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Microsoft’s web-flavored update for Outlook begins rolling out to more testers

Enlarge / The new Outlook client for Windows is creeping nearer to release, though it still doesn’t support some important features.


Earlier this year, Microsoft released a preview of a totally redesigned Outlook for Windows client. It was a step closer to something Microsoft has been working toward for a while—a unified Outlook client across all of its platforms, based on the design of the web version. Today, Microsoft is taking another step toward that goal, with an updated preview for the new Outlook client that will be available to all Office Insiders in the Beta and Current channels.

Outlook for Windows users signed up for the Office Insider program will be able to try the new app by hitting a “try the new Outlook” toggle in the upper-right corner of the app window; hit the toggle again to return to the old Outlook app. Microsoft says toggling between the two will result in “no data or email loss.”

The Outlook app will also eventually be replacing the free built-in Mail and Calendar apps preinstalled in Windows. Microsoft will make a similar toggle available to Windows Insiders “in the coming weeks.”

The simplified ribbon interface in the new Outlook preview, along with the toggle for switching between versions.
Enlarge / The simplified ribbon interface in the new Outlook preview, along with the toggle for switching between versions.


Since the initial Outlook preview was released in May, Microsoft has added Microsoft Account support, a condensed and simplified ribbon interface, adjustable column widths for calendars, among a few other things. But the client is still missing a few features it will need to be a satisfactory replacement for the in-box Mail and Calendar apps, including support for third-party email services via IMAP, support for more than one email account, support for ICS calendar files, and the ability to work offline.

The new Outlook app will be available to all Office and Windows users running at least Windows 10 version 1809, which implies that the Outlook app will replace the built-in Mail and Calendar apps in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 when it’s ready to ship. Both apps received small updates last year to bring them in line with Windows 11’s modified UI, but otherwise, the apps haven’t seen significant updates since the Windows 10 era.

Listing image by Microsoft

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