In 2021, Microsoft announced at Ignite a new Office collaboration app called Microsoft Loop. Microsoft’s Fluid Framework vision took one giant step forward with Loop for the world of collaboration. With Loop, collaborators can work simultaneously on content, including tables, charts, task lists, and more with data syncing across multiple Office apps.
What is Microsoft Loop?
Microsoft Loop consists of three parts: Loop Components, Loop Pages, and Loop Workspaces. Because Loop is built from Microsoft’s Fluid Framework, Loop is powered by Loop Components which are aptly described as atomic units of productivity. The Loop Components can be organized in a new document type called Loop Pages. Loop Pages contain the files and links of the Loop Components and can be described as unstructured Word documents. An overview to see how Loop Pages and Loop Components are related can be seen in Loop Workspaces. Microsoft Loop will be available for several MS apps, including Teams, Outlook, and OneNote.
Loop Components can be injected into a chat within Teams or Outlook, making collaboration interactive, and co-authoring by multiple Team members in real-time, while syncing across all MS365 apps.
Are Microsoft Loop Components Secure?
It is important to understand that only users of the same tenant will be able to join, co-author and access the Loop Components in their Teams Chat or in Outlook. Currently, anyone external to the tenant is not able to participate in another user’s tenant. Additionally, the Components are saved and stored in the initiator’s OneDrive as a .fluid file, and because it is a binary file, cannot be read outside of the application.
In this article, we will examine how Microsoft Loop Components are utilized in Microsoft Teams, and in the next article Microsoft Loop and Outlook Email, we will see the operability between Outlook and Teams with Microsoft Loop Components.
Loop Components and Teams Chat
Microsoft Teams is receiving another big boost for collaboration and co-authoring. With the Loop Components, all members of the Team Chat will not only be able to edit inline, in real-time but changes will be seen instantly. Loop Components include a bulleted list, checklist, numbered list, paragraph, table, and task list. Loop Components will allow your Team to focus on specific tasks such as tracking the next steps, co-authoring content, or compiling data. Gone will be the long chat threads as your Team will be able to collaborate right inside the message.
How to Send a Loop Component in Teams Chat
In the empty Chat message box, select the Loop Components icon;
In the popup, choose the Loop Components that you would like to insert into your message. The choices include Bulleted List, Checklist, Numbered List, Paragraph, Table, and Task List;
Once your Loop component is ready, populate it with your content
Inside the Loop Components, tag a Team member by implementing the @MentionPeople tagline. Once the message is sent, the Team member tagged will receive a notification in their feed. This notification will bring them to the Loop Components that is ready for their contributions. Tagging a Team member by using @MentionPeople provides simple, quick, and easy access to the content of the component that they are co-creating;
When you have completed creating your content, select Send Ø and everyone in your Teams Chat will be able to see and edit the content inline; and
Pin the message containing the Loop Components so it stays at the top of the chat for easy access. To Pin the message, select More Options •••. Then, choose Pin.
How to Edit a Loop Component
Editing a Loop component is remarkably simple:
Click in the content where you want to edit text or add content; and
It is that easy! But sometimes, we want to do more than simply edit or add content. By typing a forward slash /, you can insert another component, date, or another @Mention. If you want to insert a comment on existing text rather than edit the text, insert two forward slashes // and the comment will be attributed to you.
View Access and Activity
Because Loop Components are interactive, as you view the component, you will see different coloured cursors of your Team members actively moving within the text as they edit or add text. Remember, this is real-time, live co-authoring, and watching the cursors move while text changes reflect this.
In the top upper right corner, avatars will appear. These avatars are those of your Team members who are editing, viewing or have recently edited the component. By hovering over their avatar, details of their contributions appear.
To see who can view or edit the component, select the See who has access icon. A summary will appear that visually shows Team members who have access along with the avatars of those who have viewed the component at least once.
How to Share a Loop Component in Another Teams Chat
To share your original chat with Loop Components with Team members in another chat, simply:
Select Copy Link from the top right corner;
Switch to the additional Teams Chat you want to include; and
In the empty Chat message box, paste (Ctrl + V) your component into the new chat.
Team members from both chat groups will be able to edit and add to the content. Regardless of where your Team members are editing from, the latest updates will always be presented.
How to View and Edit the File on Office.com
As mentioned previously, Loop Components are automatically saved to the initiator’s OneDrive once the chat message is sent. To open the file in Office.com, select the linked file name at the top of your Loops component. The file will now open, and you will now be able to view and co-author the content.
We can see how Microsoft Loop leverages crowdsourcing to further improve collaboration, and with Loop Components, content can easily be shared and co-authored in real-time in MS Teams Chat with one Team or multiple Teams. In our next article, we will examine how Microsoft Loop adds to Outlook emails.