Microsoft is making its new version of Outlook for Windows available to all Office testers this week. The new Outlook for Windows app makes the desktop email client much more like the web version. Microsoft has been working on this redesign for months and originally released a semi-public beta earlier this year.
“Since then, we’ve received valuable feedback from Office Insiders on Beta Channel on how to create a more consistent, feature-rich experience,” explains Margie Clinton, group product manager in the Outlook team. “We’ve been listening to feedback since May and our team has been working hard to improve the new Outlook for Windows.”
The new Outlook for Windows app now includes support for Outlook.com, Hotmail, or Windows Live personal email accounts – something that was missing in the early betas. Microsoft has also added a simplified ribbon to improve the interface, in addition to dynamic calendar column widths for more customizability.
Office Insiders can access the new app in the Current Channel preview, and Microsoft says the same experience will also be rolled out to Windows Insiders in the coming weeks with a toggle in the Windows Mail app.
While this new Outlook for Windows certainly improves the user interface and design of the app, many features are still missing from the existing email client. Microsoft says it is working on supporting multiple email accounts within the same app, and even support for third-party email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo and iCloud. There will also be offline support, in addition to folder search, support for web add-ins, native ICS support, and more visual updates and personalization options.
Microsoft plans to eventually replace the Outlook for Windows email client with this updated app, once it’s at feature parity. That swap could take many months or even years, but now all Office testers can get an early look at Microsoft’s planned changes.