Microsoft Introduces Several Enhanced Features For Outlook On The Web

Microsoft announced several enhancements in Outlook on the Web, so as to help Office 365 customers to understand the people they are communicating with. Along with this, the company has also reduced the number of clicks to present the most relevant information at a glance. This is powered by Microsoft Graph and as per Microsoft, these changes would allow you to quickly create more personalized and impactful communications.
Image Source:
Microsoft states,
“Many users associate people in Outlook with contact management—storing information such as a person’s phone number and email address. And while knowing how to contact someone is important, having a full understanding of who someone is—how you relate to them and how to quickly reach them—is critical.”
Keeping this in mind, the company has gone on to update Contact Cards to provide a “no-click” way to access common communication actions, as well as provide the ability to view who someone is and how you know them. In Mail or Calendar, all you need to do is simply move your mouse over to an individual’s name, so as to bring out their contact card. The Contact Card allows you to quickly Email IM, call or create a calendar appointment. Along with this, you will also be able to view the job title of that particular person, who they report to and also their most recent Email. This goes on to make it easy to easily and quickly place a person in context, both in your organization as well as your interactions.
Contact Card provides the users with a snapshot of information; the new Contact pane goes on to entices a deeper view of someone, all you need to do is click on the name, be it on the Mail, Calendar or People view and the Contact pane slides will come into view. The first section of the Contact pane provides the same communication actions as the Contact Card, however it also goes on to include contact information, which are related to those particular actions. Additionally, you will also be able to view key information, such as their team, title and office number.
When you scroll down, you will be able to view their reporting structure, which goes on to include the option of clicking through their entire organization chart. You will also be able to view, who they commonly work with, along with the Office 365 Groups, that they belong to.
The company states,
“The final section of the Contact pane provides a rich collection of information previously shared between the two of you. So, when preparing for your next meeting or replying to an email, the Contact pane allows you to fully understand where a person is within your organization, the projects and people they work with, as well as the specific emails and files you have exchanged with one another. And because the Contact pane slides out in your existing Outlook window, you are able to maintain the flow of your work without managing pop-ups and tabs.”
In 2015, Microsoft announced significant changes to Outlook on the Web abilities, so as to understand people who are most relevant to you, while composing an Email or calendar invite. The company has gone on to expand this same intelligence to the search box in Mail, Calendar and People modules. Microsoft provided us with the example that, if you are frequently communicating with Sarah Davis, then type an “S” or “D” in the search box and it will immediately bring her name up first, even if her name is not alphabetically first in your company’s directory.
The company states,
“Outlook knows Sarah is likely the person you are searching for as she is the most relevant person to you based on your communications, collaborations and business relationship.”
The company has also gone on to extend “fuzzy name” matching to Outlook, in order to catch common variations of how names are spelled. Microsoft provides us with an example that an Outlook search for “John” will also will bring up “Jon” or “Katheryn” in addition to “Catherine.” With relevancy-based search and fuzzy matching, Outlook ends the overload of searching through your company’s full directory and bubbles up the people, you are most likely searching for.
The company states,
“Finally, we made several enhancements within the main People section itself. The biggest change is the addition of a new “Featured People” section that contains smart lists. Smart lists allow you to view people by the way you interact with them in Outlook—such as in email or shared meetings. Many of the lists are dynamic, which means the people in the list change as your interactions evolve over time.”
As per the official blog,the smart lists include:
  • Frequently contacted—This list analyzes the strongest signals coming across all of Outlook to understand who you work with the most. It takes into account your communication, collaboration and business relationships.
  • On your calendar—List of the people found in your upcoming calendar appointments that day, which is extremely helpful when preparing for meetings. You can click through to the specific meeting to see who is attending, as well as drill down on any individual via the Contact pane.
  • For follow-up—List of the people who recently sent you email that might require your action. It is a good way to get an overview of who is writing you, what they are writing about and whether you have multiple follow-up items from the same person.
  • Favorites—The Favorites list is one you manage yourself. Similar to Skype favorites, you can add or remove people on your Favorites list for quick and easy access to the latest communication you’ve had with them—for people both inside and outside your organization.
However, if you really enjoy a particular smart list, you can easily choose to “pin”, so it opens by default, when you switch to the People view. If the traditional contacts list is more to your liking, you can opt for it, as your default.
The company concluded by saying,
“In addition to smart lists, we improved the way we display your contacts so that you see the most relevant information at a glance such as the person’s name, email address, job title and office number. Clicking a name will bring up the Contact pane for more detailed information. These changes apply to your personal contacts, as well as people in your company directory.”