Microsoft updates Outlook on iOS and Android with new navigation and 'intelligent search'

Microsoft has announced a variety of changes and improvements coming to its Outlook app on iOS and Android. "It’s the Outlook you know and love," Microsoft said today, "with a redesigned conversation experience and the ability to quickly switch between accounts and browse folders."

The changes include revised navigation, in response to user feedback requesting an easier way to switch between accounts and browse folders.

Microsoft highlighted two areas in which the navigation has been tweaked:

  • The account and folder menu has been beautifully redesigned to give you super-fast access to all your accounts, as well as key folders such as Inbox, Drafts and Groups. Pro tip: Press and hold on an account avatar to pin the sidebar open!
  • Help and Settings buttons are easy to get to in the sidebar, making it even quicker to get in-app product support. While we hope you don’t ever need to contact our support team, we know we’re not perfect, and there are times you could use a helping hand. They’re always available and ready to help, all within the app!

The app also includes a "redesigned conversation experience" with clearer separation between individual messages. Microsoft said:

  • When you tap on a conversation to read it, Outlook automatically opens to show the first unread message. You can pick up right where you left off without scrolling.
  • You can now quickly reply to everyone by simply tapping the quick reply box and starting to type. When you’re done, just tap the send button to see your message added to the conversation. This means that you are now finally able to see the rest of the conversation while you type your reply.
  • If you want to do more with a conversation than just quickly reply, simply tap the recipients list to edit, or the ellipsis to get to the additional actions, like Forward.

Outlook on iOS and Android will also be getting a new "intelligent search" feature, powered by the Microsoft Graph, as the company explained:

  • Search will be front and center in the app’s simplified tab bar. No matter where you are, the new search will be a tap away. Our goal is to bring more proactive and contextual information to your fingertips without even needing to type in a search box.
  • People and Files will be seamlessly integrated as part of the search experience. There’s a section for People and Files—both with proactive suggestions.
  • When typing a name in the search box, it will instantly display suggestions from your most frequent contacts. Tapping on a person provides one-tap access to the new People card announced a few weeks ago.

Outlook for iOS is the first to get the new navigation and conversations experiences, with support today for and Gmail accounts. Microsoft said that support for Office 365 accounts "will be rolling out in the coming days", while the new search experience is said to be "coming soon".

Outlook for Android users will have to wait a bit longer; Microsoft said that all three experiences will come to Android "over the next couple of months."

You can get a further overview of the changes coming to Outlook on iOS and Android in the video below:

Source: Office Blogs (Microsoft)

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