interface looks a lot like Notion, a workspace app that is used by Adobe, Figma, Amazon, and many other businesses. What makes Loop different is the seamless integration across the rest of the collaboration tools employees use in Microsoft 365.
Benefits of using Loop
Microsoft Loop can help you work better with your team in many ways. Here are some of the benefits of using Loop to work:
Stay coordinated without switching apps: Loop lets you get more done from where you are working without needing to switch apps since Loop components synchronise across apps in real time meaning no copying and pasting information or switching between apps.
Get started quickly: Loop lets you kick off projects or discussions with intelligent suggestions and page templates along with quick access to add the other components you need to work together.
Work together wherever, whenever: Loop is all about collaborating on ideas asynchronously. Loop is simple to use, fluid and intuitive meaning people can come together regardless of time zone, location, and work preference.
Seamless integration across Microsoft 365 Apps: Loop lets you also assign tasks, have task lists, and therefore assign actions. As you’d expect these are fully integrated into the native project and task management features across Microsoft 365. This means teams can create progress trackers and custom labels and have these automatically synchronised up to Planner and To-Do.
Loop Use cases
Ok, so why might you want to use Loop? Afterall, people have been collaborating, brainstorming, working on stuff together for ever using the tools we already have. Since Loop is about breaking away from the constraints of the app and instead focusses on collaborate content, there are some notable examples of where organisations are using Loop to help with:
Brainstorming ideas: Loop is a great space to use components, such as lists, tables, or notes, to quickly create and share your ideas with your team. When available, Copilot will be able to be used to get AI-powered suggestions.
Creating a project plan: Loop pages can be used to make a dynamic project canvas. Since Loop page can leverage sync components such as Todo lists, planner boards and other components, you can create a flexible canvas for the project that is more creative. From here you can easily add components, such as tasks, calendars, roadmaps, and charts, and you can even link to other loop pages, files, or websites to pull all the project resources together in one place.
Preparing a Presentation or Executive Summary: Rather than sharing files and emailing back and forth, you can use Loop components, such as paragraphs, images, lists etc to draft and refine a presentation or document summary. You’ll also be able to use Copilot to improve your writing and generate content or create a starting point from another document. You can also insert Loop components directly into other office apps meaning they can contribute and review without needing access to the full document. This can also be useful for sensitive docs with limited audience.
Running a Meeting: This will soon be how meeting notes work in Teams – but, Loop components, such as agendas, notes, or polls, are a great way to plan and run meetings in real time. Since you can then share the agenda, actions, and other information into other apps like email and teams, these components (such as actions) can be updated easily from anywhere.
Loop Adoption tips
As with anything new that changes how we work, the key with evaluating the use cases of Loop are to start in a confined group.
Start small and simple: Loop is a new way of working together, so it might take some time to get used to it. Start with simple use cases, such as brainstorming ideas, creating checklists, or sharing notes. Use Loop components in your existing apps, like Teams or Outlook, to see how they can enhance your collaboration.
Show the value and benefits: Loop can help people work more efficiently and creatively. As you find use cases of your own, showcase these and spread the loop love. Show others how Loop can save time, reduce app and context switching, and keep everyone aligned. Share examples of how Loop makes the process easier than for example sending emails back and forth.
Be flexible and open-minded: Loop is a flexible and dynamic platform that can adapt to the diverse needs and preferences of different people, use cases and needs. Be open to trying new ways of working together and experimenting with different components and pages. Loop is designed to empower you and your team to co-create like never before.
Get feedback and support: Loop is new and in preview, so it’s not yet a finished product. Ensure you discuss issues and feedback using the feedback section in the Loop app. There are also loads of useful help articles and user groups on linked in and in the Microsoft Tech Community.
TIP: Modern Work Mentor does some great videos and tips on Microsoft 365 apps including Loop - make sure to follow him on his YouTube channel
Yeah – it’s still in early preview so several things are not where they will be. For me one, the things I hope come soon are the ability to use Loop with guests/external users as today they are “internal only”. It would also be nice to be able to use Loop within Teams Channels (when used in a chat, the Loop is stored in the users OneDrive which is pain). I know both are high on the agenda for Microsoft.
What about Copilot?
Copilot will also be coming to Loop at some point (they do like to tease it) and is currently in private preview with a subset of organisations. Microsoft say that users will be able to use AI-powered suggestions to create a “brainstorm or blueprint”, with Microsoft adapting its Copilot to support a multi-user mode where people can work together with Copilot and ask it questions and manipulate the responses.