(Pocket-lint) – Microsoft has introduced a new Office app, called Loop, which is designed to provide users with a new way to collaborate on documents.

In 2019, Microsoft launched the Fluid Framework in order to give developers the tools to create real-time, editing-based applications. While at the Ignite conference in November 20021, Microsoft took the wraps off Loop and revealed it’s based on Fluid. Here’s everything you need to know about Loop.

What is Microsoft Loop?

Microsoft said Loop is a new app that “combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps”. 

It’s all very PR-speak at this point, but from what we can tell, Microsoft is giving 365 subscribers a new way to work together, remotely. You can organise everything you need for a project into a single workspace and use portable “components” to complete work in chat, meetings, or documents. The idea is you can use Loop to co-create a project and track progress with notifications, highlighted changes, status labels, task lists, and more.

What can you do with Microsoft Loop?

Microsoft promises to disclose more about Loop in the coming months, but there appear to be three main features to the app:

  • Workspaces: These are spaces that allow you and your team to group things in a project. You can see what everyone is doing and track progress.
  • Pages: These are “canvases” for you to organise components and pull in links, files, or data for a project. They’re flexible, growing as you add to them.
  • Components: Microsoft describes components as “atomic units of productivity that allow you to collaborate” on a Loop page or in a chat, email, meeting, or document. Components can be lists, tables, notes, or something as specific as a customer sales opportunity from Dynamics 365.

Why isn’t Loop built into Teams?

That’s actually in the works, with Loop components, but there will also be a dedicated Loop app.

When will Microsoft Loop be available?

Microsoft hasn’t said when the Loop app will be available, but it said Loop components have begun to roll out in other Office apps – like Teams, Outlook, and OneNote. (To learn more about Loop components and how they work, see Microsoft’s technical sessions video here.)

MicrosoftWhat is Microsoft Loop and why isn't it built into Teams? photo 5

Will Microsoft Loop be free to use?

Presumably, Loop will require a Microsoft 365 subscription, as it will be tightly integrated with other Microsoft 365 Office apps

Want to know more?

Microsoft has a dedicated webpage for Loop here, as well as an announcement blog post on Loop here.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on .

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