Microsoft Loop Lets You Collaborate Better

Bringing multiple apps into a single document space

Key Takeaways

  • Experts are hailing the arrival of Microsoft’s Loop software as an innovative new way to collaborate. 
  • Loop includes portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps. 
  • One observer also recommends the app Milanote that allows you to create a visual representation of the information you want to communicate with your team.
Someone speaking at a virtual meeting in a home office with two computer screens.

SDI Productions / Getty Images

Microsoft's new Loop software could be a game-changer for online collaboration, experts say. 

Loop combines a flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps. The app is a hat tip to the fact that more people are working remotely and competes against similar collaboration software. 

"Microsoft Loop provides users with a cross-workstream dashboard and a phenomenally fluid collaboration platform," Scott Gode, the chief product officer at Unify Square, which makes collaboration software, told Lifewire in an email interview. "This appears to be a great additional productivity boost for hybrid teams, especially those who have already bought into the Microsoft 365 model."

Stay in the Loop

Loop pages are flexible canvases to organize your components and pull in other valuable elements like files, links, or data to help teams or individual users think, connect, and collaborate.

"Using this, we can gather everything required for a project—files, links, and data from other applications—into a single workspace, and then give a bird's eye perspective of everything that is occurring with a project from that workspace," Sam Sweeney, founder of the software company Trivvy told Lifewire. 

Loop allows you to work with other users to add interactive elements, including charts and task lists, and the ability to move parts of a document around by dragging and dropping. You can also add links to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, and they'll appear in the sidebar and as stylized thumbnails inside Loop pages. 

"In the last 18 months, the world changed, and we adapted to a new working environment where people had to complement traditional communication tools and in-person collaboration with alternative solutions, quickly digitalizing everything we do across our life," Wangui McKelvey, the general manager of Microsoft 365 wrote on the company's blog

Craig Hewitt, the CEO of the podcasting firm Castos.com, has been testing Loop for his team of 15 people who work remotely. 

"Loop allows teams to synchronize their work across multiple applications within a single document space," Hewitt said. "Relevant chats, meetings, emails, and documents are kept together, which ensures that nothing collaborative is lost. The JavaScript engine ensures that any changes are automatically synced across all applications for all users."

Out of the Loop

Microsoft is far from the only company making online collaboration software. 

Sweeney recommends the app Milanote that allows you to create a visual representation of the information you want to communicate with your team by adding notes, photographs, links, and files.

"You can use it to organize your thoughts and tasks in a visually appealing way by creating boards," he added. 

A GIF of a Microsoft Loop workspace.

Microsoft

The app Notion is another collaboration option, Sweeney said, calling it "a one-stop-shop for all of your office needs." The software includes the ability to create notes, tasks, wikis, and a database. It's meant for groups and individuals and is available in the browser, iOS devices, and Mac and Windows computers. 

There's also the app Coda, a new type of document that blends the flexibility of documents, the power of spreadsheets, and the utility of applications into a single new canvas. The interface looks like Google Docs. 

Hewitt said his favorite collaboration alternative to Loop is Google's new smart canvas which offers new ways to collaborate and share information between its popular suite of apps, including Docs and Sheets.

But Loop beats competitors by being easy to use, Kyle MacDonald of the company Force by Mojio told Lifewire. 

"It offers a lot of organizational-centered features that make everyday meetings and tasks easy to complete," he added. "It's a very efficient software that has the everyday employee in mind to improve their communication and organization skills."

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