Anand • 2022-04-18
“Can you review the content for this month’s newsletter?” said a colleague. Usually this takes me to a Word document, or a OneNote page with comments to help me narrow in on the content that needs my attention. Word, OneNote, and other collaborative apps are great in what they do but at times a real-time collaboration that is more fluid could make shorter, the time spent on preparing and reviewing content.
Stay in the loop, as there might be a tool now available to do that, and it is called Loop. Loop takes away the separation between where you are in your flow of work (eg., teams, Outlook) and where the content is - in a Word or OneNote document, because with Loop the content is created and updated, right from where you are.
Loop is a new app that combines a flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps, enabling people and teams to think, plan, and create together. And Microsoft says, it comes in three elements: Loop components, Loop pages and Loop workspaces. It is Loop components that is generally available, at the time of writing this.
So, I have been using Loop components these last few months with colleagues. Using the Loop component to introduce Loop to them, is fun when I see people’s excitement shoot up when they realize how easy it is to start and work together in real-time without leaving the chat.
One of my recent co-creation with colleagues where we used Loop, was to write down the functionality of a training portal application we are building using PowerApps. Three of us worked with the Loop in the chat, used the table feature to list down the functionality and priority rank them. We also used the Loop to paste illustration screenshots of the design of the app screens. Usually, we take to Whiteboard for this kind of work but this time we tried Loop instead. What we found: first of all we saved time, time that is spent opening the whiteboard and figuring out where in the board everyone is. Second, we stayed where we were, in the Teams meeting and chat, so we did not have to open another app. Thirdly, the Loop stays current, we could jump back to it whenever and edit it together, in real-time.
Microsoft says you can copy a link to the Loop component and use it elsewhere. For example: Loops created in one chat can be shared to another Teams chat by using the copy function and directly pasting it into the chat. Edits to the Loop can be made from both chats and is instantly seen from both chats. Where I found this useful is extending the collaboration and adding more colleagues, so a Loop I started in a meeting can be shared in another meeting chat and I can work together with another set of people, edits made to the Loop in this meeting are visible to colleagues from the original meeting where the Loop was created.
A few ways in which I have been using Loop.
Since beginning of March, Loops can be edited from outside Teams chats, in their own Pages. Clicking the Loop’s title takes you to its Page from Office.com and that gives more real-estate compared to viewing/editing the Loop in a teams chat.
To open the Loop in its own browser window tab, click the title of the Loop in the teams chat.
Invite others to the Loop
Works on the Teams and the Office mobile apps too.
In a teams chat or meeting chat, select the icon under “Type a new message”, choose one of the options, type a message and send it into the chat.
Loop component files (ending with .fluid) get saved in OneDrive in the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder for Loops from one to one and group chats in Teams. So being stored in OneDrive means they get the same level of security and version control as other files in OneDrive, which is good.
I also noticed that these fluid files are discoverable from not only from inside Teams but also from Office.com.
I believe Loop will be living components that eventually show up in Outlook, SharePoint, so the Loops made in a Teams chat or channel can be edited from Outlook or SharePoint, making it easier to work together in the flow of work. In today’s hybrid work model, this is very much a loop to be in!
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