Loop Components finally made their way to Web Outlook. This means you can create and use Loops now in Microsoft Outlook and Teams. Sharing is possible for inside your organization only at this moment. On the bonus there is a new Q&A component you can use to collect Q&A questions & answers easier. Let’s take a look how you can use these.
- Create a Loop component in Outlook
- Microsoft Teams and Outlook Loop Component interoperability
- Outlook Loop Component storing location and use in Office 365 web
- Working with multiple users in Outlook and Teams
- Discoverability and search
- Insights and progress
Here are links for two previous articles I have written about Microsoft Loop
Create a Loop component in Outlook
If you can see the Loop icon on the bottom of Outlook toolbar you can use it to create and insert Loop components to emails.
The list of components is ordered differently than in Teams, so some reason. The Q&A component seems to be available for inserting only in Outlook at this moment (it does work in Teams, but you can’t create one from Teams.)
When you are creating your first Outlook Loop component (or receiving one in email) you will get a info popup.
I just added a paragraph component to email. I often recomment to start with the paragraph since it feels like a page to me, where you can insert other components ( except Q&A)
You can use the Loop icon to insert multiple Loop Components to a single Outlook email message.
At this point it is good to note that the Outlook Loop doesn’t do a very good job in the naming. They have just a basic naming Loop component.fluid, Loop component 1.fluid and so on.
You can edit the Loop (or Loops) like you wish before sending it. It is good to note that Loop components are created instantly when you have inserted them to the message. It is never in the draft phase like it Teams.
You are also automatically CCd in the message when you have Loop Components added.
I. of course, tested my first component with an receiver that wasn’t in the same tenant as this account. And no, Loop components don’t work when you send the email to someone who is not in your organization. They will receive links, but you can not give permissions components to anyone who is not a member in the same organization as you are.
Once you have sent the email, you receive the message yourself as well – since you were CCd. You can of course remove yourself from the CC field, but receiving it back to your inbox makes it easy to pin it in the Outlook so you can find it easier when you need to check on the Loop.
You have the same text options available at Outlook like you have in the Web
Microsoft Teams and Outlook Loop Component interoperability
You can copy the link to Loop component using the Copy-icon on top right of the Loop Component and paste it into Microsoft Teams chat.
When you paste the link to Teams Chat you can engage people in the chat to work with the component(s). In this case I only copied them off from Outlook and pasted to Teams chat in differnet order.
As can be seen the Q&A Component works inside Teams, even when you can’t create a new Q&A component from Teams. At least not yet – but I suppose it will roll out soon.
What else is different is that in Teams you can have a bit more options ,seeing Loop component access, than what Outlook is giving to you.
You can also copy existing Loop components from Teams to Outlook message.
Outlook Loop Component storing location and use in Office 365 web
Since Loop Components are created in Outlook, they are stored where other Outlook attachments are stored: in Attachments folder in your (creator’s) OneDrive. It is good to remember that Loop Components created in Teams will go under folder Microsoft Teams Chat Files.
When you go to your OneDrive Attachment’s folder you can go ahead and open the Loop compoment to web view.
Or you can just copy the Loop component link in Outlook or Teams and paste it into a new tab on your browser.
Either way, you can see the Loop component in the web and edit it normally.
When you need to rename the component, just click on it’s (dummy default) name on the left and enter a new name. In this case I took the screenshot from Q&A component (which was named Loop component 1).
After the rename you can see that the component’s name in OneDrive has changed.
This name change doesn’t to reflect to Outlook or Teams where the component has been inserted already. Hopefully this one will be fixed sooner than later. The naming works ok for components created in Teams.
What doesn’t work is copying the file link from Office 365 web to Outlook or Teams. These are just pasted as links – not as Loop Components.
Working with multiple users in Outlook and Teams
Let’s see how the more typical scenario works. In this case I have Chris #CertKing Hoard and Adam #ChannelsMaster Deltinger in my demo tenant and I want ideate upcoming Metaverse One agenda with Chris.
So I have created a new Loop Component in Outlook and added Metaverse One logo there. This looks a good draft to be sent to him.
When Chris receives this message he gets an info popup telling him about the Loop Component.
After Got It he sees the component and can start editing it. Note that he doesn’t have to reply to me via email or anything. He just edits the same component and he knows I can see those changes he does.
He adds a task list, something I didn’t think would be necessary. He can also see I still have the component open on my editor.
And even more – he creates a new Teams chat with Adam and uses the copy (top right corner of the component) to get the URL which he can paste to Teams chat.
In Teams he can also edit permissions to the component before sending it, if needed. Only options inside the same organization are available.
Adam can then do his changes to the ideation.
At the same time I can see those changes, and who is editing / has the component open, via Outlook
Discoverability and search
I prefer pinning messages with Loop components in Teams Chat and in Outlook to make them quick to find later, but it is not the only way. Browsing to OneDrive folders isn’t very intuitive – and now you have two folders where those components can be. Instead you should go to Office 365 home page on your browser or use Office 365 app.
Office 365 home can show you your latest files, including Loop components, easily.
You can also create Loop components-filter to get even quicker access. This is what I do and use often.
On your mobile device it is the best to use Office 365 application. Today it also supports multiple accounts – and this is a big thing for me since I have lots of accounts I use for work, MVP activies and demos.
In the app you can find your latest files very easily. You can also configure Office 365 app to include top level filter for Loop components.
It doesn’t matter where the Loop component is located, and it will show up in the list.
Searching is also a great way to find Loop components. They are indexed just like any other files, so you can search for components – and yes, it does search from inside their content as well! And no, you don’t have to worry where the file is situated.
Insights and progress
I hope you have found this post useful and helpful. It is great that Loop Components have, finally, made their way to Outlook and I have to say I fell in love with Q&A component right away. It can be very useful when planning to questions and answers – and when answering unanswered questions. The questions could come out from various places like attendees, project group, finance and so on. Everyone just adds their Qs there and who knows answers can provide them – and you can also provide multiple answers to one question also. Creation of Q&A component needs to be done in Outlook, but you can copy-paste it into Teams chats as you like.
What is certainly lacking and holding back the full potential of Loops is the limit where you can only use them within your organization. Especially with Outlook it would make sense to use Loops to collect ideation beyond org barriers. I am sure this will be coming, but it is not out yet. The other thing I miss is the option to copy and paste components from the Office 365 Web to Outlook and Teams. I am sure this will come out as well.
When using a mobile device it is good to notice that Outlook doesn’t provide Loop component in-place editing (at least not yet). Instead when you click the link it will open the Office 365 application (if installed) for editing the component. It makes a lot of sense to have Office 365 application on your mobile device (see chapter Discoverablity and Search).
The most often heard argument or critique about Loop components is their storage on OneDrive. When thinking about Outlook messages, it makes a lot of sense. And in Teams it is still supported only inside chats, and since they are more or less private chats there is not a team where you could be place the Loop file. It is very important to think about lifecycle of the component and to what end it is used. For me it is very clear: reducing the message ping-pong where replies are being done to convey ideas back and worth. And also to reduce copy-pasting when you want to expand the loop of people you want to engage. Loop components are not, at least currently, about long lifecycle documents. They are replacing chats and emails and engaging people to contribute and ideate together. And this is what Loop Components do very well in Outlook + Teams.