Microsoft Outlook for Mac Redesign Bringing New Features and Performance Improvements

Microsoft has revealed its plans to bring a new design to its Outlook for Mac app along with several performance improvements (via The Verge).


Account syncing optimizations are promised as Outlook will adopt the same cloud sync technology that's used in Outlook for iOS and Android, which should mean Office 365, Outlook.com, and Google accounts sync faster.

Design-wise, users can expect a bundle of new features they may already be familiar with from using the web and mobile versions of Outlook. They include single line email views, a new mail compose interface, the ability to ignore emails, and collapsible panels in the main view.

Regular users will also notice that the ribbon has gone from Outlook for Mac. Microsoft explained its removal to The Verge in the following terms:

"Following the same design principles as the Office 365 user experience updates announced last year, the ribbon was updated in the new Outlook for Mac to be fully customizable. In Mac environment, we refer to it as a toolbar – at this time, there are no plans to announce updates to the ribbon elsewhere on Office for Mac."

Meanwhile, Microsoft is integrating Microsoft Search into the Outlook search bar, which will now live at the top of the Outlook window and hopefully provide quicker and more relevant results. There's also a new My Day view being added to the calendar in the main mail screen.

The new-look Outlook for Mac is available this week to beta testers in signed up to the Insider Fast builds. Simply toggle the "New Outlook" in the top right-hand corner of the app window. Microsoft says it has more updates in the works that should arrive over the coming months.


This article, "Microsoft Outlook for Mac Redesign Bringing New Features and Performance Improvements" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Microsoft Releases ‘Play My Emails’ Text-to-Speech Feature for Cortana in the iOS Outlook App

Alongside a slate of announcements made this morning, Microsoft has launched a new text-to-speech feature for Cortana in the Outlook app for iOS devices. With this feature, called "Play My Emails," the Outlook app uses Cortana's natural language interactions and AI to read out your latest emails.


Microsoft is aiming this feature at users who want to catch up on their inboxes while doing something else, like driving or working at their desks. Cortana starts by summarizing how many emails are new in the user's Focused Inbox in the last 24 hours, and if there have been any changes to their upcoming daily schedule, thanks to integration with Outlook's calendar.


Cortana also uses Microsoft Graph to identity the sender of each email in relationship to the user, so it's easier to know the context of the message without looking at the screen. Because of these abilities and more, Microsoft said that Play My Emails is more than just a text-to-speech update, but a way to have a natural conversation with Cortana.
Cortana synthesizes the information in the message header and meta data and marries it with the insights about you and information from apps and services that power Office 365. This provides a more meaningful and contextual readout.

The Play My Emails experience is like having a conversation with your personal assistant.
Play My Emails is launching today to customers in the United States for the Outlook app on iOS devices, and later it will launch on Android.


This article, "Microsoft Releases 'Play My Emails' Text-to-Speech Feature for Cortana in the iOS Outlook App" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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PSA: Microsoft Outlook Breach Worse Than Expected, Hackers Could Read Emails of 6% of Affected Users

Microsoft has revealed that one of its support agent's credentials were compromised, enabling unauthorized parties to access information from a "limited subset" of users, including e-mail addresses, folder names, subject lines, and the names of recent recipients, between January 1 and March 28 of 2019.


It gets worse, unfortunately. In a statement issued to The Verge, Microsoft said that the unauthorized parties had access to the actual content of roughly six percent of affected email accounts, as exposed by Motherboard.

In an email to affected users shared by TechCrunch, Microsoft said it has now blocked this unauthorized access, disabled the passwords of compromised accounts, and increased detection and monitoring to further protect users. Microsoft recommends users change their passwords out of an abundance of caution.

The breach affected a "limited subset" of Microsoft-managed email accounts, including Outlook, MSN, and Hotmail email addresses. No enterprise customers are believed to be affected, according to TechCrunch.

Microsoft told affected users that it has no indication why the information was viewed or how it may have been used. The company has yet to reveal how it discovered the breach, how the support agent's credentials were compromised, or if the agent was a Microsoft employee, according to TechCrunch.


This article, "PSA: Microsoft Outlook Breach Worse Than Expected, Hackers Could Read Emails of 6% of Affected Users" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Highly Requested Dark Mode Comes to Outlook Web Mail Service

Microsoft today launched a much-requested dark mode for its Outlook.com web mail service. The company teased the new mode earlier this month, suggesting it would be reminiscent of last year's Halloween theme for Outlook.


The new dark mode actually adopts shades of grey to generate panel contrast, providing a more polished look as a result. You can enable it from the Quick settings menu (the cog wheel icon in the upper right). Currently it only works with the default blue theme.

The dark mode for Outlook.com is one of the most highly requested features for Microsoft's web mail service, according to listings on the Outlook.com feedback site, although there's still no word on whether a similar mode is coming to the mobile Outlook app.

Last month, Microsoft launched a rebranded version of its Microsoft News app for iOS with a dark mode. Several other iOS apps have similar modes, including Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and Twitch, while Apple's upcoming macOS Mojave also includes dark mode support.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave

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Microsoft Announces New Features for Outlook on Mobile, Desktop, and Web

Microsoft is rolling out several new features for Outlook users this week and in the next couple of months. The announcement comes hot on the heels of Google's recently launched Gmail redesign, and promises changes to the company's Outlook desktop and mobile apps, as well as its webmail service.

First up is new support for synced draft folders, which will allow Outlook users to draft a message on their mobile device and finish it on their desktop computer, or vice versa. Another addition is a new chat-like Quick Reply box at the bottom of the screen, for quickly responding to messages while keeping their content in view.


Microsoft is also introducing a "Favorite people" feature to go with its existing support for identifying groups and email folders in Outlook. It's a lot like the way VIPs work in Apple Mail, but uses tags rather than stars.

Elsewhere, the company is adding the ability to view Office 365 Group events in Outlook, as well as access to a group's OneNote Notebook. Events will be trackable in the group's contact card, while the Notebook access relies on the OneNote app being installed.

Other business-focused features coming to the mobile app include the ability to add organization directories to your Outlook contact information, and proxy support for companies who choose to block direct access to the internet from mobile devices.


Improvements to Outlook Calendar have also been announced, including bill pay reminders for Outlook.com that appear as calendar items if a bill is identified in a received email (similar to how travel reservations are recognized by the webmail service), as well as location support and meeting room booking options for iOS. Lastly, Outlook for Mac is getting time zone support for calendar entries that involve travel across different time zones.

The updates start this week and are part of a phased rollout for iOS, webmail, and Mac over May and June, with more features planned for Outlook in the near future, as detailed in Microsoft's Office 365 roadmap.


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Microsoft Stops Offering New Outlook.com Premium Subscriptions, Rolls Features Into Office 365

Microsoft today announced that its Outlook.com Premium feature, which offered features like an ad-free Outlook experience for $19.95 per month, is closed to new subscribers.

Outlook.com Premium features are now being added to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscriptions.

Today, we began rolling out new benefits for Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers who use Outlook.com. These premium email features include an ad-free inbox, enhanced protection against malware and phishing, larger mailbox sizes, and premium customer support. In the coming months, we'll be introducing additional premium Outlook.com features to make personal email and calendar experiences for Office 365 subscribers more powerful, productive, and secure.
Office 365 subscribers will now get the same ad-free experience that was available with Outlook Premium, eliminating banner ads and advertisements in the message list.

More mailbox storage is also included, as is advanced security against email threats, including a feature for scanning attachments and checking incoming links. All Office 365 subscribers now get 50GB of mailbox storage, while free Outlook.com accounts will get 15GB of storage space.

Microsoft says that in addition to 365 subscribers, all loyal Outlook.com users whose mailbox is 12GB or larger will be updated to 50GB.

The premium Outlook features will be added to all 365 Home and Personal subscription accounts automatically for users that have @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, and @msn.com accounts. Advanced email security features will not apply to @gmail, @yahoo, or other third-party email accounts.

Existing Outlook.com Premium subscribers can continue to renew their Premium subscriptions and receive the same benefits. Premium customers who have custom domains will be able to continue to use them, with domain renewal automatically included in yearly subscription fees. Custom domains are not a feature included in the new 365 options.

Office 365 Home is priced at $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month, while Office 365 Personal is priced at $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month. Office 365 Home can be installed on up to five PCs or Macs and five tablets and five smartphones, while Office 365 Personal is limit to 1 PC or Mac and can be installed on one tablet and one smartphone.

The new premium Outlook functionality is rolling out to Office 365 subscribers starting today, but could take a month to become available to all customers.



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Microsoft Outlook for Mac Gaining ‘Simplified’ Redesign With UI Similar to iOS App

Microsoft has revealed a redesign coming to its Outlook apps for Mac and Windows platforms, which is described as aiming for a "simplified" user interface that falls in line with the Outlook app for iOS. The Verge detailed the new and less complex version of Outlook on desktop, which was first spotted by MSPowerUser.

The Mac and Windows apps will feature a single-line ribbon that will be customizable so users can control which buttons are available, tailoring the email client to more easily accomplish their most common tasks. Clutter will be reduced with a smaller set of default commands, and the left navigation panel will include quicker access to folders across multiple accounts, visually similar to the switcher in Outlook on iOS.

Images via The Verge

Microsoft is said to have admitted that "MacBooks are popular amongst key influencers and decision makers," so the company decided to overhaul its email client "to win these users by delivering the best Outlook has to offer." Besides the design changes, Outlook for Mac will gain improvements to search and its calendar functions.

Search will become faster and "more reliable," as well as be easier to access in the app's top right corner. For the calendar, users will see an overall improved interface that makes managing appointments less of a hassle.


Microsoft hasn't yet detailed when the new Outlook will launch for Mac and Windows, but the company is said to be testing internal versions of the software for both platforms. Before the major update, a few minor additions will launch on Mac, including the ability to slide-to-delete messages via Apple's Magic Trackpad and a way to insert tables into emails.

It's expected that the redesigned app will debut in updates first made available for Office 365 subscribers, and then launch in Office 2019.


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