Microsoft Loop is a newish Microsoft 365 app designed to help people collaborate and organise content from various Microsoft 365 apps into different collaborative workspaces and pages. Loop can be used as its own app for simple and group collaboration, or for keeping, organising and consolidating your content from your different ‘loops’ in a central place.
What is Loop?
Microsoft launched Loop (in preview) back in March this year and (whilst still officially in preview), now has its own dedicated app in the Microsoft Store (as well as being available in iOS and Android).
Microsoft Loop is now available through the Microsoft Store though it’s really just a progressive web app.
Loop consists of workspaces, pages, and components that stay up to date across different applications.
Microsoft Loop is designed to enhance Co authoring and editing of “components” across Microsoft 365 apps.
Loop components, pages and spaces can be created directly from within the Loop App (which is essentially a progressive web app) ontent within a project can be converted into a Microsoft Loop component. Those components can then be shared with a group of people or any individual. Importantly, you can share part of a project or a specific component with someone rather than having to share an entire workspace or project.
Loop is now in the Microsoft Store
You can now get the Loop app from the UK Microsoft Store – there are also apps for iOS and Android. You can also use Edge and pin it as an app (which essentially has the same effect).
“Microsoft Loop is a transformative co-creation experience that brings together teams, content, and tasks across your tools and devices. Loop enables you to organize your thoughts, content, and resources as your project evolves. Loop’s portable pieces of content (components) synchronize across apps and stay up to date wherever they are shared across Microsoft 365.”
Microsoft Loop works for both personal and work accounts.
What else can Loop Do?
I covered Loop in more detail in a previous post which you can access here
My friend Darrell (Modern Work Mentor) also has a series of awesome videos and articles on Loop which you can access below.
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.
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.
Microsoft are making pre, during and post meetings more effective with a new capability which aligns and integrates across both Microsoft Teams and the wider Microsoft 365 apps such as Loop, Planner, To Do, Office apps and OneDrive for Business. They will also be supported in wider apps such as Microsoft Dynamics 365.
The aim is to make pre, during and post meeting experience better, more seamless and more integrated across the rest of Microsoft 365, and will be enabled by default when it rolls out (as of June 5th, it is rolling out now). This is part of number of improvements Microsoft are making to the Microsoft Teams meeting experience and also shows the further extensibility of Microsoft Loop.
Using Collaborative Meeting Notes
1. Adding Collaborative notes to a meeting.
When an organiser creates a new meeting from within Microsoft Teams, they will see a new agenda section at the bottom of the meeting form.
This new Collaborative experience uses a Loop component, meaning that rather than being static – they are live and can be updated on the fly before, during and after the meeting. Since these are loop components, they can also be copied / referenced easily outside of the meeting, into chats, emails and other docs.
This makes pre and post meeting follow-up more seamless and inclusive.
2. Using collaborative notes during a meeting
When joining a meeting, a new NotesButton will be visible during meetings that will allow users to leverage the new capability.
Any existing meeting notes will be shown on the right pane of the meeting window and there will also be the ability to pop the window out to make more room or move to your second screen/monitor. This is essential just a loop component.
All meeting participants can read and collaborate with the agenda in real time. They can update the agenda, take manual meeting notes and add tasks or actions. When participants are assigned a task in the meeting, they will also receive an email notification as well as have the tasks synced with Planner and their To Do apps.
Meeting organisers will also see have the ability to add Collaborative notes before meetings, enabling then to recreate an agendas as well keep all meeting materials available in a central place for all to access.
One the meeting has finished, the collaborative notes will remain accessible for all participants on the Teams calendar meeting details page. They can also be shared into other apps like chat or email.
This update is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 101509
Microsoft has rolled out an update for Microsoft Teams that brings the first set of “fluid” Loop Components. This has the ability to further innovate and disrupt the way people collaborate with their colleagues and perform daily tasks.
The update now introduces functionality from Microsoft Loop, a new set of fluid controls designed to further streamline the way people collaborate and cooperate on tasks in real-time. Loop brings about “portable components” that synchronise across the various aspects of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
As per this new blog post, “Loop components have now arrived for Microsoft Teams, unlocking a variety of opportunities to streamline workflows, as well as minimizing the number of apps workers are required to juggle“.
With Loop components, rather than share an entire document for co-authoring and collaboration through Office 365, users can instead post a specific paragraph, data table or list of actions into a Teams channel, where all members are able to view, edit and manipulate the content and see any changes and interaction in real-time. With Loop components, this content remains up-to-date wherever else the components have been deployed – which may be within a Loop page, Word document or PowerPoint presentation.
What is Loop?
Loop was first unveiled at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference in November, and is made up of three elements: components, pages and workspaces.
Loop workspaces are shared spaces that contain everything relevant to a specific project. Loop pages, meanwhile, are described as “flexible canvases” where users can organise their various loop components and draw in files, links or data.
At the announcement, Microsoft said that “For years, the established patterns of work were clear. Communication took place via email and content creation was mostly documents, spreadsheets and presentations,”
“In the last 18 months, the world has changed, and we have adapted to a new working environment where people had to complement traditional communication tools and in-person collaboration with alternative solutions. But we need to go further. That is why we are reimagining Office, adding new apps to respond to new opportunities, and making Office a universal, interactive canvas.”
Loop components have the potential to change the way remote and hybrid workers collaborate with their teams, and colleagues in a significant way. Microsoft say that additional components are expected to be announced at Microsoft Build next year by both Microsoft and third party application providers which will provide more seamless and collaborative ways to collaborate across the apps and services.
I wrote a blog on the Loop announcement previously, which you can read here.
At Microsoft’s semi annual Ignite conference this week, they announced a new productivity tool designed to make it easier than ever for teams to think, plan and create together across each and every Microsoft 365 app and service.
Loop is a new app that brings together a new extensible and flexible canvas with load of adaptive /fluid components that can be moved freely and stay in sync across all the Microsoft 365 apps and services. Loop has been born to help boost productivity across the hybrid workplace at a time most workspaces look set to be ever more distributed.
Loop is actually made up of the following key components.
Loop App (coming later)
These are essentially then version 2.0 of the “Fluid components” Microsoft have in apps like Teams and SharePoint today. These components will allow users to more easily collaborate and work together across chats, emails, meetings, files, documents or Loop pages. These components can be simple – like lists, tables, notes and tasks or more complex – like records from Microsoft Dynamics 365. There are a bunch of new components coming too including things like Live voting, status trackers and progress reports and developers will be able to build and sell their own.
These are the flexible canvases that users use to bring together and organise all of their Loop components as well as the space in which they pull in or link other useful stuff such as files, Web links and other data relevant to their loop topic. These pages are the collaborative space (think Microsoft Whiteboard and OneNote on steroids). Microsoft say that the Loop Pages are optimised to help teams think and work together but can also start small grow as ideas, projects and teams grow and change.
These are shared spaces that allow teams to see and group everything that is important to project or team. Workspaces are there to make it quick and easy for teams to catch up and see what everyone else in the team is working on as well as to react/comment and contribute to others members ideas. These workspaces allow people to collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously so work can get done whenever inspiration requires it and with whomever they are working with (or alone).
Microsoft say that some Loop components will start to roll out across Microsoft 365 apps such as Teams, Outlook and OneNote later this year but have also said that they will share more information about the availability of the Microsoft Loop app by early 2022.
Want to know more?
I don’t have any personal hands on experience of Loop as yet so adding a link to a hands-on video by a tech friend of mine Darrel.